June Monthly Challenge - Masks and Mayhem

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Good morning Iwaku! Its been a while I know but summertime is crazytime. I know at least one of you has been missing the monthly challenges I have so neglected. But I promise the new ideas I have will make up for it a thousandfold.

Since we are in the middle of the year, autumn (fall to you guys in the US) and approaching winter I have been inspired (don't ask me to explain the progression) for a masquerade!

Its with explaining that a masquerade is not only a ball with hidden identities but also magic hiding among the mundane. So why not do both? Or just one if you think you can work better with it. ;)

So that bring us to:

This Month's challenge: The last alive in the masquerade.
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I kind of want to take this in a really creepy direction, so we'll see how it goes.

December wandered around the ballroom, greeting guests and making sure that everything was in order. She adjusted the mask on her face, silver with golden linings, fitted to her face and mimicking the shape of a butterfly. She smiled happily as she walked around, ensuring that the music was the correct quality and closing any of the curtains that might happen to fall open.

One of the guests slumped over in his chair, and December tsked good-naturedly at him, before adjusting him back into the proper position, and fixing the tiger mask that had come loose over his face. "Such a lovely party, is it not?" She said addressing him. "So much work put into it, months of planning. Shame that little problem ruined it, but at least now he party never has to end."

She adjusted the bow-tie on the man sitting next to him, before moving on to other guests. She happily hummed the tune of the song that was playing, while she inquired about the status of her guests drinks. She went into the kitchens in order to scold the serving staff, which had been propped up into various positions around the room. She exited back into the ballroom, contentedly continuing her rounds around the room.

"Lovely dress, Mrs. Hallerson."

"Well don't you look handsome, Mr. Carson."

"Have you lost weight, Angelo?"

She stopped abruptly as the old grandfather clock chimed twelve, signaling the midnight hour. "Everyone, it's time to remove our masks."

She removed her own mask, before wandering around, removing those of her guests. One by one, each mask was removed, revealing the cold, lifeless eyes that rested underneath. Satisfied once all of the masks were removed, December went to stand up on the stage. "Thank you all for being here tonight." She said, taking care to smile warmly at each of her guests individually. "Regretfully, that is all for tonight." As she had every night for the last six months, she cast a spell over her guests, keeping the flush of life in their bodies. There was no spell, however, that could bring back their souls.

She stepped of the stage, and trekked around the room once more to blow out all of the candles. Once the room lay in darkness, December headed upstairs to her room intent on heading to bed.

Outside, the world burned. Houses stood in charred ruins, the whole world reduced to mere ashes. Radiation had killed off most of the people, but magic had kept those lucky- or perhaps unlucky- few alive. Loneliness was a funny thing, after all; it had the power to destroy even the strongest of minds.

In her bed, December fell asleep with a smile on her face.

I modified it a little, from last alive at the Masquerade, to the only one alive at the Masquerade.
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The slow old time music echoed through the vast ball room,the marble columns lining the walls that were usually white were shades of green and gold with black swirls tonight. All throughout the hall masked people danced with partners in the dim light of the chandeliers. Though unknown to everyone but one dancer the doors of this mansion were being locked and the windows were sealed. When that was done and the owners of this place were gone did the lights go off and the ball room descended into darkness,the music stopping. Nothing broke the silence other than a swift slicing sound and a thud.

Moments later the lights flickered back on. Gasps and several screams sounded as people scrambled back and a circle formed around someone laying dead on the floor. She had a peacock themed mask and dress that were both now stained in blood. From the edge of the crowd a man in a green suit watched with icy cold eyes as a woman in a white dress trimmed with gold ran forward and crouched by the dead woman wide eyed. She took off her white feathered mask and looked around wide eyed.

"Her throat has been slit!" she said,her honey like voice breaking the silence.

Cries broke out through the room and people started running from the ball room towards the exit. The first person who got there yelled. "It's locked!" As they started pounding on the door to no avail. The large double doors were eight feet tall and a foot thick,made of solid oak wood. Then the lights shut off again and several people screamed,knowing what happened last time the lights went off. When the lights came back on music echoed from the intercom followed by a voice. "Hello everyone this is the watcher speaking. No one has died this time so stop looking around and pay attention. In every room of this house are several cameras so I will be watching this little game. Every time from this point on that the lights go out someone will be killed. Every room is numbered and every time someone dies I will announce the room number that they died in! The last person alive wins five thousand dollars and they get to leave. Sound fun? No? Well too bad. I will however not be doing to killing,one of you will. Oh,and they are a trained assassin so good luck getting away! Have fun!" Then the voice went silent and the music grew louder,coming from speakers in every room and echoing through the halls.

After a moment of darting eyes and silence the entire crowd of people split apart,some on their own and some in pairs. Every few minuets a room number would echo from the intercom or something else like "Ooh a swift double kill in room one eight three!" or "A slow death in room forty seven!" and even "Boom headshot! Player in room seven down!" The man who called himself 'The Watcher' Obviously was enjoying this.

About two hours later twenty four people were dead. "Three players left! Who will be last to die? The nurse in the white dress? The man in the green suit? Or the young woman in the pink gown? One of you is the killer and one of you will die! The last person alive who isn't the killer wins the money and can go home! Let's wait and see who wins and who the killer is!" As the voice cut off so did the music and the mansion descended into silence. The lights hadn't gone off again since the announcements started but now every light was dimmed so seeing was hard but you could still see.

After just a few minuets a scream rang out through the mansion. It was the scream of a woman but which one was not clear. "Survivor and killer,please come to the ballroom now,and I suggest you hurry. I will be releasing rabid animals in sixty seconds to eat the bodies!" Then he started counting down as the survivors ran through the halls,trying to make it to the ball room before the countdown ended. When it did both people were standing in the ball room and panting as the doors shut themselves. They had barely made it. Then they looked up at each other and both smirked. Her white dress was torn and splattered in blood while his green suit remained in tact and clean.

"Ello love." The man said laughing as he stood up straight.

"Henry,where were you hiding? I couldn't find you anywhere!" She said as she wiped her bloody knife on her dress.

"Why my Sheridan,I have a feeling this won't be the last time you play this game so I will not tell you." Henry said laughing and dusting himself off as howls and growls echoed from outside the ballroom,followed by the sound of animals fighting over meat and flesh tearing.

"True." Sheridan replied before whistling loudly so a suitcase dropped from the ceiling and another man walked in through a secret door behind the stage.

"Well played you two!" The man said as he clapped. He sounded like the voice from the intercom. This must be the man who had been watching and calling out the room numbers.

Sheridan picked up the suitcase and smirked,looking in it to make sure the money was there. "Thank you for my payment." she thanked with a bow

"Hey what about me? I won the game!" Henry growled as his posture got aggressive.

"Oh come now you know only one person can leave this place alive or they could rat on the others!" The man laughed as he pulled out a hand gun and pointed it at Sheridan's forehead.

"That isn't fair." Henry added as he pulled out a gun from under his suit tail and shot the man in the head before he could shoot Sheridan.

"Why thank you." Sheridan snickered as she took the keys off the man's body. "Now follow me,we need to go before those animals break the door." To emphasize her words the door to the ballroom started to make cracking noises.

Henry nodded then they both ran from the ballroom and through the hidden door and it shut behind them just as the door to the ballroom broke. They then took the back exit and split the money sixty forty,she got the sixty of course.

"Seems like there won't be another game afterall." Sheridan laughed as she took off her dress. She was wearing jeans and a short sleeved shirt under it. She then nodded and saluted him before running off into the night,her honey voice lingering in his head and her sweet laugh echoing through the country side.

As she ran away he pulled out a gun again and shot her in the head,her silhouette collapsed and he walked over,taking the money and walking away with a smirk. Turns out only one person would live after all.
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How... How had they not noticed it? How had he gotten past the guards? How did he kill so many before anyone took notice? Should have seen it coming, the masquerade being themed 'Apocalypse'.

There's so much blood. So much blood. Pooled all around me as I sit crying in the corner, awaiting the arrival of the police force and my inevitable incarceration. There's no way they'll believe me, I'm the only one left. There are no other witnesses of what happened here to testify my innocence. The killer is dead, I shot that bastard in the face. But there's no one here but me. And the corpses. And all of their blood.

Nowhere for me to go from here. There's either off the cliff or down the road, toward the oncoming police.

It started out such a lovely night...

I walked into the party, everything was already abuzz with activity. Laughing, dancing, music playing gleefully, waitresses and waiters moving around the house with trays of food and drink, moving so gracefully one could almost think they were dancing and not serving. Or doing both simultaneously. All was well until the clock struck nine forty-five. Then that man came.
Cloaked in a velvety red, hood shielding the sides and top of his head, hands wrapped in pale gloves with black fingers, face hidden with a white mask, streaked with tears of crimson from the empty eyes. He moved with the fluidity of freshly shed blood, perfectly in time with the musician's notes that passed by me, softly caressing my ears, drowned under the fascination for the newcomer clad in maroon. I recognized the costume- and assumed he represented the infamous antagonist known as the Red Death at the masque in the tale so excellently told by Poe.
He never spoke, never showed his face, never ate a morsel nor had a drop to drink since he arrived. It piqued my curiosity, to think someone would come to one of the viscount's masquerades and not consume an of the expertly prepared hors d'eurvres. There were nothing like them in all the country. Yet, this stranger ate none. He took a lady to a secluded room, I assumed they must have conspired together to do so before the party. A few minutes later he emerged alone, placing a 'do not disturb' sign on the door as he left. At that point my arm was grabbed and I was whisked into dance.
Over the next few hours more and more people began disappearing. It was quite curious, and several people began to get worried.
This became quite apparent when there came a horror-stricken scream from one of the rooms towards the back of the manor. We rushed in to find the bloody bodies of both the woman who had screamed and the one she saw, both still twitching and warm, blood spewing from the slit throats of both. the window was opened- the killer had escaped the room. We checked all the other rooms, each had a body with the throat slit, occasionally the innards removed and strewn about.
Who could have done this? My thoughts immediately flew to the man in red. Had he done this? I wouldn't doubt it. As we began searching all about the estate for the perpetrator, we kept hearing the screams of our fellows, and upon rushing to their aid, found them dead.
This went on until the group was no longer together, one by one we were picked off.
Then the screams stopped. I was alone. I was the last.
He stood in the doorway, of the room I was in, glaring at me though his mask with hidden eyes, cloak dripping with the blood of the forty-three victims he had slain over the course of the night. He stood there, the bloodied dagger gleaming menacingly in the light of the moon that leaked in through the window. I knew I was going to die, but still, I fought for survival. I was likely going to die, but I would not make it easy for him. He charged, I rolled over the desk and passed him, sprinting out of the door and into the hallways of the massive building.
He gave chase, hot on my heels. In a room I was Hiding in I managed to find a revolver with a few bullets in it, and I made a break for the ballroom. He had prepared it for me, the time I spent hiding in that room was the same he had spent gathering the dead and laying them about the room, the blood making a slick coating on the dance floor. I walked to the center of the grim scene and awaited his arrival. I would have died had I not heard the splash. I cocked the gun and spun around as the blood-soaked fiend went in for the kill, pulling the trigger as the distance between he and I shrank, planting a bullet right between his eyes, killing him and cracking the mask.
I walked to a clean corner of the room and sat.

And there I have stayed. It's all so fresh in my mind- I believe it will be for as long as I may live. I can hear the sirens as the morning light begins to pierce the veil of darkness cast over this horrid place.

A red sun rises.

Farewell, O Night of Blood.
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The female assassin had been trapped in a dance with an unknown male. His mask was of a deep red and gold, though his bright green eyes shined through them. His smile was equally bright, seemingly overjoyed to have such a fine partner to dance with. After all, she was beautiful- so he thought. Her deep blue eyes were behind a decorated silver mask. Her hair was long and jet black, and it practically shined in the light of the party. The dress she wore matched her eye color. The same deep blue, but in the form of a strapless dress with a silver band going around the waist. She was immaculate!

As he danced with her, the assassin's mind wandered to business. That was why she was there after all. She couldn't find her target in the large, masked crowd. This would prove to be rather difficult.

"Ty, what's taking you so long?"

The voice in her hidden comm spoke with irritation. Obviously she couldn't just speak with her partner still there, so she spoke as if directly talking to him. "I'm amazed by how many people have shown up with all these beautiful masks. I can't recognize anyone." She flashed a cute smile and as he responded, she listened to the irritated voice.

"They're all associated with the industry.And I'm in a particularly pissed mood so just kill them all."

There was a hesitation in her step as she was given the order. Her partner asked if she was okay and she nodded. "I just...lost my footing for a second."

"Don't you dare get scared now. You've done this way too many times to get scared. And you know the consequences of disobeying."

Ty sighed, but smiled at her partner. "It's alright. I'm fine, don't worry." He smiled and they continued to dance until the music finally switched, in which he eagerly asked if she'd like a drink. "Oh that sounds nice. Don't worry, I'll stay at this table so you don't lose me in the crowd."

"I couldn't possibly lose someone as stunning as you." Ty smiled and then sat down. As she did, her gaze went around the room to all of the wealthy people. She felt guilt and confusion, but those emotions were suppressed with a simple wave of her hand. When she did such a simple gesture, her elemental powers took place. The air around the room seemed to vanish, causing everyone to lose their breath. And soon after, their lives. They all began dropping like flies.

"Miss! Something is going on! We have to get-" Even the male she had been dancing with had fallen to her asphyxiation... and he had tried to save her. With a sigh, Ty looked around and stood. She was the last alive in the masquerade party.

And just as silently as she managed to get into the party, she seemingly disappeared without a trace, never looking back.
Alison Jenkins stood in Mrs. Darsheski's Oriental ballroom. How lavish it was with it's tall windows, domed ceiling, crystal chandelier, polished tile floors, and furniture made with the finest materials. As the old time music floated through the room. she couldn't help but dance with her sweetheart, John Mathewson. She approached the tall redhead wearing a tuxedo and curtsied to him.
"You look very fancy tonight." Alison said
" I could say the same for you and that lovely dress your wearing." Replied John, completing Alison's teal dress that matched her eyes perfectly. They waltzed through the evening. The fun ended when suddenly all the lights went out and the sounds of confusion were echoing the domed ceiling, and the sound of screams echoed so loudly, Alison covered her ears, preventing hearing loss. As quickly as the power went out it was back on, and Alison was shocked of what she discovered. She was the last person alive at the gala. Frightened of what was happening, Alison rushed to the County Sheriff for an investigation to occur.
((Jeez, we are a major distance apart dearest @Vay. Its November/December here. But nyarglethall, I shall go on with my story. I'm writing this from the top of my head, so bear with any plot errors. Please.))

((EDIT: I didn't notice how outdated this thread was XS. Nevermind the previous comment Miss Vay))

((I've decided to put this in a slightly Midevil/Victorian Age setting. Yes, odd, I know, but that's just how it turned out.))

It was grand. Large, golden chandeliers hung from the ceiling. The candles that stood upon them lit the room with a vibrant and golden glow that energized those who were basked in the beautiful light. I was one of the lucky few to be invited to this beautious masquerade ball.

I wasn't a nobleman, I wasn't even middle class; I was but a peasant to these people. I was someone whom shined their boots, aquired for them what they ordered, and was looked down upon by everyone in the ball. And I was the only peasant here, so all the orders were put on me. Not that I cared, I was almost out of debt and just needed a bit more coin to start anew.

And tonight was the night I would aquire that last bit.

When it comes down to it, I was the first to see the strange man. But I told nothing of his presence. He seemed dangerous and casted a rather... malicious aura, and it was all the more eerie because of the black, bejeweled mask that hid his identity, his expression, his intentions. He had the type of aura in which you get chills when you see him, the only urge you had was to run and flee for your life. Yet, what could I do? I was but a servant. Nobody would listen to me, and if I ran, I would be cast out of the masquerade ball and lose my desperately needed money.

The man stood in a corner, and despite his unsettling nature, no eyes were cast upon him and no piece of cloth touched him from swirling, dancing nobles. It wasn't long, though, until he stepped out onto the chaotic floor and all gazes were drawn to his eerie presence. Several people grabbed their chest instinctively, in fear, while others simply stepped forward in hostility as they sensed the threat. This was but one, yet he belittled and frightened all of these powerful people with his entity alone.

As the ball was distracted, I continued my jobs, mixing punch, grabbing trays from the kitchen, and checking the doors. I hadn't a choice but to do so.

The people stood there, stock still as the man raised his hand and pointed at the host of the grand party. Everyone in the room screamed as the healthy man suddenly collapsed. Within moments, the room was alive again, but not with happiness and cheer, yet with fear and escaping people. They rushed to the doors to find them locked, and the keys missing in the deep, acidic punch bowl of which they slowly disintegrated. Some of the men who felt they would die that night, quickly ran to the food tables to dine on their last fine meal before dropping dead from the deadly poison that resided within the gourmet treats.

I was was the only one to run to the man as the party died from the small traps that I laid out for them. The people were now less than half. Jonathan gave me a swift pat on the head and dropped my final pay into my hands. The eerie man whipered a few strange words and I blacked out.

I awoke in my home, with the last of the money I needed on my bedside stand, and I knew, without a doubt, that everyone at the party died. The malicious man, Jonathan, was a warlock, and only I knew.

I was given a mission by him. There would be a party full of the most powerful men in the country, whom enslaved our innocent families for their insatiable greed. I was to aquire the job of a servant boy, and get rid of the majority so he would not have to waste too much enery in killing the rest.

I had the last of my money. I could now free family and run away somewhere distant, a place where we could be happy and make an honest living. I was going to begin our life anew, I just needed to finish my last job and aquire the last bit of money that I needed, which I now had.

So I, the only survivor of the ball, strode out of my house, drew my dagger, and freed my family from their prison.
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He stared across the dance floor at her- the girl of his dreams. She was swaying to the music alone, the decorative black mask on her face sparkling in the light of the chandeliers. The rest of them had been paired up, and silence reigned in the people there- the silence was only broken by the soft music that the band was playing.

As the music stopped, and the clock struck twelve, they all removed their masks. No one smiled. Until the band started up again, no one moved. And as he stood still, watching her dance, the dull mood was only split by the soft tilt of her lips. Truly, she was the last alive in the masquerade.
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Serafina welcomed her guests complimenting them on their masques and beautiful formal attire. The gowns swayed and moved to the music as the dancers twirled around the large ornate ballroom. They dined in the large hall adjacent to the ballroom, the guests surprised at the abundance and elegance of the offerings. No expense had been spared, it seemed. The finest wines and most delicate pastries were served to their delight.

After dinner everyone returned to the ballroom for more music, though many chose to sit around the outskirts of the room in smaller groups enjoying after dinner tea of coffee. One by one, however, they began to feel inordinately sleepy and their arms and legs began to feel very heavy. It was a matter of an hour before the last of them was not longer able to move.

Serafina began to lift them one at a time, seemingly without any effort at all, in one hand and leaving the room with them. She would return and take another and then another until the last man was eventually taken.

He could not move but he was completely aware of what was happening. His mind was screaming questions that he could not speak. Demanding answers he would not get. Still he hoped she would offer some explanation for what was happening.

Serafina stopped and regarded him as if she knew his thoughts, which she did. "You want an explanation. You shall have it. You are the only one to ask. The others merely screamed and begged for their lives. Pitiful drivel, and very annoying." She took him down a long winding staircase, deeper under her magnificent manor until a large cavernous room opened up before them. There was a strange smell in the air, and everything he could see was covered in blood and other things he chose not to think about.

"You see....My pets require food. It must be fresh and warm or they will not partake, so I provide them with what they need. It is not as though I did not treat you all well on your last night alive. I fed you only the best, and allowed you to dance and have a night of laughter and joy. Am I not benevolent? And, I assure you. Your death will be swift and painless. My pets do not play with their food, because I have taught them to kill first and then eat. And you, shall have the privilege of feeding the last remaining of my pets. My personal favorite and closest companion." She smiled as a large amethyst dragon moved to her side. His head bowed to the man she was carrying and a large clawed hand lifted as a deep voice echoed in the man's ears, "I thank you for your sacrifice."
A king in a nameless kingdom once needed the services of an assassin. However, he knew that he couldn't have just any assassin - he had to have the best of the best. And what way would be best to judge their skills, if not by having them compete? The king sent emissaries - people who were knowledge in these matters - to invite the assassins to a competition of skill. However, the assassins voiced a universal complaint: their identities were important to them, namely that they stayed hidden. After all, a highly visible assassin is one who will soon find himself out of work, or out of a head, very quickly.

The king agreed that this was a valid concern. To protect the identities of his potential employees, he hosted a masque, with countless people, the assassins arriving in costume as well. Each of them were given a list of marks - and unbeknownst to them, each mark was a different assassin. The goal is to wrap a red cord around the necks of as many marks as possible, while maintaining their secrecy. If caught, the assassin would immediately be escorted out.

Who will win this mysterious game? How will the victor manage to gain the coveted job? And what is this coveted job, anyways?