Heroic Challenge in Chronosseum
The buzzing excitement of the crowd was overwhelming. The vast seats of the Chronosseum were overfull and the arena was rippling with anticipation. On a small circular dais set midway up the stands, a pair of Fish-folk announcers sat. Speaking into large conch-shaped devices, their voices were amplified throughout the stands.
“Well, Gills this is the final show, of what has been no doubt the finest tournament in years.” The younger of the two said. “Indeed, indeed, Rolly, not surprising as this year they are using it to recruit the new Tidal Blades. But needless to say, it has been a treat to watch all of these contenders.” the grey-gilled elder replied “Not only have they dazzled with their prowess, but every one could be a Tidal Blade!”
“Too true, Gills, but only one will be the leader of the Blades, and that’s what this crowd is here to find out!”
“Here comes our first contender, a dark horse competitor if there ever was one. Many said it could never happen folks, but we just might be looking at the first ever desert-dwelling, full human Tidal Blade. Fish-folk and Crocs, put your fins together for Dust!”
With incredible calm and grace, Dust strolled to the center of the arena, bowed to the crowd and took her place at the start line. Glancing at the Champion Board she saw her name on top and grew even more confident. She had known that she was born to cross the desert, and arriving here in this strange island city knew she was meant to be a Tidal Blade.
“And now Golfins and Nag’i, make some noise for another surprise competitor! The smallest contender to ever compete has made up for her short stature with an abundance of brains and more than her share of bravery. Please welcome Eko, everyone’s favorite time-jumping Betalod!”
Eko entered the ring, her staff held aloft and a proud look upon her face. She had been hard at work studying with Master Wu. The timelines were hard to read, but she felt sure she would prevail and become the first Betalod to enter the Barrier they had created.
“There are competitors with brains and competitors with brawn, Gills, and this next fella sure brings his bulk to bear. A vicious fighter and rough-and-tumble warrior, I’d surely appreciate having him on my side if a monster were attacking.”
“Rolly, one of the great things about this tourney, is not only how we’ve seen feats of daring and strength but we’ve seen a growing respect for the Crocs. Now most of them may still be mercs and drifters but I’ll be a bottom feeder if Caiman isn’t worthy of the name of Tidal Blade.”
Caiman strode proudly into the ring, holding his harpoon high. The Crocs in the stands let out bellowing cries of approval. A couple of young Turtles shouted boos. Horn-Eyes, filling two full seats and cheering wildly--“Cai-man Cai-man!”--heard the boos, sprung from her seat, ran down the aisle and smashed one of the young Turtles on the head. The surrounding Fish-folk got in between them quickly, preventing a full on brawl from breaking out.
“Whew Wee! Gills, but I haven’t seen a crowd this excited since Krobaak battled the Fish Lord in the year of Rains.” Rolly exclaimed. “True indeed, Rolly, but I don’t think we’ve heard anything yet, the next one up is the famed racer, youngest ever winner of the Nine Cups, son of Braze, the one, the only: Axl!”
The arena erupted! Everyone was on their feet hoping to catch a view of the blue haired youth. Axl raced into the arena running a full lap around the ring clapping and giving high fives to the closest fans. He felt the crowd’s energy and knew he wouldn’t let them down. He caught his father’s eyes in the stands and smiled warmly, feeling the strength of both of his parents flowing through him.
“Well, Rolly, if you had asked me two days ago who would be competing in this final challenge I’d have only named these four.” Gills chortled “But what is a tournament without some late game excitement and who better to give these contenders a run for their money than Sagashi, the time-traveling Chameleon, who hails from inside the great Fold!”
“Indeed, Gills, beyond bizarre, this wild contender, using his time-traveling tricks, has racked up enough points in two days to earn a spot in this final contest.” The crowd, watching the entrance gate, was astonished when Sagashi came flying into the arena, did a flip on his glider and landed perfectly in the center with a bow.
Sagashi smiled in greeting at the four other contenders “Greetings mates, no hard feelings if I win, eh? You all win in most of the other dimensions.” Then glancing up to the judge’s station, he saw Krobaak take a seat in the massive judge’s chair. Dru nervously hopped from one shoulder to the other.
“Now without further ado, my fellow Navirians! Let the final contest begin!”
With a nod from Krobaak, a very young and excited Turtle girl walked up to the ornate gong hanging on the Judge’s dais. With a serious look on her face she swung a stick as large as herself, striking the gong. As the deep loud sound resonated through the arena, the five contestants raced towards the first obstacle.
The Myriad Maze was a Challenge that combined all of the Chronosseum’s puzzles, traps and obstacles in a terrifically difficult first-to-finish format. The first contestant to run the circle of the arena and end in front of the judging platform would win. Speed was needed, but strength, wits and time manipulation were also essential. As the gong resounded, the floor of the Chronosseum shifted and parted, revealing various pits, twisting stairs, locks and multi-faceted reflections.
All five of the contestants were in peak form. They raced expertly through the arena, dodging obstacles, hopping hidden traps and solving the puzzles quickly. As they neared the halfway point, Dust was in the lead, sprinting onto a ledge and launching herself across a pit with jagged spikes lining the bottom. Axl picked up speed, buoyed by the cheers of the crowd. Caiman, letting out a ferocious growl, barreled directly through a wall and continued at full tilt. Eko, staff spinning, disappeared and then suddenly appeared in the lead.
Entering the final turn, Eko was startled to see Sagashi land in front of her to take the lead. Leaving his glider to float off into the stands, the Chameleon hit the ground running, but Caiman and Axl raced up to him, matching his speed. Dust letting out an uncharacteristic shout, charged forward, her lithe form taking the lead momentarily. Eko with another twirl of her staff appeared directly in front of her.
The crowd watched in rapt silence as the five competitors charged furiously forward in lock step. Suddenly an explosion rang out, shaking the arena. The contestants stopped, turning and dropping into battle positions. Staring up at the platform, they gasped as they saw a gaping hole where the judge’s chair had previously stood.
Heroic Challenges: The hardest of the Challenges are traditionally saved for the final days of the tournament. Requiring a combination of all the Traits to complete, these Challenges give the largest point award, but do not allow you to advance any Traits. Will you have the strength to show your skill through these Heroic Challenges?