• Graded • [Global Plot 717] In Ethelynda's Name

Nightshade Eld, Yana

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[Global Plot 717] In Ethelynda's Name

Sun Oct 15, 2017 2:31 pm

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A Shared Experience
E
veryone sleeps and all people dream.

That is what happened to them all, that night. When they fell asleep, they were in one place and when they woke, they were in another. As they awoke that morning in Vhalar, they realised that they were not where they had been when sleep's embrace took them.

It had begun.
121st Vhalar 717
They woke up in a strange place, a room which was almost opulent. They were there, each in their own single bed, three beds in total. Whatever they had been wearing in their bed was what they were wearing now. However, at the foot of each bed was a bag, containing their supplies. When they explored these, they found that the bag was new, but it contained all their things which they would have wished to bring. Like someone had seen it in their dreaming mind. No matter how much was in the bag, it was more or less weightless and it carried an impossible amount.

Sitting up, bleary eyed, they looked around. They knew this was happening, they had dreamed and their goal had been given to them.The three of them were unknown to each other.

The two women shared a room with a man. He was mixed race, obviously. Tall and with neat brown hair, a carefully trimmed beard and dark brown eyes. He sat up in bed, looking around and he smiled to them both in a polite fashion. "Good morning to you both. I trust that you have been sent by Ethelynda also?" His tone was clipped, formal and almost aloof. He got out of bed, his modesty well intact due to the long trousers, although his chest was bare. "My name is Ja'nir. It is my honour to meet you." He was possessed of a deep baritone voice and an earnest gaze; his body was muscular and toned.

Assuming that they got out of bed and got dressed, Ja'mir had leather armour and a broad sword. He also had a pistol crossbow which hung at his hip. When he realised that the bag seemed to be bottomless, he nodded. "This will be most useful. Praise Ethelynda for her foresight." The last was clearly something he said a lot, giving thanks to the Immortal who had sent them.

"There appears to be food in the kitchen. May I serve you breakfast?" Ja'mir asked. He added, then, most seriously. "It would be tactically wise to share information about ourselves. Discuss strengths and weaknesses, yes? Ensure that we are prepared for the trials ahead." If they agreed they would find that Ja'mir was a devout follower of Ethelynda and was part of group who worked in Her name, travelling Idalos. His cooking was basic, but reasonable.

Once they had eaten, there seemed to be nothing for it, but to exit via the front door, out into the landscape of Athart.
Objectives
1. Build your foundations: Decide whether you will share information about yourselves. Determine how you are going to work as part of this team.

2. Gather your supplies: I'm happy to assume that you've got your usual "stuff" with you. However, if there's anything unusual, then please let me know in your post.

OOC Info

 ! Message from: Pegasus
Welcome to one of the Vhalar 717 Global Event moderated threads!
You have been split into groups. In this thread we have:
Nightshade EldYanahalqahJa'mir (NPC)
However please note that movement between groups is entirely possible and may happen for reasons which will seem entirely random.
One post between mod posts please. No posting order. You may, of course, control your own NPCs, but not mine.
There are a number of hidden objectives throughout the game. I will let you know if you unlock them.
I will post again on the 21st October. Please note that I will do this even if no one has posted. For the purposes of the plot, it is imperative that all the threads I'm running go in tandem. Why this is will become obvious as time goes on.
We will operate on a "three strikes and you're out" basis.

May the Immortals have mercy on you all

NPC

Your NPC is a mixed race man called Ja'mir
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[Global Plot 717] In Ethelynda's Name

Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:17 pm

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Yana did not recognize the ceiling above her, or the feel of the bed she lay in. The room too was unfamiliar, as were the two other people occupying the other beds. She frowned slightly. Neither the man or the woman were recognized by her.

”You will know when the time comes.”

It seemed the time was now.

She wished she had received a warning beforehand though, so she’d have had some time to prepare. Or at least wear some clothes to bed for a change. Well, she thought to herself, stepping out of bed unabashed, worst case scenario, I will do this in the nude. This better be worth it.

Fortunately, there was no need for it, as at the foot of the bed there stood a bag. Under the belief there would be some basic supplies in there, Yana was pleasantly surprised to find it held a whole bunch of stuff. Her stuff. How convenient, though she did not complain. She could appreciate this foresight.

“Indeed,” she spoke as the bearded man greeted Yana and the hybrid woman, the Yludih calmly pulling up her underwear, then fiddling with some straps behind her back. Next came a simple tunic which came underneath the armor she’d wear. It was amazing how this bag seemed to be able to hold an infinite amount of stuff, while remaining as light as if it wasn’t full at all. She’d be keeping this, she decided.

“I am Saeri,” the Yludih responded to the man’s introduction, letting her pupil-less Eídisi eyes slide over his form as she continued strapping her armor on. It was the leather armor of a steward, the Jocadon of Andaris embellished on her chest in a simple metallic color. A bit higher, on her left collarbone-area there was a smaller symbol, also colored metallic; two swords, the emblem of her rank within the Iron Hand. “A pleasure.”

Yana did not add the barbute to her attire, not a big fan of restricting her eyesight even more than it already was, even though the helmet was designed not to do it. Instead, she simply tied her hair into a ponytail, and pulled out a shortsword from the bag, along with a dagger, an alder wood shield, a shortbow with quiver and two dozen arrows, and finally a curious metal rod. For a moment she considered wearing the cape, a mandatory accessory of any member of the Hand ranked Knight or higher. However, it appeared not to be in the bag, which wasn’t a loss at all. Though it was great for appearing broader and more intimidating or awe-inspiring, she felt it was more a fashion statement than it was a useful thing. It often got in the way, and Yana had no clue who had considered outfitting all knights with it –not just commanders—a good idea.

Another moment of hesitation, but she did not remove the medical kit from her bag. She’d be keeping it with her anyway, no need to find another container to keep it in then. The bag, dagger and metal rod were the only items she attached to her hip for now, knowing that her sword, shield and bow would get in the way of sitting down and eating breakfast.

“It would be much appreciated,” Yana accepted the offer, following the man to the kitchen area. “Though I would implore you to hurry, from what I understand, we do not have the luxury of time.” The Immortal had told her this would essentially be a race, after all, so time was indeed of the essence. As such she ate the breakfast quickly, though not without tablemanners. “Allow me to reintroduce myself. I am Saeri LaChasse, Knight Steward of the Iron Hand, protector of the people of Rynmere.” She left it at that, deciding that they would have noticed the weapons she’d pulled from the bag, and that the title would give her companions a clue to her abilities. “What about you?”

She listened to both of them, paying close attention and making mental notes of what they revealed. Know who you’re dealing with was important after all. Then, breakfast eaten and companions introduced, Yana gathered her weapons and headed out the door with a nod to the others.
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"Speaking" - Thinking - "Others speaking"
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[Global Plot 717] In Ethelynda's Name

Sat Oct 21, 2017 2:47 pm

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The Door
W
aking up with strangers in a strange place, not where they had fallen asleep was something they all, more or less, dealt with calmly.

They also stopped to have some breakfast ~ although Ja'mir took note of what Saeri said to him and, indeed, did that quickly. "It is a pleasure to meet you, Lady Steward," he said. Their other companion seemed to be rather quiet but that did not stop him. "I am a Knight of Ethelynda, warrior and healer. That is my calling and has been since birth."

He said nothing of what weapons he used, that seemed somewhat obvious to him. As they ate, they might notice that there were two small pins sitting on the table. One where Ja'mir sat and one where Saeri did. The pins were small, made of platinum and in the shape of a coiled serpent. They had emeralds for eyes. Ja'mir lifted up the one where he was sitting and he looked at Saeri with a smile. "It seems there is one for you and one for me," he said. Pinning it proudly to his collar, he finished his food. He was quick to tidy up the plates and then, gather the last of his things. Once he had tidied away, it was time to gather the last of their supplies and leave.

And so, they stepped out into the streets of Athart. They were ready to begin.
Image
Image
The landscape of Athart turned out to be an alleyway. Their door opened directly into an alley, narrow and mostly bare. The walls of the buildings either side stretched up into the skyline and yet, the ground was lush verdant grass. After a short walk they came to an archway, combined of stone and vines, twisted together and intertwined. Somehow. As a feat of architecture, it was amazing.

Through that archway there was what looked like an officers' mess. A small room, but well appointed. A fire crackled in a fireplace in the wall, warming them and ensuring that the light was flickering. As they entered there was a figure sitting at the table there, enjoying a drink as he waited.

He was a tall man, dark of hair and with a ready smile. He looked like a rather dishevelled traveller but he regarded the four of them with a grin. "Ah, you're here. Good. Ethelynda's group. Excellent.I am here to tell you the rules." The human man looked at them all and he gestured to another archway, opposite the one they had come in though. "You are seeking a gem. To reach the gem you will need to solve three puzzles. Each puzzle has a guardian who will require a toll. You, as a group, are in direct competition with other groups, representing other Immortals. First group to the gem, wins for their Immortal and then, we begin the Endgame. Simple" The man nodded towards the archway.

"Time starts when you step through there. But first... Any questions"
Objectives
1. Clarity: Ask any questions you might have

2. Last chance!: Last chance to back out / change sides / change groups (voluntarily). If you're good to keep going, please end your post with stepping through the archway.

OOC Info

 ! Message from: Pegasus
Nightshade has missed one round of posting
Please note: movement between groups is entirely possible and may happen for reasons which will seem entirely random.
One post between mod posts please. No posting order. You may, of course, control your own NPCs, but not mine.
There are a number of hidden objectives throughout the game. I will let you know if you unlock them.
Secret PM sent!
I will post again on the 28th October. Please note that I will do this even if no one has posted. For the purposes of the plot, it is imperative that all the threads I'm running go in tandem. Why this is will become obvious as time goes on.
We will operate on a "three strikes and you're out" basis.

Please note: My bad - should have mentioned it. If you have a Domain Bag, it was NOT in your equipment. You all have the one given to you and only that one.

May the Immortals have mercy on you all

In your next post

1. Please make sure that you are clear about what you do with the pin, please, Yana
2. See the objectives above

NPC

Your NPC is a mixed race man called Ja'mir
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[Global Plot 717] In Ethelynda's Name

Sun Oct 22, 2017 5:48 am

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Through the entire encounter, Nightshade had remained completely silent. It wasn't necessarily in her nature to do such, but she'd been set on edge slightly. Instead of saying anything she had just quietly prepared herself. It also didn't help that one of her companions was a Rynmere knight, considering Rynmere didn't gaze too fondly upon Avriel, let alone half=breeds. This led to her being far more silent than she usually was, a little out of character but by no means an impossibility. She said nothing, looking a little more than awkward as they ate breakfast. The look on her face quite clearly implied she was at a loss for words, and as she was never directly prompted to speak she ended up saying nothing at all. She has quietly opened her mouth once or twice as if she intended to speak, but had quickly closed it and lowered her head. She couldn't shake the feeling as though her silence had caused her to miss out on something important, but there was nothing to do but charge forward. At least she was able to mostly portray an outward calm, aside from the awkward.

When the woman did finally locate her voice and the strength to actually speak, it was when attention was drawn to the pins sitting on the table. "Curious, there isn't one for me," she said in a quiet voice. Her vocalizations still wavered uncomfortably and she shifted as if the chair she was sitting on was uncomfortable. It was only the beginning of the quest and she already felt like an outcast all because of a stupid pin. She didn't connect two and two in order to realize that she didn't need a pin because unlike the other two she actually had a mark. It wasn't like her companions could connect the dots either, with the way she curled her wings around her body out of discomfort. It was a way of putting up a shield between herself and the world, the black mass also effectively hid away Celarion and Taithir. A habit she'd built up over time considering she walked the streets of Etzos daily. People on those streets were never kind to those who they saw as mindless 'followers'. She couldn't help but feel as though she'd already set out on the wrong foot.

As they left the building the woman tried to set herself at ease. The setting didn't help much. It was obvious where they were, at least to the woman who'd heard horror stories about the city growing up. She couldn't help feeling like at any moment a purebred avriel would jump out of the woodwork (stonework?) and try to cut her head off for being a 'filthy mutt'. She tried to silently urge the group to move a little faster. The situation only seemed to get more and more upsetting.

As they came across the man Night hit a certain level of worry where she just couldn't feel it anymore. He spoke of being in competition with the other groups for a gem. Nothing new. But he'd also said he was going to tell them rules. And unless the woman was deaf she didn't hear him say any kind of rules. His words seemed so deceptively clear, it made her uneasy. She quickly shot off her most burning questions, an uneasy feeling in the pit of her stomach. "Will we come across any of the other groups while trying to solve the puzzles? If we do, are they allowed to try and kill us? Or is killing something that isn't allowed? Because that would be great if it wasn't allowed considering I'd rather not kill anyone and it's never fun trying to incapacitate someone while they're pressing a sword against your neck," the woman shot off her questions, being the most vocal she'd been since this entire thing began. Her stance changed, her wings moving to flatten against her back while she moved both of her hands in front of her. Her thumb drew small circles on the back of her right hand, the movement effectively drawing attention to the shield mark that was obviously Taithir. Her brow furrowed slightly as she regarded the man, trying to take in whatever information she could and device some sort of plan or idea around it. She really hoped that they weren't allowed to just slaughter each other, but the bad feeling in the pit of her stomach refused to leave.

After her questions were answered the woman would either relax or look somewhere between distraught and irritated, depending on the answers and just how much depth they were given. No matter what happened though, she'd charge forth through the arc to face the challenges ahead for the honor of her lady.

OOC

Sorry for missing the first round, I thought the cut off date was the 22nd and I was at the hospital with a friend all day because something happened to her mother, so I didn't notice...
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Common ~ Ith'Ession ~ Lorien
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[Global Plot 717] In Ethelynda's Name

Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:07 pm

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The last of their trio, the hybrid, had not said very much the whole time, remaining silent when dressing, getting ready, and eating. No name, no occupation, no mention of skill. Perhaps if gathering information wasn’t absolutely critical for this mission to succeed, Yana would not have cared much. She had kept an eye on both companions while they were getting dressed, of course, taking mental note of their equipment and weapons, mentally trying to paint a picture of the skill they possessed, as well as the danger they posed.

Breakfast was prepared quickly as Ja’mir took her advice to heart, either seeing the wisdom of it, or simply wanting to succeed for the sake of ‘his Lady’. Probably both.

It was when the three of them sat down to eat breakfast that the hybrid finally spoke up, expressing a certain sadness over the fact that there was no pin for her, or so Yana believed. The quiet tone of voice seemed to suggest so. Without speaking a word she merely offered the pin to the woman, placing it atop the palm of a hand outstretched towards her. She could accept if she wanted, but if she didn’t, Yana would mimic their male companion and pin it on her collar, hiding her reluctance. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to wear an item that came from this Immortal, but it would be strange if she didn’t.

The others might have their own hypothesis for why there were only two pins, but Yana was fairly sure it was because only two people present were here to represent Ethelynda. The other, herself, had agreed to work with Faldrun instead, seeking his favor for a personal vengeance. Because of that, the Yludih hoped that the pin was just that, not holding any powers that might expose her. Then again, this was to be a game, and games had to be fair. She speculated that the Immortals themselves were to stay out of this, not allowed to interfere until it was over. The use of proxies did seem to indicate such. Yana wondered if Cassion had planned for there to be moles in certain groups, or if he had merely allowed Faldrun to plant them because it would make for better entertainment.

After heading out, they found themselves in an alleyway, curious architecture on both sides, grass beneath their feet. Yana did not recognize her surroundings, wondering idly where exactly they had been dropped. She appeared to be taking in everything with a certain sense of wonder –almost like a tourist, really—though under that surface the Yludih was scanning for escape routes and hiding places, as well as searching for locations that could house an enemy ambush.

Soon enough they reached a small room with a man in it, drinking without a care in the world. He was to explain the rules of their game to them, and Yana frowned. She needed to procure a gem then, which could only be reached after solving a series of puzzles. What kind did not really matter. What did was that they would be competing with other groups. Yana wasn’t sure what he meant with being in direct competition. Did that mean they would be trying to solve the same set of puzzles, though separated by group, or would all groups be thrown together? If it was the latter, then –like the hybrid wanted to know—was killing allowed? The question alone gave Yana a tidbit of useful information: she disliked killing. The Yludih could probably make use of that.

“How many groups are we talking about?” she asked, following it up with “Can you tell us what is and is not allowed when interacting with the other groups? Or is it an ‘anything goes’ scenario?” Personally, Yana was a little frustrated that she had been placed in the group of the Immortal of Honor. It meant she was limited in her options if she did not want to attract attention. So if this was indeed an ‘anything goes’ deal, she had no choice but to fight honorable when her companions were watching –which she decided was always, just to be safe.

However, a good idea came to mind. While asking her questions, the hybrid had been rubbing the back of her hand, attracting the Yludih’s attention to the shield-shaped mark on top of it. At first she had thought it a mere tattoo, but she had heard of these… hell, she’d seen one of these before. Not from Ethelynda, but from Yvithia. It was an immortal mark, she believed. She could use that. How better win the trust of her companions by pretending to be marked by their Lady? She had an example right in front of her, and quietly committed the design to memory, waiting for the other two to step through the archway and couldn't see her anymore. She turned away from the rule-man as well. Then Yana removed the leather gauntlet from her right hand for the first time since she’d gotten dressed, and quickly began to focus on the crystals, willing them to shift and change. A different image.

The same feeling she usually had when she shifted forms burned through her hand, and upon its surface slowly the mark formed. It wasn’t the easiest thing she’d ever done, but if she could remove her eye-scar and other blemishes when she shifted into Saeri, and she could remove her Eídisi markings when shifting to Rayna, why wouldn’t she be able to copy the appearance of a simple shield? It was merely a cosmetic change anyway. Nothing too difficult, unlike altering your complete bodyshape and proportions to become an animal anyway. It took a couple long moments during which she compared the image on her hand with the one in her memory, and adjusted the crystals of her skin to match it more closely. It helped that the mark was a simple shield-shape and nothing more complicated, as that would have taken her far longer, as well as an example in front of her.

Once done, she donned her gauntlet once again, moved her fingers and wrist to see if she hadn’t accidentally made her hand unusable –fortunately it wasn't the case—and stepped through the archway.

Off Topic
Thought it’d be helpful if I listed what Yana brought with her:
-Leather armor (covering all but her head)
-Shortbow
-24 arrows
-shortsword
-Alder wood shield
-Switching Sword
-Dagger
-Domain bag given at the start of quest
-Medicine kit (still in the domain bag)
word count: 1118
"Speaking" - Thinking - "Others speaking"
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[Global Plot 717] In Ethelynda's Name

Sat Oct 28, 2017 5:28 pm

Image
Image
The First Puzzle
W
hen he asked if there were questions, there were, of course. First, the half breed Avriel spoke and the man who sat at the table smiled, his expression friendly. Then, he answered her questions. "No, you are unlikely to do so. You are all heading to the same place, but taking different routes," he explained. "Like different spokes in a wheel, I suppose." Then there was the next part of the question, which was more tricky. "I would rather no one killed each other, but I can't stop it if they choose to try. However, it will make me.... irked. It isn't in the spirit of the Game." He turned then to Yana and his head tilted ever so slightly as she asked her questions.

"There are two other groups seeking the gem," he said with a smile. He seemed almost amused that she asked. "And it's 'anything goes', really, except the spirit of this is that it's supposed to be non-violent. But then," he gave a slight shrug and his smile seemed almost sad. "It seems to me that people rarely adhere to the spirit of things these trials." He looked to Ja'mir and the man shook his head.

"I have no questions, sir. I am merely keen to move in service of my lady," he said and the man who had greeted them grinned.

"Got to love servants of Ethelynda. All so intense. Of course, of course, you must go... but before you do." He drained the last of his drink and turned to look at Nightshade. He gave the hybrid a low, almost old fashioned and courtly bow ~ then he held out his hand. In it was a pin, not like the ones worn by the other two, but instead in the shape of a single, eight pointed star. It glittered and sparkled beautifully. "For you, lady."

Whether she took it or not, he then turned and bowed to them all. "Let the Game begin," he said. As the last of them stepped through the archway, Cassion watched and smiled as the archway shimmered closed behind them and transformed back, once more, to an unremarkable stone wall.
They stepped through the archway, into a room. It boasted high rafters but no windows and all the surfaces were white - floor, walls, ceiling. In the middle of the room was a raised area, which had steps leading up to it. That area had a large checker-board like pattern on it. A six square by six square grid. Each square was large enough for one of them to stand on. They might notice that, as the last of them stepped through, the wall behind them simply shimmered and was a wall again. They were, currently, in a room with no entrance and no exit.

Hmmmm.
Image
However, before them was a man. He was wearing a smock, in the loosest possible definition of the word. Really, it was more like he was wearing a sack of some kind. He had bare legs and long white hair. He seemed to be chewing something and he looked at them as they came in.

"Ahah! More guests for Rupert! Yes, Rupert is pleased to see yous, yes he is", Rupert nodded his head and beamed. He had three teeth, two in the top and one crookedly and yet determinedly staying on the bottom. "Rupert tells you the rules, he does. You have to cross. Square to square, yes. Square to square, step by step. But some squares, oh they're baaaaaaaad" Yes, certainly they were judging by Rupert's expression - he had very expressive eyebrows. Eyebrow. Anyhow.

"There are bad squares in each column, bad squares in each row. Step on the bad square, bad things. Don't step on the bad square, not bad!" He clapped his hands, delighted at the prospect. Whether it was the prospect of one of them stepping on the 'bad square' or of not doing so wasn't clear.

"You must cross. Square by square, step by step. The bad squares are spaced out. Not touching each other, no." Rupert looked at them and waved his arm towards the raised dais-like are. "You must step in at least thee columns and all rows. No skipping rows!". Apparently, skipping rows was a bad, bad idea. Then, Rupert thought about it and he nodded. "That's all the rules, so that is. Step to step, square to square, got to get from here to there. Step to step, square to square, don't get eaten by a bear!", he cackled to himself and looked around at them. "Go now!", he said and, as each of them stepped up, he most solemnly handed them a small statue of themselves (roughly), and told them earnestly, "Whisper to it. It will keep you safe. Yes, yes it will." If it communicated in any way, it was purely in their imaginations....
Image
Objectives
1. Cross safely: What is the "bad" that happens? Well, until you try, you don't know. Lets hope none of you find out!

2. Cross quickly!: You are against other groups here, speed is of the essence. The first group to "pass" will earn a significant advantage.

The Puzzle

So - the aim is to cross the grid by walking from one square to another. You will do this individually, but are more than able to work collaboratively if you wish.
Two of you may not be on the same square at the same time.
You must step on a square in each of row A - F
You must step on a square in at least three out of columns 1 - 6
The bad squares are spaced out so that they are not touching each other. So if you are on a "bad" square, none of the adjacent ones are. Adjacent includes diagonal, forward, back, left and right.

So - you go from a square in row A to any of the adjacent squares. This might be forwards, backwards, sideways or diagonal.
The aim is to get from row A to row F without stepping on any bad squares - you must step on squares in at least three columns.
If you step on a "bad" square - that will hinder your progress.

OOC Info

 ! Message from: Pegasus
I hope it's ok - I've assumed that Night didn't take the pin from Yana. If she would have, please just assume that the star-pin bit didn't happen.

Please note: movement between groups is entirely possible and may happen for reasons which will seem entirely random.
There are a number of hidden objectives throughout the game. I will let you know if you unlock them.

This round only You can PM me during the week up to two times - each time, giving me a "route" you will take. Give me as many steps / moves as you want - up to the whole route (from A - F). This might be a collaborative effort or as an individual. I will tell you the outcome and you can then use that in your posts.

NB: There are a number of solutions to this puzzle. You are looking for "a" way, not "the" way.
I will post again on the 4th November. Please note that I will do this even if no one has posted. For the purposes of the plot, it is imperative that all the threads I'm running go in tandem. Why this is will become obvious as time goes on.
We will operate on a "three strikes and you're out" basis.


May the Immortals have mercy on you all

In your next post

1. Please make clear what route you are taking. These can be described as A4, B6 etc.
2. Be clear what you are doing with the statue.

NPC

Your NPC is a mixed race man called Ja'mir
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[Global Plot 717] In Ethelynda's Name

Sun Oct 29, 2017 9:07 am

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The man near the fire answered their questions openly and honestly, it seemed, gladly discussing the rules some more. At the mention of killing and violence, the man revealed that he’d rather have none of that, saying it would not be in the spirit of the game. Yana nodded as she processed the information. It would irk him, he said, which gave the Yludih the sense that they were not talking to your average individual. From the way he spoke, it almost sounded as if he was the one who’d set up these games… Yana had figured the gatekeeper had been a servant of Cassion before, but now she wasn’t so sure anymore.

She took note of the pin offered to the hybrid, cursing internally, though keeping a plain face on the outside. So much for that plan. Maybe. And why was it a different shape? Because she actually was marked by Ethelynda? Shit. Nevertheless, she did still copy the mark’s appearance on her own hand.

The three of them had entered a strange room. It had a high ceiling, white everything, and a raised plateau in the middle, reminding Yana of a giant chessboard. Though she doubted they’d be playing chess. The host in this room was…. Different… from the one in the previous one, looking like someone had pulled a crazy beggar from the streets and planted them in here. Rupert explained the rules, and the gears in Yana’s mind started turning.

Oh, she had this in the bag.

Or at least she would if she knew the location of one bad square.

Unfortunately, none of them knew it yet.

Yana stepped up towards the platform, being handed an odd little statue by their host. "Whisper to it", he said, "it will keep you safe". The Yludih gave him a brief nod, then walked over the platform, statue in hand. She inspected the game area for a brief couple moments, stroking the surface with a gloved finger, then, expression dissatisfied, she removed her gauntlets, and used her naked finger instead. The mark on her hand was plain for all to see. "Well, if you notice anything out of the ordinary, let me know," she whispered to the statuette. It couldn't hurt to do as the crazy hobo told her to, now did it. He was their host and the referee of this game after all. When the examination provided no usable results, the Yludih slowly put her gauntlet back on, turning to her companions.

“I have solved the puzzle,” she claimed, “however, before we can cross I need to know the whereabouts of one bad square.” Yana slowly turned her head to Nightshade. Usually she’d have asked the hybrid to sacrifice herself –though not in such a blunt manner—because she was an unknown. If she’d been on her side she’d have still asked her, this time because her wings allowed the evasion of certain types of traps. “As Lady Ethelynda seems to favor you more than m—us,” she spoke, letting a little bit of envy and hurt drip into her words, “I cannot ask you to do that for me. I am sure our Lady has a plan for each of us, and that you have an important role to play later on.” Yana angled her head ever so slightly, so that even though her void eyes’ gaze couldn’t be followed, the hybrid and other companion would be aware she was staring at the star-shaped pin –if she wore it, that is.

“I will go myself,” Yana continued. She wasn’t too worried, really. The gatekeeper had said violence and killing wasn’t in the spirit of the game, so it wouldn’t make sense if the bad squares brought death and maiming. “If something bad happens to me… well, you will know the location of one bad square, at least.”

With no further ado, the Yludih stepped upon the platform and began walking down column two. She wasn’t planning on crossing, she was merely searching for a bad square. Nothing happened on A2, and as she stepped to B2, that remained true. However, when she had crossed to C2, an odd feeling of discomfort washed over her, and Yana frowned. Suddenly she was back where she started. Once more she turned to her companions.

“I have found a bad square, it seems. We can cross now. Watch closely where I step and follow me once I have reached the other side.”

Again she stepped up the platform, beginning to walk down column two. Just like before she went from A2 to B2, but then instead of stepping on the bad square, Yana went diagonally to C1, knowing there could not be a bad square there. Another diagonal movement brought her to D2, where there shouldn’t be a trap either. Yana then stepped sideways to D3, for the same reason. Now she had completed the requirement of using at least three columns. Now it was time to pick up the pace. Time was of the essence. From D3 she stepped to E2, and from there she began jogging down the rest of column two. That was safe after all. With only one bad square in every row and every column, the field itself held six bad squares. Because of this, there was no more than one bad square in each row, and there was only one in each column. This meant that when you knew where in a column the trap was, you could –thanks to the no touching rule—avoid them, and safely walk down the rest of the column.

A walk in the park.

Once she reached the end she faced her companions and would give them directions if she thought they needed them, or if they asked for it.
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word count: 1019
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[Global Plot 717] In Ethelynda's Name

Sat Nov 04, 2017 6:28 am

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The woman was mostly satisfied by the answer the man gave the trio, though a little cautious because of them. There was a very subtle shift in her nature, nothing drastic, but there was something there. Be it her level of caution rising or the readiness of her sword, that had yet to actually be determined. She was given pause by the motion of the man as he held out the pin to her. Her eyes flickered slightly as she regarded it cautiously. It wasn't any symbol of Ethelynda's that she was familiar with, and Night was fairly familiar with most if not all of Her Lady's symbols. A deep frown creased her features as she regarded the pin carefully for a moment. "I'm sorry but I must decline as there seems to be some kind of mistake. I don't believe that belongs to My Lady, and I'd rather not wear something that doesn't belong to her," the half-breed said with a small shake of her head. "My apologies," she said, taking a small bow herself as she said such. It was only proper that respect is returned.

When the small group progressed through the arch to the next part of the first part of their trials they were met by a wonderfully pleasant hobo that made Night begin to question her own sanity just by watching and listening to him. She listened quietly as he spoke and took the statuette (hesitantly) when it was handed to her. "Lovely..." She muttered as she glanced out at the literal minefield in front of them. Of course, it wasn't too hard a puzzle to figure out. Given enough time she felt as though it would be possible to come up with a path on your first try, but they didn't have the liberty of time if they wanted too keep pace, or better yet get ahead, of the other groups. Her attention turned to her companions for a moment, trying to get an idea of what they were going to do. Her eyes were instantly drawn to the now degloved hand, as well as the mark upon it. Strange she hadn't mentioned anything about it at breakfast. One might think she would have, but Night herself had neglected to say anything about herself, so she'd give this a pass.

Night turned back to the puzzle, thinking about just taking a risk and rushing across. If worse came to worse she had better chances of escaping something deadly compared to her companions. But she had no clue what would happen if she even tried to use her wings. So far she'd been a little too scared to even twitch a feather. The punishments for flight could be far worse than the fate the tiles had in store. She was just about to try and make a mad dash when a cried shot up. "I have solved the puzzle,” was the lofty claim that broken Night's train of thought and drew her attention back to her apparent fellow marked. The next thing the woman had said was that they needed to locate a bad square. Easy enough. If they could find one bad square then they'd basically be in the clear, considering they could just avoid it and all the ones around it would be clean. Night opened her mouth slightly, more than happy to volunteer, but Yana quickly beat her to the punch. She said her words and was quick to make her way to the tiles. The half-breed couldn't help but feel a little hurt herself. If she had any less composure she might have flinched at the envy and pain in her companion's voice. They were supposed to be a team, were they not? Yet, here she was being singled out from the group.

She watched quietly as Yana started stepped on squares, only to feel a surge of panic rise up in her stomach when the woman stepped on C2. If something bad had happened, she would likely never forgive herself, but as it seemed the square was only a simple teleportation square that brought Yana back to the start. The half-breed quickly released a breath she didn't realize that she'd been holding the entire time. Her shoulders relaxed if only slightly. That was the bad square found and the worst of the issues gone.

Yana led the way and the half-breed was quick to follow, stepping in the footsteps of the one who had solved the puzzle. Her nails clicked slightly as she set her foot down on the first tile, A2. A shiver ran through her body and her grip on the little wooden statue get tighter. She brought it up to her lips and began to mutter quietly, taking a deep breath for a moment and letting Yana get a little distance ahead of her. She didn't like this, not in the least. But if it was for Her Lady she'd suffer it. Her feet landed lightly against B2, her eyes occasionally darting up to Yana who had begun to sprint after getting past C. That's right, they needed to rush. They didn't have the time to waste on shaky breaths. Stealing her nerves, Night was quick to move to C1 and then move to D2. The side step was a little awkward, but soon she was done with D3 and onto E2. After making it to E2 she rushed to F2 and made her way off of the tiles.

She turned around to watch the last of their group make his way across the platform. "I'd say that was done fairly well. Greatest thanks to your genius," the woman said as she turned to Yana. "I can only hope that the rest of the puzzles go this smoothly and the other groups falter," she said. The thoughts of the other groups urged her to move faster. "Onto the next?" She asked.
word count: 1012
Common ~ Ith'Ession ~ Lorien
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[Global Plot 717] In Ethelynda's Name

Sat Nov 04, 2017 5:52 pm

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The Second Puzzle
When Nightshade refused the pin, Cassion looked down at it and seemed rather perplexed. "Your lady does not refuse gifts, especially not from those who would assist her or her people. But! Your choice, freely made." What strange things mortals were, he thought. Still, the halfbreed had refused something from him and he would not forget that, not easily or quickly.

Aid would not be quick to come and Ethelynda would hear of the actions of one of her servants.

He waved them through, looking down at the pin and giving a slight sigh. It had been to warn them, of course, would have provided them with protection against the one who was going to try and sabotage them. Did the mortal soul who walked in proudly wearing an unearned pin of Ethelynda think he, Cassion, did not know who she was and who she worked for? Well, so much for seeking to redress the balance, he considered and he put the pin away.

Then, he devised another thought. Another, in one of the other groups, would wear the pin and Cassion determined a test to let him know who.
W
ell, Rupert seemed to be more than moderately happy! He looked at Yana and he nodded his head. "Well done!! You are a clever one!" He seemed impressed, and then some. "Keep your statues, they are gifts." Rupert smiled as a door in the opposite wall slid open. "Time for you to go now. I will see you in the next room". And, assuming they went through the door, it closed behind them and they found themselves in a room. It was a large square room. Two of the walls had gold picture frames on them. Framed in there was a painting of a snake. Standing in the middle of the room, was Rupert. He waved at them.

"Hello! Nice to see you again!" Rupert said, although he looked around in surprise when he saw that Yana had gone. Still, no time to fuss. "This is the second puzzle. You each have a picture, each have a frame. You will know which one is yours, when you step in front of it."

Which they did. Now, things that were important to note was that, suddenly, as they walked through the door, there were two of them. The one who had just solved the riddle was not there with them. "Go to your frames," Rupert urged and, as each of them stepped up, as they got to one of the frames, the snake started to move and slither. Then, there in the frame, appeared a puzzle.

"The Rules are simple", Rupert said. "A puzzle each. A different puzzle each. You must not speak to another until you have solved your puzzle. You can not progress until all are solved. It is simple. Begin."

And there, in front of each of them, a puzzle swirled into life.
Nightshade
In front of Nightshade, a diagram appeared.
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Objectives
1. Solution focused: Solve your own puzzle!

2. Eyes on the prize!: You are against other groups here, speed is of the essence.

OOC Info

 ! Message from: Pegasus
Please note: movement between groups is entirely possible and may happen for reasons which will seem entirely random. THAT HAS HAPPENED AND FOR THIS ROUND YOU DO NOT HAVE YANA IN THIS GROUP.

There are a number of hidden objectives throughout the game. I will let you know if you unlock them.

NB: I will post again on the 11th November. Please note that I will do this even if no one has posted. For the purposes of the plot, it is imperative that all the threads I'm running go in tandem. Why this is will become obvious as time goes on.
We will operate on a "three strikes and you're out" basis.

Please post your solution in your next post - there are no pm's etc this round. Progression is dependent on both of you solving your puzzles.

May the Immortals have mercy on you all

In your next post

Please be aware that I will be taking into account how long you take to talk and, when determining who goes through first, that will be important.

NPC

Your NPC is a mixed race man called Ja'mir
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[Global Plot 717] In Ethelynda's Name

Sat Nov 04, 2017 8:28 pm

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Her thoughts lingered for a moment as they progressed onto the next puzzle. She'd been making an entirely too big mess of this entire situation and she had a list of regrets that were heavy on her mind. It was at least a mile long by now. Her biggest regret was not taking the pin when it was offered. What has she been thinking? What possible process of thought had possessed her to do such a thing? She wanted to slap herself, but more than anything she wanted to apologize. The moment the rejection had left her mouth she had wanted to pull it back and that alone should have been obvious by the expression on her face. But some force had not given her the chance to retract to the man's statement nor try to correct herself before they left. She wanted to apologize for the transgression and it wasn't necessarily fair that she'd been given no window of time to reconsider, which she would have more than happily taken.

Now wasn't the time for bitter sentiments about actions that had been out of character thanks to various circumstance, but she couldn't help but linger as they moved towards the next puzzle. If luck lent itself to her then perhaps she'd be given the chance to say that she was sorry for so rudely rejecting the gift, though knowing how her luck worked she thought that things would get far worse before they got better. Immortals knew she wished she could right now. She allowed herself a quick pause to send something between a prayer an apology to the master of the game, Cassion, not knowing that he had been the man in disguise. There was no way to describe how much stress the woman had felt waking up in this strange place. She was out of sorts and kept making mistake after mistake. She was a shield bearer of Her Lady so she had to do well, there was so much riding on her! Not to mention she wouldn't be quick to forgive herself if she made a mistake and lost the game. Similarly, there were no amount of words that could begin to explain how many presents in her life had actually been traps. Eventually, after you'd gotten enough food poisoning from enough presents from other children you started to distrust anything that was given to you. She was a creature that up till now had been openly and widely despised by others, her nature was one of caution and only now did she realize how rude that could have made her seem. She did her best to explain that in her prayer of apology and hoped that the immortal running the game had not taken enough personal offense that she'd rejected the gift of his servant to ignore her, she equally hoped that it would be possible for him to hear her at all. She had no clue how immortals worked. If at all possible she wished for a second chance to amend her actions, though she wouldn't blame anyone if that chance wasn't given to her. How quickly she relapsed into hating herself, and she thought she'd finally gotten over that. After taking her time to be regretful and linger, she kept pace behind her companion so he wouldn't be able to see the quick frustrated tears that she swiped away the best she could. They had better things to be worry about. She could beat herself up, metaphorically and literally, later. They had puzzles to worry about.

As she stepped towards the snake picture the second puzzle appeared. It didn't look too complicated at first glance. Or at least she hoped it wasn't. The directions were a little vague as unfortunate as that was. That of course meant that she could easily get something wrong. If her assumption was correct, then for her puzzle she was supposed to connect all of the circles. Of course, that was only if her assumption was correct. Then the thought struck her that perhaps she needed to connect all of the circles using their max number of connections. She gazed at the puzzle for a couple moments trying to decide what to do first. Alright, this made sense. This was possible. Entirely so in fact.

She started with the 3 on the bottom left of the puzzle. It needed to have three connections so she linked it to the 1 that was diagonal, the 3 that was on the right and the 2 that was above it. It was obvious enough that the corner piece needed to connect to those three since that's all it had access to. The same logic, therefore, applied to the 3 which sat in the top right corner. That knocked out two of the squares completely. Her attention then turned to the 7. She needed to connect it to everything around it except for the 1 if she wanted to use up all of its connections. that took out a very large portion of the problem but left her with some questions about how to deal with the fire. She needed to connect to the 2 that was on the right of the 7 to the 3 which sat above it, but if she did that then she couldn't connect it to the 5. That meant she needed to connect to the 5 to both the 2s which sat on the left and diagonal left to it. Which meant that the entire left collum needed to connect to each other.

She did that and was then left with the problem of the corner 3s. The 2 that was diagonal left of the 5 obviously needed to connect to the 3 that was on the left of it. That left the problem solved, correct? Or at least she hoped it was solved properly. She glanced over her work one more time before glancing around to see if there was any indication to the fact she'd done it correctly. She could only really hope.

OOC

This should help if my explaination of what I had Night do for the puzzle was too confusing. Here's to hoping something finally goes well for her in this thread.

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word count: 1059
Common ~ Ith'Ession ~ Lorien
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