2017-07-14: Ghostache

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DG: You don't have a party leader right now! Start a party yourself with +party/create, or go make a friend with +party/join.
DG: A party led by Fei Fong Wong is now entering Haunted Manor.
DG: Party formation is now over. An Entry Challenge will now be drawn and displayed to the party.
=================<* CHALLENGE - Uuuuh... Where's The Door? *>=================
|Type: Entry       |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 1          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 The Haunted Manor stands before the party. Never is its appearance the same,  
 and it welcomes guests differently everytime too. This time it apparently     
 decided you don't NEED to be given a door, you ungrateful adventurers.        
 Better look for another way in, or maybe a hidden switch of some kind?        
=Dungeon Conditions: Stupify==================================================
<Pose Tracker> Fei Fong Wong has posed.

Drifter Drifter Doo, Where Are You?

We got some work to do now.

Drifter Drifter Doo, Where are You?

We need some help from you now.

STARRING

EMMA HETFIELD AS VELMA...OR DAPHNE? VELPHNE?

CORWYNT AS FREDDY

FEI FONG WONG AS SHAGGY

GWEN WHITLOCK AS...DAPHNE?

NERIAH AS wow she's kind of creepy the monster I guess?

THE SITUATION

Recently in Lacour there has been a call for Drifters to 'spend the night' in the Haunted Manor and 'Explore it'. Those who manage to brave the Haunted Manor and uncover its secrets will be awarded 750 gella per person! That's enough to feed Fei for like a week! So, unsurprisingly, he arrives in front of the manor with a voucher in his hands. He gulps lightly as he sees how terrifying it looks, and likely is. He's been on enough digs to know that even if it just looks like a shitty house it's probably full of awful counterintuitive traps and puzzles not to mention monsters.

He takes out his sketchpad and says, "Like...I guess I'll... try sketching this out and see if that reveals anything. Sometimes when I draw something and take a second look, it reveals something new.

He starts pacing around the building, sketching rapidly, eyes narrowed intently. "I wonder if it has cold storage...and a full pantry..."

DG: Fei Fong Wong has used his Tool Artist's Toolkit toward his party's challenge, Uuuuh... Where's The Door?.
<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

Last time Neriah was here, there was... something about the place. She's not sure it was quite a feeling of being at home, but there was something right about it. An inviting feeling.

So she came back.

"Hopefully the old man will be happier to see us this time. I'm not sure how eager I am to get my legs chopped off," the girl murmurs, adjusting her collar as she steps towards the front porch. Her last outfit vanished not long after an outing with a friend; she's replaced it with something earthier, in the form of a longer brown workman's coat, hardy black slacks, modest heels and a vest patterned up in black and pale grey, together with her newsboy hat, which she tips the brim of as she hops up onto the front stoop to knock on the door.

Only to realize that this time... there is no door.

"That's curious," she murmurs, glancing pensively at Fei, then smiling at him neatly. "Oh, it might have cold storage, but it's probably where the owner keeps all the bodies. Once he's done sucking all the souls out through your eye sockets, anyway."

As Fei sketches, Neriah paces, rubbing her chin and mulling the problem. Finally she shrugs and cups her hands.

"Excuse me, Mr. General, sir," she calls up to the house. "We're here to visit. Could you please open the door? I promise we won't steal from your wardrobe."

DG: Neriah Parringer has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Uuuuh... Where's The Door?.
<Pose Tracker> Corwynt has posed.

Storm Fist Corwynt, second in command of the local forces of the Goddess Althena, is back on the Dagonship Destiny, looking after paperwork and other important things while his superior, the White Knight, is busy on a PR mission that involves getting in big stupid fights. This is a division of responsibilities that is not a surprise to Corwynt, as he's been doing a lot of what is technically Leo's job since he arrived here. Also, bringing him into a city with the Vile Fiends in it is a good way to end up with a destoryed city and an international incident. So he's staying home.

Mostly.

At the moment, he is investigating rumours of some sort of supernatural occurrence under his foolproof, Leo-approved disguise of STRANGE DRIFTER CORWYNT, who looks a lot like regular Corwynt would if he was wearing a truly enormous, bushy, and utterly fake moustache. He strokes his MYSTERIOUS FACIAL HAIR thoughtfully while Fei starts... painting? Well, that'll take a while, so it gives him time to channel a little bit of Althena's Blessing into the gem dangling around his chest, which helps him search through his memories, looking for the reports...

"I think there's a window to the foyer around that way," he mentions, pointing.

DG: Corwynt has used his Tool Rememberizer toward his party's challenge, Uuuuh... Where's The Door?.
<Pose Tracker> Emma Hetfield has posed.

EMMA will be playing the role of BERNARD only EXTREMLY SEXY AND ATTRACTIVE, NO WEIRDOS, in this session of Maniac Mansion.

She has been hustling for money because all her ready funding has gone into rebuilding Emma Motors and she can't get on that CaraKin subsidy train so easily since she's a little old for it.

"Hm," Emma says as she considers the lack of a door.

She produces the EMULATOR, a green glass pane of... something, and consults it. "Let's see, what other options could there be. Yes, that's true, some houses when glass was cheaper would be built with entire windows that could also serve as doors - isn't that funny to think about? But it was very thick glass."

DG: Emma Hetfield has used her Tool Text File of Her Own Wisdom toward her party's challenge, Uuuuh... Where's The Door?.
<Pose Tracker> Gwen Whitlock has posed.

Gwen Whitlock, super courier is here because... she just wanted to get out of Lacour. Money is great and everything, but, the noise, and all the people...

That, and Auntie Frea asked her to investigate this place, all while stating, firmly, 'there are no such things as ghosts, *but* if you do find something, I need a full detailed analysis of these not-ghosts.'

Something like that.

Gwen presses her hand off her head, allowing it to fall around her shoulders.

"I suppose shatterin' a window ain't entirely out of the question, but my arm'd probably not feel so great from doin' that. Plus, I mean, houses like this are kinda rare to be standin' up. Y'think they'd really appreciate us destroyin' what little they got left?"

She pauses a second, then shakes her head. "Wait, why'm I sayin' that? Ghosts aren't real. At least, the spooky tale kind."

DG: Gwen Whitlock has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Uuuuh... Where's The Door?.
DG: The party led by Fei Fong Wong 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> Corwynt has posed.

"They're real," Corwynt says to Gwen, his voice low and controlled. "I've seen them."

DG: Gwen Whitlock has drawn a new Challenge.
========================<* CHALLENGE - Hold It Back! *>=========================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 An empty room lies ahead and that's how you know it's trouble. Behind them    
 the party sees the shadows coalesce into a great demon, and what better       
 solution than to close the door behind them. That's when you realize there's  
 no way out, and the demon is banging on the door. Hold the door until it      
 gives up, or find more creative ways to dissuade its pursuit, at least        
 temporarily!                                                                  
=Dungeon Conditions: Tire=====================================================
<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

"They're definitely real," Neriah assures Gwen with a smile and a little touch of two fingers two her head. "You'll see a bunch when we go in."

She pauses. "Don't let them steal your soul, though, or you'll become one of them," she warns.

<Pose Tracker> Fei Fong Wong has posed.

Fei Fong Wong is actually sketching rather than painting--yeah he wouldn't be able to finish a painting of a place like that for days, but a quick sketch helps focus his thoughts and leads him around the Haunted Manor. But something stops him partway through.

He looks towards Corwynt. He looks at his foolproof Leo-approved disguise. There's something about that guy, Fei thinks, that makes him want to punch him.

But that would be, like, a crime? And he's a stranger? And sometimes he just gets these feelings about a lot of people? So he does not try to punch Strange Drifter Corwynt because Fei apparently fell for his disguise.

The window isn't where it was last time but Corwynt's advice and Emma's science teaches us that windows don't evaporate. The team is eventually able to find the window moved over onto the other side of the manor.

"Oh. Guess there is a window." He says. He pulls on the window to no effect several times then tries kicking it. The window swings back, bounces off the hinge and Fei narrowly avoids getting caught by the swinging window.

"Did you see that??" Fei says. "Something swung it back at me!" He shudders. "Definitely ghosts in here."

He steps on through with the others IF THEY DARE.

<Pose Tracker> Gwen Whitlock has posed.

'They're real,' says Corwynt. 'I've seen them.'

'They're definitely real,' warns Neriah.

"Well, I don't doubt *something* is in here. But it's likely there's some explanation for it! Y'know, demons, magic, ARMs, Malevolence, Seraphs, some robbers tryin' to hide their loot with smoke n' mirrors," Gwen slowly counts off the many possibilities on her hands, uncurling a digit of each finger as she counts down the many possibilities. "Ghosts are just there because they're really good for stories. But." She holds up a finger. "If we run into anything, I'll keep note of anythin' trying to steal my soul."

Her eyes don't look entirely smug as she says that; the courier has seen a lot of strange things. The window's assault on Fei, however, just makes Gwen giggle, if not entirely unkindly. "Hey, y'okay? Let's try to get some actual legit weird stuff before we start callin' ghosts."

Stepping through the window, the party moves into the hallway, where the first sign of something being off is the light from the window slowly growing dark, as if blocked by a slowly drawn curtain.

Needless to say, it's not a curtain, and it's not happy to find the party here.

MOMENTS LATER, the twin doors are slammed against the demon's advance, Gwen trying to hold them closed by the lopsided strength of her strong metal ARM, and her much normal human... arm. It's not going exactly well. "Uh! Furniture? Something? Need something to hold this guy back!"

DG: Gwen Whitlock has used her Tool Armored Fist toward her party's challenge, Hold It Back!.
<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

"Yep... yep." Neriah sends a mysterious little smile Fei's way. Her eyes twinkle.

Her reaction to the place is a little less than fear. She seems, somehow, impossibly comfortable with all of this. Soon enough, she's hopping in through the window after Fei - and she blinks at him as she goes. "Don't I recognize you from somewhere?" she asks, her frown slight.

Then she adjusts her cap with a small movement before shrugging at Gwen, her smile just slightly dreamy. "So if demons are real, why aren't ghosts," she begins to ask, before she's moving through the hallway with the rest of the party. As the corridor darkens, she draws in a breath -

And she smiles just a bit more widely. "Uh-oh," she murmurs in a voice that seems just the slightest bit dazed. "He's he~ere."

The doors rattle and shake violently. Moving with the slow ease of someone who seems unbothered by all of this, Neriah moves over to a nearby chair and kicks it over, then draws the shovel hanging from her pack. "Hold on for a minute please, Miss Gwen?" she calls to the woman with the fist of power, as she turns the shovel head-down and breaks one of the legs off the chair.

She picks it up and moves over to the door, driving the chair leg into place between the loops of the elegantly-curved door handles. It's not the best door bar, but it'll do. "That ought to help."

DG: Neriah Parringer has used her Tool Trusty Shovel toward her party's challenge, Hold It Back!.
<Pose Tracker> Corwynt has posed.

"So you believe in demons and magic, but not ghosts," Corwynt observes clinically, then shrugs. He's just a MYSTERIOUS DRIFTER, nothing for him to care about there.

Moments later, however, the door fills with some sort of... thing. With teeth. And hate. The little martial artist drives in and slams the other door across from Gwen, digging his feet in to try and keep them from bursting open until Neriah can slip in.

DG: Corwynt has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Hold It Back!.
<Pose Tracker> Emma Hetfield has posed.

"I'm sure there's an entirely scientific explanation for all of this, Feisy-Rider," Emma tells Fei, in the tone of someone who is test driving pet names.

This one, she thinks, isn't doing so well.

The door is presented and it's pounding inwards. Emma's eyes widen behind her glasses. "By the Guardians and Saint Sophia's sacred p-" THUMP FOOMP "that is most uncanny! Fei, Mr. Wynt, Gwen - Miss Parringer - I do think that we're experiencing some sort of free-roaming psychokinetic manifestation!"

Emma does literally nothing to help brace the door.

DG: Emma Hetfield has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Hold It Back!.
<Pose Tracker> Fei Fong Wong has posed.

Fei is trying not to think about Neriah's 'ghosts that suck your soul out from your eyeballs' nonsense. Because he's not sure it's nonsense. He's pretty sure Neriah is just trying to terrify him. AND IT IS WORKING. But there's a scientist here. A smart person. An Emma Hetfield so he's confident that he won't get possessed or soul eaten.

He's pretty confident.

"Feisy...Rider?" Fei looks at Emma. "What's the Rider from?" He nods though. "I agree. Scientific...explanation. Yes." He pauses. "but sometimes...science is also really scary."

He's not wrong.

Fei then turns and sees the demon. Then the door. Fei takes in a deep breath and rushes to Corwynt to help brace the door.

"Demons and magic are scientific!" Fei shouts in frustration. "I just don't know how they WORK."

DG: Fei Fong Wong has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Hold It Back!.
=========================<* CHALLENGE - Hold It Back! *>=========================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >----------------------------
 An empty room lies ahead and that's how you know it's trouble. Behind them    
 the party sees the shadows coalesce into a great demon, and what better       
 solution than to close the door behind them. That's when you realize there's  
 no way out, and the demon is banging on the door. Hold the door until it      
 gives up, or find more creative ways to dissuade its pursuit, at least        
 temporarily!                                                                  
=Dungeon Conditions: Tire=====================================================
DG: The party led by Fei Fong Wong has passed this challenge! The party gained 16 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.
DG: Corwynt has drawn a new Challenge.
===================<* CHALLENGE - Obligatory Torch Puzzle *>====================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 1          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 Great torches light up the next hallway, but there's no exit? Some torches    
 are lit, others aren't. Must they all be lit? Must they all NOT be lit? Some  
 of the torches are missing, too. Could it be there's a pattern to respect?    
 You'd better get started or you'll be here all night.                         
=Dungeon Conditions: Treasure=================================================
<Pose Tracker> Gwen Whitlock has posed.

"Haha, yeah, I guess it is a little silly," Gwen sheepishly admits. "It's sort of a firm belief of my auntie's, but it's one of the reasons I'm here. There's proof that demons are real, so why do people say 'ghost' instead of 'demon'?" Idly itching the side of her cheek, she considers. "I mean, I didn't believe that Malevolence was a thing, but then I started seein' it, and I still have trouble explainin' that to her. Kinda hard to convey somethin' to a scholar on the other end of the continent. So maybe we'll figure this all out, eh?"

Like... now.

Gwen, Corwynt, and Fei all manage to hold the twin doors for long enough, thankfully, as Neriah drives a chair leg through the handles, further sealing the demon away, if temporarily. There's a few more moments of intense pounding before the shadowy mass moves on, perhaps intending to locate another way of access. "I, uh, think they're gone?" She rubs some sweat from her brow. "Let's keep movin' on before it decides to c'mon back for another round."

<Pose Tracker> Corwynt has posed.

"It seems the ferromancy of this world has rusted your minds," Corwynt grumbles under his breath, then dusts his hands off and nods gratefully to the others once the door is firmly shut. He turns toward the room they're in...

...and come to think of it, there's something about the walls. Torches unlit, in a place like this? And in a modern building such as this one, with so much ferromancy in evidence, why torches? Why not oil lamps, or this gas of leen? Curious. He taps the jewel around his chest thoughtfully as he surveys the room.

"I believe the exist will be found if we light the correct torches," he says. "But which ones..."

DG: Corwynt has used his Tool Rememberizer toward his party's challenge, Obligatory Torch Puzzle.
<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

Leaving the chair leg in place, Neriah tugs down the hem of her vest; it reaches her belt line, narrowly. "Well, demons definitely exist, and so do phantasms. And so do Seraphs, which are I think a type of spirit. Plus there's that ghost which follows Lululu Wait around." She's been watching the tournament, apparently. "But I'm not a scientist."

She taps a finger against her temple and winks at Gwen and Emma alike. "I'm just a Drifter with an opinion."

The group ushers on into the next corridor - and Neriah brightens visibly. "Oh! I remember this one. Here, Mr. Mysterious Drifter." Sidling up next to Corwynt, she rises on her toes and reaches for a torch ring.

Just as her hand nears it, though, she frowns, biting down to the inside of her cheek. "...The landlord might have moved it," she murmurs, before moving down to check out the next ring. "But it was one like this last time... there's a ring that doesn't squeak when you move it. Like it's been oiled. If you put the torch in there...."

DG: Neriah Parringer has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Obligatory Torch Puzzle.
<Pose Tracker> Emma Hetfield has posed.

"Well, I mean," Emma tells Fei, before she exhales with some force. "Well YES."

She is thrown off slightly by the words of this muscular lost child, and this prevents her from feeling full satisfaction. In other words: A failure, for her at least. She hastens through the doors without further ado.

Then they are presented with torches. Hm.

Emma opens her tablet up again. "Well," she says, looking down, "one possibility is that we need to make a particular point completely light OR, perhaps, completely dark. Can anyone spot any cryptic plaques or ominous poetry? Or perhaps that's what will be revealed when we check closely. Hm, hm, let's see... I don't see any color disparities so the Wadelmeyer solution is probably pointless..."

She taps her nose. "Let's see - does anyone have a lighter? I can dig mine out too. Maybe if we put them all out, or light them all..."

At least she's guiding thought processes.

DG: Emma Hetfield has used her Tool Text File of Her Own Wisdom toward her party's challenge, Obligatory Torch Puzzle.
<Pose Tracker> Fei Fong Wong has posed.

Don't punch him, Fei. It's a CRIME.

But Fei does sometimes make bad choices so he does say, "You sound pretty familiar, you know! Do I know you from somewhere?" He can TELL the mustache is fake so it's now up to Corwynt to pass a CONVINCE roll or at least fail in such a way that will make Fei shut up about it. He remains oblivious to his accidental owning of Emma because he was playing the game of 'Has A Great Deal Of Respect For Emma Because She Knows Things'. Fei is very progressive for a country guy in the middle of nowhere.

Fei is about to reach into his toolkit but then realizes he doesn't actually have any idea what he'd use to help with this particular puzzle so he just says, "I'm not gonna light a brush on fire for this." He says quietly as if he expected someone to tell him to.

Instead he briefly amuses himself with shadow puppets. He makes a wolf for the moment. "So you've been here before, huh..." He pauses. "I was going to ask how it was like but you'd probably just try to freak me out."

DG: Fei Fong Wong has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Obligatory Torch Puzzle.
<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

"Yes... I was here not long after the attack on Adlehyde," Neriah explains, her voice a little quieter.

She bows her head. "It was actually strangely calming. I don't know why. But I don't feel scared here at all." She moves along to try and move a torch to another rung.

<Pose Tracker> Corwynt has posed.

"I'm actually practicing my impersonations," Strange Drifter Corwynt deadpans to Fei. "I was thinking of trying it out as a sideline - put out a hat or something and then imitate famous people or something. Here, let me try one on you," he says as passes Emma a small tinderbox (not even matches! how rustic!). He clears his throat.

"Ah ha, you thought it was Berserk, but it was I, Zed."

He sounds exactly the same.

====================<* CHALLENGE - Obligatory Torch Puzzle *>====================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 1          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >----------------------------
 Great torches light up the next hallway, but there's no exit? Some torches    
 are lit, others aren't. Must they all be lit? Must they all NOT be lit? Some  
 of the torches are missing, too. Could it be there's a pattern to respect?    
 You'd better get started or you'll be here all night.                         
=Dungeon Conditions: Treasure=================================================
<Pose Tracker> Gwen Whitlock has posed.

Nodding to Emma, Gwen's lips twist thoughtfully. "Um." Drawing out her ever-present medical kit, she gets out a wad of bandage. "I could, uh, set it alight with my ARM. Maybe. Hold on, maybe if I just apply directly?"

Moving to a torch that isn't yet lit, Gwen begins to tug off her right glove, then pauses to look at the party.

Fei: Already Knows.

Neriah: Already Knows.

Emma: Definitely Knows To An Intimate Degree (Had to Reconnect Gwen's ARM).

Mustache: ????

"No word of this gets out, 'kay?" The glove flops halfway off of Gwen's hand as she dismisses the chance that she may be a Metal Demon, a demon, or something else. Because of course they haven't ever been in the same group before. Never. Corwynt is a stranger.

Poking a metal finger into the torch, she concentrates, delivering a few sparks of electricity in an attempt to encourage the torch's wick to light up. If there is a wick.

It's sort of dark, so she can't tell.

DG: Gwen Whitlock has used her Tool Medical Kit toward her party's challenge, Obligatory Torch Puzzle.
DG: The party led by Fei Fong Wong has passed 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> Corwynt has posed.
  • click*

A door opens along the far wall, opposite where the demon tried to come in. "Nice work," Corwynt offers, then pauses. "That was also my Zed voice," he explains to Fei.

DG: Emma Hetfield has drawn a new Challenge.
=========================<* CHALLENGE - Torture Room *>=========================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 1          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 A torture chamber lay before you, filled to the brim with rusty,              
 cobweb-covered instruments and tools. The wood creaks, the metal too, and     
 everything in the room comes alive! Pincers, knives and saws fly towards the  
 party, an iron maiden attempts to trap someone, ropes and chains seek to      
 bind! Run to the next room if you can!                                        
=Dungeon Conditions: Treasure=================================================
<Pose Tracker> Emma Hetfield has posed.

Emma considers how to answer Corwynt.

She accepts his tinderbox and says, "It's astonishing... it's like they are right there, in the room, trying to murder me again for reasons I don't fully understand!" She doesn't seem to be being a smartass.

After this she steps through the open door and says, "Oo! How charming!" Emma is already in the middle of the room, shining some kind of white light that comes out of her ARM around. "Look at this place. I've never seen such a comprehensive torture chamber. You know, of course, that torture doesn't work very well, due to the fact that when you have someone's shammies in a sandpaper-and-pepper-sauce bath, they'll tell you anything just to get it to stop."

"But it's still academically interesting. Look! That saw over there - yes, that's right, Gwen, just bring it up to the light -"

Emma pauses. "Wait, Gwen, you weren't in here ye--"

SWISH! Emma power-crunches down into a duck as the saw avoids taking off the most exalted and intelligent head in Filgaia. "Oh no!" she says, even as chains snap out and seize her, raising her up in the air in a poignant, not to say picturesque position. "I think something's up with this room."

DG: Emma Hetfield has used her Tool Punchy Gun toward her party's challenge, Torture Room.
<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

"Gwen," Neriah says with all seriousness and a grave nod, "I genuinely am not going to tell the world about what you've got. I mean, I'm pretty sure you haven't ratted me out for..." She pauses and searches for the right way to phrase it.

"...For my little, uh. Hand quirk," she finally says, delicately, as she reaches across with her bare left hand to fuss with the long black leather glove she wears on her right hand.. "But no, you're a good person in my book."

The door opens to the next room, and she smiles with satisfaction. As she moves past Gwen, she nods to the courier, smile taking on a hint of shyness for just a moment. There's something genuinely warm behind it, though.

Then they're shoving their way into the next room. Torture equipment spring to life, and the girl in the newsboy hat lets out a light gasp as the chains snag Emma. "Oh no, this is so... questionable," she protests.

Chains coil towards her and a bullwhip cracks through the air, snapping perilously close to her. She squeals in surprise and jumps a few inches before breaking into a run. "This doesn't feel good at all!" she shouts, batting away a set of handcuffs. As she dashes past Emma, she tries to make a grab for the woman in the hopes of doing something to free her.

DG: Neriah Parringer has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Torture Room.
<Pose Tracker> Fei Fong Wong has posed.

Fei considers Mustache Man for a while. And then says, "Well your Zed's spot on." The excuse was so bad it has successfully deflected Fei's suspicions.

Yiiiikes, he thinks. He doesn't give Corwynt a single gella because in xenogears doing the nice thing usually means not getting the secret ultimate weapon later on. Like, Corwynt will probably only get his ultimate punching glove or whatever now because he didn't give him the cash.

He says, "Oh--you were there?" He pauses. "Actually, you seem pretty familiar too." Fei admits to Neriah. The memory isn't really a good one, though, so he leaves it at that. He glances at Emma. "Oh geeze they tried to kill you too? It's a relief you made it out. Actually they probably targeted you because you're a threat. You're smart so they're getting nervous since they're mostly just warriors themselves."

He then ducks under a knife that just flew right at him. "There's uh---there's probably a---"

He can't figure this one ou,t particularly while leaping over an Iron Maiden and prying it apart with his feet. "NGghhhh...!!"

He looks to Emma. "What's the uh--The Scientific explanation for this one? Like uh--electromagnetism, maybe? Oh! Yeah, maybe magnets are pulling on the objects as we enter and they activate and de-activate quasi randomly? Maybe?"

<Pose Tracker> Corwynt has posed.

Knives, pincers, saws and other metallic instruments hurtle toward the Mysterious Drifter Corwynt, who draws in a breath and prepares to call upon the Blessing of Althena, to send gouts of wind whirling out from his body int he Goddess's name, to shield him and his (temporary) companions from harm.

And yet.

The last time Corwynt and Fei saw each other, Corwynt was flying up into the sky on wings of wind, after having punched a red-haired military officer to the ground. A young man of Fei's description, flying in a demonic black titan the residents of the Blue Star call Gears, smashed him into next Tuesday. Unleashing a howling hurricane may not be the best idea.

"I'm pretty sure the explanation is still ghosts," Corwynt offers as he moves through the room, dodging the whirling blades by a hair's breadth, reaching his senses out on the air currents to feel their trajectories as he slips out of the way.

DG: Corwynt has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Torture Room.
<Pose Tracker> Gwen Whitlock has posed.

At Neriah's assurances and reasoning, Gwen chuckles. "Well, yeah, of course! I'd be a hypocrite if I did *that*!"

Emma's saying Gwen's name in the next room. Something about 'that's right, Gwen, just bring it up to the light'. Gwen looks at her hands, then back towards the doorway into the next room. "Uh-"

Thankfully the chains answer for Gwen! Unfortunately, they are chains.

And they offer no explanation, aside from the ones the party has offered already.

"Magic, then." Gwen turns and slowlu nods to Corwynt, the motion stopped when a wave of knives impale the door just beside where her head was, a moment ago. "I mean, don't ghosts have to have non-physical bodies? I guess there're ones that can posse- EEK!" Some ropes attempt to ensnare around Gwen's right leg.

The courier responds in the only way she knows when she's panicking: by punching. "Getoffgetoffgetoffgetoff!"

DG: Gwen Whitlock has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Torture Room.
DG: Fei Fong Wong has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Torture Room.
DG: The party led by Fei Fong Wong has passed this challenge! The party gained 42 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.
DG: Neriah Parringer has drawn a new Challenge.
======================<* CHALLENGE - The Impulsive Idiot *>======================
|Type: Final       |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >----------------------------
 Finally, the party reaches a treasury. On display is the military career of   
 an old man, seen aging through the pictures and awards he received. These     
 are valuables, but to one man only. So valuable, in fact, that there's no     
 dust here. Everything is orderly, preserved perfectly. The old man appears    
 in the doorway, an ancient general, a flintlock rifle already aimed at the    
 party. He seems to hesitate, minding his aim incredibly carefully. Could it   
 be he won't dare harm the contents of the room? You might be able to find a   
 use for that fact, if you act fast!                                           
=Dungeon Conditions: Slow=====================================================
<Pose Tracker> Emma Hetfield has posed.

"Yes, Fei - that's it. Perhaps they're attracted to the sheer magnetism of my slim yet tasteful figure," Emma muses aloud. "You know, of course, that magnetism extends to many relations - Symbology doesn't fully reflect the untapped potentials of the human mind, Fei!"

Several of the chains scandalously move up to hoist Emma's dress hemline up exactly two inches to reveal her ankles, and unbutton exactly one button on her blouse. They pause afterwards, because Neriah is leaping up on her.

As Neriah tries to grasp her she triggers SOMETHING in Emma's garish salmon blazer.

The Punchy Gun goes off with a loud SPROING and hits the ground, rebounding and flying off into the dark recesses of this dank torture chamber.

If anyone had infra-red vision: The punchy fist hits a lever, rebounds up - hits another rack of whips - bounces off another rack with some half-rotted leather gear set out to avoid being misshapen - smashes off, lands in a rack of boots of all sizes, sending a Size 9 left-footed boot flying into the darkness where it hits --

Did something just go 'chu' in the darkness?

The chains, ropes, and implements of dee-struction go limp, or at least, will now only complete their current velocity arcs. Emma lands with a loud click on her heels. "... Well!" To Neriah, she says, "If it wasn't for you, I don't think that we could have managed to have that kind of an outcome. I would say thank you..."

"But," Emma concludes as she pulls out the Punchy Gun and reloads it, which involves a lot of cranking, "I think perhaps 'you're welcome' is more appropriate."

Rudeness? Or mental disorder? OR BOTH? Either way, Emma skips forwards once she's gotten her gun reloaded, which means she won't be in the lead next time round. Probably for the best.

<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

"Granas, I know I recognize you from somewhere," Neriah shouts back at Fei as she busies herself jumping over an incoming waterboard.

Then she reaches for Emma - and the punchy gun goes off with a spring. The girl gasps and widens her eyes, blushing and jumping back a couple of feet. Her hand comes out to try and steady Emma, landing on her shoulder.

As the woman lands before her, she dips her head and steps back, flashing her a shy sort of smile. "...I think either of those is okay, Miss Emma. Just try not to get too tied up in the future." The woman's demeanor doesn't seem to bother her all that much.

Pushing through the tangle of fallen chains, the dark-haired girl opens a door at the far end of the chamber. Beyond, there's a spiral stair winding upwards. "C'mon, up here," she urges, dashing up the stairs quickly. She's in good enough shape that she's not all that winded by the time she comes out in a short corridor at the top. Another door follows and --

And they're in a lavish treasury full of... military memorabilia.

"Oh dear," Neriah gasps. "It's the owner's room." Then she blinks and dives for cover. "Get behind something!!"

Just as Neriah lands behind a large portrait of a smug-looking dog, there's a ripple of movement in the doorway the group just arrived through. With a flourish, a male figure strides forward, shimmering and translucent, wreathed in ethereal light. The man's dressed in the regalia of an old general, hoisting an old flintlock ARM - an ancient model - and takes aim.

Careful aim, trying to avoid those treasures....

DG: Neriah Parringer has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, The Impulsive Idiot.
<Pose Tracker> Corwynt has posed.

Corwynt, by contrast, responds to the unique nature of the challenge by running around the room and throwing the memorabilia in the direction of the ancient general.

Because he is a nice guy.

DG: Corwynt has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward his party's challenge, The Impulsive Idiot.
<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

The ancient general just frowns behind his great big Wilford Brimley moustache as a framed portrait of his cat goes sailing through said great big Wilford Brimley moustache and out the back of his head.

<Pose Tracker> Emma Hetfield has posed.

Emma says, "Oh, no!" even as she overcranks her Punchy Gun by exactly one step and

POOMP

It goes sailing forwards, straight at the barrel of the menacing gun in question! After this she dives for the ground and/or cover.

DG: Emma Hetfield has used her Tool Punchy Gun toward her party's challenge, The Impulsive Idiot.
<Pose Tracker> Gwen Whitlock has posed.

punchpunchpunchpunchpunc- "Ah." The rope, due to Emma and Neriah's machinations, goes limp, and Gwen cheerfully applauds Emma and Neriah's success. "Thank you," she says, on beat.

Rushing up to the stairs after Neriah and the party, Gwen hesitates at the top step. "The owner? Is he still alive?"

Well, it seems, he is.

Picking up a very lovely large vase, Gwen holds it in front of herself. "Excuse me, sir." She shifts the vase around, from hand to hand, not wanting a moment of stillness to help the man get an aim on her. "By chance, are you, or is anyone you know here, a ghost? Also!" The vase is held steady in one hand as she takes out something from her vest, waving it in the air.

It's a letter. "I was here investigatin' something for my auntie, so might as well kill two birds with one stone, eh? You realize how hard it is to get mail to you? Had this one for a while, so, haha- please don't shoot!"

DG: Gwen Whitlock has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, The Impulsive Idiot.
<Pose Tracker> Fei Fong Wong has posed.

Fei's respect for Emma grows further. After all, she even knows how magnets work.

Fei mostly works with audacity and blind luck. He freezes--he hears a chu. He swallows nervously and he hops down from his position. His feet are moderately scratched up by the Iron Maiden but surely the next challenge won't require a lot of quick legwork AGAIN. He's getting the hang of these digs now, it's usually a large variety of challenges that are designed to keep you on your toes. Doing the same kind of 'trap test' one right after another is--

He looks over to Neriah and says, "Huh?" to her. He doesn't recognize her but Fei's memory with people is notoriously kind of hit and miss. He pretends to not hear the 'chu' noise. He freezes, seeing a gun pointed at him. His eyes widen and he leaps for a painting, hoping to get behind it before he's blasted to bits. He can't run right up to the guy THAT fast.

"Oh geeze oh geeze oh geeze--" Fei mutters.

DG: Fei Fong Wong has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward his party's challenge, The Impulsive Idiot.
DG: Neriah Parringer is too exhausted to continue!
DG: Corwynt is too exhausted to continue!
DG: Emma Hetfield is too exhausted to continue!
DG: Gwen Whitlock is too exhausted to continue!
DG: Fei Fong Wong is too exhausted to continue!
DG: You have overcome the dungeon's trials! This run is a success!
DG: The party led by Fei Fong Wong has successfully explored Haunted Manor!
========================<* CHALLENGE - Ancient Records *>========================
|Type: Discovery   |Dungeon Ability: Discovery |Challenge Rating: 1          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >----------------------------
 Following the defeat or retreat of the old man, the party rummages around     
 the room and eventually comes across a cache of military documents and        
 pictures, no doubt belonging to the general. Though time-worn and damaged,    
 they show a variety of things, ranging from military parades to ancient       
 installations. None of it would be useful to recreate the great               
 civilization, but damn if this won't be a great conversation piece.           
 Worst-case these should fetch a good price at your local museum!              
=Dungeon Conditions: Treasure=================================================
<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

The party variously hurtles towards hiding spots - and chucks things at the phantasm. It's Emma's Punchy Gun, though, that seems to cheese him off the most. The weapon...

...hits the bottom of the musket. There's a weird eddying as the gun ripples through the ectoplasm making up the rifle, and then it dissipates out of the ghostly general's hands. His moustache bristles as he scowls at Emma for a moment.

Gwen makes good her plea. The ghost general inclines his head. Soon enough, Neriah also rises from behind her picture, smiling and holding her hands out. "I was trying to get in touch with you, too. I wanted to say you had a really nice collection. Is this all from a past life? Because it's amazing."

The general scowls between the two. Then he floats forward. A phantasmal hand plucks the letter from Gwen's grasp before the general floats back into the doorway. He looks at the letter for a moment.

Then he wiggles his moustache, reaches down to his belt, and pulls out a pair of ethereal six-shooters.

"Crap," Neriah yelps, bolting towards the closet just as the ghost general begins firing ghost bullets. Only the fact that he shoots nowhere close to the paintings provides some cover. Bullets nevertheless fill the air as the general pops off shots at any party member up and moving. Stumbling, Neriah gasps as a ghost bullet hits her -

- It seems to melt into her body, and she twitches violently with a high, breathless gasp -

And then she stumbles into the closet, holding the door open just long enough for everyone else to pile into the little treasure room within. Then she slams the door to the treasure closet closed.

Good news: They're in a closet full of cool treasure.

Bad news: The general's standing outside the closet, waiting for them to come out.

<Pose Tracker> Fei Fong Wong has posed.

Fei is clobbered by several ghost bullets or 'holograms' on the way over to the closet. Eventually trapped there, Fei is quiet for a long time as he pats where his 'wounds' should be. Then quiet a moment yet after.

"Well," He says. "The flyer did say we had to spend the night."

It's going to be a loooong evening.

<Pose Tracker> Corwynt has posed.

"Don't worry," Corwynt deadpans, rubbing his shoulder where a ghost bullet hit it. "I can help pass the time with my many hilarious impersonations."

<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

Neriah slumps back against the wall, holding her right hand to her chest. Her fingers twitch for a moment but go still. There's a distant, unhearing look in her expression, as though her focus were somewhere else entirely - and yet, she doesn't look hurt so much as she does lightly dazed, possibly even a little drugged.

After a moment, though she gives herself a brisk shake, blinking and clearing her throat. "...Yeah. Maybe he'll go away at daybreak," she murmurs as she begins to rifle through some of the treasures.

She comes out with a set of military documents, including a picture of some guys on horses. "Look at that horse," she murmurs, pointing at one particularly majestic steed. "His horse is amazing."

<Pose Tracker> Emma Hetfield has posed.

That bristling mustache... too strong! The general raises himself forwards - collects the letter - and pulls his guns. She rolls to the side, diving into the closet after Neriah holds it open!

Safe.

Emma shifts herself to be leaning primarily against Fei.

"Can you do... Vash the Stampede?" she asks Corwynt.

<Pose Tracker> Gwen Whitlock has posed.

---SOME HECTIC MOMENTS LATER--

"Ah, so he was a ghost," Gwen says simply, shrugging. "Well, no wonder that letter was so old." A ghost.

Ghosts, it seems, are real.

Those grey-blue eyes of Gwen's widen slowly, the precursor to what could be seen as, just maybe, fear. "... ghosts are real..."

The tips of her lips curl upwards in a smile. "_Ghosts are real._ This is so amazing! Wow, the world really is that big, for there to be ghosts on top of everything else!" If she's able to, she'll shake Corwynt by the hands now, laughing. "You were right!"

Gwen then cups her hands to her mouth and raises her voice. "You realize that this'd be a great business opportunity for me, right?" she shouts through the closet. "If I could deliver mail to ghosts, think of benefits! You could communicate with other ghosts, without having to leave your house! If you're able to." She squints at the door, then looks at the other party members. Specifically Corwynt and Neriah. "Can ghosts leave whereever they've died? In scary stories, they can't, but those are stories, y'know?"

Stories. Gwen's eyes light up. "Hey, sir!" she shouts again, through the closet door. "Can you tell me some stories? About what it was like for you. I wanna know everything! Where you fought, your medals, your achievements, where you got all these nice things! Also-"

Vash the Stampede. Gwen's enthusiastic words stop, and she settles back into a sitting position. "No one knows what that guy sounds like," she says quietly, rubbing a shoulder where a ghostly bullet ran through it. "It's been fifty years since Lost July."

<Pose Tracker> Corwynt has posed.

Strange Drifter Corwynt knows who Vash the Stampede is, only because he was shocked to learn that the bounty he posted for Lucia the Destroyer was not the biggest bounty in the world. He nods along with Gwen's assessment. "Sorry," he apologizes. "I'm afraid I also don't know what he sounds like." He pauses. "But I have been practicing my White Knight Leo, if anyone wants to hear that one," he offers. "He is such an inspiring person, after all."

He is helping.

<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

Neriah moues her lips in thought.

Then she sinks to a seat beside Gwen, reaching out to give her shoulder a light squeeze. "I don't think ghosts can usually leave the place that they haunt... though this guy seems to go all through the mansion. I'm not a ghost expert, though. I'm more a horrifying monstrosities that haunt your nightmares expert." Shrugging, she scratches at her right palm with her ungloved left hand, as though it's sore or at least bothering her.

Nothing hit her there. The only bullet that hit her, hit her in the back.

Then she brightens and looks to Corwynt. "Leo seems really cool... can you do him? I went in the exhibition matches with him once and he's really inspiring and noble."

<Pose Tracker> Fei Fong Wong has posed.

Fei suddenly narrows his eyes as he looks towards Corwynt.

He snatches, trying to remove his mustache OH NO! Fei is not always smart.

<Pose Tracker> Corwynt has posed.

"Of course," he says, clearing his throat.

And then he poses.

90% of a good White Knight Leo impersonation is in the pose. You want a sort of devil-may-care confidence and warmth in your attitude, but your chest is high and swelled, shoulders squared, leg up (he places his foot on a footlocker), arm resting casually on the upraised knee, the other hand pressed to the centre of your chest reverently. He doesn't have a cape, but a little wind magic stirs his hair majestically. Corwynt inhales deeply, and booms.

"I SAVED THIS FOR YOU, INFIDEL!"

Fei rips the moustache off his face. The glue is apparently not very good.

"TASTE THE WINE OF MY DISCONTENT!" he shouts, glaring at the martial artist.

<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

Neriah cups her hands to her cheeks and gasps with pure delight as Corwynt pulls off a delightful Leo. Then she gasps again as Fei pulls off a fake moustache from the Mysterious Drifter.

"Y-your 'stache!" she exclaims.

<Pose Tracker> Gwen Whitlock has posed.

"Well, maybe he'll think about the whole mail thing, then?" She sighs. "Not that I'll suspect I'll be in the area very long. Once the way to the Badlands is open, I need to get over there. Got loads of mail piled up, I bet, and finding people in the Badlands makes Adelhyde look like a piece of cake." She rearranges her sitting position so that she's sitting cross-legged, then leans back. "C'mon, Fei, let him have the mustache. You gotta at least ask." She stifles a giggle, attempting to at least appear like she's being serious, before clapping for Corwynt. "That was a good impression!"

She pauses, then squints.

"You look familiar."

<Pose Tracker> Fei Fong Wong has posed.

Corwynt..is Corwynt!

"Talking about Leo like that... of course it was you!" He scowls. "Have you even met those you're hunting??" He takes a long deep breath. "You hurt Elly and..and you're going to do the same to Lucia because of some...some God? Who is supposed to be kind??"

He then blinks, remembering himself. He stammers for a few moments before mumbling, "S...sorry." He offers the mustache back. "I uh...get carried away. Please don't kill them, ok? They're nice people."

He cups his head in his hands, distraught.

<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

"Folks." Neriah holds up her right hand.

She's fairly sure at least one of them has seen what happens when she does that. She blinks and reconsiders that gesture's use as a neutral stop-it request, lowering it back to her lap. "It's gonna be a long fight if we bicker in here. So instead, I'll do some impressions too. Here, let me do an Ethius Hesiod."

She straightens her posture and stares straight ahead with a blank expression.

It goes on for an uncomfortably long time.

<Pose Tracker> Fei Fong Wong has posed.

Even while angsting, Fei has to admit "It's perfect..." under his breath.

<Pose Tracker> Emma Hetfield has posed.

Emma looks up from her game of Galaga.

"... My goodness. You're really nailing it..."

<Pose Tracker> Corwynt has posed.

Storm Fist Corwynt has never met Ethius Hesiod, so he has no point of comparison. It was a good try by Neriah, though.

"This Elly was the woman I fought in Adlehyde?" he asks, then moves on before Fei has a chance to answer. "She was a soldier fighting for a military force attempting to loot a city while it was besieged by these 'Metal Demons.' Yes, I hurt her," he says, his voice level. "And if she attempts to prevent me from saving the lives of innocents, then she is as much as putting them to the sword herself. And as for the Destroyer?"

Corwynt's eyes flash, green-white energy dancing in his eyes as he glares up at Fei. "You have... no idea... what you are talking about, boy. The Malevolence you see in this place?" he asks, gesturing vaguely at the mansion. "She exudes it. Like a taint of the soul. The longer she draws breath, the more deaths will be laid at her feet." Corwynt holds Fei's gaze for a moment before releasing his hold on his power, the barometric pressure within the room dropping a good ten points in half a second.

The little man moves toward a corner and drops down into a lotus position. "I have no quarrel with you, young man," Corwynt says softly. "But you should learn something of the things you purport to champion ere you speak in their defence again." He closes his eyes and begins to breathe, slowly.

<Pose Tracker> Gwen Whitlock has posed.

"Um." Gwen's eyes take in Fei and Corwynt's exchange. It would really be easier if 'one side' was evil and 'the other side' was good. But when had anything ever been that simple?

People have their reasons.

"Ah, so. Um." So what should Gwen do, now that the two are in that tense space? Will Fei shoot some reply back at Corwynt?

'Should you ever feel 'under the weather,' or unsure of what's to come, just repeat this technique, and you'll feel instantly better!! After me...!!' Sure, it was more directed at Riesenlied at the time, but he was expecting _both of them_ to say it.

The courier does the only impression she can think up. With a determined glint in her eye, Gwen stands suddenly-

-and whaps her head against a nearby case. "O-ow..."

Clearing her throat, Gwen plants her hands on her hips, and takes in a breath. "This world is made of-"

She thrusts her hand out in a dramatic fashion, her index and middle fingers crossed.

"Love... and peace!"

She stares into the distance for a moment, then relaxes. "Wow, that, uh... does make me feel a bit better..." Probably due to how utterly silly she looked. But how is that really any different from how Gwen usually is? "... Um, so, let's shelve all this for right now. We'll have all the time in the world to figure out how to deal with things. Closets ain't good places to develop understandings, right? So... thank you all for helping."

<Pose Tracker> Neriah Parringer has posed.

Not even making fun of the people she doesn't like is enough for Neriah to stop Storm Fist Corwynt from telling off Fei Fong Wong.

Reaching up, the girl slides off her hat and sets it to one side, then slips out of her jacket and folds it behind herself like a pillow. She doesn't use them yet. Instead she busies herself undoing the buckles of her right glove. Without her coat on, it's evident that it runs all the way up to her elbow.

"You know," she says quietly, "the fact that someone exudes a taint doesn't mean that their intentions are evil. Some people have powers they don't understand. Sometimes those powers can appear... awful. But that doesn't mean that the people are evil by nature. So...."

She peels her glove down her forearm, letting it fall to her lap. Behind it, her right hand appears normal, save for the fact that she appears to be bleeding from a spot in the centre of her palm, albeit not heavily. Pale eyes lift towards Corwynt again - then over to Gwen.

She smiles faintly. "...Yeah. Yeah, love and peace," she says quietly, evidently dropping whatever train of thought she was on.

<Pose Tracker> Fei Fong Wong has posed.

God, Fei thinks, why did I start this. He's going at it now and he's like a professional preacher I guess and I'm just some angry guy who can't stop himself from blurting shit out. Actually, as Corwynt is yelling at Fei, he might recognize there's something dark inside of Fei too. It's just lurking there, right now, waiting. But it's there.

"Has she actually killed someone?" Fei asks. "You're right. I don't really know her. But nobody surrounded by people like Hiro can be literally 'glowing evil'. It doesn't--"

He takes in a breath. He is compelled to defend Elly, but the truth is she totally was doing that. She was. And what, exactly, is he planning on saying about it.

"Elly wouldn't stop anyone from saving lives." He says eventually. "The rest...I get she's with Gebler. But she isn't a bad person. She's just..." He can't really say why she's there, but well--if you're born in one place it's not exactly easy to leave it. Fei knows that as well as anyone. "--It's where she's at now. If you kill her, she won't be able to be anywhere else. I--"

He lumps down. He just doesn't have a lot of energy for long arguments. He gets explosive quick and then tapers off and then he's done.

LOVE...AND PEACE.

Fei's head snaps towards Gwen, bewildered.