EPO: Cliffhanger - 1200 Words: Round 3 - 1200 Words

Published Apr 5, 2023, 2:07:42 AM UTC | Last updated Apr 5, 2023, 2:07:42 AM | Total Chapters 1

Story Summary

The final challenge will focus on environmental challenges during the battle. High winds roar across the crumbling stone structure that weaves back and forth across boiling hot springs and lava. Use your elemental abilities to keep yourself safe while you defeat your opponent! Avoid the elemental traps while you defeat your opponent with your elemental powers. 


You must depict your character, your opponent, and an elemental trap of your choice (for example high winds, crumbling stone, lava, etc)

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Chapter 1: Round 3 - 1200 Words

The ground rumbled under Tib’s feet as he hopped to the side, dancing between glassy spikes of his own design as steam erupted from the tumultuous ground. Drawing his tentacle close, Hazard nearly snapped himself in half to avoid another geyser spouting straight up his spine. 


 Dropping to all fours, the radiation beast ripped across the shifting ground, always keeping one eye on the sky traveler. 


Taking to the air at the sound of, “Go!” Tib felt a satisfied glow in seeing his opposition struggle to keep aloft between the fiery, raining rubble, and the intermittent wind shears pitching her around like a ragdoll - nevermind that those same winds made it impossible for Tib’s flames to reach her. 


So, even with the earth crumbling under his feet, he created a field of shards and fire, just waiting for one of those bursts to drive the green lady straight- 


Straight down! Down! Falling!


He scrabbled at the receding earth as the ground yawned, a chasm lit by molten rock gaping beneath him. Agony caused his vision to waver as superheated steam exploded past him, scalded skin burned twice as the fur on his back curled and blackened into embers. 


Between the burning pit below him, and the burning eye that awaited him if he failed - offering pitiless judgment and condemnation - he felt his claws start to retract, and he had to redouble his efforts to cling to the shifting wall. 




A red and green blur dropped onto the ledge, just out of Tib’s reach and flopped halfway over the edge to grab for her opponent’s slipping paws. But as he realized her intention, Tib’s eyes widened and he snarled and snapped at her hand. 




He already saw what she couldn’t - the raised, blotchy, red marks popping up on her palm. While his master beat the fear of using his power out of him, he still, some place deep in his faded memories, knew better. 


However, in a move that could only be described as perfectly selfless - and idiotic - the dunce ignored him. 


Reaching past his gnashing teeth, she grabbed his collar and attempted to haul him up. Even over the screech of combating elements, he heard her skin hiss and bubble, the individual cells dying by proximity to him!


“PUT ME DOWN!” he screeched, swiping at her, “I’LL KILL YOU!” 


The red marks on her hands swelling into boils, the half-orc gritted her teeth, froth forming at the corners of her lips. 


“SAVE IT!” she roared, spittle flecking Tib’s face and causing him to flinch, before rocking up onto her feet and pitching him away from the earth’s volatile maw. 


With a crunch, and the tinkling of broken glass, Tib bounced off his back and rolled onto his feet, wincing as slivers of glass embedded in his shoulders, working between skin and muscle, splitting meat and fraying nerves. Thick globules of green plopped onto the black rock beneath his feet, sputtering and smoking as they jiggled, more like a gel than blood. 


Why did she do that? Why did she do that?! Why did she DO that?! How stupid could one person be?!


A mini-quake rocked the landscape. The radioactive gerboa-being crouched to keep his balance. The green-skinned fool fell, crying out as the bone of her hip met the floor with a painful slap. 


As Apirka grabbed at the joint, eyes streaming, an irritated tail spasm hid Tib’s flinch. He eyed the split in her lip, not from the fall, but from the boils. Yellow-clear liquid ruptured her skin, leaving pockmarks as it continued to drain. He didn’t want to kill her. She needed help.


He needed to end this.


The undead servant rocked back onto his feet and leveled his arm at her, his tendril whipping around and glowing brightly as a fountain of glass burst from his paw. 


Across the landscape, purple eyes flickered to him as his opponent struggled to stand, green, flaming shards shooting towards her with speed and precision unmatched. 


But, when her legs refused to carry her, she dropped her head and held up her hand. 


When he fought Evan Shimmer, Tib recalled his construct bouncing around like a hyperactive frog-beast. Apirka’s motions had been, up to this point, very similar; fast and twitchy, but predictable.


But the harpy hadn’t possessed the half-orc’s unrepentant audacity. 


Tib “Hazard” Gray’s instruments of destruction diverted skyward as a shriek filled the arena. Momentarily, ribbons of color wove together, descending from on high in a chaotic, perfect, dance, leaving the Hazard's jaw momentarily slack. 


But that glory was so short-lived.


The foot of the tornado-construct touched the ground, and forced both combatants to duck for cover as it pulled up not only the fiery glass shards, but loose rocks, molten smoke, boiling steam… All of it. Cries of panic came from the arena’s watchers as they clung onto their perches for dear life, struggling against the overwhelming current.


Claws raking against the ground, Tib struggled to find purchase. He looked up into the structure and gritted his teeth. She wasn’t going anywhere, but with this thing in the way…


Why did she persist? He had everything to lose, but what did she have to gain?


One of his paws came loose from its mooring, and he lost track of his thoughts as his broken claws struggled to find their anchor. 


It… It had a core! A rush of confidence filled his chest as his synapses connected. The thing could be stopped! He just had to…!


With a manic laugh, he let go. 


The construct sucked him in instantly, and it took everything in his power to keep his head on straight. 


where, Where, WHERE? 


The air ripping from his lungs was no problem for an undead being, but the blackout smoke, choking heat, and rocks whirling by put urgency in his chest as he looked for the telltale flicker of silver.


Suddenly, without warning, there was a flash of light. 


It was… cool… and blue… and so… peaceful… 


He didn’t register the shift in weight immediately. His softened, slowing ascent reached its peak, and the gentle rush of wind became a harrowing shriek as he plummeted back into violence and darkness.




Eyes blinking open, he found himself surrounded by white. Momentarily confused, he tipped his head to see a bed nearby, separated by a radiation-blocking screen. 


Ah… the fall didn’t kill me…


A stirring came from the neighboring bed and, while the screen obscured her face, she seemed alive too. 


“Sorry…” she croaked. “I… think I broke something when I fell. I didn’t know what else to do.” 


“Why are you apologizing?” Tib grumbled. “You just shot me into the sky. I’ve been through worse.” 


Her alarmed lurch almost made him laugh. The master wasn’t going to be pleased with this outcome, but… what was he supposed to do against a force of nature? No reason to worry about it. 

He laid his head back as a medic dressed in a hazmat suit came to check him. He looked at his reflection in the face-shield and pondered his three swollen eyes. 


That was almost… actually fun. Maybe he could do it again some time.

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