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CYOA: Hogwarts Corn Maze (Group E)
November 15th, 1890 — Hogwarts Grounds

"Strong minds I sense—but brash ones, too," a voice spoke as the seven entered the maze. The entrance weaved shut behind them, a wall so thick and strong that even the most powerful blast from even the Defence Against the Dark Arts professor himself would have been unable to breach it. "You must think and work as a group, and play to your strengths."

The group continued down the initial stretch, nothing out of the ordinary. Yet. As they came to the first fork in the road, an arm with no body visibly attached poked through the thick weave of corn stalks.

"It needs something of yours. A gift," the same voice spoke. "Make your choice, or it will chose for you."

@Constance Sykes @Octavius d'Orsay @Hestia Fairchild @Aristide Selwyn @Meta Lestrange @Nelson Higgs @Demelza McGonagall

The next "prompt" post will be posted in 48 hours, or after everyone has had a chance to post. Do feel free to make assumptions and make things up as you go; I have a planned endgame, but no one clear path to get there! - xoxo, Bree

Please contact a member of the staff team if you have an NPC post to go up!

A disembodied voice and an unexpected outdoor feature: really she ought to have known better and sprinted back to the safety of her rooms but some compulsion – largely the desire not to appear a coward in front of the far more qualified professor – had pushed her into the maze. As it closed behind them her heart had begun its inevitable descent into her stomach but Connie was not entirely without hope – it was, after all, just a maze and if worst came to worst presumably they could utilise fire?

“Come along, all of you,” she instructed the students calmly, reasoning that they were unlikely to get anywhere just standing here and hoping Professor D’Orsay would be able to suggest a route if she started their progress.

Perhaps they could shout?

The question of whether they would be heard was just forming in Connie’s mind when she tested the theory herself, yelping in shock as a disembodied arm appeared right in front of her face. Clutching at her chest Connie breathed out sharply, annoyed and more than prepared to slap the hand away rather than hand something over.

“Does anybody have a quill on them?” She asked, through gritted teeth.

[Image: jGi0wPk.png]
MJ made me beautiful
This was weird. Really weird. Nelson was pleased not to be alone in this, and doubly pleased they had the Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor to hand, but when a bodiless hand reached out from the corn, it still took every ounce of willpower he had not to shout.

He bit down on his lip to prevent it, and moved on to worrying about the notion of a gift. Hopefully that was not this labyrinth’s code for a human sacrifice.

Nelson tensed awkwardly at the mention of a quill, because he hadn’t gone anywhere without at least a scrap piece of parchment and a writing implement in a pocket in the last seven years. But he didn’t really want to give them up, so he just awkwardly side-eyed the rest of the group, hoping someone else would volunteer something better.
[-] The following 1 user Likes Nelson Higgs's post:
   Elladora Black

This was weird, but also very exciting! Were they going to fight a monster at some point? This was so exciting. In any case, Meta felt relief that they had the DADA professor in their group. She was reckless but she wasn't stupid.

She dove her hands into her pockets and fished out a chocolate frog card. "I have Burdock Muldoon," Meta replied as she read aloud the wizard's name. "I don't mind giving him up." She shrugged and extended the hand holding the card towards the Matron.

Who was even that man?

[Image: meta.png]
LIT set by MJ!
Aristide did not know what to think when he noticed the maze. He had entered almost despite his own free will but it looked like he was not the only one to enter the maze. He was with Nelson Higgs who was one of his dormmates, a couple of girls, the Matron of his twin sisters house and the new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor. The presence of the two adults was a comfort in a way - especially since he was mildly familiar with Miss Sykes since he did spent a lot of his time with his Slytherin twin. Not that he currently had much thought of the maze being dangerous. It was currently a mere curiosity.

He walked along with them, idly wondering who the voice was before coming to a fork in the road where an arm appeared. He glanced at the others as they were told to provide a gift. Luckily, one of the girls had something to offer so all that was left now was to see what happened next.

[Image: Fcfsym.png]
She'd wandered into the maze with a few of her friends - and promptly lost them only one turn in. There was a flicker of worry for them, but that was quickly redirected to herself as she inspected those around her and a voice started to speak. Strong minds? She wasn't sure most of the school would agree with that, except maybe her professors as she typically went out of her way not seem to bright, but she grinned for a split second until the voice followed up by calling them brash. Well, surely that wasn't directed at her?

Her stomach wrenched at the disembodied hand as it emerged from the corn. Floating disembodied body parts were not what she signed up for. Demelza had simply assumed the corn maze was a fun little autumn thing the professors had set up but ugg. Between the arm and the voice, that notion was quickly dispelled.

At least the brash - yes, brash defiantly fit the odd little Gryffindor Lestrange - fourth year pulled out a chocolate frog card to procure. If the hand would take that, good, they could move on and be done. Still, a part of her worried the arm wanted something from each of them and would want something far more significant than a chocolate frog card of fifteenth century Chief Warlock.
A Burdock Muldoon chocolate frog card—it was not much, but a gift was a gift.

Once the card was placed in the discolored hand, the arm snapped back into the corn stalk. The ground began to rumble, and a third pathway in addition to the two on either side opened up before them.

"You may take either of the existing paths, or the one that lies ahead. One path will offer answers. One will offer tools. The third path will offer you an easier way out, if you so desire. But be warned: brash and the spineless have no place in this maze."

Please contact a member of the staff team if you have an NPC post to go up!

The chocolate frog card was a sufficient offering for the hand to let them pass. This also allowed Meta to get rid of it. Murdock Whats-his-face was one of those obscure, boring cards that were found with the dozen in Chocolate frog cards.

A third path appeared and that same voice told them that each path leads to somewhere. Just not which path leads to where.

"The second path sounds the best," Meta commented. "Maybe we'll find a magical sword or something!"

[Image: meta.png]
LIT set by MJ!
Nelson pulled a half-surprised, half-impressed face as the chocolate frog card proved to be enough, which became astonishment as the third pathway opened up. He listened intently, with the same focus with which one had to pay the Ravenclaw door-knocker to the common room and its riddle-questions. Here, in the midst of a maze and a whole group of people, he worried that some voices might get drowned out by... others.

Nudging Aristide in case his housemate had a better chance of interpreting him (and agreeing?) than the Slytherin girl or the Gryffindors in the group, Nelson raised a single finger and then shrugged, meaning one?, meaning but don’t we want the first path? Answers seemed a solid thing to get in any mystery... and if Miss Lestrange had interpreted tools as a magical sword, he supposed she was a decent representation of what the maze meant by the ‘brash’. And surely the third path, with its easier way, was to call forth the spineless among them?

Merlin, what if they all disagreed? Were they supposed to split up and take different paths?
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   Meta Lestrange

Oh Merlin...

In all his years as staff he'd seen some interesting things happen, but this was something that even Octavius was unsure of. If this was the Headmaster's way of some sort of test, he would be having words — somehow though, he didn't think Black was behind it. As the maze sealed shut, Octavius had indeed, tried a number of spells, though it seemed fruitless.

As Madam Sykes rounded up the children, he cast her a grim look. While he was positive her magical skills were exemplary, even as an Auror he wasn't sure what the endgame was and a knot of uncertainty settled itself in his stomach. Either way, he was going to get to the bottom of it once they got out, that was for certain.

Interestingly enough, the disembodied hand was not the most surprising aspect of the entire scene before them, but the fact that it accepted a Chocolate Frog card passed by Miss Lestrange. Perhaps if that classified as a gift, he'd be able to spend a little less on Christmas gifts this year. In spite of himself, the corners of his mouth lifted in a wry smile at his own joke. As the next instructions were laid out before them, Octavius watched as the paths opened.

Answers. Tools. The easier way out.

If this ended in a large disagreement, the professor couldn't see them all splitting up, even with two adults amongst them. Best if they stick together. As Miss Lestrange suggested the second, he looked again to Madame Sykes. It was as if this was a roundabout version of the Sorting Hat. "Perhaps we think about this more." he suggested gently but pointedly. "As the voice didn't necessarily say the tools would be useful ones."

Octavius speaks with a French accent
[Image: FgzRVW.png]
— sheer excellence brought to you by mj
When the arm took the card and slipped back into the bush, her shoulders fell and a little bit of the tension left her body. A disembodied voice was far better than a disembodied arm. "I wish to take the first path," the blonde offered, eyes narrowed at Lestrange. "I would far rather have the answers than tools any day. What would you even do with tools without knowing what you are dealing with." She'd been left without all the details, out of the loop, or completely in the dark far to many times for her to willingly subject herself to such a situation ever again when she had the change to know and not be blindsided. This was one situation she would refused to budge on - if it meant the group split than so be it.
Meta didn't appreciate the older Slytherin's tone. "It's pretty obvious what most tools are used for unless you're a tool yourself," Meta replied with a resentful tone. Of course, what she had in mind was obvious things, like a fork next to a plate, or a hoe, or a pair of scissors. She was also annoyed by the way that girl had spoken to her. If she thought calmly, it would occur to her that some tools weren't as obvious, no matter how great their UX design was. She wouldn't know what to do with a telephone, for example.

"Besides, those answers could be the same cryptic troll poo this voice has been saying so far! And no one's stopping you if you want to go that way, so why don't you just go?" Calm and diplomatic she was not.

[Image: meta.png]
LIT set by MJ!
"Miss Lestrange that is quite enough thank you," Connie snapped testily at the young Gryffindor. Given the unusual circumstances they found themselves in it was hardly the time for bickering - and besides which Miss McGonagall was not, to her ears at least, being particularly confrontational. Looking between the two girls Connie reached an impasse in her own decision making: tools were brash, especially in the hands of a teenage Gryffindor, and taking the easy way out was a little spineless but if the voice was promising that those things had no place in the maze then surely taking either path would lead to the desired result: having no place in the maze was as good as saying that it was a way out of the maze wasn't it?

Then another thought occurred to her, one that potentially made any arguing entirely pointless.

"There is the slight problem that whatever outcome we decide upon as being the best solution we don't actually know which path is which."

[Image: jGi0wPk.png]
MJ made me beautiful

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