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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Asthix's Avatar

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    Aug 2010
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    Lightbulb Re: Playground Writers Workshop (Read 1st Post)

    Hooray! I finished a story! I have trouble with that. This tale is for a fanfiction contest for the online game, Spiral Knights.

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    I am a knight. I fell in battle, yet I did not die.

    When I awoke, it was into a kind of cage. One wall was a piece of roadway stacked vertical, the other two were solid stone. The worst part wasn't the spikes for a ceiling but the floor which was just a thin grating, sagging under my weight. I could see the hinges.

    The view through the grate was bad too. It was the view you sometimes got when you looked out into the distance inside the planet and saw the arc of the world turning. A great arc of stuff slowly rotating, with little knobs on it that must have held other lands like the one I was on. Only this time the arc stretched out big under me and it was uncomfortably obvious how far I would fall.

    Gone was the smooth ride manufactured by the gremlins in the elevator areas. A churning sound and air rushing past told me I was in constant motion. It lasted for too long, until I was... moved.

    Darkness enveloped me as I was drawn back into the jumble of planet parts. Strangely, the cage stayed around me, though I could see nothing through the bottom of it.

    Suddenly I was somewhere else. I had not fallen through the grate, but there was bright light. Wisps of smoke, like when a Fiend appears to block your path faded around me. As I gained my surroundings, I saw a number of other Knights in what looked like a well furnished lobby.

    "What's going on?" I shouted, wasting no time now that my fellow warriors were around me. It was then that I saw one of them hunch over, grab their head and begin to moan. I looked around in confusion, glimpsing some odd looking Fiends up on a platform beyond reach, next to a moneychanging Stranger. A few other Knights looked as confused as I was, but one grizzled old one stared at me.

    "This is new to some of you." He said, not breaking my gaze, "here, we fight. Or else we die."

    I began to ask him what that meant when a low chime began to sound, four times in all. Then everything changed again.

    There was that same smoke, and I realized I'd been summoned just like those fiends! How had they done this? The lights were even brighter here, and there was cheering. I glimpsed bleachers full of monsters before I turned my attention to my immediate surroundings.

    I was in a small, L shaped space. There were walls on either side that weren't too tall which I could just see over if I stretched. I saw the top of a knight's head, and as I did an explosion blasted next to them! I moved away from it, into the corner.

    There was a familiar weight on my back. It wasn't my shield, but some kind of Gremlin pack filled with small blue spheres. They were very smooth and one slipped out of my hand and fell on the ground when I took it out. As I bent over to pick it up and my hand touched it, there was a click and it began to expand. I backed up but the thing quickly covered my legs and began to block the corridor! What's strange was that I moved through it like water, until I stopped touching it. then I felt its solidity before moving as far away from it as possible. I had a pretty good idea what it would do and sure enough, the surface started quivering faster and faster before blowing up like the other blast I'd seen. The blue flame didn't reach me though.

    Before I could think, another blast from my neighbor blew the wall next to me to bits, showering stone chips all over and revealing one of the knights from the lobby. The one who got emotional.

    "Tell me we can fight these monsters and not ourselves." I said backing up to the wall. The knight only giggled stupidly in response.

    The wall was shorter than the others and made of that impenetrable stuff I'd seen inside the planet. Glancing over showed a nasty drop into blackness and beyond that massive plates of metal stacked up, which looked salvaged from a battleship. I could see no weapons, yet I could see no way to the fiends cheering our destruction either.

    I turned back to the knight but where they had been there was now only an amber colored bomb blocking the way, already pulsing. There was nowhere to go, only time to cringe. It blew and I died again.

    Only, it still wasn't death. It only felt like it. I lay on the ground, unable to move. These were stun bombs then, though more powerful than any I'd heard of. Stabs of pain like a shock treatment sure made it feel like I'd been hit by a bomb, yet to the outside world I looked like a corpse.

    I could barely see down the hallway that the other Knight had blown open. Soon they came back into view, followed closely by a second Knight, one I didn't recognize. That one took a bomb (green) and set it on the ground, activating it much more quickly than I had unwittingly done earlier. Then they sprinted down the hallway toward me, faster than I would have thought possible. Catching up to the other knight who was frantically running away, they passed them and planted another bomb right in front of my prone form, blocking my view and trapping the first Knight in the corridor.

    It happened so fast I didn't understand until later what had taken place, that the unknown Knight had hunted the other one. I lay paralyzed, wondering if I would be finally killed by the jeering monsters or by one of my fellow knights, I was denied the satisfaction of either.

    I was summoned again. This time it was back to the battlefield, back to this sport for the enemy who was hooting and yowling on all sides. The paralysis was gone, only the soreness of being hit by the blast wave remained. I decided to move.

    There were long hallways with short openings here and there but I kept going, the almost constant explosions all around driving me on. This was a mistake. As I rounded a corner without looking a blast wave was rushing towards me. Diving back around the corner almost saved me but I got hit on the leg. Any hope of only being partly paralyzed vanished instantly as numbness shot through my entire body, though this time the pain was only in the leg that got hit.

    It took a little over ten seconds to be summoned by my count. By this time more of the arena was opening up as the blocks that could get blown up were demolished, leaving the unbreakable ones in a grid pattern. After that things got a little hard to follow. I set a bomb, but the blast was far smaller than some others flying around. Of course, I wouldn't expect Fiends and Gremlins to play fair. I just didn't know how to begin trying to blast others. Remembering the old Knight's words, I knew I had to play this sport. If I did not, who's to say I wouldn't be sent into a lava pit somewhere?

    Eventually all was chaos and running and dying, broken only by the sound of the low chime from before. Once it sounded four times the monsters cheered and in a puff of smoke I was back in the cage I had awoken to at the start of this ordeal.

    -----

    Many battles have passed and I have learned much. I know that my fellow warriors forced into this bloodsport are under the control of a Fiend named Krogmo. It is he who surveys us from a high platform before the battle.

    I know much about the setting of bombs, such as when to avoid setting any and when to lay down as many as possible. Chaining the blasts together in patterns should only be done in that short interval between when existing bombs explode and the time it takes for new ones to charge.

    There are very fine details that not many know of. If someone else is touching you when you set your bomb, they will be unable to move out of the confines of it until you do. While you pass through it freely, the other Knight is seemingly stuck in glue. When you break contact with the bomb, this strange property is lost and your opponent is free to move where they wish. In effect, only one Knight at a time may move through a bomb expanding around them. The key is to slip away at just the right time so that you escape the blast and your opponent cannot.

    By far the most important thing is to avoid getting hit. When a Knight finally stops trying to go after others and focuses on saving their own parts, this is when skill is grown.

    They obviously bet on us, certain Knights get more howls than others. The ones who are almost impossible to kill are more popular. the ones who refuse to fight are not seen again. I know I will never be among the elite warriors of the arena. I hit myself with my own blasts more often than almost anyone else. To avoid the death we all believe is waiting for us if we do not amuse our captors, I decided to take on a different role.

    When I learned that those who avoid blasts do better, I chose to not play defensive, but rather offensive. I go after those who hang back, especially I go after the elite Knights like the old one I met in my first match, the ones who are hard to kill. I know I do this better than the others, and so my place in the lineup is likely. Still, that old Knight glides around my traps and feints. No matter what I do, I can never get them without taking a blast of theirs in return.

    I am the hunter. I know that many of the captive Knights despise me and my tactics, but if I ever get the chance I will hunt Krogmo and any Fiend, Wolver or Gremlin that gets in my way with the same zeal. I know why they re-summon us within fifteen seconds. If it goes longer than that, the stun begins to wear off.

    I don't know how to communicate this to my fellow captives, but I'm beginning to be able to wiggle my fingers after ten seconds or so of being stunned. If only this curse of summoning were removed there would be hope of an overthrow, or at least an honorable fight to the death!

    May I never meet one of my guildmates here. May our order conquer this planet and in so doing, liberate us.

    Until that day, I will be the hunter.
    Last edited by Asthix; 2011-08-21 at 05:45 PM.
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