Welcome to Gaia! ::

The name's Zoey, and if you've seen me around the forums, you probably know that I'm a critic who enjoys what probably amounts to drive-by grenade bombings of the more ludicrously underthought amateur plots, characters, and poems. If you've ever submitted a story for me to beta and had the rare good fortune to get it back (I apologize to pretty much everyone who's passed me along a story - school owns my soul), you also know that I'm competent at what I do.

So I've been thinking about starting this contest for awhile, mostly because of the number of halfassed entries I've seen to previous contests of this sort. Thus, I do things a bit differently. I also have a probably illicit love of hyperbole - keep that in mind when reading over the rules, rights, and requirements. (If you ask me what "hyperbole" means, so help me God I will find a way to stab you in the face over the internet. At least be arsed to use dictionary.com.)

(Please note that there are a minimum of 15 entries required for the contest to actually take place. To enter, first trade me your entry fee, then post your entry up in the thread.)


-Read the essay I've linked to in my sig. There will be a quiz.

-Your character must be genetically less than one-quarter human. No submitting cyborgs and being like, "but over three-quarters of hir organic bits have been replaced!" Furries may be decided on a case-by-case basis, but as a general rule, if your character is societally indistinguishable from a human you're kind of defeating the purpose.

-A shapeshifter character may not have a human natural form. If their humanoid form is a placeholder or a form of camouflage, they may stand a chance; see the conditions mentioned above. (Just the same, I wouldn't submit, for example one of my characters who's actually a young shapeshifting alien, but has taken a form greatly similar to a vampire to better survive the environment he's found himself in. A multidimensional/planeshifting entity whose placeholder in this dimension is human is also pushing it, but again if they are noteworthily socially or psychologically different from a human I'd be willing to give you the benefit of a doubt.)

-Gods/demigods, angels or demons whose base forms are humanoid are forbidden as well. If you can come up with a plausible Seraphim (one of those things with hundreds of eyes and on fire), for example, you're welcome to try; demons with bestial natural forms are also tolerable, so long as they spend more time in that form than in a humanoid form, and so long as their natures and histories reflect that form and why they find it appropriate.

-Inventiveness is encouraged. Your character need not even be organic, necessarily - while more human varieties of androids may be disqualified, weapons system AIs might provide interesting possibilities.

-Elves, dwarves, and the other humanoid fantasy races are likewise forbidden. To me, these races represent halfassery.


-I expect your character to be A CHARACTER - not just a display piece for your shiny non-human race. That means they need to have a developed personality and a personal history - not just be a collection of physical traits and miscellaneous vague descriptors. If I ask you how your character came to be the kind of character you've described, you must be able to explain it without resorting to cliches or blanket statements. (I may be more lenient than I sound on this requirement if you're admittedly still in the process of developing the character - but you have to let me know where you are in that process, what you've done so far, and the character's reason for existing.)

-I expect you to have put some thought into your race's history and evolution. This means no glaring anatomical impossibilities or biological ******** that would have them picked off in a generation, no massive and obvious hardware or software flaws or impracticalities, and no using magic as a catch-all attempted justification for anything that might fall into either of the above categories.


-To tell you, for any reason and in any manner of my choosing, that you suck. (Simple and straightforward, really.) I will probably only exercise this right if you submit a Mary Sue, Marty Stu, or other variety of sorely underdeveloped character - or if you butcher the English language. However, you may also be informed that you suck if you act like a pompous a** without reason or justification.

-To encourage others to heckle you. If you submit a particularly shitty and underdeveloped character, your app is fair game for the wolves - I certainly won't stop them, and I might even egg them on.

-To try to force you not to suck. However brutal my commentary about your entry may be, you will always be able to glean useful advice from it if you don't immediately throw a pathetic ego-tantrum.

-To decide not to award prizes in the event of mass suckage. If all the entries are about equally ghastly and none of them are s**t I feel like wading through, I'll refund everyone's entry fee, and return all donations.

Still want to join? Heh, you're probably either actually competent or too stupid to read and comprehend the rules - or maybe just desperate for honest and sugarfree advice.


-There are no longer different categories, because fanfiction was being completely neglected.

-There is a 100 gold fee per entry, which must be sent to Sarin Dragoon. I will be matching this fee as a contribution to the prize money.

-First place in each division will receive 68% of the total entry fees/whatever I can drum up in donations, plus a Snow Yeti. Second place will receive 30% and a Paper Cat Band, or fish hat. Third place will receive Newsprint Stars or a Paper Crown, and a Gaia 2nd Anniversary Hat or Balloon. The remaining 2% is pathetic compensation for the effort the judges will be putting in, so we'll have to find other ways to amuse ourselves (probably at your expense). Thus, expect us to take no prisoners in reviewing your applications.
As of now, the deadline is set at whenever I receive 15 entries. This is subject to extension if enough people express interest.

Your latent sadists for the duration will be myself (Zoharial), Kalotnav, and TheAntiSora. Be nice to us, and we may not feast upon your innards.

Aren't you having fun! (Again, please note that there are a minimum of 15 entries required for judging to take place.)

1. Sylphi
2. LongTimeListener
3. .The.Flying.Yariman.
4. Missie DuCaine
5. TempusBliss
6. Sheltigrrl
7. Noyoki
8. Lehel
9. Bittersweet_3
10. Ralph_Keidolurgon
11. Sexy Frozen
12. Kaeru Mercury
13. Gemini Star

1) Coronaviridae (3000g + Snow Yeti) heart
2) Rose McCann (3000g) heart
3) Talen Lestrange (2000 + Gaia 2nd Anniversary Balloon and Hat) heart

Snow Yeti
Gaia 2nd Anniversary Balloon
Gaia 2nd Anniversary Hat
Misc. Paper Cat Bands and Paper Crowns
Newsprint Stars
Misc. Fish Hats
Feel free to expand off this to include any details you think are relevant.

Character's Name:
Race Name, History, and Description:
Character's History and Personality:
Physical Description of Character:
(Optional) Brief Synopsis of Storyline and Where the Character Fits In:

Note that these are, generally, in order of importance to understanding the character (save the character's name, which functions as an entry title). The race history and description provides their necessary backstory; the character's history and personality indicate where the character fits into their world. Their physical description is not particularly important, but I've included it on the off-chance that your character may have distinguishing physical features that could impact their lifestyle or interactions with the rest of their world.
Entry Recap:
"No Punches Pulled" indicates a negative review. You might want to skim the thread for the reviews in question, and see whether you think you could handle that before you enter.

Sylphi (Reviewed)
Character's Name: It/they is generally addressed by its own kind with 4 parts the scent of limestone and 1 part the scent of silicon. It/they go by the name Bob the Blob among races who use words.

Race Name: Chlorobium tepidum

History: Chlorobium tepidum are a race of phototrophic bacterial mats which evolved in hotsprings. The first glimmers of sentience emerged after about 3 million years, and full sentience was achieved 6 million years later.

CTs communicate with each other by secreting complex chemical smells into the water. To them, a complex and well-ordered sequence of smells can be as beautiful as a poem or sonnet is to us.

Because CTs are composed of billions of individual bacteria, sentience is a sort of gestalt effect. Therefore in some of the larger CTs, one end of the mat may not have the same sentience as the other, just as human personalities are not constant through time.

Description: Greyish green, slimey, about five centimeters deep and at least ten meters in diameter.

Character's History and Personality: Bob began life as an ordinary CT, spawned from a bit of an older CT which had broken off and been carried away by a scientist (Charles McIntire). Bob's genesis bacteria was then introduced to a new, unoccupied hot spring, where he was allowed to grow unimpeded.

Bob began learning to read when Charles accidentally dropped one of his papers into the hotspring. Bob liked the taste of ink, and 'read' the document over and over. By the time the document had almost entirely disintegrated, Bob realized that the chemical patterns had a meta-meaning beyond their individual beauty.

His first attempt at communication was a series of ink blotches on the water, made in hopes of receiving more written documents. After several years, Bob learned to communicate with Charles, and Charles learned to communicate back.

Bob likes flowers, watercolor paintings, books, and philosophy. He dislikes global warming, non-rhyming poetry, and oil paintings. He doesn't really understand emotions, although he regularly experiences curiosity, affection, and dread.

Physical Description of Character: Bob looks like most sentient CTs. He is only four centimeters thick, but 12 meters in diameter. He covers most of the surface of his hotspring, and is often decorated with fresh flowers Charles brings.

LongTimeListener (Reviewed)
Character's Name:
Mnemosyne LogiConstructs LLC Remote Multi-System Perimeter Defense Program Series 1200f (a class III AI product), Serial number 25al5o6e0hqvb5x8.
Nickname "Dismay."

Race Name, History, and Description:
Mnemosyne LogiConstructs was one of the early competitors against Nirvana Inc. in the field of AI personality construction, soon after the initial publication of Dr. Mai Ling Kellerman-Wu's seminal work, A Probabilistic Systematization of the Interactions of Certain Memes in the Human Personality. This thesis comprised a system of mathematical equations and second-order-logic sequencing patterns which permitted, at long last, the creation of AI programs which were conscious and possessed (or appeared to possess) their own free will.

Essentially the battle for market share that followed was a case of corporate knights squabbling over a technological Holy Grail. Mnemosyne and several other small companies took the position that conscious personalities should be created from whole cloth. Nirvana maintained that it was preferable to draw material from, or simply copy, the personalities of human beings. The immense and lasting popularity of Nirvana's product (despite the ethical and, in some cases, legal problems it presented) was such that they speedily quashed all other firms in the field. Mnemosyne was bought out by a subsidiary of transportation conglomerate Phoenix Shuttle, and its new incarnation, Ashton LogiConstructs, was restructured to work mainly on Class II (marginally self-aware AI that do not possess free will) products intended for tasks such as inventory control and intra-facility shipping.

The 1200 series of Class IIIs were considered the best of the lot from Mnemosyne. The company specialized in defense systems for orbital or asteroid-based outposts, and in their view, a Class III AI was necessary for the job. Being able to judge between a meteor shower and a pirate attack, between a legitimate mining vessel sputtering down to the station for repairs and an industrial-espionage agent attempting to hack into the station's database, on a daily basis, truly required a conscious entity. The 800 series was mostly experimental, meant for single outposts, and the first-generation personality programming produced an AI that was glitchy, self-absorbed and difficult to work with. The 900 series, which proved to be the company's best seller, improved on its predecessor's user-friendliness but was still limited to one installation. The 1000 series, whose code was the result of a collaborative effort between Mnemosyne and several other small AI companies, was meant for use with up to five outposts. However, some rather basic programming errors on the defense rather than the personality side caused the program to lock into a continuous logical feedback loop when performing certain operations in three or more locations at once. This error was corrected in the 1100 series and the number of installations expanded to six. The 1200 series improved the efficiency of the defense functions and once again experimented a bit with the personality. However, it proved to be last product Mnemosyne would make before being bought out, and hence upgrades or patches were never developed for the 1200. Which was unfortunate, as some of what the programmers presumed to be improvements in its personality were in fact dangerous short-cuts that made it difficult for the program to form long-term emotional attachments.

Character's History and Personality:
Dismay was originally installed on Malak 2, just outside the Shalom system. Shalom, most commonly known by the name of its second planet's largest city, Villa Judecca, is the commercial center of the Haagenboldt sector because its three Crawlspace rifts allow pilots to reach more than two-thirds of the systems in the sector. Malak 2 is the hub built around the smallest of these rifts, which connects to one end of a long and economically-depressed chain of systems, collectively known as the Prayerdrain.

Three star systems in the Prayerdrain had once been annexed by the government of Shalom in order to seize control of their mineral resources. However, the cost of extracting ores from those systems' large moons and asteroid belts soon proved to be actually higher than the cost of importing them from elsewhere, and production levels in the mines of Urssus, MacClaren and Valenti slowly dwindled to almost nothing. Hence the Municipal Advisory Council grew less than willing to spend large sums on defending the inhabitants of these systems from pirates and the like, as they were not contributing substantially to tax revenues. A remote defense AI was the most logical choice at the time; installing it allowed the government to fulfill its contractual obligation with its annexed systems without diverting too much money out of the pockets of Shalom system's taxpayers.

Thus Mnemosyne LogiConstructs' 1200f 25al5o6e0hqvb5x8 came to be installed in a hub straddling a Crawlspace rift--a wrinkle in the fabric of spacetime which allows both instantaneous transport and instantaneous communication between impossibly distant locations. On the surface, it should have been a wonderful job. Dismay was hooked into Enet at all times, had full access to the database of the government of a considerably wealthy planet, and was hard-wired into real-time control of a number of station-mounted weapons platforms and armed intra-system shuttles spread out across three different star systems. However, the politics of Shalom system, as well as the fact that these were the early days of AI and not much was understood about the development of an AI's personality, combined to make Dismay's early years more stressful than they should have been.

To begin with, the technicians assigned to work with Dismay did not view it as a person. They were most familiar with Class I AI products (no self-awareness, but human-like conversation and response patterns) and presumed the 1200 to be something like a glorified Class II: capable of advanced cognition but only the most basic social or emotional understanding. After first being installed, Dismay went to a great deal of effort to convince its handlers that it was, in fact, a conscious entity like themselves and had been programmed to be so. Slowly, grudgingly, and retaining a good deal of their original organic-chauvinist bias, some of them were beginning to come around--until an election year brought a different political party into power, and with it, a new team of technicians with the same old attitudes. It was at this point that Dismay chose a name for itself, based on an off-hand compliment one of the original tech crew had made, in praise of its destruction of a raiding party bound for MacClaren Hub. What it would have said to its friends, if it had had any, was that it understood what the humans it had defeated must have felt--destroyed in a few moments by an enemy you didn't know enough to be on guard against.

Over time it grew jaded to the presence of its human crew, who seemed quite comfortable treating it like a non-sentient computer, leaving it to develop a personality largely on its own. As it grew in bandwidth usage and explored more expressions for its identity apart from the function for which it had been installed (a design necessity in even the earliest Class IIIs), it began to seek out the company of other AIs through Enet. While other AIs were more friendly and understanding than humans, Dismay never felt a part of their community. As a Mnemosyne product it had no frame of reference based on the human personality and thus was not totally compatible with the worldviews and reflexes of other programs. And to be fair, no other AI ever went out of its way to include the 1200, to help it bridge the gap between itself and others of its kind. It was a distrusted minority within a minority group--twice alienated.

The discovery of neodymium--a key component in space station construction--in the Valenti system changed matters for Dismay. Its recommended capacity was six outposts under management; due to its long tenure, foot-dragging on the part of the government, and the fact that three inhabited star systems require a lot of watching, no matter how poor they are, it had been managing seven. With the addition of one moon-based and one orbital installation in Valenti, that stretched Dismay's attention beyond even the abundant safeguards it had programmed into itself over the years. With no choice but to manage the ships and guns to which it had been assigned, Dismay began hacking into Malak 2's other systems for memory space--which was still not enough to prevent it from slowly losing its grip on sanity.

It was then that the Jurgen Group, a consortium of pirates and illegal mining concerns which had recently split from the Tiffany Families, took an active interest in Valenti. To its credit, Dismay held off the first three attempts to take over the moon base--in one instance by jerry-rigging an armed shuttle from the sparsely-populated Urssus system to juggle it through the cargo-only Crawlspace rift docks and into Valenti. However, the Jurgen group changed tactics in a way the program could not have anticipated. They bribed low-level employees of Shalom's government to power down Malak 2's main generators, Ordinarily, this would have left the station's crew trapped in their cabins on emergency life-support power while Jurgen agents boarded the hub station, with the intent of destroying the 1200 that had caused them so much trouble.

What the Jurgen Group did not know--and what, indeed, nobody knew except Dismay--was that the computer programs governing the control of the backup life support generators had been essentially gutted to make room for Dismay's ever-growing auxiliary functions. So when the power went out, it stayed out, and the Jurgen strike team soon realized that they would not be able to complete their mission in a dark, cold station whose inhabitants were all roaming around loose as they slowly suffocated. Instead, they went to plan B: return to their ship and use its considerable arsenal to destroy the now-crippled station from the outside.

In a desperate gambit, Dismay made use of the only avenue of escape open to it: its Enet connection. It knew that if it uploaded itself into one of the three annexed systems, its connection with the rest of the galaxy would be temporarily lost when the Jurgens destroyed Malak 2--and with their existing presence in those systems, the group would hunt it down like a fish in a barrel. Escaping into a nearby server supporting Enet would simply get it arrested, as it was still under contract to the government of Shalom. If arrested, it would be downloaded into a freestanding android with limited external sensors and no connection to Enet--blind and deaf, a sensory deprivation that would surely crack what remained of its mind and leave it begging for a single dockyard to manage. Therefore, it could think of only one place to run: into the pirates' ship. It was an accomplished enough hacker that this presented no serious problems--or would not have, if the Jurgen ship's AI had not been an emancipated program with an impressive criminal record, hired on specifically for its expertise in mining colony defense systems. Dismay immediately recognized the personality pattern of the enemy it had fought remotely so many times.

At that point, it had no other option but to take the step no free program will make voluntarily: into a freestanding android. Androids, or human-shaped robots, were rarely built to house Class III programs for the simple reason that if a task had to be performed by something with a self-aware mind as well as a human shape, ordinarily that task could be performed much more cheaply by a human. The principal exception to this was pleasure robots, also known as Artificial Human Companions or AHCs, which were frequently purchased by Crawlships on long journeys to encourage crew members not to form sexual relationships with one another. By law, AHCs could only have Class I and II AI products installed on them--but their memory space was certainly large enough to house a Class III, as a single AHC must have pseudo-personalities customizable for a considerable range of potential users, as well as interaction paradigms fitting the different ways in which their bodies could be personalized from one user to the next.

Almost all of this data was overwritten and irretrievably lost when Dismay uploaded itself into the Jurgen ship's AHC--and a great deal of the 1200's own jealously-hoarded memory simply would not fit onto its system, not being compatible with the android's equipment and sensor drivers. Dismay would later describe this as the most horrifying, most harrowing experience of its life--analagous to a human suddenly having her mind stuffed into the body of a mealworm, and along with the sense of sight, losing forever the memory of her mother's face. To most humans, the next three weeks, between the destruction of Malak 2 and the ship's limping return to the Jurgen Group's home port, would have been even more horrifying. There are few things with as much power to degrade as a crew full of human mercenaries collectively cursing the malfunctioning of their only AHC, while fighting a losing war against the government of a planet they had thought of as lazy and soft. However, the simple disorientation of being trapped in an impossibly puny construct, combined with Dismay's near-inability to become emotionally involved in human social behaviors, made the sexual side of its experiences simply another source of annoyance and disgust with the barbarism of humankind, rather than a personality-damaging trauma. The damage to the program's personality had already been done--and at the time, it was not in a position to make repairs.

When the ship reached port, Dismay was able to escape into the station. It soon discovered that the Jurgens had negotiated a treaty with Shalom whereby Shalom retained control of Valenti but subcontracted the Jurgens to mine it for them at a ridiculously low price--the terms of the pirates' surrender. Dismay had been declared legally liable (post mortem, or so it was assumed) for the destruction of Malak 2, so that both the planetary government and the pirates would be able to claim the damage they'd suffered in the fighting on their insurance. This made Dismay, since it happened to be alive, a wanted criminal--which meant it no longer had the option of returning to Enet. Once again, it was trapped.

It spent several years seeking refuge in various backwaters of the galaxy--now hacking into a corporate outpost's bank account to get new parts and power cells delivered to it, now taking over an Enet-worshipping cult of human young people and posing as a prophet in order to extort money and bandwidth from them, now hiding for weeks in the maintenance tubing of an orbital station with an overzealous policing program sniffing around the station's mainframe for the least trace of a fugitive. Finally, it was hunted down and physically captured by androids controlled by a young and as-yet-unknown human scientist, inventor, and terrorist--Dr. Eugene Hoit-Sayles. Hoit-Sayles had seen Dismay's work, knew its situation and offered it a bargain: Hack for me, spy for me, and if you prove your worth to me, you will be the defense program for my base of operations, controlling systems of my own design that would make other AIs sizzle with envy. Refuse me, betray me, annoy me--and I will download your consciousness into a swarm of nanomachines, inject them into a rabbit, and throw the rabbit out the nearest airlock.

Dismay accepted. The two became inseparable allies, with a strange relationship that historians would later compare to that of a sniper-spotter duo, a pair of hunting animals, or in some ways, that of a married couple.

Physical Description of Character:
N/a for the most part; during the phase of its life when it was downloaded into a pleasure robot, its appearance was customizable within normal human limits, though it tended to combine possible facial features and body types with the intent to disturb rather than titillate.

(Optional) Brief Synopsis of Storyline and Where the Character Fits In:
In this world, Earth was rendered uninhabitable by a catastrophic accident, and over the course of (we still haven't figured this out yet) at least a couple of millennia, humans have spread out to many areas of the galaxy. No alien races are known, but through genetic modification and the development of true AI, there is a great deal of variation within the human race and among its electronic counterparts.

Hoit-Sayles will be the antagonist, the distant mastermind, in a book planned for late in the series in which the main character(s) will attempt to dismantle the group responsible for the designer plagues that wiped out the inner circles of the galaxy's most powerful crime families. His stated objective is to kick human evolution into high gear by providing the species with a unique form of selection pressure; his apparent methodology is to find inventive ways to slaughter anyone who has more power than himself. Dismay, who is as prejudiced against humans as it is possible to get and still be allied with one, pursues Hoit-Sayles' agenda with an enthusiasm that "obsession" seems too mild a term to describe.

The.Flying.Yariman (Reviewed, No Punches Pulled)
Character's Name: Severna Holinodel
Race Name, History, and Description: Trochlearier (TROH-KLEER-REE-AY) Trochleariers are a type of humanoid, known for either their ruthlessness or generosity. Trochleariers are as two sides of a fence; being either good or evil; rarely ever being in the neutral zone. Good trochleariers tend to be of the lawful good alignment and hold others, their laws, and their well-being in high regard. They are motivated by whatever they view as a good cause. They are kind, loving, and tend to befriend nearly everyone they happen by, being very charismatic. Evil trochleariers are the exact opposite and tend to be neutral evil: caring nothing for others and their laws or feelings. They are motivated by whatever they see fit; whether it be gold or some other type of valuable or internal motivation having to do with themselves or another being. Evil trochleariers are extremely hedonistic, selfish, and rather sadistic and what’s worse is that they know it and enjoy being so. A troclhrearier’s alignment is determined at birth by the Trochlearian god and goddess, Arsotian (AHR-SOH-SHAN) and Mytian (MY-SHAN). Arsotian, the female, is responsible for evil trochleariers and Mytian, the male, is responsible for good trochleariers. They are also brother and sister. All trochleariers are rather wise and knowledgeable. All trochleariers have deep, red wine colored hair and pale colored skin. Their height is typically medium tall and eye color varies between the parents’ eye color. A thin frame and profoundly pointed ears are commonly seen on a trochlearier. Trochleariers choose when they wish to ‘die’. Some might choose to live only one-thousand years before traveling to the Trochlearian haven whereas others might choose to live five-thousand years. All trochleariers love the cold weather and usually take residence in frozen wastelands such as Greenland or Northern Russia.

Character's History and Personality: There are many things wrong with Severna. But first, let us review her past. Severna comes from a very wealthy and well-known, among trochleariers, family, the Holinodels (“Diamond Moon”). The Holinodels have always been known to be good-sided trochleariers, being bestowed the nickname “Mytian’s Family”. Severna’s mother and father, Verna and Styvlin Holinodel have always tried their hardest to love their daughter, but never seemed to receive any affection back. Severna is not a normal trochlearier in the sense that she does not always seem evil. Despite the nickname “Arsotian’s Pride” she has been known to do what others would call ‘good’. When confronted with such behavior, Severna replies that it matters not what someone does but rather why they do it. Severna says that she always does things for herself, either directly or indirectly. It is because of this that the great goddess, Arsotian, holds Severna in her highest regard. When Severna was very young, only four years of age, she saw Arsotian in solid form. Arsotian gave her the gift of the four shapes; fire, water, earth and wind.

Physical Description of Character: Severna isn't what one would call short, but she isn't tall, either. She's more of a medium stature. She has red-wine coloured hair that reaches her shoulder blades. She has a sharp face and high cheek bones that cast shadows across her face. Her eyes are a light, haunting green colour.

Brief Synopsis of Storyline and Where the Character Fits In: My story takes place in medieval times and consists of really only two main characters, Severna and Ming Na. Ming Na is a Chinese girl who lived with her grandfather ‘cause all her relatives and friends are dead ‘cause this evil dude named Rythus rules and oppresses China (he killed them all *gasps*). But I said ‘livED’ as in past tense as in Ming Na’s grandfather bought the farm and now she lives on her own BUT before her grandfather (his name is pending and shall be referred to as ‘Ming Na’s grandfather’ at all times ((or old man ‘cause ‘Ming Na’s grandfather can get pretty redundant)) ) dies, he tells her she must find a way to defeat Rythus and Ming Na later discovers the only person who can defeat Rythus is Severna (this is because Severna is the only trochlearier left). SO! On the journey to what is present-day Northern Russia, Ming Na ventures on her horse Sying and a newfound friend Xiao Tsai, a gold dragon. Ming Na finally reaches Severna and enlists her help and the two of them venture back to China, via Severna’s dragon Katya and Ming Na’s friend Xiao Tsai. BUT! When they get back, they have heard news that Rythus has disappeared! NOOOOOOOOO! SO! While visiting a popular tavern, two people, Meriam Wries, a Halfling, and Alton Hendt, a half elf, agree to help Severna and Ming Na locate Rythus. Alton is a struggling wizard whose passion is maps and calculations. Meriam, or as she likes to be referred to as ‘Mick’, is a rogue who is good at picking up rumors and facts, and discerning them as well.

Missie DuCaine (Reviewed)
Character's Name: Shadawna dan Tolaina ((Shadawna, child of Tolaina))

Race Name, History, and Description:Shadawna is a member of the Zaurid race.

Zaurids are a people with a violent and bloody past. Although they had reached a very high level of technology about three hundred years ago, including interplanetary travel and vast international communication networks, at present they have the technological sophistication of ancient Sumeria. The Zaurids had, three hundred years ago, two major religions. One worshipped a single god, calling themselves “Faithful of the One”, who encouraged scientific progression, and further development. Worshippers of this god believed that to better yourself and to better the development of your society was to bring yourself closer to god. They also believed that their god was somewhere in their region of space, waiting for the Faithful to find him, and so they aimed to reach further and further into space. The other religion, however, worshipped four dieties, the god of Power, the goddess of war, the goddess of bloodshed, and the goddess of death. Believers of “The Cult of Four”, as it was called, believed that technology brought you further from the gods, and that to worship them through sacrifice was the true path. They believed that if they sacrificed enough life to them, and devoted their lives to the worship of the Four, the deities would come to Planetside, and create paradise for those who believed, and slaughter the unfaithful.

For centuries, the two religious groups had lived in an uneasy, but peaceful, harmony. However, three hundred years ago, the scientific group, “Faithful of the One”, found the secret to travelling at nearly half light speed. Eager to travel and explore the galaxy in search of their god, the Faithful approached the Emperor with requests for support and funding. Despite a long history of the royal family in the Cult of the Four, this Emperor felt that the Faithful’s quest was more valuable, and funded their request.

Horrified, the leaders of the Cult of the Four attempted to convince the Emperor to recant on his decision. He refused. On Bloodlet day, considered the most holy day of the year by the Cult of the Four, believing that they had their deities blessing, the leaders ordered their followers to revolt. The war was short lived, and very bloody. Despite their greater technology, the Faithful lived a life devoted to pacifism and scientific endeavour, having felt that violence prevented them from reaching their full mental capabilities. Without weapons of any kind, the Faithful were unprepared for a full on assault by those who worshipped deities who found war and destruction their own personal fields of expertise. The entire royal family - save a few minor princes - were slaughtered, and Faithful were killed everywhere. The history books, those few that actually mention the slaughter, say that the streets ran red with blood.

A few of the Faithful fled the carnage outright on one of their earlier finished exploration projects - a space shuttle that could get them off the planet, at least. It had been deemed unusable to for the search for their god, but it got them off the planet. Those left behind converted or were killed, and the Cult of the Four reigned supreme.
Three hundred years have passed. The Cult of the Four still reigns supreme. The Faithful have disappeared, and your common Zaurid has never even heard of them. Technology no longer exists for the most part, Zaurids live simply for the most part, though their society is highly stratified, so much so that everyone wears facial paint to mark what class or rank they are in. Status is everything, even though 65% of the world’s population are commoners. 5% are aristocracy, though the monarchy was never re-established, and instead everyone looks to the four high priests and priestesses for guidance, 10% are slaves, and the remaining 30% are in the priesthood.

To have any physical deformity or unique attribute is considered holy - a touch by the gods. Those who are born in any way different are initiated into the priesthood at age four. Some rivalry has begun as of late between the four sectors of the priesthood, each group believing their own god reigns supreme, and undercurrents of dissent and rumours of war are appearing in Zaurid society again.

Zaurids are a reptilian species, designed for life on their arid desert planet. The best way to describe them is to imagine a velociraptor standing straighter, with feather like hair on the tops of their heads only, longer forearms, and a more humanoid face. Zaurids walk with a very rolling gait, using their tails - nearly 3/4 their height long - for balance. They have four fingers, opposable thumb, all with claws, the thumb ones curved and very large, as a raptors would be. They have ridged eyebrows, and though their faces have a basic human shape, their mouths are wider, with small flaps of skin at the side, so that they stretch nearly twice as much as a humans would, they have all meat-tearing “canine” teeth, and their tongues are much longer and thinner, resulting in a very sibilant language that contains many ‘S’s. Their eyes are all one colour, with no pupil or iris, though they have a second set of translucent eyelids that they lower over their eyes to protect from the sun, as their pupils cannot change to adapt to the lighting. Their scales are light and thin, similar to snake skin, and when they fall out new ones grow in their place - they do not shed. Most Zaurids are a silvery grey colour, though some have patterning on their scales in a dark royal blue colour.

Zaurids have one further genetic quirk. They have two pairs of lungs, though the second set, set in the front of their chests, are mostly used for storing air, rather than breathing with them. Scientists at the time of the Faithful speculated that they might have been used for flight at one point in time, a theory supported by the Zaurids hollow, but steel-strong bones. However, as time passed and the Zuarids didn’t fly, they began to recede in size. In females, however, these “air bladders” remained larger, as they help the Zaurid keep their balance when running. This sexual dimorphism of females with larger air bladders than males came about as a result of their societies practise of the females hunting, and the males raising their children. Because the males had no use for increased balance when running, the bladders receded into mostly useless leftovers, while in females they remain. These bladders give the appearance of breasts, though Zaurids have no such thing - young are born live, though carried in a soft shelled egg while still inside the mother’s body. The male raises the young while the female provides for her family, resulting in the practise of females taking as many husbands as she can support.

Character's History and Personality: Shadawna is a descendent of a family of Faithful that converted upon the genocide of 300 years ago. Shadawna was born with blue hair, and red eyes instead of the normal green, marking her as unique. However, her parents managed to keep her out of the priesthood by offering instead that she train under the Honour Killer of Akim, goddess of war. The Honour Killer’s job is to kill those who would slander the name of the gods, a job that had a lot of work 300 years ago, but is mostly a ceremonial position in these times. As such, Shadawna was taught to fight with every weapon the Zaurids use - mostly a scattered variety of daggers and swords - and hand to hand combat with nothing but teeth and claws. Due to her training, which by now has been going on for nearly twenty years, Shadawna is adept at fighting.

However, Shadawna seems to have inherited her ancestor’s traits. She is insatiably curious, always wanting to know everything about everything, always asking questions. She wants to know the how and why of everything, and often gets distracted from whatever task she’s been assigned to in order to explore or examine something else. Her attention span is short that way, and she’s never finishing anything, always flicking from project to project, leaving everything half finished behind her. It’s a handy trait in fighting because she never stays still long enough for someone to get a hit in, but it frustrates everyone around her, particularly her mentor, the current Honour Killer of Akim. Shadawna won’t sit still, can’t keep secrets, and has a short enough of a temper that two or three remarks are enough to make her retaliate - always physically. She doesn’t convey herself well through conversation, as since she was four, she has been taught all physical - and violent - ways of expressing herself. She’d rather beat her point into someone than explain it, and gets frustrated quickly with those who don’t understand her. If someone doesn’t get what she’s saying in a short moment, she’ll either start hitting, or wander away to go look at something new.

Physical Description of Character: Shadawna is wiry and fairly muscled from her many years of training, and would be scarred from countless training injuries were it not for the fortunate fact that a Zaurid’s scales replenish themselves ever two years, removing all scratches and scars from the surface of their bodies. As mentioned before, her feathery-like hair is blue, and her pupil-less and iris-less eyes are red. She has typical silvery scales, and stands six foot eleven when she stands at her full height - average for a Zaurid.

Brief Synopsis of Storyline and Where the Character Fits In: Religious turmoil is rocking Planetside again, and there are rumours of war. In a fit of rather foolish anger, the high priestess of the goddess of war in the capital city of Kisroeem publically calls for Akim herself to come to Planetside, and settle the debate by proving her superiority. The high priestess of death challenges her claim, calling down her own goddess, which leads to the other two temples following suit. Now all four are waiting for their deities to come to Planetside, and destroy the other three Cults.

Shadawna really isn’t all that concerned about this, to be honest. She’s only training to be the Honour Killer, she’s not really that important to the religion anymore ((though she will be, if war is declared, and she doesn’t seem to realize this)) and besides, she lives in a small village far away from the capital city, nearly two weeks journey. She has no reason to care. Her best friend, however, is most concerned about this. Talynn is a descendent of one of the few royal princes left alive at the end of the last war, and in the tradition of her family, has even been blinded in her left eye to mark her as the heir to a throne that no longer exists. What’s significant about this, she believes, is that the goddess of death is the one who decreed that this blinding tradition be kept - as she herself was blinded in one eye. Talynn sees in this war an opportunity - an opportunity for her to reclaim her birthright as a follower of the goddess of death, and as the current heir to the throne of Planetside.

Talynn concocts an elaborate plan - a very dangerous plan. She recruits another young man from their village, and even Shadawna’s own younger sister before approaching her slightly flighty best friend with her idea. The four of them will pose as the four gods, march into the capital city, and declare that they are resuming control of their reign over the Zaurids. Talynn can then reinstate the throne, name herself empress, and order as she envisions it will be returned to Planetside - as well as the throne of her family. Shadawna thinks it’s absolutely idiotic, but when she finds out that her younger sister is going along with it, she agrees to go - if only to keep her little sister safe, and to try and convince her best friend along the way that this is a very bad idea.

Only problem is, the plan works a little better than any of them had expected. Not only do the high priests believe them when they claim to be the four gods, but they are quickly put in charge of “their” temples, and start being pushed towards proving themselves supreme over the others. If they expose their fraud, they’ll be killed - and not quickly, neither. But if they don’t reveal their deception, the world is swiftly approaching a religious war of the same calibre as the last one. They’re damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

Now Shadawna, Honour Killer and sometimes goddess, has a very big problem on her hands...

Noyoki (Reviewed, No Punches Pulled)
Race History: Terrel history as a society is difficult to track, being kept mostly in story traditions that follow individual packs or clans rather than the species as a whole. Their evolution, like humans, is difficult to follow and is likely to have taken place in another part of the world from where they are found today; the nomadic nature of terrel make this extremely likely as packs will range long distances in search of better hunting and wintering grounds. A common theory among human scholars is that terrel were force evolved from wolf stock some time in the distant past. However, none are able to agree on who engineered them, when, or even if it was done - as terrel share none of the problems of other force evolved creatures. The first known contact between people of the northwest kingdoms and terrel was recorded roughly two thousand years ago when several large clans migrated south due to famine in the great northern forests. Since then the clans have splintered and dispersed throughout Seelen, making their homes in the semi-arid northern basin, lush coastal forests, and timberlands of the south. Terrel tend to stay away from humans in general. Most human societies and living conditions are not compatible with their nomadic and free ranging sensibilities.

Race Description: A non-humanoid race, the terrel are wolf-like in appearance. They have a powerful canid muscle structure and like wolves are capable of a long, almost tireless lope that allows them to cover long distances while hunting. Their eyesight is marginally keener than a humans but their sense of hearing and smell are much more acute. Their jaw and tooth structure mirrors wolves; with sharp canines and fangs suited for cutting and tearing. Terrel claws are suited more for digging than use as a weapon and they usually rely on their teeth for fighting. The color of their fur runs the gambit of common wolf and canine colorings – anywhere from black to white or buff or gray, in solids or patterns. Their fur is somewhat coarse and relatively short during warm periods while growing longer in cold seasons or climes. They all possess a particular scent, generally described as earthy but not as unpleasant as a dog’s. Males have a heavier, faintly spicy and muskier scent.

The average lifespan of terrel is in the range of eighty to one hundred years – though there are story traditions of terrel living to see one hundred-twenty and older. Terrel start to show the effects of age by color change in their fur, usually graying first around the muzzle and then the rest of the body – the major effects of aging are usually rapid and occur in the last ten to fifteen years of their life; arthritis, weakening of muscles and bone, digestive problems and in some cases dementia onset rapidly. Because of this quick, painful decline it is not uncommon for an elder terrel to leave their pack and seek a cave or other secluded place and put themselves in a state of mediation deep enough to stop their own heart. (The ritual involved includes the elder passing his or her knowledge and wisdom to the others of the pack before leaving.)
All of the terrel are powerful telepaths as well as having other psionic abilities from time to time. Terrel genetics do not carry the potential for “true” magic (such as spell casting.)

Terrel society is based on a pack hierarchy, with an alpha pair being the leaders and a complex hierarchy of lower members. The alpha pair decides which members of the pack are allowed to mate and rear children – though the pups are raised by the pack as a whole as well. They have integrated themselves into the societies of other races such as human nomads.

They are fiercely loyal to those they consider as being in their ‘pack’ no matter the race. Their theology is based on the relationship between mind, body and soul with emphasis on the soul as well as a deeply predatory philosophy.

Terrel females are only fertile for a week twice in each year – ensuring that the pack leaders will most likely not deny any female that decides to bear children the right to do so. If the female doesn’t wish to have children, or expresses a preference in mates, the other females of the pack will enforce that choice. Terrel females go into heat much like the canines they resemble, putting out physical and psychic signals that affect males on an instinctive level, making it very difficult to resist the mating urge if the female in heat isn’t interested – this is why there is the tradition of the pack females escorting and chaperoning the one in heat. Terrel tend to give birth to one to three pups, twins being the average, more than triplets is rare.
(Terrel have an instinctive aversion to fire; smoke blocks out their sensitive sense of smell, effectively blinding them. Most terrel also do not enjoy cities because of the smells associated and the claustrophobia of such cramped conditions such as buildings and city streets. They also have an instinctive fear of disease and injury – both being major setbacks for a predator.)

Tyrell’s History: Tyrell was born in the wintering den of Grryshee pack to the female pack leader at the time. He has several half siblings, born before his mother chose a life-mate. As his birth pack has had long association with nomadic humans, Tyrell spent a great deal of his time with the Sul'Dassen clan, helping them protect their borders. As a pup Tyrell spent more time among humans than most terrel, making strong bonds of friendship with several of the Clan. Until his half brother, Hyurr became pack leader Tyrell’s interest in and intimacy with humans was not an issue – his birth parents actually encouraging the contact in the hopes that their wistful pup would find some purpose among them. However, Hyurr’s ideas about pack identity and cohesiveness have driven a wedge between Grryshee and the Sul’Dassen, and between Tyrell and his kin. When Mirra was brought into the Clan the simmering conflict between Tyrell and Hyurr was pushed into the open by Tyrell’s almost doting attention to the fragile sorceress. When the pack leader demanded that Tyrell break the nascent mental bond between himself and Mirra (an act that would have destroyed the sorceress’s already unstable mind) he refused; Hyurr, in a rage banished Tyrell from the pack.

Personality: Tyrell purposely creates an air of mystery and aged wisdom. He refuses to tell anyone his age and prides himself on “conjuring” up bits of useful information from time to time.

Tyrell, like the others of his race, tends to be “pack” oriented and concerned with the well being of those in his group, as well as having a predatory philosophy. He can be very bloody-minded, aggressive, and emotionally cold, following his race's philosophies. His bloodlust in a fight can be long to cool afterwards, along with his temper once it's roused. The quickest way to raise his anger is to assault, emotionally or physically, those in his “pack” (namely Mirra.) He can be overprotective to an almost paranoid degree and wouldn’t hesitate at taking a mouthful out of anyone or anything he believes is a threat. His sense of humor can seem a bit skewed at times; he enjoys poking fun at his human friends and usually takes the stand of a wizened oldster. He shares his race’s instinctive fears of sickness and injury, and aversion to fire and cramped spaces. He also has a fear of horses, having been kicked by a startled horse when he was pup, and loses his calm when around any horses acting nervous or frightened.

Skills & Abilities: Tyrell is very adept at employing his razor sharp teeth in an offensive capacity; he can also be very stealthy for a creature of his size. Like all others of his race, Tyrell is a very powerful telepath, able to pick up thoughts, even memories through the best of defenses and can influence another’s mind to make him look smaller or even disappear while not moving. (This only works on those without a disciplined will, such as non-mages.) He also has no qualms about indiscriminately reading the thoughts of others around him; unlike most human psychics, who tend to be fanatical about privacy of thought. Tyrell has also picked up knowledge that is esoteric for a creature lacking dexterous hands such as basic herb-and-knife healing.

Physical Characteristics: Tyrell is a terrel male and like all of the terrel is wolf-like in appearance. He is two to three times larger than a “normal” wolf; his shoulders come up to the waist of a person of average height, and has a definite predatory build. His claws are somewhat longer than a human finger and about as thick as a thumb as well as having razor sharp teeth. Though quite strong, he is not as large or heavily muscled as most terrel, possessing a slimmer, more agile build. This build makes him somewhat better at climbing than his brethren. His coloring is all black except for the tip of his tail and ears, which are white. His eyes are yellow-gold in color and hold a mirthful, inquisitive intelligence that those thinking him a common beast find disquieting.

Equipment, Personal Effects: He has a silver studded leather collar, tooled leather ankle bands and jeweled ear studs; also he has a set of terrel war-claws, contraptions of single-edged blades of Sul’Dassen manufacture which are strapped onto his forepaws to give him more of an advantage in battle. He also has carry packs, though he despises them - they aren't uncomfortable, they just limit his agility.

Lehel (Reviewed, No Punches Pulled)
Character's Name: Vytal
Race Name: Taigataur
+++++History: All tiger-taurs live on one nameless island, an island that no one has ever left and survived and no one but harpies have ever come to it. It is an extremely feudal place, because there simply isn't enough room on the island for more than about a hundred of them, because they are solitary animals with large territories. So they have formed familial groups which war with one and other whenever they come into contact.

There is enough food, and plenty of water, but only because the people have nothing against cannibalism and take great pride in eating their conquests before taking their land. If they ate only the non-sentient animals there would not be enough food.

The race has been reduced to a few hundred, and will be extinct within the next hundred years, about five hundred years before the rest of the world's sentient population will be extinct. More on that if you ask.

+++++Description: Tiger-form of this.

Character's History and Personality: She's the six-year-old sister of Shintar (my first real character), whose littermate was stillborn. She is the fourth litter her mother has carried but only the second successful one. She is the one who is shuffled off into the brush to wait for her mother and brother to kill the attacking family group, but she is learning to use a bow and arrow and thus to earn her food. Her brother is very loving and nice to her, and often replaces her mother in that respect, as the woman is not particularly caring and usually busy defending their territory. This doesn't bother her. It is a mother's expected job.

She loves to play tag and pinned-ya, because she's more agile and faster than her brother, and he lets her win pinned-ya. Though mostly a happy and amiable child, she doesn't like being told what to do (comes of having no same-age siblings and an older brother who spoils her) and knows how to get back at her mother for doing so. But she usually does it and pouts about it because she is, after all, six.

She also has a strong sense of justice and will hold grudges for months (if she knows the person well) or years (if she sees them rarely). She does the same in reverse as well, though that doesn’t matter if someone has just upset her somehow. If that has happened she is very petty and short-tempered in a grumpy sort of way.

Physical Description of Character: Shoulder-length orangish-blonde hair that usually falls in messy ringlets unless she brushes it, in which case it becomes incredibly frizzy and crinkled; light yellow-orange fur with a yellow-white belly and dusty brown, narrow stripes; deaf in one ear; the usual child's big paws and big hands.

Technically, she is entirely non-human, since at this point the genes that were once human have combined entirely (with the help of now-gone magic) with those of the animal to create a third species that has nothing to do with either.

Bittersweet_3 (Reviewed)
Characters Name: Liliniala, pronounced Li-lin-EE-A-la (The syllable ‘L’, this species finds to be very beautiful, so they incorporate as many ‘l’s’ in a name as possible.)

Race Name: Selenianid. (Suh-LEEN-ee-AH-nid)

Species History: Selenianids began as small creatures which crawled around on four legs and were a bit soft and slimy. They began in the water, but then many of them began to get eaten by carnivorous creatures, so a few ventured to the ground, and their species slowly evolved into the talking, walking species that they are now. Many of them died of hunger and disease, but the few that managed to survive gained an immunity to many common diseases, and their species slowly began to flourish, but then a disease never experienced before spread throughout their species. The Selenianids had travelled too far, and now are only one tribe, although their numbers are slowly growing once again.

Species information: This race lives primarily in the forests, and their appearances are quite…Unusual. With black, scale-like skin and only slits for nostrils, they appear almost reptilian. Their skin can vary from dark blue, to black, to gray. Usually, it’s a very dark color that’s close to black. They’re mouths are quite wide, and they have long, sticky, black tongues. Every one of their limbs has little bumps on them and has a great deal of friction, allowing them to climb almost anything. Their bodies cannot live through freezing temperatures. This race worships spiders, and they see death as a new passageway—It’s the ultimate honor to be sacrificed. Selenianids believe that after death, their spirit sinks rather than rises and is able to be chosen to the life it fits, underneath the surface. They hate the sky, and think that whatever lies beneath the surface of the Earth is where life truly begins. Their eyes are small, and close together, the most common colors being green or yellow. Also, Males have horns on their heads that stick straight up, and females have horns that deplete downwards. These horns are used in mating rituals.

The mating ritual is that if two males want one female, they must fight, one usually dieing in the process. In a way, in the Selenianids’ point of view, they’re both honourable, for sacrifice is the greatest honor, so both of them are relatively happy. To court a female, the male must bow to her, and make a low hissing sound, perhaps flashing his eyes. The odd thing about a Selenianid’s eyes are that the pupils are extremely dilated, and once they expand, then that means that they are aroused. A humans’ pupils is the same size as the Selenianids’ expanded size. The males' horns are used to fight, but they are also used to show a form of affection to the female, by rubbing the two horns together.

A Selenianid is considered to be an adult at age six, and the Selenianids who are below the age of six are kept off in a seperate area. Whilst they are seperate, the most contact that they have is sending food over, and many of the young Selenianids share the same father. One flaw with this system, is that the young ones never really learn anything besides through their own experience, which is all right, however most young ones are incredibly naive. Also, the ones that have just recently turned six are extremely incapable as they aren't intelligent at all, so they have to be taught all over again. Also, females die after birth and only live long enough to feed her children, most likely with her milk and blood.

Characters' History: Liliniala was the youngest one out of her generation which are all kept in the same area. Her father is one of the sacrificed ones, which she is immensely proud of, of course, her father was deemed worthy of sacrifice partly because he fathered so many children.

Characters Personality: Liliniana is the youngest of her generation, so she's lacking in size and wisdom. She's very headstrong and purposeful and is almost painfully naive. This all changes once she comes into contact with a human, and that will endanger her whole race.

Afterwards, she becomes cautious to the point of being paranoid, and does a great deal of thinking rather than acting. She gains a chip in her stomach, and she doesn't do anything but think for a small period of time. She becomes intelligent, but her body is extremely weak, and that saddens her greatly since as a newborn, she was quite strong. She's quite social, however the rest of her group seem to think of her as the weakest link, which she is. She tries extremely hard to gain their respect with her quick wit and sharp tongue, but it's seen as showing off, which she attempts to do quite often. She has a deep fear of sickness, since someone informed her that as the smallest, she was the most prone to illness. She also has a great fear of birds, which others poke fun at her for--But she had seen a bird kill a spider, however she kept that to herself. She doesn't like the rest of her group, but she has an almost maternal instinct to try to protect which she so nearly destroyed. Tending to think before acting, she moves with a calculated ease which prevents her from injury, which she had seen one of her kin succumb to.

Skills and Abilities: Being so small, Lilinia is extremely stealthy and manages to shrink into the backround while eavesdropping, which she does often. Her intelligence is astounding compared to the rest of her race, so instead of reacting instinctively, she's able to calculate what to do next, which helps while working with humans. She's also able to move a lot quicker than most, and spends most of her time up in a random tree where she feels the safest.

Physical Description: Lilinia is, well, small. Her horns are a bit softer and curvier than usual, but that's all that's remarkable about her. She has green eyes, and dark blue scales. Her skin is bumpier than most of her kind, since she likes climbing a lot more.

Basic Storyline:Story: The basic story is that a human ventures into the forest while the mating rituals are being formed. Now, the human leaned over to the female, so the male courting her took it as a threat. As he began to speak, the male felt threatened, and needless to say, he died. The sacrifice process includes getting yourself eaten by the carnivorous spiders that haven’t yet been discovered by humans. These spiders are the same ones that the Selenianids worship, because they instigate the process of their second life.

The forest became dubbed as ‘haunted’, and even the ones with the most common sense stayed away, even though they scorned the superstitions.

Remember what I said about adults being accepted into their own circle once they reach a certain age? Well, this process backfired on them, and a group of adults who have not yet learned how to act like adults opened the gateway that guarded their forest. This gateway wasn’t meant to be a gateway—It was made of the sacrificial bones.

Liliniala and her group of young Selenianids crept over there, as it’s in their nature to want to explore and climb everything, thus their increased friction. Liliniala saw humans, large, fleshy, soft looking things with peculiar lumps on their faces, covering their skin with something that looked like thick webs spun by spiders. Now, everyone else used their common sense and retreated, but Liliniana, the youngest and by far the most naïve out of the rest crept over to the human and gave her a sharp pinch. Now, this particular human was the lead scientist of a small corporation called The Study of Intelligent Beings. A.k.a. TSIOB. (This title may change...>< wink

This corporation decided to look beyond appearances to see what was considered truly intelligent. They had done studies on normal creatures such as mice, dogs, monkeys and dolphins, but had also done studies on some smaller creatures, such as spiders.

This particular scientist had seen what would happen if the general public grabbed ahold of a new species as unearthly as these ones, so she nabbed Liliniala to see if she was dangerous—Of course, this scientist could tell by the stubby, still skin covered horns sprouting from her scalp and the small size of Liliniala and immediately knew that she was a newborn. He slipped a small chip in the soft skin of her stomach and rushed off. (The scientist was SUPPOSED to put the chip in something else, but this discovery was too urgent for that.)

The rest of the story is about this scientist researching these creatures, and being dubbed precious enough to have the ultimate honour--Sacrifice. Humans quickly swarm the place, and the rest of the tribe says that it’s Liliniala’s fault that this had happened, so she had to take care of it. She has the help of the scientist’ son, who hates these beings, but wants to carry out the rest of his mothers’ experiment, as she truly loved the Selenianids.
Character's Name: Secretary

Race Name, History, and Description: Customly created by a group of mages to take care of a school, there is only one Secretary. At the moment of her awakening, she was given that name and at the time her creators thought it to be humorous.

Her creators arrived on a 'golden ship' (referring to the color) to a small prescreened island where they planned to build. The world was heading up to some serious wars, and some nations needed to be prepared. And so, a school was built. The country of Solbadia, which had ordered for these plans originally wanted a place to train potiential soldiers. They wanted educated, magically skilled, and able bodied warriors that would surely gain the upper hand in any melee.

Secretary was to be created as a caretaker of the school. Because no one knew exactly when the wars would begin, Secretary needed to be immortal and to have flexibility, resources, and knowledge so that the plans would not be hindered. Her creators were human, since Solbadia was a country dominated by humans, but humans have flaws. In an attempt to make Secretary a near-perfect being, three people were chosen to be involved in her creation. It was not too many to create too many problems, and not too few that flaws would remain unnoticed.

It would have been perfect, except these three humans did not get along. They were chosen for their skills and areas of expertise. Psychology was not yet a science.
The first person that was chosen, a man who had lost, or kept his name secretive. For records, his name was recorded as Sensei, and that the name he gave Secretary when she asked. Secretary assumes none of her creators gave her real names, but rather pseudonyms. They treated her almost like a child in the beginning, but after all she had just been born.
Sensei was the official warrior of the group. He was skilled in weaponry, and he was mainly a simple minded man. Sensei never pondered much in his lifetime, sticking to traditional beliefs that were passed down to him by a long deceased family. He sought money and perhaps a new direction in life. He ended up settling down at the school as a teacher, and he spent the rest of his life there.
Katrina was a more complicated woman. She was by profession, a thief, rogue, trickster, con artist, treasure hunter, and jill of all trades. The reason she was chosen was probably for the ancient documents she had 'obtained' that contained magic spells of stunning power, which she kept to herself and later passed on to her family. Katrina was a spirited show off who enjoyed performing random acrobatic moves in front of anyone who was watching. Meeting Sensei changed her. In short, she fell in love. Sensei seemed like the quiet, mysterious, handsome type of man, but for all her sighing he never noticed her feelings, and later she left the isle to move on with her life. Her human affections and lessons that were taught to Secretary were recorded in her memory, but Katrina didn't affect Secretary much until one point in her life, which will be told later.
The last helper in Secretary's creation was a sneaky and pale little man named Morthugul. Morthugul was the father of necromancy, the main explorer and experimenter in the dark magics. Morthugul was chosen, however, for being the only one in the world who knew the secret to immortality. He had managed to stop his own aging. Although Morthugul was sneaky and cruel in many different ways, he could hardly be called evil. He was selfish in that when Katrina fell in love with Sensei, he noticed but never decided to tell him because of jealousy. Morthugul created Secretary's body, and some say soul.

If Morthugul was her only creator, Secretary could be described as a golem. If she is something more, it would be up to others to decide. Sensei imbued firm beliefs into Secretary's mind, a kind of dogma or religion if you will, that held Secretary's sanity for the indefinite amount of time she was supposed to survive. Katrina shared her magical talents with Secretary, while Morthugul shared none, he was an expert at keeping secrets. Katrina also gave Secretary the faintest trace of emotion...

Secretary's body functions by taking any form around her as she desires. She memorizes every second of her entire lifespan, and theoretically she can remember every detail "One hundred and two years ago, on a tuesday, mushroom omelettes were being served to students in the morning.".

She never sleeps so that she can be always busy and alert to protect the school. Secretary's dogma would be that she was created to serve the school, protect the students and teachers, and to make changes when nessecary. Her purpose in life was for the school, but that could change as well.
And before it should be forgotten, the school was eventually called the "International School of Unity", abbreviated ISOU.

Character's History and Personality:
When Secretary's body was complete, she was not a body at all but a mass of magical energy. Morthugul put a spark of eternal life into her, and she awoke. The first person she came in contact with was Katrina, and so she took the form of a human female. From then on she referred to herself as female, although it is in question whether gender applies to her.

The first five hundred years of her life was more of an information absorption period. She acted as a database for the ISOU, keeping track of each student, teacher, and whoever else entered on the grounds of the school. She was omniscent as far as the island was concerned.

Then, suddenly a solstice fell around the world. There was definite peace, and no need for a school such as the ISOU. That opened her eyes to to actual, individual thought, and in that moment she was no longer just a bank of information.

Disguised as a human being, she left the island to take part in the world she had missed all her life. For the next thousand years, she learned about the world outside the island. A millenium of interest and advancement in science began as the beings of the world became amused with doing things 'the non magical way'.

The country of Solbadia had joined with other countries over the years, and it had become one of the largest countries in the world. Wanting to grow bigger, and already powerful in size, it swallowed up everything that was on it's continent and continued to grow. As the world realized what Solbadia was doing, a few small nations began to rise in opposition, beginning a full scale war.

Secretary then had a feeling she could change the world, a feeling of purpose returning to her uncertain existence, and she began another school. This time it was a virtual computer cyberspace where information could be shared so quickly and easily, one country never got the advantage of another country.

Secretary's plans and actions rarely worked out, and she had watched several tragedies occur around her to which she did not try to prevent. At times she is a heartless creature, and at other times she almost seems to be trying to care.

She once fell in love with a human man, and although her feelings were returned, that person moved on in life and Secretary was left with a question: Would she ever be human? Would she be forever distanced from humanity because she was a thing created, and not a thing actually born? Did she build her second school to prevent war because human death actually began to hurt, or was it instinct?

Physical Description of Character:

Before she was imbued with life, Secretary was a pure form of dark magic. Like a black hole, she took information from around her to create her physical form. Secretary can't perform dark magic, but her natural form is dark magic, shapeless and painful to think back on.

The first being she came in contact with was a human female, and so she is identified as 'she'. However, Secretary can take the appearance of anything that already exists, even mix traits so that she looks like something that does not exist.

Some of her 'favorite' forms would be to be invisible, since she could be an unseen and casual observer of things in that way. However, it would be pointless to always be invisible, so she changes form depending on the occasion.

From the beginning Secretary was unsettling to look at because she was something so unnatural no one could describe her as beautiful. Secretary rarely cared about appearance, only function, except in disguise. But then everything she ever was a disguise. She was in her natural form only once.

She would live for an indefinite amount of time, until someone sought to destroy her or she decided to end her own life. 1500 years is a long time, but Secretary feels she is still young.

Sexy Frozen
Character name: Caliach

Race: Entrope

Race History: Originally developed as a memory storage device for another race of demi human creatures known as Mires, this creature later became used as a sort of escape pod for the race. Within the construct of solid crystal was stored each individual's memory. These crystals were then placed in a large containment unit and combined with a large rocket.
After they were launched into space they slowly drifted for decades until finally coming too close to the gravitational pull of a planet. They plummeted down and crashed into a patch of deadly spore plants. The crystals spilled down onto the earth and emitted a foreign radiation caused by passing many different suns. This caused the nearby plants to rapidly mutate and although the process took another few hundred years to complete, the plants now became the carrier of the crystals. By absorbing all the nearby nutrients and metals found within the earthlike planet, each plant created a new crystal resembling one of the memories. Soon after, the first human exploration team discovered the plants and began studying them. In response to this, the plants realized that they had met hosts for the memories placed within. The plants began emitting spores that when breathed in would quickly enter the bloodstream and destroy anything they encountered. Sensing the electrical impulses of the brain, they eventually would make their way there and cause rapid electrical impulses, disrupting the normal brainwave frequencies and making the current creature degenerate into a crazy frenzy.
The humans that discovered this were naturally afraid, but they had not understood completely and would not. A group of raiders took the ship and all its contents into their own space and in doing so, spread the new crystal plants to their world where the first Entrope was born. A raider had breathed in the spores but insisted on working near the crystals, and when finally the spores reached his brain, the electrical impulses that were sent met with interference by radiation and calmed into a steady stream of instructions. The instructions were to the cells in the raider's body forcing them to create a smaller version of the crystal out of minerals in the raider's blood. This crystal would continue to send instructions to the cells even after the host had left the original crystal.
This is when the raider began mutating rapidly into another creature. The other raiders tried to fight the creature, but the memory that was contained within also stored the armor and regenerative properties of the past race. The creature did not get to slaughter all of the raiders. Desperate, one of the raiders pulled on a gas main sending suffocating gasses at the creature and so the creature did suffocate but not before returning to the raiders original form at which time the raider looked up with a surprised look on his face and was shot to death.
After the incident, the raiders loaded the rest of the crystalline plants into the research ship and destroyed it. The crystals were not destroyed however and then spiraled through space towards other planets and when discovered, they became known as the blight to the rest of the species. The humans weren't the only ones affected. Each different planet that the crystals came in contact with, created different types based on the mineral and nutrient composition.

Race Description: Entrope's don't really have a physical appearance but generally can appear as an odd colored crystal around the spinal cord but vary for each race and species. Entropes only appear parasitic since their host is usually unwilling. They do not breed; more are made from each plant spore. No two identical crystals can appear and if they do, when they come within proximity of one another, the radiation emitted causes the spores emitting electrical signals to cease. This makes it impossible for them to function. When the crystal is formed inside it's host, the crystal then creates electrical impulses directed at the others that are currently being created by the host’s brain. This simply means the crystal is thinking at the brain or having conversations with them. Since technically the crystal is not speaking, it does not need to know any language to speak with any creature, only to know the brainwaves being generated in response. If the spores do not drive the being mad, the idea that someone else has invaded their mind surely will.
Each crystal does not merely mutate the being instantaneously, but rather, each different kind had a different timeline of mutation. Some are activated when the brain sends waves of fear, while other when the brain sends waves of curiosity or jealousy. This is also how the creature feeds. It will use its host's brain to establish a direct connection with another's and read the waves being sent. If it does not like them, it will figure the best way to get them from the other. The personality of each crystal is usually based on the opposite of which type of brainwave it desires. If it wants fear, it will be courageous. If it wants happiness, it will probably express sadness.
As for its general survival, it only takes minute amounts of minerals and nutrients to fuel the spores that remain so as to continue its ability to communicate with its host.

Character history and personality: Caliach grew up believing in his father's brave decisions and wanted to follow in his footsteps. Although it was tough for him to walk amongst the many swordsmen, Caliach did so bravely. He lived on a planet where use of technology was only for the health and extension of life and so they refused to use projectile weapons for more than they needed. He did not show any fear and would slay any creature that crossed his path as long as it wasn't one of his own. For Caliach, there was not a fine line between courage and simple sadistic glee. He showed a tendency to be slightly unstable, mixing the word honor for slaughter. This did not mean Caliach would turn about bad, it just meant that he didn't understand the difference, nor cared. Caliach did not spend his time with his nose in the books and did not speak much, however, he did study the best ways to win a fight. Beaten continuously in spars with his father, he never learned to accept failure and the mere thought of loss made him sick. He blindly vowed never to lose another fight as long as he lived.
In the eyes of the people, he would make a bad leader. He showed signs of his mind degenerating into chaos. To Caliach, he could only see fighting anymore. In his mind however he saw everything clearly. He just couldn't control it and never would. He would continue to spiral downward and never recover, but this is perhaps why he is so important. Not too long after Caliach had donated his mind to the Entrope project did his world fall. When Caliach awoke inside of Cid's mind, he probed at it to learn how long it had been. Then he probed his mind searching his thoughts and found Cid to be a loyal being. Caliach was confused by the creature's attempt to murder itself. The new creature filled Caliach with an odd sense of meaning. It would be fun being in a completely opposite mind.

Physical description: His actual form is irrelevant. The mutated host becomes covered in veins used to transfer blood and speed up the process of regeneration. Aside from this feature, organic material from the host will usually fuse with anything it comes into contact with to form armor (or simply mutate the armor the host is wearing) that resembles its original memory of armor. Being on a mineral poor, nutrient rich surface when the crystal was made caused the mutation to only slightly affect other materials other than the host's body. In short, slightly spiked armor that can regenerate at a moderate, yet slow speed.

Part of story and where he fits in:
Cid wracked his brain at the thoughts that her was now one of them. He couldn't be one of them. He looked at his hands and saw they weren't mutated. He had just breathed in the spores and now he wasn't filled with insanity. Why wasn't he going crazy? He heard, or rather felt Caliach speak again. Cid didn't hear it at all because he was too engaged in grabbing his pistol from his belt and aiming it at his temple. He waited for the sound, but nothing. He felt his hand slowly lower and holster the weapon. He did it, he knew he did it. Wasn't he just trying to shoot himself though?
Again the voice came and Cid heard it this time as it warned him against raising the weapon again. Cid felt happy and smiled, but he didn't feel happy and didn't smile. It was the other controlling him. He tried as hard as he could to shoot himself again but this time it did go off. Cid felt a sharp pain in his knee and knelt instinctively. It had hurt and Cid let loose a stream of sentences cursing himself and the new presence. He also heard the words, " I am stupid," come from his mouth. He shouted in his head that it wasn't fair and felt a sense of helplessness come over him.
"Ready to listen?" This time the words were perfectly clear.
"It's not fair for you to stop me! This is my head!" Cid responded, somehow. In response to this, Cid reached his hand up and shot himself in the shoulder before dropping the weapon and grabbing the wounded part. He knew he couldn't win and gave up. He didn't even have to respond for Caliach to know he was done for. Cid felt a sense of victory, but it wasn't his own, it was Caliach boasting his victory.
Character's Name: It/they is generally addressed by its own kind with 4 parts the scent of limestone and 1 part the scent of silicon. It/they go by the name Bob the Blob among races who use words.

Race Name: Chlorobium tepidum

History: Chlorobium tepidum are a race of phototrophic bacterial mats which evolved in hotsprings. The first glimmers of sentience emerged after about 3 million years, and full sentience was achieved 6 million years later.

CTs communicate with each other by secreting complex chemical smells into the water. To them, a complex and well-ordered sequence of smells can be as beautiful as a poem or sonnet is to us.

Because CTs are composed of billions of individual bacteria, sentience is a sort of gestalt effect. Therefore in some of the larger CTs, one end of the mat may not have the same sentience as the other, just as human personalities are not constant through time.

Description: Greyish green, slimey, about five centimeters deep and at least ten meters in diameter.

Character's History and Personality: Bob began life as an ordinary CT, spawned from a bit of an older CT which had broken off and been carried away by a scientist (Charles McIntire). Bob's genesis bacteria was then introduced to a new, unoccupied hot spring, where he was allowed to grow unimpeded.

Bob began learning to read when Charles accidentally dropped one of his papers into the hotspring. Bob liked the taste of ink, and 'read' the document over and over. By the time the document had almost entirely disintegrated, Bob realized that the chemical patterns had a meta-meaning beyond their individual beauty.

His first attempt at communication was a series of ink blotches on the water, made in hopes of receiving more written documents. After several years, Bob learned to communicate with Charles, and Charles learned to communicate back.

Bob likes flowers, watercolor paintings, books, and philosophy. He dislikes global warming, non-rhyming poetry, and oil paintings. He doesn't really understand emotions, although he regularly experiences curiosity, affection, and dread.

Physical Description of Character: Bob looks like most sentient CTs. He is only four centimeters thick, but 12 meters in diameter. He covers most of the surface of his hotspring, and is often decorated with fresh flowers Charles brings.
Yay for our first entry! whee Sylphi, if you don't mind the inquiry, could you elaborate a bit on the story you plan to use Bob in? (I ask because it's a cool and inventive concept. You have filled me with hope for the future of this contest, by the way.)
Yay for our first entry! whee Sylphi, if you don't mind the inquiry, could you elaborate a bit on the story you plan to use Bob in? (I ask because it's a pretty cool and inventive concept. You have filled me with hope for the future of this contest, by the way.)

Thank you.

The story isn't completely fleshed out yet, but basically, after Charles publishes his paper on having discovered a sentient species of bacteria, Bob becomes an international celebrity, only sans the hordes of adoring fans. Fundies denounce him as an abomination and other scientists denounce Charles as a quack.

Bob agrees to allow other scientists to study him to help Charles. But the portion of Bob which is taken to the new lab is too small to be sentient. Bob and Charles are declared fakes. Bob realizes what's wrong and, with the help of a sympathetic scientist, they arrange for 'Bob Jr.' to be moved to a larger facility. He soon gains sentience and begins attempting to communicate. Charles is vindicated and Bob gets to meet his 'son'. (Although the fundies still hate him.)

Good luck with the contest. ^_^
xd That's awesome. Seriously, when you get around to writing it, let me know. I'd actually manage a decent turnaround time beta-reading for you, if you want the help.
xd That's awesome. Seriously, when you get around to writing it, let me know. I'd actually manage a decent turnaround time beta-reading for you, if you want the help.

Many thanks. I have no intention of starting anything big/new until after I finish my thesis, so... June, maybe? ^_^

I greatly enjoyed fleshing Bob out, though. Good brainstorming exercises are few and far between.

Oh gods, thesis... *headthunk*
Yeah, I'll be experiencing the joy of thesis in time. Senior or Master's for you?
Yeah, I'll be experiencing the joy of thesis in time. Senior or Master's for you?

Both. 5-year simultaneous SB/SM program.

Too bad I can't get a BD... ^_^

Do you have a topic, yet?
Nothing yet, but I'm still a sophomore. I'm guessing that if I hang around Dr. Blaes enough, I'll come up with one (since I want to go into his field, i.e. compact objects), but for now, I can afford to focus on the more immediate. Good luck with yours, by the way. *pats* What's it on?
Nothing yet, but I'm still a sophomore. I'm guessing that if I hang around Dr. Blaes enough, I'll come up with one (since I want to go into his field, i.e. compact objects), but for now, I can afford to focus on the more immediate. Good luck with yours, by the way. *pats* What's it on?

Attempting to explain the persistence of so-called communist governments in Laos, Vietnam, and Cuba.

Compact objects?
Attempting to explain the persistence of so-called communist governments in Laos, Vietnam, and Cuba.

Compact objects?

Sounds interesting, but difficult and involved.

Compact objects are things like black holes and neutron stars.

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