The Architect stood behind a sheet of translucent metal. He was waiting; his hands patiently clasped behind his back. The room he watched was silent and the only sound was the eerie thrum of the magic that kept his Automatons moving. The Construct was a living thing; its heart beat in sync with the one inside his chest, safely tucked behind hundreds of moving metal pieces. He could feel it now, moving the new players through the constantly shifting metal up into the room he waited in. He could feel their fear, their awe, and their anger. Trepidation was often something he found inside those attending his games. Anger was usually just as prevalent. Pulled away from his thoughts, ten circular shapes traced into the ground and withdrew, thrusting ten players into the room beyond the translucent sheet of metal.
The Architect straightened and with a thought, withdrew the metal sheet. There were looks of shock as he revealed himself to the variety of players. Because there was a variety. There were a three humans; A female in elegantly colored robes that looked bored and contained, a tall male carrying an instrument of sorts that had a defiant look in his eye, and a somewhat shorter male in medic leathers and eyes that had seen seen far to much pain for his young age.
There was A female dwarf, who had the look of a hardy adventurer and a giant sword strapped to her back.
There was also there was a stoic looking Raiyeen with blue tattoos on his face.
The order of the Nagas, it has been quite some time since i have seen a brother of the order here. The Architect thought as he examined the Raiyeen, who never once met his eye.
Next was an orc of a sort. He looked closer at this one, the snakes in his hair were familiar. He had seen this one wandering The Construct before, through the eyes of one of his Automatons. Why and how he had come to be a player was something he had to think on.
Then came the Dracon with feathered wings. He also gave a good deal of attention to this one. The Dracon looked distant, uncaring. But behind the facade he could see strong soul, weathered by the torturous existence of being what was thought to be an abomination.
Then there were three elves. One with green eyes and a fearful shake..
"Oh no, you won't do." The Architect muttered as he examined the terrified elf.
The shakes worsened significantly as he met the elf's eye. And with a shout of terrified anger, the elf lunged at him. His sword came out of its sheath with the sound of sliding metal. A beautiful sound. The Architect sidestepped the stroke easily and flicked his wrist toward the ceiling. The floor warped and spiraled beneath his wrist and in an instant a spike shot straight up and went through the elf as easily as a hot knife through butter. The elf was pinned to the ceiling with a resounding clang. The room was silent again, the only sound now was the sound of flesh sliding over metal.
Perhaps not such a beautiful sound. The Architect thought.
The Architect cleared his throat. "Let that be a lesson to the rest of you. I will accept no violence to my person." He swept the room with his gaze, watching as each of the players took in the sight of a man impaled against the ceiling. Most tried their best to ignore it. But a few seemed quite effected. The human in medic gear seemed shaken.
The Architect continued his inspection as if nothing had happened.
The next elf had a tear in his eye. This one was short for an elf, and had a glaive strapped to his back. His armor gleaned.
"Your friend was very brash, elf." The Architect said, his tone apathetic. "I give you this chance to withdraw, before you make the same mistake."
The Elf faltered, and then the strength he tried so hard to uphold broke, and he broke. He lowered his gaze.
"You are not strong enough to defeat this place. so I allow you your leave." The Architect twisted his wrist, and the metal below the elf's feet withdrew and he sunk back beneath the floor. The circle shut behind him, with no seems to be seen. "Two weaklings." The architect said, as he continued on to the last elf. This one had twin swords on his back. He held The Architect's gaze, his emotions unreadable. "The Dragon Blade." The Architect chimed. "How honored I am to be in the presence of the great hero of Gadria." The sarcasm was palpable.
Finally he strode back to the center of the room. "Welcome, players. To my beloved Construct." The Architect's voice was amplified with magic. "This is my sanctuary. My entertainment grounds, and my home. You are here as guests, never forget that." He paced along the line of players one more time. "The challenge ahead of you is far more difficult than any you have faced. But the rewards are priceless. If you keep your head upon your shoulders and your eye upon the finish, I am sure you will do famously." The Architect stopped and gave the Raiyeen a cold smile. He then turned his back to the players and walked back toward the way he had come in.
"Estias, show the players to the preparation room." His voice echoed through all the rooms in The Construct. And on cue, a man descended from a quickly constructed metal staircase in the ceiling. A large Warhammer was strapped to his back, and he had the hand of an Automaton. He starred at each of the players blankly.
"This way, if you would." Estias said in a booming yet restrained voice. He turned on his heals and headed down the hallway at the far end of the room. One by one the Players followed. The sound of boots upon metal was the only sound on the journey. When they came to their destination, Estias turned back to face them. "You will now all deposit your equipment into this". Estias gestured toward the floor, where a large hole opened into complete darkness. "You are permitted one item to bring with you. It may not be a piece of weapon or armor, or anything that would allow you an unfair advantage against the other players. If it is found to be so, then it will be confiscated, and you will be..eliminated." Estias walked further into the room. "You will then choose one weapon, and one set of armor." The metal on the far wall retracted and showed a varied array of weapons and armor. They were shabby, but efficient. "Once you have chosen, line up here." He gestured to a slight indentation in the wall that suggested a hallway was beyond it. "You will do so in complete silence. there will be no speaking to the other players." Estias looked to the ceiling, where another staircase constructed, he started on his way up, but paused. "You will obey the rules of this place, if you hope to leave it."
And with that, Estias climbed the remaining stairs into the dark hole at the top. The stairs receded, and the players were left to their devices in the preparation room.