As I stated in the comments section for my short story "The Answer," I used my vixen Vodola from that fic as my character for the very first ROC: Survivor RP contest. I have decided to post all my Vodola installments from ROC:S, Round One here for the (hopeful) enjoyment of all. It won't be the entire story, of course, since it started out with nine contributing writers that got winnowed down to three by the end, but since I was the winner of ROCS1, these segments span from almost the very beginning of the story to the Epilogue. Together, they tell an almost-coherent tale. Yes, there will be many gaps, but you can probably fill in a lot of them from the context of my own posts, especially as it gets closer to the end where there were fewer contestants participating.

This opening segment is the very first scene I wrote for the game, and ended up not being used, since Athi Retta's post before mine negated some of what was in it. So here is my aborted Scene One from ROC:S1 ...


Vodola the vixen paced along the upper beach, high above the tideline, apart from her fellow castaways. Her mind was in a turmoil. She had to figure things out, and quickly. The sand beneath her paws, shifting with every step and forcing its way between her toes, mirrored the precarious situation they were all in. Vodola had never walked upon sand before today, not even while boarding their ill-fated vessel when she'd made sure to stay on the pier, and it was not a sensation she much liked. She was trained as a fighter, among other things, and in uncertain circumstances a fighter must always keep firm footing beneath her. That was impossible to do with this treacherous and unsteady terrain ... and might prove equally impossible with the other eight creatures who now shared this island with her.

And a motley crew they were - four of the guards and crew, and four of the prisoners they'd been transporting, now free of their chains. Potential mortal enemies, with nothing to stop them from tearing each other apart except common sense and their own restraint ... neither of which Vodola trusted to last indefinitely. There was too much bad blood here, and the slightest misstep could unleash violence that could very well doom them all.

Before their voyage had been interrupted, Vodola had spent time with both crew and prisoners. She was a traveler, on a journey of personal enlightenment, so nobeast thought it strange that she would converse with members of both camps. The prisoners - as dangerous and coldhearted a group as was likely to be found anywhere - welcomed her visits with them, glad for anybeast to talk to, glad also that she listened to their stories without scorn or judgment. She didn't think she'd actually befriended any of them, but she had established enough of a rapport so that she didn't think they would try to kill her. At least not right away.

The badger worried her, though. Of all the prisoners, the badger was the one against whom Vodola would have no chance in any kind of a fight. Vodola's experience with woodlanders was limited, and she'd never met a badger before. But she'd heard all the stories about them ... about the Bloodwrath. Badgers were generally goodbeasts, but this one was a glaring exception. Would a badger given to evil ways still be susceptible to the Bloodwrath? Did female badgers experience the Bloodwrath at all? If so, then they might all be in mortal danger, for a badger in the grip of the Bloodwrath was nearly unstoppable (or so the stories said) and could well slaughter them all with barely a second thought. The top priority now must be to avoid raising the ire of the badger, at all costs.

And after that, what? Survival, of course. What was the point of keeping the peace between them if they all died anyway? They would need food, water, probably shelter ... fire might be helpful too. But the others were already discussing these matters, down near the water's edge. Vodola was focused more upon the subtle things that less discipined minds might miss - the dynamics of the personalities involved here. She doubted any of the others were as qualified as she was to recognize this aspect of their plight, or to do anything about it. So it was up to her.

And in more ways than one. Four goodbeasts, four criminals - and her. She was the unknown factor, the one who could tip the balance either way if alliances were to emerge. The otters and the weasel and the older vixen might not trust her entirely, but they would not actively scheme against her, so they would not be any trouble. And the other four might see her as too valuable to risk alienating her; if they could woo her to their side, then they would have the majority, and that was not something they would discard casually.

So she would play both ends against the middle - strive to prove herself as trustworthy and dependable to the four goodbeasts without throwing in her lot with them entirely, while holding out to the four criminals the hope that she might prove a valuable ally. She was the only one of the nine who was in any position to attempt such a balancing act, and it might just be the thing that kept them from killing each other. At least she hoped so.

Vodola glanced inland. This was a big island, that much was clear from the rocky crags rising up above the shoreline trees. That sharp-edged mountain peak was at least a day's march away, and the summit was wreathed in mist. The vixen tore her gaze away after a few moments, when the vague stirrings of vertigo dizzied her head; she was not good with heights, never had been. Whatever the days ahead held in store for them, hopefully it would not involve a climb up onto perilous slopes. That peak did not look at all inviting.

To help keep her mind on her situation, Vodola took another personal inventory. Her habit was still damp from the swim ashore, and would probably need another full day to dry out completely, even in this tropical heat. That green garment - so much like those worn by Redwall novices - had caused more than one raised eyebrow on board the ship. Unfortunately, she'd lost her spare habit in the wreck. But she hadn't lost the matched pair of shortswords strapped to each of her legs. She'd tried to keep those weapons hidden from everybeast - the long robes certainly helped in that regard, even if it made swimming awkward - and was fairly certain that none of the others suspected she was so armed. But if she was forced to use the blades to defend herself, they'd not stay a secret for long. Well, she'd keep them hidden for as long as she could, and hope for the best ...

The only other possession she'd salvaged was the heavily-bound volume that she always carried in her inside pocket. It was more precious to her than any sword, more valuable to her than any garment, and the one thing she could not have stood to lose. The book had gotten wet too, but thankfully the ink had not run; the author of this journal had put more thought into it than to use ink that would wash away in water. It too would dry out, in time, and be none the worse for wear.

Vodola became aware that the others were calling for her, waving for her to rejoin them down by the waterline. Twitching her bushy tail and shaking the hem of her habit to free them of the annoying clinging sand grains, she strode toward them. This day at the beach was not going to be any day at the beach