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!
"Here you go, dear!" The St. Mungo's healer fastening the small, leaf-shaped pin to the collar of your shirt pins it as carefully as an adoring mother. "There!" She gives the pin a gentle pat before taking you gingerly by the arm and walking you to the back of the locker room, where the mouth of a long hall starts out to Hogwarts school's Quidditch pitch. "Now we can all watch your progress! Oh! And don't take it off, dear. We're here watching in case something goes wrong. Good luck!"
With a last pat on the back, she lets you start down the hall on your own. The light ahead, at the end of the hall, glows an earthy green, and the sounds from above are muffled through the concrete walls of the Quidditch stadium. The blue and brown paint on the bricks of the north-northwest entrance to the pitch is reminiscent of one of the Hogwarts school houses. Ravenclaw. Leaving the locker room behind, you walk down the long hall with your curious little, powder blue flower in hand. It feels almost scared -- uneasy, even -- as it shudders in your hand. Maybe it doesn't want to see it's family?
"Reunite me with my family at the heart of the jungle."
Though, you couldn't be farther from a jungle with the flat, open grass of a Quidditch-- Interesting... As you approach a barred gate at the end of the hall and look out onto what should have been a manicured field, your gaze stops short. Foliage. A lot of foliage. Broad leaves, thick underbrush, towering trees that scatter the sun in small patches of green light in the quiet, sub-tropical jungle. There's no mistaking it. There is a wet heat rolling through the bars of the gate and a distinct, earthy scent in the air. Ahead in the dim, green light, you can make out a narrow path that disappears into the trees.
Quite suddenly, the sound of a loud buzzer rings through the hall and the gate in front of you springs open. Ready? Set? Go!
OBJECTIVE: Starting from your north-northwest entrance, make your way to the heart of the jungle and transplant your Happy Crocus alongside their awaiting family of identical flowers.
SETTING: The Hogwarts Quidditch pitch has been transformed into a dim, hot, and damp subtropical jungle. There is a narrow path that appears to head toward the center of the jungle, but it disappears into trees and foliage. The ground underfoot is uneven, and the path itself is not so neatly groomed. At the center of the Quidditch-pitch-turned-jungle stands the Heart Tree, the sentient mother of the jungle interconnected with all forms of plant life in the jungle. At her base, you will find your flower's family.
GOALS: Complete the objective in 6 or 7 rounds. The completion of five or more rounds by the Champion is considered a success. The objective may be completed on round 5, but will be considered "barely successful". If the objective is completed on rounds 6 or 7, the Champion is "highly successful". If Interference stalls the Champion for eight or more rounds, the Champion is "moderately successful". Failure to complete five 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 Six or higher, the Champion may claim an automatic success in their post. If an interference player misses a three day deadline, staff will take over their interference posts for the remainder of the task and they will not be allowed to play another interference role in the tournament.
MECHANICS: The task starts with an Introduction Round the week before APR 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 must be realistic in allowing Interference the chance to act before progressing too far down the path.
Round One begins on APR 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 APR 24 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 their wands, their wits, and a small, emotional flower. The Champion has received a message from their Second Task clue to reunite their flower with its family at the heart of the jungle.
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 jungle with me?" would receive the answer "Ahead of you, you see a rough, narrow path obscured by foliage. The area his heavily wooded with trees, and the path cuts through a thick underbrush.". 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.
The woman before him was almost frightfully cheery, and the almost motherly way she touched him unsettled him deeply. Perhaps because his own mother was anything but cheery and loving, and he truly didn't have time to dwell on such things at the moment. Such mental preoccupations could get him killed, even if he wasn't about to face a deadly task. He couldn't afford to be saddened, to seem weak or troubled. He must continue to act the kind and gallant princely young man, for now.
Hans thanks the woman as she wishes him luck, smiling a smile that appears nervous and genuinely thankful. Once she turns, however, the smile drops, and he adjusts the pin which the woman hand so callously placed on him crookedly.
As he walks the halls, he notices the paint on the walls, realizing he must be in the Ravenclaw passage of the quidditch pitch. He would have laughed, had he not had the pin on him. He didn't know what it could do. Could it hear him and show people what he was doing, or could it merely give them a location and tell them if he was about to die? Better not risk it.
He had, since arriving for the Tournament, wondered which house he would have been placed in. Slytherin seemed the obvious answer, or even Ravenclaw, but Hans wondered if the lies and illusions he kept in place, that sometimes fooled even himself, would have mislead the Sorting Hat into placing him into Gryffindor or even Hufflepuff. He would have preferred the badger's house. People seemed to trust the Hufflepuffs more easily; he had witnessed the black and yellow colors loosen muscles in those of other houses. That could have been of great advantage to him.
Hans blinked, realizing he was letting himself get distracted, which was exactly what he had been trying to avoid. He trudged forward once more, intent and focused. He could feel the little flower tremble in his hands, and he sighed. The thing had been quite a nuisance this entire time, as it had grown exceptionally fond of Hans, who wished it was a normal flower that he didn't have to much bother with. He had better things to do that socialize with a bloody plant that could do nothing to further his ambitions. Now, if it had been an ent, or a dryad...
He was getting distracted again. Mentally cussing himself out, he stroked the flower's stem gently between his thumb and pointer finger. He had discovered in his time with the infernal thing that it rather enjoyed it, like a cat enjoys getting rubbed under its chin. It worked once again, and the blossom settled in his grasp.
The end of the passage came to a barred gate, through which he could see his next tribulation: a proper jungle. The sun filtered through the leaves, casting an eerie green glow onto all. The air was thick with the choking scent of earth, and sweat began to form on Hans' Scandinavian face as he was hit with the heady, moist heat of the jungle. The chittering of insects alerted to him that he was not alone. He knew little about magical jungles, let alone what was in them, but a childhood trip to a muggle zoo came to mind. Bugs that bit and left illnesses that could kill, colorful frogs that poisoned with a single touch. Those were muggle animals; Hans could scarcely imagine what magical creatures might roam these trees.
The gate opens suddenly, and a loud buzzer makes Hans curse silently. Anything in this forest now knew where he was. Brilliant. The rustle of the foliage made him nervous, though he hid it well. He didn't feel any wind; that meant there was something living making the rustling noise.
The movement of the flower in his hand reminded him of another danger: magical plants. Sentient plants that could move and snap and kill. Great. So no touching the plants if it could be avoided.
He tucked the little flower into his robes, careful to find a place where it shouldn't be crushed. He couldn't afford to die due to having a hand busy holding a needy plant. Still not having moved from his spot at the gate, Hans evaluated his options. The path was obvious. Too obvious, almost. Anything in here would expect him to go that way. But if he went through the untamed jungle, there would be no avoiding anything. Either get tangled in living plants, or cut them out of his way. Yes, because that wouldn't get him killed. Let's just make them angry, shall we? Not likely. In addition, there was always the possibility of getting lost. Seeing no other choice, Hans took out his wand and took the narrow path, warily watching the wilderness around him.
The jungle is dark, the jungle is dense. The Heart Tree is waiting, the task shall commence. Be warned, strange flower, lest ye choose not to take heed. The most powerful plants once came from a seed. Trust not your eyes, believe not your ears. Within our dark shadows lie your worst fears. Stray not from the path, if you do and you will see - there are far worse things in a jungle than me.
As ancient as the world. Timeless and unyielding. Adaptive. Mother. Nurture. Nature. Power. Knowledge. The passage of time matters not to the endless cycle of life and living within. Eternally growing, eternally winning. When man enters her - defiles her, uses her, underestimates her - she raises her defenses. She grows back. She heals wounds. She gathers closer. She hunkers down. She protects and serves and deserves more than she is given in this world. Man marches on. Man accepts what awaits him. But this day it is different. Man has her child. Man is returning her child. Man will be given a chance to prove himself worthy of entering the Heart of the Jungle.
Quivering, quaking. Trembling, tickling. Fluttering, feeling. Vines trail over the path, hanging from above and creating a curtain. Tendrils curling and uncurling. Tasting and testing. Parting for the visitor. Hello sproutling. Welcome home! a chorus of cries from the boughs call down, rejoicing in the presence of their kin. But why was it hiding? Come out sproutling. sneaky snakey slithering into the folds of clothes, seeking out the child of this earth.
Come out, come out, come out. slippery sinewy, sliding from the side to wrap round the man's roots Come back, come back, come back.
Hans had barely stepped into the forest before being assaulted by vines, grabbing and grasping and exploring. He tried to swallow the sudden fear, and choked on it. Don't cut it don't cut it don't cut it whatever you do don't hurt the plants or they'll kill you.
That had been something his father had taught him, back when he was alive and they lived in Denmark and Hans had a few glimpses of happiness. Plants were much harder to come by in the cold of Scandinavia; the ones that survived were evolved to do whatever was necessary to survive. If you threatened their chances, well, humans make great fertilizer.
So Hans did his best to remain still, despite the choking claustrophobia as the vines grasped at his feet. The Happy Crocus sticking out from his robes didn't seem nervous, and though Hans didn't trust the flower - Hans trusted no-one - he knew the plant understood the jungle better than he, which made it a useful tool. Maybe the annoying blossom wasn't so useless after all.
He bent down, carefully and gently trying to unwrap the vines from him. He cast a confundus charm, hoping the bit of confusion would make this go easier and keep more vines from attaching themselves to him. He only needed long enough to free himself and erect a shield.
The vines stilled. Something else, perhaps more interesting was happening elsewhere in the jungle. Whispers raced from limb to limb. More strange flowers. A wild flower with a shimmery stem. A black eyed susan making silly noises. None of them seemed to be a threat. But they all had children with them, just like this flower. What was the meaning of all of this?
He tapped at them with the carcass of a tree, shaved and peeled into a garish ornamental twig. What madness was this? He muttered something unintelligible from his pod hole. Nothing happened. What was he planning? And then, his five pronged leaves tugged at the vines. They only constricted more tightly. They were growing irritated, and angered. Why didn't he want to stay with them? More vines shot down out of the canopy, whipping around the wrists of the hands attempting to pry themaway. Pulling them back sharply to pin him into place.
A final small vine slipped into his clothes again, grasping for the Happy Crocus. They were on a rescue mission.
Okay, so this wasn't working. This wasn't working at all. No more 'being one with nature' shit then.
The vines were constricting almost painfully now, and had drawn his hands sharply back. It stilled a bit once it had him adequately pinned, save for a fine tendril climbing up into the upper half off his robes. Great, now he was being groped by plants. Not how he wanted the day to go when he got up this morning.
A quivering near his collarbone reminded him of the flower, and he realized what was happening. As much as he was ready to be rid of the little nuisance, Hans was rather certain losing the flower wouldn't look good on his score. Damn it. Okay, have to think, and think fast.
The confundus charm had had no affect that he could see, and after the fiasco of the second task, Hans could assume that similar charms would have as much of an effect on the plants as they had on the minotaur.
Hans still didn't want to slash at the vines with abandon; there were more of them then there was of him. He cut a few, the rest would likely kill him.
Unless they were distracted, of course. But what would distract a plant? Realization dawning on him, he pointed his wand as well as he could with his organic bindings at a tree that was close enough to bother the plants here but not immediatly cause Hans any harm.
His aim set, he spoke quietly, but forcefully. "Lacarnum Inflamarae."
At the incantation, flames spouted from the intricate twig onto a nearby tree. The vines shot back into the canopy, and slithered off of the path from around his ankles, dodging the places were the fire had begun to crumble on pieces of charred bark onto the path. Thankfully the tree was thick and wet enough in the jungle climate to not catch more than the immediate surface alight. Either way, his path was now clear. Plants could not understand his mutterings but they knew fire. Fire destroyed. If fire protected this strange sunflower then they would not dare to test him further. He could continue, for now. There would be other challenges awaiting him, and he had only just begun.
The trees whispered one to the other of the sunflower who could bring the killing flame from his funny twig. They warned the others. Word spread quickly. The roots cringed under the earth beneath his feet. Vines shrank away in fear. A few brave young plants were not scared. Or they were and simply didn't care. Foolishness to match the fool in their midst. There came a great chatter among the plants as they realized a few things. They chortled and rattled their leaves, clattering and scattering pollen. Yes, yes, further sunflower, go further.
A noise behind him announced the arrival of several irritated bouncing bulbs. They had been separated from the pack that had bounced at his competitor, and upon hearing of this flower's injustice were ready to teach him a lesson. They were roughly the size of baby elephants, and just as heavy, bouncing excitedly at him from behind. In a dead pursuit. Ahead the path diverged into two, both disappearing around the bend. The sound of lapping water to the left, and the crackle of burning wood to the right.
((So so sorry about this being just about too long. I've been drained from the last week and then went on that trip and I even missed class today because I was still exhausted. I couldn't keep you waiting and finally made myself get something up ;-; ))
The plants left him in piece at last, though Hans felt no relief. Best not to grow complacent. This may only be the calm before the storm. He could almost feel the movement beneath his feet and above his head, and part of him regretted his rash actions. He had set a living forest on fire, then ventured further into it's midst. Perhaps not his greatest decision. The more rational part of his mind assured him that he had had no choice but to show his hand, and to focus on what lay ahead instead of what lay behind.
Some of the smaller, younger plants still came closer, but it hardly mattered. Hans' shield protected him from their touch; so they could be as curious as they wished. Pollen fell through the air, and Hans was glad he didn't have any allergies. That would have been quite inconvenient. His mind wandered at the thought. Did the Goblet of Fire know the tasks for that Tournament, and chose accordingly, or did it just pick who it thought was best and hoped things would be fair? Did it know anything at all? Hans supposed it could; plenty of objects could be enchanted to have a mind of their own.
A sudden noise roused him from his thoughts, and he berated himself for mentally wandering once more. He wasn't sure why, but this irksome task was causing a great deal of inner distraction for him, and he didn't approve.
Some form of strange mobile plant in shades of purple came in force, and bounced with a fury. In the back of his mind, he was reminded of the strange fictional creatures muggles used to entertain their children on the television. The more prominent part of his mind registered a threat. He could not be touched directly through the shield, but he could be jolted within it. Or the shield could simply break. Hans held his wand tighter, ready to do whatever was neccessary. These new plants were large, it was hard to tell as they were still a bit aways, but they looked like they may be nearly his size, if not larger. His path back was gone; but he didn't need to travel back. He needed to go forward.
A fork in the road gave him pause. The sound of lapping water to his left was the obvious path; it was safer than the burning noise to his right. But fire was what he had to save him. Would that not make the right more prudent? And what of the Heart Tree? Would it be towards the life-giving water, or would it hide behind the fire in an effort to remain safe from predators? Perhaps he should simply diverge from the path and go straight, that would surely simplify things.
The bulbs closing in behind him, and doubt pushed to the back of his mind, Hans chose the path to his right, confident that his magic would ensure the forest burned before he did.
[[I would first like to apologize for this taking as long as it did. You can still opt to powerplay through this round, or do a response to this post even if it's a couple of hours late. I was working this weekend and then my allergies attacked me and are still attacking. It's no bueno. T-T]]
As the sunflower fled down the right path the bouncing bulbs came to an instant halt, barely bouncing in place as they considered their own options. Then they went barrelling down the non path, strewn with shooty pink puffapods. However, on his path, as he turned around the bend he would come to a clearing, if he could see through the sheer wall of heat blasting off of it. Twenty-odd fire seed bushes grew here, and made the clearing a nearly impassable inferno. The path continued to wind, oh yes, but through obviously not so safe ways. In and out and back and forth it went, weaving between bushes that would be more or less to his chest in height. The sound was a constant roar and crackle as the life sustaining flames licked the wood, and shiny fire seeds jingled and jangled on the branches.
Perhaps this hadn't been the best idea. That was one of the first thoughts that hit Hans as he felt the wall of heat before him. He hadn't exactly much experience with forest fires, let alone magical ones.
Some part of his mind brought of the thought of fiendfyre, and he shook his traitorous head. No time for such worrisome nonsense; he needed to focus on what was ahead of him. The flower quivered in fear against him. Apparently it wasn't fond of the idea of roasting alive. Finally, they had something in common.
It was growing difficult to breath, what with the fire sucking away the oxygen almost as quickly as the plants could produce it. He would need to do something quickly; if he didn't burn to death first, he would suffocate.
Fix the breathing first, then. A bubble-head charm should do it, though he would have to be careful not to break it before he got out of the fire. There was that solved. But the fire? That was something different. Hans would need something put it out, and a water spell seemed most obvious. Obvious wasn't good. This wasn't the real world, this was a tournament. A game. Games have different rules, and these rules cannot be manipulated like those of the real world. Not in the same way, at least. Obvious would have been thought of; obvious would kill him. Something clever, then. Something new, or something old. What spell? What spell, what spell, what spell?
Old spell. Hans grinned. He knew what to do. An old spell that rarely needed to be used nowadays, not since long ago in the Burning Times.
With a flourish of his wand, he placed the bubble-head charm, before casting the same flame-freeze spell that saved those long ago witches and wizards from the stake. The fire could hurt him no long; it could merely tickle.
The flames, now cool to the touch and the same shade of blue as his uniform, danced and licked at the air, seeds still jingling in the sun, unaware of the spell that had just been cast on them. The sunflower and his companion were now free to pass without harm. A breeze blew through, delivering a much needed refreshing bit of air to the clearing. He may even feel a little triumphant with the shift. He had done well in ensuring both his safety and the continued safety of the jungle, for fire seed plants die if their flames are extinguished. And the jungle knew this, and was proud of him for redeeming himself. Perhaps this sunflower was not such a bad seed.
The breeze parted the canopy ahead just enough to reveal a large, but not very tall tree. It was incredibly broad and gnarled, twisty and tangly. But in a sort of beautiful way, if you had any appreciation for trees. He probably didn't at this point, but still. It was lovely. If one was pure of heart, the sight should put them at ease. The bark of it shone bright silver in the sunlight, and the leaves of deep burgundy and crimson seemed to dance in the westerly wind still billowing through.
This was all he was given as the wind shifted to come from his back instead, pushing him forward a bit with the sudden gust. Surely jungles did not control the wind as well? This was of course only a stroke of luck. The north wind was colder and more urgent. Hurry, sunflower. Something far more unpleasant than vines and bouncing bulbs and a few arsonist bushes awaits you. You are not finished yet. To turn back is defeat, but to go forward may be almost certain death. Which was more important to the sproutling? His life or his pride?
(( My sleep schedule is all kinds of screwed up. Like Friday night I went to sleep at 7 PM and woke up at 3 PM Saturday. And Saturday I was up all night but barely touched my computer as I was unpacking from a haul home from school, and watching tv with mom, and doing laundry. Then I slept for a little bit Sunday morning and then we were on the road to come back to school. We had dinner and I went to sleep around 10. Then I slept til 3 AM and got up to do my Spanish homework, then I had to practice for choir from 8-10 AM and then class from 10 AM - 3 PM. And then I was with a friend for a bit after choir and by the time I got to my room I was exhausted and fell asleep from about 6 PM to just now when I woke up at 4:30 AM. Buuuh. In any case, here's a post a couple hours late. Again. Sorry. Again. ;-; ))