44 posts in this topic

The camp cornered Kaniae Moreau. "We know you're the last Forgotten!" shouted Elysian. "Just give it up already." added Tria Noche.

Kaniae scowled. "Humans, always so unpredictable. Do you really think you've won? We've decimated your numbers. What can six survivors do against an army of Forgotten?"

"We'll adapt and learn, just like we always have." spoke Evan Wallace. A random bystander nodded silently, head down in her book.

"We'll fight on till our last breath!" argued Tia Vuur.

"And when all is said and done, we'll desecrate your corpses." whispered the Servant of the Mad God.

With no way out, Kaniae sighed. "I accept my defeat." Her body writhed, and exploded in a mass of chalklings. The survivors had won this battle. Now, it was time to win the war.

Vote Count:
Devotary of Spontaneity (5): Gears, Archer, Burnt Spaghetti, Araris Valerian, Mist
Gears (1): Devotary of Spontaneity

Devotary of Spontaneity was court-martialed. She was a Forgotten.

The Rithmatists and Non-Rithmatist have won!

Items Taken:

Spoiler
  • Gears took a Piece of Chalk
  • Mist took a Piece of Chalk
  • Archer took a Bucket of Acid

Final Camp Supply:

  Hide contents
  • 11 Pieces of Chalk
  • 7 Buckets of Acid
  • 8 Bribes
  • 17 Spring-Powered Crabs
  • 1 Map
  • 2 Lanterns
  • 3 Pieces of Rainbow Chalk
  • 1 Book of Vigor
  • 1 Book of Silencing

Player List:

  Hide contents
  1. @Gears : Servant of the Mad God Rithmatist
  2. Quinn0928 : Nicole Cooper Rithmatist
  3. Ashbringer : Faleast Rithmatist
  4. Lotus : Daughter of the Prime forest Forgotten
  5. Flyingbooks Forgotten
  6. @Archer : Evan Wallace Non-Rithmatist
  7. @Burnt Spaghetti : Tia Vuur Rithmatist
  8. Ventyl : Shimamura Sakura Rithmatist
  9. The Unknown Order : Atreco Tel Forgotten
  10. @Araris Valerian : Elysian Rithmatist
  11. StrikerEZ : Frederick Kerr Rithmatist
  12. Alvron : Blackbane Rithmatist
  13. Shard of Reading Rithmatist
  14. @Random Bystander Rithmatist
  15. Illwei Rithmatist
  16. TJ Shade Rithmatist
  17. Condensation : Connie Forgotten
  18. Devotary of Spontaneity : Kaniae Moreau Forgotten
  19. Kasimir : Duncan Kerr Rithmatist
  20. Matrim's Dice: Joshua Rithmatist
  21. STINK : Respected Madman Thief
  22. @Mist : Tria Noche Rithmatist
  23. Dannex Rithmatist
Edited by Sart
Fix gender
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Well, I died early, but I enjoyed watching from the dead doc. Well played village, this was one of the best non-meta/mechanical analysis games I’ve witnessed.

Maybe I’ll have more thoughts after reading the elim doc, I dunno.

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I'm sad I died C2, but yes, well played! This is the first village game I've ever won even though I had nothing to do with us actually winning

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Yay! Congrats to all on a good game! Too bad I didn’t get to live to see it’s end :P

Anyways, prepare yourselves for a tear jerking 1000+ RP soon. I’ll post it as soon as I finish it, so get ready!

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Some time later. 

They had a nice garden, this – Evan looked down, checking the address on letter in front of him – Hougetsu. Flowers lined the walkway up to their door, reds, blues, and whites just starting to bloom.

He had practiced what he was going to say on the journey to Japan. Shimamura was brave. They were caring. They were…

He paused as he pictured the response. Sobbing. Screams. And questions. How did they die, Evan? How did they die?

They had a nice doormat too. It wasn’t well worn. He wondered if they got many visitors.

Evan stood still for a minute. It started to rain. No, that was just tears falling on the page. The sun was starting to set. How long had he been standing there?

Inside the house, he heard a thump. The boy made a snap decision.

Ding dong. Ding dong.

He was out of the garden and up the street by the second ding. Sakura’s letter lay on the mat, waiting to be found.

***

A week later, a different letter arrived in the mailbox of Ms. Emilia Wallace.

Hey mom.

I made it to the front lines. The people there are nice, but I didn’t find Dad. There was a problem with the defence and people kept

I’m okay though. We went to an old building that had supplies. I found a map. It had a spot circled on it that we never ended up going to, further away from the fighting.

Mom, I know what his circles look like. I know Dad marked this map. I need to follow it. I’m going back now to pick up the trail. They gave me money so I’ve bought some better gear this time. I’ll write you when I can.

One more thing.

There was something else in the envelope. A photo. Not old and smeared, no, though it bore a striking resemblance to the one Evan still carried in the pocket over his heart. It was a young man in a crimson coat, posing with a vial of acid and a spring-powered crab.

I paid a man at the station to take this. Hang on to it for me? I

Evan had hesitated before he wrote the last line. There was a smudge where he’d lifted his pen before finishing the sentence.

I don’t want to become forgotten.

All my love. Evan.

***

General Notes:

-Woo hoo! Thank you for running this, Sart. I initially thought that four elims would be enough to balance, but it worked out with five, so that was ultimately a good choice. In retrospect, the ability to scan or NKs was a big boost for the village, especially near the end.

-I enjoyed playing my role. The restriction to only being able to teach at night was a good addition. I also liked that it wasn’t a death sentence if I told the wrong person (or the whole group), as the possibility of conversion provided some incentive to not NK me. I’m kicking myself that I was duped into teaching two elims, but that’s how it goes sometimes.

-Speaking of which, Flyingbooks grabbing the Shadowblaze was a fabulous gambit. I was certain they were village.

-Lotus grabbing the gun to kill someone as they died was also a clever move.

-Apologies for shooting you Ventyl. That was a combination of you having a similar playstyle to what many of the elims were doing and me making a bad call when I felt pressure to use the item before I was converted. (I’m happy I didn’t end up shooting Araris though. Wow did I flip flop on them a lot throughout the game)

-Devo, I respect you submitting the NK last night and not switching to just playing like a villager. You and the rest of the elim team played a good game. It's always nice to see a long elim doc. 

-Thanks for posting your notes, Kas. They were very helpful!

-I much enjoyed dueling people in PMs. You know who you are.

-This whole game is still less pages than QF50. Ha.

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What I was planning on posting before I was killed:

 

Faleast lowered a trembling hand to the ground. It had been a gambit, learning to sketch Revocation lines. They were new even to the world of Rithmatics, and tended to be rather... frowned upon in existence, even if he had no Rithmatic abilities at the time. Time to see if it had paid off.

Weren't we doing something else? Something pirate-y? AraRaash asked. 

"Fairly certain you gave yourself an eye infection from wearing an eyepatch all day," Faleast whispered. "Or will give yourself. However time works."

That's... not how that works. That's essentially the opposite of how that works. But I'm not allowed to break the fourth wall on that one. Medical records and all that. Can't have me given away.

Faleast had a brief chuckle at the thought of anyone "allowing" AraRaash to do something. There were only... what, five people that he actually listened to. One was dead, one was missing, two were Shards, and one was... something more than that.

Suddenly he wasn't chuckling as much.

"Anyway... here it goes," Faleast said.

He didn't start with the traditional Line of Vigor. It didn't feel... right. Plus he already had some idea what he was supposed to, thanks to the arena those months ago. So, he drew a chalkling. A mistwraith chalkling.

Mistwraiths, in a way, were easy to draw, because it was almost impossible to make a mistake. Any misdrawn line could just be an extra limb once properly shaded and given bones for structure. But Faleast was still quite careful, as he'd seen mistwraiths before, and he knew that for all their reputation they were not random. So he gave it a pair of heads, one on each "end" - one the head and neck of a horse mostly intact, the other a grotesquely beautiful combination of a boar's skull and human ribs. Along the sides, little skulls with their mandibles missing to act as eye sockets, for the primitive eyes mistwraiths had. And a series of legs, some long and spidery made from multiple interlocking femurs, some short and stubbly that split at the end from the humerus, radii, and ulna. And a few internal structural bones for good measure.

Faleast and AraRaash took a deep breath, then raised their chalk from the stone floor. Together.

The chalkling twitched. Then its legs found purchase on the surface, and it turned around to face its maker.

Faleast started blinking rapidly, and AraRaash let out a whoop. The combination of those actions probably looked ridiculous, but they didn't care.

Faleast ran over back to the group, excitement overcoming common sense. "Guys! I did it! I'm a Rithmatist, I found a Shadowblaze! I can draw lines now!"

He paused, chalk still triumphantly in the air.

"Why is everyone looking at me like that?"

 

 

Mission Accomplished :D

I have an idea for something else, too. Stay tuned.

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10 minutes ago, Ashbringer said:

Faleast had a brief chuckle at the thought of anyone "allowing" AraRaash to do something. There were only... what, five people that he actually listened to. One was dead, one was missing, two were Shards, and one was... something more than that.

Why is this the most interesting part for me? Even though I’m not quite getting all of these references...

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6 minutes ago, Ventyl said:

Why is this the most interesting part for me? Even though I’m not quite getting all of these references...

Yes I was about to say something about that- Ash, did you put in some foreshadowing? That’s awesome.

Edited by Matrim's Dice
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29 minutes ago, Sart said:

A random bystander nodded silently, head down in his book.

I'm a girl... Why does everyone think that I'm a boy? I am so confused.

Also, yay! We won!

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I just want to say that I really had a blast playing this game. Even if I do wish I'd actually gotten a chance to use some of the items and stuff I'd hoarded up, it was really fun PM spidering and doing stuff like that. And while I can understand why everyone thought I was suspicious...I also want to know why people kept thinking I was suspicious. :P

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Thanks for running this game, Sart. It was fun, and I don't regret jumping in despite burnout from AG7. I had good memories from MR3 that I didn't want to disturb, and I'm happy to say I have some good ones from this game too :)

I also appreciated Wyrm's permission to borrow Wyatt in order to play a traumatised veteran from first Nebrask, though I apologise for not RPing as much as I had initially planned, particularly with Striker. Was also fun joining Alv in a game again!

Devo, it was a good game, and maybe someday things will align and we really will be on the same team (please, Village, please, Village...)

Burnt, enjoyed our PM even if we were both kinda dead :P

After this game - I'm glad I backed down on Araris, and feel a little regret for not listening to my gut on Striker, though my gut has betrayed me before (et tu, Wyrm?) and I've never dared to trust it since - I feel like I've got a better handle on identifying Village Araris now, since I've done that thrice. At the same time, I feel like saying this puts a target on my back in any game with Evil Araris, and also is just begging RNGesus to make me Evil with Araris some day :P Ah, well.

Nice working with you again, Dark Bro ;) And great working with you, Araris. I was joking in a few OOG DMs that you must be Evil since we seldom worked together without bickering in past SE games, much less applied the same reasoning on each other! 

I feel like this game on my part was a case in point of what Wyrm and I always say - dying isn't the problem. Dying meaningfully for your team is. I wouldn't say my death was pivotal but I think it helped give Araris a nudge in the necessary direction, which was good, since I might've mucked things up more while alive. The Laidback!Kas thing was a wash by N4 or N5, but to be fair, I'd expected to get NKed by that point because of my early votes on the Connie and TUO trains, so I figured I might as well go all out and help where I could, to try to leave the Village in a better position when I died.

...As that turned out, it took a while.

Have some RP too that I'll probably drop if I have the time. Good game everyone, excellent job to Team Rithmatist, and you did well, Forgotten! Bamboozled me quite a few times.

P.S. I got a chuckle over the 2 Chalk mystery - basically, I was preparing to set up LG74, and was in the middle of the work week from hell. The spreadsheet hasn't been updated on the inventory front at all, and I didn't track Gears' claims, and in retrospect, maybe I was better off not even showing the inventory column :P 

Edited to add: Oof. Nice working with you as well, @Archer :P I admit I paranoided about you the cycle I died in my PM with Araris, but glad to see we were still the same team after all.

Edited by Kasimir
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Shimamura Hougetsu had still not become used to Adachi—No, Sakura’s absence. It’d been three years since she’d departed for the American Isles to undergo Rithmatic training at one of their prestigious academies. Three years Hougetsu had spent by her lonesome, with the only traces of her spirited lover being the trinkets they’d gathered from years spent together and the young girl they had adopted two years before she’d left.

The large home they’d worked so hard to come by felt empty. Hougetsu’s footsteps and humming echoed off its walls and corners. She kept the small garden out front ornately manicured, hiding the ugly interior—herself. She felt empty. She’d grown so used to Sakura always being by her side, that with her no longer here, her life had grown bland and colorless.

Against her best wishes, Hougetsu often found herself jumping in excitement at any knock on the front door. Her heart would begin to beat faster, praying that against all odds, her wife would return home. Her heart was often disappointed.

Nevertheless, as she cleaned every corner of the solemn house, she still hoped.

—o—

Shimamura Yuu drew a Line of Vigor, aimed directly at the weak spot in her opponent's defense. How sloppy. She thought, laughing at her opponents sad attempt at an Eskridge Defense. Compared to her own Shoaff, it was like a hound at her heels. 

Yuu hoped that when she was finally able to follow her mother to America, she’d find better opponents. Surely she would, the Isles were known for their amazing Rithmatic schools, boasting eight large schools. Her home country, Japan, had two.

Nevertheless, her opponent's Line of Warding was breached. 

This would be her fourth consecutive victory at the tournament held in Kyoto every year. Yuu was considered a prodigy, just like her mother was. She had a natural talent for Rithmatics, but that could only take her so far. Her professor often told her, “In America, things will be different. You won’t be the only prodigy.”

Yuu hoped that was true, because fighting the same half-wit Rithmatist every year was getting repetitive. And so was her other mom’s constant complaints. 

Shimamura Hougetsu did not approve of Yuu’senthusiasm for Rithmatics. Her actions spoke louder than her words, however, as she still paid for the train fee from Tokyo to Kyoto every year. 

“Where’s your mother, Yuu?” Professor Takagachi asked, adjusting his glasses and grey bangs as he watched the girl walk away from her crying opponent. 

“Not here,” She replied matter-of-factly. Despite paying to bring Yuu here, her mother had stopped coming to her matches years ago. When it’d become apparent that regardless of whom she dueled, Yuu would win. “You know how she is, professor. Always saying, ‘You don’t need to follow after your mother!’”

He grumbled in something that could almost be called agreement and began to walk alongside her. Here we go again, she grimaced. Time for another one of his critic sessions. 

“Your nine-point was off,” He started, glancing at her. “The space between ellipses six and seven was too wide. If your opponent had been able to see it, you’d have been in his position in a matter of minutes.”

“It’s hard to take the criticism seriously,” She sighed, turning away and giving an off handed wave. “When none of my enemies ever take advantage of the things you point out. Are you sure you can’t convince my mother to let me go to America?”

The sounds of onlookers and paper-writers, hoping to get a peek at the sixteen-year old Rithmatic prodigy, covered up the annoyed grunt the professor gave in response. The man had long tried to persuade Shimamura to let her daughter attend one of the American universities, and each time he was given the same answer: ‘no.’

When the teacher and student broke out of the excited mass and into the fresh spring air, they hurried down the steps of the arena. It was always best to get away quickly from these events, or else Yuu would be bogged down with the reporters questions. And it wasn’t until she piled herself into the back seat of the professor’s car that he answered her with more than a grumble and a wave.

“You know I’ve tried, kid,” He said, starting the car—brought over from the American Isles. “But she has her reasons for not letting you go, you know. You’re mother doesn’t want you to leave, especially not when Sakura has yet to return.”

It’d been seven years since her second mother left for America. Seven years since Yuu had become fascinated with the one thing the woman she’d barely known left her. Rithmatics. Yuu had since spent five of those years dedicating her life to the Rithmatic arts, in a false hope that if she became good enough, she’d be able to travel east and prove her worth. And here she was, the best Rithmatist in Japan and no closer to leaving for America.

An hour or so later, the professor dropped her off at the station. It didn’t take Yuu long to find her mother. The women stood out everywhere she went, her hair a light brown against a sea of black. When she’d asked why her mother kept it dyed, the only response she received was; ‘She liked it this way.’

Yuu found it silly. Then again who was she to talk?

“How did it go?” The woman asked, bending down to grab her suitcase—similar to the one Yuu herself rolled behind her.

“Another win!” The girl replied, raising her fist anti-climatically. Her fake enthusiasm brought a slight grin to her mother’s face. She might not have approved of her endeavor in Rithmatics, but she did approve in comedy. “Though, is that really a surprise?”

“No… I suppose it’s not.” She mumbled.

—o—

When they finally got back to Tokyo, Yuu caught sight of a man hurriedly walking away from the front door of her home. She sprinted the last leg to her house, but by the time she got there, the man was too far gone. Shaking her head at the oddity, she walked past the small garden, the red, blue, and white flowers overshadowed by the now blooming sakura tree. 

She climbed up the last step and saw a letter resting on the doormat. It was addressed to her mother, the one in Japan at least. Yuu picked it up and slid open the door. Setting the letter down on the table in the awning, she hurried up to her room and began to settle back in. 

It wouldn’t be long before she’d have to start preparing for the next tournament, she wasn’t going to miss out on a chance to relax. Even for a moment.

—o—

Hougetsu sent down the letter with her name written on it in elaborately drawn kanji. She knew the handwriting as if it was her own, regardless that the last time she’d seen it was almost four years ago. When she’d last received a letter from her wife. 

That letter had detailed that Sakura had finally been able to head to Nebrask. That she’d won a tournament they called The Melee in America. It’d also said that she didn’t know when she was going to return, that she most likely wouldn’t be able to write letters every month anymore. It had turned out she hadn’t been able to write any at all. 

Yet, here this letter was. Hougetsu broke the wax seal, the same one they’d used to officiate their marriage, and opened the envelope.

As she read, tears began to flow, staining the dark ink.

—o—

Dear my beloved Hougetsu,

If you’re reading this, I am dead. Accused of a crime I did not commit, the soldiers I’ve fought alongside with for the past three years have executed me. Whether by lawful means or not, I do not know. They, however, are not to blame. No, my death is the work of the Forgotten. A group that infiltrated this camp in Nebrask. In our search to root them out, I committed grave sins. I sealed the fate of death to an innocent man, I failed to keep another from the same fate, and I stood by while a third was convicted wrongly. These missteps are what led to my orderly demise. At least these men have hopefully given me the mercy to deliver this letter. For that, I am grateful. 

I ask you one thing, dear: do not come for my body. You will not find it. It will most likely be buried deep in the forests of this cursed island, most likely overrun by the wild chalking which roam here. If, however, you do come. I ask that you do not hate these men. They are guilty of the same sins as I, and if you were to hate them, it’d be the same as hating me. I would regret that.

Just as I regret that I will leave you alone. That I will not see our daughter grow up. That I will not die in your arms, but to the threads of a noose. That I will not be able to hold you and tell you “I love you” when you look like you need to be told so. I regret that I will plague your memories when you should be looking towards the future with hope.

Though I regret these things, I do not regret leaving Japan for the American Isles, to fight in this war with hope to alleviate the suffering of this nation. I do not regret learning to be a Rithmatist, to create life with white dust scratched onto the earth. I do not regret meeting you, to fall in love with a girl who kept everyone at arm's length. 

And so, I ask you not to regret them either.

With love,
Your wife, Adachi
Shimamura Sakura

 

Edited by Ventyl
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This game was very fun. Thank you @Sart for running it! I greatly enjoyed my PM with @Kasimir, who also provided enough pressure on me to keep me engaged in the game later on.

I just skimmed the dead doc and apologize for any stress I caused during D8 with my very erratic voting and tinfoiling about Archer. I was sort of busy that day but also trying to skim over everything to make sure I’d accounted for the possibilities. I guess my motto is “act first, fix mistakes later”.

I’m not sure if I have too much to say about the rules or the distribution, since the game played itself out very nicely. I was getting a little paranoid at the end that an elim had started with Rainbow Chalk, which I think goes to show that the rules has enough flexibility to make it difficult to 100% mechanically solve the game. I’ll definitely be interested to play this ruleset again if Sart plans to GM it I. The future.

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Fun game guys :P. Cool to have a village win, and I also enjoyed the completely forgotten-free PM group :P.

...

I- I read through the doc...

there- there was no reasons for killing me besides me voting on Connie? ;-; sadge

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The Servant of the Mad God watched as the last Forgotten fell apart, gathering up its stray Chalklings as it went. Perhaps he could fashion something from them, a companion of some sort. Some flavor of Faithful Hound, perhaps a... Friendly Shadow? Yes, wonderful. He began shaping the corpses he had gathered from the Forgotten, mixing them with madness and chalk dust. A hint of blood, a touch of bone, and it was done. A new pet, a twisted horror monster thing that ripped at the edges of reality. Beautiful.

He marched threw the gaps of reality, chasing the tether of Connection homewards. After a long, cold journey through the space between stars, he arrived. There was the Daughter, sitting in a field clinging to the Life she had forsaken. He let his Friendly Shadow run up to her, fondness etched into its eyes. Perhaps she would be horrified. Perhaps she would be pleased. He had made Life, after all. Horrific, monstrous Life, but Life nonetheless.


Kasimir's death was the downfall. Congrats to the elims, the Shadowblaze play was lovely. 

Now, I don't see an immediate mention of why I failed to grab Chalk D8. I am confused. Who LoV+-ed me? What happened? Actions are accounted for, yes? So how did it happen?

And now, quick responses to mentions of my name in the docs! [Future Gears here, not much to say...]

Quote

 

Future Gears! This is not a criticism about you. You’ve come so close, but why stop or go off on a different tangent? :/ I just want the village to winnnn bah -.-

I got there eventually. Besides, the Shadowblaze play did color my perceptions a tad. 

To the elims: You really should have killed me sooner. Me having chalk was apparently a curveball for some reason. Never depend on someone else's spreadsheet! 

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On that note, elims is an anagram of slime, so I think we should kill people like they do on the Nickelodian Kids Choice Awards. 

Right, uh, forgot about this bit. Was going to edit it in, but this is from one of my group pms-

@Archer...

what do you mean "Like they do on the Nickelodian Kids Choice Awards." ? Because I was unaware that was something that happened? :P.

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57 minutes ago, StrikerEZ said:

I just want to say that I really had a blast playing this game. Even if I do wish I'd actually gotten a chance to use some of the items and stuff I'd hoarded up, it was really fun PM spidering and doing stuff like that. And while I can understand why everyone thought I was suspicious...I also want to know why people kept thinking I was suspicious. :P

You were kind of, helpful? Like, if we compare you to a strong village read like Devo, they're all tight lipped and wary whereas you were like, go team! Happy to help!! (That is honestly the thought process I went through. You'll note I didn't actually vote for you because of it, but I came closer to it than I'd like to admit.)

11 minutes ago, Gears said:

And now, quick responses to mentions of my name in the docs! [Future Gears here, not much to say...]

TUO called your ISO annoying in the dead doc. That's high praise

2 minutes ago, Illwei said:

On that note, elims is an anagram of slime, so I think we should kill people like they do on the Nickelodian Kids Choice Awards. 

what do you mean "Like they do on the Nickelodian Kids Choice Awards." ? Because I was unaware that was something that happened? :P.

To clarify, I wasn't condoning the deaths. I'm not a monster

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Alv, we didn't try to pass the SB to Archer because everyone would know Archer was evil when he wasn't able to teach anyone a specialisation and Books would have been implicated. It turned out not to matter who we gave it to because Ash got lucky and stole it first.

1 hour ago, Kasimir said:

Devo, it was a good game, and maybe someday things will align and we really will be on the same team (please, Village, please, Village...)

P.S. I got a chuckle over the 2 Chalk mystery - basically, I was preparing to set up LG74, and was in the middle of the work week from hell. The spreadsheet hasn't been updated on the inventory front at all, and I didn't track Gears' claims, and in retrospect, maybe I was better off not even showing the inventory column :P

It looks like we have been on the same team before; QF 29. The elims won that game without losing a single player.

I was not trying to lie when I said that you only had one chalk when you died. I had counted every entry in your spreadsheet, including the duplicate turns, and got the wrong number.

29 minutes ago, Gears said:

Kasimir's death was the downfall. Congrats to the elims, the Shadowblaze play was lovely. 

Now, I don't see an immediate mention of why I failed to grab Chalk D8. I am confused. Who LoV+-ed me? What happened? Actions are accounted for, yes? So how did it happen?

We were afraid that Kas was going to scan me, which would have been bad since I submitted the kill that cycle. Killing you that turn wouldn't have been helpful since Ruby drawing a LoW would be confirmable without your scan.

Books did LoV+ you that turn. An unfortunate amount of planning took place in PMs instead of the doc because we procrastinated on picking actions/telling each other about them.

 

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14 minutes ago, Devotary of Spontaneity said:

We were afraid that Kas was going to scan me, which would have been bad since I submitted the kill that cycle. Killing you that turn wouldn't have been helpful since Ruby drawing a LoW would be confirmable without your scan.

Actually, I wasn't going to scan you. I had considered putting in an order on Books, but eventually decided to go for Mist in the hopes discrepancies in Books's reporting would be cleared up by what we knew of the actions. Burnt's confusion just seemed too genuine to my gut to be Evil. Didn't turn out to matter, anyway. Or rather, it turned out okay I guess. I was paranoiding about Books because your reasoning on Books didn't seem quite right to me, so I was PMing Araris in the hopes that having been Evil with Books recently, he could help watch his former teammate.

16 minutes ago, Devotary of Spontaneity said:

It looks like we have been on the same team before; QF 29. The elims won that game without losing a single player.

I remember. It was a good game by my standards - we RPed so intensively and I didn't break character even once. I should've paired up with you, but didn't. Oh well.

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1 hour ago, Kasimir said:

though I apologise for not RPing as much as I had initially planned, particularly with Striker.

You definitely don't need to apologize for this. I definitely didn't RP as much as I'd been planning to either. :P

33 minutes ago, Archer said:

You were kind of, helpful? Like, if we compare you to a strong village read like Devo, they're all tight lipped and wary whereas you were like, go team! Happy to help!! (That is honestly the thought process I went through. You'll note I didn't actually vote for you because of it, but I came closer to it than I'd like to admit.)

Helpful by default? Almost? I guess I did end up helping by causing a whole lot of discussion around myself, which people could analyze or something. :P

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Hopefully this game will end my insane elim streak

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3 minutes ago, Lotus said:

Hopefully this game will end my insane elim streak

What's your elim streak at so far?

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Thank you, Sart for running this game! I know I wasn't very active in this game and I apologise for that, had a bunch of irl dramas going on in my life keeping me busy and distracted. So I apologise if my lack of thread and pm presence was frustrating to anyone.  This was a cool game though, even though the chalklings never broke our defences i really liked that mechanic as it ate through village resources and time. I like

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THE FINAL NIGHT

They came for him. 

Duncan Kerr had not expected otherwise. The thought was strangely clinical; detached, almost. Since that first tour on Nebrask, he had been living on borrowed time.

The rest of his squad had fallen. Rlint, Dig, Matt, Aaron Roddy, Tavi, Aaron… Rlint, the brave officer who should’ve stayed home. Nebrask was no place for a non-Rithmatist, but Rlint had done his duty all the same. He’d carried the acid buckets and watched the rest of the squad. 

Rlint, betrayed and murdered. Dig, crumpled and bleeding where the shovel had struck him on the head, in the last hole he would ever dig. Brave Tavi, who’d said little, but had still fought, and it’d been Duncan’s hands which held the chalk, which drew the Lines of Silencing. It had been Duncan who kept watch, that night Matt was knifed by Kessen. It had been Duncan who had believed, who had wanted…

What had he wanted?

Belonging, he supposed. He was lost: a young Rithmatist freshly graduated from the Academy and sent to the frontlines on Nebrask. He was alone.

Wyatt had been a rock. He knew what to do; the squad deferred to him, except perhaps Matt. But Matt had been dead that first night, and the more Duncan turned the memories over in his head, examining them as though they were frozen in amber, the more he understood. Matt had been vocal. Matt had been a threat. And so Wyatt had removed him, to assume control of the squad.

And Duncan had fallen in.

What else would he have done? Matt had guided him, instructed him. Rlint had drank with him, some nights, as they held mugs of hot coffee against the chill of the incessant night rains. He took comfort from Dig’s presence. And Kessen had sparred with him, pitting his merciless quickness against the iron wall of Duncan’s defences.

But more than anything, Wyatt had taken him in. He’d seen a lost young Rithmatist, so green you could smell the sap, and he’d mentored Duncan. He’d taught Duncan a few quick and dirty ways for putting up defences, on nights when the wild chalklings swarmed and the most you could do was to redraw the same brutally simple lines again and again, rather than any of the more elegant strategies they’d taught in the Academy. He’d taught Duncan to get to his feet, stamp about, and walk a little on late watches, so he didn’t fall asleep. He’d taught Duncan aggression in duels, and Duncan had leaned so much on Wyatt’s dry but sharp sense of humour.

“Orders from the CO,” Wyatt had said. “Kingswright needs us to move against Dig tonight.” He was leaning on the doorframe. “Kessen, you good?”

Kessen nodded. Tory was silent, but indicated his readiness.

“Duncan?”

He liked Dig. 

But they were all looking at him, expectantly. Something in Duncan folded. Orders from the CO, Wyatt had said. “Yeah,” he said. “I’m good.”

Wyatt nodded, and some of the tension in the room seemed to relax, perceptibly. “Good man,” he said. “We’re doing what needs to be done. Enough men like you, and the chalklings will never breach this line until our replacements come.”

⤝⥁⤞

Kessen and Tory he had killed himself. Duncan did not think he regretted it. He’d snuck into the bunk, and then slit their throats in their sleep. 

Cold work, and he felt nothing as the blood spurted.

They were already dead, he told himself. They were taken. Forgotten.

But then he moved over to Wyatt, and he hesitated.

Wyatt opened his eyes. Charcoal blackness.

Wyatt smiled.

⤝⥁⤞

Disgraced. Fallen. Brother-killer.

Duncan knelt with his back to the wall and began to sketch the outlines of the Blad Defence. It was less prepared than he’d wanted it to be. He hadn’t had enough time, having dashed out an intricate chalkling with a Line of Making and sent it to spy on Tria Noche. It was a hummingbird, the sort he’d seen once on Nebrask.

It had been a clear morning, and the hummingbird was darting among the flowers. Chase had laughed when he’d pointed it out, and he couldn’t remember much of that day, but for the iridescent feathers of the hummingbird, pristine and untouched. Each feather seemed to glow in the various rainbow shades of the chalk, and he let out a long breath he didn’t realise he’d been holding as he set it free.

The hummingbird flapped its wings and departed.

He’d hesitated about that. Considered hiding again behind another Line of Forbiddance. If he used the time, he could make his defences as solid as an iron wall. Iron Duncan, they’d called him, back at the Academy, in his heyday.

He was so far from the Academy now, and so very lost. And his hands were shaking and he badly, badly wanted a drink. Wouldn’t get one, though. Not until the night was over.

“You knew this was coming,” Wyatt whispered. 

“I know,” Duncan said. “I know.”

It was a good place to stand his ground, with his back to the wall. At least his back was secure, and the Blad Defence let him take advantage of the natural barrier. He adapted it to account for that, concentrating his defences forward and to the sides.

“Risky,” Wyatt said. “I thought I taught you better than that.”

Duncan smiled. It was the wan ghost of a smile. He ached too much to feel it.

“You did,” he said. “I guess I’ve picked up some bad habits in the years.” 

Matt had taught him this one. It seemed fitting that Duncan fall back on what that man had taught him, this night.

“Oh,” Duncan breathed, quietly, as the Forgotten came for him.

He’d almost expected it. But he still felt the frisson of fear and surprise as Kaniae Moreau advanced on him, chalk in her hands.

“You know better, Duncan,” Wyatt said, sounding like the instructor and the mentor had once been. He clucked his tongue in disappointment. “Fear clouds the mind. Focus, or you’ll be too busy dying.”

Duncan took a deep breath and let it out. “I’ve been dying, anyway,” he said, shortly. “I’ve just been doing it the long way around.”

He knelt and pressed his chalk to the earth and drew.

He fought better: harder, quicker, more recklessly than he had in his life. And when the last of his defences were breached, and the wild chalklings swarmed him, Duncan thought he could see Wyatt looming over him, shaking his head.

“Disappointing,” said the Forgotten. “I expected more from you.”

⤝⥁⤞

Duncan Kerr opened his eyes.

The long grasses of Nebrask swayed in the gentle breeze, golden in the last of the light. The sky overhead was still a clear, bright blue, the sort that promised kind days and gentle nights, the kind to welcome home lost sons. And Duncan Kerr had been lost for a very long time.

He blinked, and the pain was gone. So was the fear. And the tiredness.

He looked at himself. His Rithmatist coat was cleaned, pressed, as though he had just left the barracks. His boots were worn, though, and his chalk was missing.

What had happened?

“You took your time,” said a voice, one Duncan had never expected to hear again. “Personally, I think it’s better this way.”

Matt held out a hand to him.

Duncan stared up at him, bewildered. It had been so long.

It had been so long.

He didn’t remember what it was like to live without that ache in his chest. Without the ever-present guilt. Without the shade of Wyatt, haunting him forever. Without the bloodstained knowledge of what he’d done on that first tour on Nebrask.

Matt frowned down at him. “You do remember me, don’t you?”

“Yeah, I just…” Duncan hesitated. “I just…”

The Duncan he had been and the Duncan he was now collided and he couldn’t seem to pick his way between the two of them.

“You held up well,” Matt said, and something in Duncan’s heart cracked, and he was both: the raw recruit who had looked up to Matt and Wyatt, and the old Nebrask veteran who wanted nothing more than to atone for the mistakes of the past.

He was on his knees again. “I’m sorry,” he whispered, hoarsely. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I let them use me, and I did it, I stood watch, I drew the lines, and—”

“You weren’t the only one taken in by Wyatt,” Matt said, and his firm hands closed on Duncan’s shoulders and drew him up to his feet. “Rlint was, too. He taught Wyatt the special lines he later passed on to you. Even Ronald believed him. And if not Wyatt, who would you have turned to? Kessen? Hardly any better.”

Matt clapped Duncan on the back. “You held out well,” he repeated. “You helped them. They’ll find the last of the Forgotten, and they’ll make it out alive. A squad for a squad. Strange how these things work, don’t they?”

Duncan squeezed his eyes tightly shut and could not speak.

“Yeah,” he whispered, at last. “Strange.”

The pain, the guilt, the shame, the trauma—he’d carried all of it for so long. It was a heavy stone weighted on his heart, and he did not know what to do with it. When he closed his eyes, he still saw Matt’s form, crumpled and bloodied. And when he opened them, the world blurred but Matt was alive.

“Come on,” Matt said. “Time to go.”

“Go?”

“Time to fall in.”

And then he saw them there, waiting at the edges of the field, where the swaying grasses gave way to the path to the barracks and the parade square. All of them, the old ones lost, and newer faces too, and Duncan struggled to draw breath.

Rlint, Aaron, Tavi, Aaron Roddy, but also TJ, Wei, and Frederick.

Frederick.

His brother smiled at him and waved.

The guilt was as a heavy stone. And for the first time in the long, painful march of the years, Duncan let it go. He set it aside and moved out from under it.

He took in a single breath. And then another. Marvelled at it, at how it felt. At how breath turned to the lightness of being. He’d forgotten what it was like to live without the guilt. Without the pain.

He was free.

“Come on, brother!” he thought he could hear Frederick calling out to him, across the rolling fields of gold.

Duncan laughed, and ran.

Duncan Kerr had been lost for a very long time.

He was coming home at long last.

⤝⥁⤞

finis

Edited by Kasimir
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