Welcome to Amortentia! We're a unique personified animation site set in the HP universe. The second semester is in full swing, the Yule Ball is finished complete with our royalty poll, the Goblet of Fire ceremony has been conducted, and our champions for the Triwizard Tournament have been selected! The first task will be under way beginning in March. In the meantime we are wrapping up a Valentine's Hogsmeade Weekend and the champions are preparing themselves for the first task. The effects of an illegal truth serum finding its way into the punch bowl at the Yule Ball have rippled their way through the populace, resulting in the firing of two staff members and friendships made and broken. So fall into place and let your own stories unwind!
Darkness. Curious, though, as just a moment before you were standing on the other side of this wall in the brilliant haze of a sun in the stage between harsh winter light and a soft spring glow. But a quick glance toward the ceiling shows a dark, starry night sky through a set of cage-like bars a good twenty feet above you. Against the velvet blue of the sky, black silhouettes can be seen from a distance. The stands -- your audience; and their chatter buzzes through the air. The door behind you slams shut with the heavy sound of a metal lock, and suddenly... hush. Eerie quiet.
Far ahead, the glow of four standing torches illuminates a stone pedestal at their center. In the flickering light atop the stone surface rests a small wooden cube. You know what you must do, and yet... Recall the warning Bruce gave you before sending you through that heavy wooden door:
"You are not alone."
With that thought in mind, you listen. Through the glass-like tinkle of dripping water that echoes off the in the darkness, there is something else... A steady rhythm, like a quiet rush of air over and over again. For a moment -- just one -- there is a pause, and then the cadence continues a little louder and a little faster.
And so your challenge begins.
OBJECTIVE: Starting at point A, retrieve the wooden cube at point B and carry it out through the door at point C.
SETTING: Near pitch black conditions in a dungeon-esque room 400 feet long and 200 feet wide. At the center is a circle of light cast by torches with roughly a 100 foot diameter -- this is the only area of the room immediately visible to the Champion. Click here for visual schematics.
GOALS: Complete the objective in 4 or 5 rounds. The completion of three or more rounds by the Champion is considered a success. The objective may be completed on round 3, but will be considered "barely successful". If the objective is completed on rounds 4 or 5, the Champion is "highly successful". If Interference stalls the Champion for six or more rounds, the Champion is "moderately successful". Failure to complete three rounds will result in "task failure".
If Interference does not reply within three days of the Champion during any round, the Champion may move onto the next round and mildly Power Play the Interference's failure to intercept, stall, or stop them. If this occurs on Round Four or higher, the Champion may claim an automatic success in their post. If an interference player misses a three day deadline, they will not be allowed to play another interference role in the tournament.
MECHANICS: The task starts with an Introduction Round the week before MAR 01 in which the Champion replies to the task introduction with thoughts and a reaction to the conditions presented. They may act toward their objective, but may not continue past point B without allowing Interference a chance to react.
Round One begins on MAR 01 with a reply post from Interference, followed by a response from the Champion.
Round Two and beyond follow the format of Round One.
Champions have until MAR 21 to complete their objective.
Interference will present challenges and obstacles for the Champion to overcome. The Champion's ingenuity and realism in how they overcome, or fail to overcome, each threat or distraction will be reflected in their score at the end of the task.
PREPARATION: The Champion is armed with only their wand and their wits. The Champion has been told to retrieve the wooden cube in the room and carry it out through the door on the other side. A single warning has been issued: "You are not alone."
OOC: In the week leading up to Round One, the players of the Champions may PM a staff member up to two questions pertaining to the task. Choose your questions well, as the staff will answer them ONLY to the point of knowledge your character would have. For example, a question like "What is in the room with me?" would receive the answer "Four standing torches with a pedestal at their center. Atop the pedestal is a small wooden cube". Players may PM the staff another question at the beginning of each round of play. Keep in mind: we will not complete your task for you.
They're wearing sunglasses at night. Which means they're very cool.
It was easy to get lost in the cheering. People chanting his name, the screaming, the general chaos of it all. Even the booing from the other schools brought satisfaction. Every champion was going separate. That meant all eyes were on him. The spotlight, the expectations. This was a huge honor. Everything about this tournament was thrilling. The pressure and excitement was already igniting the adrenaline inside of him. As he approached the new arena, nerves flew. He could feel his nerves tingling through every inch of his body. Adrenaline and anticipation were nothing new to him. Not that it ever lost it’s appeal. Dick lived on the rush of the moment. It was like a heavily addictive drug that he could never get a big enough fix of.
”You are not alone”
With all of five minutes to prepare, Bruce’s warning was kept at the forefront of Dick’s mind. After all, they weren’t given much information to begin with. He had his task and a small, cryptic warning. But it was plenty. Expect anything. That’s what he took from it. Then again, that was the running theme of this competition. Be prepared. Easier said than done. The first task gave little as a clue. Dick had brushed up on a few magic strategies in the short time he’d been given. He’d started as soon as he returned to the Hufflepuff Common Room, the night he had been chosen as the Hogwarts Champion. Research, preparation, adaptation, all skills that had been drilled into the eighteen year old for the past nine years. These would be the skills that carried him through this task.
Stepping into the room, Dick was quick to take in what he could. The darkness was conjured. Same kind of illusions generally used in the Great Hall. Though, there might have been some differences. He had to focus a little bit, but yes, those shapes through the ‘sky’ were the stands. Assuming the enchantment acted like a one-way glass, with the ‘stars’ more than likely the natural sunlight poking through, he had all eyes on him. Dick had to watch himself then. Yes, he planned on winning this competition, but it appeared he had to make sure he didn’t put too much of a show on.
The problem he was now facing was that as Dick Grayson, he wasn’t at the top of his game. It was true, he was known for being ‘spry’ in comparison to a lot of people. Highly acrobatic, circus background, still kept up some of the training to stay in shape. But it still paled in comparison to the full extent of his non-magical abilities. As Nightwing, Dick was able to be amazing. Somehow, he was going to have to keep a balance. This competition was about strengths and weaknesses. He was a talented wizard, yes, but he had physical strengths that the others didn’t. Physical strengths that could potentially turn the tables. This wasn’t minor leagues. Dick was fully aware of the magical skill that the others possessed. It wasn’t hard to figure out they were more than worthy opponents. So any advantage that Dick might have had, he had to utilize it. It was time to pull out every ace in his deck for this competition.
Heavy doors creaked and crashed as the lock jammed into place. The sound reverberated in the large room for a moment before a dead, still silence replaced the chatter and background noise. All light was gone. Dick blinked in the darkness as his eyes fought to adjust to his now pitch-black surroundings. The room left the boy blind to all but that small area in front of him, torches illuminated the area surrounding a pedestal with his wooden box. Funny, how innocent the task appeared. Just a box resting in the middle of a dark, foreboding dungeon. No biggie. The room was beyond blinding. In the quiet, it seemed to amplify the nerves. It was the kind of dark that swallowed him, surrounding and smothering his person all at once.
With only a moment’s hesitation, Dick was stepping silently through the room. His eyes shot up to the pseudo night sky. The atmosphere was familiar, almost. Stalking through the shadows just like those countless nights with Batman. But this time, no fancy night vision, no utility belts or gimmicks. Like the early learning days, it was just Dick and his thoughts. You are not alone. Had to remember that. So really, it was Dick, his thoughts, and something potentially dangerous. Going straight into the center for the box wasn’t a great idea. Charging straight into the light was a bad idea. Not with those looming words swimming through his head. It was time to go back to basics. Don’t rely on your gadgets. They can fail. Or in this case, gadgets not accessible. He had a wand, yes. It wouldn’t take much to use the ‘lumos’ spell to cast some light on the subject. But then again, use the shadows. After all, he didn’t want to let his mysterious roommate know where he was quite yet. Listen. Was that water? Had that been there the entire time? Had the room really dulled his senses that fast? He needed to be aware. Couldn’t let that slip now.
Dick’s steps were slow and concise. Soundless to most. He could hear the quiet...breathing? Rhythmatic. Steady. Over the sound of his own heart pounding in his chest, there was definitely air being pushed in some way. While Dick’s breathing was slow and controlled, the ‘breathing patterns’ were enough to break the silence. The sound seemed to bounce along the walls, making it near impossible to figure out where it was coming from. Right now, it sounded stationary. Still consistent, unchanging. Dick was still aware of this sound, but for this time, it wasn’t a threat. Yet. Right now, he needed to observe. Case his surroundings the best he could.
Unable to rely on anything besides his hearing at the moment, Dick was attempting to multitask. His eyes were glued to the ‘ceiling’ of this arena. Though a miniscule difference, Dick was able to make out shapes above him. A large pillar was right in front of him, give or take a few feet. Now that his eyes were adjusting, Dick could almost make out the round pillar. Or at least place it within his mind’s eye. From the look of the bars and fake sky, he was able to put together the approximate size of the room. It was longer than it was wide. If he continued moving forward, he’d be moving into the light. Without knowing what exactly he was up against, this didn’t seem like a good option. This was one of those tests of patience. It needed to be waited out. Dick was hugging the right side of the room, still clinging to the darkness as if it was his lifeline.
Running his hand along the cool, stone pillar, Dick was still moving around in the dark. If his friend could gladly use his inhaler for that wheezing, that would be great. Dick had a box to grab and it was highly distracting to have someone breathing so lo--Wait…
Silence. Dick froze, straining his eyes, his ears. Glancing to the light in the middle of the room, it was still undisturbed. Back into the darkness, nothing. Nothing at all. Then, he was no longer in complete silence. Dick turned around, moving his back away from the pillar, not allowing himself to be blocked. The sound had changed. It had direction. Faster, louder, closer! Run!
It was dark in his territory, but he didn't mind. It's not like he couldn't see anything at all. And it was his territory. Everything within the area belonged to him. The rocks, the stream, the cube up on the stone pedestal, even the little moving thing creeping up in the distance.
It was a tiny creature moving towards him, though he didn't think it knew he was there. By scent, he knew it was a human male. And by sight, he thought it was a cub. What did a cub want in his territory?
He watched it move silently through the darkness, as if it was a shadow himself. It was curious, very very curious. The cub was moving slowly, purposefully, towards the cube in the expanse of light. And the closer the cub got to it, the more a familiar, possessive rage started to fill him up.
The human was getting close, too close, and he had to act. He lowered his horns and ran at the human, more to scare than to maim. He had to get him away from the box!
They're wearing sunglasses at night. Which means they're very cool.
The huffs and snorts were now joined by thundering clops from something quite large. Still too dark to see anything, Dick could only rely on what he was hearing, while trying to get a bearing on his location. There was something coming right at him and it took all but a second for Dick to decide his next course of action. The Hogwarts Champion was in an all out sprint around the corner of the pillar. Whatever was running after him, was still to be determined. But that deduction didn’t take long at all. Hooves, Dick could put that together. Large, way too loud and heavy sounding to be anything smaller than he was. Bipedal, while there was definitely a hulking creature on his tail, Dick wasn’t hearing the correct pattern for anything with four legs. That gait did not match that of a human or a quadruped. It was different, hard to explain, but the steps were almost clumsier than what a human sounded like.
While in motion, Dick could only assume that what was in this dungeon with him, was the hugely intimidating form of a minotaur. After all, there weren’t too many creatures that fit Dick’s mental profiling of his dungeon-mate. Without looking back, Dick could picture the giant, bull-like creature that appeared to be mutated with a man. Yeah, unless he was dealing with a really gifted, but majorly peeved unicorn on two legs, he didn’t think it could be anything but a minotaur. It really was a unique creature. Dick was willing to bet money on it. He was already going over the mental list of facts about the monster, at least, what he could think of while dashing at top speed. It really was hard to remember anything other than ‘big horn-y cow-man’ while it was chasing after him. Why didn’t he pick his HoH’s brain on magical creatures? That would have been really useful. All that came to mind on minotaurs was the fact that they charged a lot like bulls, head first, hard to break a charge (such as the one it was currently in), and majorly strong. Not to mention fast, as Dick was remembering now. Good thing he had a head start.
The 18-year old liked to believe he was in great physical condition. But he was practically nothing compared to the behemoth that graced the boy with it’s terrifying presence. Dick was way out of his weight class with the minotaur. This thing was probably towering over him. More likely than not. El Toro probably weighed at least five or six times more than Dick, counting the nasty horns the beast had adorning it’s massive, extraordinarily thick skull. Compared to the 5’10 hufflepuff who weighed in at an entire 160 lbs, Big Mac didn't have much to snort at.
At any point Dick could have stopped to take a look at the freight train of a monster charging at him, but Dick couldn't afford to lose the little bit of leeway he had I between him and the steakhouse. What happened when he moved closer the walls, Dick brought himself closer to the minotaur. That would be the trouble with moving through the dark without being able to case the area. He could only imagine the spectators watching him creep closer toward the muscle-bound mammoth. Especially now, with him sprinting the entire length of the dungeon. But hey, in his own defense, Dick would like to see someone take the thing head on! Move more, get crushed less! That was his logic anyway. Dick was getting closer and closer to the opposite wall of his original position in the dungeon. He wanted to be chased. He needed all that momentum from the bull-man. All that bulk could not have had the agility that the small, by comparison, acrobat possessed.
The problem with anything that big and burly was that, yeah, those horns could probably take out a spine or three at a time, but that much mass left something to desire brake-wise. Mix Newton's First Law of Motion with the lack of traction from those hooves on smooth stone, and, well, ground beef for all. Or, at least a very angry minotaur with a very bad headache.
Approaching the wall, Dick had extremely little room in-between the bull and himself. He barely had a chance to just peek behind him to get an idea of how much room he had for this maneuver. With wand gripped tightly in hand, Dick ran right up to the wall and then literally up the stoned surface. One step, two. ”Lumos maxima!” Mid-stride up the wall run, Dick cast the strong illumination spell. With his wand arm cast behind him with a whip-like motion, Dick made the tip of his wand give off a brilliant, blinding light for just a quick, disorienting flash before turning it off with a non-verbal nox. Hopefully the extremely bright version of a simple charm was enough to keep the thing from following Dick's movements with it's large bovine head as he ran a little bit higher up the wall and then kicked off the surface into a backflip, soaring over the minotaur's large form. Whether or not Dick was able to get the monster to crash into the wall, the sudden light in near pitch black conditions would hopefully be enough to disorient it. Kind of like not being able to look up on a massively sunny day. Or flinching when the lights get turned on in the morning. Landing in a 3-point position with his wand still ready to be used held tight at his side, Dick pushed himself up with the hand on the ground, getting ready to run again if he needed to. But for a moment he stood at the ready, breathing a little heavier. Thank goodness for endurance training, but there was still something about running from something like a minotaur to get his heart pumping harder and just the tiniest bit winded. Plus, Dick had no intention of turning his back on the creature now. Probably made it a little upset. It wasn’t like minotaurs were known for their patient personalities.
The cub, compared to him, was small and weak and had zero chance of winning a head to head fight. The same thought must have occurred to the youngling, for as soon as he knew he was there, he ran. And by Mahal's saggy left nut, for a human, this little bugger was fast!
The chase went on, the cub always just ahead. It was heading for the wall, where it would be cornered and skewered by his horns. He hated killing cubs, but sometimes it was a necessary evil. Such as now; the cub threatened what was his, and therefore needed to die as an example to the rest of the human race.
They were nearing the wall now and he braced himself for the feel of flesh and bone crunching against his skull. Then the cub started running on the wall, and it was surprising enough to make him skid. "Lumos Maxima!" the cub cried. The bright flash stunned him enough to make him stumble into the wall.
At the speed they'd been going, he couldn't raise his hands fast enough to keep from face planting into it. His nose jammed painfully, making him see stars. He stumbled backwards, shaking his head to clear it with his tail lashing in irritation behind him. More by hearing than sight, he located the cub and bellowed angrily, killing intent practically vibrating in the air.
They're wearing sunglasses at night. Which means they're very cool.
With a satisfying crash, the minotaur ate that wall. Dick had to admit that the sound of ribeye hitting solid rock felt like an accomplishment in itself. There was absolutely no way he could ever get that kind of effect by taking that creature head on. ”Oooh, sorry, Bessie. That looked painful.” By now Dick was hastily backing away, keeping an eye on the minotaur the best he could in the still dark conditions. Soon the champion was turning to dash while the rump roast was down. But then, Dick was pretty sure he jumped out of his skin at the blood curdling cry of the mighty minotaur. He could feel the hair on the back of his neck stand on ends and chill run down his spine. There weren’t many things that Dick was truly afraid of, but this was a whole other brand of fear. This wasn’t the deep emotional fear. This was pure adrenaline/danger-induced panic that comes from things like an exceptionally angry minotaur. Dick actually flinched mid-stride, ducking slightly in reflex. After that, the boy was all but flying through that dungeon.
Think! Think! It’s probably immune to direct magic…
To be honest, Grayson might have outrun the not-so-happy meal the first time, but even he wasn’t sure if he could do it again. Not with the sheer rage coming from the beast. That box needed to be retrieved and Dick didn’t have much time or a lead to just run for it. But, he could use what little opportunity he had. Running straight toward the light, Dick was already contemplating his escape. The door was just vaguely visible earlier, so if Dick was going to get over there, he needed to make sure he knew where he was headed. If he ended up face to face with the wall, that might have gotten him killed. Or at very least, in a full body cast. Thankfully, with just a little head start, Dick made it into the light, getting far enough to be between the edge of the lit area and the pillar with the cube. Quickly, Dick turned to stop and glance between the torches.
”Reducto!” Two shots fired from Dick’s wand as he swung his arm toward each of the torches’ base. It needed to be powerful enough to break the metal, but also precise in order to fall in the correct direction. But not blast them so much that the flames went out before Dick could use them. Once the pole bases blasted away and the rest of the tall poles started falling, ”Engorgio!” The torches were turned into magical flame throwers facing each other, creating an enormous wall of flame, illuminating a much larger area of the dungeon now. Making sure that charm was powerful enough to turn the small flames into a raging inferno, Dick had to buy as much time as he had. Hopefully the minotaur avoided the flame if he wasn’t fireproof, which Dick was fairly certain it wasn't. Otherwise the champion would have to hear about how he turned his dungeon buddy into London Broil. ”Watch your tri-tips!” Dick called as he ran toward the center of the dungeon. Grab the cube and then get the heck out!
They're wearing sunglasses at night. Which means they're very cool.
As the flames erupted from the torches, a makeshift border was made, just tall enough to block the minotaur. Dick even had to move fast, feeling the intense heat radiating from his counter. So far the minotaur seemed to be repelled, because Dick just barely saw a flash of the thing stopping as the flames spread wide. So, Dick’s guess was correct. Minotaurs were indeed flammable. Good to know. But there were so many things that could have made this so much easier. Seriously, he should have studied more before this. General knowledge on anything life threatening in the wizarding world would be highly useful. Not that it was a broad subject or anything.
Now just steps from the cube, the Hogwarts student reached to grab the cube. Final stretch...all that stands between you and the exit is-- Hoof beats rushing from his side. Well, that. Stop panicking! Get a grip! Dick had to think fast. All this time he’d been playing his environment. The wall was able to deal more damage than himself. The flames, they were able to make a better barricade than any shield spell would. But now, for the first time, Dick was able to get a good look at just what he was dealing with, as it came around the corner from the fire wall. Warm light from the fire cast an illumination over a wide space, the slight flickering light from the flames only seemed to make the minotaur appear more menacing. Dick had already been mentally picturing the large mass of horns, muscle, and fur. But this? Oh, it made things so much more intense. As if the stress levels weren’t already up, this made things about ten times less asterous. ”Why grandma, what large...everything you have.” Actually seeing the beast now made things much more troubling. The walking barbeque probably had nose rings larger than Dick. Don’t start losing it now.
In hindsight, taking a 50/50 chance that the minotaur would go around the opposite way of the door may not have been the most tactically sound plan. So sue him, it wasn’t like it was a daily occurrence to be trapped in a dungeon with a deadly mythical creature. This really was his first rodeo, as far as killer bull-man-beasts go. Rodeo. Bull. Nice. Now he was bantering to himself. Under this kind of pressure, thoughts were running spastic...More spastic than normal, that is.
Time was running out. Even the engorged flames were dying down from their knocked over state. Dick had to react now. Most of his tactics were useless. Under normal circumstances, Dick could probably jump over his opponent with hardly any effort. A smokescreen could work if he had more equipt, higher ground, and full use of his talents, but Dick himself would be blinded, disoriented, and potentially gaining suspicion. Plus, a magically induced smokescreen would require more time than he had available to him. Simple evasion could only do so much in a nearly empty room, with the minotaur right in the way of the door. This required a complete change in tactic. Without use of acrobatics, Dick was in a rare position
he was not overly fond of.
With the box in his hand, still standing at the pedestal, Dick took his eyes of the minotaur for just a moment to do some prep. This would require both speed and concentration. Dick was capable of this, all he needed to do was focus. He put the box back onto the stone, and pointed his wand at the box, Dick muttered a quick, ”geminio.” In an instant, an identical box appeared next to the original. Careful to keep his body blocking his actions from the minotaur, Dick took a deep breath as he listened for the heavy meatbag approaching. Unsure of how intelligent the minotaur was, Dick was playing it cautious. Because it was time to get a little bit tricky. The original block was shrunken down to the size of a child’s toy block with a silent reducio and quickly slipped into Dick’s front pants pocket. All this within a few imperitive seconds. The copy was then picked up again. Hopefully this worked. Dick turned around to face the minotaur now. All he needed was for it to move closer, to create more distance from the door and Dick would be happy. With the perfect duplicate of the box in his hands, Dick stood readied in front of the pedestal, just waiting.
It was more the sudden brightness than the heat that made him stop and stumble back. Oh he certainly registered the pain of being too close to the fire a moment later, but that wasn't what caused him to bellow in mixed rage and pain. Spots appeared in his vision and refused to go away, even as he blinked and rubbed at his eyes.
The little runt would pay for this! The Minotaur circled the wall of flame, getting between the human and the way out. He could smell the fear off of the child when he came in full view, and some sort of cruel, vindictive pleasure made him stomp one of his hooves into the ground and snort, as if challenging the lad.
Said lad seemed a mite bit more intimidated now that they could actually see each other. He had the box in his hands, a fact that made the Minotaur livid, but then put it back on the pedestal. Maybe the child was learning to behave? Not that it mattered. He still had to die. The Minotaur snorted and kicked up dust behind it in preparation to charge.
Then, he did just that. With a loud scream that boomed like thunder, the Minotaur plowed forward once more.
They're wearing sunglasses at night. Which means they're very cool.
That was not going as well as he'd hoped. Though, to be honest, Dick wasn't exactly sure what he was hoping for. It took a moment to recompose himself. He had to take that dumbstruck look off his face. While yes, this was panic provoking, Dick couldn’t let it impair him. There was no denying that this was an unnatural situation, though. As the minotaur pawed the ground, Dick prepared himself for what came next. Apparently his not being in Gryffindor did nothing to prevent a charge. Or maybe the whole red thing only worked with normal bulls?
One more stomach-dropping war cry came from the minotaur and soon hundreds of pounds of minotaur was racing through the dungeon. The box Dick was holding was meant to be a decoy originally. But since the minotaur was charging again, handing over the wooden cube didn’t seem like it was going to work. Then again, while, no, Dick was not as calm, cool, and collected as he could have been, he wasn’t without a backup plan. Because just in case the ‘kiss and makeup...just kidding’ idea didn’t work, he now had a very tranfigurable object that could serve as a very useful tool.
So far, light in the darkness had been a key component in this atmosphere. Using it as a diversion for the wall flip, turning up the heat as an actual wall, and now? In a well lit area like he was in, that may not have as easy. So, it was time to mix it up just a little bit. Something big to finish the job. He just needed to get out that door. ”Sonorous.” Dick had his wand pointing at the cube in his hand. One makeshift flashbang coming up. With no weapons available, he was going to have to make due. With scary speed, the minotaur was approaching with maximum ferocity. Breathing hard and fast Dick stood low getting ready to run once more. He just needed that timing. Three. No room for error. Two. Have to be careful not to get affected as well. One!
Dick threw the cube right in front of the minotaur as it came within twenty feet. As if in slow motion, Dick kicked off the pedestal for a quick start and could see the cube flying through the air before it clattered with a loud crash. Thanks to the amplifying charm being cast on it before being thrown, the sound was enough to fill the air, much louder than that of the booming minotaur’s cries. But that wasn’t the end. Two rotations was all that was allowed for the cube before a light flew from Dick’s wand, ”confringo!
If there was ever a test of reflexes, it was this task. Those fast-paced spells that had to be handled with precision, making sure to time every detail of every move he made with only a moment’s preparation. It was insane. This blasting curse was no different. As soon as the spell was cast, Dick covered his ears as he dashed toward the direction of the minotaur. He curved around to stay out of arm range as he ran past. The sound of the explosion shook the dungeon. Hopefully the boom would be enough to disorient and stun the minotaur one last time. Dick wasn’t sure if the confringo would be enough to blind, but he knew it was certainly loud and sudden, and hopefully just powerful enough to stun without injuring too badly. If he could at least trip the thing up, Dick would have succeeded. There was no doubt in the power of the sound though. Dick was prepared and his ears were ringing. Not that he had enough time to dwell on that. He’d passed the minotaur and was home free. Dick wasn’t even going to look back to see how much time he had left. The outline of the door was just barely visible. All he had to do was get out.
Now thrown into darkness, Dick was running blind. His eyes had adjusted to the light conditions and he couldn’t see the door anymore. There wasn’t any time to stop and look for the handle to the door. He was sure it was right in front of him, but he hadn’t had a chance to study the door. With a final flick of his wand, a nonverbal alohomora was cast and the door flung open. More light flooded and Dick squinted as he approached. Then suddenly he was out. Fresh air, sunlight, cheering. He’d made it out. Dick shut the door behind him, leaning on the wood with heaving breaths. Reaching into his pocket, Dick took the cube out with his free hand. ”Engorgio” He returned the box to it’s original size and took a deep breath. Ready to go back to street thugs now.
In your hand, you hold he clue for your second task. Yes, that's right -- the wooden cube. Though small and unassuming -- eight inches on any edge and boasting rather plain, but beautifully carved and polished, surfaces -- that cube has everything you'll need to know to prepare yourself for the second task.
For simplicity's sake, it is assumed that your champion solves the mystery of the cube within the coming month before the second task. How that is accomplished in-character and how long it takes is up to you, and the staff encourages you to play it out on the First Task board! So, assuming you all solve the mystery, here is what you find:
The cube is a 100 step Japanese puzzle box.
Inside the box is an almond-sized seed.
When you pick up the seed, it starts to rapidly grow into a small, bright yellow flower, similar to a crocus.
When the flower unfurls, there is a small, rolled up piece of paper which reads: "Reunite me with my family at the heart of the jungle."
If you care to research the flower, here are some interesting facts you might find:
Classification:Crocus adfectus Common Name: Happy Crocus
Domain: Tropical, subtropical, and temperate forests
Status: rare species
Anatomy: The Happy Crocus is a small, upright flower which grows between four and six inches tall and sports a bloom, nearly identical to the common Crocus sativus. When in fully open, the bloom of this plant is between two and a half to three inches across. The color of the Happy Crocus bloom his highly varied from flower to flower and does not seem to exclude any hue other than green. However, every Happy Crocus sports four long, yellow stamen sprouting from the center of the flower around a shorter stigma. Each stamen ends with an anther that ranges in color from brilliant orange, to bright red, with a few colored in hot pink. The pale, spring-green base of this flower is curious, ending in what appears to be almost vine-like roots, and thin, yet sturdy, vine like leaves sprout in a single pair on the flower's stalk.
Physiology: The Happy Crocus is surprisingly sturdy and resilient for such a small flower. It does not need to be planted, as it does not derive its nutrients from the ground, and will stand upon its roots without additional support. The roots and vines of this flower are prehensile, and the Happy Crocus takes great satisfaction from interacting with its environment through touch. It may pick up small objects, turn them over, and even put them to use. Instead of taking nutrients from the ground, the Happy Crocus feeds off the aura of living things around it. It does not take, but simply thrives in the presence of other living things. It requires companionship at a minimum of one hour, in a single stretch of time, about every seven or eight days. They enjoy sunlight, though it isn't necessarily required for their health, as they are quite accustomed to the dim lighting of various forests. The Happy Crocus has a rather extended natural lifespan of seven to nine years given proper proximity to another living organism.
Psychology: Perhaps the most profound characteristic of the Happy Crocus is its ability to emote. The flower expresses sentient emotion through subtle, limited telepathic communication. A person walking by a Happy Crocus may feel as if the flower is happy or sad -- or any other range of natural human emotion -- without knowing why they know this. The Happy Crocus may also use visual cues to signify their feelings by releasing puffs of pollen in different colors depending on its mood. Studies have shown the meaning of these bursts of color to be similar to the meanings behind the common muggle artifact known as a mood ring. The combination of colors released by the flower may be used to identify its wants and feelings with some measurable accuracy. Contrary to the Happy Crocus's name, they are not always happy and may express individual personalities, habits, and attachments. The flower is also thought to be quite intelligent and seems to learn from its environment and stimuli at a rapid rate. Some Happy Crocuses living in laboratory environments have learned talents such as writing, painting, and playing music. In fact, the hit, contemporary play Back To My Roots, performed at the famous Wizlebucks Wizarding Theater in 2011, was written by one of St. Mungo's medical research specimens affectionately known as Horrace. Rest in peace, Horrace.
Judges will be by soon to review and score your task.
COMPOSITION (8/10): The writing itself was really good and very well-paced, but had a couple of noticeable errors. The capitalization and punctuation on the Gemino and Confringo spells were an issue, but, from the looks of it, it might just be an error of not being careful with touch screens? I've noticed I get the same errors when I type on my phone, usually in my bold text tags. It's just something that needs to be considered a little more carefully, and it's easy to overlook these mistakes. Being bold, the errors were just too easy to spot. However, your adaptability as a writer was demonstrated very well with the believable way you handled your chance to Power Play Interference in the third round after Interference missed its three day deadline, as well as by the way you were able to roll with the consistency errors in some of the Interference posts. As far as entertainment value goes, I think you aced that! Your posts were extremely fun to read for both action and dialogue. You were even quoted in the cbox at least once per post by a few different members! Dick's chattiness was well portrayed, and he definitely had a different and entertaining approach to this task.
CREATIVITY (10/10): As mentioned above, Dick's dialogue and inner monologue really stood out. It's definitely a big part of his character, and it was also very fun to read. Running four steps up a vertical wall and back flipping fifteen feet back from the fourth step is definitely something only Dick, out of all three champions, could feasibly accomplish due to his acrobatic upbringing in the circus. There's a gif set on tumblr somewhere of him doing almost exactly the same thing in the comics. It was a good use of his skills as an acrobat. There was a great use of strategy in all of Dick's choices (looking to the ceiling to get an idea of the general size and layout of the room, disorienting the minotaur with a flash of light, creating a wall of fire, duplicating the cube, shrinking the cube, trying to pull a switch, turning the duplicate cube into a flash-bang), and his adaptability was well-exemplified with his reaction to a momentary failure. I am especially a fan of the fact that your posts demonstrated actual fear and panic. Even though he was able to work his way through it, it was good to see such believable reactions to a very scary, completely foreign situation. It really brought a depth to his realism as a character. All in all, I found your posts very believable, unique to your character, and highly creative.
COMPLETION (10/10): With the believable way in which you achieved your end, the consistent pacing in your posts, and the fact that you finished on the fourth round, you've earned this completion score. I almost docked one point for the fact that you were the second to complete the task in the "highly successful" range, but, considering relatively slow pace of your Interference replies and the fact that Interference missed its three day deadline at one point, I won't. That part was completely out of your control.
COMMENTS: I'd really like to commend you on your excellent use of questions throughout this task. You had Chant, Cait, and I applauding your choices each time. I think they were very well-thought-out and useful.
There's a shotgun explosion that cracks the air, and the beast below in the center arena is reeling from the force. But Dick is sprinting. The moment it's clear that he is home free -- the moment the door below swings open -- I'm pushing off the railing of the raised stands and sprinting myself. Skipping stairs on the way down the third story of bleachers and leaping to the ground from halfway up the last flight, I'm pretty sure my actions could be classified as "reckless". But, considering I just watched my friend face off with a minotaur, I really don't give a damn what people think about my methods of traveling from Point A to Point B. I just want to get down there as fast as possible.
Somewhere in the stands, I know Cassandra and Stephanie -- and possibly Wally and Connell -- are pushing their way through the roaring crowd. I'm just, perhaps, a little bit quicker on the draw. As my sneakers hit the grass at the bottom of the stairs, I can see Dick about thirty feet ahead, leaning against the arena door and looking a little more than relieved to find himself out of the stone enclosure. And I'm not slowing down. Not even as the distance between us vanishes.
Whether he's ready for it or not, Dick receives a full force, tackling hug. I'm all kinds of happy right now -- that he did it, that he made it out in one piece -- and I think it shows in my smile. If not, the hug is definitely a dead giveaway. And, though I had my doubts about Cassie's idea at first, I'm suddenly completely okay with this Hufflepuff cheerleading uniform. Inflated ego or not, Dick deserves the support.
tag: anyone who wants to celebrate | words: 297 | notes: Wearing this.
"YES! HA! Take that, you smelly old cow!" Wally broke into an animated victory dance on his friend's behalf. Several people had to move out of the way of overzealous air punches and spastic leg kicks before Gryffindor's Quidditch Captain seemed to remember that he should probably go check on his friend. He wasn't the only redhead with that in mind as Barbara Gordon got there before him. Watching the girl, who was wearing a hufflepuff cheerleading uniform, interestingly enough, as she launched herself at his best mate. Now that looked like a proper greeting for a champion.
As Wally was coming at Dick from behind, he launched himself and with an obnoxious ululating sound, latched onto Dick's back, arms and legs wrapping around both his friend that the smokin' hot Barbara Gordon. "THAT IS HOW IT'S DONE FOLKS! THAT IS HOW IT'S DONE!"
As much as he wouldn't have wanted to admit it, Connell had been terrified for the duration of the task. There were far too many close calls that walked the thin line between him having his best friend and having a hunk of human mush stuck in a heifer's hoof. It had been a thrilling event, to be sure, and he was sure an entertaining one for anyone who didn't personally know the competitors. To them it was just a Quidditch match on steroids. It made him uneasy how they were all screaming for blood - whether it were to come from a champion or the creature in the dungeon with them. Either way he wasn't too happy with sitting and watching Dick be nearly smashed or the minotaur be nearly barbecued.
After what felt like an eternity Dick was out the other end, holding that stupid wooden cube he'd been tasked to retrieve and carry across half a footie field while dodging a wild beast. It was only at this moment that he zoned back in on what was happening around him. One of the two redheads he'd come to the arena with was gone in a flash and by the time he looked back to Dick, he had been joined by said redhead who was crashing the hug-out with yet another redhead of the female variety. He didn't have time to contemplate whether it would be blase to haul another one into the mix with Anna. He knew there was no way he could drag her through the crowd of spectators, who were still watching the final contestant who was having trouble with his minotaur.
Apparently the Beauxbatons student hadn't gotten the memo that those things were basically immune to magic because of their hides. He was glad something had stuck with Dick from his Head of House's Care of Magical Creatures class. That or he'd just gotten lucky. Realizing this was the only way to go about it, in one motion he put his hands on Anna's waist and hoisted her up onto his shoulders. Then he took off at an awkward gallop to where Dick's receiving area had formed, instantly regretting not just telling Anna to get on piggyback style. He was as top heavy as the minotaur at this point, and barrelling toward his friends just as dangerously.
He held back from the tackle hug, perhaps wisely, and just beamed at the first friend he'd ever had. All the feelings of jealousy or low self-esteem were gone now, compared to how they'd been leading up to this moment. He didn't envy what Dick had just been through in the slightest, and was so proud of him that it made his heart hurt. "Good job, Grayson." he said, his voice gruff but the smile he wore gave him away.