Teria Teria, a beautiful kingdom with rolling, white capped mountain ranges, flatlands fill with lush, green grass, and forests inhabited by wildlife of the most exotic kind. It was peaceful, and prosperous, and unfortunately cursed. The curse began at the beginning of King Norron De’Milo’s reign, a man who had inherited the throne after his uncle passed away without an heir. Clueless of what to do and how to rule, the newly crowned king made a pact with the devil himself. If he would grant him the power to be a fair, just, and beloved king, the man would deliver to him the most powerful soul in his entire kingdom. The devil eagerly agreed, and granted the king’s request, giving the man ten years to find and deliver the soul or else he would suck Teria into the deepest pits of hell for all eternity and feast upon every soul that resided within its borders. True to his word, the devil gave the king exactly what he wanted, and the country thrived. The people adored their king, claiming him to be the best of all the monarch’s throughout history. So pleased with his reign the king completely forgot all about his deal with the devil, and the pursuit of the soul that he had promised in return. The devil of course did not remind he man of his deal, preferring to have all of the souls in Teria rather than one tasty morsel. Nine years into his reign, the king came across a forgotten scroll he had created, a notice to the people of a test of true strength to be held within the kingdom. It was the notice that reminded him of his deal, and in a panic, the ruler set off at once to begin the games and spare his kingdom. The call was sent out across the land to men and women of every race. The games were to begin within a month’s time, and those who wished to participate would not only have the chance to prove themselves the strongest, wisest, and most powerful being in the entire kingdom, but they would receive land of their own, along with title of nobility to go along with it. The fame alone was enough to lure everyone with any wish to prove themselves rushing to the castle to join, but the promise of an elevation of status had every man and woman with ambition flocking to the castle in search of their easy rise to power. Trials were arranged to weed out those undesirable, the weak and the stupid who would not fare well at all in the games. After two weeks all but a hundred contestants remained, and it was these few who would be entered to participate. Little did they know that it was a trap, that the prize at the other end of their victory would not be a castle and wealthy, but a portal straight to hell to deliver their soul straight to the devil himself. Kianna The kitsune sighed softly into the palm of her hand, her black pointed ears swiveling from one direction to the other as she listened to the others that gossiped around her. The talk of course was all the same, each person bragging their assurances of winning the games and becoming the next Lord or Lady of Teria. The kitsune herself was the exception, her mouth pressed into a thin line and her ego kept in check by her own doubts in her ability to succeed. Unlike the others, Kianna was not there for fame and glory. She was not even there for wealth and power. She was there to prove to herself, and to her clan that she was more than a simple female good for only mating and breeding, but a skilled fighter, and a strategist that could endure the grueling trials in store for her. She was there to win her freedom from being mated to a male that was unworthy of her, and popping out dozens of kits to continue the population of her kind. The kitsune was not strong like most of the other participants, she could not lift things that weighed more than her own dainty weight, or swing a sword strong enough to knock man’s head from her shoulders. But what she lacked in strength, the kitsune more than made up for in speed, dexterity, cunning and endurance. She was quick on her feet, and the canine ears perched cutely on top of her head sensitive enough to her the shift in the air to evade attacks. She did not rush head first into battle, but watched to see when it was wise to attack or when she should make a hasty escape. Yes, her skills made up for her lack of strength, but the female still worried about her ability to successfully win the games. The participants of the games were currently standing inside a large, fenced in clearing, each one anxiously waiting for the horns to sound and announce the beginning of the game. They were told very little of what to expect, only the basic rules of the game. Once the gates were open and they were released, anything goes. They could kill each other, sabotage any chances of success for the others involved. There were no rules at all regarding what could and could not be done, other than the final destination. The first person to reach the highest tower of the castle that would become the winner’s home would be the champion; all they had to do was endure each other, along with all of the other obstacles put into place for them. The kitsune stood near the gates, her nine tails swaying lazily behind her, and her fuzzy ears still twisting and turning as she listened to the conversations going on. They had been warned that the games would begin exactly at noon, and she knew from the position of the sun that the time was drawing near. She spoke to no one, not the elven male who stood to her right, nor the fairy whose wings continued to flutter cool air against her back. She did not speak to the multitude of humans who filled the air with their stench, or the goblins and orcs who smelled even fouler. No, Kianna was paying attention to no one at, too focused on the signal of the start of the games to care for those around her. She was going to win this game or die trying; she certainly hoped that it was the former that proved true. There would be only a few moments for her to react once the horns sounded to signal the start of the game, and Kianna wanted her wits completely about her. The beginning would be a blood bath, everyone trying to get the advantage by eliminating the competition from the get go. She planned on skipping through them all and getting as much distance between herself and the others the moment the gates opened. All she had to do was wait, and she hoped she would be off to a good head start. If not, she would be dead before she could hit the ground running.