Original Character Battle RP Tournament - Anyone want to give it a go?

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Here are the ingredients for an Original Character Battle RP

4-16 players
1-3 judges
1 arena master

Players each create an original character, give them a backstory, abilities, motivations, all that good stuff.

The arena master pairs off the players into 1v1 rounds and provides the players with the arena, which may be magical or mundane, futuristic or feral, as they see fit.

Each player then writes a story about how they beat their opponent in the arena. The stories do not need to agree. Each player may have a radically different take on the arena and their opponent. The important thing is how you take the elements - your character, your opponents character, the arena - and craft them into a COMPELLING STORY.

The pairs of stories then go to the judges, who choose the best written, most entertaining or interesting story in each pair. The winning stories then become canon in the "universe" of the tournament, and the winning players are then paired off to repeat the process in the next round, with the option of building off what came before. This proceeds tournament style until a winner is crowned.

I'm offering to take the post of arena master if enough people want to play or are willing to judge. I can also provide service as a writing coach for people who would like to play but might be a little nervous about their writing chops.

There are more nuances that can make the tournament a hell of a lot of fun, but I wanted to see if there were enough interested people first.

I was hoping something like this would appear again now that the Escapist is on its way back, was thinking about it myself, but I don't consider myself proficient enough to run one of these tournaments. I am definitely throwing my hat in the ring if enough folks are interested though.

I can run it if we get enough people who want to play. People who would rather read than write are also welcome to serve as judges.

Is this a Ratings War?

IF so, make me a judge please.

Or I can compete if there are better options available.

Yes, this is a Ratings War-type RP. If we get enough people interested in competing, I would be happy to have you as a judge.

If there's an Escapist revival, I'd consider it an honor to participate.

I didn't think I'd ever see a Ratings War again, honestly. It brings up some tremendously good memories for me. I couldn't think of a better place to start on a spirited rebuild of our once beloved forum.

So, count me in.

And Msh, you should check your inbox.

It occurs to me that people might be a little more forthcoming if they had some idea of the setting. I'm calling this one Genre Wars - combatants will be thrown into settings derived from genre fiction. You might end up fighting everything but your enemy in Survival Horror, but you could also end up in High School Romantic Comedy, or on a Brisith Navy vessel in the Age of Sail. I will highly encourage the judge(s) to give extra consideration to how well the competitors use the tropes associated with the genre, and will do my best to set the scenes for maximum fun.

OK, I scared people off with the threat of High School Romantic Comedy, didn't I? Fiiiiiiine....no rom-com. I know, it's the scariest genre. I will stick with more light-hearted genres like Post-Apocalyptic Fortress Assault, or Monkey-Pox Pandemic Disaster Thriller.

I'll have my character submitted this weekend. I have a very clear image of him/it, just gotta translate that down to paper.

Is there something like a character sheet you'd like me to fill out or do I have permission to take full liberties?

Also, I demand High School Romantic Comedy be included as a genre. I'd also like to request Victorian Aristocracy Mystery Drama and Folksy Gritty Coming-Of-Age ala Huckleberry Finn or Catcher In The Rye.

Let's make it really weird in here guys.

I haven't done any sort of character sheet, but I would at minimum like a clear description of your character's appearance and powers. It pays to have a well-thought-out character, because one of the ways your opponent can beat you is by writing your characther better than you do yourself.

So let's do this: Your character walks into a bookstore/gamestore/comicbook store/movie theater/library and sees a door in the back they've never noticed before. They walk through the door into the Infinite Library, the repository of all stories ever recorded in any medium. You are greeted by the Librarians, who have been arguing about which genres are the best and you have been called, among others, to help decide. Write an intro vignette that tells us how this happens to your character. It may be that your character was a normal person transformed into something fantastical by entering the Library, or maybe they were already a Jedi/werewolf/mercenary/Templar/fairy princess when they came through. The library is connected to all realities and the portal's effects can be...unpredictable.

Don't mean to step on the DM's toes with his post, but I reckon I better mosey on down to this here RP and start writing up a post for some sort of Western or Cowboy character later this week. I may bring in some friends with me as well.
So many decisions on Cowboys though, I could do the comedic caricature, the folksy poetic type, the romantic cowboy, the grizzled killer, the Cowboy Dad/Sherrif, the Reluctant killer.

I remember when we did something like this a while back, we eventually had to stop doing these games because we didn't have enough players. I will be more than happy to participate

Yessss I ran a game like this a while ago. It operated a bit differently; the vague setting for all the characters was predefined, and winners would be determined by popular vote among the other contestants, with the competing players then collaborating together on a post that would describe how the fight went down. So basically the judging was focused less on a piece of writing and more on the specific character, and everyone would vote instead of select judges.

But I'd happily get involved with this as well! Need to think of a character though.

EDIT: I wouldn't mind a bit of clarification about the setting though. You said that the setting evolves with each winning fight, so that the things established in the arena that gets voted for become canon. But you also mention this Library, so that every setting is canon at the same time. How does that get reconciled, or have I misunderstood something?

In a decayed run down library old books sit, rotting away along with their knowledge. But some pieces of knowledge refused to be forgotten no matter how much the world wants to forget about them. The pages of one of these old books opens and the hand emerges, more if it's dead decomposing body emerges, an abomination beyond...

"Oh my God will you stop this melodrama..." The monster yelled? Hey what's going on? Who said that?

"Okay first of all I'm not an abomination, Godzillarich, second of all my name is Chris. I know that you were planning on going to Google, find the French word that means scary, and name me that, but I got no time for that laziness." Chris said? Okay how you talking to me? What is this?

"I'll explain it for your dumb mind. Ever read those Creepypastas written by 10-year-olds about how fictional characters kill real-life people for stupidly vague reasons, well I'm one of them except for the part of trying to kill people. That's not my style." Chris told me as he walked around the library. "Anyway because you terrible and making characters allow me to explain myself.

My powers: well being a very self-aware guy I can use that to my advantage to measure my opponents, and somewhat flex reality a little bit. I also know what the writers are planning in advance and can plan around that. I can also shoot lightning.

Description: because I'm too lazy, here's an image from Google.

That seems unprofessional?

"Like you would've done any better, your writing is always awful." Chris said like a jackass

Words hurt man...

"Anyway my back story is simple, I was created a few seconds ago. And that's about it." With his exclamation out of the way Chris looked around the library searching for something. "Yo Godzillarich, any ideas where the hell that mystical door mshcherbatskaya was talking about is?"

I have no clue, they didn't really tell us about the specific details about that yet. I may have to wait on them before we continue...

"Nevermind found it. Your still completely useless." Chris said as he walked in front of the door. "Well no time like the present, let's get this stupid tournament over with." And with that Chris walked through the door.

Consider me interested. Will need to think up a character first :-)

Do we want to start small with 4 characters or do we want to try and get the full eight?

mshcherbatskaya:
Do we want to start small with 4 characters or do we want to try and get the full eight?

Well technically we have six or 7 depending on if doc wants to be a judge or a contestant. So can get one or two more people that would be cool.

mshcherbatskaya:
Do we want to start small with 4 characters or do we want to try and get the full eight?

I'd say the ideal number would be eight players and three judges. If you're willing to serve as a judge too (should be compatible with being arena master), then we'd only need two more players and one more judge. Might be a good time to start dusting off any old RP contacts who are still lurking around.

tf2godz:

mshcherbatskaya:
Do we want to start small with 4 characters or do we want to try and get the full eight?

Well technically we have six or 7 depending on if doc wants to be a judge or a contestant. So can get one or two more people that would be cool.

By my count, we have only one player (you) since no one else has submitted an actual character yet. Saying they are interested is great, but they aren't entered in the tournament until their character goes up.

mshcherbatskaya:

tf2godz:

mshcherbatskaya:
Do we want to start small with 4 characters or do we want to try and get the full eight?

Well technically we have six or 7 depending on if doc wants to be a judge or a contestant. So can get one or two more people that would be cool.

By my count, we have only one player (you) since no one else has submitted an actual character yet. Saying they are interested is great, but they aren't entered in the tournament until their character goes up.

Demon, Thomas, and JoJo are making characters as we speak, we are buddies. they are 100% playing.

Alright, seeing mshcherbatskaya (hope I spelled that right, I used to have it memorized) and Khedive Rex back means I've gotta get in on this.

mshcherbatskaya:
I haven't done any sort of character sheet, but I would at minimum like a clear description of your character's appearance and powers. It pays to have a well-thought-out character, because one of the ways your opponent can beat you is by writing your characther better than you do yourself.

So let's do this: Your character walks into a bookstore/gamestore/comicbook store/movie theater/library and sees a door in the back they've never noticed before. They walk through the door into the Infinite Library, the repository of all stories ever recorded in any medium. You are greeted by the Librarians, who have been arguing about which genres are the best and you have been called, among others, to help decide. Write an intro vignette that tells us how this happens to your character. It may be that your character was a normal person transformed into something fantastical by entering the Library, or maybe they were already a Jedi/werewolf/mercenary/Templar/fairy princess when they came through. The library is connected to all realities and the portal's effects can be...unpredictable.

Quoting this here so I can refer back to it easily. But I'll start working on this soon.

The year was 1865 and Patrick Duke was stuck in a Colorado Border Town until the snows melted. Which being Colorado that could damn well take up to three months. Needless to say, Duke wasn't exactly a happy camper, but there wasn't a damn thing he could do unless he felt like ending up like all the other Wendigos. That's what the natives called them anyway, said they was overtaken by evil spirits. Duke liked to believe that was true, but even the natives knew the only thing that overtook those that were dumb enough to travel The Colorado Mountains in the winter was nothing but dog-gone hunger. It was his second week here and he was bleeding money faster than a medieval sanitarium. When one is in desperate straits like this, there's only one place that someone is bound to go.
The Local Library. Duke had often extolled the virtue of the local library to others in many of his longer town visits and as he said that the Local Library was the only place in every town that one could go and stay in a warm room all day and never pay a single cent. Duke become what would have been considered an avid reader back in the day.
This particular library was more of a person's house with a bookshelf in it with a number of dime novels. Duke sat warming himself next to the fire reading something fairly trashy as he heard two folks arguing near the front of the store.
"What are you talking 'bout! Silas Greaves is one of the best series out there."
"Sure, if you like the same bloody story over and over. Perhaps you just ain't intelligent enough to 'preciate a good mystery like those found in the tales of Detective Dick Daniels."
"Anyone can see those bloody twists coming. Least Silas has got some excitement to it. Not like Dick Daniels spending ten pages staring at a mark on the wall."
"Aw, come on. That was important to the story, it took you through the process of how he finds everything out!"
One of the men turned to look at Duke who was looking slightly miffed that his quiet reading was interrupted. "Say, Mister. You're a reader ain't ya. Come on, you've got to know what one of the best series out there."
Duke made a deep sigh before setting his book down on a table. "Well, I'm sorry to say, pardner. Ain't no such thing as the best series, but if I could pick one of my favorites... I'd say Black Arrow. Medieval tales of heroism, and rescuing maidens. Quite a gent that man, and looks quite dashing with the hood, and a damn good shot with his crossbow."
The two looked at the folksy Texan as bit strangely before one said. "I mean, I reckon partner. A bit old-fashioned don't you think."
"A bandit trying to help the good people by robbing the rich and respectin' the ladies. Why that's Black Bart right there, and all those other cusses that get books made of 'em." Duke responded. "Plus, I'm a bit old-fashioned too pardner. You could learn a thing or two from the likes of Black Arrow and The Bard. Mastery of the written word was held in high regard back then, boy."
"Come now, this Black Arrow fellow he ain't got the wit of no Dick Daniels."
"Or the strength of no Silas Greaves."
"He may not have the wit of no Dick Daniels but that willy Irishman is keen and dexterous 'nough to get his way out of any scrap."
This went on a while as a back and forth between the two and exchanging stories of their series, but no more boisterous was that of Patrick Duke telling the tales of Black Arrow and his Mirthful Multitude sailing the seas or tracking the lands of his beautiful Irish land and protecting against all the evils of the British kingdom with his diverse crew and wooing all the ladies but for his one true love of which he daily wrote works of poetry to though she remained undeterred.
Eventually, going back to the comfy chair and his fire, the man soon dozed off. Waking up to an eerie silence, soft as snow. A dim red light shone underneath a door that he didn't seem to remember. Normally, Duke would be the type not to question this, but for whatever reason, he seemed drawn to the door.
"Hello! Mr. Richards! You ain't burning kerosene are ya! Stuff's gotten right expensive and who knows when the next shipment is gonna come in with these snows!" He didn't get an answer; predictably.

Duke tentatively opened the door and walked through. Hearing a cacophony of noise as he entered, dodging a book as he did so.
"Norse literature is the best literature! Ye can't have good literature without respectin' the gods!" Came a shout.
"Listen, we've been arguing enough as is! We agreed! We're keeping it SECULAR!"
"Either way, The Bard doth create the finest sonnets! None could compare to his divine brilliance!"
"SHAKESPEARE IS A HACK!"
"TAKE THAT BACK! YOU POXY-TONGUED LAGGARD!"

"What in Tarnation is going on here!" Everyone turned to Duke standing there. Including Duke himself whose voice seemed significantly younger and... Betraying a more Irish heritage. Making his Southern dialect sound quite strange.
"Who invited the Peasant! He probably can't even read!"
"I take offense to that partner." Duke having time to collect his thoughts somewhat looked down to find a flintlock pistol tied to the right side of his hip. Which was strange not only because he didn't own a flintlock but because he hadn't been wearing a gun at all. And more importantly, he hadn't been wearing these fine leather pants or this cloak of green... And was he wearing a doublet?
"Ah, no! This is the one we've been waiting for. To help us decide."
"Are you sure? He seems a little scrawny."
"He's barely bearding!"
"Oh, he's much older than he looks. A youthful face is all."
"Now, partner! I don't know what type of trick you're trying to play! But I've been shaving for the past twenty years of my life! I ain't never worn nothing like this before." Duke stopped further still not enjoying the sound of the voice that was coming out of his mouth.
"Did you get the wrong person?" One of the librarians said.
"Weeeeellll," The other started. "I couldn't set up an appointment with the real Black Arrow... So I got the next best thing. He's an avid fan." Other librarians groaned.
"Ugh, typical."
"Now, what are you talking abou-" Duke spotted his reflection in the reflection from polished wood. Spotting bright red hair and vibrant blue eyes, and a green hood... He reached across his back finding a familiar looking crossbow and quiver of... Black Arrows.
"So... Mister Duke. How does playing out one of your favorite books sound too you?"
Duke nearly giggled to himself. "Long as I'm getting paid, we've got a deal. Certainly wasn't doing anything better than this."

I was going to wait a while to see what other genres people went with, but might as well get the ball rolling now! The genre I'm going with is what you might loosely called Surreal Neolithic Fantasy (the game Zeno Clash is the best example, though things like Conan or Jungle Book would be comparable). Here's the character:

So the general idea of Gilgamoc is that he/she can switch between a bunch of different animal archetypes by switching masks, changing his physical abilities as well as his entire persona to match each different mask. Though he is called a shapeshifter, he doesn't actually change shape, he is always technically a human. However, through near-supernatural inhuman agility and an arsenal of concealed cavepunk gadgetry (claws, horns, stilts, wings, tails, spare limbs, stretchy adhesive tongues - I was hoping to have some licence to make things up as I go) he can effectively mimic the general shape and adaptation of other animals. Each shape has a different personality, voice, and even gender as well, which I encourage others to have some fun with if they get to write Gilgamoc. The important thing is that he must never go without a mask; whatever is under the mask has no power, and I'm sort of headcanoning is really diseased and deformed, part of the reason he's resorted to this outcast hermit lifestyle. I might elaborate on that later.

But basically he's a gender fluid combat furry :D

Here's my character. Historical fantasy, if we need a genre. Or should that be prehistoric fantasy.

Oh, this looks interesting! I'll start working on a character.

Quick question are we going to start fighting or are we going to have some down time to role play after we have everyone? I would recommend you the latter so we can flesh out our characters better before the fights start

There will be some downtime to interact. You are all in the Library, feel free to converse - quietly.

mshcherbatskaya:
There will be some downtime to interact. You are all in the Library, feel free to converse - quietly.

What is the library like then? we need to know what's going on before we can properly roleplay.

I was going to wait for more people to post their character intros, but I can post the library setting later tonight.

As contestants, you find yourselves in the Infinite Library. The building aeems to be equal parts architecture and Escher. Some parts are ornate with Gilded Age flourishes while other parts are sleekly modern. One section holds scrolls that became smoke in the destruction of the library of Alexandria, while in another, a scriptorium of monks carefully illuminate copies of the lost Gospel of Mary Magdalene. Shelves of texts written on strips of bamboo give way to what looks like a rather shabby and overstuffed video store whose humble appearance belies the depth of its collection.

The librarians are similarly varied in appearance, silk scholar's robes mingling with tweed suits, monk's cassocks with hot pink hair and punk rock tshirts. Among the stacks, if you look carefully with an innocent's eyes, you may see angels, wings concealed beneath simple overcoats, listening to the music that emanates from the souls of the readers as the words touch them.

Approach them respectfully and the librarians are happy to recommend, or to aid in research. Threaten harm to the collection and you will be summarily banished to the outer darkness. Silence is not required, but they do ask that you not disturb the other patrons.

Quick and dirty read:
Name: Gremlin
Race: Human?
Gender: Male?
Genre: Cyberpunk
Profession: Mercenary, thief, public relations.
Powers: Cybernetic eyes, mental implant comms device, silenced pistol, knife.

If you have any questions or need clarification, feel free to ask.

"Well this place is very interesting?" Chris mumbled under his breath. "...well since this is a tournament, I may as well find the other contestants. If I remember the names from the previous posts they are Patrick Duke, Gilgamoc, Taiga and Gremlin right?." Chris asked me. You know Chris you could try not to cheat. "Look, you already know who they are so it's only fair that I do too." Chris responded. Chris looked around trying to find anybody that checked off the other three contestants so far. suddenly something caught his attention? wait I don't have something planned here? "TA TA TA!" Chris laughed in a weird way. Who is this guy? "Just an old friend." Chris simply responded.

Chris tap the person on the shoulder. The strange person turned around and


OH MY FUCKING GOD! WHAT IS THAT!

"Who dares disturb the Ancient on... oh Hi Chris." The Abomination said in an earth-shattering voice.

"oh you two probably need to be introduced to each other..." Chris said. "Don't worry he won't bite. " he told the both of us. "This is my friend Dave, he's a happy guy, we were roommates in college and dave this is godzillarich, my writer." wait you were only create a week ago Chris? "As far as you know," Chris said with a slasher smile. "Anyway Dave, how's life been treating you?"

"Great!" Dave yelled in excitement. "I got a job at this multidimensional library, and I see that you got a pretty good job too, a character in a story, that's pretty impressive."

"Not as great as a job as you think it would be Dave." Chris told the weird tentacle monster. "Anyway I'm looking for the other characters in the story, it's a form role playing game."

"OH that sounds really interesting. I'd assume it has something to do with that tournament they're holding here." Dave said as he patted his friend on the back. "All the main guest are going to go to the main reading Center. Let me just take you there." and with that they headed off.

The infinite quiescence of the library was shattered by the hollow crack of breaking stone. Gilgamoc had dropped the stone tablet he'd inadvertently brought with him from Nippur, having been transfixed by the impossible sight before him. The high vaulted ceiling that was somehow also the floor - the utterly bizarre people who barely resembled the Sumerians of Nippur, or even humans in some instances - the lights and flickers and machinations blinking at him from the background - the scene had the shapeshifter's reptile-masked face swivelling about like a cobra in the thrall of a snake charmer. He barely even noticed as one of the librarians, a familiar looking Sumerian scribe, hurried over trailing a string of hushed admonishments.

"Ah ah ah, you broke it! Silly man."
The scribe gave the cloaked snake-man a smart rap across the shoulder with a scroll he'd been holding, pulling him from his reverie. Gilgamoc looked down at the other man as he stooped to gather up the fragments of broken tablet. When he spoke, it was in the smooth and deep voice of a barrel-chested adult man.
"Where am I?"
"Ugh, another urchin," the scribe bemoaned. "That explains it. You're in the Library."
"Nippur did not look this large from the outside."
"Not the Nippur library, I mean the Library. It exists beyond your world, with connections to it and many others through secret doors. You probably found the door to your world by accident."
Gilgamoc drew his cloak closer around him, his limbs disappearing into the sleek folds in a way that emphasised his serpentine appearance. His destination hadn't been quite what he expected, but his goal remained unchanged.
"I came here to study."
The scribe brushed the fragments of stone into a sack and looked up at Gilgamoc, his expression one of reserved scepticism.
"Study? Study what?"
"I wish to study every animal, from here to the birthplace of the morning sun," Gilgamoc explained enthusiastically. "A village elder told me that Nippur is a place of wise men."
The scribe stood, puffing as though he were physically put upon as well as emotionally.
"Well, we have the next best thing; books. And as long as you don't keep breaking them, you're free to read any that you wish. Animals, you said?"
"Yes."
"Then follow me."

Half an hour later, after sifting through some of the Library's endless available tomes on ecology and declaring all the illustrations dissatisfying, Gilgamoc sat coiled up in an armchair off to the corner of the main reading centre, his mask-shadowed eyes fixed avidly to a television screen displaying David Attenborough's Planet Earth II.
"Pen-gu-in..." he muttered to himself, carefully enunciating the word as he reached out to stroke the fat waddling birds on screen.

I have far from forgotten this and remain busy composing an intro. If I can't get it appropriately polished this weekend, I'll post it anyway and just live with it. But, it's been long enough at this point I think at the very least I should get some of my basic character points across. Consequently, here's a stat sheet everyone.

Name: Corinthian.
Race: Demon Prince. The Royalty of Hell.
Gender: Male.
Genre: New Weird

Appearance:

Brief Backstory:

Powers:

In The Old Days: Possess mortals, corrupt minds, summon plagues, create famine, craft storms, speak across time, travel freely between dimensions, harvest souls, generate madness, ensnare, enrapture.

These Days...: ... He can smoke. And he is unreasonably difficult to damage. His golem releases a torturous amount of electrical energy if he attempts to use any of his old powers. This burst hurts him as much as anything touching him, and often knocks him unconscious for a period.

Motivations/Themes/Pertanant Facts:

Corinthian wants to go home to Hell in a desperate, tragic sort of way. He misses his mansion, he misses his servants, he misses the culture of brutality and cunning, he misses being surrounded by the macabre and the grotesque. He is home sick, and his homesickness has had six hundred years to blossom.

Corinthian is in love with a Demoness named Arbella, though he would never admit it. They were engaged to be wed before Corinthian's capture. He thinks of her often but is too proud to acknowledge that she is a significant contributor to his feelings of homesickness.

Corinthian has adopted an almost suicidal disregard for his own safety, often rushing headlong with no consideration into any situation he thinks may have the slightest hope of damaging the golem he is confined to.

For clarification, Corinthian does not have a corporeal body around which the golem is worn, as a suit of armor might be. Corinthian is posessing the golem, and can be thought of as a spectral mist contained in a flask beside the golem's other internal mechanisms. So, for example, if he succeeded in cutting an arm off the golem, that would be a good thing and wouldn't equate to the loss of his real, actual, demon-form arm.

Thematically, this is a spoof on the tale of The Odyssey. A pompous, self centered hero goes on a voyage over seas from which he is unable to escape for many years longer than he'd expected. Despite seeing incredible wonders and involving himself in fantastical situations, growing as a person, as time passes his sole motivation becomes returning to his homeland, his family, his wife and his old way of life.

Duke, for the most part, kept his head down in the library. He was told that he wasn't supposed to harm anyone before the match, but being Black Arrow he felt much duty was needed in the slaughter of a fine beast with his emeralded saber and many librarians fit that bill. That and it was slightly dizzying to look at too much of the large library. He told himself that this was just because he was getting used to his young eyes, and limbs but it was really because the size combined with the uneasy melding of various forms of architecture that either seemed impossible or he was unfamiliar with inspired a sense of unease he had not felt since he was a child and visited a National Library in Pittsburgh. If Duke had a clearer mind at the time than he probably would have likened it to a four-year-old at an all you can eat buffet.
One thing was true though, he was not used to his young eyes or limbs. Duke had a strange gait about him walking as if he was a taller and older man, seeming mighty strange in the body of the rather short Black Arrow who was suited for slinking into the shadows whereas Duke's old body was more built like a self-assured mustang, broad and standing tall. His eyes were pointed towards the ground and his slight nausea at his surroundings only made his walk even more strange.
Duke reached up to tip his hat at an angel that flew past but was soon to realize that he was now wearing a hood instead of his wide-brimmed cowboy hat. Not wanting to appear the fool, he moved his hood and in one quick motion knelt down and reached down to pick a random book off the shelf in a motion much smoother than he imagined. It seemed his new body's natural poise kicked in for a second. He started to read it out loud under his breath. "50 Shades Darker... Ain't that just black?"
The bandit took a few idle steps forward as he read the blurb on the back. "..Desire for Christian still dominates her every waking thought... Sounds bloody exhausting." Knowing that it was there was nothing in front of him for a good twenty yards he continued to walk forward. "Anastasia learns more about the harrowing past of her damaged, driven and demanding Fifty Shades... What? Fifty Shades? That don't even begin to make sense. She, a painter or some-" As he was about to finish his sentence he suddenly found that the floor in front of him turned into stairs. He tripped down the first step, flew over the second one, and on the third one he reached for a railing to notice that there was none and instead ended up catching the step with one of his feet and righting himself by doing a quick jump down another two steps. Duke seemed a bit surprised that he caught himself. He laughed to himself though as he rubbed a pendant of a cat that he wore on his wrist. Book 3, a witch from the Scottish Dales bestowed upon Black Arrow the grace of a cat after he beat her in a game of wits. Duke quickly made his way back up the stairs.
To find himself on another set of stairs... He turned around again to find himself on a third different set of stairs. This time he very carefully walked his way down the stairs... To find him walking down another set of stairs at the bottom. Finally, he looked up... Or down? It seemed that Duke found himself on one of the Escherian stairwells about a story above Gilgamoc who was staring attentively at the TV.
Duke waved frantically at the... Masked person. "Hey! Partner!" As he heard the words come out of his mouth and the hint of Irish on them he then quickly followed it up with an "I mean... Medicine Man! Wouldst thou be kind enough to help me get up to where you are... Or I guess down from your point of you. It appears the stairs grow here thicker than African Jungles of your home, medicine man!"

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