Hello chaps it's that time again.
For the 85th Character Creation Contest me and @darkchild pulled a draw and decided to collaborate on the next contest's topic. We came up with the keyword: Labyrinth. The main thing was to essentially come up with a character somehow related to that term, and that's what happened.
We only had
three four submissions this time around but hey, what're you gonna do?
So now I'm gonna copy and paste our lord @cbishop's rules from last time.
- READ the stories, PICK your favorite one, and CAST your VOTE!
- If you wrote, you should vote! (It's just sporting)
- No voting for yourself. (Also sporting)
- Normally there'd be a week long voting period but I'm going on Holiday this Saturday so votes have until Friday the 14th of June to vote for their favorites. Unless Bishop or @batkevin74 wanna handle it after that point. ;)
Remember: , and the winner gets to pick the next contest.
Now the rules are set, here are the submissions:
The very concept of a puzzle bores most. The mind cannot wrap around the borders of it and grows tired of trying.
So they stray and get lost and time the puzzle grows and consumes the soul.
I get lost in its walls in the spaces it takes to create such wonders.
Layers after layers I put in place the living the grand the embodiment of simple.
Follow me I say to them follow me but do not stray from the path.
I give the tools to the guards I grant them the powers to defend the challenges and then I vanish in hopes to one day be called back.
To be brought back and gift he or she or it with the prize.
Tony sits in the grandest of places. He walks back and forth back and forth his mind unable to accept his death.
I died he thinks, was a snap a simple snap and I died just like that. He mutters the words they form in his mouth but comes out as a string sentence.
No more life for me.
He walks back in forth in the huge hall and then all at once he stands up and before him is a female.
She is hard to look at she is all things but nothing.
She is a redhead but not she has black hair but not.
She is short than tall she is all desiring but then it fades and she is just like anybody else.
You meet them and you never remember them five minutes after they leave.
She asks him a set of questions but he never has time to answer or was not allowed.
He feels as if the answers were given by his soul not himself.
They set him up, they set him up! and they took from him what they needed.
Tony Stark do you understand that by saving so many lives you get a chance and only one to run the labyrinth.
If you succeed in getting through this you will be returned to life with no knowledge of what had taken place.
As if you never died.
If you die you go on to the other world and you wait like anybody else through judgment.
Tony looked at her in her long red hair shimmering outfit and a very sexy dress.
She wet her lips as if toying with him.
I am not in heaven am I he asked.
She smiled and flames shot from her hands.
No, Mr. Stark, you are not.
But your stay here will be brief the boss stole you for his own reasons and if the other one finds out he would be very upset.
If you complete the task at hand you will be returned to life and my boss will have another shot at claiming your soul.
If you fail you will be stashed away in the lowest part of hell never to be seen until the day comes when...
Well, we do not wish to talk about that here.
The doorway stood before Tony he looked at the huge size of it.
He looked down at his hands and they were once again covered with his armor.
His nanites all answering his commands.
The maze answers the path before him.
He walked through....
The worlds we see in the formations of the universe are a glimmer of what can be. Tony Stark has seen many in his dreams in his thoughts in the very essence of his mind he has a grasp
Eternity. Pulled it apart millions of times and then put it back together. It is what keeps him sane in some crazy way.
So when he steps foot into this world he knows it is not the real world. It is a world and he flies up and into the space around it. No stars no sun nothing but this world.
He goes down to the ground he lands on it and he walked to the very first person he does see.
A child playing with blocks.
He looks up at Tony and he grins.
All before u is not before you but past and all that is past you is way before you.
How does one go forward if your future is your past and your past your future?
I stand still says Tony.
Tony fires his thrusters and holds his place in space.
The world vanishes into a small dot and he finds himself sitting on Titan the people looking at him as if he was Thanos.
You're telling me you want to kill have the people to save the planet?
No, he says why would you destroy half the people why not explore space go out and get involved in the universe. Grow and learn as people and seek higher knowledge?
They do not hear him and all they hear is Thanos screaming do not be fools you have to save the planet you have to kill half or people will starve.
As Tony, he can see that somebody is not producing food not expanding jobs not trying to do anything that would help the world grow.
They are killing the people and Thanos is none the wiser.
He tries to stop himself but Thanos walks away.
No wonder Thanos was so evil he was tricked he was fooled into thinking his people were a burden on themselves.
He wondered if there was somebody behind the events that took place flash forward to the day Thanos returned with starvation and death all around him. His own mother dying in his arms.
Life should not end this way. His family was stronger than this but life was decay and death.
Tony Dropped to his knees he wept.
Death and decay filled the air and that is when Thanos started his quest to take half of all life.
It would not happen again it could not.
The shadows moved the world bent to form and the twisted maze of life and death grew stronger.
Tony had to find a way past this moment.
Why was he being shown this?
Some things you cannot change. The armor spoke to him it urged him to come to terms with his actions.
Who are you? Jarvis or one of my other AI?
I am he who sits above all things.
In this case, I am your counselor.
Tony got a shiver that went down his spine and stayed someplace around his front right lobe.
He who sits above. The words flashed through his mind the visions all came in an instant. Worlds and galaxies and lifetimes and death.
All passing through his mind. All overwhelming his senses. I see so much.
Then the visions stopped the world became crisp.
I just want to complete the mission to solve the maze to go back home.
He said the words they just seem so deep so real.
He could see Pepper Pots he could feel her hand know her face long to talk with her again.
Just like that, she was with them.
He reached out to her to say he was sorry.
Pepper put her finger on his lips and she whispered
My only love.
I will always love you.
Then she kissed his brow and she was gone.
The stakes are high the worlds await.
Stop the menace stop the ticking clock.
They flew through a portal into the past they seen the vile dark twisted being sucking the life from Titan.
Thanos worked day and night on his war chair.
He was frantic his brothers thought him a fool but he knew that something was wrong.
He could save the planet to protect his parents and his beloved.
He looked out at them all he could not fail.
Then he seen with future eyes he seen them all die.
A dark form was messing with his mind his eyes his very soul.
He who sits above was showing him the truth.
This is your maze this is your chance but can you change the most brutal evil soul in creation by showing him the truth.
Tony stepped out of the dark space into the room with Thanos.
He said nothing he fired his weapons on the darkness and the dark place screamed.
Thanos stepped back and looked at this creature.
Then he looked at Tony.
The dark force had energy spikes going out into Thanos.
Thanos was in pain.
Tony shot him again with the armor.
The AI asked if he could lend a hand with some improvised weapons at his disposal.
Tony shook his head to approve no words came to him. He was talking to a higher power pretending to be his AI after all to fool the demons of hell who was trying to pull one over on creation itself.
I have to do this in a way as to not make it seem like your cheating.
Said the AI they cannot hear me only you to them they hear whatever I wish them to.
Then the creature vanished and Tony looked down at the floor and all the remained was ash and dust.
Thanos stepped back and looked at Tony.
Your people have been pawns of this evil creature. He was draining your world making you fight your own kind.
This would have started you on a path to destroy half the universe.
Thanos could not believe what he was hearing.
The maze shimmered the reality burned into his brain all that is the truth all that is or will be and can be.
A huge Labrinth and nothing more.
A huge game that you can never win.
Then they were gone.
Thanos looked at Tony the future the place the snap all going on around him.
His adopted daughter he watches her fall.
All in the greater spark of creation itself.
Just one chamber in some huge maze.
Then they were gone again.
This time a single speck on the wall and when they got closer a powerful being stood up and pronounced himself Beyond comprehension. Beyond all concepts of space and time and life and death.
Tony asked his armor to explain.
The very essence of a multiverse can and sometimes has no other reason to exist than to be the single entity of life in that universe. The Beyonder as he calls himself is that being.
He is young and nieve and feels his powers grant him immortality.
The Beyonder looks at Tony and his suit and steps back.
Sir, I had no idea you were with us.
That is when things became crazy.
He came back he was seated in a chair and looking at Tony's armor.
I did not say you could go.
Said the AI.
Then they stopped talking and all that was left was Tony thinking that someplace else there was a very intense argument taking place.
Life to us small beings he said to Thanos who was still thinking about his snap and the death of a daughter he had never known about.
A wife that could produce such a child may be his love may be his dream.
To change creation to change his past.
With a wave of his hand and not by himself Thanos was gone.
Into the past into the multiverse in life.
The Beyonder stood up he said he was sorry and he to was gone.
Then all the time all the space all the worlds were gone.
They stood before the great powerful mass that is the big bang.
My greatest work said he who sits above it all.
I made it with all the possible things that could happen that will happen and somehow He made a maze out of it all.
He waved his hands he showed Tony the way.
The universe and life and death.
If you were to have finished the maze all creation would unravel.
All of it.
They go to the very last place before walking through the door at the end of the great maze.
He who does not like he who sits above all waits for Tony.
I see you made it as planned I did not watch it but I was sure you could complete the maze.
Tony walks through the door he looks back at the evil one. He is confused and angry.
He tries to walk through the doorway and confront tony but the doorway vanishes.
The worlds vanish all becomes as if it was never made at all.
Tony screams for help the armor turns to ash again his life flashes before his eyes.
Hero no more death is inevitable and time is up.
All the troubles in the multiverse and if you blink you miss it all.
Tony Stark wakes up and looks out the window of his fathers plane.
His father sits beside him they are going on vacation. He remembers this day well.
He remembers it because in some other time maybe his time.
His father died the day before this trip.
A killer took his life and his mothers.
His mother who was sleeping in the seat next to his.
In the magazine rack, a note addressed to Tony Stark.
Nothing is written in stone....
Not to he who sits above it all...
Enjoy your life be the hero save the day..
If you need me....
Batkevin74: 'Unused pilot from proposed TV show'.
Opening narration: Welcome once again to Better Homes & Parthenon’s. I’m your host, Hestia, the goddess of hearth, domesticity and family. On tonight’s show we’re here on the beautiful island of Crete, here in Minos. We’ll explore and show you around all the majesty and grandeur of this jewel of the Aegean. In the kitchen, Tantalus will show you what do to with fussy eaters, we’ll have some footcare advice from our resident apothecary Achilles; but first we’ve got our resident carpenter Daedalus and a problem with the king.
Hestia voice over: King Minos, first king of Crete, had a problem. He had a giant half-bull; half man called the Minotaur roaming the island. He needed something to keep it contained and away from the people.
Daedalus: Nice to meet you your majesty, what seems to be the problem?
Minos: I have a bull beast roaming the island eating citizens!
Daedalus: Well that isn’t very good. Have you thought about killing it?
Minos: Have you seen the size of it? It’s massive! I’d rather it was trapped in some kind of box thing, never to bother anyone again but still be useful…you know what I mean?
Daedalus: You mean like a garbage disposal or incinerator type thing
(Montage of Daedalus and crew working) Daedalus voice over: Crete is lovely but like most islands, its lacking in space. Also, there’s a height restriction meaning we can’t just build a tower for the Minotaur. So, I’ve got this idea
Minos: A laba-what?
Daedalus: A labyrinth. Thing of the most complex maze you’ve ever thought of…then double it, times it by ten and stick it inside ANOTHER most complex maze you’ve thought of! And we stick the whole thing underground!
Minos: A maze?
Daedalus: No, a labyrinth! Twists, turns, dead ends; so confusing that once the Minotaur is inside it’ll never come out, and like you wanted anyone who goes in either gets totally lost or
Minos: Eaten by the beast! By Zeus that’s ingenious!
(Montage of Daedalus and crew working) Daedalus voice over: So, after removing tonnes of dirt, we brought in some lovely Thracian marble for the walls of the labyrinth. It does two things; one it’s sturdy and will last until Zeus gets old. And two it’s so easy to clean.
Minos: It looks great, but I’ve had my advisors look over the costings and…
Daedalus: Here’s the entrance your majesty. Now hold onto the end of the rope, don’t want you getting lost
Minos: Um, okay, but I really want to talk about how much this is…
Daedalus: Careful now
Hestia voice over: We’ll catch up with them after these words from our sponsors.
Hestia voice over: The labyrinth of King Minos is nearly completed. Just one final touch, the Minotaur himself. Luring the bull man here was no easy task but Daedalus did it, and it only took six virgins from the village.
Daedalus: So now that the Minotaur is safely inside, you’ll see the true wonders of the labyrinth.
Minos: How? You built it underground
Daedalus: True, but here’s the true beauty of it, YOU can follow the action from above as there is a secret walkway above it so you can follow what’s going on at all times.
Minos: That is pretty clever
Icarus: Boat’s jettin’ to Knossos
Daedalus: Your majesty, this is my son Icarus
Minos: A fine looking lad
Daedalus: I’m in the middle of a show, Icky!
Icarus: Going to Knossos with some island kids, k.
Minos: Ah the spirit of youth
Icarus: Is this that old guy who let his wife bang a cow!
Icarus: Yeah, the crew and the kids were talking about it. King wouldn’t kill some cow Poseidon gave him because he’s a vegan, so Poseidon made her go all cow love crazy for it!
Icarus: She got some cow loving and had a freak baby!
Daedalus: Icarus you shut your mouth this instant!
Icarus: And now he keeps the deformed retard because…
(Feed cuts out, static and muffled sounds)
Hestia: Seems that is all we have time for this week on Better Homes & Parthenon’s. Join us next week as we travel to where all the roads lead: ROME!
Detective Labyrinth stepped through the portal and gaped at the things he saw. He was covered in the blood of the terrors he had encountered thus far throughout the day and even though they had been the nastiest creatures throughout the multiverse yet the man knew they were nothing compared to what was coming.
What lay ahead was a black maze cobbled together of brown cosmic stone, it sprawled forward for an infinite number of miles and Labyrinth could see shining little dots in the distance, each dot a portal that would take him to another realm. There were a million dots ahead of him, he just needed one. Looming walls towered above him and prevented even any notion of escape, with a number of jagged paths leading off in a myriad of different directions. True to himself Labyrinth adjusted the fedora atop his head and lit a cigarette with the last bit of oil his lighter had left.
"The hell am I doing?" He grumbled as he chewed on the stick. The portal he'd just walked through collapsed in a tiny blitz of silver and Labyrinth couldn't help but feel trapped, trapped like a lion surrounded by poachers hiding in the grass. "I came here for answers!" He screamed to the sky. "Not questions!"
From far above reality shook, and a voice that the detective felt he recognized made the man tremble as it spoke.
"Ahead of you lies a million million questions, Detective." The voice said. Somehow Labyrinth knew that the speaker was smiling. "Along with those questions likes a million million paths... and along with all that somewhere is the one answer you care about."
"Then why don't you just give her to me?" The Detective asked while crushing the cigarette beneath his shoe. "Why've you gotta drag things out with this damn maze?!" There was a foul chuckle from beyond and no reply was given. "That's what I thought." Labyrinth muttered, and began to step into the maze.
Labyrinth was a short man, only about half the height of your average oak door. To make up for this he tended to wear brown platform boots in an attempt to hide his height, but so far they'd been better at kicking people's teeth in rather than their intended purpose.
After about a minute of walking the Detective came to a side passage. It was shrouded in darkness yet it was different from the others that Labyrinth had passed. On the wall next to the passage lay a green, runic symbol, he scraped it with his finger and smirked with childish amusement as it fizzled into embers.
The shadows ahead seemed to swallow him and the passage through which he had walked slammed shut behind him. As mentioned the path ahead was dark and through a sheer sense of caution Labyrinth drew the ancient Tibetan dagger clasped to his belt before stepping around the corner. He tried desperately not to think of what could be waiting there for him and thankfully there was nothing there save for an amber portal swirling in the shadows.
"Not another one." He moaned while approaching the thing. His ears flinched as again the voice spoke and again reality shook.
"Through this tear in reality lies terror." It said. "You will not like what you find."
"Well that's a given." The Detective sighed. He rubbed the scratches on his face he'd gained earlier in the day. A pack of screaming undead creatures had clawed at him and left their mark, he'd had to use his last few bullets on them and wished desperately he'd managed to keep them. Over the past 12 hours Labyrinth had stepped through more portals than he cared to count, yet even now they filled him with the same bubbling sensation as the food he'd had for breakfast that morning shifted along with him. The room he entered into filled with a similarly unpleasant feeling. The man felt like he'd stepped into the suburbs given the whiteness of the place, yet it wasn't even the decoration that filled him with unease. Instead it was the man standing in the center of the room.
Again though it wasn't the man that unnerved the Detective, it was the grin that he wore. A long, nasty thing that showed the old fellow's toothless, gaping mouth.
It was soon that Labyrinth realized he knew this man. He looked into the old man's empty eyes, glared at his heavy gut and winced as he began to speak through his hollow mouth.
"I'm you." The old man tittered in words that shouldn't have been as clear as they were. "You as you're gonna be." Somehow his grin widened and saliva dribbled from his lips.
"You'll never find your wife." He said, giving a throaty chuckle. "Not till it's too late..." He reached forward and placed his cold hands on both sides of Labyrinth's face before he could back away. "Too late!" He chuckled again, before placing a wet kiss on the man's lips.
Screaming, the Detective shoved his counterpart away and wiped the saliva from his mouth. In a state of anger and confusion he grasped for his dagger yet found it had somehow vanished without him noticing.
His older self smiled again, the smile indescribably sinister.
"You chose the wrong path, boy. That makes you mine."
"Fat chance!" Labyrinth screamed. He reached for his pistol only to find that too had vanished. With a dawning dread the Detective concluded that what was standing before him could not possibly be his older self given the laws of time and space but instead must have been some sort of shape shifting creature taking glee in tormenting him.
Sadly that knowledge alone wasn't going to save him, and his older self chuckled once more before revealing its true form. Its skin rippled like a pool and the creature shed the skin of its elderly form and became something much worse.
Labyrinth stood before the monstrosity completely frozen. He was defenseless save for his fists and his wits but he knew in this situation that neither would suffice. The monster was tremendous in size and scale, the white room had seemed to expand as the beast grew. The monster's mouth, still gaping and toothless bore down towards the stunned detective and before the man could even scream it had swallowed him whole.
The monster's insides were nothing but the brightest yellow and Labyrinth felt as if he were tumbling down the deepest pit. He tried to scream yet wasn't sure if he did since all he could hear were the stomach rumblings of the beast. It was a cruel hand that dealt Labyrinth this fate, soon his vocal cords began to ache and he could scream no longer. Yet even then he continued to fall and with nothing else to do he closed his eyes and prayed for sleep. There was a soft thump and the Detective awoke to find himself lying atop a soft bed. No longer was he garbed in his typical fashion but instead dressed in a pair of garishly yellow pyjama bottoms.
"Honey...?" Next to Labyrinth lay his wife, a beautiful red haired woman he'd gone to Hell for. "You were having a bad dream."
Labyrinth looked at her knowing the truth. In the book of his mind he could hear the monster's stomach still rumbling yet he kissed the poor girl anyway.
It was a lie. A fatal one at that, but one he begrudgingly accepted.
cbishop: The History of Labberanth
The ship had landed on a broad, round surface surrounded by sculpted canyons that ran in every direction. The landing pad was part of the walls dividing those canyons, had its own watchtower, and was connected by bridges to several points at the top of canyon walls. These points were varying distances from the pad, each had their own watchtowers, and all were guarded by fierce, winged soldiers called Daedalons. One of these Daedalons stopped me as I debarked from the ship, and demanded, "What's your business on Labberanth, off-worlder?"
"I'm here to see The Labyrinthian," I answered calmly.
The Daedalon laughed. "We're all Labberantheans here."
"No," I said with minor aggravation, "not..." I sighed in frustration, but let it drain away. Then I said, "Okay, fine. Asterion; I'm here to see Asterion."
The Daedalon lost all traces of mirth as he eyed me suspiciously. After a few seconds, he pointed to a bridge on the other side of the pad. I nodded, and turned towards the bridge. The soldier called after me, "Sir--"
"--I know, soldier. 'Be careful of the crosswinds.' Thank you," I called as I waved over my shoulder. "It's not my first visit," I muttered.
The canyons beneath the bridge are mostly dark, so there wasn't much to see on my way to the next watchtower. There wasn't much to hear either. Despite the teeming populace in the canyons, stealth had always been the custom on Labberanth. Man, woman, and child alike learned to sneak before they could talk. Labberantheans were highly sought after for these skills. Whether for reconnaissance, thievery, or assassination, a target would never detect them coming or going. As a visitor, it was best to stay to the web of bridges that crisscrossed the canyons, to take care of any business in the watchtowers, and depart, leaving life in the ebon canyons to be explored only in the depths of imagination.
I was here for a story, and since the bridge was a long one, I swiveled the mic over my ear in front of my mouth, and started dictating some preliminary notes. "The story of Labberanth is an old one. There used to be a place called Greece, a king called Minos, and his queen, Pasiphae. Having angered their gods on multiple occasions, the final insult came when Minos did not sacrifice a bull that was provided to him for this purpose by one of the gods.
"So, Pasiphae was made by the gods to want for the bull. She enlisted the aid of a genius named Daedalus, and his son, Icarus, to satisfy this want, and the result was a half-man, half-bull that became known as the Minotaur. Enraged, Minos made Daedalus design a labyrinth to imprison the man-bull child, and then shut Daedalus and Icarus in there as well. His punishment for Pasiphae was knowing that she could not see her son. Pasiphae's revenge was to name her son after her husband's father; she named him Asterion.
"It's not the same Asterion as I'm on my way to see, of course. By this point the name has become more of a title passed down from generation-to-generation. This Asterion has called for me, apparently to ask a favor. This is rare, but my curiosity was too much for me. I have to see what this is about." I finish as I reach the watchtower at the other end of the bridge, and before the Daedalon can ask me my business, a voice from inside the tower's door tells him to let me pass. Surprised at the voice, the Daedalon steps aside immediately. I enter.
"I figured I would have to cross several more bridges before seeing you," I said calmly.
The man-bull with the white fur stepped out of the darkness, munching on a long sheaf of grass he carried in his hand. "Do you really believe I'm not the same Asterion?" he asked.
I couldn't hide my astonishment.
"Daedalus' genius covered many areas. Surveillance was one of them." The bull face seemed to smile.
I looked back over the bridge, trying to tell where the devices used to listen in on my narrative would have been. Seeing none, I looked back to Asterion, and nodded appreciatively. "Are you saying immortality is another area of his genius?" I asked in reply to his question.
Asterion snorted. "No. Immortality is granted by the gods. The white bull that fathered me was created by Poseidon. He was created to die, but when Minos didn't kill him, part of Poseidon and Athena's revenge was to grant me immortality, that Minos would be reminded of his folly for all of his days. He shut me away in a labyrinth, but he could never be rid of me."
"How does that story come to all of this?" I ask in official reporter tone.
"Bulls are herbivores," Asterion said simply. "All those teens brought to my labyrinth as tribute were never in any danger from me, but if anyone knew that, the labyrinth would have been destroyed, and all within its walls would have been put to death. Thus, our custom for stealth. Daedalus put his genius to work, giving us ways to expand the labyrinth, both above and below ground. As time and technology grew, we even expanded between the spaces, creating dimensional pockets for the tributes to live in, safe from harm and detection by the outside world."
"Tesseracting?" I asked.
Asterion nodded. "It allowed us to expand the labyrinth until the very world belonged to us."
"Dimension hopping seems to defeat the purpose of a labyrinth."
"The labyrinth is for outsiders, to make it hard to find our people," Asterion said simply.
"Sir," came the voice of a Daedalon entering the watchtower chamber.
"I said we are not to be disturbed!" shouted Asterion.
"But sir," protested the guard.
"Go! Now!" he roared.
As the Daedalon left, I said, "Are they really clones of the original Daedalus?"
"They are, and they're the reason I've asked you here," said Asterion.
"I don't follow."
"Somewhere in one of the tesseracts of Labberanth, Daedalus still lives. The Daedalons, as you've seen, have become... well, dumber," said Asterion. "We need Daedalus to fix this. Their stupidity could be the end of us all."
I considered for a few minutes. This was a story that would make my name with every news site across the solar system, but it would mean having to enter those dark, dangerous canyons of Labberanth. I would have to enter the Maze World. The choice was clear. "I'll do it," I said simply.
"Welcome home, Labberanthian," Asterion said gratefully. "The only one of us to escape this world unescorted. You, Icarus, are our only hope of finding your father."
And we're off! Good luck chaps and may the best man win!