Episode 9: The Gauntlet
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.
DIARY CONFESSIONS – DEDRICK THE CENTAUR
"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."
BACK TO THE SHOW
Dedrick followed Ranzkin into the pit. They circled around Jewel as she bent over swiping at glowing snakes and putting out fires below her ankles. On the other side, Nessa clung to a ledge several feet from the floor.
"Should we help Nessa?" Dedrick asked.
Ranzkin paused, frowning. She shook her head. "It’ll take too long."
Christina was first to the steel, segmented bridge. Long metal blades swung from high beams across each narrow gap. Counting the seconds between strokes, she hopped across followed by Lina, a fairy-free Eadric and Gorm.
"Just one little spider, and the beefy barbarian goes nuts and leaves me behind!" Kailen complained to himself. As he flew over the bridge, the wind disturbances causes by swishing blades pulled him head over heals and off track until one of the blades sliced through a wing, sending the little fairy tumbling into the thick mud below.
Haimes paused before the blades, watching the rhythmic motion.
"Are ouu afraid?" Paige asked.
He nodded. "Of course. Even in a pack, no scree would cross this without strong reason."
"Ouu want to win?"
"Actually…" Haimes took a deep breath and began gliding from foot to foot dodging the deadly edges.
"Eee too," Paige said, following after.
Dedrick and Ranzkin arrived in time to see one of Paige’s fingertips leave a greasy smear on a far blade before dropping down into the mud. "Oh no," Dedrick said.
"It’s okay," Ranzkin replied. "She’s still going."
"Not that." The centaur moaned. "I can’t cross this."
Ranzkin put her hands on her hips. "Why not?"
"In the middle," Dedrick pointed, "the blades are too close together. I can’t get through."
"You can at least try," Ranzkin said.
He nodded. "But don’t wait for me."
This break is brought to you by the games, Depths of Peril and it’s affiliate, Birla the Gambler.
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BACK TO THE SHOW
Christina and Lina arrived at the snow run together. Twelve sets of skis with boots attached and ski poles stuck out of the snow at the top of an incline. Lina found skis that fit and strapped them on while Christina slid all of the unneeded skis down the embankment. "I like how you think," Lina said, pushing off. Christina, skis on, followed close behind.
Eadric, Haimes and Paige ignored the tangle of skis and ran down the hill, leaving holes in the fluffy powder everywhere they stepped. Gorm smiled when he saw the snow. He touched it and made a narrow icy surface to slide upon. Ranzkin followed on the impromptu slide, only to find herself thrown into the air and smacked into a tree. When she tried to stand, she threw up. Leaning back, her arm felt something warm. Gorm’s elbow poked up through the snow.
The snow dwindled and the land evened out as the dirt path led into a tropical forest and Lina ran ahead. Christina smacked into her when Lina stopped short.
"What’s wrong with you?" Christina said angrily, picking herself up off the ground.
"There’s something in the path," Lina said.
Christina squinted, looking along the trail. "That?" She laughed. "It’s only an uncharacteristically enormous alligator." The vampire ran directly at the creature. Its head swiveled in her direction, massive jaws opening as Christina sprang high, using the sides of tree trunks to get more lift, and soared over the alligator.
"Well, damn." Lina sat and waited for Eadric, Haimes and Paige to catch up. "Christina jumped over it, if you can believe it. What should we do?"
"We all run together," Haimes said. "It will only have time to get one of us."
"I’ve never seen the like," Eadric said, staring at the beast. He ran toward it and the others followed, except Eadric didn’t veer away from the mouth. He jumped on the creature’s head. The animal roared and snapped at the air, catching Paige’s arm and tossing her in the air.
Lina and Haimes ran on not looking back.
DIARY CONFESSION – EADRIC THE WARRIOR
"I am loving this game! They’ve really pulled out all the stops. It isn’t every day that I get to battle gigantic monsters, first the ant lion and now the alligator, in such a short span of time. It’s warrior heaven to face these demon creatures in hand to hand combat. Winning has never felt more jubilant and triumphant."
Eadric’s wide grin turns into a confused frown. "What do you mean I’m falling behind? Who cares about the gauntlet when there’re monsters to be fought? I’m going to ride that reptile like thunder straddles lightning!"
BACK TO THE SHOW
The path continued up a ledge and gradually rose along a steep cliff. Christina waited several feet away from a cavern entrance when Lina and Haimes caught up to her.
After catching her breath, Lina said, "What are you waiting for?"
"Smells…" Christina sniffed the air, "wrong."
Haimes crept to the edge of the opening and took a long breath through his nose. He inched back to the others. "I don’t smell anything."
"While you guys sit around taking in the smells," Lina said, "I’ve got a game to win." She started past the cave only to be quickly joined by Christina and Haimes.
"You’re not going without me," Christina whispered.
A large gust of wind carrying a ear-deafening growl, blew the three startled contestants near the edge of the drop. They froze, motionless as a humongous head covered in green glittering scales poked out of the hole. Saliva dripped off pointy teeth as a forked tongue tested the air. The dragon paused only a moment before grabbing Lina in its maw, throwing her back near its throat and crunching on bone as Lina’s sudden screams abruptly ended. Christina took off, sprinting up the path with Haimes at her heals.
The ledge topped a rise and opened out into a long oval meadow. On the far side, Forest the Stalker stood by a giant golden chalice.
"See you on the other side," Christina called to Haimes as she sprinted for the finish line. Even though the scree followed her closely, Christina smiled wide revealing sharp canine teeth. He couldn’t pass her. She jumped over a small stone and felt something softly brush her arm. It was Haimes. Passing her. The scree sprinted faster than she’d ever seen another living being move, faster than the great cats of the savanna.
Haimes leapt onto the golden cup two strides ahead of Christina. He hit it hard and fell back with the wind knocked out of him. Christina grabbed the long pole attaching the cup to its base and spun in circles, slowing her momentum. Just as Haimes took in a large breath regaining use of his lungs, Christina grabbed the scree and held him close to her moist lips.
"Christina..." Forest stood back from the pair, unwilling to get physically involved. "You can drain him but it won’t change the fact that Tribe Kivi won this competition. However, if you do kill him, they’ll kick you off the show."
Christina threw the scree down and spit in his face. She glared at the stalker and then stormed off into the trees.
This is Double Immunity Week, and YOU get to vote for which contestant from Tribe Depths who you wish to get the Viewers’ Immunity and be safe from the altar this week. Vote now!
I liked this story the best so far. It had action and humor. It'll be interesting if more characters randomly die. Thats the sort of thing I expected from the basic idea.
I'd have trouble writing a story like this. There are so many characters.
In some ways it's hard for me to write too. I can't plan things in advance because I don't know who'll be on the show. I usually draw names to find out who wins things, so I'm keeping things random.
I was so sad when Lina died. I really loved her. She was a blast to write. But her name was drawn, so that's the way it was. *stupid dragon* Just because Chritina smells dead and Haimes smells bad doesn't mean it had to eat Lina!!! :mad:
When the characters came up to the giant alligator, I was so channeling the old Pitfall game. :D
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