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 Headmaster Wayne 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.
Hans stood there for several moments, blinking rapidly as his eyes tried to adjust to the sudden darkness. Hadn't it just been sunny a mere moment before?
It didn't much matter, as no matter what he did he couldn't see through the darkness. His eyes couldn't adjust with the torches in the center of the room. The Beaubaton champion couldn't help but be annoyed by the scant light they provided. The torches only illuminated a small area of the room as far as he could tell; without them, he would be able to see the rest of the room better.
In the center of the ring of torches Hans spied a great stone pedestal, on which lay a nondescript box. So that was the gist of it then. Get in, get the box, get out. Simple, right? Probably not. Hans knew first hand that nothing was ever simple.
He took a few steps towards the light, though the sound of his footsteps gave him pause as he remembered the words of the Hogwarts Headmaster before Hans had entered this seemingly barren place:
"You are not alone."
Damn it all, then, he'd probably given himself away with just those few footsteps. Hans grimaced at the thought. He stood as still as he could, taking a moment to make sure his breath was settled and quiet, and listened. He couldn't see, but perhaps he could hear.
Water. Just a trickle, mind, so it probably wasn't a body of water large enough to fall in or host any dangerous creatures. At least, he certainly hoped. Besides the water, Hans heard nothing, save his own breath and his heart beating in his ear.
No, not his heart.
The rhythm was all wrong. Steady, yes, and insistent, but it sounded more like drumming than beating. The more he listened, the more it didn't sound like a drum. Unless, of course, someone had found out how to make a drum out of wind. Could the whole sensation only be his imagination, fueled by his nerves over this competition?
Whatever it was, it was more than a sound now. Faster and louder it got, and it tugged at him like a sound never should, like soft breath against your, enticing you to turn and listen to a secret...
The Minotaur, Orieus, had been waiting in the shadows just off to the right center of the lit up area, still guarding the strange, bewitching cube hat had shown up a few days ago in his territory, right up until the doors opened and shut again and then he moved so he was more in the shadows beside the left pillar closest to the door. The puny wizard that he could smell had just entered the room wasn't going to get to HIS cube, no way. That was his cube, and it was going to STAY on it's pedestal, no matter what happened.
He stepped out a little farther, his breath coming faster and a little more rhythmically as his hands flexed in and out of fists . He bellowed his name, "Orieus!" as he charged towards the wizard, his head lowered, ready to swing at the intruder. He was eight feet zero inches of chaos and evil, wrapped up in a sinewy black and white coat fur topped by wicked sharp horns, claws and teeth. He bellowed again in rage, this time emitting a very bovine sound that echoed in the mostly dark chamber as he rushed his enemy. His battle instincts were kicking in and he was ready to react to anything that the young wizard might do.
The wind quickened, growing louder, growing faster. Hans swallowed, trying to think instead of merely react. Should he light up the room? He would give up his position, but he would also discover the position of any enemy.
Perhaps he should stay hidden, though. Shadow leaves room for hiding, for lies. Lies were a means to an end that Hans was quite adept at using. Yes, it would be more prudent to stay hidd-
WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT. Something was screaming. Okay, so intelligent enough for human speech, if he had heard right. It certainly hadn't sounded like a typical animal noise.
Footsteps. Some kind of hard, tapping shoes. Or maybe hooves? They had a sort of rhythm, so probably hooves. They sounded like they were getting faster, and coming towards him. Reflexively, Hans threw up a shield, before moving into the light at the center of the room.
He had to see what this thing was. He couldn't fight the unknown. If he went into the light, his opponent would follow, and then Hans could return to the shadow. Unless, of course, he didn't need to.
The creature might be truly able to speak. If it could, it could be reasoned with. It could be lied to. Entering the circle of light, hands up in an gesture of non-violence.
Due to Interference taking more than three days to reply, Hans may move forward onto the next round and mildly power play the minotaur's reaction.
Hans: The minotaur is incapable of reasoning or human speech beyond the ability to speak its own name. It would continue to attack you, and could physically break a magical shield if it expended a great enough effort.
So much for that, then. The creature continued to barrel forward, ramming into Hans' shield and sending Hans back several feet. The shield had collapsed on impact; if it hadn't sent him flying, Hans would have been done for right there.
At the very least, though, he could see what he was facing. A minotaur, then. Hans had hoped it would be something that relied on sound and smell, and he could simply light up the room and the playing field would be evened out. That wouldn't work with a minotaur's great eyesight. It's never that simple. You know that, you idiot. Hans mentally scolded himself. The majority of his life hadn't been easy, why should this be?
It didn't seem to be responding to speech, either. Okay, so no reason. It's running on instinct, then. What instinct? Territorial? Then why had it waited as long as it did? Hans' eyes flicked to the cube in the center of the light. That was it. They'd have trained the minotaur to be territorial of the cube, so it would stop at nothing to keep Hans from it. Unless he already had the cube...so that was the final question, then. What instinct would win out: protecting the cube or destroying Hans?
That still left a problem. He had to actually get the cube, first. He couldn't just throw up a shield and make a run for it; if he took flight like that again he'd probably break something, and that was one of the better possibilities. The shield might not even protect him that much if the minotaur hit it harder. Hans could throw sparks at the minotaur, or even do something as drastic as set it on fire, but he didn't want a blind and/or flaming minotaur running around where Hans couldn't see, and Hans doubted he could outrun the hulking monster.
Wait. Minotaurs are top-heavy. Their legs go, they'll topple down hard. Hans smiled a bit in spite of himself, before casting a jelly-legs jinx at the minotaur and running to grab the cube.
Another bellowed "Orieus." was the only response the Minotaur offered as he raced towards the sound of the Human's voice, his hooves gaining speed, and then he hit the wizard's shield. He was repelled by it and he could either charge it or try and go around it. Charging it would weaken him, but he was a creature of war and Orieus's first instinct was to attack anything that got in his way. And attack it he did. And then Orieus heard the footsteps moving further into the light, moving towards his precious box, the one thing he was supposed to protect. He turned and ran towards the light from a different angle, head still lowered, horns starting to glint in the light he was entering. A bull's bellow was the only sound he now made as he ran towards the central platform, towards the all precious box. He could NOT let the human get the box. He could NOT. it was his to protect and he would make SURE it STAYED RIGHT where it WAS. A spell tickled his hide as it met his legs, but it did no good, for Orieus ran after the wizard, hooves clattering and fists falling forward and back, head shaking from side to side as he followed his prey.
Shit. No good. Hans moved away quickly, running backwards and losing away to narrowly avoid the horns of the great creature. They were very close, now. Far to close, in Hans' opinion. Another few seconds and the Minotaur would turn and skewer him.
Acting on instinct, Hans aimed a stunning spell with enough power to send most things flying, hoping it would be enough to get the creature away. He didn't stay to find out, rushing away and throwing a quick wingardum leviosa at the Minotaur before grabbing once more at the cube.
Grabbing the cube, Hans turned to find the creature still in its place, about to round on him. Seriously?
This thing was far more of a nuisance than it was worth, and Hans decided he was rather done with looking at it's crazed, ugly mug.
Throwing sparks into the minotaur's eyes to distract it, Hans moved quickly back from the creature to avoid any collateral damage. Pointing his wand towards the floor beneath the Minotaur, Hans cast the spell that would, hopefully, prevent him from an early death via shish kebab.
An explosion sent waves through the arena, and Hans threw up a shield to protect himself as he watched the ground beneath the monster crumble, the Minotaur falling with it. Throwing another exploding spell at the wall behind the minotaur, Hans ran for the door as the wall fell to pieces and trapped the minotaur in its pit.
Coming through the door, Hans took a brief moment to breath, before standing up straight and adjusting his clothes. From here he could tell the other champions had finished, and we're being surrounded by friends and fans. He smiled wistfully, but knew better than to think anyone would come for him.
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, powder blue 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 (4/10): The writing started out strong in the introduction and first two rounds, but round three was sparse and had very little explanation to the actions. The pacing through round three was consistent, but the fourth round brought a win out of absolutely nowhere compared the slow pacing of the rest. The entertainment value was strong in the first three posts, but seriously started to lack on round three. The first chance to Power Play the interference was well done, but, on round four, there is very little reaction given by a clearly enraged monotaur. It just felt really dismissive -- like, it made a feared and foul beast feel trivial. I think Power Play could have been handled a little better in round four, and could certainly have used a little more looking into. Something that doesn't weigh in too much, but should still be noted, is that the Latin spell names should always be italicized.
CREATIVITY (5/10): Hans started out with a very strong example of his character when he walked in head-on, then tried to see if the beast was able to be reasoned with. It was certainly something neither of the other two champions tried. Trying to use the jelly-legs jinx was another original idea, even if it didn't work. Where the creativity started to decline was on the next post where Hans tries aiming more spells at the minotaur, even after the jelly-legs jix had done absolutely nothing. And I'm not too sure what Hans was trying to achieve with a brief levitation spell. Wingardium leviosa requires the caster to continue to concentrate on the charm in order to keep the subject floating. These kind of issues are easy to prevent with a little research. The HP wiki can answer almost all of these questions. The last post felt entirely rushed and dismissive, but I do like the way Hans took a moment to adjust his close once he was out the door and reflected on himself. That was very within his character to do so.
COMPLETION (7/10): Though Hans had the right to finish on round four, it didn't make sense with the rest of the thread's pacing at all. Ending on round five would have still left Hans in the "highly successful" range of scoring, but would have made more sense for the pacing of the thread. I understand that it is tough to deal with missing interference posts, but that should not affect the pacing in your own so much. When you read from post to post, skipping the replies between, there should be a nice, even flow. The first three were consistent, but the fourth post was so brief and vague, and then the last post was completely rushed compared to the others.
COMMENTS: The first three posts were very good, but it felt like you got discouraged at round three. Don't give up! My biggest suggestion would be to use your chance for questions. I think you lost a lot of the benefit from not asking your allotted questions for the first couple rounds.
COMPOSITION (5/10): The first 3 posts were well written and entertaining, but the fourth posts was short and didn't have much detail. I thought your first 3 posts flowed well together, but the last two posts weren't as great at the first three. The first Power Play for the minotaur went really well, with nice minotaur reactions and a smooth post. The second time, there wasn't much of a reaction from the minotaur as there should have been.
CREATIVITY (5/10): The first few posts were really creative, and everything Hans did was perfectly in his character, even when he tried to socialize with the minotaur. The fourth post lacked in creativity, and even the last post lacked a tiny bit in creativity. I also felt like the last post was a bit rushed, but I did like the way Hans walked out, adjusting his clothes and feeling proud of himself, just like he would do.
COMPLETION (7/10): The posts were good up to the fourth post, then everything else felt rushed and vague. The flow's were good until then, as well. Other than that, you did a fairly good job.
COMMENTS: The posts were entertaining and smooth, all but the last two posts. You did an excellent job, it just seemed like you had sort of given up. But don't give up! Keep going and don't get discouraged! :)
COMPOSITION (05/10): While the first few posts were quite good and very enjoyable, I found that the further into the task you got, the more rushed and jumbled your posts became. I also noticed that the grammatical errors became more prevalent, to the point that it made it very difficult to understand some of your second to last post. That being said I think you did a very good job staying true to Hans' character and did very well with your first attempt at Power Playing your own interference. A lower score was received because of the inconsistency in your flow, detrimental errors and completely dismissing your foe in your final post.
CREATIVITY (07/10): The first bit where Hans tried to reason with the minotaur was amazing! I think that is very true to his character. He is a schmoozer and would try and use words before getting down to the dirty work. I think his attempt with the jelly legs jinx was also quite brilliant and had minotaurs not been immune to such things, would have been hilarious! However, the fact that he kept throwing spells at the minotaur, even though it was proven that he was immune, was a bit of an issue but was remedied by casting spells on the minotaur's environment.
COMPLETION (07/10): You finished in four rounds and with inconsistent interference. Congratulations!
COMMENTS: I loved how you managed to stay true to Hans' character through much of the task and how he was concerned about his appearance at the very end. Great job!
Composition:(4/10) Like the other judges, I noticed that your posts began to feel rushed. I found a few errors in your posts and I found that a few of your posts were just short and left a lot to the imagination. I thought the first two or three posts were entertaining and you used your first power-play well, but the second one I felt just went to waste really. A power play is a huge advantage that you should have used much better.
Creativity:(7/10) I loved that you tried to reason with the minotaur and sticking to your character, even had decided to lie to it and I loved that. The lying is very unique to Hans and it made the posts enjoyable, even if it didn't work. The wave was great once you figured out that the minotaur was immune to other magic. I just wish you had payed closer attention to the fact that spells were not affecting it, because I feel as if Hans would have noticed that.
Completion:(6/10): You completed it in four rounds without much interference to reply back to, so you were definitely successful. I just feel as if your later posts were lacking. You got discouraged and that is understandable with the lack of interference, I just wanted to see more.
Comments: Your first few posts were awesome! Please take this criticisms to better your writing and don't take them to mean that I thought you were bad. Never get discouraged or give up, Kitten! You definitely proved to me in the beginning that you have the skills to be a great rper!