Recent posts by Precarious on Kongregate

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Topic: Kongregate / Your Pants Presents: Badge of the Week! (Week of 7/6: The Last Stand: Dead Zone)

This week’s badge is the “Bring Out Your Dead” Badge from The Last Stand: Dead Zone. Good luck everyone!

I’m hopeful that choosing an MMO badge will encourage past players to load it up again, and help those just starting out. Let me know what you think.

 
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Topic: Kongregate / Upcoming Badges!

After further consideration, I might recommend lowering the Vision Field requirement from 4 to 3. I’ve reached the previous suggested criterion (12 hexes) and have only seen three Vision Fields so far (and I’ve only completed one of them).

 
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Topic: Forum Games: Forum Games / BOLD - Round 3: Short Stories

[REDACTED]
A horror game where you use your powers on war criminals and the name and biography of everybody you kill is displayed onscreen.


Platform: Made with Unreal Engine 4. Available on PS4, XB1, and Steam.

Genre: Psychological Horror; Action, RPG, and Adventure elements are included

Story: Set in an alternate universe where Nazi war criminals were acquitted at Nuremberg, [REDACTED] follows James Verloren, who was raised by a cult determined the right the various wrongs of history. James left Todesengel in his youth, but was drawn back after the shocking murder of his young wife Rebecca. Originally taken into the cult as a child because of his latent abilities as a medium, James is tasked by the organization to slip into another dimension known as the Sepulcher. The Sepulcher, a faded and distorted version of our own reality, is empty, monochrome, and mist-shrouded. Living beings in the real world appear as Shades, moving in slow motion, but vibrating extremely rapidly. While in the Sepulcher, James is capable of moving through spaces undetected (and in some cases even unimpeded by physical objects). He is thus able to stalk his targets in and execute them from this netherworld. In his first action, James is sent back to Nuremberg, where he murders several high ranking Nazi prisoners and accomplices.

Unfortunately for James, his extradimensional meddling has serious consequences. The Sepulcher is adjacent to physical reality in both time and space, and as James sets about undoing the injustices of the past, his changes have wide ranging effects. In many cases, these changes lead to new horrors in the real world. Simultaneously, the Sepulcher begins to become crowded. Those killed as a result of its use—either the villains executed by James, or those killed as a result of the changed timeline—are recalled to that dimension as Ghosts. These Ghosts haunt that space, threatening both James and his sanity. As he continues to weave through time and space, his actions weighing on him, James begins to discover clues apparently pertaining to the Todesengel cult and to his wife’s murder. The origins of the cult are discovered in the American Old West. James learns about Todesengel’s development into its modern form while haunting the trenches of the First World War. Driven desperately forward, James eventually uncovers evidence pinning the murder on the cult itself.

Forced by the transformation of the Sepulcher to spend significant amounts of time in the physical world of the past, a haggard James gradually makes his way back to the present. There, depending on his choices during the course of the game, he may receive one of several endings.

Gameplay: While [REDACTED]’s emphasis is primarily on horror, and the atmosphere reflects as much, gameplay itself borrows from a variety of genres. Gameplay follows James from a third person perspective. To accomplish his missions—first those set by Todesengel, and later those planned out by himself—James needs to shift into the Sepulcher. This requires him to use a small amount of SP (Spirit Points). While in the Sepulcher, his SP will slowly but continuously drain; if depleted, he will die. SP can also be used to conjure various arcane effects and weapons within the Sepulcher, and can be restored through various means. While in the living world, the SP bar will be replaced by a health bar, with SP represented as a separate number. Depleting SP in the living world will not harm James, but may leave him unable to enter into the Sepulcher.

A normal human being outside of his psychic gift, James will find it difficult to deal with armed security in the real world. However, judicious use of the Sepulcher will enable him to traverse checkpoints and other difficult locations, and swapping between the two will enable him to reach his targets. Once he has reached a target, he may execute that person in a variety of ways. However, this has both story and gameplay consequences.

Killing a person while in the Sepulcher forces James to understand the enormity of his act; this is represented by the name, personal information (birth date, blood type, etc.), and a brief personal history of the killed appearing on screen. This applies not only to the targeted individual, but to any incidental people killed along the way, as well as certain unencountered people killed by the transformed timeline. Moreover, these biographies will reappear in the Sepulcher—written on the walls in blood, left in notes on tables and desks, inscribed into plaques, and so on. By the late stages, the text physically begins to replace the dimension, so that James is sometimes navigating a world of words.

Killing a person (a “Shade”) while under the influence of the Sepulcher also draws that person into the Sepulcher as a Ghost. Ghosts can appear in the Sepulcher in several forms: some appear as they were as humans, others as mutilated, gory corpses, and still others as monstrous, long-clawed creatures. In rare cases, the Ghost will appear as a Wendigo, which should be avoided at all costs. As the Sepulcher becomes more crowded, reaching targets will become considerably more complicated, requiring combat within the Sepulcher itself (damage in the Sepulcher reduces SP), negotiation with more reasonable Ghosts (although even the most understanding are likely to be accusatory), and frequent forays back into the world of the living. While in the world of the living, James may negotiate with the living, but is still vulnerable to attacks from the Sepulcher, which only he can see.

Between missions, James will return a hidden base, which varies throughout the game (a cabin in the woods, an old apartment, etc.). There, via textbooks, a radio, and old TV—it depends on what era he’s returning from—he will be made aware of the effects his actions had upon the world.

Combat in the real world is slow and primitive; combat in the Sepulcher resembles the nightmare sequence from Metal Gear Solid 3, although it’s much, much less effective here. Running away and hiding tend to be better options, although both become more difficult as the Sepulcher becomes increasingly crowded. In both the Sepulcher and the living world, James may negotiate and discuss with non-hostile beings (borrowing from the adventure/point-and-click genres), and his dialogue choices will have both gameplay and story effects.

Controls: Varies by platform. For PlayStation, Left Stick controls movement and Right Stick view. X maps to jump (and select during conversations), while O and □ map to attack combos. △ brings up arcane abilities and weapons, selectable by pad. O enables conversation with non-hostiles. Similar controls apply to XBox. Computers use keyboard and mouse, with movement based on WASD, view on mouse, and abilities on ERFG. Controls on all platforms can be customized from the title screen.

Ending: There are several endings, contingent on in-game choices and actions.

Ending A: Memento Mori—James discovers that he was his wife’s killer. He commits suicide in remorse.
Ending B: The Vagrant—James discovers that he was his wife’s killer. He walks off to an uncertain future.
Ending C: Army of the Twelve—James discovers that his changes in the timeline caused his wife’s death, and any further changes will not remove it. It is an inevitable result of his actions, and since it sent him back, constitutes a temporal loop.
Ending D: The Broken—Rebecca’s murder was orchestrated by Todesengel. James takes revenge.
Ending E: The Last Case—James is able to return to the moment of his wife’s murder and prevent it, at the cost of his own life.
Ending F: This Demon Haunted World—The Sepulcher begins to spill over into reality, plunging the world into nightmare. The fate of James is left uncertain.
Ending G: Loop—James prevents his wife’s murder by killing himself before meeting her.
Ending SECRET: Loop 2—James prevents the Todesengel cult from ever being formed.

Replay Value: Rather high, as who James kills throughout the game significantly effects both gameplay and story throughout the game, as well as the Ending obtained. Ending SECRET can only be obtained on a second playthrough, during which a variety of secrets can be found in-game. All Endings, once obtained, are permanently available for viewing from the title screen, and can be selected in lieu of the “earned” ending if desired by the player.

 
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Topic: Forum Games: Forum Games / [Mafia] Remnants of Skystone First Annual Memorial Mafia (Night 5)

9:03 p.m.

It was the fifth day on the ground. The strain and stress of their high stakes trial was taking a toll on the Nidarians, but they soldiered on, grimly determined to destroy every last mimic and to reclaim the Tenebrous Temple. Hacking through the Haze, they once more searched among the ruins and ancient vaults, before returning to camp to winnow the monsters from their diminishing ranks.

Despite the great successes of the previous day, their was a seeming lack of focus to their mass trial. Fighters were hesitant to point fingers, many casting no vote at all. For many hours, there was little in the way of consensus, discussion growing into suspicion, but withering before blooming into full accusation. At last, as daylight fell away, and the sky grew dark, they selected one among their number for judgment.

Qwertyuiopazs was dragged before the assembled, accused of Mimicry. He denied the accusations, but the warriors of the sky swarmed about him anyway. And as he struggled, denying them, his painted mask fell off. The Nidarians were greeted by glowing eyes, inhuman, and features as warped as old gray wood. The monster lashed about, struggling ever more violently, thrashing in madness as it was pinned to the ground. But then a ferric stepped forward, and slashed downward through the creature’s neck, and then it struggled no more.


Final Vote Tally:

qwertyuiopazs 2 (back900, Pulsaris)
back900 1 (hamuka)
hamuka 1 (qwertyuiopazs)
10crystalmask01 1 (LouWeed)


Qwertyuiopazs has been lynched! He was a Ferromimic, a Mimic. He dropped 3 Spores.


Day 5 has ended. Players have voted to purchase one unit of Ether. The Haze Level has been reduced. It is now Level One, LIGHT.

With 9 spores currently available to spend, the inventory will return tomorrow morning.

Night 5 will last for 48 hours, and end on July 7, at 2:00 a.m. EST. If you intend to use a night action, please send it to me before then!

 
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Topic: Kongregate / Upcoming Badges!

The vision fields hard is quite difficult, but much more interesting. I think it’s a good substitution. I am a little concerned with the new prospective easy—there’s not enough separation between 30 achievements and level 30, I feel. I’d either take the achievements easy back down to 20 or 25, or raise the wizard level medium to 40.

Possible badge names:

Multifaceted Magician / Multifaceted Mage / Multifaceted Magus
Eclectic Enchanter

Wizened Wizard
Seasoned Sorcerer
War-Tested Warlock

Occult Optics
Vision: Impossible
Sight Into Insight

Gone But Not Forgotten
Don’t You Forget About Me
Dark Side of the Forge

 
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Topic: Forum Games: Forum Games / [Mafia] Remnants of Skystone First Annual Memorial Mafia (Night 5)

Day 5 will end in around 11 hours.

Current Votes:

qwertyuiopazs 2 (back900, mar12345)
back900 1 (hamuka)
hamuka 1 (qwertyuiopazs)


Also, if you haven’t stated a preference for how to spend (or save) spores, please do so. Right now, it’s not clear what should be purchased and I’d like to avoid unnecessary confusion in that area.

 
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Topic: Kongregate / Re-playing Extents of Surely Terrible Activities that are Really Tiring (A Kongregate Tournament) [Sixth Finals end July 7 22:00 EST]

Somehow the game froze literally pixels from the exit. I’d be in fifth now, so it doesn’t really matter, but it’s still so typical.

 
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Topic: Forum Games: Forum Games / BOLD - Round 3: Short Stories

I think both options are good round ideas, but I’ll vote for A.

 
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Topic: Forum Games: Forum Games / [Mafia] Remnants of Skystone First Annual Memorial Mafia (Night 5)

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

It has come to my attention that I made a mistake earlier in the game, namely miscommunication with a player in a specific situation. That miscommunication has been corrected. Please note that this was entirely my fault, but I am not comfortable saying more at this time, because I feel additional information would upset the game balance much more than has currently happened. I do not feel that the issue is likely to significantly affect game balance by itself. However, if I determine that this discrepancy affects gameplay, I may make a slight adjustment to the game state as needed.

Please also note that I discussed the situation with Bluji, so therefore he may not be selected for Radio or Final Fizz use, as he was given player information during the course of our discussion.

Sorry for the distraction; carry on. :)

 
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Topic: Kongregate / Upcoming Badges!

The remaining Matter of Caos games and Gemcraft 2 are presumably the next games in line to be badged, but after that it’s sort of ambiguous as to what’s ahead (although I’d suspect Cube Escape: Harvey’s Box will be getting badges sooner or later). So I’ve compiled a list of games that I feel comfortably qualify for badges: both the rating and API elements are accounted for.


Ghostscape 3D was published in February 2015. It has a rating of 3.85 and records time at completion. It’s a spiritual successor to the original Ghostscape, which was badged. As a traditional point-and-click, a completion medium fits well, so extensive playtesting wouldn’t be needed.

Hexad was published in December. It has a rating of 3.98 and pretty much every statistic you could ask for, given the concept. It would lend itself well to E-H or E-M-H.

Death Run 3D was also published late last year. It has a 3.80 rating, and, like Hexad, comprehensive and working API. It could handle one or two hards, as well as an easy or medium as needed.


And slightly older games:

Pause Ahead. 3.77 rating. Difficult platformer from the developer of Tower of Heaven. An easy and a hard would fit, as well as a prospective impossible badge.

Necronomicon – Book of Dead Names. 3.77 rating. Sequel to The Necronomicon, as one might guess. A medium and hard would fit well.

Hetherdale. 3.88 rating. A sprawling, ambitious point-and-click from the developer of Morningstar. An easy and hard, as well as a possible bridging medium, would work here.

Raider: Episode 1. 3.75 rating. A difficult metroidvania platformer from the developer of the Mardek games. An impossible badge is a possible option here. A medium and a hard wouldn’t involve any controversy though.

Three Body Problem. 3.90 rating. Reflex-oriented action game. An easy and a hard would work well.

 
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Topic: Forum Games: Forum Games / The General Thread

I’ll pre-sign for the VVDD. I don’t think there’s any question about my mafia experience. :)

 
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Topic: Kongregate / Post Your Wins.

The fabled double win—55,555 points, and 2,000 posts.

 
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Topic: Forum Games: Forum Games / [Mafia] Remnants of Skystone First Annual Memorial Mafia (Night 5)

The confusion surrounding the night actions has been resolved, and the game will now be continuing as normal. Happy 2000th post to me, I guess. :)


Night 4 Recap

9:09 a.m.

Once more, the sun fell below the horizon, and darkness returned to the land. The pale moon grew large in the sky, casting the world below in an eerie white glow. Etched in moonlight, the night scenes seemed overly vivid, stark, conjuring memories of the mimics so recently slain. The Nidarians shifted uncomfortably in their sleeping bags, silently pleading for the dawn.

In time, the silver silence of night gave way to the color and sound of day. But as the sun was summoned back to its throne atop the world, the Nidarians were met with a scene from a nightmare. Helltank, revealed as Admiral Stanton—hero of the cause, head of the army itself—lay bloodied and suffering, the victim of another nighttime mimic attack.


Night 4 is complete.

Helltank has been nightkilled. He was Admiral Stanton, Aeronaut Admiral, a member of the Nidarian faction.




Day 5

The Haze Level has increased. It is now Level Two, MODERATE. You currently have seven Spores available to spend.

The Day will last 96 hours; it ends on July 5 at 1:30 am EST. Good luck players.


With the acquisition of seven spores yesterday, you now collectively have a considerable amount to spend. Please remember to vote for how you would like to spend (or save) them during the day.

AVAILABLE PURCHASES

Ether (x inf) – Will reduce the Haze level by one point. Costs 1 Spore per unit. This can be bought as many times as you like.

Namingway Card (x1) – Wrong game Precarious! This will assign a Name Investigate power (one shot) to one random player of any alignment. The gifted player may choose to check whether a given player has a generic name, or a specific name. Costs 2 spores. This may be purchased once.

Alignment Investigate (x2) – Will assign an Alignment Investigate power (one shot) to one random player of any alignment. Costs 3 spores. This can be purchased twice.

Sun-Scarred Fizz (x2) – Will assign a Nightkill Protect power (one shot) to one random player of any alignment. Costs 3 spores. This can be purchased twice.

Haze Inoculation (x1) – Global effect. Will reduce the likelihood by 50% of a Nidarian dying from Critical Haze. Costs 3 Spores. This can be purchased once.

Radio (x1) – PRICE REDUCED! Allows the Nidarians to radio communicate with a Nidarian recovering from his injuries. (In essence, this allows a player who has been killed to continue discussing in thread. They do not regain night abilities or voting power, and do not affect the the ratio of Nidarians to Mimics; after all, they’re still up in Nidaria). Costs 4 Spores. This can be purchased once.

Final Fizz (x1) – PRICE REDUCED! Gerard has made a breakthrough! An extremely dense recuperative fizz, packed with fruits and an ether infusion, allows for incredibly rapid recovery from injury. This experimental fizz will allow an eliminated Nidarian to rejoin the game. Costs 8 Spores. This can be purchased once.

Haze Suppression Network (x1) – Installs an etherized network in the immediate area, removing the Haze Level mechanic from the game entirely. Costs 10 Spores. This can be purchased once.

 
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Topic: Kongregate / Your Pants Presents: Badge of the Week! (Week of 7/6: The Last Stand: Dead Zone)

Week two is here! This week, we’ll be playing through Closure. This didn’t seem to have a ton of activity after the first couple days, so hopefully things pick up this week.

Remember to let me know during the week if there’s a game you’d like me to pick!

 
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Topic: Forum Games: Forum Games / Hidden Objects - Over

Didn’t notice that. Too busy getting ninja’d repeatedly. :(

 
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Topic: Forum Games: Forum Games / Hidden Objects - Over

No rabbit ears, no heart.

 
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Topic: Forum Games: Forum Games / Hidden Objects - Over

Glove

EDIT: The world is a dark and cruel place.

 
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Topic: Forum Games: Forum Games / Hidden Objects - Over

Music symbol

 
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Topic: Forum Games: Forum Games / Hidden Objects - Over

Might as well gamble. There is no Eiffel Tower, and no croissant.

 
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Topic: Forum Games: Forum Games / Hidden Objects - Over

Lizard

EDIT: This moves so quickly. :(

 
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Topic: Forum Games: Forum Games / [Mafia] Remnants of Skystone First Annual Memorial Mafia (Night 5)

5:40 p.m.

Buoyed by the destruction of another mimic, the Nidarians did not relent in their search for the enemies in their ranks. The Aeromimic had been rendered ash just minutes before, but already the people of the sky had resumed their deliberations and debates, discussing the events of previous days as the afternoon shadows grew longer and gathered about them.

It did not take long. Before the stars could emerge, while the beaming sun still smiled down on their encampment, the Nidarians reached a consensus. The Aeromimic had previously made a decision that cast doubt on another of their ranks, and so they turned upon Kuzco12. Vote after vote questioned his allegiance; it seemed his demise was inevitable. So inexorable was this process that Kuzco took an unusual step: he removed his mask, revealing the glowing violet eyes of an abomination, a misshapen creature merely simulating humanity. And before anyone could act, it brought about the inevitable on its own terms, slitting its own throat before bursting into pale purple flame.


Final Vote Tally:

Kuzco12 HAMMERED (qwertyuiopazs, MyNameIsNothing, Woon1957, LouWeed, mar12345, Pulsaris, Kuzco12)
hamuka 1 (RandomTurtle)
mar12345 1 (hamuka)


Kuzco12 has been lynched! He was a Mimicrag, a Mimic. He dropped 4 Spores.



Day 4 has ended. With 7 spores now in stock, the inventory will return tomorrow morning, with new items available.

Night 4 will last for 48 hours, and end on June 30, at 1:30 p.m. EST. If you intend to use a night action, please send it to me before then!

 
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Topic: Forum Games: Forum Games / [Mafia] Remnants of Skystone First Annual Memorial Mafia (Night 5)

Since I wasn’t around to process the daykill, the day is being extended by 24 hours. On that note:


4:43 p.m.

The Nidarians had again come together, determined to discover the monsters among them, and by destroying the mimics in their ranks salvage the mission. The accusations came hard and fast; few were inclined to hold back their thoughts in such an intense environment. As time passed, more and more fighters fingered uzzbuzz as a probable mimic. He argued otherwise, but it seemed he would inevitably be lynched.

The votes piled up, and Nidarians gathered about uzzbuzz. He scrambled away, screaming his innocence to anyone that would listen. But at last, one Nidarian grew tired of his claims, and took matters into her own hands. She walked straight up to him, and blew a hole in his chest.

Uzzbuzz screamed again, and his scream seemed less than human. Purple haze streamed from his gruesome wound, and he slumped to the ground. His mask rolled off, revealing the warped and wizened features of a monster. And then he combusted, leaving behind nothing but Spores.


Uzzbuzz has been daykilled! He was an Aeromimic, a Mimic. He dropped 3 Spores.


The day has been extended. It will end June 29, at 4 p.m. EST.

Current Votes are:

Kuzco12 2 (qwertyuiopazs, MyNameIsNothing)
hamuka 1 (RandomTurtle)
mar12345 1 (hamuka)
10crystalmask01 1 (LouWeed)
No Lynch 1 (Kuzco12)

 
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Topic: Forum Games: Forum Games / BOLD - Round 3: Short Stories

Trust



My child, no man can navigate the desert unaided.

The words of our chieftain, dead these fifteen years, still form the foundation of our culture. To attempt to cross the white sands is death. The sands sing of the hot wind, longing for lost rain; they slither in sinuous striations, calling sonorously to the clouds. But no water comes. To cross the white-grained sea is to be swallowed up in contradiction, the salt baked from your body, the water drawn out of you into the uncaring dunes. No man nor animal nor spirit-beast may pass that test. Even the great thunder serpent, lord of the summer sky, flees that flat, undulating expanse.

The White Sea is death, and it is death to try to cross it.


When I was a child, I would play with Zelinka in the cool shade of the date trees, on the banks of the Great River, Vizallim. Vizallim brings life to our people, cleansing us and quenching our thirst. Vizallim gives life to our livestock, makes Sister Earth fertile and productive. From the shores of Vizallim, all manner of life emerges: the blue grasses of T’salthe, which our Dreamers smoke to read the stars; Dvaleh potatoes, spread to our fields; Mejira weed, slick and clammy, clinging to our feet. Along the shores live many animals, frogs and snakes and birds and burrowing creatures. Zelinka was once stung by a deadly snake, but the milk of the Zireen cactus called her back from Death’s Door. And so there was no better place to play than in the watchful gaze of Vizallim the Guardian. We would throw the Ad’jubii fruit like a ball in a hundred games, swim to the aits in the center of the river. Zelinka was my best friend; she was beautiful and funny, and always smiling.

Then, on that day fifteen years ago, the Plague returned. Some of our elders say it comes from the White Sea, death encroaching when there is no life, carried on the mournful wind. Others say that is comes from Vizallim, who must take if it is to give. Still others say it is comes with ash of the far-off fire mountain, smoking and rumbling on the horizon. In truth, no one knows why the Plague comes, or from whence. But it struck us hard that year, and Zelinka was among those it took from us.

And in a different way, it also took our chieftain.


“Mauviro.”

Zelinka’s voice was soft, weak. When she spoke, she did so with a faint cough, as though she was about to come apart. Although my mother tried to hold me back, I went to her and held her hand.

“Mauviro,” she said again.

Words caught in my throat; I knew not what to say. Death is understood among our people; it is the gate to the Celeziund, which mortal eyes may not behold. Some say the Celeziund is a place of great beauty. Others say that it is a quiet void, where we may reflect on our lives. Even the Astronomers and the Dreamers cannot agree on its properties, although they have identified it as existing beyond the Fox Star, burning bright in the long nights. But I cared not for the Celeziund, only for Zelinka. I squeezed her hand again.

“Zelinka, please…”

She silenced me with her eyes. “Mauviro,” she said. “I will miss you, and I will see you again.”

“Please don’t go!” Tears burned my eyes, blurred my vision. “Please don’t go!”

All this time, the Chieftain watched us. Zelinka was his youngest daughter, the child of his old age. He approached me. “Mauviro,” he said.

“Chief Zirvandi,” I acknoweldged.

“My child,” he said. “No man can navigate the desert unaided. No map or chart will lead you in the right path; the White Sea will lead you astray, take you as its own. The spirits fear to ghostwalk there; even the lvinni and mravi will lose their way. No dromedary will see you safely across, and the astronomers cannot divine its boundaries. But there is a way across.”

I stared at the Chieftain in disbelief. The Sacred Stones had presented us with that absolute truth from time immemorial—no one and nothing could cross the White Sea and live. It was impossible.

“My chief,” I began.

He cut me off with a glance.

“Beyond the White Sea, so the Sacred Stones tell us, lies Vizallim’s twin, Mavruha. Mavruha feeds an oasis, which holds a lost city. And in that city grows a strange white flower. This flower, the Stones tell us, can banish the Plague.”

“But no man can cross the White Sea,” I said.

“This is not true,” he replied. “While no man can cross that expanse with his own arts, it may yet be navigated. But one must place his trust in life, not in death. Vizallim and Mavruha have raised up signs of life all across Sister Earth, even where none should exist. In the desert, there are plants which defy all logic, and persist amidst the White Sea’s desperate thirst. They will provide a path across the expanse, through that sandy sea, and lead ultimately to the oasis. I will go there, and bring back the white flower. And this will heal our people.”

The Dreamers and the Astronomers begged him not to go. So did the Elders. So did my mother and father. But Chief Zirvandi would not be dissuaded. His thoughts were only with Zelinka. His red robe billowing behind him like the phoenix, he set off on a dromedary into the White Sea. That flash of pink-red, as vivid as the flamingos that sometimes flew by, faded into the eternal white. Chief Zirvandi never returned.

And three days later, the Plague carried off Zelinka.


When it became obvious that Zirvandi would not return, the Elders selected my father to replace him as chieftain. Under his tutelage, I learned our people’s arts: medicine and poetry, astronomy and astrology. I learned to work the land and to fish Vizallim; I learned to master the bow and the javelin and the blade. On my twenty-first birthday, I was even initiated into the ghostwalk, where I was to take counsel with the mravi. Yet every day I would visit Zelinka’s grave, and walk under the date trees on the banks of the river. Her final words to me, when it became apparent that Zirvandi was gone, and that she too would pass to the Celeziund.

“Mauviro,” she said. Her chest heaved, and her eyes were filled with pain; I knew she was not long for our world.

“Zelinka.” I went to her.

“Mauviro, promise me,” she whispered.

“Anything.”

“Promise me that the people will find happiness again. That these Plagues will not…”

And then she breathed her last.

With that memory weighing on me, I stared once more at her grave. It was fashioned from wood and stone, painted with dyes of blue and red. I placed a flower at its base, that we discovered on the ait in the middle of the Vizallim. We had been told not to go there, that the waters were too rapid, but we had done so anyway, and found our own place. My mother scolded me when we returned, but only lightly. She understood.


On the 11th day of the Summer, in a year when the fire mountain came back to life, and the Fox Star quivered in its vault above, the Plague returned. It struck with a savagery unknown to our historians; our scrolls and stones had never recorded such widespread sickness and suffering. Even my mother and father fell ill, as did most of the people. Our very culture teetered on the brink of death.

Heedless of the risks, I ghostwalked with the sinister vvzanvin, and the mischievous lvinni, and the noble mravi. But they could offer no answers. The few Dreamers who hadn’t fallen ill read only messages of despair in the stars, calling on the conjunction of the dark stars, Venom and Wormwood and Uvalim.

I let my mind drift back to that last conversation with Zirvandi, to Zelinka’s last words. My father, laboring in his bed, reached out to me. I think he knew what I was planning, knew what I was determined to do as soon as the Plague had come. “Maurivo,” he pleaded, “don’t do this.”

My child, no man can navigate the desert unaided.

But there is a way across.

I went to my camel, and started resolutely into the White Sea.

As I rode into those endless white waves, the sun burned and blistered overhead. It was impossibly hot; although I was sweating, my clothing remained dry. The White Sea stole that moisture before it could even dampen my robe. The eternal thirst, I thought. My camel labored under me, as I drank greedily from my waterskin, as we stumbled further into the white unknown.

Hours passed. In every direction, there was only white sand, impossibly bright, stinging my eyes. The sands swirled beneath me, shifting into strange signs and ideograms, inscribing my fate into the dunes. Occasionally, I would pass the bleached remains of some lost soul—a ribcage here, a skull there, even the great claw of a thunder serpent. The ghastly markers provided no relief, mere waystations in a land that had no way.

My blood boiled. I would die out here; no other possibility remained. I thought often on Zelinka, and my parents, wasting away back along the Vizallim. How they introduced me to Zelinka, how they and Zirvandi would watch us play our games under the date trees. And then I saw a flash of scarlet, a faded red cloak billowing in the wind. It was tangled up amidst a skeleton, bleached white by sand and sun and time.

I stopped. “Zirvandi,” I lamented. I took the scrap, wound it around my arm, and sat down to die.


I was on the great grey plain. The ghostwalk. But I had not imbibed the potions nor breathed the smoke that accessed the plain. How I came to this place, I could not imagine.

And then I was back in the village, fifteen years ago. I watched Zirvandi ride to his death, plunging heedlessly into the White Sea.

I opened my eyes. In the distance, I saw a low dark line, breaking up the white sameness. I climbed upon my staggering camel, rode toward the line. The line turned out to be a series of spiky plants, surmounted by strange brown fruits. I stared in disbelief; surely this was some mirage, born of delirium. Surely, these were not the children of Vizallim, but mere phantoms.

I thought back to Zelinka’s final words. An unspoken request. Even then, at Death’s Door, she thought to the future. I turned back and stared, although the white desert seemed endless. I imagined her grave, dyed blue and red, with a single flower lying as its base.

I rode into the distance.

Night came suddenly, etching the white desert in pale moonlight, turning it into a place of spirits. It suddenly resembled the ghostwalk, the grey plains made white. I decided not to stop, instead riding alongside those strange plants under the huge, bloated moon. Their shadows stretched into strange, contorted angles that recalled the wicked claws of the vanther beast that stalked our dreams, and I grew fearful. But I did not stop. I rode along that white-limned path, surrounded by ghosts and dreams and memories. I trusted in the row of impossible plants. I trusted in Zirvandi. I trusted in Zelinka.

I trusted in myself.

As day broke, so did the beliefs of our Elders. The White Sea was neither impassible nor impossible, for gleaming in the distance lay a broad river. It was Mavruha, I knew, Vizallim’s twin. I urged my camel toward the river, toward my people’s salvation. I saw stone buildings rising in the distance.

And I recognized the scene. Not Mavruha, but the Vizallim. Failure burned bitter on my tongue. I had braved the White Sea itself, returned from the land of no return, and with nothing to show for it. I raised my arms toward the sky, and cried.

My camel turned its head to look at me. Disgusted, I looked away, to my belongings bundled on its side. There, next to waterskins, was a strange sack, woven from a silken thread. Confused, I took up the sack. In it were white flowers beyond counting, flowers with strange white petals that whispered on the wind.


My child, no man can navigate the desert unaided. The White Sea cannot be crossed in such a way, as it stretches to the end of the world. That is not how we cross deserts, my child.

We cross with faith. We trust that the world will lead us home, that those who have come before us will provide a path.

We cross them with one another.

 
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Topic: Forum Games: Forum Games / BOLD - Round 3: Short Stories

Still working on my round one submission, but I thought I’d suggest

Bluji’s Original Literature Depot

Bluji’s Overdue Library Directory

Boldly Offering Literary Development

for possible BOLD meanings.

 
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Topic: Forum Games: Forum Games / [Mafia] Remnants of Skystone First Annual Memorial Mafia (Night 5)

Additionally, in the interest of improved activity, all players are required to vote today at some point. You may of course vote No Lynch if you like, but not posting a vote will allow for a replacement player if I can find more.