ROUND 1 PART 7: ACCEPTING
It was a strange feeling: everything ached but at the same time, he was numb. How could that be? Forte did not know. He did not have the energy to contemplate it.
The door had spat him out somewhere in the labyrinth’s plaza, where he did not quite recognize. Not that it mattered, as he was greeted rather quickly by one of the portal doorlets. The stout, heavy creature waddled over to him, red eye staring at him with no emotion whatsoever. He supposed the creature was concerned at the rozenich’s rapid gasps for breath, but the vacant gaze did nothing to comfort him.
A second portal cre
ROUND 1 PART 6: FACING
Forte stared deeply at his reflection. He touched the tender flesh below his missing eye; it had finally healed up from his latest infection, the only memory left being a single medical stitch that had yet to fall out.
He hated looking at himself.
Sitting back in the tall grass, the rozenich lifted his head to view the sky above; it was a bright blue with clouds billowing heavily and floating by at their own leisure. The large orange and yellow-striped trees stood tall all around him, their violet leaves swaying in the breeze.
Across the river Forte spotted a trio of younger rozenich playing. The
ROUND 1 PART 5: OBSERVING
Once more the pink-robed kurri tasted the richness of moist dirt as he was flung from the doorlet’s portal back into the safety of the plaza. He coughed and spat it out in disgust. Several of his items had fallen from his satchel in the chaos, including his heavily documented notepad which he quickly snatched up. He glared at the incoming Zol with pinned back ears. “You didn’t have to be so rough!”
Zol dusted off their fur and released a tired sigh, their chest still heaving from hauling the alien. “Well, maybe you’ll think better next time. I hate being a mommy
ROUND 1 PART 4: CHEATING
Kinsey admired his reflection in the golden chunk of metal in his hands. It truly was a fine piece of material, pure and perfect in every way. As much as he wanted to keep it for himself, he knew the robot likely needed it back. He’d have to make sure to find him after this breeze of a round was through.
“This passage is going on a long way,” Forte spoke up quietly from behind him.
The kurri rolled his eyes and stowed his treasure into his satchel. “Yeah, and? We’ll get someplace eventually. Heck, maybe the door will just be there waiting for us!”
ROUND 1 PART 3: COLLABORATING
Kinsey hit the ground hard, the breath in his lungs punting straight out of him. He raised up on his bipedal half and opened his eyes to capture his surroundings. Thankfully, Forte had not fallen far. The rozenich had just stood up himself and was brushing dirt from his plumage. His eye was wide with surprise but otherwise he seemed unharmed. He turned to face the kurri.
“I did not like that,” he said.
“That’s one thing we can agree on,” Kinsey said in response. He hopped up onto his feet and looked around.
The environment was oddly cold and shaded, whi
ROUND 1 PART 2: SETTLING
He did not want to admit he missed home, but he did. The weather, the scents, the food, the company even. It had been foolish for them to leave so suddenly, this Forte realized. What had gotten into him? He was never the adventurous impromptu type. He never would have—should have—entered that door. His sudden lust for immortality had blinded him. Blinded him more than he already was.
Forte stumbled up the incline to return to their campsite. He had poorly chosen to take a route less traveled and the result was less than easy for him. He knew the first round would commence in
ROUND 1 PART 1: WAKING
“Friend, wake up!” came a soft, friendly voice in the distance. The world around them was swallowed in a warm sort of darkness.
“Come now, wake up!” it spoke again, a bit louder and with more urgency. Still the sleeping form did not stir.
Kinsey bolted up at the sudden shrillness, his tiny body hairs standing on end. “Wha-what?! Huh?! Who?!” The alien frantically peered around within the cluttered rocky ruins he had nestled himself into. Eventually the kurri’s gaze fell to the ground where the slithering branch-like