Episode 11: Tree House Temptation
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.
DIARY CONFESSION – PAIGE THE ZOMBIE
"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."
BACK TO THE SHOW
Jewel shifted again, causing cracking sounds in the tree but nothing fell. "I don’t think I can stay here long."
"You can do it Jewel," Christina called from below. "You’re really strong. Don’t let go."
Dedrick pulled his torso free in an attempt to get to another set of branches. He swung his lower body back and forth trying to reach the next branch when the one he held cracked. Still connected to the tree, it fell parallel to the tree. Dedrick’s body hit the trunk. More breaks sounded from the tree and the branches under Jewel finally gave, leaving her backside dangling in the air.
The centaur groaned and released his grip. He fell and landed on hooves. "Sorry Ranzkin. There was no way I was going to get anywhere after it broke."
"Don’t worry about it," Ranzkin called down. She whispered to Nessa, "If you win, will you take me off the altar?"
Nessa didn’t answer at first. "I don’t know." She shrugged. "It isn’t that I don’t want to. I do! But Christina already hates me."
"Christina hates everyone!" Ranzkin exclaimed. "Besides, we’ll have the votes."
"No." Nessa shook her head. "It’ll be a tie. Maybe we’ll end up with three on the altar."
Ranzkin frowned. "You have to help me, Nessa. I need you. Zombies are popular. How many movies have you seen about gnomes? Zero? Elves are popular too. Look at how many people saw Lord of the Rings!"
"I know you’re right," Nessa said, "but the best way to stay on the show is to not get on the altar in the first place."
"I’m sorry," Nessa said, fidgeting.
"Don’t worry about it," Ranzkin replied. She moved away.
"I don’t like this," Jewel said, letting go and falling. The ground shook when she hit, dropping Paige lower into the tree. The zombie looked more comfortable facing the sky.
The following is a dark elf official statement brought to you by Dark Elves for Domination.
"Hello. I’m Degol, one of the leaders on the campaign to destroy or enslave the lumen race. This shouldn’t worry you. We live underground the same as the evil lumen. We are doing you a service by containing their vile filth from spreading.
"You see, I’m here to ask you not to play Kivi’s Underworld. The lumen do not deserve your help. Let us take care of the problem. Just go back to your comfortable lives assured in the knowledge that you are safe because of our work. And whatever you do, stay away from Kivi’s Underworld."
Degol smiles widely.
BACK TO THE SHOW
Ranzkin climbed close to Paige. "Seems like it’s always us."
"First time for ouu," Paige replied.
Ranzkin sighed. "I guess it is but it doesn’t feel like it. Feels like Christina has been after me forever."
"Want to know somethin funnee?"
"Sure." Ranzkin smiled.
"I voted for Christina," Paige said.
"No way!" Ranzkin laughed. "Really?"
Paige nodded. "None of us have a chance against her in the end."
"I know. But what can we do about it? Even if she’s on the altar, I don’t think anyone will vote her out."
"That’s why she needs to be on the altar every time," Paige said. "Maybe the viewers will get sick of seeing her there."
Ranzkin chewed on her fingernail, her eyebrows furrowed. "But Paige, if she went up against you, you’d probably go home."
The zombie sighed. "At least then I won’t hurt anyone else."
"You haven’t hurt anyone since Dedrick. You’ve been really good at staying full."
Paige turned her head to look at Ranzkin. "Does that mean you’ve forgiven me? That Dedrick forgives me?"
Ranzkin didn’t answer and Paige looked away. Finally the gnome said, "You didn’t mean to hurt Dedrick."
"I’m responsible. I should never have come on the show."
"Don’t say that!" Ranzkin exclaimed.
"Most of us are dangerous," Ranzkin countered.
"Like you?" Paige laughed.
"Don’t mistake my size," Ranzkin said. "I can do a lot of damage if I intend to. Just because it isn’t in my nature doesn’t mean I don’t have the power."
"Show me," Paige said.
"If you don’t go home, do a lot of damage to Christina."
Ranzkin stared at Christina. The vampire was saying who knows what to Dedrick. Jewel helped Snowshield drag something from behind some trees. He untied the rope and canvas fell from a wooden frame revealing a food laden platform including something most of them could eat.
"Here’s the temptation," Snowshield said. "No one on the ground now gets any of this. The next player down from the tree gets whatever they want, but only that one player will get anything."
"Is that a blueberry muffin?" Dedrick asked. "I should have held out longer!"
"Bite it, horse-face!" Christina exclaimed. "Why isn’t there any blood on the table?"
"Why should there be?" Snowshield asked. "The producers knew you’d already won the Viewer’s Immunity."
Nessa climbed near Ranzkin and whispered, "Maybe I can’t take you off the altar, but I can let you win." She descended from the tree and dug into an apple pie.
"It’s down to Paige and Ranzkin," Snowshield announced. Hours passed without change, other than Nessa throwing up and then eating more.
As the sun began to set, casting the sky in a purple haze, Snowshield wandered into the forest and returned with a bone key in one hand and a vile in the other. "For phase two of the temptation, in one hand I have a partial zombie cure for you, Paige. You can be a regular living person."
"What’s the catch?" Christina asked, arms crossed over her chest.
Snowshield smiled slyly. "It only works for one hour a day just after dawn. And in my other hand I hold the key to Gnormae, the Garden of Gnomes. This is for you, Ranzkin."
"And the catch?" Ranzkin asked.
"The key doesn’t reveal the-" A crash interrupted Snowshield’s explanation. Paige fell through branches and landed hard on her arm. It snapped beneath her weight. "the door’s location," the dwarf finished. "Ranzkin has won the power of Immunity."
DIARY CONFESSION – RANZKIN THE GNOME
"The key to the door of Gnormae? Please! That’s simply a bedtime story. It isn’t a real place. Like I would be tempted by such a trick.
"I guess for Paige, she couldn’t gamble if it’s a trick or not. Even a partial cure is worth losing the show over. Heck, if Gnormae was a real place, I’d have quit the game in a heartbeat. Too bad really. It would have been worth more than anything."
BACK TO THE SHOW
Paige grabbed the vile and stared at it. "at ie oo wi it?"
"What’d she say?" Snowshield asked.
"What does she do with it," Jewel said.
Snowshield shrugged. "Drink it."
Paige drained the vile, licking the edges of the rim.
"Do you feel any different?" Christina asked.
The zombie’s shoulders slumped. She shook her head.
"Ranzkin, do you wish to use the power of Immunity and remove someone from the altar?"
"Very well. Everyone must vote again, for Ranzkin’s replacement. Christina may not be chosen."
Jewel (cyclops) voted for Dedrick.
Ranzkin (gnome) voted for Jewel.
Nessa (elf) voted for Jewel.
Dedrick (centaur) voted for Jewel.
Christina (vampire) voted for Dedrick.
Paige (zombie) voted for Nessa.
Snowshield announced, "Jewel, you have been placed on the altar with Paige. One of you will be sacrificed this week and leave the island."
Who will leave the island this week? Vote Contestant 1 for Paige the Zombie or vote Contestant 2 for Jewel the Cyclops. Vote Now.
Writer for Soldak
Last edited by Delilah Rehm : 02-07-2009 at 12:00 AM. Reason: forgot to bold episode name
Still need 1 vote for Jewel or 2 votes for Paige. I hope some of you vote while I sleep so I can get started on the next episode when I wake up tomorrow.
Writer for Soldak