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Round Robin 1.3: The Saga Continues Again
[Image: sGz1ErF.png]

Here we go again. :)

The story by committee that's been through several message boards and refuses to die. :) Restarting once again with as much original content as possible. Please see the rules below. Also, if you would like to feedback, PM me and I'll start a feedback thread to answer questions and take comments.

Just wanted to try something for the heck of it.

This is a Round Robin Story - it's a story by committee, where one person writes part, then passes it to the next, who then passes it to the next, and so on and so on. They tend to evolve into their own thing, so never go in thinking you know exactly where the plot is heading. ;)

A few ground rules so things stay on track. Most of them probably don't need to be said, but I've been burned in the past, so I'm gonna say 'em darn it! :)

1) Only people on the list (see below) can contribute. If you would like to join in and are not on the list, please PM me first and we'll talk. I may let you in, but I can't promise anything. If someone not on the list posts part of a story, that post will be ignored and probably removed.

2) The writer who's turn it is has 48 hours to post a response, otherwise it goes to the next person.

3) Each part can be no more than 500 words. (this is to keep anyone from monopolizing too much of the story evolution)

4) Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are all important. No l33t speak or chat speak unless the context of the story dictates it. While I don't expect spotlessly perfect copy, effort must be made.

5) If someone creates a character, you cannot kill them off unless you have permission from the creator. You CAN however, leave that character in an awful situation and leave it to the next writer or writers to deal with it.

6) Content needs to stay in the PG/ PG-13 realm. I don't know Punk's policies on language, violence, or sexuality, so I'm setting it at this level just to be on the safe side.

7) The story can not be ended until at least two full writer rotations. Also, no "Rocks fall, they all die, the end" kind of endings. If you are going to wrap it up, give it some closure, not a quick buh-bye!

That said, ON WITH THE SHOW...

1) Mea
2) DerVVulfman
3) Kalier
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Daniel decided this was not one of his finer moments.

He'd been doing well so far: he'd managed to sneak into the fortress without arousing any attention and skirt the rooftops towards the central building and his prize inside, but then things had "gone pear-shaped" as his friend Lani liked to say. A broken shingle had sent one foot skidding out from under him and threw off his balance so much he'd pitched over the side of the roof like an amateur. The only reason he wasn't a red splat on the ground was the tangle of rope caught around some of the spiky iron roof edging and his now painfully throbbing ankle

Daniel could feel blood surging into his face as he dangled upside down over what was still a pretty big drop and tried to catch his breath. There was a good chance he hadn't been noticed yet, so maybe he could right himself, and then possibly climb back up or just find a window he could pop open or -

Then he heard it: a sound that would have made his heart sink if he wasn't currently upside down.

"Crap," he muttered and forced himself to look up.
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Peering down at him was a castle guard. Clad head-to-toe in red vestments, the helmeted figure seemed to glare at Daniel who felt trapped like a caged rabbit. "You clumsy oaf," grunted the guard. "How did you get yourself snared like that?" Then that instant, the guard disappeared and Daniel was left alone with his confusion. Certain death was to be expected. Ridicule and insults on the other hand?

"Grab onto this, you blockhead," was muttered from above. Then a heavy rope was dropped down.


"Who did you think it was?" she muttered. "Now get your buns in here."

Robin was the village brat, the troublemaker. But moreso, she was his childhood friend. She was the one that he was supposed to rescue. Not the other way around.

How she escaped confinement and acquired a suit of armor was anyone's guess.
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As they walked down the hallway attempting to avoid the guards, Daniel considered their next move.

For weeks they had planned this venture, and Robin getting caught hadn't been a part of it. Now what? The fortress was heavily guarded, and their prize still far below in the lower dungeons.

Would it be possible, after Robin's fiasco at getting caught, and his near death to reach it? Daniel was beginning to have doubts. Sooner or later, the guards would notice that Robin had escaped.

But Robin wasn't about to change her mind. Daniel had already tried to convince her that was a foolish idea, but she was determined. When Robin set her mind towards a goal, there was no deterring her. Daniel would just have to follow wherever she led. Hopefully, it wouldn't be to their deaths.
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"We need to get you a uniform."

Daniel snapped out of his thoughts. "Hm?"

"Uniform," repeated Robin. "What?"

"Just thinking."


No use avoiding it. "About... I think maybe we should get out of here. We'll try again another time after-"

"You want to QUIT?" she gawked in a harsh whisper.

"No, but you were already caught once tonight!" he whispered back, "And the plan-"

"That WAS the plan!"

"That was..." Daniel stopped. "How is getting CAUGHT part of the plan?!" he hissed.

"It's... a new plan."

Daniel winced. Here we go again. "And when were you going to tell me about this new plan?"

"Soon. By the way, ears."

Daniel's hands instinctively touched at the sides of his head. Sure enough, one of his gently pointed ears was poking out from under his headband. He quickly tucked it back under the cloth.

"I wish you didn't have to hide them," murmured Robin, " They're cute."

Daniel shrugged. "Well, you know how it is."

"Yeah. Doesn't make it fair though."

"So about this new plan?"

"...Shh, hear that?"

Daniel nodded. "Guard coming. Just one?"

"Yeah, finally. And I bet he's your size too." Somehow, Daniel could imagine Robin was grinning under the helmet.

* * *

It has been a mostly boring patrol for the guard now rounding the corner (he'd heard something about some intruder caught at the east gate, nothing to do with him though), so he was more than a little surprised to see one of his compatriots lying in a heap in the middle of the hallway.

"Hey! You okay?" he asked, hurrying over.

The body groaned slightly and stirred as he knelt down beside it. There was no blood, but-

Without warning, the guard felt his helmet being yanked up off his head just in time for his now exposed chin to catch a punch from the prone figure who was obviously not as hurt as he thought. The guard lurched sideways, stunned by the blow, but before he could get up again, a second blow connected with his skull and he was out cold.

"It worked," whispered Daniel, putting down the helmet long enough to help the armored Robin to her feet.

"Of course. Now get his-"

"I said WAIT UP!" a voice interrupted as a second guard trotted innocently around the corner.

For an instant, everyone froze in shocked silence.
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Robin silently cursed herself as she found her luck diminishing as rapidly as the guard down the hall. Daniel, on the other hand, knew there wasn’t a moment to lose. Thinking quickly, Daniel grabbed the helmet from Robin’s hand and hurled it at the would-be escapee. His aim was impeccable as always, and struck the guard at the base of the spine.

After a quick stumble, the guard was face down in the stone floor. A mere second was all that Robin needed and she charged forth and drove her blade into the man’s back.

“What did you just do!” Daniel cried out”

“Shh...” she hissed back.

She then proceeded to grab the slain guard’s feet and drag him across the hall towards a nearby door. “If he got away, the castle would surely know that we were here.” Using her foot, she wedged the door open.

“I know that. But you didn’t have to kill him.” he groaned.

“Yes I did. How many people with elf ears live in Takuro?”

Daniel sighed. “Only three,” he reluctantly acknowledged. Though only his mother was elf, he and his little sister still had the oft spoken tell-tale trace of their lineage.

“Exactly,” she replied back, dumping the guard into the water closet. “Now just help me with that guy, would ya?”
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With the guard safely out of sight, Daniel and Robin continued their journey down the corridor.

Daniel couldn't believe that she'd actually killed a guy. Maybe there was more to his childhood friend than he'd believed...

He gave her a coveted glance beneath his eyelashes, noticing her set jaw, and steely gaze. Had she changed in that instant? Or had she always been this way?

If he thought back to the games they'd always played as children, he could remember that she'd always been a little more malevolent than the rest of the kids they played with. Daniel could remember at least one instance where Robin had bashed his knuckles in when they were stick fighting. She hadn't let up, either. Instead, she'd become even more vicious.

Perhaps he was now seeing Robin as she truly was. This thought brought him no comfort. Robin had murdered a guard, and he'd stood by and let it happen. Their lives could never be normal again.

"Robin--" He hesitated, not knowing how to broach this subject with her. "You realize that we're not gonna get away with this. When that guard is found--"

"You worry too much." She interrupted. "We'll be fine. No one can prove that it was us."


"Drop it, Danny Boy. Let's just hurry up and get we came for."

"Don't you even feel remorse?" He demanded.

"Would it change anything if I did?" She shook her head. "No, it wouldn't. So, just drop it. I did what I had to do, and that's that. If you think about it, I saved our skins. Elves...even half elves, are not welcome in this country. Your heritage alone could get you killed."
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"Whatever," Daniel grunted. He'd heard that far too many time; from his mother, from his sister... It had been drilled into his skull since he was six and everything fell apart.

And right now, it felt like everything had fallen apart again but there was nothing to do but try to ride it out.

He adjusted his newfound armor a bit - the previous owner had been a larger man, and the armor felt awkward and clunky. Robin seemed to have taken to hers like a second skin but on him the iron and red fabric felt wrong.

Through the helmet, he could see two more guards making their rounds ahead of him.

"Remember, walk casual," he heard Robin whisper.

Easy for you to say, he though, but tried to mimic the patrolmen's step.

Walk casual, walk casual...

The two of them strode past as if invisible, the guards didn't give them a second look.

Daniel released a breath he didn't realize he was holding. So far so good.

He followed Robin's lead past several more patrols. She walked with purpose as if she knew exactly where she was going, and maybe she did. Neither of them had been in the fortress before tonight, or so he thought. Maybe she'd found a map?

Robin finally stopped in front of a set of heavy iron doors.

"This is it," she whispered.

"How do we get in?"

"With these," she answered, indicating a ring of keys she pulled from a pouch on her belt.

"Where did you get those?"

"When I got captured. Stole it off their commander after they searched me."

"That was the new plan?"

"Part of it," she answered. The third key she tried in the lock turned with the metallic clunk.

"There's more?"

Robin didn't answer. She gave a push and the iron doors swung open into darkness. Pausing only to take a torch from one of the wall sconces, she stepped boldly forward into the gloom with Daniel following close behind.

The stone chamber beyond was empty save a single stairwell leading down into the dark.

"Shut the door," said Robin. "We don't want spectators."

Despite a nagging feeling in his gut, Daniel nodded and pulled the doors closed.

"It's about three flights down from here," she continued. "You ready?"

"Not really," he sighed, "but let's go."
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Their footfalls echoed against the stone walls as they made their descent. Disoriented and blind, Robin reached over and rested her hand on Daniel's shoulder for guidance.

Daniel had no such problems. He could see the steps make their way down and wind their way to the right. He could also see the confusion and anxiety on his...

Elves...even half elves, are not welcome in this country.

He never heard Robin say anything like that before. When his family first settled in Takuro, he was only eight. It took a while, but she was the very first friend he ever made. She was a troublemaker, even back then.

Sighing inwardly, he wondered how much of what she just said was real.

As they made their way down, Daniel could hear the sound of water running within the walls. Drainage from the water closet, he thought. They were somewhere near the castle's foundation by now and the steps continued further.

"Danny? Can you see anything?" Robin whispered. Almost back to her old familiar tone, but with a hint of apprehension.

"Only stairs." he replied. "Lots and lots of - "

Daniel stopped abruptly, holding Robin back from taking another step. No light. No hollow sound in the steps. But something was... off. A whistling.

"Hold here," he warned her in an alarming tone. Taking his sword, Daniel began to slowly poke around the steps and walls around him. The whistling was closer. It was then that he saw it.

A small hole roughly half the size of a copper was drilled into the wall along the right. A powerful stream of air flowed through it. Carefully, he moved his sword into the course of the stream.


A crossbow bolt shot from the other side of the stairs and connected with the blade. Daniel took a step back, then heard a soft clatter.

The trap reset.
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Sweat dripped down the back of Daniel's neck. Traps. He should have known! Of course, it shouldn't have been that much of a surprise, considering whose fortress they were invading.

"Danny?" Robin asked, a little impatiently. "The longer we stand in one place, the risk of being discovered--"

"Shut up." Daniel hissed. He had the awful feeling that not only traps awaited them, but something much worse. He could feel its malice, as if it were a tangible thing.


"Robin, be quiet. I'm trying to think."

Traps, and something further below. The traps were going to be difficult enough to avoid, with Robin being more of a pest than help. "Okay." He said after a moment. "Listen carefully. These stairs are riddled with traps. Stay behind me, and step exactly where I do."

"Traps?" She muttered.

"And a presence below us." He admitted. "Not a good one, either. You know, Robin. This little game of yours might very well get us killed."

"Daniel!" She exclaimed, a little hurt. "You didn't have to agree to come with me!"

He knew that she was right. He could have stayed home, safe in his bed. But--"What else was a supposed to do?" He grinned, even though he knew she couldn't see her own hand in front of her face. "Let you get into trouble without me? What's the fun in that? Come on, Robin. Just watch your step."

Daniel cautiously led the way down the stairs, feeling along the walls, and listening intently. Several times he stopped their progress, just in time to avoid a crossbow bolt, or a sudden burst of flame that shot from the wall.

Robin was clutching his arm in a death grip, finally showing how much she really was scared. In some ways, he felt sorry for her. She couldn't see or hear what he could. She might as well have been blind. That had to be horrible for her. She had to rely on someone else for a change. Something she never allowed herself to do.

Eventually, they saw light at the end of the stairs, and they came to a long, winding corridor. "Ah!" Robin exclaimed happily. "I'm glad that's over!"

A sickening stench reached Daniel's sensitive nose. He was right! Something was down here with them. "Robin--" He began.
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