2017-06-17: In Sult to Injury

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  • Log: In Sult to Injury
  • Cast: Jacqueline Barber, Neriah Parringer, Rose, Clarissa Eventide, Ethius Hesiod
  • Where: Sult Ruins
  • Date: June 15, 2017
  • Summary: Jacqueline Barber gathers together some reliable allies, including a new friend, for an expedition into the Sult Ruins. Things don't quite go as expected...but not in the way any of them thought.

===============================<* Sult Ruins *>===============================

The Sult Ruins have a truly imposing entrance: a large, angry head lined with fans. The mouth of this glowering man leads into a maze of narrow cavernous rooms. The ruins are likely a mine from before the Day of Collapse, having since become infested with monsters. They are also rumored to have drawn the attention of military forces, for it is said that some of the minerals here are necessary to power the ancient technology of the past.

DG: You have created a party! Your Digger status has been reset! As party leader your presence is very important! If you need to leave, please first promote another player using +party/promote <target>. Remember to set your tools before setting out with +tools/load.
DG: Jacqueline Barber has created a party! To join, type +party/reset and then type +party/join Jacqueline Barber.
DG: Neriah Parringer has joined your party!
DG: Ethius Hesiod has joined your party!
DG: Clarissa Eventide has joined your party!
DG: Rose has joined your party!
DG: A party led by Jacqueline Barber is now entering Sult Ruins.
DG: Party formation is now over. An Entry Challenge will now be drawn and displayed to the party.
====================<* CHALLENGE - The Barricaded Gate *>=====================
|Type: Entry       |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 1          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 There are no obvious guards at the gate of the Sult Ruins, but whatever       
 force has occupied the area has placed a heavy barricade of some sort in      
 front of the entrance to keep trespassers away. This could be as simple as a  
 large number of heavy crates, several wagons with their wheels locked, or     
 even stones piled in front of the entrance. Getting through is simply a       
 matter of time and effort.                                                    
=Dungeon Conditions: Tire=====================================================
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline Barber was an apothecary primarily, but she was also a merchant. Though the recent invasion of Adlehyde had left her store in shambles leaving her with...well, nothing but a storage room, she still had a business to run, and anything she could find that might be useful to sell once she got on the road would be greatly valuable.

And not only that, it was said there were strange minerals here that could be used to power ancient technology...that could be useful for a number of reasons, particularly for the vehicle she had been working on over the past several weeks.

And so, it was for that reason that she had put out a call to gather some allies. She couldn't go alone, after all. She'd been here once before, and certain parts of it had proved...troublesome.

Case in point - this barricade that had been constructed. It was of a simple make - wooden walls reinforced by stone pillars of a clearly magical nature. Presumably whoever was responsible for this had access to some form of Sorcery.

"Alright...let's see if we can't get this taken care of." Jacqueline says, looking back at her allies. She draws a Crest from her pouch and aims it at the barrier. She conjures a pillar of earth of her own, slamming it into the barrier in hopes causing some damage to it.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, The Barricaded Gate.
<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

Neriah has been doing everything she can possibly do to avoid staying in Adlehyde for longer than she has to. She's looking for hooks that'll lead her to lucrative new opportunities. For now, exploring the Sult Ruins with this bunch of folks jumped out at her as worth doing.

Besides, Jay seems nice. She's certainly someone Neriah doesn't mind travelling with.

Adjusting her newsboy hat, the girl takes a look around as though to ensure there are no guards about to stroll up on her. There aren't. "Well! I hope those guards don't come back. They must be busy sacrificing a pigeon to Granas or whatever people do these days for fun," she quips, stepping forward past Jacqueline even as the woman unleashes the power of the earth upon the stony and woody barrier. Wooden beams groan and crackle beneath the force of Jay's spell.

Neriah, for her part, contributes by drawing her excavating shovel and driving it into the dirt at the foot of one of those magic pillars. With short, rutting scoops, she shovels out some of the muck and dirt around the pillar, scooting around it as best she can as she unearths the turf from around the foundation.

"You might want to watch out," she advises as she shovels out a bit more dirt - then, reaching up, she attempts to just pull the pillar over and topple that part of the barricade.

DG: Neriah Parringer has used her Tool Trusty Shovel toward her party's challenge, The Barricaded Gate.
<Pose Tracker> Rose has posed.

Rose kind of owed Jacqueline one after the whole potions thing. Sure, it was her expedition that supplied the berries for them, but then a large amount of those potions had to be given away to Adlehyde's population to ensure swift recovery from the attack. This put a dent in Rose's earnings and, predictably, her ability to repay Jacqueline in full for the potions.

It was for a good cause, but it was still a smudge on her otherwise pristine record as a merchant herself. And so the best she could do, until the cashflow was restored, was provide the apothecary with an I.O.U., at least until a few days back.

A few days back Rose paid her in full, having come across a large amount of ancient vase-related money. It was worth dealing with the death butterflies to get those! The I.O.U. still stood though, and here we are!

"So, one of those fancy vehicles, huh? Look at you, upgrading from a shop to a mobile sales platform! You know, we'd considere doing that, but there's just something about the rustic charm of horses and caravans that says "merchant guild" more than a noisy metal box." Look, she's from Glendwood, they don't really have cars there.

Amidst the commentary, Rose helps take apart the wooden planks of the barricade one by one. She isn't very strong, and isn't working especially fast, but at least she's helping! And making sure not to eat a shovel in the face, too, as Nariah warns the party to mind where they stand.

"What's a military want with some old ruins anyway? Last time I saw a digsite occupied like this they were excavating Gears or something, but it doesn't look like they've dug anywhere near that much here."

DG: Rose has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, The Barricaded Gate.
<Pose Tracker> Clarissa Eventide has posed.

Clarissa Eventide never really planned to go exploring some heavily restricted ruins, but her curiosity took over via a bit of eavesdropped gossip at what passed as the local market these days. One thing led to another, and now she's inching right along with a group of intrepid adventurers. Better garbed for a picnic than spelunking through dusty caves and who knows what else, she nevertheless can hardly pass up the chance for a bit of fun. Adorned by a knee-length burnt orange dress, sandals, and fitted with a cloche hat, she nudges her shoulder bag more securely behind her and follows the others closer to the barricade.

"We should be careful not to talk too loudly out here." In a low whisper, Claire adds, "someone could come by on patrol at any moment." In any case, she watches the others attempting to demolish the barricade and purses her lips in thought. After a moment, her hands rise into the air and she begins murmuring something unintelligible. Like a strange heat wave, some odd sort of power takes shape between her palms, only to emanate outwards, growing into an amorphous bubble. Said bubble enlarges to encompass her arms and take a more proper shape, but everything within the bubble appears to have simply vanished. The conjuration swallows her body, making it seem like nobody was standing there, then starts widening with frightening speed. A minute later, the entirety of the barricade and everyone dismantling it winks out of existence. A few seconds later, the barricade reappears to outside onlookers, as if nothing and nobody was steadily taking it apart. Within, everything looks like it actually is, but the sheltering orb seems to slightly distort any outside view, and ambient sounds have become strangely more muted.

Clapping her hands together cheerily, she notes, "there we go! That should help keep any onlookers from noticing our handiwork."

<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

Among the party, is a six foot tall man of white hair, and a distinctive combination of a yellow bandanna around the lower half of his face, a poncho whose gradient runs from maroon to ash, and a few interesting tattoos visible on their forearms. Someone of his general physical description seems to have this thing about loitering outside of certain places of interest and affixing himself to any parties that might show interest in heading inside.

Very little about the appearance and demeanor - well-spoken as they may be - tends to evoke much of a feeling of trust. The shady vagrant, by whatever means, ends up as one member of the expedition team.

He appears to take the time to survey their surroundings outside of the Sult Ruins proper, as though he had some reason to check over everyone's backs for... something or another. He doesn't clarify. He probably hasn't even given his name yet, to anyone new to his brand of doing business.

From a distance, he sizes up the efforts of everyone else. Jay's Crest-powered earth pillars. Rose helping to pull back wooden planks. Clarissa expressing caution about noise and creating a means to keeping their movements discreet.

When eyes fall upon Neriah going to work at it with her shovel, he stops for a moment to put a hand to his forehead. There was... an interesting situation, not long ago. The nature of what had happened... given the current situation, he appears to deem it fit not to call much attention to it.

"If I may offer assistance," he speaks up as he approaches with an even and measured tone, "I believe I will be able to melt away the obstructions in question. I would advise clearance."

With a moment of wait to allow for some to back off, the tattoos on his body light up visibly as he chants, a hand outstretched as the air starts to shimmer and bend to a sudden rise in the air temperature around the erected barrier.

An intense heat radiates from the stone pillars, their coloration turning from their natural expected hues to a brighter, smoldering orange as their forms warp and slouch in transition to a molten state - and perhaps burn away the wooden walls in the process. The team is advised to stand a ways back and not breathe in any of the fumes... but given enough time and energy, that particular obstruction stands to be melted into a smoother path that can be walked over. (As long as one isn't barefoot.)

DG: Ethius Hesiod has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward his party's challenge, The Barricaded Gate.
DG: Clarissa Eventide has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, The Barricaded Gate.
DG: The party led by Jacqueline Barber has passed this challenge! The party gained 12 exploration! If anyone needs to use party management commands, do so now. Otherwise, the next round's GM may begin the next round with +dungeon/draw.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

"I don't...think they sacrifice pigeons. Do they?" Jacqueline asked questioningly at Neriah. To be fair, she didn't know much about the Granas church. Rose's comment takes her mind off of it, though, and she chuckles sheepishly.

"Oh...well, I would've taken my wagon, but...I figured something new and exciting would be better for business. And I'm taking some friends who aren't as used to traveling with me, so the added protectiveness will help." Jacqueline explains. "That...and I'd have a hard time fitting a kitchen on the back of my wagon."

She could've explained this, but Clarissa, someone who she hadn't met before, raises a valid point.

"Ah...right, sorry!" She says.

They continue to work for a while in this manner, Rose pulling off wooden planks, Neriah weakening the foundation, and Jacqueline using her earth pillars to topple it. What would have been a loud, attention-grabbing scene is kept silent thanks to Clarissa's magic, preventing our intrepid heroes from getting jumped by anyone who might not take too kindly to their trespassing.

"Wow...that seems pretty handy." Jacqueline remarks.

They've gotten a decent way through when Ethius makes his suggestion.

Jacqueline...is not surprised at it at all, and ushers everyone aside.

Ethius assaults the obstruction with intense heat, leaving nothing but molten stone and the smoldering remains of the wooden barricade.

"Well...looks like we've got a way in now." Jacqueline remarks.

DG: Neriah Parringer has drawn a new Challenge.
==================<* CHALLENGE - A Brutally Simple Challenge *>==================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 1          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >----------------------------
 Some puzzles require wit and skill. Some of them just require a lot of        
 strength and leverage. This is one of the latter. The room itself contains a  
 large pit, upon which floats a huge stone plug. There is a very large ramp    
 leading up to a higher platform. There is a closed door upon this platform.   
 And there is an exceptionally large rock near the top of the ramp. The party  
 merely must decide how to muscle this problem into submission.                
=Dungeon Conditions: Tire=====================================================
<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

"I think some might, but don't quote me. Beats throwing sacrificing a goat, though," Neriah answers Jay with a shrug and a flip of her hand.

If Neriah has recognized the man in the yellow bandanna and the mauve poncho, she hasn't given any indication. Now and then she'll give him a glance but it seems mostly by way of acknowledging that he exists and checking up on what he's doing. As he speaks, she tilts her head to look towards him for a moment. "Oh, sure," she invites, taking a few steps away from the barricade and leaving her pillar to lie in the soil, toppled.

Then the man in the poncho takes care of the rest of it, melting his way through the barricade and the wood around it. Neriah's eyebrows shoot upwards, but it passes soon enough. "Nice moves."

She slides her shovel back into the leather loop hanging from her backpack, cinching it tightly. Then she reaches for the silvery pistol at her belt, checking the magazine and then inching forward.

The cave beyond is dank, but Neriah quickly sparks up a lantern and holds it up, illuminating a depressed stone pit with a huge stone plug in it. Just beyond the pit's rim, the corridor slopes upward - and at the crest of that ramp, there's a massive boulder, sitting there waiting.

Neriah moues her lips and considers for a second. "So I guess we just need to get the rock down that big hole," she suggests as she begins to scuttle up the ramp. Unlooping that loop again, she whips her shovel out and moves to wedge it beneath the boulder. "Someone want to pull that plug out?! Just be careful not to unleash any demons! Sometimes they hide in pits just waiting to gnaw your eyes out!"

DG: Neriah Parringer has used her Tool Trusty Shovel toward her party's challenge, A Brutally Simple Challenge.
<Pose Tracker> Rose has posed.

"Oh yeah, good point!" Rose answers, loudly, to Clarissa, evidently missing the point completely. The cheerful Rose, stil holding a two by four from the barricade, slides up to the newcomer, grinning. "Oh, I didn't catch your name! I'm Rose, I run the Sparrowfeathers Merchant Guild. If you eeeever need anything, you just let me know, alright? Or if you come across valuables you want to pawn off, we'll pay good coin for that too!" Publicity ain't cheap, but getting all the adventurers on your side personally is!

Casual chatter time ends when Ethius MELTS THE BARRICADE, getting Rose's attention. Huuuuh, he's familiar. And that's not just because Rose has met Vin, worshipper of FIRE. Definitely someone she's heard something about. Thing is, with things like that, it's not like she can just broach the topic.

Ah well! It'll come back to her eventually.

In the meantime that molten barricade is out of the way.

Rose steps through carefully, laughing at Jacqueline and Neriah. "I don't... THINK so? I'm not religious though. Hey, tall and mysterious! Do Granas worshippers sacrifice birds to their god?" She decides to, wisely, ask Ethius. Let's make the ominously tall and cloaked man with an affinity for fire field questions, that'll help!

Their progress stops, halted by a pit and a giant rock forming some kind of puzzles. Rose scratches the back of her head. "I don't have any good ideas, sooooo," She moves closer to Neriah to give her a hand with that shovel. Two people are better than one when it comes to using a lever!

DG: Rose has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, A Brutally Simple Challenge.
<Pose Tracker> Clarissa Eventide has posed.

"It's just a simple anti-scrying spell, with a few extra modifications to divert the energy against physical rather than mystical perceptions." Claire shrugs at Jacqueline, but her expression betrays obvious pride in her work. Then, giving Ethius a once-over at a pointedly safe distance, she taps her chin and comments, "glowing tattoos. Interesting." Once the barricade has done all the melting, she picks up her step and casually states, "hey Mister. Can I have some of your blood? Especially near the site of those...miraculous patterns on your skin? Though a sample of the skin itself -would- be ideal..." Briefly lost in thought, she shakes her head and continues, "anyway, I promise it'll only hurt for a moment or two?"

Giving Rose an odd look, Claire belatedly asks, "wait, which military has set up shop around these ruins?"

Once they've finished excavating the gate barring the way, she momentarily concentrates to expand her illusion over the actual entrance, before following the rest of the party inside. "Claire. I don't really run anything but my research. Though there's been a lot of running for my assistants of late. Say, you don't have a few airtight flasks for sale, do you?" At the sight of the stone plug, she realizes a simple solution to this obstacle. Turning to Ethius, she notes, "looks like another job for our trusty forgemaster, hmmm?" Still, seeing others try leveraging the boulder causes her to shrug and join in, but she's clearly not expecting to be able to contribute much.

DG: Clarissa Eventide has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, A Brutally Simple Challenge.
<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

The compliment seems to be taken in relative stride as he journeys inwards at the back of the party. His eyes seem to follow Neriah's especially, watching her head along up the ramp as she makes commentary about demons - and to be interrupted with a most inquisitive inquiry.

"I must respectfully decline." That seems to be the end of that, as he walks past the researcher from far, far, far out of town without making eye contact with her.

He watches Rose move up to help Neriah, as both of them disappear from his vantage point as he seems to have silently volunteered to do something about the stone plug. He walks about the half-circle of its perimeter, noticeably never stepping out in front of where the boulder above could come down and roll him over mid-survey.

"I believe I can loosen this," he seems to say in accordance to Claire's thoughts, as the sights and sounds of Symbology surface a second time.

The heat is applied at a finer level as he slowly moves about it - more precise and surgical, compared to the raw destructive application as seen but a minute before - an attempt to smooth out the edges as to make it easier to dislodge in tandem with whatever other methods are available to the others to uproot and remove the plug.

DG: Ethius Hesiod has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward his party's challenge, A Brutally Simple Challenge.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline listens as Clarissa explains her anti-scrying spell. From the way she nods, she seems to understand what was being said.

"I see...yes, I can see how that'd work..." She murmurs. It wasn't really something she could manage with Crest Sorcery - they were rather finnicky, and tended to not take well to adjustments.

"And I'm Jay of Jay's Curatives and Curios. We're, ah...rebuilding at the moment, however." Jacqueline says with a smile toward Clarissa. Not so much 'rebuilding' as obtaning a sweet new ride that'd stand in for her store, but that counted, right?

Just past the entrance was an interesting...did this really count as a puzzle? Jacqueline didn't think so. It looked more like some kind ancient mechanism.

While the others worked on getting the boulder set-up properly, Jacqueline turns her attentions on the plug. She draws out another Crest.

Ordinarily it was made to weaponize any debris on the area into projectiles, but...if she could focus on the plug just right...maybe she could send it flying off instead! In a...hopefully safe direction.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, A Brutally Simple Challenge.
DG: The party led by Jacqueline Barber has passed this challenge! The party gained 12 exploration! If anyone needs to use party management commands, do so now. Otherwise, the next round's GM may begin the next round with +dungeon/draw.
<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

"No no, you don't ask them that straight away! You flirt with them a little, and ask them to dinner, and then you drain their blood," Neriah gasps at Clarissa, hand rising to her chin as she feigns being mortally scandalized.

Then it's back to work, working together with the rest of the group. Neriah remembers Rose, at least, that's for sure - the woman was there the first time she went exploring in these parts, after all! She smiles crookedly as she wedges her shovel in place. "I'm not really religious either. I always forget the hymns."

As Rose strides over to help, Neriah edges to the side. Her hand slides along the shovel, making room for Rose's. Quietly, the Excavator smiles at the other woman, then begins to apply pressure again. The boulder totters as the shovel blade works beneath it. The added weight of Clarissa sees the boulder teeter all the more precariously.

Soon enough, Jacqueline and the mysterious man are able to deal with the plug. It slides out of place, grinding heavily. "Push," Neriah calls, and with a little added pressure, the boulder goes tumbling down the slope - and it hits the rim of the pit, bounces a couple feet, and finally plummets down into the depths. There's a crash, far below.

At the top of the corridor, the sealed stone door churns open with a rasp of stone against cold stone. Neriah tugs her jacket's hem down with a satisfied smirk as she straightens up. "Good job! We've managed to avoid falling into the abyss."

DG: Rose has drawn a new Challenge.
=======================<* CHALLENGE - An Uncrossable Gap *>=======================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 1          | 
----------------------------< Challenge Information: >----------------------------
 One of the rooms within the ruins opens to a sheer drop, with the door to     
 the next chamber visible twenty feet away. The jump itself would be almost    
 impossible, and climbing up the hundred foot drop would be tiring and time    
 consuming. But there also appears to be a pair of strange mechanisms          
 bracketing the portal just before the gap - intricate but incomplete          
 mechanisms that might hold the key to raising the path to the other side. If  
 the devices are merely broken or have had parts removed by the invaders       
 remains to be seen...                                                         
=Dungeon Conditions: Tire=====================================================
<Pose Tracker> Rose has posed.

"I have no idea! I've just heard the rumors, but nobody's actually identified them. Maybe it's some distant deployment from Aveh or Kislev?" Those are two of the larger militaries she's currently aware of, anyway, so it's the best guess Rose can make as to who'd have the resources to send a force to occupy some ruins.

"Airtight flasks, huh? Jacqueline over there ran a potion store before the sky fell on Adlehyde, if you want high quality flasks she'd probably have the premium merchandise! ... most of mine already have liquids in them." Healing potions, mostly. Some alcohol. Okay, a lot of alcohol. Look, yes, by weight it's about 90% alcohol after the attack, but that doesn't mean anything.

Still in the middle of helping Neriah shovel, Rose squints at Ethius, not because of his contribution but because of his answer. "Oh, come on! Without your input we might never know for sure if bird sacrifice is one of Lord Granas' things or not!" It COULD be! It could also not be. HOW WILL THEY KNOW?!

They may never, sadly.

The party progresses past the dreaded large boulder, bitting it farewell, hopefully forever. Passing through an intricate hallway covered in ancient writing and images too faded to tell their story, eventually the party stops, just in time, to notice that there isn't any more floor under them. The hallway opens out into a large round chamber, as if a hole on the inside of a tube. Across the chasm, another hallway, continuing deeper in. No path between them. Nothing visible at the bottom of the pit.

Luckily, there's a sort of small altar, like a control panel, near the edge. There are buttons on it, crystaline, colorful, unlabeled. The panel has been opened and tampered with, taken apart to see how it ticks - or doesn't. The inside is sockets, no wiring. Colorful sockets of every shade, with small crystals to match. Some are empty, some have their respective crystals inside.

Rose takes one, curious. "Huh, cool. Wonder how much these are worth. Too bad we probably need them all to stay in there to cross. Anyone ever repair or operate one of these before?"

DG: Rose has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, An Uncrossable Gap.
<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

"Huh. I don't... usually deal with military matters," confesses Neriah as she falls in behind Rose, once more sorting her shovel back into its handy loop. The mysterious man in the face-scarf gets another glance from her, canting her head to one side in the process, but she just smiles politely and continues down the tunnel beyond the door.

Beyond the inevitable boulder, the chasm yawns ahead. Neriah opens up her pack, groping around for something and soon finding it. It's a simple magnifying lens - not a very advanced or unique model, but it'll get the job done. She slinks towards the machinery assemblage framing the hole, crouching beside one of the bits of mechanism and holding the lens up to it. The girl squints into the lens and bites down to her lower lip.

"There might be a manual crank, but I hope not. I know there has to be a control," she calls back to Rose, reaching into her pack for something else. This time it's a flask of something glossy and black. "But it won't do much without the mechanism."

Again she retrieves a tool - and this time it's a simple trowel. "But this one's got some stuff stuck in it. Let me pick it out," she calls, setting to work scraping some clods of dust and mold from the mechanism, then dripping some of the machine oil into it.

DG: Neriah Parringer has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, An Uncrossable Gap.
<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

With the way Clarissa has been politely introducing herself, it's been high time that the weird guy with the melting magic powers returns the same civility, isn't it? He... notably does not.

For being gifted (or however having obtained) sway over heat, the man seems remarkably cold in his demeanor. Distant. He does not seem to be moved by Rose's plight about figuring out the truth of bird sacrifice and its cultural impacts. In some ways, he just seems to be... there. Content to simply be, and shadow the rest of them, contributing only exactly as necessary and little more.

It's very creepy!

Stepping forward as Rose prompts the team to weigh on on how the thing works, Ethius removes an eyeglass of some kind from under his poncho. Another Symbology-based bit of sorcery later, his free hand taps a bolt of electricity into the lens, creating a soft glow that he holds up to one of his eyes.

One finger goes to one of the buttons that appears to lack a crystal, tracing an invisible path between it and some part of the pit.

"I am of the belief this part of the device is key to our continued progress," he states matter-of-factly. Neriah seems to already be on it, attempting to jury-rig it to a functioning state as he moves himself to stand in-between Neriah and the rest.

He doesn't appear to have much of anything to say to her, as the lens is stashed away.

DG: Ethius Hesiod has used his Tool Spectral Lens toward his party's challenge, An Uncrossable Gap.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline nods with a smile towards Clarissa...and a subtle smile towards Rose at sending some potential business her way.

"Oh, yes! I keep a number of them on my person, actually, in case I come across useful ingredients. If you need some, I'd be happy to sell you them at a good price." She says with a nod.

Business might have to wait, though, as ahead of them was a great chasm that would...probably be unpleasant to fall into.

To say the least.

"Looks like we're not out of the abyss just yet..." Jacqueline comments with a glance towards Neriah before focusing on the mechanisms.

"Let's see...I haven't encountered something like this before exactly, but..." Though it was a precarious situation, Jacqueline draws out her notebook and begins messing with it as well. She takes notes on what works and what doesn't, attempting to get it to some form of usability while also recording this information for later.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, An Uncrossable Gap.
<Pose Tracker> Clarissa Eventide has posed.

"Amazing. Does this power come from the simple collection of natural pigments bound into his flesh, or something more? Do the designs represent something, or are they mere artistic stylizations? Does the magic come from the gods, or another source?" Claire states this through gritted teeth while giving her best effort shoving at the boulder. She eventually follows this with a response to Neriah's advice, "you Filgaians have such strange customs. Besides, I've not exactly had an extensive experience flirting with mysterious, flammable men. What sorts of things do they like talking about? Perhaps the different varieties and sources of oil and trees. Or his favorite flint and tinder?"

Finally, the boulder collapses from its platform, after Claire has become red-faced and her dress has been stained with debris. Wiping her brow with one hand and her skirts with the other, she notes breathlessly, "the less...abysses we fall into...the better." Swallowing and stealing a quick breather, she adds, "so...you're both merchants? That's a wonderful coincidence. If we have time later, I'd love to check out your collection of curatives..." To Rose, she replies, "Aveh or Kislev. Right. Those people..." Grinning lightly, she notes, "alcohol's a fine sterilizer. Especially if it's so refined as 90 percent!"

While entering the tube-shaped room, she looks to Ethius and gives him a winning little smile. "So...which sorts of animals do you think produce the best oils?" Eventually, she wanders to the panel and inspects the colorful crystals. "Perhaps they need to be aligned in a certain pattern to open up the way?" She then proceeds playing around with crystals and sockets, frowning in thought.

DG: Clarissa Eventide has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, An Uncrossable Gap.
DG: The party led by Jacqueline Barber has passed this challenge! The party gained 12 exploration! If anyone needs to use party management commands, do so now. Otherwise, the next round's GM may begin the next round with +dungeon/draw.
<Pose Tracker> Rose has posed.

A quick look at the ancient machinery reveals that the crystals probably go in the sockets. It's not clear if them being there is a computation system, a power system, or both, but it's clear they go there and if they're in the right places something will happen. Probably. It could be broken, or the occupying forces could have left with key components needed to make it work.

Luckily, not the case.

With a bit of oil and cleaning, Neriah uncovered a few sockets hidden away from the rest, colored blue and red. There aren't a lot of blue and red crystals to go around, and no other sockets of that color either. Trial and error quickly shows that as the red and blue ones get removed from improper sockets, and get put into the hidden ones, buttons begin lighting up on the console.

Wouldn't you know it, the button Ethius pointed at in particular is flashing. When pressed, there's a loud click, and a heavy grinding of gears far down below. A floating platform, finally, rises in the middle of the room, and from it deploys smaller floating steps, linking the platform to the hallway. Once everyone is on it, they might notice a pressure plate under their feet - the platform and the path begin rotating, until they've done a full 180, linking to the destination hallway instead.

Rose, unimpressed by highly wasteful and showoffy ancient technology that just screams LOOK WHAT WE COULD DO AND DESPAIR, answers Clarissa instead. "Alcohol's been in pretty high demand. Everyone needs a pick me up after the Metal Demons' attack. That and construction materials. Restoratives are less in demand now that most people've been healed up. I'd be glad to show you our wares when we have some time!"

DG: Ethius Hesiod has drawn a new Challenge.
==========================================<* CHALLENGE - A Slime Most Green *>==========================================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 1          | 
-----------------------------------------------< Challenge Information: >-----------------------------------------------
 A slurping, watery sound is the only warning the party receives before a      
 slime erupts from a nearby crevice and attacks the party! The                 
 semi-transparent goo lashes about with its entire body, attempting to engulf  
 anyone it can lay itself upon. The acid it uses as a weapon is painful to     
 the touch, leaving anyone struck weakened and sapped of vigor - best to       
 drive it off or slay it before it can do too much damage.                     
=Dungeon Conditions: Weaken===================================================
<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

"I am but a simple traveler possessed of curiosity, Miss Claire," so Ethius asserts to the barrage of questions about his Symbology, all saying this as he pays her virtually no eye contact in favor of watching Neriah work. (So, does this also make him a researcher...?) "You can be assured you will have my assistance for the duration of our expedition at this location."

Must be the 'all-business' type. Boring, terrible conversationalists. Little imagination, only interest in the task at hand. (So, does this make him a terrible researcher...?)

In any case, the matter at hand is resolved - the path forward, the group entertains themselves with discussions about stocking alcohol and curatives and the like in wake of the tragedy that befell Adlehyde.

There's a sound of rushing water...? Water doesn't make sounds like that in rapid motion. Sort of like slurping? There's some hissing... and some smoke, from the cracks of the ground underneath the group's feet.

Just a ways ahead, a semi-transparent mass of green goo starts to force itself through a larger crevice in the aging scenery, this gap widening as its corrosive mass forces a bigger and greater hole for its mass to push itself through to obstruct the delicious walking piles of nutrients and shiny indigestible matter. It fills more and more of the corridor ahead of them by the moment, so they need to act - fast.

Ethius, for his part, produces a satchel from his belt and goes through the usual casting motions before tossing a smoke bomb... in it? That kind of defeats the point?

Other than filling it full of irritating particle matter it has to wriggle out, changing the threat from 'engulfing entire space' to 'having to avoid violent thrashing in attempt to expel foreign matter.'

"Let us move quickly," Ethius advises, voice far too calm for the situation.

DG: Ethius Hesiod has used his Tool Powder Grenade toward his party's challenge, A Slime Most Green.
<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

Neriah interrupts her work for several seconds to watch the way the man in the facial wrapping interposes his body between herself and the rest of the group.

Her eyes slowly lower, a small, bitter smile reaching her lips. She looks away and resumes her work. "...No. No, we're not," she answers Jacqueline with a touch less of the dry levity she's kept up thus far. Her tone's quieter, likely with focus.

As Clarissa questions, Neriah blinks up at her. "Us Filgaians? Oh... you're a Moon person, aren't you. I can never get used to that. I was so sure it was made of cheese, or that the only people living up there were the rabbit and whoever he makes those rice cakes for."

She sorts the crystals around in those sockets. Smiling as the console behind the group lights up, she backs away and watches the platform come churning out of the depths. She's quick to step onto it, then to pass over.

The group bustles onward, only to encounter oozing green goo bubbling nastily up through the aging rock. Neriah gasps and recoils backward, her hand snapping to her waist and coming up with her pistol again, but it takes her about a millisecond to realize that shooting a mass of ooze with a pistol isn't going to do much except lose her bullets.

Her eyes snap towards the mysterious man. Definitely not Ethius Hesiod. Nope, definitely not.

Then she scowls at the slime and picks up her shovel. "I hate goo," she grumbles as she sprints forward and digs in, attempting to scoop masses of jiggling green jelly away from the slime's mass and shovel them off to the side.

It may not achieve much, but it makes her feel better.

DG: Neriah Parringer has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward her party's challenge, A Slime Most Green.
<Pose Tracker> Rose has posed.

All-business is certainly words you can use to describe Ethius. Rose just finds it suspicious, but then the way he dresses, just kind of shows up, and throws sorcery around without a care were all on their own quite suspicious too. He's not giving her the same vibes as, say... the Trial Knight, whose presence in a party felt awkward the entire way through, but she can't help but wonder what the deal is.

He's not a threat, at least. That's worth a lot of points.

He also has a pretty good idea when he hurls a smoke bomb into the slime creature. Rose shuffles into her utility belt, plucking out a couple of black marble-sized pellets, before hurling them towards the slime creature too. Unless it dodges, which in its mad thrashing it very well could, the smoke bombs will penetrate the ooze and then detonate, not with enough force to massively injure it, but dispensing that blinding smoke INSIDE the jell-o monster has to be highly unpleasant.

Rose certainly wouldn't want that to happen inside HER.

Trying to dash past the hopefully distracted monster, Rose asides to Clarissa: "Oh, you're from Lunar too? What region?"

DG: Rose has used her Tool Smoke Bomb toward her party's challenge, A Slime Most Green.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

"And curatives happen to be a specialty of mine! I'd be glad to show you, as well, Miss Claire." Jacqueline replies, sending Clarissa a warm smile. It was in her business's name for a reason.

She proceeds onward along with the others, until their path brings them into the path of some kind of slime. Or rather - its hunting grounds.

Jacqueline backpedals as it lashes out, then reaches into her bags for a bottle of foul-smelling black liquid.

"Fortunately...I've improved my recipe to be effective against even creatures like this, as well!" She explains to...no one in particular. Or perhaps everyone? Either way...

"Watch yourselves!" She warns. That's the only warning before she undoes the cork and sends a splash of the liquid inside towards the slime. Hopefully, between that, Ethius's powder, Rose's smoke, Neriah's shoveling, and whatever Clarissa came up with, they'd have enough room to move past safely.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has used her Tool Reliable Repellant toward her party's challenge, A Slime Most Green.
<Pose Tracker> Clarissa Eventide has posed.

Answering Ethius' statement with a question, Claire bats her eyes and hopefully inquires, "I don't suppose that 'assistance' include a sample of your blood?...or an introduction, at least?" With the red and blue crystals properly aligned, and a simple push of a button, the real magic happens. Rose might be unimpressed, but Claire clearly sees the ruins for what they are. A magical researcher's paradise! Already blown away by the floating steps helpfully guiding their way, she can't stop herself from giggling as the platform spins them about. Falling to her knees to keep from sliding off, amber eyes light up in surprise and excitement, "this place is like a dream!"

And then that dream evaporates, leaving behind an icky goo monster thing. "Ugh, I haaaate those things! They're almost impossible to safely store away, you know." Considering her options, she chooses more illusion magic to do the trick. Wisps of incandescent light weave forth from dancing fingers, shooting off into a distance away from their path. They gather into strange masses, slowly but surely forming into a delectable feast of foods and other goo monster nutrients in the hopes of distracting the loathsome creature.

Meanwhile, she glances to Neriah in askance, "wait, rabbits and rice cakes? What gave you that idea?" A grin, "I'm from Meribia. And I studied at the best magic guild known around the world!" A shake of her head, "anyway, let's go before we become goo food." She follows Rose in an escape from the blob monster, picking her way carefully from any flying acid.

DG: Clarissa Eventide has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward her party's challenge, A Slime Most Green.
DG: The party led by Jacqueline Barber has passed this challenge! The party gained 12 exploration! If anyone needs to use party management commands, do so now. Otherwise, the next round's GM may begin the next round with +dungeon/draw.
<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

Though the quintent are (mostly, with few exceptions) strangers, their tactics all appear on point - Neriah's shovel strikes prove especially vital to stopping the blob's expansion from blocking off their way forward, fearlessly scooping out significant chunks. It will wear on the shovel's blade, but this alone gives them far more room to maneuver.

Rose's forward run gives her the vantage point to signal to the rest of any other potential hazards that could crop up during their rapid movement through (and good thing too, there was a pit right off to her right), as Jacqueline inhibits the thrashing blob's growth further by having it fight against a tincture that, by its very instinct, it moves to avoid as it starts to recess further into the walls from whence it came.

The remaining pseudopods in play try to reach for the gleaming packets of nutrients that are simply not there, and so - by everyone's assistance - they can get by the wriggling mass of yuck largely unscathed, and move their way forward.

"I am afraid it does not include a sample of my blood, Miss Claire," so Ethius remarks coolly - a little too coolly for the running he's doing to keep up alongside the rest. "If I believe a further explanation about my capabilities is necessary for our continued endeavors, I will enlighten at that time."

Saying that many words at once should wind him, at least!! His head does turn at mentions about people being from 'Lunar, too,' but little seems to come from that - for now.

DG: Clarissa Eventide has drawn a new Challenge.
====================<* CHALLENGE - Don't Stop Just Run *>=====================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 1          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 There is a click as the party steps into the hallway following a rather       
 boring and uninspiring room. The mechanical sound is unusual, and a bit       
 different from the normal sounds of ruins that they might encounter. Then     
 the ceiling behind the party drops down, and with a rumble the comically      
 sized large iron orb starts slowly rolling down the long incline into the     
 hallway, picking up speed as it moves. It crashes and careens into the wall,  
 clearly being poorly sized for this sort of trap. It is, however, huge and    
 coming right at the party. Better get moving.                                 
=Dungeon Conditions: Injure===================================================
<Pose Tracker> Clarissa Eventide has posed.

Running past the goo monster lands the quintessential quintet in an unassuming hallway, with nothing in the way of landmarks and not even a kindly torch to light their way. Dark, quiet, and maybe a little humid, the tunnel extends long enough for everyone to feel the effects of their adrenaline fading away. The only real change minute from minute might be noted the slightest downwards decline of their trail, which gradually becomes steeper and steeper. For Claire's part, she yawns at least once, and tries conversation with the mysterious tattooed guy yet again. "Well, if blood samples are out of bounds, then at least you could give us your name. I mean, we just escaped a life or death situation together! We're practically allies now, right?" A brief pause, and she looks to Neriah to note, "speaking of..."

CLICK!...BOOM!!

Any light left peeking from the previous room abruptly shuts out, followed by the insidious sound of something large and heavy and stone-like rolling over the ground. It quickly proceeds to pick up pace...

<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

"Well, if you look at the Moon, it looks like there's a rabbit making rice cakes!" Neriah call back to Clarissa as she digs her spade into the sticky goo and cleaves more of it off. She's not achieving much except to tire herelf out - until she realizes that the bits of the blob she shovels off aren't regenerating. With a heavy huff, she shovels away another quivering mass of green gel, her shoulders beginning to ache with the exertion. Shoveling gloop is a lot harder than shoveling dirt or rock, somehow!

Finally she exhales heavily, slumping against a wall - and then she gives Clarissa a curious look.

"Can I give you a piece of advice?" she says plainly. "If you want to sample our blood, don't be so forward about it. You've got to wait until everyone's asleep. Then skulk around in the night with a needle and a couple of cotton swabs and prick a little blood out while we're sleeping. You're never going to get our blood if you ask nicely. You've got to be clever if you want our succulent humours." She tips her hat and adds, "I'm Neriah Parringer. Nice to meet you."

As she's speaking, she's following the group into the corridor. "I'd love to see more of your merch," she offers Jacqueline and Rose, before the huge ball hits the ground behind them.

Neriah widens her eyes. "Oh no, not again," she groans before breaking into a dead sprint. Her long legs cover a lot of ground, and before long she's lunging towards the far wall of the room, aiming to hurl herself towards the exit!

"I hate balls!"

DG: Neriah Parringer has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Don't Stop Just Run.
<Pose Tracker> Rose has posed.

"Oh! I'm from Glenwood. You probably haven't heard of the Sparrowfeathers, but maybe you've heard of the hero we're sponsoring, Sorey, the Shepherd?" Rose beams Clarissa a smile, like being able to say these words means the world to her. Or like it's her secret plan to make tons of money and retire rich. Either or.

Slime no longer being a threat, Rose progresses alongside everyone, catching her breath for just a second while still hoping Clarissa has heard of the Shepherd. Or at least, the mythology and legend behind the role. Maybe not though, it seems mostly concentrated around Glenwood?

Wait, what just crashed and went boom?

A glance back. Rose frowns. "Aww come on!"

Well, it's TIME TO RUN.

And run Rose does. Neriah's request to see her wares would have her eager to do so, but it's the 'oh no not again' that really gets her going.

"I know, right?!" She says, mid-stride. "It's like ancient cultured had an infinite supply of large perfectly round boulders to put in traps! Who was even in charge of reloading them when they went off?" A better question might be... "Who's STILL in charge of doing that? And why they do hate people so much?!"

It's obviously from Rose's demeanor she isn't used to these.

DG: Rose has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Don't Stop Just Run.
<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

"Jerks!" Neriah shouts. "Jerks are in charge!"

<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

"You are insistent." So Ethius notes as Claire continues to warm herself up to the lot of them. He, so far, has proven the most resistant. The most distant. The most shy? "For the length of time we are to be working alongside one another, I would not normally deem this of great import." Great, more stonewalling.

"If such is going to prove an impediment," he stops talking to give a side glance to Neriah's advice about blood collection - him stopping mid-sentence for anything is noteworthy - "then I suppose I could comply. My name is--"

CLICK!...BOOM!!

Saved by the ball! And then simultaneously endangered by the ball!

As the chase is on, Ethius turns back and makes a spirited attempt to cast another heat spell on the move - running while chanting is not an easy thing to do, especially when you add in the requisite gestures on top of that for purposes of aiming and shaping! - in an attempt to partially melt the iron orb to rob its ability to roll and give all of them some more breathing space as they escape.

DG: Ethius Hesiod has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Don't Stop Just Run.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline has to take a moment to catch her breath. This is all the time she gets, however, as it isn't long before the sight a giant boulder has her running again, this time in a bit more of a panic.

"Here's a demonstration of some!" Jacqueline says, rummaging through her bags for a bottle of pale-green liquid. She downs the lot, allowing her to move much more quickly.

This gives her enough time and energy to draw a Crest from her pouch and start invoking it, creating pillars of earth in the boulders path in the hopes of slowing it down.

"I'm thinking there's not anyone in charge, per se." Jacqueline replies, looking back at Rose as they all run. "If I had to guess...there must be a Symbological device somewhere that's generating these boulders, to be dropped whenever a trap like this is triggered. It's the only explanation I could come up with!"

Apparently...it gave her enough time to carry on a casual conversation, too?

DG: Jacqueline Barber has used her Tool Invigoration Elixir toward her party's challenge, Don't Stop Just Run.
<Pose Tracker> Clarissa Eventide has posed.

Claire stares at Neriah and dryly decides, "you Filgaians have an odd imagination. Clearly, Lunar's mostly made of various minerals, but I suspect some sort of magic lives there too. Now, the blue star, on the other hand...this place shouldn't be at all inhabitable. Which is...quite baffling. But it also means there's much more to learn than I could've ever hoped!" She listens attentively to Neriah's advice on blood-stealing, nodding her head the whole way through, "interesting. I hadn't thought of that. It makes it so much easier too! I don't need to flirt or arrange dinner or anything." A smirk, pointing her thumb at Ethius, "especially since flame-guy here seems impermeable to my clever seductions." A nod, "anyway, nice to meet you."

Walking through the tunnel, she responds cheerfully towards Rose, "I haven't been to Glenwood, but I always wanted to! I've heard it's beautiful. And full of amazing myths and creatures." A headshake, "Sorey doesn't sound familiar...he's a Shepherd? Are you sure? He'd be the perfect warrior to fight off the Lord of Calamity." Light bulb moment, "you should introduce him to Leo!"

Finally! Finally the mysterious man is going to say his name! Claire turns excitedly to hear what he has to say, but all the response she gets is a strange distant click. When she looks towards what's blocking the light, her eyes shoot open, and she calls out, "everybody, run!!!" She dashes forward as quick as can be, which happens to be unexpectedly quite speedy!

DG: Clarissa Eventide has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Don't Stop Just Run.
DG: The party led by Jacqueline Barber has failed this challenge! The party gained 17 exploration! If anyone needs to use party management commands, do so now. Otherwise, the next round's GM may begin the next round with +dungeon/draw.
<Pose Tracker> Clarissa Eventide has posed.

Racing down the passageway just ahead of the rampaging boulder - or one at least hopes so! - the steep decline makes an escape all the more treacherous. Worse, the area abruptly levels out, where a bunch of random junk and detritus found its way below. Just past -this- obstacle lies an open archway preceding a high platform. The exit's just large enough for a certain terribly destructive boulder to leap through, and the platform's just wide enough for the party to gather around - if they don't follow the boulder down into the abyss.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has drawn a new Challenge.
=================<* CHALLENGE - Mysterious Floating Floor *>==================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 There is a rather unusual feature to this next room. The first is the floor,  
 which appears to be filled with some horrible, syrupy goo that probably       
 would not be healthy to step in. The second are the two pillars that rise     
 from the muck, each a third of the way across the room from the door. And     
 then there's the floating panel that is slowly making its way about the       
 room. Its path seems somewhat random, and there is a button atop each of the  
 pillars. Is there a trick, or is reaching the other side simply a matter of   
 patience?                                                                     
=Dungeon Conditions: Bad Luck=================================================
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

It's a bit exhausting, but they manage to make it to the next chamber. And it's a...rather interesting one. The floor suddenly drops into some form of strange, unpleasant-looking liquid, and off into the distance are a pair of pillars, each with a button on top. Presumably it had something to do with the panel that was floating about the room.

"Hm...I wonder what that liquid is...?" Jacqueline mutters something to herself, then shakes her head and draws a Crest from her pouch.

She invokes it repeatedly, creating a series of earth pillars to hopefully give them a pathway up the pillars with the buttons on top. The horrible liquid slides off, but some still remains on top...not enough to cause any harm, but it might be a bit slippery, or you might find yourself stuck to it. There was only one way to find out, right?

"Alright...I'll take the left. Who's got right? We'll also need someone to deal with the panel, too." Jacqueline says. She reaches into her bags and pulls out another bottle of green liquid, and prepares to down and it take care of her task.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has used her Tool Invigoration Elixir toward her party's challenge, Mysterious Floating Floor.
<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

"Well, you could buy me dinner, at least!" Neriah shouts back to Clarissa before she lunges for the door.

She falls just a little short, hitting the rock face and skidding hard enough to scrape her knees. Wincing, Neriah clambers forward, just managing to yank herself up onto the door ledge and pull herself to safety before the boulder outright crushes her.

She looks down - and sighs at the sight of that goo gurgling far below. "Of course," she sighs as he pulls herself back up to her feet. Lifting one hand, she rubs at the bridge of her nose. "I can probably manage the panel... but I'm not going to be able to go for one of those columns. They're too far out."

The wait gives Neriah a minute to catch her breath. As she waits, she glances at the other members of the team, eyes again dancing over Ethius, then moving to Rose to give her a more detailed look. She gives the woman a little smile. Then, as the platform comes near, she grips the doorframe in both hands and pushes her hips back.

With a shout, Neriah vaults herself out of the doorframe. She lands on the platform squarely, with a click of high heels. Adjusting her hat, she turns to call back, "Those buttons have got to control how this thing moves, somehow!"

DG: Neriah Parringer has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Mysterious Floating Floor.
<Pose Tracker> Rose has posed.

"I've got just the helping hand for this, don't worry!" Rose says, as she produces rope and a hook. With a twirl of the hook, she hurls it towards the floating platform, trying to latch onto something, anything, so that the dangling rope can then be used to reach the platform. Or to get around the room more easily.

Really, you can do a lot with a rope and a metal hook.

She could, for instance, use that rope to swing to one of the columns! The possibilities are endless, and as Rose shamelessly WHEEEEES her way to one of those columns, she shouts towards Neriah and Clarissa: "I'M IN FAVOR OF DINNERS AND FOOD!"

DG: Rose has used her Tool Grapple Hook toward her party's challenge, Mysterious Floating Floor.
<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

The mysterious man takes a nasty tumble down the decline, leaving himself in a vulnerable crouch for some time, collecting himself as Jay takes charge of the current situation.

when Neriah's eyes look to his, he's looking back. The two clearly acknowledge each other's presence - some underlying awareness that they are together again, following an awkward situation from not all that long ago.

"I will attempt to take the right," Ethius states as he pulls himself up with help of his quarterstaff. He surveys the pillars as presented by Jay carefully - sticking the staff down against one such pillar as if to ensure its foundation is solid enough and won't rock into the muck below. Once certain of its footing on the short term, he ascends to attempt to make his way to the top of the pillar.

He does not even chance contact with the goop that sits on top of some of them - he takes precious, precarious moments to apply liberal amounts of heat to remove them as they obstruct his climb.

DG: Ethius Hesiod has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Mysterious Floating Floor.
<Pose Tracker> Clarissa Eventide has posed.

Managing to race ahead of many in the party, Clarissa dashes down the decline and hops past the debris almost too easily - especially for a reclusive mage. When she reaches the archway however, she's gathered far too much momentum to simply slide safely across the platform. Instead, she dives over the ledge, just barely grabs the rim, and her body swings hard against the stone precipice. Neriah seems to have a similar idea in mind, and she hurries to get out of the danger zone alongside the other woman. Limping slightly by the time she joins the rest of the group in the next room, she takes a bit of a breather until her legs stop aching so much from the crash.

Eventually, not intending to be left behind and lose her share of the loot, Claire makes for one of Jacqueline's earth pillars. Hopping from those to the pillars built into the room like she's somehow done this before, she calls out, "I'll pitch in for dinner if everyone else does too!"

DG: Clarissa Eventide has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Mysterious Floating Floor.
DG: The party led by Jacqueline Barber has passed this challenge! The party gained 11 exploration! If anyone needs to use party management commands, do so now. Otherwise, the next round's GM may begin the next round with +dungeon/draw.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

"Dinner...sounds really good, actually! I have no problems chipping in." Jacqueline agrees. Well, it was something to look forward to.

Rose gets to the right pillar first, thanks to her rope, with Ethius soon to follow. Shortly afterward, Jacqueline and Clarissa reach the left. As it happens, it was fortunate there were two on each pillar - there are two buttons on each one, requiring two individuals to be able to properly utilize, while Neriah is able to direct the panel from her position on top of it.

Eventually, the party manages to get the right combination and to the door on the other side, and all without falling off into that horrible goop below!

That was...probably a good thing.

DG: Rose has drawn a new Challenge.
=========================<* CHALLENGE - The Rock Bird *>==========================
|Type: Final       |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
----------------------------< Challenge Information: >----------------------------
 As the party approaches the deepest recesses of the ruins, there is a         
 grinding sound from up above... and then a huge creature breaks away from     
 the ceiling, small bits of dust and rock falling from its form as it settles  
 to the ground with a heavy thud. The creature is a Rock Bird - literally a    
 stylized falcon made from stone in this case - that has been animated with    
 ancient sorcery to protect the depths of the ruins. It makes no noise, and    
 instead glides just above the ground as it attempts to use its massive bulk   
 to crush the party into the dirt of the ruins floor! The construct is         
 relentless, and will not stop until the party flees or is destroyed.          
=Dungeon Conditions: Bad Luck=================================================
<Pose Tracker> Rose has posed.

Past the door is a rather expansive room, with an assortment of odd, deformed statues decorating the place. No doubt symbols of a religion long forgotten or a culture that isn't around to explain their odd sense of art and fascination with giant heads anymore.

But it's not the decoration you should be worried about!

Noisy as they are, the party practically makes themselves a target. There's a sound like rocks grinding against one another up above, and then a bird, twice the size of a person, descends. Made of solid brown stone, you'd art first mistake it for being part of the ruins, especially with the odd symbosl etched and carved onto its falcon-like body. But no, if one had the time to look closer, it doesn't really... match. There's something odd about the bird!

And that might not matter right now.

Because it's a mean, mean bird.

With a swoop of its wings it sends a gust of slashing winds at the party, tearing up the stone under their feet and threatening to leave them quite a bit sliced up themselves if they aren't careful!

Rose dives to the side, hurling down a set of smoke bombs to give the party some cover to work from so the creature's wind barrage can't keep going. It's not much respite, but it's better than nothing.

"Starting to feel like it's rocks I should be afraid of, not ghosts!"

DG: Rose has used her Tool Smoke Bomb toward her party's challenge, The Rock Bird.
<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

Quiet blue eyes hang on the mystery man's before Neriah looks away with a simple calm.

"Let's have dinner together, then," she calls back to Rose and Jacqueline with a blush and a smile. "I'll chip in for someplace nice, too!" Then she steps aside to let others up onto the platform.

Tugging down the hem of her jacket, Neriah skips off the platform and through the next door - and it turns out that all the shouting has made a target out of her, too. The massive, swooping stone bird descends, and the stone around Neriah tears and crumbles away. Shards of rock slash past her legs and body. Her jacket tears in a few places and she's knocked off her feet. With a yelp, she pops off a couple of pistol shots, but they fly well wide. Hitting it eems like it's not going to happen.

Again the bird comes swooping in. "Aah!" Neriah gasps as she fires off a shot. It glances off the Rock Bird's wing and the avian just keeps on coming. The girl's eyes widen.

Then she crosses her arms, ducks her head and groans in pain through her teeth. Her shoulders heave. The groan abruptly cuts off.

Stony debris roars around Neriah as the bird descends on her, ravaging the rock of the floor and walls and showering her in debris. She vanishes from view for a moment - but through the debris cloud, there's a momentary flicker of something dark, and a low thrum of some sound just below the range of frequencies the human ear can reach.

The Rock Bird moves on to the next target soon enough. As the debris wave passes on, Neriah's physically undamaged, but has come out of it on her knees with her head down and huddled beneath her arms, trembling as she fights to suppress some pain that seems to have no visible source.

A stormy-looking shell of magic flickers around her, dim enough that it seems to drain her of colour. Arcs of black electricity crackle across its surface. No sound escapes the eldritch sphere; if Neriah's saying anything, it's unhearable.

DG: Neriah Parringer has used her Tool Manifestation toward her party's challenge, The Rock Bird.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline strolls into the room, looking around curiously. It was a rather...interesting place, certainly. Before she can ponder what all this means, a large stone bird crashes down in front of them. Jacqueline brings an arm up to shield herself from debris, then draws a Crest from her pouch - the earth pillar, of course.

An Ethius melts, and a Jay makes earth pillars. Everyone has their default answer to problems.

"I'll give us some cover!" She shouts, invoking it several times to create enough around the room that they could move safely through Rose's smoke without being left open for too long.

Afterwards, she draws out another bottle of that foul-smelling liquid. With its wind barrage temporarily halted, Jacqueline hurls the bottle at the stone bird then draws another Crest. She invokes it right as the bottle collides with the large bird, sending a bolt of lightning crashing down upon it that also happens to ignite the liquid.

Shehe then glances towards where she heard Rose's voice last.

"I don't think it has to be a mutually exclusive-"

Her words are cut off as she sees Neriah covered in debris.

"Miss Neriah!" She shouts, concerned. The smoke clears and she looks fine...though she appears to be covered in some sort of strange sphere.

Was this another form of her strange power...?

DG: Jacqueline Barber has used her Tool Reliable Repellant toward her party's challenge, The Rock Bird.
<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

Ethius makes up the back of the party heading in - as he tends to.

"Their lack of presence can only lead to one conclusion," he mutters. Whose presence? What conclusion? As others discuss matters of celebrating over dinner once they're out of here, he still seems to be in the thick of some investigation, some train of thought - what is it?

The Stone Bird is adept at derailing a train of thought, raining on a parade, and all sorts of other unfortunate literary cliches appropriate for interrupting a stride as Ethius strikes the butt of his quarterstaff against the ground.

"It is useless to show fear to rocks," he states, "rocks simply await further manipulation by forces outside their control, and little more."

They also scream and dive and fire off razor windblades too, in this instance, but semantics, as Ethius moves into action as he rolls away from a blade of wind that just grazes his cheek.

In this, he introduces another nuance to the array of Symbology he has at his disposal - rather than move to try and melt the stone, Ethius attempts to use the extraneous smoke bomb analogue on his person to instead try and jam the moving joints of the Stone Bird, and greatly reduce its flexibility as to allow the others a better shot at bringing the fight against it.

...

There is a worrying sight that starts to mount, within the haze of the lingering smoke. Anguish. Pain. A young woman's cries - and the unnaturally shaped electricity that peaks through the smoke cover that blots out all sound.

He moves to intercept himself in front of the concerned Jay immediately, interposing himself between the girl touched by unexplainable powers and the merchant alchemist, free hand swept outward as if to say, forcefully, 'step no closer!'

The Rock Bird becomes a secondary concern, possibly to his mortal detriment, as he approaches the stormy shell with an outstretched hand.

DG: Ethius Hesiod has used his Tool Powder Grenade toward his party's challenge, The Rock Bird.
<Pose Tracker> Clarissa Eventide has posed.

The inscrutably mysterious statues garner Claire's immediate attention and admiration, upon arriving in the next chamber. "What could these mean? Who could've built this place? Who -would've- built this place?" She runs her hands along the unknown symbols, trying to gingerly brush away dust in the hopes she might understand this long forgotten people. She falters when she hears the rocks grinding. "B-boulders? More boulders?" Her hand darts away and she backs up, searching for the source of that eery noise.

"What strain of Hellion is this?!" Claire skedaddles towards the safety of the group, deciding not to be completely cut off if and when the monster attacks. Of course, slashing winds don't care too much above a few human obstacles, and they tear her way at frightening speeds. The cutting gale collides against her, and she stumbles back.

Suddenly, she's a dozen feet from the center of that storm, and darkness seems to almost steam at the borders of her silhouette. Scowling angrily, one hand grabs her dress while the other lifts. Palm-up, shadows and darkness rise like smoke from a fire, developing into an inky cloud. The cloud grows almost as large as Claire, and then she tosses the magical emanation like projectile, aiming to wrap around the giant stone bird's head and blind its attacks.

DG: Clarissa Eventide has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward her party's challenge, The Rock Bird.
DG: You have overcome the dungeon's trials! This run is a success!
DG: The party led by Jacqueline Barber has successfully explored Sult Ruins!
========================<* CHALLENGE - A Shining Tablet *>========================
|Type: Discovery   |Dungeon Ability: Discovery |Challenge Rating: 1          | 
----------------------------< Challenge Information: >----------------------------
 There is a bright flash of light, and then words in an unknown language       
 begin to speak. The liquid language flows about the room for a moment, and    
 then a single pillar rises in the center of the room. Upon it is a foot wide  
 circular disk of polished metal, embossed with a single dark opal in the      
 center and a number of rays of light crossing from the outside of the disk    
 to its center. Wrapped among those rays of light are a number of green        
 emerald leaves as well as two marble inlaid images in the shape of two        
 angels - one with ruby inlaid feathers, the other with sapphire. Any          
 inherent message aside, this disk will undoubtedly fetch a good price with    
 the Guild, Ethos, or any of the local kingdoms for its beauty and unusual     
 nature. You should send in a +request regarding this discovery!               
=Dungeon Conditions: Treasure=================================================
<Pose Tracker> Rose has posed.

The Rock Bird fights.

Its buffet of blades stops when it notices it can't see the party anymore. It prepares to swoop in, but Neriah's sudden burst of dark power doesn't just blow it back, it cracks the bird's body quite badly. There are... things under the stone. Wires? Metal plating? It isn't like the technology of the ruin the party saw before. This is someone else's handiwork! But who, that's the question.

The splash of liquid and lightning from the apothecary sets the bird on fire-- if ever you'd wanted to see stone burn, now you can. Then it becomes pinned - Ethius takes more than a crack at its exposed joints, and it's trivial for Clarissa to land that finishing blow. A dark blast to the head blinds the bird completely, and it screeches.

It doesn't go down - it flies up.

Withdraws, from whence it came.

Rose, less surprised than last time by Neriah's burst of power, is about to approach her when the room lights up. It may help calm her (whether we mean Rose or Neriah is up to you), even.

Light floods the room. An ancient language spoken in a female voice, distressed yet flat, like an archive. There's a click, gears grind, and a mechanism dispenses a treasure to the party, an odd disc depicting two angels, inlaid with gems and carved words in some long forgotten language. Unlike the bird, it does seem to belong here.

The lights fade, afterwards. The ambience of the ruins returns, and the party might realize they shouldn't overstay their welcome. Whoever's occupying the ruins might come looking to see who solved its mystery.

Rose ignores the treasure, for once, to reach for Neriah, much like Ethius, and see how she's doing. That power might be useful but damn it's scary. Also she'd like to argue with Ethius about rocks and their inherently evil nature, but maybe another time.

<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

It's as if Neriah has completely separated herself from the battle. Nothing gets through the shell. Debris chases across its face but scatters away as though the eldritch globe were totally solid. Not even sound gets through. Neriah can see Jay's lips moving but she can't hear the words.

The shell is simply impenetrable. As though Neriah's world and the clean world are non-overlapping magisteria.

The sphere is just translucent enough that, even in her huddled state, she can see Ethius moving to interpose himself between herself and Jay, as if to attack her again. Through her arms, curled as they are to clutch her head, Neriah looks up to watch the man. Her face is pale and her breathing is heavy and laboured, sweat beading down her forehead. Her right hand twitches. Through the field, he can clearly see how wide and wild her eyes are, her teeth together. If it wasn't white with pain, it's probably white with fear at this point

She doesn't make any move to stop him. In fact, when Ethius does touch the shield, nothing seems to happen for a couple of seconds. The rest of the party sees the man touch a shield that does not react to him at all. It remains visibly stable, not even sparking.

For Ethius, however. It's something entirely different. It's like touching a live wire. In the space of a nanosecond he'll experience a spark that seems to cut right through to the heart. And then come the images. They come like a tidal wave, pouring into his mind. Into his spirit. they pour into everything there are many faces they scream all the time they scream in the night they always scream there's a happy child and a smiling everything and green grass and the screaming the screaming the screaming with the many voices and it hurts and the fourteen eyes and then someone is taking me by the hand and it is wrong it is wrong it is wrong seven seven seven seven seven seven seven seven seven seVEN SEVEN SEVEN SEVEN SEVEN SEVEN SEVEN SEVEN SEVEN S

The flood suddenly cuts off as Neriah's shield pops out of existence. She gasps and sags backwards, her arms drooping, hands clutching her face. Her eyes are wide through her fingers.

"D-don't hurt me again," she begs Ethius in a small voice.

<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

To look into that man's face again, with the context of a previous encounter, is nothing less chilling. At rest, at alert, intent to assist, intent to harm... the look in his eyes hardly changes. The way he looms, the shadow he seems to cast. The kind of person that the young woman appears to have attracted the... ire? Of.

The tattoos on his body glow for a fraction of a second, a clear intent to channel some manner of spell. Symbology spells, by and large, have the capacity for destruction - not healing.

On contact with the shield, the lights do not dim gradually - they return to their regular coloration 'at rest' on his skin as though they never were alight moments before, as his hand goes to his face.

He looks back to Jay, if not directly. Between his fingers, she can make out one of his eyes - widened to the utmost he can physically manage.

Maybe even a bit beyond that. The single visible eye from underneath the offending hand seems unfocused, reddened, stressed - and shifting its gaze about listlessly, rapidly. Like the eye wants to escape his head entirely.

The quarterstaff is dropped with a loud clatter, and he falls to his knees with an anguished gasp - the kind one didn't think his almost monotone speech would allow him to have.

Blood comes down from his forehead. His fingers are pressing that hard into his own face, as he lies knelt over and this short of being paralyzed outright, as Neriah pleads in her vulnerable fear.

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Finally, they manage to chase the bird off. Once it is gone, however, something happens. Jacqueline spots the treasure and catalogues it in her mind, but her first concern right now is Neriah.

She stores her Crests back in her pouch and rushes past Ethius towards Neriah, leaning down by her side.

"Miss Neriah, are you alright!? Here, I've got a potion..." She says, rummaging through one of her bags for one of the familiar bottles of pale-blue liquid. Now that the barrier was gone she attempts to push the potion into her hands...only to hear behind her Ethius's staff falling to the ground, soon followed by the sound of the man himself falling to his knees.

"Oh, Ethius...!" She shouts, obviously distressed, as she turns to see him practically motionless with blood running down his forehead.

"What happened to you...?" She murmurs, kneeling down by his side. She rummages through her bags, drawing out another potion. She holds it out to him, but...if he's in no state to take it, she's going to have to make him drink it herself.

<Pose Tracker> Clarissa Eventide has posed.

Whether out of greed or curiosity, once the giant stone bird has flown off, Claire heads directly to the strange disc. It looks like it was made to be a reward for their troubles, so why not reward oneself for said inconveniences? More than that, her researcher's mind goes into overdrive once she spots the puzzling artistry on the disc. Like the statues before it, she examines the curious surface while Ethius experiences the nightmare that is Neriah's shield. She carefully rubs the pad of her thumb over the ruby angel feathers in an effort to make sure they're real.

"Wow, everyone. This disc must be worth a fortune!" An amazed shake of her head, "we're going to have the most amazing dinner after this..." She frowns thoughtfully, "I wonder who put it here...and why? And why would it appear like that after the bird fled? Is someone or something watching us?" She looks up at the ceiling half-expectantly. Then she hears someone gasp, and realizes the priceless shiny object wasn't the only important thing going on. Almost reluctantly, she steps away, but her steps quicken upon spotting the nameless man's bleeding forehead and Neriah curled on the ground.

Awkwardly, she notes, "umm." She rubs one of her shoulders uneasily, standing on the periphery like she wants to help but doesn't know the first thing she could do. Neriah's murmured words send a chill down her spine, and she takes a step back without necessarily meaning to.

<Pose Tracker> Rose has posed.

This took a turn for the worse.

With Ethius suddenly wounded and Neriah wimpering on the floor, their escape might be significantly more sluggish than their entry. That could be bad! Like Jacqueline, Rose is quick to produce a bunch of Heal Berries to hand out along with those potions, especially to Ethius, who seems to need them. Then it's to Neriah's side she goes, now that the shield and dark lightning seems to have subsided and calmed.

"Hey there, calm down! There's no one left to hurt you here, you practically obliterated that bird. C'mon, get up, we'll be in a lot of trouble if we linger here too long."

Not the most reassuring of words but it's the best Rose can manage considering she's worried that darkness is going to manifest again and just zap her too.

<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

"Oh no," Neriah gasps as Ethius recoils from her. Whatever she may think of him, she's suddenly seized by some greater fear. She holds her hands out; not a single trace of magic lingers around her anymore, and touching her evokes no spiritual sensation whatsoever.

"N-no, I'm okay," she manages to say to Jay, though it's in great haste because she's scrambling to try and get near Ethius - but she stops before she can get into arm's reach. Her hands hang in front of her, her left hand clutching her right and wringing it with restrained anguish. Tears run freely down her cheeks. "No, no, no," she breathes, watching the man bleed, then glancing to one side, then the other, then back to Jay, then at Ethius again. Her lower lip hangs open half an inch.

Then she closes it. Pain still roils through her, but it's fading. It's still enough that she can't hide the conflict behind her eyes.

One side wins out. "Please help him," she urges Jay. "I didn't mean for him to be hurt...."

As Rose moves in beside her, she finds Neriah flopping against her shoulder for support. "I'm sorry," she manages again. "I didn't... I didn't think he'd try to touch it. I didn't know it'd do that."

<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

So, this strange man's name appears to be 'Ethius.' There doesn't seem to be any 'Ethius' figure in any notable records or what have you, but that's something anyone curious would be learning about him today.

"Seven." The number is repeated in a quiet voice in response - or as a lack of response - spoken in a far more distinct monotone that is notable even against the familiarity Jay has with the way he speaks to begin with. He has yet to blink, the lingering dust flitting about the air tickling and irritating his eyes to its innocent amusement against horrified, fearful eyes.

His gaze is distant, as though unable to perceive what exactly is going on around it (or to it, in case of dust getting in his eyes). Blood continues to go down his face as his hand presses ever further against it.

He doesn't appear as though he'll be able to move again under his own power, whatever it is that just transpired between himself and the adventurer visited by a most worrisome, unknown power.

<Pose Tracker> Rose has posed.

"It's okay! We've GOT to find someone who knows more about that if it keeps happening... has to be someone who can help you control it. I mean, wow! It's... really powerful, and that's twice now it comes in handy, but if you can't control it and it hurts others, well -" Rose hms, thoughtfully, supporting Neriah up as others tend to Ethius.

"Look, there's no use moping! What you have to do is be resolute! You say, I'm gonna find out more about how that works so this doesn't happen again, and then you do it! ... but I don't really know who you could ask. I've never seen anything like it before." She almost wants to suggest K.K., since the Trial Knight always seems to know everything.

But she doesn't hate Neriah, so she doesn't.

<Pose Tracker> Clarissa Eventide has posed.

Claire absent-mindedly takes Rose' offered berries, but they just sit uselessly in her hand. Instead, she continues to stand there super awkwardly, staring at Neriah and her clear anguish. The crying makes it even worse, still hovering pointlessly at the edge of the group. Swallowing hard, she decides to at least do something. The tension in her shoulders eases the instant she turns her back on Neriah and starts for the disc again. Ignorant of the fact she's still clutching the berries, she opens her bag and unwinds a white sheet. A few crumbs cling to the fabric, but she shakes it out until it looks at least mostly clean. Finally noticing the berries, she drops them into said bag, before bending over to cradle the disc off the pillar. There. That's something she can do. Gripping the disc to her chest, she returns to the group at a painfully sluggish pace, pointedly glancing away from Neriah's face. Softly, she says, "w-we...we should probably get going..."

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

"Sorry, this might hurt a little..." Jacqueline mutters. She considered pouring the liquid down his throat, but then she recalls that he tended to apply curatives as a salve, rather than ingesting them. She doesn't know if there was an actual reason for this beyond Ethius being...well, Ethius, but she removes one of her gloves and stores them in one of her bags before pouring some of the liquid inside on her fingers and applying it to where he seemed to be bleeding.

With that said she moves in, trying to maneuver him so that she could transport him out. It didn't seem like he was exactly...conscious of what was going around him right now.

"Borrowing this." She mutters, picking up Ethius's quarterstaff and using it to help stand up. She'd need it, if she was going to support the both of them. She then nods toward Clarissa.

"Yeah. I've...done all I can do for him right now. The best thing to do now would be to find someplace safer...for both of them." She agrees.

Who knew when more trouble would show up?

<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

"N-no, it should only hurt me and the monsters," Neriah explains to Rose with a hot blush. "And I-- I know what it is. It's symbological... a-a very rare symbol I learned. It trades life energy for power. I... I don't like to use it unless I need to."

She bites her bottom lip and looks away, rubbing the inside of her right arm with her left hand. She's silent for several long seconds. Then Ethius begins repeating the number seven.

Her eyes darken, and she looks down into her lap, pressing her hands to her face.

With some effort, she steps forward. Kneeling by Jacqueline, she attempts to help Ethius as well, though she's obviously pretty weak in her own right. Her chin ends up perilously close to the side of his face for a couple of seconds before she moves it away, lips parted ever so slightly. Then she turns her gaze back to Clarissa.

"...You found some treasure...?"

<Pose Tracker> Rose has posed.

It only hurts monsters?

Is that a statement that Ethius isn't human, or a statement that Neriah isn't in control despite her claims? Rose wants to press this, but thinks better than to make a scene in the depths of some ruins they really, really need to leave.

"Some tablet. It's probably worth a fortune but I figure before any of us sell it we should probably see if it's special. The way the room lit up and that thing was hidden tells me it probably isn't just a piece of art that goes in a museum." What it is, though, is beyond her to figure out. Her expertise is being able to tell how much it's worth at a glance, and stabbing people. Maybe Sorey's overhyped book has answers?

Or any of the others here, for that matter!

"Hey, Claire! You'll have to show that tablet to the Shepherd, he's going to love it. I swear if it's older than about a hundred years he'll find ANYTHING interesting, so imagine showing him a REAL treasure!" Also it's an excuse to get Sorey to owe Rose one.

<Pose Tracker> Clarissa Eventide has posed.

Claire nods to Neriah's question, letting the cloth fall far enough to display half the sapphire-winged angel. Hesitantly, she ventures, "it...it's really strange. It's probably worth a king's ransom, but I didn't just find it. It rose up from the ground like it was there on purpose, and the bird had a reason for being here too. Like we were meant to have it or something." She covers the disc back up in the cloth, "but I'm not about to leave it here out of simple superstition and fear. I'm taking it home." Another nod to Rose, "we need to examine it before even thinking of selling it. Besides, if we try selling something like this wholesale, we'll only get a knife to the gut for our troubles." At Rose' suggestion, she blinks, and then grins. "I know! I'll show it to your Sorey, and if he's anything like the Shepherd of legend, maybe I can give it to him for working with Leo. Then we'll save the world in no time."

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline nods.

"I'd like to take a look as well...after we get out of here, that is. I think it'd be worth recording the pertinent details in my notebook." She says...with a little effort, since it's not easy for her to carry Ethius. Neriah helps somewhat, but it is with no small amount of difficulty that the two of them start to drag Ethius towards the nearest exit.

Despite this little...speed bump...at least they weren't leaving the ruins empty-handed. They found something, which would've only made it even worse if they had been forced to leave here in this state even without having anything shiny to fawn over.

And they still had dinner to look forward to later, too! ...If any of them were still in the mood for it after this.

Still, later on once the shock wore off Jacqueline would consider this expedition a success, if a...rather trying one.

Ethius Hesiod says, "Seven."