Calling all fic writers!

That’s correct, Cyber, except that Martha had stolen the map from the Heroes in the first place. Now, we just need to figure out how to explain the events Kyle added. But HEY, that’s the very idea of this story-game, no? 8P Oh, and note there are some things we still have to stablish:
Who hired the heroes?
What is it they’re looking for? Is it really just lost documents?
Why are spellcasters after it?
What is the green stone?
What do most of the characters look like?

Let’s continue…

“CORN!!” Ralph tried to scream, as he felt his friend’s hands tighten around his neck, choking him. He struggled, but Corn’s grip was too tight. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING??”
“He’s KILLING you!!” Harold laughed out hard. “You’ll DIE at the hands of your own partner!!”
“No! Corn!! W-Why?”
“He Can’t HELP it!” the undead knight continued. “You see, that’s one of my new powers: Total mind control!! Unfortunately, only on one person at a time! And I have you to ‘thank’ for it!!”
G-gassp “Why- are-you- doing this?? Take the- choke stupid map and- ggll leave us- ALONE!!”
“NO!” Harold shouted. He then walked up to the two of them, and Ralph suddenly detected the smell of burnt flesh. “This was JUST about the map” the necromancer spat out, “But now it’s PERSONAL! Because of you, my beloved and I died, and were trapped in Hell! Only because of my magic was I able to escape! And even then, I had to fight my way out! I defeated the Hell Lord in battle, and thus gained his powers!! But, my beloved Mirabella is still trapped in that foul place! I’ll get her back… but before I do, I’ll see you both die, as horribly as you killed us!!”

Ralph almost shouted back that THEY tried to kill him and his friend first, but realized it was pointless, and besides, he was starting to lose consciousness…

Harold once again laughed, that coarse, froglike laughter. Ralph thought: Is this the how it all ends??

And suddenly- an ARROW struck Harold in the chest!!
“W-WHAAT??” he screamed.

Everyone looked in the direction it had come from-

-and saw a whole squadron of ELVES, having just crawled out of the forest!!

Something I thought of to add to Wil’s list of things to establish: who are the other villains?

The leader of the elves looked irritated as he swept his gaze over them. “You have disrupted the harmony of our forest during the Festival of Creation. This is inexcusable.”

Harold stood gaping at them, the arrow more of a distraction than an actual hinderance to him. “H… how dare you…!” he hissed.

Elven warriors began to disperse themselves among the undead that were scattered around the clearing. With Harold distracted by his rage they began to wander aimlessly, except for the ones that had been given direct orders to take Martha to the tunnel. While the leader squared off against the self proclaimed king of the undead, his subordinates quickly took out his pawns.

Ralph was extremely grateful when they pried his friend off his throat. Corn struggled against them, still trying to kill the ranger. His was quickly and efficiently tied up. Before Ralph could thank his rescuers, he found himself undergoing the same treatment.

“Hey! What’s the big idea?!” he protested. “I’m one of the victims here!”

He was ignored in favour of the confrontation between their superior, and the man with an arrow through his chest.

The elf pushed back his green cloak to reveal an enchanted blade ready to be unsheathed.

“I am Tallen, son of Quar! You, who’s powers lie in Death, have chosen a place of Life as your battlefield. It was an unwise decision. Life blooms to its fullest this day, and so your power is lessened. Be gone from this land immediately, or you shall regret ever having left your lair!”

Martha was struggling against the skeletons who were dragging her away to the tunnel. “Let go of me you…you…freaks! Augh!” She started kicking at them and suddenly the green stone fell out her pocket. She grabbed it out of instinct, and the moment it touched her hand it began to pulse. The light inside it intensified and it began to grow warm in her hand. She would have released her from her hand, but it was locked around the smooth stone.

Both Tallen and Harold felt the pulses start and turned in surprise towards her. “What’s happening?” Tallen whispered. “What is this devilry?” Suddenly, there was a flash of green light which blinded everyone for a second. When it dimmed, the skeletons were ash, Harold was gone, and the elves lay unconcious on the forest floor. Both Ralph and Corn still stood upright, Corn shaking off the effects of the mind control looked slightly disorientated, but Ralph was fine and, after struggling out of his own bonds, untied him immediately.

Once that was done, they both turned to face Martha who was standing there, staring at the green stone in her hand. Corn and Ralph glanced at each other, then nodded and walked over to her. They shook her until she looked at them.

“Come on, we’d better head on,” Corn said. She nodded mutely and they set off, away from the forest.

Why did it deal something different to undead to another undead may I ask?
Why did the witch take Martha’s form?

I don’t know why the witch took Martha’s form, that wasn’t my idea, I thought of it as Martha being the witch, but Jade made it so that the witch was a shapeshifter. Not that I’m complaining, it’s fun. And Harold is much more powerful, so he was damaged but managed to escape. That’s what I think of it as, anyway. It’s open to interpretation.

I know the martha thing wasn’t yours but i thought the crystal made him disapear.

No, he is gone, not dissappeared. As in injured and ran away. Although, and this is important, you could have it another way, like he was sucked into it or something.

My guess is Mirabella (The witch) disguised herself as Martha so that a) people wouldn’t know she was in town and b) to try to scare the two heroes away from Martha, so she could then get her hands on the map. She didn’t intend to kill them at first, that would have attracted too much attention. She figured, if they think Martha is a spellcaster, they might run away. Didn’t work the way she planned.

As for the crystal’s powers, and why it affected different people different ways, I guess we’ll figure it out once we find out WHAT it is supposed to be.

Actually, I think the shapeshifter idea was originally Wil’s. I just went back to the ‘original’ Martha’s point of view 'cause I didn’t want her character to just disappear. We needed more women! :victoly:

Here’s the original shapeshifter thing…

Darkness Beckons: Ralph was also tied up, so how did he free himself to untie Corn?

The trio ran for a good time, until Ralph felt they were far away enough from the forest.

“Nobody’s following us” the young Ranger said. “I guess the Elves are just happy we left their precious forest. And hopefully, the ‘King of Hell’ was blasted away by- whatever this is” he said, looking at the green stone in his hand.
“Maybe, but we’d better keep on our toes, just in case” Corn noted.
“It’s getting dark. I’ll find us a spot to spend the night” Ralph said.
“Good” Martha said. “I’m tired AND hungry. What’s for dinner?”
The comment caused Ralph to snap. “DINNER? What makes you think we’ll feed YOU??”
“Hey, come on!!” Martha protested.
“It’s YOUR fault we lost our last campsite!!”
“WHAT?? NO it WASN"T!!” she shouted back.
“…That’s right, Ralph” Corn interjected. “Harold found me before you stumbled on Martha. Even if she hadn’t followed us, he probably would have found you, too.”
Ralph grumbled. " … Still, we wouldn’t be in this mess if not for her!!"
“Um, that’s not correct either. Harold and the Witch were after the map. They would have come after us, even if Martha hadn’t tried to steal our things.”
“See?” Martha laughed. “It’s YOU people who have put my life in danger! You OWE me your protection!!”
“No we don’t” Corn then said, turning to her. “We have saved you enough already. We’re dropping you in the next town we find, and you’ll STAY there, if we have to tie you down first!”
Martha gulped.
“Hey, Corn, check the map, and see where the closest town is” Ralph asked.

Suddenly Corn gasped.
“…What?” Ralph asked.
“…Umm… Harold took the map from me.”
“WHAT??” Ralph screamed. “GREAT! HOW are we going to find the site, then??”
Suddenly, Martha smiled. “I could take you there.”
“OH, no” Ralph snapped at her. “You’re NOT going to trick us again. How COULD you know where the map lead to?”
“I saw it when you unfurled it, back at the inn.”
“So? I saw it then, too. I can’t remember what it said. You’re not going to tell me YOU remember?”
“Yes, I do” she said, beaming.
“As if! Man, I can’t wait to be rid of- Corn, what is wrong?” Ralph said, noticing the expression on his blonde friend’s face.
“Um… Ralph…”
“No! No, Corn, don’t tell me-”
“…She’s not lying. I can tell.”
Ralph shook his head, knowing what was coming next.
“…We’re going to have to bring her along.”
“AARRGH!!!” Ralph screamed.
Martha laughed.

Jade: I thought he was being tied up when the flash knocked everyone out. Meh, I’ve changed it now.

Wil: Happy Grandfather’s day to you, grandfather of RPGC. I salute you. :enguard: :enguard: I also give you dancing ladies :dancer: :dancer: and a moogle :moogle: . Enjoy!

The three set up camp in a meadow set away from the forest. The built a small fire and hid it in a shallow pit in an attempt to keep away unwelcome attention. Martha sat in front of the fire, rolling the green stone about in her hand, wondering just what it was. Ralph stood watch, just in case anyone cared to attack them at night. Corn was stuck with the cooking, and he was stirring the stew as it simmered over the fire. He sipped it, then poured it out into three bowls for now and put the rest aside for the morning.

“Dinner’s ready.” The others came over and got theirs and they sat eating quietly for a while. Eventually, Ralph spoke up.

“Can anyone explain what happened back there to me please?”

Corn looked up at him and his eyes seemed slightly unfocused. “When I was under that creatures control, I don’t remember what my body did. My mind was sent somewhere else. What it didn’t consider was where I went. I was in his mind, and I saw quite a lot. Most of it has faded away now, but not what happened at the end. He understood something of what it was, though he suspected there was more to it than he knew. What happened was that Martha’s need started a reaction in it that harmed her enemies. It hurt him so badly, he was forced to flee completely. After that, I was back in my own body, so I don’t know where he is now.”

“Whooooaa, back up a minute. Do you mean that it was me who caused that?” Martha asked looking up.

“Yes. I don’t know why, but I know that’s what happened. Although it is possible that he didn’t know as much as he thought he did. But I think that’s what it was.”

“So what happens now? What do we do about this? Do I keep this?” she asked, holding up the glowing crystal.

“You keep it for now anyway. And right now, what I’m gonna do is go to sleep.” Saying that, he rolled over near the fire and dragged his cloak over him. Soon she heard his breathing grow deeper, and knew he was asleep. She looked over at Ralph to see what he was doing to find him staring at her.

“What? What do you want?”

“Be careful of that thing. You don’t know what it can do. Get some rest, you’ve got the last watch.” He realized she had nothing to cover herself with and threw her his cloak. “Goodnight.”

She watched him walk out until he was almost lost in the shadows, the followed Corns example and went quickly to sleep.

HEY! I’m not old enough to be anybody’s grandfather!!

FATHER, maybe, but not GRANDFATHER!

(And even then, I’d demand THREE Paternity Tests!!) (Hey, it worked for Mark Anthony!) :hahaha;

But kidding aside: Thanks for the Salute, DB!

OK, back to the story…

It took them a few more days of travel, but finally, on a cloudy morning, the trio arrived at their destination:

The Frontier.

It was an impressive sight. A mountain chain, separating two of the World’s mightiest nations. ((Wanted: NAMES for them.))

“…Not exactly enemies, but not exactly friends” Corn explained to his companions. Always suspicious of each other; peace only kept, thanks to careful diplomatic missions. But, the envoys must travel thru the dangerous mountain passes. Many of them suffer accidents, or are attacked by monsters or bandits."
“Is that what we’re looking for, then?” Ralph asked. “Diplomatic papers?”
“Could be. Our employer was not very forthcoming. It could be also business papers…”
“Or a spell scroll!” Martha added, giggling.

The heroes looked at her. They couldn’t believe she was taking all this so lightly.

Then again, she’d been like this ever since she activated the stone. That made Corn wonder: Could she have it? The gift for magic?

“Are you SURE this is the entrance?” Ralph asked her, as he looked worriedly down into a misty ravine.
“Oh, definitely!” the young brunette responded. “I tell you, I remember the map perfectly. It was a pathway thru the mountains, with an “x” marked in one spot. I suppose that must be where the courier vanished.”
“Any idea what happened to him?” Ralph asked Corn.
“None. I suppose we’ll soon find out…”
“Oh, stop being such a worry-wart, Ralph!” Martha interjected.
“I would be less worried if I didn’t know there are evil spellcasters looking for those ‘papers’. Even if Mirabella and Harold are dead- for good, I mean- there could be MORE people looking for them.”
“In that case” Corn suddenly said, “We’d better hurry.” And he began walking down into the ravine.

Ralph and Martha quickly followed.

As the trio walked carefully around the mist-shrouded rocks, Martha suddenly asked, “So… what do you guys call yourselves?”
“Eh?” Ralph said, surprised. “You know our names by now!”
“No, no!” she said. “I mean, what is your TEAM named?”
Ralph still looked confused.
“We don’t have a name” Corn explained.
“Oh, but you MUST!” she said, giggling. “ALL the famous mercenary teams have one. I know! I’ll name you. From now on, you’ll be-”

Wil, no problem, you clearly really wanted someone to congratulate you. Heh heh.

The three were camped just inside the pass between Odium and Obitus. Ralph and Corn sat by the wall while Martha slept peacefully on the ground a little way off.

“I can’t believe you let her-” Ralph said.

“I know,” Corn answered.

“I mean-”

“I know.”

“The Three Slayers! Come on. I could have come up with something better than that

I know! I didn’t mean to let but well, it seemed easiest to let it lie. We can always leave her afterwards. We don’t have to keep her or the name.”

“She’ll just follow. We’re going to have an annoying brat after us forever now. This is quite possibly the worst experience of my life.”

“Look I’m sorry OK. Let it lie. Anyway, her memory will be useful. At least we have that. Listen, I’m gonna do a bit of scouting, you stay here and mind the camp.”

Corn got up and started moving first toward the exit then, seeing nothing there, toward the other side. As he moved forwards, he began to hear voices from ahead.

“I’m tellin’ ya, I saw 'em. They’ll be this way tomorrow at the latest,” came an anxious voice.

“They better, or you’ll find yourself in trouble,” a more commanding voice said. Corn’s eyes widened as he realized they were talking about them. He started moving backwards when his boot kicked a stone. The sound of it’s landing echoed slightly.

“That’s them!” the anxious one shouted, now sounding triumphant. “I told ya, di’n’t I.”

Corn quickly scrambled to hide in the rocks before the strangers found him. It wasn’t easy; he was a Thief, not a Ranger, he wasn’t used to hiding in natural surroundings. Fortunately there were many large rocks in the gorge, and that ever-present mist. He squatted behind a rock and stayed very still, looking slightly over its side, trying to see the men looking for him.

He didn’t have to wait long. Two figures soon became visible thru the fog. One was a small man, almost a midget. His head was bald on top, with a little black hair on the sides. His expression was one of annoyance; didn’t look like a nice guy to Corn. His clothes were kind of expensive, tho. Definitely a City Slicker.

His companion was the opposite: a HUGE man- almost an ogre. Even his face muscles were thick, giving him a homely appearance. His clothes were humble, and the expression on his face was one of concern- probably worried about what his smaller companion, who seemed to be in charge, would say.

The two of them walked into the middle of the area, and looked all around them.

Corn held as still and silent as he could.

After a moment, the small man spoke:
“Well? Do you see anybody??”
“Umm… nope” the giant said.
“Bah! It was probably some small vermin scurring along the gravel. Serves me right for listening to a moron like you!”
“Hey!” the giant man protested, apparently hurt by the insult.
“What? Are you going to complain?? Don’t forget who is the Master here!!” the odious little man snapped.
“Uh, no, no…” the larger man said, recoiling. It was almost pathetic to watch, Corn thought.
“Come on! We need to keep searching!!” the little man continued to holler, his voice echoing in the gorge walls. The strangers then started walking, and soon disappeared into the mist.

Corn finally released a breath.
It looked like other people were looking for them, possibly for the lost papers too. He was starting to think that taking this job was a bad idea after all…

So, he turned around to return to where Ralph and Martha were, and then-

-he came face-to-tip with a drawn saber!

Corn gasped, as he saw the man who had been standing behind him. It was a handsome man, with long dark hair, and a pencil-thin moustache. He smiled wickedly at Corn as he held his sword at the level of Corn’s nose. The stranger wore dark-colored, fine clothes. His mannerisms indicated he was probably a GOOD swordsman.

“Looks like your suerte has run out, eh, señor?” the stranger mocked Corn, speaking with a thick Spanish accent.

Corn honestly wondered if that was true…

(Wil’s challenge: can anyone tell where I got THIS trio of goons from? ^_~ )

Blazing Saddles? What, it could be blazing saddles. I think it’s blazing saddles. That is all.

Meep Wrong, Darkness. Anybody else? Hint: It’s a Fantasy Movie.

No clue where they’re from… then again, I live in a pretty little bubble, so it’s not surprising. :hahaha;

Martha’s eyes flew open. They were here. Even one untrained in the magical arts such as her self could sense it. She silently observed Ralph who was obliviously keeping watch. ‘So obviously a Mainlander,’ she thought with sad reflection. ‘Gifted in the arts of physical tracking, but a void when magic is involved.’

She should have insisted they travelled on until they reached a village, but usually the chimera’s didn’t venture so close to the border of Obitus. ‘They must be pets of the Chosen,’ she thought in disgust, ‘Hunting for rebels.’ Hunting for me…

Corn was still gone. If his luck held, the chimera’s would miss him. And what else could pose a threat here, so far from civilization?

Escape wasn’t beyond her yet. There was a Passage nearby that she could probably reach before the chimera’s caught up with her. Her eyes rested on Ralph again. A Mainlander would only slow her down. She was about to silently leave the camp on her own when she hesitated. Ralph and Corn didn’t seem to like her very much, but they still tolerated her. She couldn’t just abandon them.

‘But Corn’s not here, and I have no way to track him down before the chimera’s catch up.’ She stood from her bedroll and hauled Ralph up from his perch on a log with surprising strength for her size. ‘I can at least save one of them.’

“What in the heaven’s is your problem?!” Ralph yelped as she started dragging him through the gorge, not allowing him time to collect either of their things, or even to put out the fire.

“There’s no time. If you want to live, you will come with me. I’m not going to throw away my life because you refuse to trust me,” she replied flatly. She let go of his arm and picked up her pace. Ralph matched it, then sped up and stepped in front of her, grabbing her arms.

They were moving away from the direction Corn had gone, Ralph noticed. And if their lives were in danger…

“What about Corn? Are you suggesting we just abandon him?!”

The cool gaze pinned on him was so different from Martha’s usual childish features that he wondered for a moment if it was another shapeshifter.

“He is beyond our aid now. He is resourceful, so he might find his own way to escape, and we can meet up with him later. But if we don’t move now we will both be dead.”

Ralph was stunned by a realization that dawned on him after her speech. She knew these mountains, and whatever threat they posed to the group. The Frontier was considered a land of it’s own, although both Odium and Obitus tried to claim it, the inhabitants always fought back, so they were mostly left alone. It was hostile territory, with many unknown dangers for the unwary traveller. Most people who had to cross it hired a guide. But obviously they didn’t need one.

Because Martha was from the Frontier.

GRRREAT Job, Jade! I especially liked how you’re building up Martha. Gives ME ideas, too. But, I’ll post more story later- tired today (spent all day helping relatives clean up after the Tropical Storm hit our island.)

Last chance to guess about the bandits, folks! Final clue: it was a fantasy comedy movie, based on a book.

Well, since nobody guessed: it’s Vizzini, Fezzik, and Iñigo Montoya from THE PRINCESS BRIDE! Hey, what can I say? I LOVE that movie! :hahaha;

Of course, these are NOT the same characters. Which means we can rename them and use them at will. (And, um, yes, I need names for them too. I really suck at naming things. 8P)

Anyway, back to the story:

Corn’s brain worked faster than it ever had, trying to come up with something he could do or say. He decided to stall for time.

-" P-please!!" he stammered, “Don’t kill me! I’m just a poor traveler! If you want my meager belongings, you can have them!”
-“A poor traveler, eh?” the handsome swordman said, eye cocked. “Could be… tho’ this are some estrange places forr a young man like yoo to be walking solo” he added. “HEY, AMIGOS! OVER herre!”

His shout reverberated in the gorge, and soon, the running steps of the two previous strangers could also be heard, as they ran back to the spot. In a moment more, they emerged from the mists.
“AHA!” the huge man said, “See? I TOLD you they was here!”
“Oh yeah? Then, where are the others?” the small man asked.
“Others?” Corn pretended not to know.
“Give it up, prettyboy!” the small man said. “We have descriptions of the three of you. You can either cooperate now, or we can kill you and find the other two later. It’s the same for us!”

Where were Ralph and Martha, anyway!? Corn wondered. If ever he needed their help…

“…What do you want us for, anyway?” Corn asked.
“None of your business!” the short man spat out.
Corn’s brow furrowed. “You were hired to KILL us, weren’t you?”
“You ask too many questions for someone who has a sword to his face” the short man replied. “Tell us where your friends are, NOW!!”
“So you can kill them, as well? No, thank you!” Corn spat back.
The little man gritted his teeth even more. “KILL him now, then!!”
“Wait” the handsome man said. " It ees not fair to kill an unarmed man."
“WHAT??” the midget exploded. “What kind of mercenary are you??”
“A Jonorable one” he responded. “I see you got a sword, señor. Pull it out and face me in battle!”

Corn realized he had no choice; the swordsman might not kill him if he refused, but the other two might. He suspected he had little chance against the foreigner, but he hoped he might stall until the others showed up…

And as he drew out his sword, neither of them noticed the figures skulking in the background mist…

Both stood deadly still, waiting for either one to make a move. Corn, who got bored of waiting, finally spoke, “Look, though I’m a thief, I’m grateful you decided to spare my life.” He placed his hand on his sheath and got into a stance. The swordsman smiled. “So you’re going to spare moi?” he chucked. “Such humiliation for a knight.”
Corn was puzzled. “You’re a knight?”
“Don’t moi look like one?” He chucked again, mantaining his defensive stance. “Many people said I don’t, but I am one.”
The ogre spoke. “Um, boss, we’re not supposed to tell him that.”
“Nothing matters. He’s going to die anyway,” he chuckled.
Corn smirked. “Too bad your prophecy’s wrong.”
In a split second, he pounced on the ogre and had his sword under his head. He smiled. “One move and your head’s gone.”
The swordsman and the huge-sized person was stunned for a moment. The ogre tried to resist but Corn quickly slit his throat. Blood oozed out slowly.
“Let me tell you something,” he said. “I’m a thief. I cheat. I’m not as honorable as the ‘knight’ over there…” he looked at him. “Well, for sparing me, I’ll let you off if you answer some questions.”