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[TOG] The Floor of the Test, South

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Wind blew over grass tall enough to touch a man's hat, causing it to whip and sway in gentle, rolling waves. The "sky" was mostly blue, partly cloudy and one could see the floating spire of Evankhell's Hell overhead with relative ease. It was eerily quiet besides the wind until the speaker's kicked on.

Numerous little cubes floated in the air, as a voice barked out at the broad landscape. "Mic test, mic test! One, Two, Three!!" A males voice, it was bright and cheery, as it boomed out into the wilderness. "Hello everyone! All the Regular's who have made it to the tower! We sincerely welcome all of you to the 2nd floor, EVANKHELL's FLOOR!!"

It echoed across the vast sea of grass, the sound of the announcer's voice everywhere at once, thanks to the floating cubes which spread out to do their part. "This is also called the Floor of Tests! Here we carry out the final test to see whether you are qualfied—"

The speaker paused for dramatic effect;

"To go up the tower...." It almost sounded menacing.

"The first test is simple, I'll explain the rules only once, so listen carefully. There are 700 regulars here. Quite a big crop this year, you are to take that number..." Suddenly that menacing tone from before, returned and with fervor, "And narrow it down to 200. By any means necessary. The test finishes when that number hits 200. Good luck, you'll need it." There was a short pause this time, before the voice roared.

"BEGIN!"

The test was on. Out there in that wide open yonder were seven hundred individuals from every conceivable walk of life, all with their own reasons for wanting to climb The Tower. Money, Fame, Power, Revenge, anything and everything lay in wait, at the top. And everyone was vying for it. But the tower is harsh, and their mettle will be tested in every way imaginable. Only the worthy will survive. This, was the purpose of Evankhell's floor.

This was a culling.

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T6_zpsybq80wdv.pngEmissionHunter_zpsaiqg4oli.pnghe tall grass moved as something slid among it, parting it briefly as the figure of a young man emerged briefly into an area where the grass had been knocked about. The young man looked around this area, crouching briefly as his hand reached out to touch the broken blades. Something had come through here recently. The young man stood, his neck craning as the head panned around the head-high foliage.

Eobard Bixler Zavala was unremarkable in many ways. Height, build, features; all average and rather nondescript. He was pleasant to look at, but forgettable. The kind of figure that left little impression upon first glance. Except for the eyes, a brilliant and quite luminous pair of aqua-marine blue. Like twin lanterns, they burned with some inner fire, so much so it was all anyone ever noticed. Many would notice the eyes first, and forget the man behind them. A useful trait at times. 

He wore black pants and sneakers, capped off with a white and black hooded sweatshirt. His hair was dark, tousled and rather messy; be it by design or circumstance. Moving through this foliage was no easy task and it was rather easy to look a bit disheveled. He appeared unarmed, and carried nothing. Elsewhere, he could hear distantly the sounds of commotion—likely other Regulars clashing. Eobard had quickly grasped the point of this test and thus far had done quite well in the fifteen minutes since the test began, in not running into anyone else. 

His strategy was simple: Be one of the two hundred remaining prospective Regulars to pass the test, with the least amount of effort possible. Work smart, not hard he liked to say; a motto oriented around an indolent streak in the man that had never quite been stamped out. Still, avoiding seven hundred blood-thirsty heathens, ravenous to join the illustrious number was quite a tall task. Surviving, furthermore an even taller one, considering his options, he thought, looking briefly at his two bare hands. The best course was to simply keep moving, and he slid back into the tall grass, disappearing from view. 


 

 
Edited by Ghost

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T-arie.png?m=1495250055he breeze was jarring. Like a firm forceful hand, it pulled her from her task, drawing her attention to the world around her.

She had heard the stories, countless in fact. Tales sung of what Evankhell's Hell had been built on. Yet, her eyes drank in serenity. The rolling hills blanketed by countless stalks of grass spanned as far as she could see, and as they rolled against the wind, like waves breaking against the surface of an endless sea, it was hard to reconcile the contrast. The air down here was crisp. Cool. Her chest rose to as she drew it in.

Hana had been one of the first to arrive on the floor. The other regulars that had arrived shortly after wandered aimlessly, unsure what to make of the world they now stood in.

Some wore anxiety on their sleeves. After all, no one struggled to keep the name of this Hell secret. Rumors had traveled throughout the tower about what happened here. While the particulars might have escaped their ears, everyone knew that many who ventured to Evankhell's floor were never seen or heard from again.

It was enough to grate on their aspirations, to grind down their ambitions, to wither away their motivations: the coarsest of grinding stones was an unforgiving tool, one that served its purpose to remove the damaged, useless, rusted metal from a blade, that which war had weighed heavily on. The steel left was sharper for it, keen for battle. What had been removed was not. Forgotten, dust in the wind.

She had been bred to understand that fact.

Many of those here, had not had the same luxury. Their anxiety was wise. But, it wouldn't help. For so very many of those here today were nothing more than worn, rusted metal, beyond hope or usefulness. They had either already missed their opportunity or had been but a fledgling blade, unsuited for anything more than pipe dreams.

The thoughtful expression she wore was mostly hidden by the heavy red hood. The hood cropped the pallor of her skin, stark red eyes, and the matching head of fine white hair. She looked out of place anywhere deemed 'hell.' The coat beneath the hood was expensive; its fabric bearing little decoration more than the light sheen. Though that alone spoke volumes. It was probably the reason so many of the others had kept such a wide berth.

Wistful daydreams waned just in time to catch the hollow, metallic timbre unveil the evening's entertainment.

The first test is simple, I'll explain the rules only once, so listen carefully. 
There are 700 regulars here. Quite a big crop this year, you are to take that number…

The pause was palpable. She could feel the electricity stand her hair on end, sense the prickle run down her spine.

And narrow it down to 200.

Hana caught herself holding her breath, and immediately let it go, “Oh. That's all?” Were this a movie, the close shot of Hana’s face relented into a full body shot; here she sat stooped over a small campfire, one she idly kindled with a thin blade. Centered in the flame, a human head lay speared on a spit, through its exposed esophagus and out from the aghast mouth worn only moments before the poor chap’s demise.

Guess I jumped the gun, eh?

And folks said she wasn't a people-person.

 

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I’m nothing like you.

I wasn’t chosen to rise up this tower – I wasn’t chosen.

 


It was upon the ground; tripping and stumbling forward at all costs – a figure chased into the depth of the wood somewhere on the furthest edges of the world. Impeded branches and foliage snap and break upon passing. Pursued deep into the night, beneath a pitch-black canopy that shed no light on the path forced upon by those who meant vicious harm. Unsure of what lay before him. Unsure of the decisions made that affect family; withered since abandonment and hunted to the brink of extinction. What choices could’ve led a family to this cliffside? Damnation at any cost.

The moonlight danced along the cliff side; nothingness enveloped the chasm beyond the moon’s reach – to his rear approached a mob of voices. Shallow breaths crashed upon one another like ocean waves; flight or fight, didn’t leave much in the way of options – flying off into the distance stars would’ve been much more promising on its end of the spectrum. It was in that moment that the moonlight seemingly grew brighter; a doorway of light revealed itself just off the land. Its warmth beckoned him forward and into the light swallowing his form and returning the chasm to nothingness.


 

Again, the warmth crashed against him; this time while eyelids parted to reveal the distant blue sky, complete with the rolling white fluff called clouds. The speakers largely went unnoticed – its voice secondary to his own thoughts that coupled the confusion of the seemingly limitless sky that remained before him. Wasn’t it just moments ago that he’d completed that Headon’s ridiculous task? Within the depths of a cavern?

 

“To go up the tower…”

The combination of words played on ears, causing them to tick momentarily as if he’d heard something similar before. He’d really had passed the test. The Tower was real. And this was the first step. The continuance of the voice’s instructions carried over the sea of grass that surrounded his body. Apparently not the only one who found themselves in the fields; 699 others reside somewhere else within the grass; a couple of side glances this way or that confirmed that no one was within his vicinity. This fact alone allowed a short sigh of relief to escape lungs while rising to his pawed feet. (He still couldn’t see over the golden sea before him) pic.php?u=3343JKzoM&i=11593485“Guess if I want to continue to the top; I just need to find myself in the top two-hundred, nya.”

Whiskers wiggled a little before paws clasped behind back and he disappeared into a golden wall before him. There must be shade around here somewhere.

 

Oh, you thought I was going to fight his way into the top 200? You must not have been paying attention. pic.php?u=3343JKzoM&i=11593486

Edited by Messiah Complex

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One of the last to stumble in, and she certainly wasn't alone. Magenta eyes widened in delight at the sea of grass that greeted her, and while her outfit offered a stark contrast to the lush tones, she was not concerned. She had allies, after all!

Well. She did.

The start was good, a kill just a few minutes after the announcement, then another and then--

 

Well, how come she ain't she helpin'?”

“I-I... I'm not very-- “

“Helpful? Dead weight?”

Those bright, Magenta eyes widened, and what admiration she held for one of the larger men of this makeshift trio quickly tumbled into panic.His sibling stumbled to explain the situation, she distracts, they attack, she fixes them up-- good for everyone, right?

Apparently not good enough.

A blade was swung and the petite girl ducked before shooting off into the tall grass that surrounded them.

And that's when the chase began.

----------------------------

After five minutes, the brute gave up his pursuit-- but that did not stop the timid rabbit from running as quick as she could to a perceived safety. As the sounds of battle faded, her pace gradually began to slow. The danger had long since passed, but that did not make her any more cautious of her situation. Perhaps she wasn't entirely suited for this whole... climbing the tower thing-- not that it mattered now. She had to be one of the 200 to make it-- hide out perhaps?

With her heart still thudding in her chest, her jog slowed to a complete stop and she finally took a look at her surroundings. A long, fluffy ear flicked at the top of her head and her head gave a bit of a tilt when it offered little in the way of help.

Quiet-- at least for now.

Flick flick.

Flick flick.

Still and still listening, tense shoulders finally relaxed and she drew a slow, steady breath in. Contrasting brightly with the lush landscape, the white rabbits traveling began once more. This time, at a skip rather than a panicked run. From 700 to 200, that... that wasn't so bad. She frowned lightly at her odds, but that did not stop her light, cheerful pace. Perhaps she could get lucky and just.. not see anyone else? OR, maybe someone strong would come along needing help-- yes, that was far more likely. 

'Find someone hurt and help 'em, let's go with that for right now.'

She had a means of self-defense but really...  why use it if you didn't have to?

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ne hour into the test, and Eobard was relaxed. He was sitting on a large rock in a small clearing in the grass, his head just below the top, so that he was still obscured from view. For the meantime, he was alone and the brief moment of respite was a pleasant way to kill time. After all, that is all this was; an endurance test. Last long enough and you will inevitably make it to the finish line. 

There had been no further announcements, so there was no real way of telling how many were left. It made this a tricky situation to be in, as running into other people was also the only way of determining how many remained. Still, he had a pretty good* estimate on how much longer until the test concluded. 

Which had put him into a rather comfortable position at the moment. With his spot all but secured, all he had to do was wait now and shortly he'd be among the successful for what had been relatively low effort, low risk. There had been some hiccups of course, but nothing too bad. He was even still clean. 

Just then, the bushes rustled and his attention jerked towards the sound. Ah well, it was time to get moving. And he slid off the rock, just as the grass parted.

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T-arie.png?m=1495250055he sh-nk! sound of the katana sliding back into its sheath broken the silence.

Hana wasn’t certain how long it had been. She hadn’t the presence of mind to keep track, but the fire she had kindled had gone cold, nothing but embers cooling in the brisk breeze that cut atop the cinder, charred wood, and ash.

I ‘preciate the boldness, boys. Li’l ol’ me stranded her in Evankhell’s hell, hopeless damsel desperately in need of savin’,” her words betrayed the venom in her tone, “but you shoulda kept movin’.

Her voice filled the air.

Only silence answered.

A quick examination of her surroundings wove the tale, peppering in the lost minutes of the last hour. The scene was one more suitable to a horror story; bodies had landed where they fell, most had been twisted, contorted at odd angles where bones had been broken, limbs severed from torsos, faces smashed into lumps and bruises. Whoeever they once were, little was left to recognize them by. Even the head that had been roasting over the campfire was now impaled into the dirt at her feet. The charred skin and muscle had was knotted up where the skull had been smashed repeatedly— very likely into at least a handful of the victims sprawled out around her. One eye dangled from the eye socket by its optic nerve. The other was simply missing.

All told, there must have been twenty men at her feet, oozing blood into the dirt and staining the tall grass at all sides. Now, at least, the name of this floor did it justice. But despite the carnage, not a single hair was out of place. The red hood and coat she wore about her shoulders hadn’t so much as creased. Not a single drop had landed out of place.

She admired her handiwork: a suitable sacrifice to the start of her journey up the tower. It was then that those bright red eyes drifted toward the grass just as a rustle caught her ear and eye.

ariehana-3.png?m=1495783052
Ever the damsel in distress.

 
Edited by Reign

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It was somewhere off in the distance; having taken a good couple of minutes of ducking out of close calls, masquerading as a figment of most participants imagination one moment -- only to disappear into the tall golden grass on the double-take of one or two passersby who couldn't believe such an innocent appearance graces the anything but safe field of slaughter under the blue skies. But alas, he'd found that sought after shade -- beneath a subtle overhang of what appeared to be a massive boulder/remnant of a mountain that once existed in this place. Its historical inaccuracies weren't necessarily important though -- in this time and place it provided just enough shade, close enough to the ground that it required no additional details to manifest into a momentarily quiet napping place. Although it wouldn't last for too long.

His eyes were only shut for twenty minutes -- max, before the first time he'd have been discovered by some unassuming (well assumptions were gravely misconstrued) passerby. An hour later; a scene that detailed exactly why that statement about "waking sleeping lions and why you should never do it" pertained to the landscape that panned out from the cat's almost serene sleep posture against a mound of bodies and weapons, bent and broken along with abstract artwork that detailed the side of the rock covered hill to his rear. The golden wall -- red stained for the most part -- parted once again. A momentary twitch of fright carried up the duo's spines as the scene and scent hit them like an immovable wall and in the middle of it all reside the king of this jungle and these peasants just wouldn't let him rest.

pic.php?u=3343JKzoM&i=11593490

 

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Her gentle, cheerful pace continued onward. Overall, she wasn't terribly concerned about the challenge so far. Sure, she had that.. incident when she first arrived, but everything seemed fine now! Despite the fact that she had no clue as to how many people were left, she seemed fairly confident. The girl's pace slowed to a stop, and wide magenta eyes rolled up towards the blue sky above. 

This place was very pretty, despite all.. the murder and all that. 

She giggled, just a bit and the frown she once more faded into a cheerful smile. She should get a move on, the longer she sat in one place the more likely she was to be pounced upon. And with this in mind, she returned back to her skip. There was no real destination in mind, no napping spot or real landmark. Just.. avoid everyone-- or even better, help someone out and get them to help her. She was going to get to the top, however, it still remains to be seen if she would be the one doing the heavy lifting or not.

...Certainly, that was someone else's job, someone much better suited. Blood always did make her a tad queasy. 
 

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E6_zpsu8nodg0v.pngobard had just finished dusting himself off after the last near-scuffle when his ears perked. It was relatively quiet around him, the sound of the wind blowing across the grass, the distant sound combat came in as dull intermittent vibration and the occasional thumping. But he heard something, soft and subtle, moving through the grass towards him. Incredible stealth, this was probably too low to be heard by most.

He stood upright, his entire being still, his attention focused on the pitter-patter of soft treading feet. He wouldn't have to wait long, his whole body felt wound up like a taught spring. The grass shifted, parting to the side, and instinctively he let out a breath and with it the tension as his body relaxed and went slack, becoming as nimble as a snake.

Something was wrong with this picture.

When the grass parted, what stepped out to greet him was something that this Tower had never laid eyes upon. Something so unique, so foreign, so alien he almost didn't register it at first. The grass parted and he stared and saw nothing, until he looked down, and down again. He blinked slowly, almost as if to clear the hallucination. 

It was still there.

He was at a loss.  He could only utter a single word that could encapsulate the complete and total system failure his sense of reasoning was experiencing. 

"What..."

Edited by Ghost

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ariehana-3.png?m=1495783052

T-arie.png?m=1495250055he moment just before the grass parted had drawn tention to a breaking point. Instinct had guided her reaction: her right thumb pressed firmly against the hilt of the katana at her waist. A gentle click elevated the blade a half inch from the saya, prepped for a quick draw were it necessary.

Time froze in that moment. It was a long moment. One that was not filled with any particular thoughts, not burdened by any distractions; just instinct, it was more the opposite of thought. Simply emptiness, there was nothing in the world that could have torn her eyes away. Keen awareness filled her as the first step broke the wall of tall grass to reveal the soul that had stumbled across Hana's quiet li'l patch of destruction.

A girl. Unassuming and innocent, wearing a smile that untouched by the last hour of destruction that still now filled the air with faint cries, guttural howls, clashes of metal, unserved laments, thunderous pops, and the occasional earth-shattering explosion. A girl. Hana's gut told her the girl didn't belong here, that she was out of place. But she knew better than that. Hana knew that such an assumption had been made only minutes prior by the mass of flesh a few feet behind her. He had chalked up the red-hooded girl to be a pushover, lost and helpless.

So much for him.

Nevertheless, the bunny-eared girl grit would be tested as the scene before her panned out wide. If blood had made her a bit queezy, she was in for a bloodbath, having painted the earth red everywhere but the tiny patch where Hana stood, undisturbed, unmarred.

 

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“What…”

 

The scene had already cut to one pawed foot leaving the ground nearly the split moment the boy attempted to make sense of the figure before him; a barely visible cloud of dust kicked into the air upon his departure. Like had already been stated; the small feline was foreign, alien-esque, to these parts – parts being the most immediate vicinity and the floors above it. However, the human-figure before him was nothing new or exciting, in all actuality there was more blame, for the prior interruptions of this cat’s nap, to be dished out and this poor-blue-eyed-soul was about to find himself at the wrong end of those wrathful claws that only wished to quiet the noise that enveloped so much of the golden fields.

Fade to black.

Upon initial attempt to reopen eyes; skin a swollen twist of purples and blues that may have almost matched the “luminous” display beneath, there may have been slight serious discomfort over the attempt that would reveal the sky above - still as clear as the moment he’d remember prior; yet the day hinted more toward an extended period afterward – who was counting anyways?  He could’ve spent the moment wondering how the scene played out prior; just how he had ended up in this position – this situation. More importantly, he could use the moment given to him to determine why he was still alive – and in one-solid-albeit-bent-and-swollen piece. That would be if he could even finish a coherent comprehension of the situation at hand.

 

As lungs would attempt to take the first pained breath to assess the situation; he’d notice a weight of sorts wrestling against the one or two perhaps broken (probably bruised) upper ribs in his chest. An almost silent hum or purr in short rhythm would’ve played against eardrums, given enough attention to such detail. In the time since he’d been out – the numbers had dwindled; magnificently – it had been as if the people overseeing the event allowed 200 to cut itself further and into what would be considered the “elite” of the bunch. The exact number they were looking for an uncertainty – but this lead into an almost serene silence that allowed the games of “cat and mouse” to be solved stealthy: quietly.

 

Finally, full realization would show that the alien feline had determined this humanoid figure the most suitable place for his next nap. But the extent of just how asleep he’d be remained to be seen – Eobard was likely not going to want to test fate twice today… but who knew?

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The soft, happy humming died on her lips as she brushed through the tall grass to come upon Hana's gorefest. It was her nose that reacted first to the whole thing, wrinkling at the sharp, metallic tang of blood that hung in the air. Her stomach churned and the girl coughed just a little bit in surprise. Already fair skin seemed to pale further, her eyes traveling from one body to the next, only to finally settle on the source of their destruction. 

Well, she was certainly pretty. 

The woman gave a soft, uneasy shift as her eyes wandered up Hana's form, from toe to top. They stopped, briefly at the hand on her sword before finally making eye contact. A slight, uneasy smile settling upon the rabbit's face. "... Wouldn't... happen to need medical attention.. would you?" Her tone was clearly unsure, her own hand reaching for the needle at her hip. Those long,
fluffy ears a top her head gave a bit of a twitch, and much like her very fuzzy, animal counterparts, certainly looked ready to bolt at a moments notice. Running typically worked for her, however, she wasn't entirely sure that would be an option with this one.

"I.. I can help with that, yanno'. Certainly don't need anyone to ... kick anyone else's ass. "

 

Edited by Moth

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Amira Rene was going to lower that number to 200 and she would not mourn the ones she killed. She would be qualified and she would win. As she unsheathed her dagger and ran it through a stranger, she felt her magic pump into her veins. If she had enough strength, she would be able to create a fireball big enouh to incenirate 50 people. She could do that or she could hide. If she hid well, she could let the others do the work. Amira would kill the ones who came near or injure them just enough to drive them mad and want to kill themselves. Yes, Amira did have many plans in her head of what she could do. But unfortunaly none would work at this second and she was quickly losing seconds. Sprinting through the halls, she ran her dagger through anyone she could. As she ran, her heat was rising. She couldn't control her powers for much longer and she didn't llikke what happened when she couldn't control them...

Edited by TarenRae

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black%20torch%202_zpsltxsfxoi.png

I6_zpsfyzbkkfo.pngn the darkness, Eobard heard a child's voice indistinctly at first, echoing all around him. Hazily, he thought he recognized the voice, as the child kept speaking. "I don't need anyone! I don't care if I ain't got nothen. One day I'ma take everything. The whole tower!" The voice became indistinct again, and he heard the sound of rain. There was another voice then, this time a man's voice, and he thought he might recognize that too. "Easy boy, don't get greedy. You're lucky to have what you got. Nobodies like you shouldn't dream too big, bound to wind up disappointed." In a way it was peaceful, in the nothing, surrounded by the quiet disembodied voices that stirred on the edges of memory. 
black%20torch%201_zpsn1lwotf6.png
"What do you desire? Is it wealth and influence? How about strength and renown? Or is it everlasting life? SPEAK! For I may have need for one such as yourself..."

What do I desire....?

He awoke to blue skies and a gentle breeze. His head throbbed, his face felt like mush, his chest felt—He craned his head to look, and promptly groaned at the movement. There atop his chest, accounting for the weighted sensation, was a small black form curled up, making a soft rumbling sound. As for what happened, his brain flashed back in reflection, the events unfolding sluggishly in his addled brain. Son of a...Bastard got the jump on me... He thought sourly. 

Later, he was walking. Slung over one shoulder hung a black rucksack, his back hunching seemingly from the weight of it. He looked terrible, blood dried around his mouth and nose. His face bruised, swollen and battered. He walked with a haggard shuffle. He coughed loudly, a terrible, retching sound and spoke to seemingly no one in particular, "I'm sorry, why do I have to carry you again?" He called out in the grass.

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