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Strop
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Right, so I pulled out of the previous GFX round due to not being able to finish on time. Since then I've been working on the image on-and-off and now it's finished only about a week late.

The picture shown below is half the size, the fullsize one can be found by clicking on the picture.

http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a268/dongstyle_ltd/Not%20photos/technologyfinal.jpg

The full resolution pic (1280xs1024) is low quality...the high quality version is 1.1Mb and doesn't fit on photobucket xD Lame. Except I feel justified with the size...this was hand-drawn from start to finish.

I should have tidied up the sketchlines more, but wasn't actually intending to spend this much effort on it. Meh.

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Strop
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And now for round four. As Cenere warned earlier, the text contains graphic images that may upset some people; additionally there is some mildly horrific content in my own writing.

Cenere:

As the contestants exit the mansion, the mask slips off and disappears as well as the illusion loosing their hold in their shape. Sasquatch is met with Yeti's annoyed gaze and complaining about the time, Phil is suddenly the one in the bottom of the pile of Jack and Bob. Nerg just looks at his brother, no one really missed each other. Dingsley looks at the horizon, welcoming the light of the approaching dawn. All of them the place they left, even though they exited the same door, there is no sign of any of the other contestants. As the last contestant steps out of the door, the mansion begins to flicker and fade, and screams erupts from it. High pitched, filled with fear, pain, despair. The mansion curls up, and explodes in a burst of dust. What is left is a terrifying sight. Some of the dancers, screaming, their faces distorted in pain, their bodies slowly withering. They are unable to reach, the essence of the mansion still there, separating life and death. A vixen with a white dress and flames from her back and hair crashes against the wall near the contestants, staring emptily out, her eyes almost popping out of their sockets, her skin dripping from the jaw bone. She screams, until her throat explodes against the transparent wall. Sadly this does not kill her. She claws at the wall. Phil recognizes her at one of the people he stole a key from. Actually all those melting, burning, screaming people are all victims of the contestants' hunt for keys. Males and females slowly dissolving, painfully slow. None of the contestants are able to look away. Among the people children appear, little fluffy children, their screams louder, different than the screams of the adults. This is screams of innocents being punished for the crimes of adults. Slowly everything settle, and the essence of the walls disappear, letting the ashes fly away in the light breeze that came with dawn.


Strop stares at the gory spectacle, stark horror evident even under the mask.

Strop: Oh God.

As the dust settles, he looks down and his keys, too, have turned to the dust that is dissipating along with the fading screams. He stands, frozen, until all that is visible is the large courtyard space where the illusory mansion and the strange dimension of banished peoples once stood. Then the voice of the Lady intrudes upon his trance.

Cenere:

The contestants finally stand before the Tower, this bright blue, glass like building. It doesn't seem to have a door or any other place they can enter. The sun rises, its light making the surface of the Tower glitter like gold. Then something erupts at the top of the Tower, and an object begin to fall towards the ground. They watch mesmerized as the object continue its downfall, suddenly followed by a black dot, shooting towards the human looking thing. It reaches the human, merging with it all too close to the ground. An almost silent thud is heard, when the ground stops the fall.

Good morning, children. The voice of the Lady is heard all around them, probably coming from thousands of speakers on the various buildings. You have come this far, and now it is time for the tournament to begin. You will have to fight against these beings by your sides, and win. A giant screen erupts from the surface of the tower, portraying Strop, Sasquatch and team, Xzeno, Dingsley, Phil and his team, Nergyl and Fallen, Charlie and Orlestat, all on a line. Your opponent will be shown in a moment. The winner will go on to the next battle; the loser will be...My guest. Her voice seems so sweet and yet so cold. Have a nice day.

The lineup spreads out on the screen, showing each contestant with their opponent.

Strop and Orlestat.
Nergyl and Sasquatch.
Charlie and Xzeno.
Phil and Dingsley.

Then a hum is heard, it grows and grows, and then it silences.


Strop, however, does not pay the screen any heed, for he has a familiar feeling of dread which has proven unfortunately correct so often. He runs as fast as his hooves can take him to the spot where he saw the falling person, and rounds a corner at the base of the tower.

Strop: Kai!

Kai is lying at the base in a pool of his own blood. Not surprisingly for a six-storey fall, he appears much the worse for wear. Strop scrambles over to where he lies, almost slipping in the blood, coming to rest on his knees next to him.

Strop: Kai! Can you hear me?

Not getting any response, Strop checks for a pulse. It's thready and faint but there. Furthermore Kai appears to be breathing, shallow, but at least breathing. Strop then takes a moment to look around and spots the black shapeshifter, asleep, and figures there's nothing to be done there. Next he summons his arrow set and binds some luminescent arrows to form a lamp, whereupon he inspects Kai.

Strop: God you're a mess. Fractured skull, maybe spine, Greenstick here and there...and that's saying nothing of the internal organs...Kai! Can you hear me!

Strop then picks up another arrow and shines it in Kai's eye. The pupil constricts, and Kai actually stirs, trying to turn his head away. He mumbles something.

Strop: You're awake!

Kai coughs again, a trickle of residue blood coming out his mouth, then he speaks faintly.

Kai: Told you so.

Strop looks like he's about to cry.

Strop: That's not fair, that really isn't.

Strop summons a first-aid kit and attempts to bandage the wounds, first picking the hair out of the laceration on the back of the head before very lightly applying a gauze pad, mumbling something about risk of extradural haemorrhage. Then he takes out a set of needles and flicks them into Kai's arms, performing an acupuncture nerve-block so he can reset the bones and bandages those as best he can.

Kai: I didn't know you knew first-aid.

Strop: I'm a healer. The ninja's just for show. Should be in your book. (Kai has a reference book for his world not unlike Strop's Moderator Handbook for AG)

There is a pause.

Strop: Did the lady do this to you?

Kai doesn't answer. Strop shakes his head in disgust.

Strop: Nevermind, I know the answer to that already. Can you feel this?

Strop wiggles Kai's big toe. Kai nods. Strop seems somewhat relieved.

Strop: And the mansion, that was her work too.

Kai: Like I said, I told you so.

Strop: I'm going to put an end to this. I swear. I will bring her to justice.

Kai merely shakes his head. Strop leans over and grips Kai's shoulders. Kai winces.

Strop: That's a promise.

Kai finds enough voice to speak.

Kai: You...can't. You may try but you will fail. Probably.

Strop: And then I'm going to get you out of here. Come to my world when this is all over. There is peace there, unlike this godforsaken place.

Kai: I...can't either. Government...

Kai seems to be slipping out of consciousness. Strop's eyes widen.

Strop: Oh no, no no no. Don't do this now.

Kai: I'm just tired. And cold. I just want a little rest, I'll be okay...

Strop shakes Kai insistently.

Strop: That's what they all say, then they never wake up. Stay awake. Come on Kai, don't leave me here, if you can just stay awake, everything will be okay. Hey, remember how I started telling you about a bet you lost and you had to wear something? (Strop did this while Kai was guiding him to the third round) And you couldn't remember and I said I'd tell you later? Well I haven't told you yet, huh? What you say to that huh? Huh? Kai? Wake up!

But this is a futile effort, for Kai has fallen asleep, or into a coma. Strop can't tell for sure. Strop just throws back his head and yells.

Strop: F**************! (Oh come on, you get the idea!)

Slowly, Strop straightens. The bandages on his hands are stained red, and surely parts of his suit are similarly saturated but he no longer cares about such petty things. He lays Kai back down gently in the position he found him, then stands and clenches his fists, squeezing the extra blood out between his fingers. Behind him, there is a voice.

Orlestat: Are you done yet?

Strop turns and sees Orlestat standing about ten meters away.

MWT Round 4: On the Ropes

Strop: Ah, so it's you, mister fox. (Don't get confused, Orlestat is an anthropomorphic peregrine falcon. He was a silver fox only for the duration of the Masquerade.)

Orlestat just stands there impassively, eyeing Strop.

Orlestat: Just now I could have killed you ten times over.

Strop: Could you give it a rest?

Orlestat: There's no rest to be had here. I am to be your opponent.

Strop stiffens and turns unsurely. There is a brief flashback to the first time they faced off (see the first chapter of the Story of Strop). Strop cannot tell what Orlestat has in mind but he has other things on his mind also.

Strop: Are you not concerned about what happens here?

Orlestat: What matters is that you are.

Strop: Of course I am! Are you nothing but a fighting machine? Do you not see or do you ignore what's going on, too stuck in your own world to care?

Orlestat twitches but otherwise ignores the barbed comment.

Orlestat: Much as you want to know the truth, this truth, but you cannot discover it while your mind is clouded!

Strop starts walking towards Orlestat. The fight approaches.

Strop: So what do you want from me, here, now?

Orlestat: If you want to go on, you must go through me.

With that Orlestat releases his ki. The wave blows Strop backwards and he staggers, but he does not fall. Instead he plants his feet and steps forward.

Strop: Then I shall!

Strop lets out a whinny (yes, that's right) and charges. When he reaches Orlestat he snaps out a jeet kune do style side-kick (the strongest type he knows) directly at Orlestat's chest. To his surprise, Orlestat does not dodge, and takes the full force of the kick, sliding backwards a little but bracing and stopping.

Orlestat: Is that all you have?

Strop looks at him, then attempts a roundhouse kick to his head, again to no avail.

Orlestat: This fight is going to be a little different.

Strop moves in for another kick but with Orlestat merely shifts to the side and taps his leg with his talons. When his leg comes back he staggers. Strop takes a few steps back, thoughts running through his head.

Strop: What's this? Why is it so much harder to move? I'm not wearing a corset anymore!

Orlestat: Do you get it now?

Strop: Get what?

Orlestat swoops in for an attack, which Strop is barely able to fend off. Each blow he blocks causes his limbs to become progressively weaker until he is barely able to stand.

Orlestat: How about now?

Strop raises his head, frustration and panic evident in his voice.

Strop: Get what!?

Orlestat: How can you expect to fulfil your promises like this? We are just puppets in this world. The puppeteers are far more powerful than I am, far more powerful than you are. What do you hope to achieve?

Strop grits his teeth and tries to stand up again, but obviously he cannot. As he speaks he has another flashback to a scene from The Story of Strop.

Strop: In this world, there is no mercy for the weak, no voice for the powerless. On behalf of these people I swear I will find a way to fight for justice.

Orlestat regards him a moment, then seems to heave his shoulders in what looks like a sigh.

Orlestat: The fist of rightful way, is such a difficult path to tread. It is forceful but not brutal, it is compassionate but impartial, it is humble and it is proud, and in its application self is your strongest ally and your worst enemy. How one pursues this way and does not become a hypocrite is a wonder to me.

Strop slowly breathes, realising what has happened to him and in doing so, how to counter it. He opens the points which Orlestat strategically closed, strength seeping back into his limbs. Orlestat advances upon him.

Orlestat: When we first met you held yourself back, and now you have experienced being powerless. How will you respond?

Strop rises to his feet. Orlestat is not unimpressed.

Strop: I swore I would find a way.

Orlestat: Come.

Strop breathes, then releases a burst of ki similar to that of Orlestat's. They dash towards each other and this time they are more evenly matched (I'll think of how to choreograph the fight in detail later). The unusual thing about Strop's technique this time is that he is no longer only using his hooves, but also his hands. With this, he manages to land a clean blow on Orlestat, which knocks him back, but Orlestat merely settles back into stance.

Orlestat: You will need more than inner-strength to survive.

Orlestat takes to the air, and Strop follows, summoning his bow and firing arrow after arrow with grappling hooks and elastic strings which sling him into the air. He then fires an arrow at Orlestat (is this a breaking of his oath?) which, at the last minute, blows out into a net. But Orlestat fans his wings out and slices the net into pieces, then folds back his wings and dives.

Strop: Uh oh.

As peregrines go, by the time Orlestat reaches Strop's altitude, barely near the level of the rooftops, he is falling like a bomb. Strop whips out his banhammer (let's call it Thor) and tries to catch Orlestat's talons with them. They collide with an almighty clang and Strop gets collected. Momentarily stunned, he finds himself gripped by the talons, heading for the ground at an alarming pace. Strop rummages in his kit and fishes out a long belt of scrolls.

Strop: Where is it, where is it...oh what the hell.

Strop tosses the entire belt at the ground as fast as he can, and not a moment too soon. There is an almighty explosion which buffets them both and tears Strop from Orlestat's grip, flinging him through a wall and into a building, where the wall regenerates. Strop picks himself up and realises he's in one of those ghastly buildings like the one that Kai took him through at the end of Round 2. Before he can properly collect his bearings though, Orlestat crashes through the wall and lunges at him with his ki-reinforced wings. Strop fends Orlestat off with Thor and sparks fly. Spears and darts and knives fly through the air as traps are sprung, but the fighters continue unperturbed. Then Orlestat and Strop launch the same kick at each other, blowing Orlestat through one wall and Strop through the wall opposite, into a courtyard below. Strop picks himself up and realises he has landed in a pile of bodies, and while a grisly sight, this gives him an idea.

When Orlestat lands in the center of the courtyard, Strop is nowhere to be seen. Orlestat strains all his senses to try and locate him but Strop must have truly adopted the way of ninja and suppressed every trace of his presence, including his ki. There is an eerie silence.

Suddenly there is a movement behind Orlestat, and something flies at him. Orlestat turns around and dodges, only to face another body flying towards him, then jerk erratically away. Puppets! The gruesome pantomime continues as he dodges yet another body, but at the last moment he spots smoke coming out of the body's mouth. Orlestat twists away almost too late, and the body explodes, the other bodies flinging around dramatically.

Orlestat: How devious.

In the smoke he spots the strings and the movement of the bodies and deduces the location of their anchors high up above. Strop must be close to here, so he dashes for it and launches a devastating cutting attack. Nothing but a body! Right at that point, something flies at him from close range from just above where he attacked. It's another entrapment arrow, which leaves him no choice but to slice it up. From behind the net bursts the real Strop, who attacks and catches him neatly in the solar plexus with a focused nerve attack. Orlestat, momentarily paralysed, crashes to the ground in the middle of the courtyard, and Strop lands on him in a straddle, arrow notched and aimed at his throat.

Orlestat: Are you really planning to attack me, horse?

Strop: I don't need to.

Orlestat blinks slowly.

Orlestat: True. It is my defeat. You may go on to the next round and I...will see what happens next.

Strop lowers his bow and stands up. Orlestat pulls himself into a sitting position.

Orlestat: The kid is right. You will most likely fail.

Strop doesn't reply.

Orlestat: But at least maybe you are prepared.

Strop: Do I hear vested interest in my agenda?

Orlestat: I am an old bird. I've seen ages come and go, and many causes within each rise and fade. But that does not mean that the people of those causes cannot move me.

Strop: If it moves you so, why would you stop here? You're stronger than I am. You should move on.

Orlestat: You have a mission. I am...just here.

Strop: Don't you believe in justice?

Orlestat: I can't pretend to be able to follow that rightful path. Not while I am so...unworthy.

Strop turns and stretches slowly, painfully. He makes the right-fisted salute of goodwill, then starts to walk away.

Strop: Good match. Give me another lesson sometime.

Orlestat: You've become stronger. I look forward to our next meeting.

Strop: Don't ever think I didn't know you were holding back.

Orlestat: Believe what you will.

Strop: I'll see you later, Orlestat.

Strop picks his way over a pile of bodies and through the darkened doorway, making his way back to the base of the tower. Orlestat simply sits where he is, and waits.
Cenere
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I am just still going "^___^". Even though it still is a script, I do like it.

Zophia
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Sorry about the little interjection~

But awesomeness. Really looking forward to seeing all this drawn. Gonna be a heck of a lot of work, eh?

Strop
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Yes, but I'm really looking forward to it.

More so than my novel, which I finally decided TO REWRITE the latter half of asdkjhsfkgjhas;oigjs;oihjrb @..@

So here's the first few pages of the introduction to round 4: Conflict.

Page 1

http://i438.photobucket.com/albums/qq105/strawpony/mwtS4-01.jpg

I will definitely refine this when I get the appropriate info. In fact it is dawn and the area is clear for a good 400m around the tower. Can't remember exactly how wide the tower is, though.

Page 2

http://i438.photobucket.com/albums/qq105/strawpony/mwtS4-02d.jpg

Ugh, Kai splat. Cenere apparently finds Strop's expressions hilarious, but once I do this properly maybe it will be...hm. I dunno. Probably still be inappropriately humorous.

Page 3

http://i438.photobucket.com/albums/qq105/strawpony/mwtS4-03d.jpg

I need to rearrange the panels slightly, and the flow got disrupted, so I will also add a joining panel in the top-left corner. In short we're up to the point where Strop attempts to treat the Kai-splat.

Cenere
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*laughterfit once again* *slaps face* Sorry... ... I am looking forward to the actual entry, becuase the scrappyness is just taking all the seriousity out of me!
Kai: x_x
^^
And Akuma is just as splat as his master *gigglesnort*

slliM
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I just read all three of those things! All I have to say:Aaaaaaaaaaaaaawesoooooooooooome!

The story for the 4th round is cool. I was also gonna do something similar to that. Guess I'll change my idea so I don't look like a total idea thief.

*thinks*

Got it! This will be even epicer ....er ...and yeah ...stuff ...so, Rawr?

Zophia
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The Kai-splat. ^_____^

...

XD

Strop
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The story for the 4th round is cool. I was also gonna do something similar to that. Guess I'll change my idea so I don't look like a total idea thief.


Sorry slliM, but I have plans and they must not be stopped!!!

If you want though you can read the script and tell me what your original ideas were, so that we can work something out. The script has some flexible parts.

the scrappyness is just taking all the seriousity out of me!


I'm sowwy >:

p.s. no I'm not.

I will find a way to put the x_x expression in the draft!
Cholokid
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x_x is all the rage these days. I don't know what goes through those youngsters heads. Its ridiculous. And wearing pants at the knees! Such disrespect! *facepalm* Ah Strop, if you weren't your brothers brother he wouldn't be your friend. This all may seem random but its not.

Man I cant wait for more of your awesome art. It makes me want to role up into a fetal position and cry. Just because it makes me feel bad about myself. Oh, Strop, get on aim.

Zophia
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Oh, Strop, get on aim.
I would second that, though that would be msn in this case...
Dang it, I really miss chatting with you! Especially because of all the lulz I seem to be missing out on. ._.
*wonders if I should stop being online invisibly*

And that X_x expression is awesomes.
Cenere
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Strop is om msn, just not when you are awake, Zophia....

Strop
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Okay, did 4 pages of scribble today. Hope I can make the deadline, I haven't even gotten up to the actual 4th round yet, haha.

Page 4

http://i438.photobucket.com/albums/qq105/strawpony/mwtS4-04d.jpg

I apologise profusely for the very wrong face, but hey, it's a scribble! As you can see I'm really paring down the text, as should be the case.

Page 5

http://i438.photobucket.com/albums/qq105/strawpony/mwtS4-05d.jpg

I don't expect you all to have read the script so I doubt you'll get the exact significance of the "told you". Hopefully it's clearer by the time I get around to redoing it.

Page 6

http://i438.photobucket.com/albums/qq105/strawpony/mwtS4-06d.jpg

Those are acupuncture needles, by the way! Since Kai is conscious, a nerve block is in order. I doubt Strop actually carries the appropriate local agents in his box.

Page 7

http://i438.photobucket.com/albums/qq105/strawpony/mwtS4-07d.jpg

Another reference to script you (this time) definitely haven't seen yet. Kai and Strop were dishing dirt out on each other sometime between Round 2 and 3.

That's all for now! Probably won't get much time to do pages tomorrow.

Cenere
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Oldieoldold ref. Like really old. .. Ancient old!!
I need to make a new one, but I promised myself I wouldn't do that before he got a tattoo > >

Zophia
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Strop is om msn, just not when you are awake, Zophia....
Not completely true, I'm just not poking him at the right times.

My favorite part of these scribbles is the 'ow, pain'. It's just... Lol in a depressing sort of way.

Kainose = have been broken, it does show. Just pointing it out~
Cenere
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How many votes for that we ignore Kai, as he is looking weird, and is hard to draw? *raises hand*

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