2017-06-19: A Panel Of Berries (Side A)

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This scene happens alongside 2017-06-19: A Panel Of Berries (Side 1) and concludes in 2017-06-19: A Panel Of Berries (Ending).

=================================<* Berry Cave *>=================================

The Berry Cave once held an underground grove, where the curative berries found throughout Filgaia grew. However, monsters moved inside of it, which made the cave dangerous. The tenders of the Berry Cave relocated to Surf Village, located nearby. Since then, the cave has become a nest of the monsters known as Wels. The locals advise against entering these cavernous depths, but nonetheless, the Berry Cave's namesake lures people in: those berries still grow on vines in the depths and sell for a pretty penny.

BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C55flOnlXMg
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: Rose has created a party! To join, type +party/reset and then type +party/join Rose.
DG: Seraph Ragnell has left your party.
DG: Seraph Ragnell has joined your party!
DG: Neriah Parringer has joined your party!
DG: Ida Everstead-Rey has joined your party!
DG: Alisha Diphda has joined your party!
DG: A party led by Rose is now entering Berry Cave.
DG: Party formation is now over. An Entry Challenge will now be drawn and displayed to the party.
=======================<* CHALLENGE - Militia Checkpoint *>=======================
|Type: Entry       |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 1          | 
----------------------------< Challenge Information: >----------------------------
 One of the local men from Surf Village is assigned to watch the entrance of   
 the Berry Cave. He has been told to not let anyone pass -- especially those   
 Drifters. But, he seems to be dozing off, and he is certainly bored. Maybe    
 you can find a way past?                                                      
=Dungeon Conditions: Tire=====================================================
<Pose Tracker> Rose has posed.

It was finally time to return to the Berry Cave.

A large (10!) team of Drifters had been assembled, with for purpose to get Ida, Emma, or ideally both, to the panel at the end of the cave, complete with the tools they would need to analyze and repair it. That was one of the reasons for needing so many people, to help carry the bags and tools. Also because Rose was worried there might still be big nasty things down there.

You never know.

The parties would be entering separately but regrouping at the end of the cave, hopefully. This had a lot of potential to go wrong, but it also maximized the chance of getting the two scientists to the end.

Rose leads her half of the Drifters to the entrance now, though from afar, using bushes and trees as cover, they find that Mister Guard, diligent, is at his post. He is sleepy, as he ever is. At his feet is a book about strange and legendary birds, and behind him is a hunting rifle. He's been waiting quite a while for that accursed many-voiced bird to come back, and this time he's ready for it.

Rose looks towards the group, expecting the same approach as before. "Alright, I guess we'll just... make bird noises and watch him go off on a hunt again, since we don't have the Trial Knight here to scare him off." Let's save Neriah being scary for the end. Or for never, it's very scary.

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

A part of Neriah is glad she got the chance to go along with Rose again. She's no technician, but the mystery box within the Berry Cave had made her curious - and more than that, the fact that Rose seems okay with having her on the team, after being exposed to her a couple times, is a nice change from the ordinary.

Adjusting her hat, she slides along behind Rose, keeping to the tree cover for now. Lifting her hands, she holds her hands up to her mouth as Rose suggests bird noises again.

Then she frowns, giving Rose a considering look. "I don't know, I'm not sure the bird noises were going to work the first time," she murmurs, scratching at the back of her neck with one hand. "I think there might be a way to do this without the Trial Knight being along for the ride." Moving within the bushes, she eases forward a little.

She clenches her right hand into a talon shape.

Then she uses it to brush aside some foliage. Scooting away from the party, she gains a bit of distance. Several seconds tick by.

Then she bursts out of the undergrowth, screaming and cupping her hands over her face as she runs towards the guards. "Mister, you gotta help, you gotta help!" she sobs as she throws herself at the guard's feet, wrapping her arms around his leg and clinging on. "The Trial Knight's coming, the Trial Knight! The horrible guy from Lahan! He's coming to chop off my legs, mister! You gotta help! Please!!"

DG: Neriah Parringer has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Militia Checkpoint.
<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

Ida was informed that there was an electrical gadget somewhere in the Berry Cave, and as one of a handful of people on Ignas who have any clue what electrical engineering is, she has been recruited. Therefore, she has returned once again to the site of the Berry Cave, where she crouches next to Rose. She's wearing a wide-brimmed tan hat, and a dust-colored poncho over her usual expedition clothing.

"They keep sending the same man out here," Ida murmurs. "Whatever did he do to earn this?" She reaches for her mother's journal, flips to one of the pages she's written her own notes on, and compares the current state of the entrance with her notes. Trial Knight? Ida's eyes widen a little. Neriah just kind of rushes forwards, which is either a welcome distraction or a serious issue. "There should be a natural flue by that large outcropping," Ida says, gesturing at part of the cliff.

DG: Ida Everstead-Rey has used her Tool Flora's Notebook toward her party's challenge, Militia Checkpoint.
<Pose Tracker> Alisha Diphda has posed.

"So many people came..." Princess Alisha Diphda murmurs, as she walks after Rose. She pauses behind her, and then looks past her -- over her shoulder and at the guard. She frowns, and then she looks sideways at Neriah. "I could try, at least, but--"

But then Neriah bursts out of the bushes and screams. Alisha gasps, before she looks back at Ida, and pulls out her copy of the Celestial Record. She looks at it, until she stops at a page with sketches of cliff faces. She shakes her head quickly. "We should--we should hurry. Where you indicated!"

And, indeed, she moves quickly towards the flue that Ida indicated. Hopefully, Neriah's distraction holds?

DG: Alisha Diphda has used her Tool Celestial Record toward her party's challenge, Militia Checkpoint.
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Ragnell has posed.

The last time Ragnell was at the Berry Cave, her pickings were... slim, at best. What she got, she soon used up during her runs back and forth into Adlehyde during the Metal Demon attack. She's been hither and yon of late, and since she hasn't seen Sorey or his friends in a while, she figured she'd drop by Adlehyde to see what's up. She arrived just in time to find Rose and Alisha assembling a massive party of Drifters, and after asking Alisha what the deal was, agreed to come help, out of the goodness of her heart.

That's her story and she's stickin' to it.

Either way, with the teams broken into two to start, it means more ground for each of them to cover. However, to start, they still have to get past the guard--and it's that same guard, on the verge of falling asleep again. Or maybe it's a different, very similarly-attituded human. Ragnell shakes her head either way. "Why d'they even bother havin' anyone out here?" she wonders to no one in particular.

But Operation: Bird Noises seems to be the plan since there's no Trial Knight to make the guard run for the hills, until Neriah takes it upon herself to invoke the Trial Knight by running up to the guard and screaming about them. Ragnell laughs outright. "She's either brilliant or an idiot," she remarks, amused. "Well then, good luck with that flue. I'mma take care o' me. Catch y'all on the inside."

Then she does what she has since figured she should've done from the first time she came this-a-ways: she just walks up to the cave mouth and past the guard, relying wholly on her invisibility-to-most-humans to do so without any problem or effort. She winks at Neriah as she passes by.

DG: Seraph Ragnell has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Militia Checkpoint.
DG: The party led by Rose 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.

"What? The Trial... wait, you don't mean the one in white armor, do you?" Mister Guard asks Neriah, squinting at her. "... yeah, sorry kiddo, I'm on break. Good luck though!" He picks up his book, his rifle, and promptly decides he doesn't need to be here right this moment.

By using the flue that Ida points out, the group can completely avoid notice even as the guard walks near them, leaving his post. Ragnell, obviously, need not be concerned about any such thing. And so, the party enters the dreaded Berry Cave, breaking no sweat.

Rose grins at Alisha as they do so. "Of course! Who do you take me for, some second-rate merchant who can't establish connections? Dear princess! Seventy-five percent of the job is getting to know people and then getting them on your side! The other twenty-five is figuring out what they REALLY want to buy from you, eheh."

A beat, and then: "Also who wouldn't want to be friends with this lovely face~?" She uses both of her thumbs to point at herself. Classy!

Then she shrugs at Ida. "It works in our favor. Maybe we should just befriend him so we don't have to keep fooling the same guy every time we want in."

DG: Neriah Parringer has drawn a new Challenge.
========================<* CHALLENGE - Poison Berries *>=========================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >----------------------------
 The curative berries that give this place its namesake are why many brave     
 the depths of the Berry Cave. Some bright blue berries gleam, tantalizingly.  
 They look like Potion Berries, the stronger of the two sorts of berries       
 found here. But something about them is different...                          
=Dungeon Conditions: Injure===================================================
<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

Neriah may be BOTH brilliant and an idiot. Sometimes there's not much of a dividing line.

Out of the corner of her eye, she spots a new friend with her group, but she's busy right now distracting the guard. Namely, by clinging to his leg and feigning sobs. When the guard books it, she gasps and stares up at him. "Nooooooo," she moans, wilting to the ground and crying weakly as he gets as far away as he can.

As soon as he's out of sight and earshot, though, she sits up from the waist, adjusts her hat, and nods towards the group. "It's okay now," she calls as she moves to rejoin the team. "And hey, I see we picked up someone else." To this she smiles warmly back at Ragnell. "Nice to see you again, the dead. How's it going? Bored in the graveyard today?"

Still assuming Ragnell's a ghost but seemingly finding nothing odd about it, Neriah ducks into the cave, pursing her lips as she dips past a low-hanging stalactite. Soon enough, berries begin to come into view. Fat blue little berries bud from vines creeping down the walls of a broad chamber, sitting tantalyzingly within plain view.

Setting her hands at her hips, Neriah squints at the berries. "On the one hand, those look pretty juicy," she observes. "On the other hand, they might be poison. So." Turning, she flicks a hand up to her forehead, nodding to Ragnell gravely. "I need you two to do me a favour. If I eat this and die, show me how to become a ghost so I can be the dead just like you."

Without so much as blinking, she reaches for a berry and pops it into her mouth, chewing experimentally.

DG: Neriah Parringer has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Poison Berries.
<Pose Tracker> Alisha Diphda has posed.

"Y-You did do an amazing job of reaching out to people, Rose," Alisha says. She looks at Rose's face when she motions to herself, her smile screwing up into something awkward -- and she faintly flushes, before she looks to the side. "I'm glad."

She comes to a stop as they get inside the cave -- and Alisha pauses, when she spies the berries. Then, she looks up at Neriah. "Maybe--maybe you should--"

She has the Celestial Record open. It doesn't matter, for a book can't stop Neriah from biting into the blue berry. She sighs. "...wait." She flips open the book, and then peers down at a few pages, before she looks up. "We should check these for spots or discoloration! They could be, ah, they could be poison! It may be best to wait!"

DG: Alisha Diphda has used her Tool Celestial Record toward her party's challenge, Poison Berries.
<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

Neriah pauses juuuuust as her teeth begin to close around the berry. She tilts her head as Alisha explains how to spot a poison berry.

As the princess tells the tale, Neriah pops her tongue out of her mouth. The berry perches on the tip of it.

"Ohay," she agrees. Then she waits.

As the checking begins, the dark-haired girl stays still for a moment. Then, in spite of herself, rolls the berry around on her tongue.


<Pose Tracker> Rose has posed.

Who is Neriah talking to?

Oh. Oh no.

Rose turns pale. Ragnell is used to it by now.

"D-Don't tell me there's a gh... a gh... a gh-ghost with us?!" Or a Seraphim. Actually, Rose is wise enough at this point to suspect it before anything else.

"Damnit, why are they always following ME around, like there's no one more interesting out there..." She is definitely less fiesty now. The sight of all those berries is only a marginal improvement to the situation, and Rose grabs a handful, not thinking twice about it. She is far, far too distracted by the fact there is a GHOST in the party for the nth time now. So distracted in fact that there is half a handful of berries in her mouth by the time Alisha speaks up.

Rose pauses awkwardly, not chewing anymore. "... oh. Oh no." A huff, a puff, and: "T-This is your fault, stupid ghost! I can't think straight with you people always invisibling yourselves in my life!" That's a verb alright.

DG: Rose has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Poison Berries.
<Pose Tracker> Alisha Diphda has posed.

"ROSE," Alisha snaps. Her face is redder now.

<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

Neriah pauses in mid-rero. The berry falls off her tongue.

"I don't know, I think she's a cool ghost," she puts in.

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Ragnell has posed.

Ragnell snorts in contempt as the guard decides that right now is a great time to scarper off onto his break, but otherwise continues her inward stride without breaking pace, meeting up with the others inside when they emerge from the flue. She meanders on over towards Rose and Alisha, winks at Alisha over Rose's head, grin growing wide at the sight of Alisha's faint blush, and teases, "Yeah, Princess, who wouldn't want to get cozy with *this* lovely face~?"

She looks back over at Neriah. "Always," she says gravely, red eyes twinkling. "There's no afterlife like the wanderin' restless dead." Onwards they go, until vines with fat little berries come into view. Neriah asks Ragnell a favor, and Ragnell frowns. "You don't actually have to--"

Annnnd that's Neriah deciding the best way to check for poison is to just shove these dumb berries directly into her mouth, and Rose deciding that the best anti-ghost stress is more or less the same. Ragnell gives them both a look that exquisitely conveys the sentiment of 'how dumb ARE you?'; then she pulls out her personal fan and uses its breeze to move aside the foliage on the vines while Alisha checks in the Celestial Record for any relevant entries.

"A while back, I learned from Ida there--" she finger-guns at Ida and makes a *ka-click* noise with her mouth-- "that Heal Berries have thorns at the very edge of the vine, near the berry itself. And these--don't!" She leans back, putting away her fan, and gives Neriah and Rose a flat look. "Y'all are eatin' poison. Alisha, tell Rose I'm happy to claim the blame for any cute girl not thinkin' straight, but she needs to spit it out, dumbass." This last bit is added, helpfully and additionally, towards Neriah.

DG: Seraph Ragnell has used her Tool Portable Fan toward her party's challenge, Poison Berries.
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Ragnell has posed.

After a beat, Ragnell adds thoughtfully, "Poison, or explosives. Either or, and either way."

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

Ida manages to get through the flue with a minimum of fuss, though she does have to take off her hat and crawl for part of it. Once she's on the other side, she brushes dirt off her poncho, rises, and looks around. Ida's first reaction to the berries is to frown, and to set her lantern down so she can cross-reference some previous notes.

"No thorns on the portion of the stem before the calyx," Ida murmurs. She glances over at where she thinks Ragnell is, as the Seraph repeats her observation. "Because that's not how these berries defend themselves from predators--" Like Neriah and Rose! Ida's eyes widen a little in shock, but to her credit, she reacts quickly. "Spit those out!" she cries. "Immediately! These things almost felled a Metal Demon!"

DG: Ida Everstead-Rey has used her Tool Flora's Notebook toward her party's challenge, Poison Berries.
DG: The party led by Rose has passed this challenge! The party gained 26 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.

Neriah is in the process of stooping to pick up the berry she dropped then Ida cuts her off with a cry of absolute terror. Blinking, she holds the berry up. It has some dirt clinging to it. "So they're lethal Metal Demon-killing berries?" she asks with a frown. "That's kind of...."

With a shrug, she tosses the berry over her shoulder. "Okay. I don't want to explode. Let's move on," she says agreeably as she begins to turn.

Only for the berry she tossed away to ping off the cave wall and bounce back to hit the brim of her hat, then pop her in the eye. She squeaks and cups her hand over her eye. "Hey, ow, that's not fair, I didn't eat it, come on!" she shouts at the berry vines before giving one of them a kick.

She succeeds mainly in tying her foot up in the vine. Muttering venomously, Neriah shakes her leg out as she fights to extricate herself from the vine.

The rest of the party gets the privilege of looking on in your choice of wonder, horror or amusement.

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

"Zed devoured at least two fistfuls," Ida says, to Neriah. "And was almost rendered unconscious before we dragged him out."

DG: Seraph Ragnell has drawn a new Challenge.
======================<* CHALLENGE - Water-Slicked Path *>======================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 1          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 The underground rivers of the Berry Cave make some pathways treacherous       
 indeed. Here, one has crossed the path. The water is only ankle high, but it  
 has made the ground slick in the extreme. A slip could cause a twisted ankle  
 -- or worse, send one sliding over the edge of the nearby pathway.            
=Dungeon Conditions: Slow=====================================================
<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

Neriah curses - something about Valmar's mother's posterior - and jerks her foot out of the vine.

"I only barely know who this Zed is," she admits, "but he sounds 'precious.'"

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

Ida just nods.

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Ragnell has posed.

"That's Zed for ya," Ragnell remarks to Ida, watching Neriah kick at the vines and curse with amusement. "Well, if y'all are ready to not die an' all..." Once everyone's collected themselves, the group moves onwards past the deceptive vines--and hopefully, if they come across something similar again, they'll be wise enough to defer to Ida's inspection this time--and down a gently sloping pathway. The further along they go, the louder the sound of water becomes, and the slicker and mossier the stones grow until at last there's a shallow river ahead. 'Shallow,' anyway; it's only ankle-deep where it crosses the pathway, and the rest of the area it goes back to 'deep.'

Ragnell puffs out a faint sigh to see it, shaking her head once. Then, leisurely and carefully, she begins to cross. This might freak out Rose further, who has to see tracks form in the water without any visible source. Or maybe Rose will be used to it already by now? Either way, she says aloud, "Someone ask Rose for me why she hasn't had her Seraphim Goggles put on yet. I'd figured for *sure* she'd have started towards that by now. Maybe I overestimated her?" She pauses, then grins at those who can see her. "Tell her I said that, too."

DG: Seraph Ragnell has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Water-Slicked Path.
<Pose Tracker> Rose has posed.

It seems that with all her luck, not only did Rose eat just the right mix of actual heal berries along with the poisonous ones to counteract the poisons, but she also spit the rest out in time that she didn't keel over dead. She kind of laughs nervously, grinning sheepishly at Alisha and Ida. "Sorry, ghosts make me really nervous and I don't think as well when I'm nervous. I guess we didn't come here to eat or collect berries, anyway!"

Metal Demon-felling berries, though? And who's Zed? ... she's heard that name before. Wait! That was that... the guy screaming at the expo! About dragons and their heritage and... oh yeah. Right. He seemed kind of harmless for a Metal Demon, compared to, say... Kalve.

Or the dragons.

A sigh, and Rose grabs her composure by the throat and forces it back into shape. Mostly. Enough that, upon seeing the familiar watery path, she pulls her rope and hook out, swings it forward, and has a nice rope set up for the party to advice without fear of slipping within moments.

Don't pay attention to the footprints in the water.

Don't pay attention to the footprints in the water.

Don't pay attention to the AKSJFDASKa Rose flips out.

"You're doing that on purpose! You could just fly over the water, admit it! D-Damnit, Ragnell, is that you?!" Fair guess.

DG: Rose has used her Tool Grapple Hook toward her party's challenge, Water-Slicked Path.
<Pose Tracker> Alisha Diphda has posed.

"Zed is... that sounds like him," Alisha says with a frown. She follows after -- in Ragnell's wake, though her hand is ready to go to her spear. She knows this cave has threats within, after all. She frowns, though, as they get down to the moving water that she knows well -- and has slipped in before. She frowns, before she nods to and steps in carefully.

"Ragnell," she says, "please don't taunt Rose. She is trying to work on it, but it takes time, and--"

She starts talking as soon as Rose yells -- and she almost stumbles off it. But then she grabs onto Rose's line -- and looks over her shoulder. She smiles back at Ida. "Miss Ida, are you holding up all right? We could definitely use your help."

DG: Alisha Diphda has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Water-Slicked Path.
<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

"Yeah. I'm... I'm fairly okay with not dying," Neriah says with a huff, fully extricating herself from the vine and slumping along after Ragnell. It's with a slightly deflated look and a slump to her shoulders. So much for looking cool in front of the spooky ghost.

Soon enough, the group finds that shallow stream, and Neriah blinks a time or two. "Oh. I remember here. Be careful, it's really slippery," she advises, reaching back and pulling out her shovel. Not that digging the water will do much good.

Instead Neriah Digs the blade into the rocks beneath the water, using it as an anchor. Once she's got her footing, she slides the shovel out and buries it in the loose stone and muck again, using it to steady her as she guides herself forward with careful steps. "You'd think I'd get better shoes by now," she grumbles.

Then Rose throws her grappling line and Neriah just stares at it with a visible pout.

"Hey Rose," she calls out. "Our spooky ghost pal wants to know where your Seraphim Goggles are."

In mid-stream, Neriah pauses, blinking, then frowning at Rose. "...You mean you can't see her?"

DG: Neriah Parringer has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Water-Slicked Path.
<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

Ida reaches out to Neriah, offering her a hand as she extracts herself from the vines. Once that's dealt with, she offers Rose her canteen. "Take a drink, swish it around your mouth, and spit it out. Don't swallow." Presumably Rose does this before she sees the ghost walking through the water, because if not, oh man

Ida is less freaked out than she should be. She actually appreciates knowing where Ragnell is, and observes the way the water just kind of flows around invisible ankles. "Ragnell, yes," Ida says. She takes the rope and follows after Rose, keeping one eye on the jittery merchant for signs of panic. "I'm holding up," Ida says. "I agree, it's very classically him. Once, we were in Leck, and we took a wrong turn and ended up on the tracks. Everyone else got out of the way, but Zed... ran on top of the train."

DG: Ida Everstead-Rey has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Water-Slicked Path.
DG: The party led by Rose has passed this challenge! The party gained 27 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> Seraph Ragnell has posed.

Well isn't Neriah a pal, passing on the message for her? Seems like she's just now realizing Rose can't see Ragnell, either. Ragnell raises an eyebrow over at her momentarily, before focusing forward and chuckling at Rose's yelling after she hurls a grappling hook across to the other side so everyone has a lifeline to grab hold of. "It's totally me, but I'm a Lightning Seraph, not a Wind Seraph. I can't fly at will. ...Someone be a pal an' translate that to Rose for me." Not that Wind Seraphim can necessarily do that either, though they can at least ride on the wind some.

Alisha meanwhile follows up behind her, using Rose's rope to cross, and chides Ragnell for taunting Rose. "There's no point in coddling her either, Princess. You don't get stronger by someone holdin' your hand," she replies, and Alisha might be surprised to hear that Ragnell says that as if giving her a serious answer as opposed to sneering at *her* in turn. "An' Rose is the type to fight harder outta spite." She smiles. "A little tauntin' might be the fire under her ass she needs." A snort at Ida's story of Zed and the train. "Surprised he didn't just headbutt it," she says dryly.

As the first to start crossing, Ragnell's the first to make it to the other side. Once on the opposite shore, she turns and waits for the others to make it across, too--she even offers a hand to anyone who might stumble at the last second to pull them up. Everyone will get across... mmmmmore or less safely in the end, though some might end up more soaked than others.

DG: Alisha Diphda has drawn a new Challenge.
========================<* CHALLENGE - Twisting Paths *>========================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 1          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 The paths leading through the Berry Cave are many and twisted. Carved from    
 water long ago, they don't always lead in straight lines. Case in point, as   
 you round the bend, you enter a familiar room. A very familiar room. You're   
 sure that you've been here before... but did you take the right or left fork  
 when you entered? How would you be sure?                                      
=Dungeon Conditions: Bad Luck=================================================
<Pose Tracker> Alisha Diphda has posed.

"It--it happens," Alisha says to Neriah. "I could not until recently, and--ah!"

She stumbles -- and very nearly trips into the river entirely. Instead, she slides down to a rock and gets soaked to her waist. She yelps, before she drags herself up and shivers. She is dripping wet when she steps out of the river, and onto the other side. She frowns at Ragnell, before she looks down. "...Still. Some encouragement wouldn't hurt, either."

She stumbles up, then, and then she pushes ahead -- and walks through a narrow pathway. It winds around and they can hear the rush of water, as they do. And, as it curves around, they come face to face with some vines, with glistening blue berries on them.

Alisha's eyebrow quivers. Very familiar blue berries.

She pulls out her Celestial Record and flips it open, to where she took some notes -- and has a rudimentary map sketched. "This is..."

DG: Alisha Diphda has used her Tool Celestial Record toward her party's challenge, Twisting Paths.
<Pose Tracker> Rose has posed.

Rose did not in fact follow Ida's instructions until shortly before spotting Ragnell, and underwent a mix of almost choking on the water and spittaking it out in anger. At least, once they're out of the water, she doesn't have to deal with the footprints and splashes of water. She still KNOWS Ragnell is there, so she's still thoroughly spooked, but it's less pressing when she can't actively tell.

Though Ragnell is right that Rose thrives under pressure. It is, after all, getting run through by the Trial Knight that made her ask Sorey to open her eyes. Funny how that worked on Alisha too. Getting stabbed is evidently healthy for you in the long run.

Rose glances over Alisha's shoulder, to look at her map, when she notices they've wound up in a similar room. "Huh? That can't be right, we followed the same path as last time. Hey, let's have the Seraph taste the berries, if they're poisonous we'll know for sure we went the wrong way, if they're not this is a new room!" Spiteful? Rose? Perish the thought.

But if she COULD glare at Ragnell, right now, she would.

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

Neriah took Ida's hand and accepted the woman's help in de-vining. She answered the help with a smile.

Now she's got water to deal with. Her feet slip a little; she stumbles but catches herself with a huff, digging her shovel in more firmly. "Damn it," she mutters. Righting herself, she finally just grabs ahold of Rose's grappling hook and reels herself in.

She pauses at the end and pouts slightly. "Aw. You mean you're not really the dead?" she asks with a touch of disappointment. It disappears quickly, and she flashes Ragnell a simple smile. "That's alright. I definitely need to ask you what a Seraph is, though. I've never seen someone like you before."

Finally she emerges from the water. With a heavy breath, she looks back to Alisha, nodding quietly. "I think there's a lot about you Lunar people I just don't know yet. Maybe we should talk," she suggests midlly before starting after the princess -

And into the berry room. Neriah opens her mouth, then closes it again. "This stupid room," she huffs, stuffing her hands into her pockets.

Leaning over to Alisha, she checks the young woman's map as well. Then she slinks away, dropping into a crouch. With careful, gloved fingers, she begins to move vines around.

"I see some footprints," she murmurs. "I think we went... that way...?"

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

Ida runs into a bit of trouble in the form of a rock covered in some sort of bacterial mat. She sets a foot down on it, and the moment she puts weight on it, it slips, skids, and almost slides out from under her. Ida steadies herself, gripping the rope with white knuckles, but her ankle bends in a way that is not strictly within its range of motion. She does her best to hobble to the other side, wincing, wondering if her right shoulder is going to join in the fun.

"Miss Rose," Ida says, giving the merchant a calm, level look. "We still have much ground to cover." She goes for her own notebook as Alisha does, returning to the maps she's sketched of the cave. "The path forks," Ida murmurs. "I believe we took the wrong one at the branch before the river."

DG: Neriah Parringer has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Twisting Paths.
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Ragnell has posed.

"Then you can handle the encouragement," Ragnell tells Alisha, "an' I'll handle the ass-fire." She grins. "'s'more my style, anyway. Besides, it's not like I can taunt her if nobody tells her what I'm sayin', right?" She shrugs. Maybe no one translated this time around, but whatever, because: "So it's a total non-issue."

To Neriah, she says brightly, "Nope! Never did say I was a ghost. You disappointed?" A raised eyebrow Neriah's way; then a smile. "A Seraph's like a high-density ghost crossed with an elemental spirit. Dying first optional. We're Lunar natives, too." Since that is apparently a thing Neriah knows about, judging by how she talks.

Onwards they move, and back they are at the berry room. Ragnell raises an eyebrow at the vines, then looks forward to the other branches. Hmmm. While the others check their maps and books and footprints, Ragnell circles around until she approaches the vines from how she remembers they originally did. "Let's see--we came in from this direction, so--we oughtta go *this* way," she declares firmly, turning in the correct direction and walking.

It doesn't matter that not everyone else can see her. *Some* of them can, and to her, that's more than good enough. Let's hope she re-aligned herself correctly.

DG: Seraph Ragnell has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Twisting Paths.
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Ragnell has posed.

"Also, I'm not stupid enough to just shove unknown berries in my mouth, *Rose*," Ragnell adds, for anyone to translate or not.

DG: Ida Everstead-Rey has used her Tool Flora's Notebook toward her party's challenge, Twisting Paths.
DG: The party led by Rose has passed this challenge! The party gained 7 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> Alisha Diphda has posed.

"Mm..." Alisha looks down, but nods once to Ragnell.

And then she looks up, as the Seraph -- with the help of the others -- starts down another path. She nods, and then closes her book with a snap. She slides it back into her bag, as they start down the path. Alisha looks back over her shoulder. "Hopefully, this will lead the right way," she says, as she rounds the corner.

And, sure enough, a new path forward opens up. Alisha smiles, before she quickens her pace. "I think this is different! This place be something of a maze, can't it?" the princess asks, before she rounds the next corner, only to find--

DG: Ida Everstead-Rey has drawn a new Challenge.
========================<* CHALLENGE - Crate Barrier *>=========================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 1          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 Sometimes, Surf Village's militia tries to block people from entering         
 certain sections of the Berry Cave. From floor to ceiling, they have piled    
 heavy wooden crates up. They aren't empty, though - rocks, abandoned          
 material, and more make these heavy and hard to deal with.                    
=Dungeon Conditions: Stupify==================================================
<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

Crates. Lots and lots of crates. They're just kind of jammed into the passage every which way, and reinforced with wooden beams. It's not the best long-term arrangement, but it's a formidable obstacle.

Ida lets out a breath, which mists in the cold cave air, and approaches the barrier. "Why don't we make a hole," Ida suggests, "and then Ragnell can use one of her electrical devices? We can deal with whatever's left more easily, and the crates should insulate the ceiling from the blast." It's damp enough in here that they won't catch fire, hopefully. That said, Ida starts pulling junk out of the center of the barrier. Notably, she is not struggling nearly as much as she used to.

DG: Ida Everstead-Rey has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Crate Barrier.
<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

"Not that much... I've run into ghosts before and most of them are jerks. You're not, though," Neriah says with a wry smile towards Lunar. Her head ducks ever so slightly as the invisible woman explains a little about the origins of the Seraphs. "I'd never thought the Moon could be a place people lived... that's still really incredible to me."

Pushing aside another vine, Neriah squints off into the distance, biting down to her lower lip. "That's the way," she agrees as she tracks along behind Alisha. She flashes the blonde woman a little smile. "Yeah... caves are often like that. But you got us on the right path! Thanks a lot."

Crates loom in the path ahead. Neriah wets her lips as she realizes just how far up the crate heap goes. "Welp. That's probably workable. Let me help you out," she offers Ida as she fishes her shovel out from the loop it rides in on her backpack.

Clambering up onto one crate, she takes the shovel in both hands. She doesn't look all that strong - she's a little lighter than Ida, in some ways - but the hardware helps. With a few quick jabs of the shovel head, she breaks open one side of the crate, then sets to work shoveling stones and debris out. "Look out below," she calls as she drops the dirt to the ground, not only emptying the crate load by load, but steadily building up a ramp.

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

Against all expectations, Rose does NOT stuff her mouth full of berries a second time. She also abstains from paying much attention to Alisha and Neriah as they chatter with Ragnell, sticking with Ida instead. "I know, I know. Wonder how the others are doing. I guess we'll find out when we reach the bottom."

Which, luckily, all the map consultations and thinking end up putting them back on the track of ever reaching. Until crates bar their way. "Why do they keep putting crates in here? I feel like this is the third time I come here and there's a new crate barricade set up. It's good news as regards being on the right track but really what a waste of crates!" Crates are valuable, after all. You can put THINGS in them and no merchant can live without a stockpile.

"... devices? Seraphim have things like bombs and grenades?" Rose had assumed all those lightning explosions were Ragnell's power until now. That's... weird. Not spooky. Actually it kind of reminds her of how Sorey and Alisha keep insisting Seraphim are pretty human.

"Well, she can do that! I'll help Neriah shovel."

Two people can shovel faster than one.

DG: Rose has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Crate Barrier.
<Pose Tracker> Alisha Diphda has posed.

Alisha stops as she looks at the crates -- and then nods her head 'yes,' with a look towards Rose. It almost looks eager. Once, this was simply a nice way for her to relieve stress. Now, this is simply fun for Alisha. She steps forward. "Let me clear some of the way."

Then, the princess swings a fist back. The gauntlet glints in the dim light, even down here.

And then she punches a crate, and it explodes into so many splinters of wood!% She swings her hand back, before she throws another punch, and blows away another crate with a punch.

"This is rather comforting, somehow!" she says, cheerfully.

At times, perhaps, the princess can be a little bit scary.

DG: Alisha Diphda has used her Tool Crystal Gauntlet toward her party's challenge, Crate Barrier.
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Ragnell has posed.

Ragnell walks a few feet down one path, before she squints. "Or... was it this way?"

She pauses.


But Alisha finishes looking up the map and follows along with them, this time rounding a different corner and leading to a new passageway. "That works, then!" she says, hurrying along after her. "Caves usually are--total pain, if you ask me--"

They round another corner, and nearly run face-first into a massive wall of crates. Ragnell skids to a halt, then peers at the wall of them. Shouldn't be *too* hard to handle, honestly... "You think?" she asides to Neriah, of her not being a jerk. "I need t' try harder, then."

Then Ida makes her suggestion, and Ragnell nods. "Works for me. I'll wait for y'all to finish first. Someone make sure to tell Rose to get clear when it's time. If none of y'all bother, I'm not at fault." Then she waits for the others to do their part. Huh--Ida does seem better at this compared to the last time around. She's improved in a pretty short time. Ragnell half-smiles at the sight, pulling out one of her grenades and tossing it up and down. She chuckles at Rose's wonder--she'd be happy to explain it if Rose wanted, but why waste her breath?

When finally there's a hole, which is not so much a 'finally' so much as it is 'in short order' thanks to Alisha having her own mini-game called Punching Princess and totally owning at it, Ragnell approaches, pulling the pin and shoving the grenade in. "Lightning in the hole!" she announces as she backs up quickly. A great big KABOOM will follow shortly thereafter.

DG: Seraph Ragnell has used her Tool Electric Grenade toward her party's challenge, Crate Barrier.
DG: The party led by Rose has passed this challenge! The party gained 7 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> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

Ida manages to wiggle a crate free of the pile, and it comes loose with a wooden groaning noise. Unfortunately, some more wooden debris immediately falls down to take its place. Fortunately, Neriah gets to work on that, shoveling dirt and rocks and bits of broken wood loose. Rose pulls an old, three-legged chair free, followed by a big, weather-worn sign that reads GIL'S WATERING HOLE in faded letters.

Alisha punches. Ragnell deploys the heavy artillery. Ida scurries back to a safe distance and covers her ears--the ensuing racket echoes down the corridor. Ida frowns, ever-so-slightly. So far, she hasn't seen hide or hair of those things, alive or dead. But...

DG: Rose has drawn a new Challenge.
=========================<* CHALLENGE - Rotted Corpse *>==========================
|Type: Final       |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
----------------------------< Challenge Information: >----------------------------
 The Rotting Beasts that call this place home are rare. Sometimes, some        
 unlucky Drifter finds one and kills it. Here, towards the very lowest levels  
 of the Berry Cave, one was felled. However, the Drifters who came before did  
 not clear its corpse away. Now, a pile of rotten meat, mighty bones, and the  
 sickening remains of the Rotting Beast's victims are blocking the way into    
 the final chamber of this route. This is grisly work, but must be done to     
=Dungeon Conditions: Bad Luck=================================================
<Pose Tracker> Rose has posed.

This is it. They're almost there. Ida, Neriah, Alisha and Rose can recognize the area that leads to the panel. The area where, last time, they had to fight a massive, lumbering beast.

It is still there.

The towering beast of flesh, a cluster of countless bodies fused into one, with more teeth and claws than any singular being should ever have, rotting, smelling like death itself. It lies on the ground, dead - deadER, or perhaps REdead - ever since their encounter weeks ago now. Rotting. Swelling. Threatening to burst at any moment to release the foul gas contained within. And there's no way around. Perhaps other Wels have moved the beast in the path, or its swelling has caused it to roll about, but now it blocks the only tunnel that leads deeper in.

There's no way around, that thing has to be moved. Or blown up. Rose grabs her scarf, pulls it from around her neck, and wraps it around her mouth and nose instead, preparing herself for the worst-case scenario.

"So... I don't suppose Ragnell has any more of those bombs?" Yeah, who's best friends with the ghost NOW? "This is soooo going to suck."

DG: Rose has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Rotted Corpse.
<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

As she helps Rose shovel away the cruft, Neriah pauses and blinks back down at Alisha. "Damn. That's one way to burn off stress," she murmurs, blushing softly.

Finally, though, she taps Rose on the shoulder and hops down from the crate heap, letting Ragnell huck her grenade into the hole in question. She waits for the earth-shattering kaboom.

It comes. Giving herself a shake, Neriah blinks and rubs at her eyes. "Wow. That was earth-shattering," she murmurs, moving to bound through the crate hole.

What lies beyond is... horrific. Gruesome. Putrid. The mangled remains of the monstrous fleshbeast, partially mangled by the very dark magic Neriah had cast upon it last time she came through her.

The girl doesn't so much as blink. She pulls her scarf up over her nose and mouth, hoisting her shovel and starting forward. "Don't bomb it too much. You'll splatter gore everywhere," she advises clinically, moving to climb up a putrifying limb. Spade in hand, she levels the head of it downwards and plants a shoe against it, the shovel's upper lip riding in the arch between sole and heel. Neriah leans into it, weight pushing down on the shovel as she jams it home.

She's attempting to just dig off one of the creature's remaining limbs, hoping to sever it and move it aside. Reeking gore oozes in black gobs from the wound she's tearing in the bloated flesh.

Neriah doesn't so much as bat an eyelash.

DG: Neriah Parringer has used her Tool Trusty Shovel toward her party's challenge, Rotted Corpse.
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Ragnell has posed.

"Darlin', I thought you'd never ask," Ragnell jokes at Rose, because at the end of the day you have to make your own entertainment. That said, she *also* pulls up her bandanna over her mouth, because she well remembers how badly things went for them the last time they tried to hack their way through once of these corpses. The *smell*... The advice of Neriah, who takes it completely in stride, goes heeded: arguably that might be part of why the last time went so badly. "I'll aim for the bones. Should be easier shovin' and pullin' and rippin' apart if they're in pieces," she says aloud. Hopefully she's right on that mark. Either way, Ragnell jogs over to the cleanest bones, pulls the pin on her grenade, sets it amongst the giant white limbs, and then backs the hell away. Another electric explosion soon follows, hopefully splintering those bones and making them easier to pull apart and carry out of the way.

DG: Seraph Ragnell has used her Tool Electric Grenade toward her party's challenge, Rotted Corpse.
<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

Ida already has one hand on Devil's Due as the group passes through the barrier. A familiar stench trickles into her nostrils, and she pulls her scarf up over her mouth and nose out of reflex. The smell gets worse and worse, until finally--

It's even bigger than the last one, Ida thinks, as she stares at the misshapen amalgamation. "An amalgam," Ida breathes. She is suddenly very glad she hasn't eaten anything since lunch. She doesn't say anything more--she walks toards the other end of the corpse from where Neriah is working. She raises Devil's Due, the weapon's demonbone barrel gleaming. Ida pulls the trigger, and the Dragon igniter roars to life, a plume of flame arcing across the beast's body. "Mind the smoke," Ida says, as she fans her face with her hand. "Ragnell, I don't suppose you could give us some, ah, ventilation?" Because she smells ammonia. This could be bad.

DG: Ida Everstead-Rey has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Rotted Corpse.
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Ragnell has posed.

"Pretty sure I already said before I'm a Lightning Seraph, not a Wind Seraph," Ragnell says to Ida.

<Pose Tracker> Alisha Diphda has posed.

"Nnh--this thing," Alisha says, her nose wrinkling up. She stares at it, and she remembers before. The way these things could burst, and filled with whatever gases were inside, send anyone running. She takes a deep breath, before she steps forward, and then she puts her hands against it. She feels the skin squelch underneath her gauntlets.

She looks towards Ragnell -- and when the pin is sit, she pushes, to move it so the bombs will explode just right. Then, Alisha steps backward quickly. She looks rather pale, then before her eyes turn back towards Ida. She shakes her head.

"Let us hope it clears," she says, "after we've removed it. Goddess, though, the smell!"

DG: Alisha Diphda has used her Tool Crystal Gauntlet toward her party's challenge, Rotted Corpse.
DG: You have overcome the dungeon's trials! This run is a success!
DG: The party led by Rose has successfully explored Berry Cave!
====================<* CHALLENGE - Hydroponic Section Panel *>====================
|Type: Discovery   |Dungeon Ability: Discovery |Challenge Rating: 1          | 
----------------------------< Challenge Information: >----------------------------
 In the deepest levels of the Berry Cave, in a cavern far away from the        
 others, there is a room quite unlike the rest. Embedded into the wall of the  
 cave is a large piece of metal plating. In large stencilled letters, worn     
 away by time, the text "SEED CORPORATION" is written across the upper half    
 of the wall. Below that, in smaller print at the words "Botanical Laboratory  
 The lower part of the wall has a flat black screen, with two large ports and  
 a series of buttons. The buttons seem to do nothing. The screen never turns   
 on, whatever button is pressed.                                               
 You should send a +request regarding this discovery!                          
=Dungeon Conditions: Treasure=================================================
<Pose Tracker> Rose has posed.

Things go smoothly. If you can get past the smell.

It's no trivial effort, but through the use of shovels, explosives, fists, gauntlets and even a gun, the massive dead Reapercan be moved aside, piece by piece, and the noxious gas, once the initial blast has gone through, recedes into vents through the room. The smell isn't gone in the slightest, but it isn't toxic, just sickening.

The party leaves the mangled and twice-broken body of the beast behind as they advance, Rose taking the lead because she'd like to breathe very badly. They come to a stop at a dead end, as the ominous computer panel can be seen ahead, still firmly locked in place, with the same gash in the wall next to it that the Trial Knight's boot made when he kicked it.

Rose slumps down next to it, lowering her scarf from her face and grinning. "Phew, that was an adventure! Alright, let's rest up for a few minutes and then start unpacking the tools. Hopefully the others aren't too far behind us!"

<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

Behind her scarf, Neriah's expression is one of simple, unruffled determination. The bloody horror of this work slides off her as easily as the reeking viscera she's digging out slides off her shovel blade.

Finally, though, she's able to make headway. With her work done, she hops down from the creature, fishing out a cloth from her pack and wiping off her shovel blade. "I guess now it's out of the way for the next bunch," she muses, finally tugging down her scarf and flashing Rose a quiet smile. If nothing else, she seems more subdued now.

Finally satisfied that her shovel's clean, she moves towards the mysterious box. She lays one hand on it - the right one, the one in the elbow-length glove - and looks off towards the other women, biting down to the inside of her cheek.

"I hope we didn't blow that dead body right into their way," she suddenly realizes.

<Pose Tracker> Rose has posed.

"... let's not tell them if we did and say it was that messy when we came in," Rose answers Neriah.

<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

Neriah stares at Rose for a minute.

Her lips draw into a smile. It grows progressively wider until it's a huge Cheshire-cat crescent that seems to take up half her face.

"Oh, I like you," she says.

<Pose Tracker> Alisha Diphda has posed.

Alisha sighs, then slumps back against the wall. She looks at the console with some relief -- and some trepidation. She knows that Ida is an ARMs expert, but can she really handle this? Or can this Emma?

She shakes her head -- and then makes a face. "We should apologize," she says, "if that happens."

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

Ida holds the trigger down, sustaining the flame burst for as long as she can. She manages to reduce a good percentage of the carcass to carbon soot, though of course the smoke is an issue--she tries not to breathe as she stumbles into the room beyond. Fortunately, the air is... relatively clean here, and now that she has a moment to regroup, she can articulate her thoughts.

"Mother told me about those things," she says. "Sometimes, if there's no food, they'll eat each other, and grow enormous. I just wish we knew where they were coming from..."

<Pose Tracker> Rose has posed.

"They look kinda like zombies to me. I mean, really big, nasty zombies, but... I'd guess they come from the same place skeletons and ghosts tend to?" Where DO ghosts and skeletons come from? Rose pauses.

"... wherever THAT is."

<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

"Probably the howling abyss of doom," Neriah suggests to Ida with a simple shrug, moving to settle onto a rock not far from the weird black box. She crosses a leg over the opposite and lets her breath out in a slow rush.

Her shoulders slouch ever so slightly, smile softening to something more self-effacing. "I don't know too much about monsters like that... actually the whole occult thing is totally alien to me. Wherever they come from, they're pretty strong. I'm glad we didn't have to fight it again."

Last time she fought it, after all, she had to do something she doesn't like to do.

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Ragnell has posed.

Finally, the big dead thing is out of the way. Ragnell hurries along after Rose once the mess is cleared up, and what awaits them on the other side...! Some kind of machine reading SEED Corporation. Ragnell stares it over, pulling down her bandanna, and circles halfway around it. "Huhh..." she murmurs, rapping her knuckles on it and poking at some of the buttons. Nothing happens. She quirks a half-smile, then looks at the others and leans on the wall next to the strange device.

"Sounds pretty gruesome," she remarks to Ida. "You'd have to be damn hungry to eat somethin' that's half-rotten while it's still alive."

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

Ida's lips twist into a little line. "I mentioned the Reapers when we were here together last," she says. "They're much more common out in Aquvy. They're not... precisely zombies, because as I understand it, a zombie is a corpse that is still animate. Reapers are very much alive, just... twisted. They eat anything that has blood in it, but prefer humans." She glances over at Neriah, managing a wry little smirk. "Devil's Due was crafted to fight them, and monsters like them." She'd pat her ARM, but she's sure it doesn't need her reassurance. "My mother, who wielded it before I did, was a monster-hunter in the service of the Granas Church."

<Pose Tracker> Alisha Diphda has posed.

Alisha shivers. "Such... monsters exist on Filgaia?" she asks. "I hadn't encountered such things. Those sound terrifying. I'm grateful," she says, with a sigh, "that such things were not in here. I do like the berries and other things that we found here. And the berries are quite tasty!"

<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

"Aquvy? I'll take your word for it," Neriah murmurs with a blink back at Ida. "They sound pretty intense, though. I don't think I'd like to run into them."

As Ida explains the secret of Devil's Due, the dark-haired girl smiles and reaches into her jacket. She comes out with an ARM of her own - a sleek, silvery pistol that looks like it was a revolver in a former life, though it lacks a conventional hammer and magazine. Instead it's got a piledriver-looking firing stud and a pair of vents flanking it. "It sounds like you have a really cool ARM. Mine's not nearly so special," she admits. "Marilyn here was my mother's ARM, and she passed it down to me."

Ida at least can probably recognize the particular silvery sheen of the gun as coming from a Dragon Fossil.

She flashes Alisha a light smile. "It's rough out here," she admits.

"Hey Alisha," she asks then. "What's it like on Lunar? Is it nice?"

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Ragnell has posed.

"Hmmmm..." Ragnell murmurs, tilting her head at Ida when she describes the Reapers. She'd meant, ages ago, to ask her about those, but ended up forgetting. Convenient, that it's come up here and now without her having to ask again. That sounds nasty indeed.

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

The gleam of Dragonbone catches Ida's eye. She turns to look at Neriah's pistol, eyes glimmering with interest. "Is that a pneumatic firing mechanism?" Ida says. "Does it use standard rounds, or custom?" She pauses a beat, turning to Alisha. "The Ethos exist to hunt monsters like them. And better us, I'd say, than innocent villagers looking for berries. They would only swell the monsters' ranks.

<Pose Tracker> Alisha Diphda has posed.

"Lunar?" Alisha repeats, before she looks sideways at Neriah. "It is... mm. It is not so different than Filgaia, in many ways. It has its problems, its wonderful things. It is far greener -- the grass, the trees, everything, almost everywhere." Save for the deserts, of course. "And there are no ARMs there."

<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

"It does use standard rounds," Neriah says with a widening smile, running her hand over the silvery lines of the pistol. "And it is a steam-powered firing mechanism! The rounds are normal but the velocity and penetrating power are a lot higher.

She tilts her head towards Alisha, blinking twice, then smiling wistfully. "It sounds nice... if it's greener, I mean. Sometimes it feels like all of Filgaia is slowly dying. Maybe someday I'll get to see what Lunar's like, too."

Then she moues her lips. "...No ARMs? Really? What do you do to fight from a distance? Just magic?"