Episode 12: Burn
Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Zekna the Naga slithered into the clearing and smiled at the ten contestants. She lit several tiki torches. "In today’s luxury challenge, you are competing for flint and steel wool, the ability to make fire. The game is called Burn. The winning team is the first team to have every team member at the lake somewhere to the north. And for incentive," Zekna knocked the torches into piles of tree litter on the ground. "You must out run a forest fire!"

The leaves burst into flame as lapping red tendrils climbed up a tree trunk. The contestants hesitated until Haimes (scree) took off sprinting deeper into the forest. The others followed, fanning out and coughing from the wind blown smoke.

Jewel (cyclops) rubbed her eyes. "It stings." Christina (vampire) didn’t reply as she passed the cyclops. Ranzkin (gnome) separated from Dedrick (centaur) and followed Christina until Paige (zombie), human Paige with pain-filled eyes and a sling around her arm, picked up the gnome by the scruff of her blue dress.

"Not now," Paige whispered. "We all must get to the lake."

"I wasn’t going to…" Ranzkin paused, stunned. "It worked." Paige nodded, breathing hard as she ran. "You’re in pain," Ranzkin said.

"I forgot what it’s like to be human. My mouth, my arm. I need a doctor."

"Take this," Ranzkin handed Paige a mushroom from under her conical hat. "You’ll still be able to run."


Amber changed to unicorn form and caught up to Haimes. They crossed a wooden bridge swaying over a long drop into a raging river followed by Paige, Ranzkin, Nessa (elf) and Kailen (fairy).

"That doesn’t look very steady," Eadric (warrior) said.

Christina pushed him out of the way and started across the bridge. Eadric came next as Jewel, Gorm (mage) and Dedrick arrived. Jewel shoved Gorm away and stepped onto the bridge. The roped creaked and one of the boards broke. She took a deep breath and moved a few more steps. The ropes snapped, slamming her body back against the wall. She clung to the groaning rope.


"I shouldn’t have tried to cross that bridge. I knew it wouldn’t hold me. Christina and Eadric almost got hurt because of me. I just wanted to help my tribe win. It may be my last chance.

"I have no idea who’ll be leaving after this event, me or Paige. Paige hopefully. She’s more a hindrance than an asset. I’ve helped my tribe win many times and I’m not infectious. My tribe would probably keep me, but it isn’t up to them. Who knows what the viewers will do?"


Click to continue reading Episode 12: Burn

Episode 11: Tree House Temptation
Friday, 06 February 2009

Snowshield the Dwarf marched the contestants through the forest to a giant tree. "Before we start the Immunity Challenge, I’ll need your private votes for the altar."

Jewel (cyclops) voted for Ranzkin.

Ranzkin (gnome) voted for Paige.

Nessa (elf) voted for Paige.

Dedrick (centaur) voted for Paige.

Christina (vampire) voted for Ranzkin.

Paige (zombie) voted for Christina.

"Tribe Depths has spoken," Snowshield said. "Ranzkin and Paige, you’ve been placed on the altar by you’re fellow tribesmen, but you still have a chance to save yourselves by winning the immunity challenge.

"The game is called Tree House Temptation, but before we begin, I have a surprise. This week is Double Immunity Week. The viewers have voted and chosen one of you to receive the Viewers’ Immunity. The recipient of this gift is," Snowshield scratched his beard and checked a rumpled paper from his pocket, "Christina!"

The vampire smiled. "Thank you, viewers."

"Christina," Snowshield continued, "You will not be allowed to play in this competition. Everyone else will climb into this tree. The last person remaining in the tree and not touching the ground will be the winner, receive Immunity and have the power to save one of the two nominated contestants. Please climb into the tree now."

Dedrick lifted Ranzkin onto a low branch and then pulled his horse half over three low branches close together near the trunk. His hoofs dangled several feet above the ground.

Paige clawed at the base of the tree, unable to get purchase. Jewel grabbed the zombie and tossed her high into the canopy. Paige tumbled down, snapping branches until she reached enough to support her weight securing her position upside down in the tree.

Jewel hugged the base of the tree and scooted up the truck like a monkey, pausing to lift her arms and legs over fat branches. She found a thick, double branch divide to brace her backside though she never let go of the trunk.

Nessa was last into the tree, swinging her way up onto a comfortable perch like she’d lived there all of her life. She smiled at Ranzkin. "This game should be easy for us."

The tree groaned as Jewel shifted her weight. "How long do you think we’ll be up here? I don’t much like tree climbing. They’re too weak."

Dedrick shrugged. "This is my first time in a tree." He squirmed. "Something’s poking my underside."

"Could eee ages," Paige said. She tried to right herself and fell another few feet near Ranzkin. The gnome moved closer to Nessa.


"Zombies can’t climb. I wouldn’t have been able to compete in this competition without Jewel. Maybe I can save myself. It shouldn’t be too difficult for me to hang in a tree. Unless it takes all day and night. I can’t let myself get hungry again. I knew it was a problem the day I hurt Dedrick. I’m so lucky he didn’t die. I didn’t want that kind of thing weighing on me.

"Yeah, I’ve probably killed people. You can’t remember the early days after you turn. It’s the one blessing wrapped in this curse. Of course, I don’t remember my living life either. I don’t know if that’s good or not."

Click to continue reading Episode 11: Tree House Temptation

Episode 10: Sorcerer's Exit Interview
Thursday, 05 February 2009

Interviewer: So, how does it feel to be the second contestant to leave the show?

Lorimer: I’m fine with it. I’m just glad I wasn’t first.

Interviewer: Well you were first from your tribe.

Lorimer: That doesn’t matter. It’s always the very first to go who are the ones forgotten. Nobody remembers their names.

Interviewer: Did you employ your strategy and if so, why did it fail?

Lorimer: I did my best to put on a good show. I think the viewers were pleased and entertained by my antics. But when I was on the altar next to Amber, a person who can really, physically change form- that’s hard to compete with. If I was going to lose to anyone, I’m glad it was her.

Interviewer: What about all of the fighting with Lina? Was it real?

Lorimer: Unfortunately, yes. I guess I got on her bad side somehow, and then I was the target for all of her stress. She didn’t make things easy for me. I hold no ill will towards her though. It’s a difficult game and we were all doing the best we could.

Interviewer: If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would’ve done differently?

Lorimer: I really should have tried harder to win over the friendship of my teammates. I was an easy shot for Lina because I isolated myself. Plus, maybe the others voted me on the altar because they didn’t like the negativity.

Interviewer: Have you seen the latest episode?

Lorimer: No. I’m letting things settle first. I don’t want to be angry when I catch up on the show.

Interviewer: In the last episode, Lina died. What do you think about that?

Lorimer: You mean, died for real? As in truly dead?

Interviewer: Yep.


Interviewer: And how do you feel about it?

Lorimer: Terrible! I knew the show was dangerous but I thought the worst that would happen is broken bones or zombie-death. Wow. It’s… awful. I can’t believe it. Lina and I may have hated each other but I would never wish death on anyone.

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Episode 9: The Gauntlet
Wednesday, 04 February 2009

Forest the Stalker came to present the team challenge. "The Gauntlet is unlike any challenge you’ve faced thus far and the obstacles are more intense than anything you’ve encountered. It’s possible any number of you could die.

"Before you is a short cave. On the other side lies the obstacle course. Anyone who avoids an obstacle or attempts a shortcut will be disqualified. The first person to reach the end of The Gauntlet will represent the winning team. You may begin- NOW!"

The contestants pushed their way into the tunnel with Christina (vampire) and Lina (rogue) leading, and Jewel (cyclops) and Dedrick (centaur) following last. The cave opened out onto a ledge with a thick log crossing a deep pit. Below, slithering red things squiggled in the shadows. Lina shoved Christina out of the way to go first but almost fell off the log when Christina kicked and climbed over her.

Haimes (scree) crossed the gap with nimble grace ahead of Eadric (warrior) who crawled quickly on hands and knees to get away from Paige’s (zombie) rotting smell. Kailen (fairy) rode on his shoulder, possibly on spider patrol.

Gorm (mage) left patches of ice in his wake. Nessa (elf) started across elegantly despite the ice, until Jewel came behind and the tree snapped in half, dumping them both into the pit. Snakes hissed angrily and the broken log began to burn.

"What will we do now?" Dedrick asked.

"We’ll slide down that steep slope here," Ranzkin (gnome) pointed, "And come up on the other side there."

"But the snakes!" Dedrick said.

"Just let me lead the way," Ranzkin said. "They’re just lava snakes. I’ll calm them down and lead us around the trouble makers."

Dedrick took Amber’s (unicorn) hand. "You can ride on my back."

She shook her head. "No way I’m getting anywhere near snakes. Honestly! I think the producers are trying to sabotage my chances." Amber turned back into the cave.


"I wish Amber would’ve come with us. I understand she’s afraid of snakes. Most horse-people are. I guess she doesn’t have any reason to trust Ranzkin like I do. She helped ease my burns and along with Kailen, helped cure my zombie infection.

"I wish Amber would trust me. She looks sweet and kind, but I bet there’s a story behind her reluctance. Someone must of hurt her bad. Betrayed her. Maybe when the show’s over and the pressure’s off, and when we’re not on competing teams, she and I can get to be friends."

Click to continue reading Episode 9: The Gauntlet

Episode 8: Goblin Bowling
Tuesday, 03 February 2009

Tribes Kivi and Depths met high on the dormant volcano in a dry streambed near some medium-sized boulders and scruffy sacks filled with copper coins. The fourth failed applicant, Bolo the Orc, explained the game. "In Goblin Bowling, the tribes will take turns rolling a sack of coins and then a boulder down the volcano. The team who smashes the most goblins wins. Tribe Kivi, you will have to choose one player who will not compete in this competition.

"I’ll sit out," Kailen (fairy) said. "I can’t lift the money bags, much less the boulders." Most of Tribe Kivi agreed, except Amber (unicorn).

"Tribe Depths, our viewers would like to know how you’ve used the duct tape you won last week," Bolo said.

"It was really handy in wrangling Paige," Christina (vampire) said. "We used most of the rest of the tape to attach support beams to our shelter, expanding it."

Bolo continued, "Today you are playing for a slingshot. Since Depths won the last challenge, they will go first.

Jewel (cyclops) grabbed a sack of coins and threw. It exploded on impact. Spewing a mound of gleaming metal. Goblins rushed out from the trees and gathered coins. Jewel heaved the largest boulder, tossing it slightly farther than the coins but still smashing four goblins and running over another on its way to the bottom of the volcano.

"Five points for Depths," Bolo said.


"I figured I had the best chance to kill the most goblins and I had to pull through. I don’t hold out much hope for the rest of my team. I mean, Ranzkin isn’t even a foot tall! We don’t need the slingshot but losing will upset everyone. Then we might not do well on the upcoming team challenge.

"I’m glad we aren’t losing anyone this week. I didn’t really care one way or the other about William, but the more of my team that goes gets me closer to the altar. It’s better to win and not have to worry about it. If only Eadric made our team instead of Kivi’s, we’d be unstoppable."

Click to continue reading Episode 8: Goblin Bowling

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