The Opulent Quarrel - Round One: Mademoiselle Primfel's

The Opulent Quarrel - Round One: Mademoiselle Primfel's
The Opulent Quarrel - Round One: Mademoiselle Primfel's
Eight figures awoke to find themselves in an unfamiliar drawing room. The décor of this room was old fashioned reminiscent of a Victorian study, except where it wasn’t. For example one wall was almost entirely taken up by a bookshelf filled with the latest big budget video games, a large collection of well-thumbed manga and in one corner a selection of huge heavy books thick with dust; as unread as the day they were purchased. A well-polished silver skull served as a rather prominent bookend. The other wall was dominated by an enormous portrait; a balding man wearing a fedora and waistcoat and sporting a humourless judgemental frown.

The eight extremely disorientated figures had just about enough time to discover their incapability to move and perhaps take in a little of the décor before a door opened and the man from the portrait walked through; an e-cigarette in his mouth and a phalanx of blank-eyed girls in revealing French maid outfits at his back.

“Welcome my honoured guests to le Opulent Quarrel. You’re probably wondering who I am and what is happening. Just relax, it will all be explained in time.” At this point he took a seat on the sofa between two helplessly immobilized scantily clad young ladies. “A pleasure to make your acquaintance ladies; you may call me The Sophisticate.” He reached out and took the hand of one of the girls and gave it a gentlemanly peck. If he wasn’t already seated he would almost certainly have offered a small bow.

“The purpose for which I have brought you here today is combat; a spectacle that we in the Grandmaster community like to call a Grand Battle. You’ll be whisked off to wondrous amazing worlds of adventure and intrigue and there you’ll battle amongst yourselves until one of you has emerged victorious.” He grinned widely. “It’ll be great, I understand it might not sound particularly fun, but think of it as an adventure; a vacation from your humdrum little lives.”

The Sophisticate looked around the rough circle of immobilized battlers (four buff guys with rugged beards, winning smiles and gleaming polished armour and four girls looking uncomfortable in unrealistic impractical skimpy armour) hoping to see the glimmer of excitement in their eyes. He did not.

At this point one of The Sophisticate’s dead-eyed maids stepped up and whispered furtively into his ear. His grin dropped immediately and before he had time to react, the doors opened again and a woman stepped through. Her hair was dyed bright magenta, undercut on one side and swept over on the other. She was wearing a jacket, jeans and huge heavy boots, the kind that looked designed to trek through the countryside.

“Hey baby bro, I’m not gonna lie I’m feeling a little offended rn that you didn’t want to invite me to your little get together.” With barely a pause she climbed over the couch opposite to where The Sophisticate had taken a seat and inserted herself between a pair of bearded swordsmen. “Nice to meet you, I’m Tiff.” She watched the motionless swordsmen, their panicked eyes the only indicators that they were not incredibly detailed statues, and frowned.

“How many times must I tell you not to come into my dimension before you finally understand?” The Sophisticate snapped. “This is wilful and repeated violation of my privacy. How would you like it if I were to waltz into your-”

“Hold up a hot minute, what’s the deal?” Tiff indicated the paralysed battlers. The slightest hint of a smile crept across her lips. “Are you having a Battle?”

“That… would be my business and none of yours.” The Sophisticate retorted. “And whether I am or I am not it does not negate the fact that-”

Tiff laughed. “You’re joking right?” She asked. “This is your battle? Four beardswords versus four pretty girls who I seriously hope for your sake were wearing that terrible terrible armour before you scooped them up into your clutches.”

“There’s nothing wrong with their armour!” The Sophisticate replied indignantly.

“There’s everything wrong with everything.” Tiff snickered. “I always knew any battle you tried to host would be an epic failure but even I’m impressed at just how skeevy this is bro.”

“Hah, as though you are the expert on battles.” The Sophisticate sneered. “I bet you don’t even know the first thing about Grand Battling.”

“How much do you wanna bet?” Tiff asked.

“I’m afraid that that was simply a figure of speech, you can rest assured I don’t intend to waste my time by humouring you on this.”

“I knew it. You always were a chicken when it came down to it.”

“Fine!” The Sophisticate exclaimed. “If you’re so damn sure you can do a better job I invite you to do so.”

“Okay first things first we’re gonna need new battlers.” Tiff said. “No offence guys but you are just not cutting it for me. Sorry for the inconvenience.” With a flick of her hands the immobile former contestants had vanished back into the worlds they came from.

“If you will recall I invited you to run a better battle than me if you felt yourself capable, not to hijack my battle and dismiss my painstakingly chosen contestants.” The Sophisticate said.

“Oh stop whining, I’m doing you a favour here.” Tiff replied. “You and me; we’re a dream team. Me with all my wonderful qualities, and you with your… um… presence, we’ll make this battle a battle to remember.”

“Yeah, I’m sure it will be memorable at the very least.”


  1. Ixcaliber - Lady Wilhemina Pell - #412A42
  2. Lankie - Wren - #2F4F4F
  3. Dragon Fogel - Damse - #556B2F
  4. Schazer - Gunzelurge - #778799
  5. Sanzh - Georgia Kyuume-chan Sakura (and Sorry) - #FF96CA
  6. AgentBlue - Cassandra Devin - #4444AA
  7. Solaris - Des La Ryuje - #800000
  8. Chimney and Forge - Völsung and The Verdant Queen - #FF0000 and #80C020
  9. Sai - Gurska Karr - #800000
  10. Mirdini - Althyr Almael (or Alex 'Hotshot' Alameda) - #EE7600
Username: I'm partially responsible for this and I'm not sorry.

Name: Wren

Gender: Female

Species: Good ol' fashioned Human, just like momma used to make.

Everybody's favourite #2F4F4F (Fourth one on top row for your convenience.)


Wren is a hunter of Varalica, a type of trickster demon which vary wildly in physicality and ability.

Wren is a tall, muscular lady sporting short, messy, hazel hair parting to one side. Pale skin with a smattering of freckles across her face. Grey eyes that are completely done with your bullshit, eye colour/shape subject to change with various drug use. Has a long, wooden smoking pipe casually hanging out of her mouth 90% of the time. Wears a long, olive coat with lots of little pockets and buckles dotted around. Underneath that is standard dark blue jumper and black jeans ensemble. She walks around in large, heavy boots that have seen years of wear and tear. Her various layers of clothing hide the fact that she is ripped as fuuuuuuck.

Wren is exceedingly deadpan in both mannerisms and conversation. Her mode of talking is rather monotone and nonchalant, rarely raising with emotion. Similarly her movements have a very deliberate slowness to them, walking around in a rather lackadaisical fashion. These traits are not to be mistaken with apathy or a lack of emotion however. Her rather disinterested personality hides a relentless joy of fucking with people, mainly through telling constant lies right to their face. Her facade of disingenuousness hides that fact she does enjoy people's company and genuinely cares for for their well being. Her tolerance for bullshit is rather small, but she is fully capable of playing along and going with the flow, knowing full well that she can either talk or fight her way out of most situations. When shit hits the fan Wren's lethargic nature is replaced with one of speed and drive. Her movements become very fast and deliberate, with an aim to end whatever conflict is ensuing as fast and efficiently as possible. This usually involves someone getting punched very, very hard.


In the inside of Wren's jacket is a pocket containing various little bottles and boxes of very strange drugs. Herbs that grow in alternate dimensions, the ground horns of demon king's, shimmering powders of starlight. When Wren smokes these through her pipe she is infused with unique abilities, depending on what she smokes. Years of constant use of these drugs have imbued Wren with with inhuman strength and endurance. Despite this, she is still human and is not immune to the various side effects that these drug may bring with them.

Along with this Wren own a small flask containing water of the fountain of sorrow. An extremely alcoholic substance which can neutralise any drugs effect almost instantaneously. It tastes awful.

She also owns a big box of matches to light her pipe and an old fashioned flip cell phone. To call people.

Wren has no weapons, instead preferring to use her fists to fight. She's, uh, really good at this, as it turns out. She is capable of delivering blows that could send a normal man reeling with broken bones.



Round suggestion: Ancient Castle Feuerflügel, hidden high atop the Sybilian Mountains. Long forgotten cultists weave olden curses to resurrect their fallen dragon king. Legends say the very blade that slayed the draconic tyrant still rests in those hallowed halls.
Username: Ixcaliber
Name: Lady Wilhelmina Pell
Gender: Female
Race: Human
Colour: a nice purple (#412A42)
Biography: Wilhemina, or Will as she prefers to be called, was something of a tomboy from a young age. As the only daughter of Lord and Lady Pell she could go more or less wherever she wanted. She was however forbidden from entering the Grey Woods for it was believed that Fae lived inside. So naturally, one day when she was about nine Will snuck off into the Grey Woods to see if she could find one of these Fae that she had heard of. She found one, or rather one found her. She remembers its voice more than anything; sickly sweet and as thick as treacle. It was nice and pleasant until it got near enough to grab her and then she was dragged screaming through the trees while it tittered with laughter. In the middle of a circle of mushrooms in a clearing the fae lifted her by her throat and then everything just seemed to cease.

Nobody noted her absence until that evening. A search party was immediately formed, but even so it was almost a full day before anyone found her; screaming and insensible, her arm and neck marked with dark purple bruises which have not healed since. Most alarmingly though was the fact that she wasn’t responding to any stimulus. She continued to kick and scream and sob intermittently even after she got back to Valenhal and was with her mother and father. A doctor was called to help but he couldn’t seem to find anything physically wrong with her, much less help her.

Many healers tried to fix what was wrong with poor Wilhelmina but all failed. In his desperation Lord Pell even requested the aid of a witchdoctor from a distant land; who was finally able to offer an explanation. It was something he had come across only once or twice before; he believed that some kind of Fae had stolen her senses. He was able to provide a pair of enchanted pearls, which when implanted allowed her to see again, but was unable to offer any solution to her other missing senses. He collected his reward and left.

For a while afterwards Will became quite introverted. She had spent over a month completely cut off from any sense of the outside world, even from any sense of her own body. At times she’d wanted to die, at other times she thought maybe she was. Time passed and she slowly started to come out of her shell again. Despite lacking her other senses she was able to learn to cope with just her sight. She quickly learned to lip read for easy communication with others. The most difficult part for her was her loss of touch; the loss of sensation made minor everyday tasks awkward and fiddly. With practice she was able to regain a certain level of motor control (though she’s still not very good if she can’t see what she’s trying to do). Also of note, with the loss of touch went the ability to feel pain. Given this and her admitted clumsiness it might have been expected that she would live a more placid lifestyle, but Will was not to be deterred. As soon as she was old enough to make her own decisions she left Valenhal and travelled, seeking to learn more of the Fae.

She learned about where they might be found and how they might be appeased, and most of all she learned how they might be driven away or even openly fought. She became a Fae Hunter of sorts. Though there was no money in it, sometimes she would receive a warm welcome and a free board in a village which had been having trouble with the Fae, though just as often not and she would rough it. Occasionally she would take a bounty against a mortal man to make ends meet. Eventually she was taken to fight in a battle to the death.

Description: Will is in her early twenties; she’s of medium height, thin (a little too thin for her own health) with very pale skin smattered here and there with freckles. She has short flame red hair, which is pretty poorly maintained; clumsily cut, patchy and uneven. A person’s attention would most likely be drawn first to her eyes, framed as they are by clumsy red surgical scars which have never healed properly. Where her eyes should be there is a pair of enchanted pearls; their shiny white surface giving her an unnerving blank gaze. Along the forearm and around the wrist of her right arm and around her throat there are large purple bruises that look as fresh as the day they were made. Even putting aside the aforementioned Will couldn’t have been described as conventionally attractive; she was too gaunt in the face and her features a little too sharp.

She tends to wear clothing which is culturally perceived as more masculine, typically a leather jerkin, a sleeveless top, trousers and boots. She has no qualms about letting her bruises show; though she used to be self-conscious of them she eventually accepted them and got over it.
Will is confident and determined. She’s not easily perturbed and is personable enough, though strictly pragmatic when a situation calls for it. She hunts Fae not for some sense of revenge, though she might be entitled to such, but because she thinks that one day she might find a way to return her senses, and to a lesser extent that she can help people whilst she does this. She is rather acutely afraid of death, more so than a normal person because of her month spent senseless, which she sometimes thinks of as a death she recovered from. However she thinks it’s more important to enjoy life and make it count. In terms of combat Will will very rarely directly engage anyone. Her lack of senses would be a liability in open combat. She prefers to act stealthily and attack from afar if necessary.

Equipment/Abilities: She has a small crossbow and quiver attached to her belt. She has a selection of different crossbow bolts; the majority are iron or steel, with a couple of silver bolts and a single gold bolt that she hasn’t really found any use for but she figured it would be handy just in case. She carries a backpack filled with travel necessities; some basic provisions, a bedroll, a handful of iron nails, a pair of iron horseshoes, a few preserved cuttings of St. John’s Wort, a pair of handmirrors and a handbell blessed by a priest.

Recently she’s discovered that her encounter with the Fae that took her senses have left her the ability to craft Fae glamours. She’s not very good at it yet, her illusions are small and don’t last very long, but she’s been practicing and she’s getting better. They are strictly visual illusions at the moment because she’d have no way to perceive the effectiveness of any other sensory illusions.

Round Concept: Some kind of bright and cheerful Cartoon World, complete with cartoon logic and physics.
Username: Dragon Fogel
Name: Damse
Race: Human
Gender: Female
Text Color: A nice olive green, or #556B2F


Damse was the most beautiful woman in the world and also the strongest. Suitors came from all over the land to the kingdom of Tress just to catch a glimpse of her beauty and they generally got a good smack in the face as a bonus.

Eventually, Manelaus the Manly came to Tress and sought to win Damse's heart. He failed, but the fact that he was goddamn rich won Damse's father over and the patriarchial system took care of the rest. And so they were to be wed in the unlikely event that Damse didn't flatten him first.

But it was not to be. And not for Damse's intervention, sadly. For the wicked and handsome Prince Detroit, driven by Damse's beauty, told her many stories of his wonderful city in between pleadings not to be hit in the face. And she thought it sounded perfect, mostly for the fact that it had very high walls to keep people out, and so she left with him. But only because he was the only one who knew the way. Otherwise she would have just knocked him out and taken his ship.

Manelaus was angered by the theft of his bride-to-be, and gathered an army of the bravest warriors to take the city of Troit and reclaim Damse. Not that anyone ever asked her if that was what she wanted. They fought their way to the city gates, but could not force them opened. Then one among their number, Smartius the Cunning, came up with a plan: building a hollow wooden horse and hiding their soldiers inside it. They built the horse, and then Damse, now as tired of Troit and its prince as she had been of Tress and her husband-to-be, smashed down the doors and started fighting her way through Manelaus' army, humiliating such legendary warriors as Mightius the Mighty, Swiftius the Swift, and Glassjaw the Invincible. Not to mention her fiance Manelaus. After that, she grabbed Sailus the Sailor by the throat and demanded he sail her far away from either kingdom, and from there embarked on a series of exciting journeys.

Narra the Storyteller scowled as she read through her book. "Pran!" she shouted at her husband. "Have you been interfering with my stories again?"
Pran the Trickster simply smiled.
"All I did was make her the strongest woman in the world," he replied. "The rest was the book writing in itself as the story unfolded."
"You've ruined everything!" Narra shouted. "This story was going to be my masterpiece! And it was going to lead into so many others! But now instead of a sixteen-year journey home, Smartius just sits on the shores of Troit for a while nursing his wounds, and then goes home to have his wife yell at him."
"That sounds like quite a time-saver," Pran replied.
"Shut up! Look, now Damse is ruining everything. She frightened King Truthus with a warning to respect pedestrians when he tried to run her off the road."
"That seems like sound advice to me," Pran said with a grin.
"But now when he comes across his estranged son Oectipus, he'll just let him pass instead of provoking him to murder! And then Oectipus won't go on to marry his own mother and then gouge out his own eyes! And that's just the start of all the problems Damse's caused!"
"I don't see what you're so upset about, my dear," Pran replied. "I think it's more interesting this way."
Narra was unimpressed.
"Do you even realize what you've done?"
"I just gave her incredible strength," he said calmly. "What she did with it was up to her."
Narra glared at her husband for three whole minutes, then sighed.
"Much as I hate to admit you're right," she grumbled. "This is Damse's fault. And that means she has to be punished."
The Storyteller opened up her book, and groaned.
"Oh, come on! Now she's broken Mightius' back just as I was about to send him on his seven labors! The nerve of that girl! How dare she harm that man before I can inflict my punishment on him!"
Pran looked confused.
"Wait. I thought you liked him?"
"No, I hate him until he completes the impossible tasks I set before him, then I have a change of heart and treat him as my own son. But there's no way I can do that to him with those wounds! Curse you, Damse!"
There was a thunderclap.
"Ah... did you just literally curse her?"
"Oh!" Narra said, excitedly. "No, I didn't, but now that you mention it, that's a good idea." She snapped her fingers, and Damse appeared before them.
"Oh, gods," Damse groaned.
"That's right! I am the Goddess Narra, the Storyteller!" Narra shouted. "And you have angered me, Damse the Beautiful. I gave you the gift of ultimate beauty..."
"...which I never asked for..." Damse muttered, rolling her eyes.
"...and instead of simply being kidnapped and fought over and then rescued, you had to go and defeat everyone on both sides of the war! Do you realize what that's done to all the stories I had planned?"
Damse shrugged.
"So what? They were all jerks. What else was I going to do? I mean, I was strong enough to take them."
"That was my gift, by the way," Pran whispered to her. "You're welcome."
"You stay out of this, Pran!" Narra shouted. "You've caused enough trouble!" She directed her glare back at Damse. "Now, as for you. Since you've disrupted my stories so much, I think I'll take that power away from you."
Narra started writing in her book.

And so Narra placed Damse, the strongest and most beautiful woman in the world, under a curse. If she tried to change a story by force, her strength would leave her.

Narra paused.
"Oh, dash it. I need to have a condition for ending the curse. It's not a proper story without that!" She thought hard, and then smiled. "Oh, wait! I know the perfect one."

As Damse had prevented Mightius from even starting his Seven Labors, she was to take on the impossible tasks herself. If she could complete the tasks, then she would be free.

"There!" Narra said, satisfied. Damse and Pran looked puzzled.
"So what exactly did you do?" Damse asked. Narra sighed, and read back what she had just written. Damse shrugged in response.
"Well, all right then. What's the first of these impossible labors?"
Narra was dumbstruck. She hadn't thought that far ahead.
"Give me a moment while I look them up," she lied. She buried her face in the book as she tried to think something up. And then a passage began to write itself.

And so Tiff searched the multiverse, and selected eight fighters to take the place of the Sophisticate's uninteresting choices.
One of these eight new combatants was Damse, the strongest and most beautiful woman of her world...

Narra looked up. Damse was gone.
"Oh. I suppose it doesn't particularly matter now." She put the book back. "Well, that's gone and worked itself out nicely, hasn't it?"
"If you say so, dear," Pran replied noncommitally.
"Good, good. I do believe I'll go for a walk and see how my other stories are doing without her getting in the way."
Pran didn't say a word as the Storyteller walked out, leaving her book behind.
Once she was gone, Pran picked up the book and started flipping through it.

Round One:

Description: The first thing anyone notices about Damse is how stunningly beautiful she is. The second thing they notice is generally how angry she gets when they tell her this.

Damse has short blond hair, and wears a white chiton and sandals. She also has a fairly muscular build for a woman, but not to excess. She's about six feet tall.

Damse is quick to anger when someone is hitting on her, but she's generally pretty calm otherwise. She's also rather bitter about Narra's curse keeping her violent urges in check most of the time; as a result, if she gets an opportunity to actually fight someone or something, she'll probably make the most of it.

Abilities: Damse has incredible strength and beauty, and is a skilled fighter. Unfortunately, her strength is rather constrained by the fact that she can't use it to defy the "story"; what this means will vary from round to round, though it's pretty much a constant that she won't be allowed to fight back if she's kidnapped.

In addition, if Damse were to complete the Seven Labors set for her, then she would be lifted of her curse and able to act freely. Of course, as the Labors would all be from her world, this is clearly not going to be a factor in the battle at all.
Oh you bet your ass I'm in on this

I have actually literally zero free periods at work today though so a profile will have to wait


Username: <train noises>
Name: <takes a deep breath> Retrowirx Studiolurgers-designed Gunzelle-v3 Model Peri-Bulwark Amb-Ex Class PeriPheral designation: “Gunzelurge”
Gender: <feminine train noises>
Species: Se'anvil is the "species" name, but they use "Pheral" like we'd use "person".
Colour: Gun(z)metal (778799)
Description: [Image: tumblr_ndhuslZ6WB1r21i1co1_500.jpg]

Nine feet of buff metal biped; her original build was rather less conspicuous (being Ambassadorial-Explorer class, as opposed to Combatant-Explorer Class). Then some maniac druid took her under his tutelage, and in accidental defiance of all design protocols she did the druid thing where you adopt a bunch of mannerisms+physical attributes from your patron beast. Guess which large metal animal Gunzelurge earned the spirit-protectorate of!

Gunzelurge is no-nonsense but generally friendly and helpful and an advocate for learning, peace, and swift resolution of things which get in the way of the aforementioned. She doesn't understand the concept of problems you can't beat into submission. She can be kinda condescending toward the problems of "smaller creatures", with their fragile chassises and weird customs and rules which she acknowledges without really caring too much about understanding their ins and outs.

Items/Abilities: Nine feet of buff metal biped. Hits like a [strike]truck[/strike]horse. Can summon IORE (see below), but summoning across universes probably takes a while. Technically trained in the druidic arts, but doesn't have any practical knowledge of "biological" druid shit like herblore. Literally composed of nails, which are scientifically proven to be the universal standard of toughness.

Biography: Gunzelurge harks from the Ferrous Bulwark, a desolate metal plateau which birthed many robotic lifeforms, including the Se'anvil - machine friends who are steadily improving their processes to make finer, faster, more superlative machine friends. The Se'anvil are each built to fit specific societal roles, and Gunzelurge was tasked with heading out into the wide world and acting as an ambassador for the Se'anvil people.

She crossed paths with a druid, who somehow successfully taught her the druidic way. "Graduation" entailed bonding with a beast of the initiate's choice, so Gunzelurge headed home so she could wrestle a horse into submission.

The horse in question was the biggest, baddest, alpha horse, IORE. With inch-and-a-half thick hide, and a 40-tonne heart capable of hauling almost 70 cars across the Bulwark's frozen hellscape, IORE didn't go down easy. Gunzelurge apparently impressed it though, as she was granted its spirit partnership and a free ride no matter the distance, if she could wait patiently for IORE to answer her summons.

Round suggestion: Burnination Studios. Alt-earth where Kaiju start life as polyps drifting on warm ocean currents, growing to fit the islands they wash up on. Major coastal countries patrol their shores to repel juveniles, to prevent the North American counterpoint to the 200 kilometer wide Antarctic Furball. They stop growing after age fifty or so, at which point it's safe for them to take up residence on a continental coast city designed for their kind.

Burnination hosts the largest Kaiju population in the world, in sunny north-eastern Australia. It's also Earth's kaiju film capital, so loads of humans live there too.
Username: Thea
Name: Georgia (and Sorry)
Gender: Female
Species: Pseudohuman
Colour: #FF96CA

Description: Georgia is a catgirl wearing baggy clothing who has poor posture. Her long hair, as well as her fur where it is present, is a vibrant pink. The slit-pupiled irises on her eyes are also pink. Her nose is slightly upturned and button-like, and is almost reminiscent of a cat's muzzle. The most distinctive features she has are the cat ears fixed to the top of her head. She has a long, swaying tail.

She has a single pair of battered, worn-out athletic shoes she wears, held mostly together by duct tape and makeshift needlework. She also wears a baggy hoodie and ripped, worn-out jeans. She is nearsighted and wears contacts.

Personality-wise, Georgia projects an aura of frustration and near-constant exasperation, deliberately acting irritated and making it clear that she would rather not interact with anyone around her. Beneath her callous exterior, she possesses an incredible capacity for patience, determination, and resolve. In spite of a life spent being thrown from one unlucky break to another, Georgia has never lost sight of her own ambitions-- she knows she will likely never accomplish her dreams, but refuses to let that stop her.

Biography: Georgia spent her childhood living on the border between abject poverty and regular poverty. At an early age, her family was separated, leaving her drifting between two single parents and with little social or economic stability. When she was old enough for college, she promptly moved out, taking whatever money she had and renting a cramped, barely-habitable apartment on the outskirts of Hyperbole City. She forced her way through the rest of school, picking up a handful of jobs to cover her expenses, and ended up short of attending university, instead swinging for a technical school, where she acquired certification for mech operation as a Class-C Pilot. Coming into possession of a second-hand mech, she taught herself how to pilot, fix, and operate her faulty machine to the extent that she could.

She still intends to go on to university, she's just been delayed in the meantime.

Items/Abilities: Georgia possesses an incredible reservoir of willpower, and maintains her composure and morale in difficult situations. She is also somewhat intelligent and critical in her views. She is also good at repairing most objects.

Georgia's main possession is Sorry, named after a database glitch wiped out her old mech registry and information on the school servers. Sorry is a combat mech from a used mech dealership, manufactured by a now-bankrupt arms manufacturer-- the cheapest one available on the lot, due to her budget constraints.

It was only after she brought it back to a rented garage did she realize what she was dealing with. Some research revealed that her mech was a twenty-year old model that had been discontinued after disastrous performance in nearly all combat encounters-- and that was in its mint manufactured condition. The mech she had acquired was old, and nearly everything that could possibly be wrong with it was: it was plagued with faulty electronics, leaky hydraulics, an unusable targeting computer and communications array, an integrated weapon that threatened to pulverize the chassis with every use, rusted-out armor, and countless problems besides. Rather than give up, Georgia resolved to see the machine through. She managed to round up whatever spare parts were made for it, and repaired the machine to the best of her ability. Whatever weaknesses she couldn't repair, she's learned to compensate for by being a skilled pilot-- she learned to pre-emptively dodge and evade to compensate for its slow reactions, how to manually aim to counter the lack of modern targeting hardware, and how to keep it functioning under fire well enough to just give her just a few seconds more uptime.

Sorry is small, even compared to mechs of similar design and purpose, standing at about twenty feet. The mech itself is layered with damage and subsequent repairs and improvements-- most of which are Georgia's work, as few of its previous owners spent time working on it or held onto it long enough to modify it. Its chassis is mounted on a pair of long, digitigrade legs, which would give the entire machine a thin, slender appearance if it weren't for the other modifications made to it. Its body is small and compact, and looks like it barely fits a pilot-- one side of the torso has a large amount of space devoted to a snub-nosed autocannon and ammunition, which only further reinforces the cramped look the cockpit has. The cockpit almost fails to fit Georgia, and its discomfort is magnified by the lack of accommodation for her tail. It utilizes a multitude of piloting instruments, as well as various joysticks, switches, and electronic displays. The one luxury Georgia has fitted the cockpit with is a cup-holder.

The mech's two thin, lanky arms maintain the bulk of the machine's weaponry-- one carries a cobbled-together, rifle-like energy weapon, while the other has what could generously be described as a missile launcher configured with a complicated auto-loading mechanism. Its head is little more than a cluster of glowing-yellow photo-receptors and other sensory equipment that swivels around, periodically flickering as the power running through them fluctuates. The exterior as a whole looks barely-held together-- it's composed of a mixture of scarred armor plates, exposed hydraulics and wires, taped-together repairs, and straps and clips holding on other attachments. Whatever paint-job the mech had is long gone, with the paint having been scraped away through countless battles to reveal bare metal. The machinery it has that is identifiable is clearly outdated-- its technology is just as unsophisticated below the surface as it is above.

Round: Mademoiselle Primfel's Academie for Young and Emaciated Girls-- a girl's boarding school, ruled by the harsh disciplinarian hand of Mme. Primfel. School uniforms will be provided.
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hi I'm here I'm free of exam season in just over 12 hours I will have write time at that point hopefully
I will also be posting a profile, though it might be a bit before it's finished.
[Image: WFQLHMB.gif]
Username: Agensandra
Name: Cassandra Devin
Species: Prophet
Gender: Female
Color: do not ask me to see (#4444AA)

Quintus Smyrnaeus Wrote:One heart was steadfast, and one soul clear-eyed, Cassandra. Never her words were unfulfilled; yet was their utter truth, by Fate's decree, ever as idle wind in the hearers' ears, that no bar to Troy's ruin might be set. She saw those evil portents all through Troy conspiring to one end; loud rang her cry, as roars a lioness that mid the brakes a hunter has stabbed or shot, whereat her heart maddens, and down the long hills rolls her roar, and her might waxes tenfold; so with heart aflame with prophecy came she forth her bower. Over her snowy shoulders tossed her hair streaming far down, and wildly blazed her eyes. Her neck writhed, like a sapling in the wind shaken, as moaned and shrieked that noble maid:

“Twenty-five bucks an hour, plus expenses. An advance on the first four, here and now. You’re not gonna like what comes outta this.”

“I don’t care,” this poor fat bastard’s basically foaming at the mouth when he signs, “I just wanna know if he’s still seein’ that son of a bitch.” A hand like a pale fish comes up; it shakes like one, too. This guy shook the floor on his way in, for that matter. The landlady would complain if it weren’t for the fact that she’s gonna have a heart attack next week, and she doesn’t feel up to tackling the stairs.

“Oh, he is.” I can see it, clear as day. Poor, poor bastard. I’ll bring him the photos, and then he’ll get it into his head to tote a shotgun to their next meeting, and then... well.

Fat, fishy eyes narrow at me, catching me staring off into space. “How do you know? None of the other PIs could catch a picture of him. I just want you to look into it, that’s all. Bring back photos. I just want something to hold over his head, that’s all.”

What do you say to that? “I have my ways,” is what I come out with, eventually. “I have precognition that lets me see how things will go” was a little too spooky, even for me. Not what people want to hear in these dark times. Plus, he wouldn’t believe me anyway. No one ever does.

Description: My name?

My name’s Devin. Cassandra Devin, prophet. Private eye on the side, but it’s essentially the same thing anyhow, am I right? People come to me because they have cases no one else can figure. I’m the end of the line for the most desperate folks, the ones who want to find out where their kid is buried, or whether their second in command is skimming profits off the top, or (like this poor bastard) who their favorite boytoy is fucking. I don’t get many cases, but my clients are usually willing to pay more for answers. The way I see things… heh. Well, the way I see things is always pretty grim. But it’s answers people want, and it’s answers people’ll get. I’ve done some pretty dirty things in my time to get to the truth. Didn’t like them, but the truth is the truth, no matter what.

Still, you wouldn’t know it to look at me. I may be short and ginger, and I might wear the same ratty grey trench coat all the time, but to the world I’m clean, moderately prosperous, and reliable. There’s not a court in the world that would argue against my word.

Weapons/Abilities: Not that I ever let it go that far. For some reason, no one’s willing to believe me. These days I just act on what I see, get pictures, bring proof. Let them do the work for me.

It’s not actually that hard, I find. I’ve got no evidence for this, but it seems like every time I put my second sight to work, things always seem to turn out for the absolute worst way possible. One time - because come on, who wouldn’t do this? - I decided to take a look at the national lottery... the ball spinner jammed and set the building on fire, and fifteen people burned to death.

I didn’t actually let that happen, of course - slipped a fifty to a friend in the office, snuck in with his help and oiled the machine up good - but I never tried that again. Not that particular example anyway. Thing is, it’s not consistent, you get me? It’s always something bad, and it’s always to do with what I’m scrying, but… look. So for example, one time I was tailing this suspect. Nasty fuck, mugged people and beat them to death with a half-foot of lead pipe, like he was right outta Clue - and just for fun I decided to have a little look-see, if you get what I mean. Had to jump the gun and nab him before I was ready, because on the way he was going to take out a couple walking home from the theater. A nasty future, but not for him, see?, I gotta get out of this town...

Aeschylus Wrote:CASSANDRA
[1178] And now, no more shall my prophecy peer forth from behind a veil like a new-wedded bride; but it will rush upon me clear as a fresh wind blowing against the sun's uprising so as to dash against its rays, like a wave, a woe far mightier than mine. No more by riddles will I instruct you.

And bear me witness, as, running close behind, I scent the track of crimes done long ago.



Round Idea: Hellfire Cruises: See the Lake of Fire! Visit Mt. Sisyphus and the Tantalus Isles! Feast on the delicious liver at Prometheus' Cafe and forget your troubles at the famed River Lethe! The round is basically Hell, but now it's a tourist trap!
Fuck, I really want to do this

We are addicted to starting things
round ideas
Name: Des La Ryuje
Gender: They/Them NB
Species: Humanoid of Earth-Like Planet
Colour: a note quite red of not quite hot blood [#cc0033]
Biography: After many years of petty conflict, peace finally reached what would now be called the United Domain, a continent formed out of many islands of different sizes and climates, each with their own people and culture. Many remember where they were when the news hit, but the celebration was unfortunately short lived. Just as mankind made its peace with one another, a new threat loomed above. Dragonoids, great flying reptilian monsters began an assault on the human race, seemingly without reason or end. While the United Domain quickly formed defenses to repel the dragonoid forces, it was obvious that this would not be enough. To that end, Unido, the greatest city to ever grace the islands, was made, a hub where all the greatest minds and warriors could gather and invent a new weapon, one hopefully capable of overcoming the monsters that threatened mankind.

It took twenty-one long years, but the many minds and souls brought together have finished their work. Now, with the Propulsional Harmonics Machines at their disposal, it is only a matter of time before the dragonoid threat is dealt with. Powered by mysterious crystals and piloted by courageous youths, the members of the PH Mech project are ready to put everything on the line for their families, friends, and most of all, country.

After a long and tiring process, made worse by their overbearing mother, Des La Ryuje is one of the newest line of PH Mech recruits ready to fight for the future of Unido. Or at least, that was the plan.

Items/Abilities: AMP Veloci is a white and silver very-light class Propulsional Harmonics Machine, only slightly taller than an adult human at seven feet, built for scouting, reconnaissance, and surprise attacks. It is one of the more dexterous and adaptable PH Mechs, with its limbs and hands moving at least as well as human ones, and its smaller size allowing it to use most weaponry meant for humanoids. AMP Veloci's general shape is sleek, triangular, and most of all, functional, it has no unnecessary parts or flairs. Its A.I. Module, Angelica excels at using collected data to infer enemy movements, strengths, and weaknesses as well as making plans that make the best use of AMP Veloci and Des's strengths. Like all A.I. mods, she runs diagnostics, ensures that there are no issues with her PH Mech, provides companionship and conversation to the pilot, and generally makes up for whatever weaknesses come from having a youth piloting her robot.

AMP Veloci's main weapons are two pile bunkers, attached to the mech's arms which additionally can function as hookshots. It also has a module in its feet which allow it to leap with more force than normal. The crystal that powers AMP Veloci also bestows it and its pilot with the ability to amplify collisions, which further empowers its main weapon and movement capabilities. Des La Ryuje is not powerless without their robot however, as part of the PH Mech project involves more traditional combat training with weaponry. Des uses a large knife as well as a special pistol that makes use of their collision amplification, the former of which can also be used by their robot.

Description: Des La Ryuje is an older teen with light brown skin and bright red hair done up in a neat and tight ponytail that leaves their face free. To additionally hold back any strands of hair, they have a white headband with "Rey" written on it, by their mother, though it is normally worn in a way where the word is hidden. They wear a standard PH Mech bodysuit with various red accents on it, red lines with occasional sparks along the body, red soles, and red lines along their fingers. Over that, they wear a dark red vest, also made by their mother.

Even now, as a full fledged PH Mech pilot, Des holds doubt over their position. Do they deserve to be here, when their main motivation was the expectations and hopes of their mother? Or does the fact that they made it through the program, surpassing others who seemed much more qualified and self confident, meant that deep down this is something they wanted for themself? "A PH Mech pilot fights for only themselves and their country." Those words still ring in their mind, but the time for doubting their path has long since passed.

Despite their fear and misgivings, Des is an excellent pilot. While nowhere near the performance rate of their seniors, they are easily one of the most capable freshmen pilots. On multiple missions they have proven capable of following through after unexpected consequences, executing plans perfectly, and focusing on multiple objectives with ease, something they place more on the brilliant strategy of Angelica more than themself. When they are given a plan, they put their heart and soul into it, there are no unnecessary actions. There is no hesitation or second guessing, only an unshakable trust in their A.I. Module and a perfect execution, something that they regrettably exhibit only as a PH Mech Pilot...
Standing here, The way ahead's becoming clear
All across these new frontiers
In my hands I hold the ones I love
Walk forward through the cold dawn
Always to new horizons

Wednesday at 12 NOON GMT to pick an arbitrary cut off point. This is apparently Christmas Eve it turns out. I can't promise I'll have this up and running on Christmas Day but I might try?

Other news: If there's ten characters or less everyone's in. Eleven or over and someone's not gonna make it. I can mentally justify up to ten but any more is pushing it. Sorry.

And finally, round ideas up for consideration in a handy list form (just copied and pasted here from profiles):


Ancient Castle Feuerflügel, hidden high atop the Sybilian Mountains. Long forgotten cultists weave olden curses to resurrect their fallen dragon king. Legends say the very blade that slayed the draconic tyrant still rests in those hallowed halls.

Cartoon World - Bright happy cartoon world, essentially it's Adventure Time.

Burnination Studios: Alt-earth where Kaiju start life as polyps drifting on warm ocean currents, growing to fit the islands they wash up on. Major coastal countries patrol their shores to repel juveniles, to prevent the North American counterpoint to the 200 kilometer wide Antarctic Furball. They stop growing after age fifty or so, at which point it's safe for them to take up residence on a continental coast city designed for their kind.
Burnination hosts the largest Kaiju population in the world, in sunny north-eastern Australia. It's also Earth's kaiju film capital, so loads of humans live there too.

Svalbard ( but awake and angry

Hellfire Cruises: See the Lake of Fire! Visit Mt. Sisyphus and the Tantalus Isles! Feast on the delicious liver at Prometheus' Cafe and forget your troubles at the famed River Lethe! The round is basically Hell, but now it's a tourist trap!

Dangerously Desperate Housewives - a neighborhood of drama and petty in-fights with extreme stakes and more extreme consequences, various housewives control everyone, including the player characters for things ranging from best lawn to who gets their hands on the new single dad

World Wrestling Omega Ring - complete with nonsensical tales and kayfabe and the most impossible gimmicks, perfect multidimensional television

La Islas Del Diases - Los Haitises National Park with evil plants and exotic animals and weird absurd landmasses or like, living landmasses

Shadow Base ZXX - briefing: a hidden american base has been taken over by a former american elite military spy group with one order, give us the body of the greatest solider in the world. their leverage? a machine capable of launching devastating attacks on anywhere in the world. it is up to a single spy and his support team to stop a geopolitical crisis. whoops theres battlers (its metal gear solid)

Train Murder Mystery - like the agatha cristie book or the paper mario level

Mademoiselle Primfel's Academie for Young and Emaciated Girls -- a girl's boarding school, ruled by the harsh disciplinarian hand of Mme. Primfel. School uniforms will be provided.
IT PROBABLY GOES WITHOUT SAYING but maybe consider not just throwing your vote to your own ideas.
We here at IXLANCALKIELIBER studios value democracy above all else.
Username: Chimney and Forge
What’s going on here? Two characters? Two usernames?!
We’re much more confident in our ability to write together than our ability to write individually. So we’re making a collaborative app. We spoke to a few people and they said that would be fine? We hope nobody minds!

The Verdant QueenShow
oops we accidentally wrote another 4 pages please disregardShow

summary: a summoner elf queen with a dragon soul, and her summonee beautiful dryad queen.

(Edit: We vote for the Ancient Castle Feuerflügel)
Shared account.
In the spirit of democracy, I will submit two profiles and let the other contestants vote on which one they'd like me to use -

The WraithShow

Gurska KarrShow

Summary ads:
1) Ancient astral horror interested in flawed, powerful beings for some self serving soul searching. Call if you like transparent bodies and opaque dialog. One of us is bound to have a good time.
2) Taurus mercenary seeks worthy contracts and courageous crew. Prompt execution of missions is guaranteed. Subtlety is not. Crew applicants are advised to avoid making cow jokes.
[Image: WFQLHMB.gif]
Oh, and regardless of which character I use, I vote for Ancient Castle Feuerflügel
[Image: WFQLHMB.gif]
Turns out today isn't Christmas Eve like I thought it was. Everyone gets an extra 24 hours to make those profiles because of my lousy timekeeping.
Username: Mrrrdini


Fabian van der Wiet scratched a final set of runes into the walls and scrambled back across the garage. The faint thumping of boots and metal outside grew louder by the second. No time no time.

His guards crouched behind their makeshift defenses, covering entry points with an assortment of heavy weaponry. Briers had even managed set up the .50 cal in the minute since the external cameras had gone dark. Security like that didn’t come cheap, but cooking up schedule I sorcerous narcotics had been a profitable line of work. Would still be, assuming he survived this mess. Shame about the security's security deposit.

He dove into the adjacent basement laboratory and took cover, remote incantations at the ready. One. Two. Thr-

A mighty THOOM sent dust cascading from the ceiling as breaching charges shattered the garage doors, followed shortly by countervailing hailstorms of gunfire. Fabian waited.


The curse did have its perks.

While bullets wouldn’t have inconvenienced her before, there was something to be said for the light patter ping of hundreds of rounds pang ineffectively pulverizing themselves pting on her armor. It reminded her of the sharp caress of desert zephyrs, so long ago.

In the here and now, she settled into stance and levelled her pistol. Goons speckled the garage like whack-a-moles, heads and gun muzzles peeking out from behind cars, desks and milspec shields. Perk number two: apprehension slowly dawning across the faces of a dozen hardened criminals as their magazines ran dry.

Alex 'Hotshot' Alameda got to work.

Sixteen bullets and eleven point five tangos later, she turned to give the team the all-clear. Hell, at this rate she might as well do these missions sol-

Ensorcelled fire shot up across the perimeter of the garage, and Alex found herself immobilized.

”Well, this is new.”

”Is it really, though?” Fabian stepped out of the laboratory’s doorway, robes trailing carelessly through the flames.

”Word has gotten around about you, little Ifrit. Your overconfidence led you right to me! The ~Federal Bureau of Magical Investigation~ was sure to come knocking after that informant ‘finally’ flipped, and such a huge bust would obviously warrant their finest operatives...”

With the wizard testing her patience, Alex tested the magical bonds holding her - to no avail. ”Can you get to the…. rrgh… point?”

The wizard criminal, being a criminal wizard, ignored her in favor of his ongoing monologue.

”And once you arrived… well, here we are! Being bound should be nothing new for you, considering you’ve been stuck in that prison for centuries – or was it millennia? I’m just planning to add a few… new strictures to that confinement. And as your kin once served my ancestors in their illicit dealings, so will you serve me. I, Fabian van der Wiet, shall forge an empire, and you- you will destroy any that might threaten it!”

”an’ cue the maniacal laughter.”

”Eyyyy broooeeeer, licht eeeen vooor miiiij, goooooeeeed…”

Alex was growing nervous. Her team still hadn’t cracked the rapidly darkening room’s defenses, and as the incantation droned incessantly on she could feel the lines slowly slithering around her soul.

Her mouth rambled on as her mind raced for a solution. ”Or the ominous chanting. That’s fine too. To be expected, really. Are you sure about all this fire? Smoke inhalation is some bad shit for you humans, I’ve heard.”

The incantation continued uninterrupted. Fucking wizards. Only thing worse than a crime wizard was a scorned witch, which Alex didn’t need to be told twice considering the latter had bound her to this terrestrial tea kettle. Though to be fair to Aaliyah El-Hashem, she’d done it in a far more elegant manner than this hack’s dank sub-basement ambush.

Not that his methods weren’t proving effective. C4 might be less accurate than a shaped charge, but both’ll blow a hole in the wall when push comes to shove. Or a hole in her soul, as the case may be. This was a bad analogy.

Fabian’s chant came to a fevered crescendo, and the garage briefly descended into total darkness as even the sorcerous fire guttered out. When the lights flickered back on he was breathing heavily, fedora slightly akimbo.

”I’ve… done it…! Althyr… Almael, heed… my call!”

Alex did her best to resist. Alas, it wasn’t a very effective best. ”Yes, master?”

Fabian’s shit-eating grin could’ve cleaned a pigsty. ”Your first task: go slaughter your former comra-“

It also made a comparable mess of the garage wall as a .50 cal sniper round wiped it right off his face.

”My ‘former’ comrades can handle themselves, asshole.” Alex shook herself free of the rapidly fading enchantments, just in time to greet her team as they breached the garage.

”Thanks , Valentine. I don’t kno-“

”Maybe next time you let us breach with you, yes? You may be more bulletproof than we are, but magic is an entirely different game of ball. Especially for one such as you.”

Alex sighed. She probably deserved this lecture. She mostly wanted to spit fire at the wizard’s corpse.

She sat through the lecture.

Afterwards, Alex followed the team out for evac and debriefing, having collected the gear she’d dropped in her confrontation (and singed Fabian’s robes a bit for good measure). She’d accompanied Singh and his M107 halfway up the underground driveway when she felt a tug on her vest.

Moments later all that was left of her was single shell casing, slowly rolling back down into the darkness.

Name: Althyr Almael, but nowadays they’ll settle for Alex ‘Hotshot’ Alameda.

Gender: Flamin’, currently favoring female pronouns.

Species: Ifrit

Colour: Temperature Warning


A fire spirit, housed in a ~6’8’’ (~2m) tall humanoid shell composed of a nigh-indestructible carbon allotrope. Alex has a modicum of control over the exact form this shell takes, given time and energy to ‘shape’ it. She currently favors a well-muscled, androgynous build topped off by an imitation gas mask in place of a face. A constant, dim flame seems to flicker behind the eyeholes.

She wears regulation black FBMI SWAT gear (sans the superfluous helmet/armor plating), and is probably a bit too pleased about how she looks in it.

Alex communicates through the vague, mystical means most djinni employ, even if her voice is strictly centered on the shell she inhabits. Her speech registers in a low feminine range, coming quick and clipped. She’s picked up a light American accent in her most recent line of work.

As one might expect from an Ifrit, Alex tends to be overconfident, reckless and quick to act. She stops short of the outright arrogance typical of her kin, however, and makes a steadfast ally to those who earn her respect – though that may be easier said than done. A life spent travelling means she (usually) reacts to new people, places and situations with curiosity and open-mindedness rather than immediate hostility.


Alex’s shell is (ludicrously) tougher than nails, able to resist gigapascals of pressure on a variety of tested measures. Despite Alex’s curiosity, any attempt to examine the material it’s made of has failed, seemingly due to the material itself changing to avoid scrutiny. Curses, man.

In addition to its durability, with sufficient concentration Alex can have her shell absorb infrared radiation in her vicinity. This has obvious physical effects on her surroundings–though the shell’s temperature strangely remains a constant 45°C—but also allows her to generate flames varying proportionately in size, heat and distance to the energy consumed.

Alex is a fire spirit, and would usually be found flitting about on desert winds tricking, intimidating and/or seducing mortals. Her (un)fortunate binding to the shell has grounded her, both literally and figuratively. Not only are her innate fire spirit powers significantly dimmed by it, but her personality is both less hostile and destructive than it would be if she was unbound.

Along with her magical capabilities, Alex has familiarized herself with a number of CQC and ranged combat protocols in her time working for the FBMI. She comes to the battle equipped with a holstered (FBMI Professional Model M1911) pistol, a M1014 shotgun slung across her back, and a frankly irresponsible load of explosives.
Howdy! Me and Ix have poured over all your profiles like some kind of horrifying amorphous blob creature. We're both super pumped for this and we both think the profiles have been real good! Too good as it turns out, we had some tough times deciding who would be in and out. We're aware that 10 players in a Grand Battle is pretty weird but since we're big ol' jerk heads putting our own characters in, it didn't seem fair to go with the standard 8.

Without further ado, here is our cast!

Ixcalibur as Lady Wilhelmina Pell - #412A42
Lankie as Wren - #2F4F4F
Dragon Fogel as Damse - #556B2F
Schazer as Gunzelurge - #778799
Sanzh as Georgia (and Sorry) - #FF96CA
AgentBlue as Cassandra Devin - #4444AA
Solaris as Des La Ryuje - #800000
Chimney and Forge as Völsung and The Verdant Queen - #FF0000 & #80C020
Sai as Gurska Karr* - #800000
Mirdini as Althyr Almael - #EE7600

Apologies to UnshornRam and Bigro for not making the cut. Don't take it personally! Again it wasn't an easy choice and in a perfect world we'd just have everyone in but we had to put a cut off point somewhere! I shall eat some Vegemite on toast and electrocute myself in honour of your profiles.

Opening post should be coming soon! Not everyone has voted for a place but so far there seems to be a consensus. Not too late throw in your vote for a late game upset though!

* Sai has bravely chosen to fall onto the blade of democracy for their character. But ultimately it's up to Sai to ignore that and go with the other character if they so choose. S'up to you! You may also want to talk to Sol about a text colour change but that's not too big a deal.
“What do you think?” Tiff asked, a smug self-satisfied grin plastered across her face. The ten chosen battlers (and one who had been dragged along for the ride) stood immobile in the traditional rough circle in the Endless Black Void room.

“For a start it appears you have forgotten how to count.” The Sophisticate said. “Or perhaps I overestimated your familiarity with Grand Battle custom; there should be eight combatants.”

“Okay, yeah. I admit I might have gotten a little carried away. But it’s not like there isn’t precedent." Tiff replied dismissively. "Whatevs, look, what do you think?”

The Sophisticate begrudgingly put his distaste over the non-standard battle size to one side and focused instead on his distaste for Tiff’s choices. “I hate them.” He said. “There’s far too many girls. What do you expect them to do? Gossip one another to death? If I didn’t know better I’d have thought you were organizing a Grand Bakesale, not a battle.”

“I see how this is.” Tiff said. “You’re feeling intimidated. You know you can’t handle all these powerful ladies ready to wreck your shit.”

“I am not!” The Sophisticate snapped. “And they could not. I’ll have you know I’m more than capable of babysitting these ladies under the pretence of a battle.”

“Excellent.” Tiff grinned. “I knew I could count on you bro.”

The Sophisticate grumbled a little for a moment before begrudgingly accepting this circumstance. “Fine,” he said. “I'm sure would absolutely love to make the acquaintance of these lovely ladies, if you’d like to do the honour of introducing us.”

“No way, thats not my job.” Tiff replied. “This is your battle bro. I’m not here to steal your thunder, so to speak.”

“Of course.” The Sophisticate rolled his eyes. “I'm sure you’d never dream of such a thing... There is a problem however that since you deigned to choose every single one of my combatants I do not know enough about them to do the introductions.”

“Yeah I thought of that.” Tiff produced a small stack of notecards from somewhere and handed them over to The Sophisticate. “Your big sis is always looking out for you.”

Skeptically The Sophisticate took a glance down at the top card, which read ‘knock em dead bro’ and when he looked back up he found himself rather abruptly in the middle of the battlers. “Thanks Tiff.” He muttered under his breath. “Real helpful.”

“Good evening ladies, and welcome to the Opulent Quarrel.” He said this with as much charm as he could muster, which was not much in first place and was running ever lower with his increasing irritation. “You’re probably curious as to what is happening right now, well allow me to enlighten you. I am The Sophisticate; a being of astounding power, power beyond that anything your primitive minds might be capable of understanding.” He looked around the group savouring the looks of horror (real or imagined) upon his contestants’ faces.

“But do not fret too much. I do not seek to do harm to you personally. I simply ask you to combat one another over seven perilous rounds,” he hesitated, “maybe more than seven perilous rounds until one of you stands triumphant, the sole survivor of this battle. Maybe I will even elect to grant you some sort of reward for your troubles.”

“Before we start though it is customary to tell you a little about your competitors.” He said. He looked down at the notecards, flipping to the second in the pile. He read ‘Lady Wilhelmina Pell; cool fairy hunter’. He read it again and then turned it over to see if there was more on the other side. There was not. “Of course.” he muttered under his breath.

“So, um, first up is Lady Wilhelmina Pell.” He said, hopefully scanning the faces of the combatants hoping to glimpse some twitch that might have indicated ownership of that name. “She is, one of you, and she is a fairy hunter. I guess she... hunts... fairies. That doesn’t sound particularly challenging. She’s probably a pushover... Okay, great, next contestant.”

The next card said: ‘Wren: super strong she beats up demons with just her fists; she’d snap you in half bro’. He muttered an obscenity under his breath and glanced around the battlers again, only to find they were all suddenly wearing nametags. He scanned the group until he spotted her; a tall and muscular lady in an olive coat, with a wooden pipe protruding from her mouth. “This is Wren.” he said. “She’s a demon hunter; a little more impressive than a fairy hunter I think you will agree. She’s um, really quite strong. Her weapon of choice, her own fists.”

Card three: ‘Damse: seriously really strong bro, you don’t even know.’

“Next up is Damse…” He repeated her name a couple of times while glancing around the circle, trying to work out how to pronounce it. Finally he spotted her and stopped short in awe of her beauty. “Good evening m'lady.” He said smoothly, or as close as he ever got. “It is a shame that a damsel as fair as yourself should be brought into this conflict. Alas I am afraid I cannot intervene or I'd risk the integrity of my own Grandmastership, but know that I am rooting you my dear.”

After that, with no information given to the rest of the group, he glanced back to Tiff’s cards. ‘Gunzelurge: cool train robot holy shit she’s so strong’. “Come on Tiff give me something to work with here.” He muttered.

Regardless of the sparsity of information Gunzelurge was easy to identify. She was the nine foot tall robot that looked like an old fashioned steam train come to life. She was really intimidating, in a way that even The Sophisticate couldn’t really deny, though he most certainly would try. “This is Gunzelurge. She’s very clearly very strong.” This last remark was rather pointed. “I don't know about you ladies but I definitely don’t need someone to inform me of just how strong she is.”

Card five: ‘Georgia Kyuume-chan Sakura: she’s cute, at least ten times smarter than you are and she drives a twenty foot mech like a pro’. The Sophisticate’s eyes lit up at the prospect and he glanced around trying to spot the twenty foot tall mech that had somehow alluded him until now. Then checked the back of the card ‘There wasn’t enough room in the Endless Black Void room. Sorry’s parked up in Round One, ready and raring to go when you finally finish these introductions.’

“You’re the mech pilot?” The Sophisticate asked incredulously. He regarded Georgia: a pink furred catgirl in a unflattering hoodie and jeans, and glanced over at the androgynous teen in a mech harness. “Surely there’s been some kind of mistake.” Even The Sophisticate couldn’t miss the indignation in Georgia’s eyes. “Well,” he tried to brush past it, “someone is a very skilled mech pilot with a twenty foot tall battle mech just waiting for them in the first round.” A slight pause, an awkward cough and back to the notecards.

‘Cassandra Devin: cool hardboiled private detective and prophet. notes: not as strong as everyone else but you gotta have a little variety’

"This is Cassandra Devin." The Sophisticate indicated the lady dressed in the traditional noir detective's trenchcoat. "As you might presume from the getup she's a private eye, what you wouldn't guess is that she's also a prophet. Either way it remains to be seen how useful her investigative powers will be in a combat situation."

He went move on and then doubled back. "Actually I've got a fedora that'd go really well with that trenchcoat, so um, could you try not to get any blood on it when you die." Pause. "If you die I mean, my apologies."

Card seven: ‘Des La Ryuuje: they’re a mech pilot too. fighting mechs bro, this is gonna be so rad.’ “They?” The Sophisticate asked out loud. “I’m pretty sure there’s only one of them.” The card quickly updated to indicate that they was the pronoun they preferred because they were non-binary. “What is this SJW shit?” he muttered, but received no further response.

“This is Des La Ryuuje.” He said, probably pronouncing it wrong but not caring enough to try to get it right. “Its a mech pilot.”

“THEY ARE NOT AN IT.” Bellowed a voice from somewhere beyond the infinite black void. “GET IT RIGHT OR I’LL BEAT YOU UP IN FRONT OF YOUR BATTLERS.”

The Sophisticate laughed nervously. “I think I must have left the TV on in the other room.” He said unconvincingly. “What I meant to say is that ‘they’” he spoke the pronoun as though holding it at arm’s length, “are a mech pilot. Their mech is probably waiting for them in the next round too I guess.” He took a slight moment just to make sure Tiff didn’t have anything to add before moving on to the next battler.

The next card read: ‘Völsung: holy shit she has the soul of a dragon wow’. Völsung it turned out was the cute pink-haired short girl in very fancy robes. “This is Völsung, she has the soul of a dragon and,” he took a guess, “the magic to match. She’s also probably very strong.”

The Sophisticate’s gaze was drawn to the beautiful girl standing next to her, whose nametag just read ‘???’. He made a face of puzzlement and glanced down to Tiff’s notecards. At the bottom of the pile he saw one that said ‘???: no idea, she seems sort of attached to the cool dragon lady, maybe they’re dating?’ He laughed bitterly and looked back up. The mystery lady had long amber hair and that kind of otherworldly beauty some would describe as elfin.

“This girl is…” he paused for a second but quickly recovered, “A secret. You’ll just have to wait and see her in action!” The Sophisticate allowed himself a small smile, he felt he’d navigated that one pretty well, he hoped she would live up to the hype he’d given her.

Card nine: 'Gurska Karr: badass taurus merc from space. she strong.' Tiff had underlined the last sentence a couple of times and added a couple of excited exclaimation marks at the end. Gurska was easy to identify, not only because of the dwindling number of unidentified combatants, but also the fact that she was an enormous minotaur lady, taller even than Gunzelurge. The Sophisticate's gaze was immediately drawn to the massive autocannon she carried. "This is Gurska Karr, a space minotaur merc, and she's already my favourite."

Finally he’d got to the final notecard: ‘Alex ‘Hotshot’ Alameda: a bound djinn spirit she’s so cool do you even have any idea what you’re looking at bro. The Sophisticate looked at Alex; a metallic humanoid shape with a gasmask for a face and fire burning behind through the eyeholes and concluded that no he probably did not. “This is Alex, she’s a bound djinn spirit. She’s-” he didn’t know where he was going with the rest of that thought, but luckily he was distracted by the sight of the last woman left unidentified.

“Oh I guess this must be the fairy hunter, by process of elimination.” He looked at Will, mainly focusing on the heavy bruising on her neck and arms, and the blank pearls where her eyes should be. “I gotta say you’re looking really the worse for wear, and if that’s just from fighting fairies. I think I have a pretty good idea who our round one elimination’s gonna be...”

“Anyway I guess that’s the pleasantries over with.” The Sophisticate smiled. “Time to get to the real meat of the matter. The way this works is that I’ll put you all somewhere fun and exciting and potentially really really dangerous, and you’ll stay there until one of you dies, then we move on and do that again and again until only one contestant remains.”

“Our first round-” As he said this the endless black void was suddenly replaced by an imposing gothic looking building, enormous and drab and ringed by equally high fences. The Sophisticate looked a little taken aback for a moment, before giving a short cough and continuing: “Our first round is Mademoiselle Primfel’s Academie for Young and Emaciated Girls.” He looked a little awkward as he continued: “It’s the finest finishing school for young ladies on this side of the multiverse. Mademoiselle Primfel guarantees to turn even the most delinquent of girls into a well behaved well mannered young lady, and she hates to be proven wrong.” He hesitated. “I’d say have fun, but that’s almost definitely against the rules.”

With that the contestants were scattered across the grounds of Mademoiselle Primfel’s, and The Sophisticate returned to his own private pocket dimension to find Tiffany relaxing with her feet up on the coffee table.

“You didn’t do too bad, bro.” She said with a sort of begrudging approval.

“And I suppose I must admit that your choices aren’t completely terrible.” He said, clearly irritated with this fact. He paused for a moment. “I’m a little surprised by your round choice. I would have thought you’d never want to see that place again.”

“Nah bro, I thought you knew about battles.” Tiff said. “Anywhere you put all your battlers down is a place just waiting to get majorly fucked, and I can’t wait till that damn school is burning to the ground.”

RE: The Opulent Quarrel - Round One: Mademoiselle Primfel's
Standing here, The way ahead's becoming clear
All across these new frontiers
In my hands I hold the ones I love
Walk forward through the cold dawn
Always to new horizons
RE: The Opulent Quarrel - Round One: Mademoiselle Primfel's
"To-my-understanding," Gunzelurge was explaining to the night porter, at a very polite and considerate 90-odd decibels, "there has been a mistake."

The Academie atrium was all latticed windows, each a cage keeping ruler-regimental distance between raking columns. It seized the Pheral's fine growl, bedraggling it out into the high-ceilinged space until it was the voice from the cavernous chest of a long-dead thing.

The porter was a sinuous creature, head bedecked with jittering quills like she'd had coffee for dinner, six hours ago, and was only just getting warmed up. Gunzelurge didn't flinch when a barb (one of many in the porter's updo) lashed out and patted her on the hand, a maternal gesture well at odds with its brook-no-shit hiss and rattle. "Aww, you're a new face, aren't you, hun?"

Gunzelurge hesitated.

Fragiles, for all their "out-of-earshot" "jokes" about Pherals being "simple machines", they weren't actually much better. You could still count on any individual one to surprise you, sure, but herd them together and prod them a particular way and you can expect much the same from them each time. In some ways, Fragiles were more predictable in Unexpected Presence of Gunzelurge than the Bulwark's denizens, Gunzelurge's own kind.

Fragiles would (usually) refrain from screaming, or for that matter making too much fuss at all around her. (Gunzelurge. Awesome in all permutations of the word.) She'd be more or less free to do as she pleased, which always consisted of doing reasonable, ambassadorial things, always keeping respect of local customs forefront. She would, at least, until they mustered enough collective pluck to brandish, hamfistedly, some pretext that bid her move on. They'd often invoke some local law, to which Gunzelurge would usually comply. Not out of any programmed regard of Fragile laws, but because it made everyone feel better.

Compare back to this creature, murmuring at her like no creature had even seen fit to before. About as durable as a Fragile if push came to shove, not that Gunzelurge was sizing the porter up. It was chattering away about a bunch of things, like matriculations and welcome letters with necessary documentation but that's fine if you've forgotten, I can print your timetable off what was your name again, hun?

"You-may-call-me-Gunzelurge," rattled off Gunzelurge. The porter clacked away at her desk; one of her headspines shot out into the pitted rear wall of her office and retracted with a snap. With not a moment's hesitation, she snapped off the quill and proffered it to the Pheral, two manicured talons prying it open for inspection.

"The Academie runs on human-common time, a tad slow for my tastes but my word do those little biologics get cranky if you try set them on anything different. Looks like you don't have breakfast scheduled in this semester so... you've Horsemanship with Madam Ascot next. Go back to August Hall through those doors, and wait in the courtyard."

Gunzelurge just stood there, until the creature sighed. "Hun, there's no point standing around looking pretty if you're not doing it where you're being told to. Off you trot."

"I-have-inquiries and. Request. Direct responses." Gunzelurge felt a tile creak underfoot, she redistributed her weight some with a faint hiss of achilles-coupling. "If. You will-not-comply that is acceptable. And you-have-my-thanks-for this. Timetable."

The porter stared at Gunzelurge, an indeterminate number of little black beady things staring down the Pheral's single, face-sized, lamplike arrangement. "Very good then. But let's keep it short and sweet, or you're going to be late for class. Three questions," it added, fractionally less a declaration than its other utterances.

Gunzelurge would've smiled if she could, even as her brain lurched into query-queueing motion. Not so weird and alien after all, then.

"Where is my horse?"

If the gatekeeper was taken aback at the mental image of Gunzelurge on a horse, it kept it to within a second's pause. "In Madam Ascot's stables, probably? She'd know better than me."

Gunzelurge nodded. "How do I leave the Academy?"

"Seniors only, hun. Sorry. And then, only on weekends if you've a leave form and a teacher with you." The porter retracted her hackles; glanced nervously toward the rest of the school. "Don't think about causing trouble eyeing for expulsion, either. Mademoiselle Primfel is right proud of her perfect graduation rates, and there's no quitter's route out of here."

An answer neither encouraging nor direct, but she couldn't begrudge this creature for it. Gunzelurge could think of a dozen or more arguably-useful lines of inquiry, but something ambassadorial kicked in.

"Thank-you-for-your-help. What-is-your-name?"

The porter made a noise that might've been laughter. "That's your last question?"

"Of the three to be addressed before. Horsemanship. I-would-relish-the-opportunity to inquire-further. If. There-are-no-objections."

"You're an odd duck, aren't you?"

The Pheral stared down at the doormonster, crunching conversational segues, before shrugging a mighty shrug. "Uncertain. If. That is a turn-of-phrase, I-look-forward-to asking you. About its meaning. I-may-then-verify-whether I am."

Gunzelurge spun about on a heel. The tiles underfoot gave an agonised screech as the Pheral took off at a jog. The porter burst out laughing, something real and raw and virulent in a place prickly-allergic to joy as this.

"Call me De!" She yelled, then winced, as Gunzelurge bellowed back:

"Thank-you, De."
RE: The Opulent Quarrel - Round One: Mademoiselle Primfel's
Damse would probably be very disoriented by now if she weren't so angry.

It was bad enough running across Mightius yet again. Even Manelaus had more or less given up on chasing her down after Troit, but Mightius just kept coming back for more. And he never grew less irritating.

But a run-in with Mightius was just an ordinary bad day. Being summoned before a god and cursed was another matter entirely. It was a relief to hear that all she had to do were some challenges intended for Mightius; if that musclehead could handle them, how hard could they be for her?

And then Damse was summoned before another god, one she had never heard of. Frankly, if she had, she would have sought him out sooner. He talked just like all the other men she had known, and dared to suggest that she somehow wasn't suited for this battle.

The most annoying thing was that Narra's curse held her back from even trying to resist whatever the Sophisticate had done to her. She was in a story now, a story where she was a "combatant", and apparently that meant you weren't allowed to punch the obnoxious host in the face.

Between that, and the utterly insulting uniform she was apparently expected to wear, Damse was far too upset to think about little things like how exactly the battle and the seven labors fit together.

She wanted nothing more than to tear this stupid uniform apart, other than perhaps tearing the stupid uniform apart after strangling the Sophisticate with it.

But as she held it, she found her hands refused to. It was the same feeling when she had tried to fight off the paralysis.

Tearing apart the uniform was not in the Story. And that meant Damse was stuck with it.

Well, fine. She'd play along with Narra's game, for now. She put the uniform on over her chiton, and glanced at the map to see where exactly she was supposed to go.


"A girl's school, hmm?" Pran mused, glancing over the words as they appeared in the book. "An intriguing site for the first of Damse's labors. Now, if we're just starting off, I think we want something that will fit in... let me see."

He flipped through the book, and found a promising passage.

Pigmale the Sculptor had grown weary of the ways of women, and so he devoted himself to his art. For seven days and seven nights, he did nothing but work on his masterpiece, a statue of immense beauty, representing what women should be.

Indeed, the statue was so beautiful that Pigmale fell in love with her, and wished she could be real. So he prayed to the gods with all his heart, and when he returned to his studio that night, the statue moved.

He called her Gally, and she was perfect in every way. She loved Pigmale more than all the world, and cleaned the house for him, and made him sandwiches whenever he asked, and agreed with his every word.

Then, one day, Pigmale caught a glimpse of Damse the Beautiful, and realized she was even more beautiful than Gally. Forgetting every curse he had uttered against women, he rushed out and asked for Damse's hand.

She gave it to him, in the shape of a fist.

Gally saw all this, and at once realized that Damse was to blame for tempting her man. She tended to Pigmale's wounds, and swore that one day Damse would pay for all that she had done.

Pran smiled, and pulled out his pen.

And then one day, Gally found an invitation to Madameoiselle Primfel's Academie sitting in the kitchen. As she picked it up, she found her surroundings changing around her...


The map was confusing. Damse was fairly sure she wasn't a Mechanoid, whatever those were, and she probably wasn't a Colossus either. But why were there separate dorms for Humans, Humanoids, Demi-Humans, and Humanlikes? What was even the difference?

Still, the last thing Damse was going to do was let this stupid story go off without a hitch. She might not be able to fight her way out of this uniform, but she could at least delay whatever was about to happen by not going straight to the Human dorm she was obviously supposed to head to.

She followed the route to the Colossus dorm. None of the other girls she saw paid much attention to her, probably because they were about twice her height on average.

She stepped up to the front desk and waited for the black dragon behind it to notice her. Hopefully, that would take a while.

She wasn't that fortunate.

"Young lady, I believe you may be at the wrong dormitory," said the dragon, in a condescending tone of voice that reminded Damse of her mother. "May I see your documents?"

Damse shrugged, and handed the map over.

"Hmm, now let me see... you appear human, but you're not marked for the Human dorm... nor Humanoids, Demi-Humans, Humanlikes, or Lycanthropes... how strange."

"Maybe I'm at the wrong place entirely," Damse said, turning to leave.

"Oh, wait! I see it now. You're in the VIP dorm, not the regular human one. I am terribly sorry no one came to guide you yet, I shall do it myself, and then I shall let Madameoiselle Primfel know of this oversight at once."

"You don't have to," Damse began to say, but it was already too late. The dragon had grabbed her by the arm, pulled her through the grand doors, and started flying her across campus.