2017-12-05: A Muse to Inspire

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============================<* Wayside Village *>=============================

Wayside Village sits at the midst of a road exchange leading into the neck of the Badlands. Decades ago, this village was abandoned due to increasing pressure and risk from roadside thieves and bandits, as well as aggressive wildlife, but it was resuscitated recently by the Ebony Wings.

Now, Wayside Village stands as a haven "for those who have been left by the wayside" - it houses an orphanage, school and a homeless shelter and soup kitchen to aid those that have been abetted. A vulnerable, but growing community has gathered here, slightly odd in shape, size and appendages, owing to them being mostly "Tainted" -- rumored to be broken Metal Demons, or perhaps just Beastmen and other demihumans; the real story isn't quite widespread. Besides, those that have nowhere to go seem to be happy enough to coexist here.

For Drifters, a large roadside saloon called the "V4L-H4LLA" acts as an inn, a watering hole and a stable all in one. Those with vehicles that require repair can also find some mechanics who can enact some basic maintenance and a top-up of common fuels. A dojo with all kinds of martial training equipment has been set up near the village centre.

Wayside Village sustains itself largely by trading and selling water for other services, owing to its recently repaired water purifier unit - served to the village via a Qanat with a robust irrigation system stands at the edge of the village, where a Garden with simple hardy crops and other agricultural pursuits can be followed.

BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4uR39jNeGE
DG: A party led by Jacqueline Barber is now entering Wayside Wellspring.
DG: Party formation is now over. An Entry Challenge will now be drawn and displayed to the party.
===========================<* Wayside Wellspring *>===========================
=================<* CHALLENGE - Whatever Floats Your Boat *>==================
|Type: Entry       |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 You find yourself in a dark, dank cave system beyond the qanat. The water     
 looks slimy and not very clean -- there's a *reason* Wayside depends on its   
 ARM-purifier! On the other side of the water you see several antiquated       
 rowboats, complete with paddles. You'll need one if you want to continue      
 further -- unless you decide to swim! You'll also need a light source --      
 it's DARK in these caves!                                                     
=Dungeon Conditions: Hesitate=================================================
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

It was with great care that Jacqueline moved. Right now, discretion was key. The object that was located at the end of Wayside's waterway was an object of great important, and the center of much controversy. If they were seen going for it, there could be...problems.

Following Riesenlied's lead, the party makes their way through the tunnels, until they eventually find themselves on the shore of the waterway. Jacqueline glances down both ways, taking a moment to assess their current location.

...It looks like they'll need a boat if they want to get any further. And, fortunately, on the other side of the stream there appeared to be a set of rowboats.

"I'd like to thank you all again for joining me...I know this was a bit of an unusual request..." Jacqueline says. Indeed, she would not have perfectly expected she'd be tracking down a statue without intending to seal it right away herself, but the situation right now was...unique.

She reaches into her pouch and drawing out a Crest. She invokes it, causing a pillar of earth to emerge in hopes of pushing a boat close enough for them to get in.

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

        Riesenlied is there to lead them, though she isn't in the best of conditions. Though already genteel and soft-spoken, there's a particular timorousness about the way she moves and follows Jacqueline, a deep concern stricken across her face as she holds the Dragon's Tear aloft as it cascades its shimmering light upon the cavern.

        The light is calming and soothing, perhaps the better to help in this dangerous and slippery environment.

        "Yes, I thank you deeply from the bottom of my heart too..." she lowers her head. Barely above sotto voce, she finds herself mumbling, "...if I can be said to have one..."

        She seats herself on the boat next to Jacqueline, pensively waiting. She hopes that there won't be any surprises...

DG: Riesenlied has used her Tool Dragon's Tear toward her party's challenge, Whatever Floats Your Boat.
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

It took a lot of self-persuasion for Catenna to set aside the idea of immediately sealing the statue.

"It is alright," the priestess answers Jacqueline, keeping her voice down. Even then, the sound of her whisper echoes a little in the dimness of the cavern, out across the murky water. She lifts pale grey eyes to gaze out across the dank surface of the aquifer.

The offensive smell of the place teases cruelly at her senses. She forces herself not to dwell on it; more important matters, after all, are near to hand. Easing forward, she peers towards the boats, then looks towards Jay as her friend begins to nudge one of the dinghies their way.

Catenna produces a small sconce from somewhere, setting the shaft between her knees so she can work the bowl with both hands. Delicately, she breaks a few herbs into the sconce, then lights a match.

Light sparks to life, clear and pale and with a subtle tinge of blue, like herbal moonlight. The mixture of Zortroan herbs provides a light not quite as calming as Riesenlied's, but less harsh and more clear than a typical flame torch. Picking up her light, Catenna holds it high, easing towards the boats and settling in with Riese and Jay.

"You do have a heart, Riesenlied," she assures, her voice soft and her smile faint. "There is more to having one than possessing the appropriate meat parts."

DG: Catenna has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Whatever Floats Your Boat.
<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        Ethius is comfortable with the idea of movements made with discretion - and it should come as no surprise that he was ready and willing to follow the very moment the situation was laid bare. Whether people would be comfortable having him about is something of a different issue entirely, as some of his behaviors have become noticeably more... erratic? Whatever the reasons are, what is visible of his face does not betray the reasons that seem to spur him on. If any reason, at all.
        Wordlessly, he waits to see how Riesenlied plans to seat herself on the boat. He has never offered any commentary about the changes in her physical form since... certain pivotal events. He has not said much of a word to her since that small incident at the library. He does not seem keen to initiate much conversation, awaiting to see how certain seating arrangements pan out before he takes his seat.
        It is reasonably clear that he is attempting to make sure he sits as far away from the light of the Dragon's Tear as possible.
        Even after all they've been through, he seems largely the same as ever. That same distant, cold, untrustworthy character.

DG: Ethius Hesiod has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Whatever Floats Your Boat.
<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

        "Not at all," Avril replies, stepping carefully as she descends into the depths of the waterway. Even with light, it's best to be cautious when heading down into the dark unknown. "I am glad we are able to assist." She turns one glance back over her shoulder at the others, particularly towards Riesenlied as the woman makes a particular remark.

        And a few seconds later sniffs cautiously at the air. "...Oh," she comments simply, as if suddenly realizing a certain fact about the waterway.
        "Riesenlied, has there been a leak down here?"

        Probably not the conversation anyone really wants to be having, though.

        At length, they arrive at a shore, where boats bob... on the other side of the expanse.

        Avril considers this problem for all of a handful of seconds.

        Then she points.

        "Dean. Are you able to shoot the ropes? Perhaps if we can then get the boats to drift towards us..."

DG: Avril Vent Fleur has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Whatever Floats Your Boat.
<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

        Dean was here just the other day! He found a waterwheel at the end of the dungeon, after the Schturdark statue nope'd into a stone slab well away from any prying eyes or hands. He decided, once everyone returned to the surface, to fetch Avril and bring her back to Wayside to help out. Poor Rebecca's on babysitting duty right now. At least she gets to go on plenty of off-screen adventures with her friends...?
        
        Regardless, now he's here with Riese and Jay and the others. "Sure, no problem!" he tells the two of them, smiling. "Hmm... How *do* we get those boats, though..." He rubs a finger under his nose. Last time, there were a few people who happened to be exploring the caverns at the same time, but that's not likely to happen again. Fortunately, Avril's here and willing to suggest he shoot at the ropes that bind the boats. "Sure, I'll give it a try!" he says, raising his hands.
        
        Twin Fenrir flash into existence, and he aims them and opens fire. The Standard Cartridge, fortunately, isn't deadly--it won't pierce those boats--but they do have some sting. Enough to, say, potentially fray a rope, or at least knock loose the thing those ropes are tied to so Jay's earth pillar can push them close that much more easily. Or maybe he'll just shoot a bunch to no avail, who knows! Not knowing the future is what makes the present so exciting.
        
        Thankfully, with Catenna and Riese bringing out plenty of light, seeing what he's doing won't be a problem. Once the boats are accessible, he'll get in one after Riesenlied, offering a hand to Avril to help her in too.
        
        Meanwhile, Ethius is also there. Dean's not sure what to make of the quiet guy, but he seems okay enough so far!

DG: Dean Stark has used his Tool Twin Fenrir - Standard Cartridge toward his party's challenge, Whatever Floats Your Boat.
DG: Jacqueline Barber has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Whatever Floats Your Boat.
<Pose Tracker> Shalune Amira has posed.

        Big Shal isn't usually used as a distraction, the golem apparently happy to sink into the background and become part of the scenery - but she's still good for diverting attention every once in a while, and the erection of a new dwelling in Wayside is enough of a chance to allow the group to slip quietly into the waterway for their investigation.

        For once, Shalune is blessedly silent; she's actually kind of mousy and quiet when she wants to be, her profile kept small as she slinks down into the waterway's main passageway and towards the docks they used last time. Worry kind of radiates through her form; a chance to pause and think hasn't exactly helped her make any headway as to Wayside's new and unusual political situations, and she chews on her lip as she sucks in a soft breath to herself. "Okay, um, we just need to head up-current and we'll pretty much get there... I don't know much about statues, but I did jot a buncha notes down about the route we took..." she admits as she rubs at the back of her hair.

        For a moment, she hangs back - watching Jacqueline's pillar of earth, the old-fashioned sconce that Catenna creates, the way that Dean-- just kind of shoots everywhere at once. (Even Shalune looks kind of concerned at that, wincing back towards the entrance in worry.)

        And then... she just pulls out a large coil of rope, her face kept kind of blankly deadpan as she makes a coil out of one end then throws it over to hook onto the nearest boat, dragging it towards her in a remarkably practical solution. When it finally bumps against the dock, she pulls out-- a simple miner's torch, sticking it in the band of her bobble hat to light the way ahead of her.

        Shalune, are you feeling alright?!

DG: Shalune Amira has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Whatever Floats Your Boat.
===========================<* Wayside Wellspring *>===========================
=================<* CHALLENGE - Whatever Floats Your Boat *>==================
|Type: Entry       |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 You find yourself in a dark, dank cave system beyond the qanat. The water     
 looks slimy and not very clean -- there's a *reason* Wayside depends on its   
 ARM-purifier! On the other side of the water you see several antiquated       
 rowboats, complete with paddles. You'll need one if you want to continue      
 further -- unless you decide to swim! You'll also need a light source --      
 it's DARK in these caves!                                                     
=Dungeon Conditions: Hesitate=================================================
======================<* Wayside Wellspring - Round 1 *>======================
===================< Results - Whatever Floats Your Boat >====================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Barber                   0 --(15)--> 15                 Pass
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ethius Hesiod                       0 --(20)--> 20                 Fail
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Avril Vent Fleur                    0 --(20)--> 20                 Fail
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Shalune Amira                       0 --(20)--> 20                 Fail
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Catenna                             0 --(20)--> 20                 Fail
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dean Stark                          0 --(20)--> 20                 Fail
Twin Fenrir - Standard Cartridge    3   Wits    Effects: Fanfare              
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Riesenlied                          0 --(15)--> 15                 Pass
Dragon's Tear                       1   Wits    Effects: Cleanse              
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Jacqueline Barber           0 --(10)--> 10                 Fail
Conditions: Hesitate(2)
Effects: Cleanse
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: The party led by Jacqueline Barber has failed this challenge! The party gained 10 exploration! If anyone needs to use party
management commands, do so now. Otherwise, the next round's GM may begin the next round with +dungeon/draw.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

The plan seems like a workable one at first. Dean shoots the ropes, Jacqueline pushes them closer...unfortunately, what they didn't count on was how loud it would be. The shot rings out, echoing through the waterway. Jacqueline pales slightly and goes still for a moment, listening...

Had anything overheard it...? Or worse, anyone...?

Unfortunately, in that moment, all but one of the boats escape from them. It's not the largest boat, but at least there's enough room for everyone... Good thing they were all friends, right?

Eventually, everyone gets settled in the last remaining boat.

Throughout their travel Riesenlied's behavior didn't go unnoticed by Jacqueline. There was something...different about her, but it is not until they're both seated in the boat that Jacqueline decides to say something about it.

"Riesenlied, is there..." Jacqueline starts, but the other woman speaks first. She frowns slightly, and then nods when Catenna speaks.

"Yes, Catenna is right. Do you...remember our conversation?" She asks, looking at Riesenlied.

Shalune's situation doesn't go unnoticed either.

"Are you alright?" She asks, as they get started down the waterway.

The Statue awaits...but before that, they have to contend with the dangers of the Wellspring itself...

DG: Dean Stark has drawn a new Challenge.
============================<* Wayside Wellspring *>============================
======================<* CHALLENGE - Precision Paddling *>======================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 You'll have to navigate carefully to get your boat past the submerged and     
 semi-submerged stalagmites in this cave. Otherwise they could splinter your   
 craft, and then where would you be??? Best proceed slowly. At least the       
 currents don't seem so strong here.                                           
=Dungeon Conditions: Bad Luck=================================================
<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

        There go the ropes! ...And there go the boats. Dean watches most of them float away as Twin Fenrir flash out of his grip. "Oops," he says sheepishly. "A-at least we've still got the one boat, though! Right?"
        
        He looks over at Riesenlied for a moment as they all get in. At first it seemed like her 'heart' comment was about her being upset, but based on Catenna reacted, it seems like it's more about her being a Metal Demon. Huh. She seems okay, in any case. He thinks? Shalune is easier to read; she's just so... un-energetic. When Jay asks after her, he nods too, expression sober. "Yeah, Shalune, are you okay? You seem kinda... off tonight. As in, you're not as cheerful as usual."
        
        Regardless of how Lunie answers, the group gets the boat moving, rowing with oars and steering along the weak underground waterway current. Soon they start to approach half-submerged stalagmites. Dean, who was here the other day and encountered these very things, sits up straighter when he sees them.
        
        "Watch out, guys!" he warns the others, pointing their way. "There's more of those things under the water, so let's be careful as we go around them!"

DG: Dean Stark has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Precision Paddling.
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Catenna slowly looks towards Dean Stark. She lowers her eyelids slightly.

The boats go floating away. Catenna breathes out a low sigh and raises her sconce, climbing into the boat and taking up a position at the stern. "Yes," she says, her voice low. "At least we got a boat."

As the boat slides along through the disgusting murk of the aquifer, Catenna presses her lips together, holding her sconce up and squinting into the darkness ahead. Sure enough, this time Dean turns out to be on point; the huge, jagged stalagmites loom out of the water ahead, like huge talons threatening to tear the bottom out of the boat.

"Let me try something," Catenna suggests as she moves towards the prow of the boat. She unhooks the grappling hook from her belt, briefly sets her sconce down at a slight angle, then whirls the grappling hook over her head and lobs it in a broad arc towards the roof of the cavern. The hook end vanishes in the gloom.

A moment later, there's a faint, echoing 'ktink' as the hook bites into something. Tugging on the rope, Catenna tests it once, then nods. Picking her sconce up, she begins to climb up the rope, letting it swing her out towards a stalagmite.

Catenna's boots hit the rocky protrusion; she holds her torch up like a beacon. From a distance, she looks a lot like the light on a buoy. Once the boat is safely past, she turns - and with a whisper of magic, calls upon the arcana of Lucadia.

A subtle blue shimmer dances in the air as Catenna Jumps a few hexes, to another stalagmite on the boat's course. Again she holds her torch up like a buoy to warn Dean and the crew of what to avoid.

DG: Catenna has used her Tool Grappling Hook toward her party's challenge, Precision Paddling.
<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

        There's a little hiccup of embarrassment from Riesenlied, as she realises Catenna overheard her -- and she lowers her head. "... I hope so. No--" she pauses, "I know so, I just..."

        She looks towards Jacqueline, trying to put a smile on for her. "It's--" she yelps and lets out a remarkably surprised squeak as Dean starts shooting, shaking her head just for a moment.

        "I know. Be kind to myself," she whispers back, just to show that she hasn't forgotten her lesson. She gives Shalune a kinder look as she pats her on the hand as well.

        She looks towards Dean with a nod, before glancing back towards Avril. "A leak...?" She considers it. "Not outside of the excavation work that we have done, that I am aware of... did you notice something, Miss Avril?"

        There's a hesitant pause as she looks towards the stalagmites, and then-- puffs her cheeks up as if to gird herself--

        --and starts flapping her wings to try to help steering the boat in a given direction. It looks kinda adorable, because she puffs out and wheezes a moment later.

DG: Riesenlied has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Precision Paddling.
<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        Ethius spends much of the poignant seconds of fear over whether they might be spotted keeping an ear out, one hand extended to the rest. In this revised sequence of events, he ends up the last one on the boat. He does not board until he seems absolutely convinced that they are not about to have unwelcome visitors.
        Moving on.
        Ethius quietly pulls out a patchy-lookin', shoddy sack that seems more like something a bandit might've cobbled together to carry loot in its heyday (yes, actually). The polka-dot and stripey-patched thing has a cord tied around his right wrist, his off-hand, as he gently lifts it up to a series of spoken syllables and presumed hand-movements obscured underneath the bag's fabric. One display of light giving away the use of Symbology later, it inflates with hot air.
        Using the balloon for help balancing - and thus allowing him much freer range of movement without threatening the balance of the boat itself - Ethius takes the quarterstaff in a single hand for use of prodding and poking at the muck to spot any submerged stalagmites that can't easily be seen through the muck, to assist with where Catenna's light can reach anything visible above the surface. (At least, in-between repeating the incantations and gestures needed to maintain thrust.)
        He does not participate in the reassurances and friendly shows of mutual trust and resolve. In this moment, he has a temporary excuse while they try to navigate this precarious part of the watery path.

DG: Ethius Hesiod has used his Tool Hot Air Sack toward his party's challenge, Precision Paddling.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline offers Riesenlied a smile and a nod.

"That's right. Someone who didn't have a heart...she wouldn't have tried to reassure me after everything, and have that conversation with me." She replies.

They progress through the waterway, and Dean issues a warning - stalagmites. Jacqueline frowns, and takes a moment to consider how to proceed. She could use earth pillars to try and break them, but...if she wasn't careful with her aim, she might just end up causing more problems. Fortunately, everyone seems to have an effective solution, whether it's ballooning, going ahead to warn them of danger...or flapping their wings.

Jacqueline takes hold of one of the oars, helping to row and hopefully keep them on a safe course with everyone's help.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Precision Paddling.
<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

        "Notice something? Ah... There appears to be a scent in the air..."

        Perhaps that could have been better planned. As she directs, Dean shoots at the ropes...

        ...And the bulk of the boats, caught in a strong current drift away. "Ah," Avril comments, otherwise watching them drift on in abject silence.

        But at least one remains, even if it's a little bit crowded going. "Well, at least there is one remaining," she comments helpfully.

        And they're off!

        Avril, towards the back of the boat, sights it the moment light catches on the rocks. "Oh--"

        Her expression is only briefly shocked. Her eyes narrow in determination soon after, and from the depths of her gown, she draws forth a medium.

        Propping it against her lap, she balances it while keeping one hand on her hat as they hurtle onwards through the tunnel. Her hand presses flat against the Sea Medium.

        "Lucadia, please, hear me," she invokes; from the ancient device that is allegedly a medium, light shines brightly for an instant.

        If all goes according to plan, perhaps the little craft will just... hop over one of the stalagmites in the water ahead. The power of the Guardians?

DG: Avril Vent Fleur has used her Tool Sea Medium toward her party's challenge, Precision Paddling.
<Pose Tracker> Shalune Amira has posed.

        Shalune ends up hunkered down at one side of the boat, though at least she's got her bag safely in her lap; she blinks at the concern from multiple angles, then lifts her hands to pump them in place, only stopping as Riesenlied rests a hand on hers. "N-no, I'm okay, I promise! I'm just-- trying to be sneaky, I guess?" she admits with a rather wan grin, immediately belying that by scratching at her cheek and glancing away in concern. "... I mean, there's also the fact this situation sucks, y'know? I thought about it a ton, but it's not like there's much of an answer we can really pull out until we know more. Maybe a whole lot more."

        She leans towards Reisenlied a little at the sign of affection, though, in a manner that suggests Mom Lily might have competition. It takes her a moment to catch up on the rest of the talk, just noticing the other thread of conversation given she's been lost in her thoughts thus far - but it still makes her perk up just a little in her seat. "That's not even a question, right? I mean, look at Wayside! Anyone says you guys don't have a heart and Janey and I will--"

        She stops just short of saying 'we'll calamitize them', partially because Shalune has a sense of the mood and partially because she'd be terrible at it, but she does frown disapprovingly. "--will be real mad."

        The boat rocks suddenly, drawing a yelp from the mechanic as it bonks lightly against a stalagmite. Automatically, she reaches down into the centre of the boat--

        --only to find the oar is a rotten, useless thing, falling apart in her hands in so much wood mulch. She makes kind of a face at the piece she's left with, and on an impulse tosses it overboard, reaching into her pack for a familiar large plate of white metal, the folded-up form of the Little Dipper. Maybe she can fly across to the other boat and get one of their oars, perhaps, or wing back to the dock quickly for a spare.

        ... ... instead, she dips it into the water and begins paddling with the flat.

DG: Shalune Amira has used her Tool Little Dipper toward her party's challenge, Precision Paddling.
============================<* Wayside Wellspring *>============================
======================<* CHALLENGE - Precision Paddling *>======================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 You'll have to navigate carefully to get your boat past the submerged and     
 semi-submerged stalagmites in this cave. Otherwise they could splinter your   
 craft, and then where would you be??? Best proceed slowly. At least the       
 currents don't seem so strong here.                                           
=Dungeon Conditions: Bad Luck=================================================
=======================<* Wayside Wellspring - Round 2 *>=======================
========================< Results - Precision Paddling >========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Barber                   15 --(5)--> 20                 Pass
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC                
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ethius Hesiod                       20 --(5)--> 25                 Pass
Hot Air Sack                        2   Agility Effects: Resilient            
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Avril Vent Fleur                    20 --(5)--> 25                 Pass
Sea Medium                          3   Agility Effects: Fanfare              
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Shalune Amira                       20 --(5)--> 25                 Pass
Little Dipper                       2   Agility Effects: Quicken              
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Catenna                             20 --(5)--> 25                 Pass
Grappling Hook                      2   Agility Effects: Quicken              
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dean Stark                          20 --(5)--> 25                 Pass
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC                
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Riesenlied                          15 --(10)--> 25                Fail
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC                
-----------------------------------< Party >------------------------------------
Leader: Jacqueline Barber           10 --(15)--> 25                Pass
Conditions: Bad Luck(2)|Hesitate(1)
Effects: Quicken(1)|Resilient(1)
===============================< Dream Chasers >================================
DG: The party led by Jacqueline Barber has passed this challenge! The party gained 15 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> Dean Stark has posed.

        Dean has his hits and his misses. He's not the type to let past mistakes get him down, either, especially when there's still things to do.
        
        "Oh, okay," Dean says to Shalune, taking her excuse at face value. "We *did* have a run-in with some other people the other night who were also exploring, so that's a good idea." Probably. It's Shalune! He's sure she knows what she's doing. The rest of what she says gets her a sympathetic nod. And when she chimes in on Jay to claim Riese has a heart, he grins and nods firmly.
        
        Upon Dean's warning, the others look ahead and react appropriately. Catenna Jumps on ahead to cast light on the stalagmites ahead, acting as a mini-lighthouse to guide their way; Avril calls upon the same Guardian to attempt to make the boat itself Jump past one of the stalagmites; Jay grabs an oar and steers the boat; Riese uses her wings to try to propel air currents to better refine their steering; Ethius blows up a balloon with hot air to use for personal balance and then starts poking at the murk in the water with a staff to reveal any hidden dangers; Shalune grabs the other oar, finds it's garbage, and pulls out a piece of Little Dipper and uses *that* for an oar.
        
        Between the lot of them, they see great success! They navigate around the stalagmites smoothly and with no problems. The worst that happens is that maybe Riese's puffing is a little *too* cute. ...or, perhaps, creating wind isn't super-helpful when there's no sail to catch it. It's all good, though. Onwards and beyond!

DG: Ethius Hesiod has drawn a new Challenge.
================================================<* Wayside Wellspring *>================================================
==========================================<* CHALLENGE - Fight the Current *>===========================================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
-----------------------------------------------< Challenge Information: >-----------------------------------------------
 The currents are quite strong here! You need to do something before you get   
 washed out to the place you just left! You can see several openings you       
 could direct your boat through -- if you have the strength.                   
=Dungeon Conditions: Exhaust==================================================
<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        The lot of them all regroup together. Everyone passes the time however they will - speaking well of one another, maybe discussing other observed hazards further down in a prior expedition, carefully ensuring everyone who was outside of the boat in part or whole are able to be secured, that sort of thing. Things go pretty well after they go past that field of stalagmites and other inconvenient terrain.
        Things look like they might go quickly enough.
        "Something's coming." Ethius speaks out of the blue, raising his currently free hand in an esoteric preparatory Symbological casting gesture (his typical companions could recognize it as the start of an electrical spell).
        The sound of rushing water grows louder - something, somewhere, somehow, now appears to be flushing water from further ahead - threatening to rob their current boat ride of all momentum... and maybe even back towards the stalagmites.
        A 'someone' never materializes. Ethius gets both hands back on the quarterstaff, now a makeshift oar of questionable worth, and starts putting his back into trying to furiously row against the current. Someone else among the party might see a good place to try and direct the boat, though the opening is fairly narrow. They can't fight past this current.
        Their only hope of going anywhere is to get washed in that direction instead. Can they muster this without tipping themselves over?

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

        The insistence and energy from Shalune brought more of a smile from Riesenlied, even if it's unsteady. "... thank you ..." she finds herself whispering, with a nod. "There was-- just something sent to me that rattled me... but, this is not the time to speak of it. I apologise for bringing it here--"

        She pipes down as Ethius warns them of what comes -- and peers ahead as she listens to it too. "Ah..." she winces and grabs hold of her side of the boat, and thinks quickly.

        She draws her Fereshte bow, and quickly loops a piece of rope around one of her arrows and fires it in the direction of safety -- towards the way forward.

        "This will help anchor us...!" Hopefully it'll secure itself, enough for someone else to start pulling.

DG: Riesenlied has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Fight the Current.
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

With a quick, magically-glitering hop, Catenna finds her way back into the boat. She touches down surprisingly smoothly at the stern, straightening and steadying herself with a hand to either side of the little vessel.

She smiles at Avril with a little, respectful dip of her head.

Before she can say anything, though, Ethius gets alert. Catenna straightens up and rises on her toes, trying to peer through the thick of the group towards the water ahead. But the feel of the boat beneath her tells her all she needs to know. The boat's momentum is reversing - a strong current seems to be pulling them back!

Catenna bites down to her bottom lip, then looks up to Riesenlied. "You have done much that is good, Riesenlied," she says quietly. "I would not have your journey end here."

The priestess sinks to her knees and draws her Medium from her belt. Long fingers trail across it as she begins to chant softly in Zortroan. The name 'Celesdue' can be made out amid the stream of verbosity. Something in the air vibrates invisibly; the entire boat shudders subtly.

The rushing in the water seems to ebb a little. A bit of rock crumbles from one of the stalagmites.

The chunks are drawn to a spot in the air well behind the boat - and are abruptly compressed down into a fine pellet of dust as they betray the presence of a tiny but powerful source of gravity, rippling and shifting as Catenna attempts to forcibly alter the current by simply forcing the water to flow another way.

DG: Catenna has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Fight the Current.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline studies Shalune for a moment when she tries to assure her that she's just being sneaky. It's clear that she doesn't buy it, and when she admits the truth, Jacqueline nods.

"...Yes, it is..." She agrees with a murmur.

Fortunately, by working together they manage to get past the stalagmites with little difficulty. As they're moving along, Jacqueline glances toward Riesenlied with a frown.

Something was sent to her...?

She wanted to know, but it wasn't long before Ethius warns them of something coming. This wasn't the time for that, unfortunately.

The current picks up speed, and they run the risk of losing all progress...

Quickly, Jacqueline reaches into her bag, drawing out a set of red potions.

Here, take these...this should help give us a bit more strength." She says, handing out the invigorating potions. Whether they were rowing or pulling, it would surely be a help.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has used her Tool Brewte Force toward her party's challenge, Fight the Current.
<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

        "Something?" Dean echoes, looking forward. He doesn't see anything on the water, or *in* the water... it takes him to moment he's supposed to be looking at the water itself, specifically a strengthening current due to water flushing out from somewhere ahead. Once he does, though, he scrambles to pull his trusty White Fenrir out of his coat and use the shovel in much the same way Ethius uses his quarterstaff. A stronger current potentially means shallower waters, though, so Dean might well be able to use his shovel to dig into the earth below the waters and shove them in the right direction so they wash out somewhere new instead of back towards the stalagmites.
        
        If not? Well, he tried! At least Jay's handing out something potentially helpful: Dean accepts one of her potions with a, "Gee, thanks!" and knocks it back before shoveling/rowing with increased vigor.

DG: Dean Stark has used his Tool Black Fenrir - THAT DAMN SHOVEL toward his party's challenge, Fight the Current.
<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

        Avril exhales sharply, as if slightly sapped from that successful draw upon the Medium's power. Briefly, she meets that smile of Catenna's, though only dips her head in kind. Something's distracted her, it seems. Hand still holding onto her hat, she tucks the Sea Medium away for safekeeping.

        Only to tense as the sensation of the current changes, soon upon their landing. "--No, the water has--"

        And reaching over, she plants one hand on the oars, intending to help steer the craft. "Everyone-- Try to aim to the right-- There's an opening--"

        Though admittedly, her arm strength might not really past muster in this case.

DG: Avril Vent Fleur has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Fight the Current.
DG: Ethius Hesiod has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Fight the Current.
<Pose Tracker> Shalune Amira has posed.

        "H-hmm... I mean, I'd say you should just not accept that sorta mail, but I guess it's not like that's an option 'til you see it..." wonders Shalune as she oars along. For a pink blob she's got some pretty wiry strength, and it kind of seems like she's done this sort of thing before, freely and confidently pushing the boat away from some of the stalagmites as it continues to sail down the waterway. Everything looks like smooth sailing - pardon the pun - until the mechanic innocently wonders: "... um, are we gettin' faster?"

        When their situation becomes more clear, Shalune amazingly fails to panic - instead, she perks up and hauls her backpack around to her lap, starting to dig through it at some speed. "Wait, wait, I had a thing for this, I'm sure-- just paddle a little faster, okay!--" she chatters to herself and sort of to everyone else, pulling a couple of little gizmos out of a side pocket. The first looks for the world like a small handheld propellor, the other a suspiciously yellow box with a black lightning bolt on one side.

        Wiring the two together on a rocking boat isn't exactly easy, but in a quick moment of work she's got something that at least looks impressive, if you're okay with rickety homemade solutions that look like they're ready to fall apart. Undeterred, Shalune dunks the fan-half into the water behind the boat, presses a red button on the side of the power box in her hand, and spectacularly fails to electrocute herself.

DG: Shalune Amira has used her Tool Soup of the Day -Shalune Ver.- toward her party's challenge, Fight the Current.
===========================<* Wayside Wellspring *>===========================
=====================<* CHALLENGE - Fight the Current *>======================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
The currents are quite strong here! You need to do something before you get   
washed out to the place you just left! You can see several openings you       
could direct your boat through -- if you have the strength.                   
=Dungeon Conditions: Exhaust==================================================
======================<* Wayside Wellspring - Round 3 *>======================
=======================< Results - Fight the Current >========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Barber                   20 --(5)--> 25                 Pass
Brewte Force                        1   Brute   Effects: Fanfare and Strengthe
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ethius Hesiod                       25 --(5)--> 30                 Pass
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Avril Vent Fleur                    25 --(7)--> 32                 Fail
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Shalune Amira                       25 --(5)--> 30                 Pass
Soup of the Day -Shalune Ver.-      3   Brute   Effects: Fanfare              
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Catenna                             25 --(7)--> 32                 Fail
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dean Stark                          25 --(5)--> 30                 Pass
Black Fenrir - THAT DAMN SHOVEL     2   Brute   Effects: Stalwart             
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Riesenlied                          25 --(7)--> 32                 Fail
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Jacqueline Barber           25 --(15)--> 40                Pass
Conditions: Bad Luck(1)|Exhaust(1)
Effects: Strengthen(1)
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================


DG: The party led by Jacqueline Barber has passed this challenge! The party gained 15 exploration! If anyone needs to use party
management commands, do so now. Otherwise, the next round's GM may begin the next round with +dungeon/draw.
<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        Even with the help of an anchoring force, it's frantic - and that rope looks like it's starting to fray apart almost as soon as this makeshift anchoring solution is set up. They have to act fast. The water is rushing so fast that it seems to overpower Catenna's impressive masterful sorcery over the force of gravity, but it does by them some precious seconds even as Avril struggles to keep the boat going in the direction they want it to.
        With Jay's help - Ethius takes a whiff of the potion rather than drink it in a moment of rest and immediately finds himself empowered both by the violating odor of running sewage-quality water and the vapors (one in more part the other, which one an exercise to the reader) - those trying to deal with this by physical strength can keep rowing the boat towards where the (quickly failing) rope anchors them. The BLACK FENRIR will claim a new victim yet - the element of water itself! - as he seems to be one of the breakthrough rowers.
        Shalune, finding a moment in her element of devil-may-care on-the-spot innovation, might be what seals the deal just as the rope gives out as the makeshift propellor helps give the boat enough movement to just clear the opening before it likely shorts itself out.
        The boat goes adrift down this new leg of the cavern. They may not have a chance to catch their breaths just yet...

DG: Catenna has drawn a new Challenge.
=============================<* Wayside Wellspring *>=============================
=========================<* CHALLENGE - Rubble Trouble *>=========================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
----------------------------< Challenge Information: >----------------------------
 The cave mouth to the next area is both semi-underwater and blocked by        
 stones of various sizes and types. They appear to have been left there        
 deliberately. You'll have to clear them away before you can direct your       
 rowboat through. Fortunately the water is shallow enough to stand in. It's    
 also cold and not a little slimy. You might want to check your vaccinations   
 before leaving the boat.                                                      
=Dungeon Conditions: Tire=====================================================
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Trying to force things just isn't Catenna's milieu, to be totally honest with you.

The boat is redirected, and Catenna lets the spell go with a hard sigh, slumping a little as the current carries them along. Yet even as the water laps its way down into that tunnel, it seems to get slower and slower. The current only seems to rush in small dribs and drabs, not really seeming to get anywhere.

The reason becomes clear soon enough: Several large boulders have been planted in the stream, obstructing the current and making it impossible for a boat to pass. Even trying to portage the rocks doesn't seem workable; the cave ceiling is just a little too low, the rocks too slick and grimy to stand upon.

Frowning, Catenna sets her torch down again, then moves to the prow. "I do not think we have much of an option but to move these," she says, her voice low.

Sadly, as we've already covered, this isn't Catenna's milieu. She looks at the huge boulders helplessly for a moment.

Then she sinks back in the boat. Holding her hands out, she begins to chant again, her voice holding a subtle echo. When the others do exit the boat and begin to manhandle the slimy rocks, they'll be a little lighter, gravity working its magic and actually lightening them a little as its force abates - but the disgusting ooze slathered across them will make the work unpleasant.

DG: Catenna has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Rubble Trouble.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

The party manages to avoid having to retread the path they've already taken. Jacqueline breathes a sigh of relief, and allows herself to relax for a time.

...Unfortunately, it's not long before another obstacle presents itself to them. The path ahead is blocked. But they way the stones are arrayed...

"Was...someone trying to prevent people from reaching the Statue...?" Jacqueline considers. She doesn't give this line of thought much attention. It was pointless to think about right now. The important thing is moving onward. The elixir from before should still be active, so those who took it then will continue to feel invigorated.

Rather than leaving the boat herself, Jacqueline draws a Crest and invokes it. Tendrils of earth emerge from the water, attempting to help move the stones away now that Catenna has made them lighter.

...She has no intention of getting out of the boat in water like this.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has used her Tool Brewte Force toward her party's challenge, Rubble Trouble.
<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

        Riesenlied nods towards Catenna as she reaches out towards the boulders and, not having much strength herself -- what with her diminishing physical form -- opts to instead try to assist someone else rather than try to do it on her own.

        "For what it is worth--" she speaks up so they have some conversation as they work, "I do wish the statue sealed, if we know it to be safe to do so. But..."

        She looks to Catenna for a moment. "I do not know how the sealing ritual works -- currently it seats atop a threatening force from below... I could feel the statue's energies acting as a perfect counterforce. What I do not know is if sealing the statue would... upset that balance. Would it be as able to exert its power?"

DG: Riesenlied has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Rubble Trouble.
<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

        After much effort, the boat navigates the currents and heads towards a new direction. Dean settles back on his seat, wiping his forehead with the back of his gloved hand. "Whew! That was a close one!" he says cheerfully as he pulls his shovel onto his lap, the blade end over the water to let it drip dry-ish before he puts it away. "Great job, everyone! We really worked great together on that... one... Hey, are we going slower?"
        
        They are indeed. Soon they find themselves stuck at a blockage in shallow water. Good thing Dean didn't put his shovel away, because it looks like White Fenrir (never mind the label, Black Fenrir is broken and resting in a place of honor in his home back in Capo Bronco) will rise again.
        
        "Don't worry," he reassures Catenna, swinging a foot over the edge of the boot. "This is exactly what shovels are for!" Jay suggests that someone might be trying to keep people from reaching the Statue. This is a good observation, and Dean looks over at Avril for a moment as if seeking her opinion; then he looks at Riese when she weighs it, then shrugs and gets to shoveling. This is what he does, and he does it very well indeed. Hopefully the water on the other side won't end up washing them all away in its gross stinkiness.

DG: Dean Stark has used his Tool Black Fenrir - THAT DAMN SHOVEL toward his party's challenge, Rubble Trouble.
<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        "I would offer to melt them," Ethius speaks up at last, "but I do not know if the water's contents would take well to it."
        He might be (in)famous for taking the 'melt' option against obstructions, but not so much in the sense of 'this could ignite something/blow us up.' Which might be one of his only inhibitions in this relentless use of the tactic otherwise.
        He doesn't seem keen on stepping out in this sludgy water himself. Instead, he tries to work with Catenna's sorcery. If she's able to lift rocks, all they need is a good, strong knock here and there to get them out of the way. Ethius balances himself on the boat carefully as he considers the ones he can reach from there. He will have to step around those standing on the boat awkwardly as he aligns himself.
        "Please remain still." He says as he takes the quarterstaff in both hands, taking care not to let the sludge dripping on it get on the boat, or on anyone, as he draws it back slightly...
        "Far Point!" Calling spell names is reasonable, if they're part of the incantation. Why do people yell the names of their hand-to-hand techniques out loud instead, then...? Anyway, Ethius lunges with a delicate balance of form and force, leaning forward so far he comes just shy of headbutting Jay or Avril, stretching his wingspan to the utmost in order to try and strike one or two of the lifted rocks out of the way in this fashion in tandem with the (in the future) LEGENDARY SHOVEL BLACK FENRIR.

DG: Ethius Hesiod has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Rubble Trouble.
<Pose Tracker> Shalune Amira has posed.

        Extracting her dangerously unshielded device from the waters - at least she tends to wear some pretty fuzzy gloves at times like these, for all the good they'd do her - Shalune grins in mild triumph, scratching at her cheek again before carefully wrapping the wet fanblades up in a long piece of cloth. "Hehe... I've been tryin' to make spares for the Little Dipper, y'know? I can only repair that thing so many times before I'm gonna have to give up and actually start making whole new components." Which does beg the question of how she's going to manage that, given the wholly unlikely way in which the craft hangs in the air when it isn't being used as a makeshift paddle.

        Speaking of which, she fishes that out of the water as well - and winces as the lichen and weeds that are stuck to it, shoving them off with a hand as she yet again dooms her clothes to a Lunie-wash and herself to a Lunie-bath.

        "It, uh-- I mean, I couldn't really see it, what with the barrier and all in the way, but it was definitely-- it felt Big, y'know? Capital-B-Big. 'Oh nooo Wayside' kinda big." she rattles off, looking kind of worried for the sake of the Metal Demon Village as she bobs her head in agreement with Riesenlied. "Sealing it didn't seem so great a plan. Destroying it is kinda in the same boat."

        It doesn't even take her a moment's thought to launch off the side of the boat and into the water, up to her thighs in water; the fact she's in jeans doesn't really seem to slow her down in any way, at least, as she wades up to the rocks and gives one an experimental boot with a boot before reaching for her belt. Her staff isn't wood these days - various 'improvements' have left it as a long thick shaft of that same light-coloured metal, telescoping out of a central handle with spaces along its length for modular attachments.

        It's a neat invention by any standard. So, this being Shalune, she jams one end of it under the nearest boulder, levering it up and over to one side with the assistance of her foot and a solid huff of effort.

DG: Shalune Amira has used her Tool Soup of the Day -Shalune Ver.- toward her party's challenge, Rubble Trouble.
DG: You've already acted for this round. Please wait for the round GM to push +act/complete.
<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

        At some point their passage eases a touch.

        But ease doesn't last long. Not when the reason looms ahead in the form of a blockage in this channel of the waterway. "It appears we have an obstacle ahead," she comments, frowning faintly at the pile of rock. "However, I do think we will be able to disembark safely. The water appears to have settled out..."

        Rising, she carefully steps onto the rock surrounding the blockage here, taking particular care on the mossy rock. And with even more trepidation, she approaches the rocky plug.

        "...Perhaps. Or, perhaps the earth shifted at some point? It seems that these passageways were not meant for easy travel regardless of the reason."

        She hesitates, staring at the moss.

        And reaches out to try and push at some of it the rock in their way. "Dean, perhaps your shovel... --Oh--"

        Ethius has just used a spell, which Avril steps neatly out of the way and ahead of.

DG: Avril Vent Fleur has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Rubble Trouble.
=============================<* Wayside Wellspring *>=============================
=========================<* CHALLENGE - Rubble Trouble *>=========================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
----------------------------< Challenge Information: >----------------------------
 The cave mouth to the next area is both semi-underwater and blocked by        
 stones of various sizes and types. They appear to have been left there        
 deliberately. You'll have to clear them away before you can direct your       
 rowboat through. Fortunately the water is shallow enough to stand in. It's    
 also cold and not a little slimy. You might want to check your vaccinations   
 before leaving the boat.                                                      
=Dungeon Conditions: Tire=====================================================
========================<* Wayside Wellspring - Round 4 *>========================
===========================< Results - Rubble Trouble >===========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Barber                   25 --(5)--> 30                 Pass
Brewte Force                        1   Brute   Effects: Fanfare and Strengthe
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ethius Hesiod                       30 --(8)--> 38                 Fail
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Avril Vent Fleur                    32 --(5)--> 37                 Pass
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Shalune Amira                       30 --(5)--> 35                 Pass
Soup of the Day -Shalune Ver.-      3   Brute   Effects: Fanfare              
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Catenna                             32 --(5)--> 37                 Pass
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dean Stark                          30 --(5)--> 35                 Pass
Black Fenrir - THAT DAMN SHOVEL     2   Brute   Effects: Stalwart             
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Riesenlied                          32 --(5)--> 37                 Pass
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------< Party >-------------------------------------
Leader: Jacqueline Barber           40 --(20)--> 60                Pass
Conditions: Tire(2)
Effects: Strengthen(1)
================================< Dream Chasers >=================================
DG: The party led by Jacqueline Barber has passed this challenge! The party gained 20 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> Catenna has posed.

It takes Catenna some effort to hold the spell in place as she tries to concentrate on what Riese is saying, as well.

"I know you want that. And I don't... think it would affect the statue itself," Catenna manages, struggling to divide her concentration. "But I cannot be sure how it will interact with another ward until I see them... they may be... linked in a way I have not thought about."

Somehow, the conversation isn't enough to break the spell. Furrowing her brows, she holds it and lets the others work. Shalune puts her ingenuity to work, levering a boulder away; Avril avoids Ethius's spell but manages to push away some of the smaller rocks. Dean steps in with his handy shovel, scooping surprisingly light boulders away, while Riese gives him a bit of a hand; Jay, meanwhile, dominos some of the rocks away with rock-and-roll action of her own.

Ethius, bless his heart, plasters himself into a rock gracelessly a second after Catenna's spell breaks.

*splat*

Catenna winces as the boat begins to be pushed along by the current. "I'm sorry, Ethius!" she apologizes hastily as she reaches out to try and peel her lumpy friend(?) off the mossy rock.

DG: Shalune Amira has drawn a new Challenge.
===========================<* Wayside Wellspring *>===========================
=========================<* CHALLENGE - Whirlpool *>==========================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 The ceiling of this cave is very, very low, and worse, there's a roiling      
 whirlpool between you and the next passage. You can already feel the          
 seething maelstrom pulling at your boat! You need to do something before      
 your boat is swamped and sucked down!                                         
=Dungeon Conditions: Hesitate=================================================
<Pose Tracker> Shalune Amira has posed.

        With the rocks removed, there's little to bar the group from continuing on - well, aside from all the wading back to their boats before the restored current washes them away, and the wiping off and grimacing over slurry-like clumps of mold and lichen that are stuck to bits of clothing and skin alike. It's not dangerous, so much as it's just gross, and even the normally amicable Shalune is making a face as she clambers back into the boat, a little weighed down by her sodden trousers.

        "Fuahhh--..." she sighs out for a moment, taking that long to squint at the amount of passageway that still lies ahead. "It didn't take us this long last time, right? I wonder how spidery the caves are," she pouts slightly at Riesenlied - but still picks up the Little Dipper once more to get to rowing, having to shuffle around a little as she maneuvers them around a suspiciously low stalactite. "I don't remember the caves getting this cramped, either... we went the right way, right?" she frowns, and glances around her in concern--

        --just in time to spot the latest feature of the caves, the narrow space suddenly widening out into a circular chamber that could almost look constructed, if you were of a sufficiently paranoid frame of mind. The currents whirl around the rocks in a spiral, seemingly rather trapped in this cavern and forming a slow but natural whirlpool that immediately begins to tug at their crafts.

        "Wah!" blurts Shalune in sheer surprise, immediately hefting the Little Dipper to begin shoving at the water around them that much faster. "Since when do rivers get those?!" In a sudden burst of impulse, she leans with the next rowing motion she makes, clicking a button on the side of the panel. The way the boat rocks as the Little Dipper unfolds itself can only be described as rather dangerous - but then she's shoved the flying craft under their boat, hoping that the device is waterproofed enough to actually provide them some lift.

        Nobody has actually tried the whole 'pull yourself up by your own shoelaces' experiment that always pops up in November City comics. It turns out it looks rather silly.

DG: Shalune Amira has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Whirlpool.
<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

        Riesenlied looks just a little contrite, nodding towards Catenna to say, "Yes, I figured that would be the case... the specifics of the arrangement are so unknown to us, and we have so little time." She furrows her brow, and smiles somewhat softly to Shalune as she adopts her more mom-like tone, "It can't be helped. Last time, we had the Golem with us--"

        Uh oh she said the ~*magic word*~ Dean!!!

        "--ah!" She gasps as the boat starts to tug, frowning as she squints and thinks about the whirlpool and how whirlpools work...

        ...and takes action as she draws her bow out again. "Focus..."

        What she draws is not a physical arrow, but rather a point of light that she traces out into a line -- and as she fires, she's fired a spiralling show of light in an attempt to counteract the whirlpool's spinning force with her own... well, not quite 'magic'.

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Of course there had to be a whirlpool. The roar of it reaches Catenna's ears before she sees it. Her eyes go wide and she sucks in her breath with alarm.

As the current seizes the all-too-fragile boat, the priestess gasps as Shalune flips the Little Dipper out and tries to propel the boat along. "Shalune, be careful," she calls, half-reaching out, but drawing her hand back and biting down to her lower lip. Shalune knows what she's doing, she realizes - and making her feel otherwise wouldn't be the CaraKin way.

The priestess squares her jaw. Unlooping her grappling hook again, Catenna plants a heel against the prow of the boat, squinting into the murk across the cavern as though in search of something. She begins to twirl the rope through the air above her head. The heavy hook gives off a low whizzing noise every time it buzzes past, perilously close to the tops of the heads of some of the taller party members.

Catenna finally lets it go. The hook bites into an outcropping at the far side of the cavern - and the current nearly yanks her out of the boat.

Gritting her teeth, Catenna digs her heels into the inside of the hull and braces herself as best she can, fighting to stay in the boat. Her shoulders bunch, the sheer force of the water against the anchor threatening to wrench her arms out of their sockets. But she's able to hang on, at least at first, giving the boat a fixed point on the other side to steer towards.

DG: Catenna has used her Tool Grappling Hook toward her party's challenge, Whirlpool.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline is glad she decided to stay in the boat, seeing the state everyone returned in. The way ahead is clear...though Shalune does present an issue to their attention.

"I...see. I certainly hope so..." Jacqueline murmurs with a frown. It would be problematic if they went all this way only to find out they had taken the wrong branch...

Another issue becomes obvious, as well - a whirlpool, forming in the waterway that tugs at the boat.

Everyone has their own solution to the problem, and so does Jacqueline - another Crest is invoked, forming earth pillars in the water. They're spaced far enough that their boat can maneuver around them, but hopefully large enough to divert the water currents away and weaken the whirlpool.

Inwardly she hopes they don't pose a bigger issue than what was already present...

DG: Jacqueline Barber has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Whirlpool.
<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        Even practically pratfalling, there's that odd element of Ethius that seems... detached with something that should elicit uproarious laughter at his expense. Aside from whatever minimum body processes are there to have him acknowledge the slip, fall, and resulting injury and exposure to yuckiness, his gaze is largely the same as ever.
        "It is all right, Miss Catenna." Is it, though? His words are devoid of warmth, or... much of anything, other than what words he picks to say.
        He is quiet when talk comes up about the matter of the statue. One of his hands touches at something underneath his poncho. What, or why? He clutches a hand there for a moment as he's steadied and re-situated back in the boat as they find themselves going down a narrow stretch with a very low ceiling - and the new hazard on the block that threatens to pull them down to their watery grave - an encroaching whirlpool.
        Once more, that silly-looking sack comes out. He goes through the same incantations as expected, holding up the hand he's wrapped the harness of it around this time as it fills with hot air - waiting for the heavy hook to pass overhead.
        He has to be careful even after the hook. The ceiling is low. There are enough tiny stalactites around that could puncture the makeshift balloon.
        Worse comes to worse, he's already envisioning the possibility they might have to abandon ship to save their lives - he can keep himself above water if worse comes to worse, maybe be able to help a few people stop from being sucked under if it comes to it. It doesn't help the present situation directly, but it might be a decent bit of insurance.
        ...Even if the way after - or even back - might be unclear in such a scenario.

DG: Ethius Hesiod has used his Tool Hot Air Sack toward his party's challenge, Whirlpool.
<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

        Mere boulders are no match for Dean's mighty shovel and surprisingly ripped biceps!! Seriously, he's like fifteen or sixteen, when did he get that shredded. Regardless, with everyone's help, and a little splatting of Ethius, the group manages to clear the way. Dean looks over in concern at Ethius, but Catenna's got that handled, so he leaves him to her.
        
        "Yeah, I feel like it didn't take this long last time I was here either?" Dean remarks to Shalune. "That was just the other day, too. Maybe those currents we hit really put us off-course." Of course, since he nearly drowned, it'd be hard for him to say how long last time really took. Near-death experiences really shave a lot of time off your experiences. And, if this ceiling doesn't get any higher, and they don't avoid that whirlpool in the middle of the river, he's about to have another one. If he isn't too busy snapping his head towards Riese and gasping, "Golem?!"
        
        (chill out dean she probably means big shal, you know big shal, you last saw her like an hour ago)
        
        But then the boat rocks to one side. "Woah!!" he utters, gripping the side as he leans over way further than he'd wanted to, and looks over at Avril. "You okay? This is getting pretty rough!" Though, she *does* have the Sea Medium's power on her side; he's just got... huh? Actually, didn't rocking to one side help 'steer' the boat away from the whirlpool? Maybe it was just coincidence, considering what everyone else is doing, but all the same, he throws his weight to one side when it seems appropriate to try to help angle the boat away from danger.

DG: Dean Stark has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Whirlpool.
<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

        The waves wash up high for a moment...

        And lap, briefly, about Avril's ankles. Generally unflappable or not, her expression here twitches for a moment. There's still things that can shake her a little, it seems.

        "...Let us go," she declares, retreating back to their boat. She only pauses for a moment to readjust her hat carefully.

        "Perhaps, someone should bring a paper and pencil down into these caves?" she asks, as things slowly begin to get underway upon the canal route once again. "That way, the tunnels could be charted. ...Though, that would put the lives of those exploring into danger."

        Speaking of danger...

        It's gotten cramped in here.

        It's gotten cramped, and the water speed has picked up alarmingly. "I am all right. But..."

        Something nags at her.

        Hand leaving her hat as they pitch ominously along the water, Avril reaches into her skirts and draws forth the Sea Medium once more--

        Even as she sights the whirlpool looming ahead.

        "--Lucadia--"

        Her plea is somewhat more desperate this time. The Medium shines...

DG: Avril Vent Fleur has used her Tool Sea Medium toward her party's challenge, Whirlpool.
DG: You've already acted for this round. Please wait for the round GM to push +act/complete.
DG: Riesenlied has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Whirlpool.
===========================<* Wayside Wellspring *>===========================
=========================<* CHALLENGE - Whirlpool *>==========================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 The ceiling of this cave is very, very low, and worse, there's a roiling      
 whirlpool between you and the next passage. You can already feel the          
 seething maelstrom pulling at your boat! You need to do something before      
 your boat is swamped and sucked down!                                         
=Dungeon Conditions: Hesitate=================================================
======================<* Wayside Wellspring - Round 5 *>======================
===========================< Results - Whirlpool >============================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Barber                   30 --(13)--> 43                Fail
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ethius Hesiod                       38 --(8)--> 46                 Pass
Hot Air Sack                        2   Agility Effects: Resilient            
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Avril Vent Fleur                    37 --(8)--> 45                 Pass
Sea Medium                          3   Agility Effects: Fanfare              
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Shalune Amira                       35 --(13)--> 48                Fail
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Catenna                             37 --(8)--> 45                 Pass
Grappling Hook                      2   Agility Effects: Quicken              
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dean Stark                          35 --(13)--> 48                Fail
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Riesenlied                          37 --(13)--> 50                Fail
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC                
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Jacqueline Barber           60 --(20)--> 80                Pass
Conditions: Hesitate(2)|Tire(1)
Effects: Quicken(1)|Resilient(1)
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: The party led by Jacqueline Barber has passed this challenge! The party gained 20 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: Avril Vent Fleur has left your party.
<Pose Tracker> Shalune Amira has posed.

        For all that Shalune looks ridiculous right now, pitched halfway over the side of the boat and exhorting her mysterious flying craft to work underwater and provide them with the lift to pull up and around the whirpool that threatens them... she still finds time to coo eagerly at the sight of the spiral of light circling the main whirlpool and seeking to counteract it. "Aw, man, it's kind of a shame we don't have time to sketch this, y'know?" she adds to Avril, remarkably upbeat considering their situation, as if abruptly cheered by the sight of it. "I'd get some great pictures, right up 'til it fell apart from the damp."

        She closes one eye against the call for Celesdue, and nods to Catenna as she bunkers down against the side. "--that rock on the right!" she indicates, joining in on the lookout for any suitable handholds at the same time as she shoves a foot against one of Jacqueline's created pillars, using the heft of it to bodily push the boat more firmly into the outer reaches of the whirlpool.

        Ethius' sack and Shalune's craft help pull the craft along to the exit tunnel; it almost seems like the group is home dry, but then the boats suddenly impact against a hard rock ridge, preventing any further progression - a dead end? No, just an incredibly inconvenient barrier, almost put there on purpose. Both the crafts lurch, their momentum halted, and then fall back towards the centre of the whirpool in a dangerous list--

        --but then the water beneath them abruptly begins to glow, the light expanding out into an all-encompassing field that suddenly fills the cavern in a blinding shine of Lucadia's power. There's a sensation of being lifted up, and out - a sudden swell and a wave that shouldn't exist - and then both boats hit water on the other side of the underwater plateau, more or less safe and sound.

        Shalune picks herself up from where she'd instinctively ducked, her eyebrows up high. "--but--" she stumbles, sounding kind of awed. "--um, but this is a river." It's not a cry of fealty, but maybe it'll do.

        ...

        "... um, where's Avril?"

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

        ELSEWHERE, IN THE CAVE

        Avril, somewhat stunned but unscathed, has been deposited on a rocky shore by the Guardian's power. She glances this way and that, as if in mild confusion.

        Good news: not drowned.
        Bad news: ...the rest of it.

        But if there's anyone who can find their way out of a situation like this...

        She starts walking, feeling along the wall as she does.

        IN THE CAVE WITH THE WHIRLPOOL

        A blue hat slowly floats to the surface. Oh no, that was expensive--!

DG: Jacqueline Barber has drawn a new Challenge.
===========================<* Wayside Wellspring *>===========================
========================<* CHALLENGE - Weigh to Go *>=========================
|Type: Climax      |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 How interesting! THIS cavern you find yourself in has been worked by human    
 --or possibly humanoid--hands. There's a convenient landing to tie up your    
 boat, and past that, a wall with a mural depicting a beneficent turtle and    
 admiring or grateful subjects. You see a sealed door on the lower right side  
 of the mural. Nearby you find a large balance scale and a huge assortment of  
 water pitchers of every size and type imaginable. No two are alike. At least  
 you'll be able to proceed on foot, once you get the door open. What is it     
 with ruins and quirky locks, anyway? Hadn't the ancients ever heard of        
 normal keys?                                                                  
=Dungeon Conditions: Treasure=================================================
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline holds on tight as the boat is suddenly lifted and then pushed, dropping on the other side. They're all in one piece, though it takes Jacqueline a moment to recover.

"Is everyone alright...?" Jacqueline asks, glancing around.

...They're missing someone. Nearby, a blue hat floats to the surface. Jacqueline pales somewhat, and glances toward Dean.

"I...I'm sure she's fine..." She says. From her words she's trying to reassure him, but maybe she's the one who needs reassurance... Losing someone on an expedition you were running...it was always one of her greatest fears.

They do not have to go too much further to reach their destination. A dock has been worked into the stone, giving the party a place to tie up the boat and emerge from the craft. She's still a little shaken as she steps onto solid ground once more. She's thankful for it, but the sight ahead of her demands her attention.

"Those murals...that's Schturdark." Jacqueline says, studying them. She approaches, then takes a moment to study the door and the balance scale nearby.

"Hm...a puzzle? I see..." Jacqueline murmurs, then moves to study the pitchers. "Well...at least what we need to do is fairly obvious."

DG: Jacqueline Barber has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Weigh to Go.
<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

        "Making a map would be a good idea," Dean agreeds, nodding. "But it might be tough to do. If someone couldn't get past those currents from earlier, or if they got swept in another direction... It could be hard to explore this whole cave completely." Maybe if people came in with their own boat equipment...? Regardless, he does his best to try to use his weight to shift the boat as needed. It doesn't really help, but he tries his best, and they make it past the waterfall after the water starts to glow and the ship gets lifted up, that's what counts.
        
        Until Shalune points out that Avril's gone.
        
        "Avril?" Dean looks around. She is, in fact, gone. "A-Avril?!" A blue hat bobs up out of the water, and Dean scrambles to pick it up without dunking himself into the water. He barely hears Jay's attempted reassurance. "Oh no! This was hers! Avril?! Avriiiiiil!!"
        
        No answer, of course. Cue Dean panicking and fretting and worrying. It doesn't help that they soon come ashore to a landing, and one that he recognizes, even; he'll ignore the challenge completely in favor of running up and down said landing, trying to spot any sign of his best friend anywhere.
        
        He'll calm down when it occurs to him that that, just now, was Lucadia's power, as summoned by Avril, and that maybe Lucadia just sent her somewhere different for some reason. For now, though, Dean is... yeah. He's not at his best. Not like he'd be much help at this puzzle anyway, save as muscle to help carry and pour pitchers of water like last time, but still.

DG: Dean Stark has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Weigh to Go.
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Lucadia's power passes. Catenna cuts her grappling line loose - but blinks as she realizes that someone is missing.

"...Avril?"

She frowns, peering off into the distance, then bows her head and closes her eyes. "...We shall have to trust in Lucadia to guide her home," she murmurs to Jacqueline.

The boat sails up to that dock, and Catenna hops off, surprisingly delicately - in fact she's actually not gotten the filthy water on her at all, mostly thanks to her efforts requiring her to either swing over it or stay in the boat. It suits her purposes, anyway. Approaching a place like this is not something she'd want to do while filthy. Her eyes widening a little, she takes a step forward.

Slowly, she sinks to her knees, moving her hands through the air in arcane shapes. She utters a few words of veneration. The name 'Schturdark' can be heard somewhere in there, but the rest is in Zortroan and probably incomprehensible.

Slowly, she comes to her feet. The priestess stares up at the mural with reverence for a little longer before moving towards Dean, laying a gentle hand on his shoulder and looking up at him.

"Trust in Lucadia," she offers him softly, though there's still a subtle worry behind her eyes, not entirely dispelled by being in a sacred place.

Catenna's hand lingers a moment before she moves away towards the pitchers. Carefully, she lifts one, moving towards the scale. "We must bring it into balance," she murmurs. "Still the waters. Calm the turbulence."

DG: Catenna has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Weigh to Go.
<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        Their save is most narrow. Stoically, as the ride calms and they reach solid ground towards the next point of interest, Ethius withdraws the thing from under his poncho he must have been checking for - a small eyeglass of some kind or another. The Spectral Lens. Wordlessly, he departs from the boat as everyone goes through the aftermath of their miraculous intervention and the missing ally.
        One would think it tactful to take a moment to look for her. To calm her young friend. To have this peaceful moment to ensure Shalune is holding up all right herself (after Jay seemed to think something might be up). To speak anew with Riese, whose confidence seemed shaken throughout. To reassure Catenna that he was still fine even with the miscommunication over the levitating rocks. Hell, to even maybe speak with Jay, for once, about what he might intend to be doing here especially after that time he got a bit too heavy-handed about how they'd approach and explore the Ghost Ship.
        Ethius, detached from the little dramas surrounding him, seems to have a laser focus only on what's ahead. He goes through the usual Symbological rituals involved to summon a small spark of electricity into the eyeglass. Holding it up to one of his eyes as it casts a soft blue glow, he takes a hard look at the various pitchers, the scale, the door - the three specific items (well, three specific sets of items, counting every pitcher would make it way way WAY more than three).
        "I do not believe there will be a shortcut for this one," he says as he stows the Spectral Lens away. "The way forward does indeed involve the scale."
        That's just confirming what's plainly obvious to anyone who grew up surrounded by murals depicting items similar to what sits near them. C'mon. That's a Filgaian heritage thing. He can't possibly have completely forgotten his Filgaian heritage, right?

DG: Ethius Hesiod has used his Tool Spectral Lens toward his party's challenge, Weigh to Go.
DG: You've already acted for this round. Please wait for the round GM to push +act/complete.
<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

        Riesenlied looks overwhelmed for a moment, cupping her mouth as she leans over the edge of the boat as the light subsides. "Miss Avril...?! I--" she looks towards Jacqueline and the rest of the group, looking hesitant and anxious as the group proceeds.

        That Dean grabs Avril's hat just makes it worse, and she couldn't help but float out of the boat on her wings and follow after him. "It-- um-- the large stones go on the-- Shalune knows!"

        She closes her eyes and holds the Tear aloft, concentrating her power out far as the spread of emotional photons cascades through the cave--

        "Ah--"

        She pips up with a quiet gasp. "I can feel her-- the Guardian's power is-- she's..." She bites her lip. "She's all right."

DG: Riesenlied has used her Tool Dragon's Tear toward her party's challenge, Weigh to Go.
<Pose Tracker> Shalune Amira has posed.

        For Shalune, entering the final area of the Temple is nothing new - and as much as she shushes into a mild sort of reverence as they reach the dock, she's too busy watching the corridors and rivulets to each side for any further sign of Avril. "S-she's gotta be okay! Right? I mean, she was literally callin' on the Guardian when it showed up!" she offers in something like disbelief, before Riesenlied's urgent call sends her to attention.

        "R-right!" she diverts instead, skittering towards the puzzle as she begins to work. True enough, she at least remembers the rough outline of the solution, though her mind is a little scattered in the immediate aftermath...

DG: Shalune Amira has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Weigh to Go.
===========================<* Wayside Wellspring *>===========================
========================<* CHALLENGE - Weigh to Go *>=========================
|Type: Climax      |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 How interesting! THIS cavern you find yourself in has been worked by human    
 --or possibly humanoid--hands. There's a convenient landing to tie up your    
 boat, and past that, a wall with a mural depicting a beneficent turtle and    
 admiring or grateful subjects. You see a sealed door on the lower right side  
 of the mural. Nearby you find a large balance scale and a huge assortment of  
 water pitchers of every size and type imaginable. No two are alike. At least  
 you'll be able to proceed on foot, once you get the door open. What is it     
 with ruins and quirky locks, anyway? Hadn't the ancients ever heard of        
 normal keys?                                                                  
=Dungeon Conditions: Treasure=================================================
======================<* Wayside Wellspring - Round 6 *>======================
==========================< Results - Weigh to Go >===========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dean Stark                          48 --(5)--> 53                 Fail
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ethius Hesiod                       46 --(5)--> 51                 Pass
Spectral Lens                       2   Wits    Effects: Enlighten            
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Barber                   43 --(5)--> 48                 Pass
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Riesenlied                          50 --(5)--> 55                 Pass
Dragon's Tear                       1   Wits    Effects: Cleanse              
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Catenna                             45 --(5)--> 50                 Pass
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Shalune Amira                       48 --(5)--> 53                 Pass
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC                
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Jacqueline Barber           80 --(0)--> 80                 Pass
Conditions: Hesitate(1)|Treasure(1)
Effects: Cleanse|Enlighten(1)
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: The party led by Jacqueline Barber has passed this challenge! The party gained 0 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: Dean Stark has left your party.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline can't help but feel awful as Dean goes into a panic. She knows she'd be feeling the same exact way if it was one of her friends that had disappeared.

...She knew, because it had happened before.

Unfortunately, there was nothing she could do for him right now. She was in no position to offer him any reassurance. For now, the best thing to do would be to focus on the task at hand. According to Ethius there was no way around it, and Jacqueline was inclined to believe him.

Fortunately, they had two people here who had been through it once before. The task was simple, as Catenna stated - bring it into balance. As it happens, Shalune remembers a good portion of the solution, making it easy enough to figure out the rest.

The door begins to open just as Riesenlied gives them the good news of Avril's safety. Jacqueline can't help but feel relieved at that.

<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

        Fortunately, cooler heads than Dean's prevail. Catenna's gentle hand on his shoulder gets him to stop and listen, and when she tells him to trust in Lucadia, he relaxes somewhat, though not all the way. "Y-yeah. Avril's really in tune with the Sea Medium, so I'm sure Lucadia wouldn't..." He trails off, looking over at Shalune as she too assures him that Avril must be okay. "Y-yeah! Yeah, that's true!" And then Riese uses the Teardrop and confirms Avril's safety, and Dean finally breaks out into a relieved grin. "Really?! Oh man, that's so good to know! Thank you so much, Riese!"
        
        Meanwhile, the others solve the puzzle neatly and quite without his help. Some might feel bad about this; this actually reassures Dean, because it means they'll do fine even without him. He looks back out at the murky waters, still clutching Avril's poor expensive blue hat. "...I'm gonna stay here for a little longer. Just in case I spot her or hear her or something and she needs help. I'll catch up to you guys in a bit, okay?" He looks back at Riese and the others, smiling as hard as he can. "Good luck with the Statue and the seal thingie!"

DG: Riesenlied has drawn a new Challenge.
===========================<* Wayside Wellspring *>===========================
=====================<* CHALLENGE - Schturdark Shrine *>======================
|Type: Final       |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 Through the scale-door you find an ancient shrine to the Water Guardian,      
 Schturdark. Its highlight is an enormous fountain surmounted by the Water     
 Guardian's statue. You have no idea why people would've located a shrine so   
 far underground, unless the water is particularly blessed? It does look pure  
 -- and tastes it, if you dare to. Reaching the statue to seal or destroy it   
 will be a demanding climb -- the builders never intended for anyone to        
 actually touch it.                                                            
=Dungeon Conditions: Save Point===============================================
<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

        Riesenlied has a weak little nod, perhaps knowing she'd do exactly the same thing in Dean's position. His bond with Avril was truly special, after all (sorry Rebecca). But... he had the support of everyone else too, and -- it was in that moment that she needed to assert herself that she can do this... she has to stay her course... she has to believe. In herself, and in others too.

        Past the gate, Riesenlied comes back to that familiar sight...

        The ancient shrine to Schturdark, with an enormous fountain shielding the Water Guardian's statue. An emanating mandala with a Ley glow surrounds the entire base, and everyone can very plainly feel it...

        Something else lurks underneath.

        It is subtle, but everpresent -- like a proverbial elephant in the room. It menaces with a quiet, subtle aura that does not conform to a particular form of darkness -- like Malevolence, but its foreboding power is plain for all to feel.

        "... again-- ahh..." Riesenlied finds herself gasping as she finds herself a bit too sensitive to it, but powers through as she looks up. "We'll have to climb this waterfall somehow, to get to the statue to study it. I... mostly, I'd like some assurance that the ward sealing this power won't falter, either way..."

        And with that, she... flies, which is a daunting task -- her ability to fly's been deeply compromised since she first came to Ignas.

DG: Riesenlied has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Schturdark Shrine.
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Catenna bows her head with a serene smile as Riesenlied makes that revelation. "Lucadia would not see her wrong, Riesenlied," she assures with utmost confidence.

The door grinds open soon enough. The shrine beyond is truly immense; Catenna draws in a breath, then once again sinks to her knees, holding her hands up in a gesture of genuflection and uttering a soft ritual prayer.

Until she feels it. That... horrible, malicious aura. Unfamiliar and terrifying.

Lifting her eyes towards Riesenlied, Catenna bites down to her lower lip. "...I shall have to be closer," she murmurs, moving forward. She begins to climb towards the statue, taking her time and being careful. As she goes, she focuses forward, struggling to force that ugly feeling out of her mind.

She had struggled to understand Riese's reluctance. Things are a bit more clear now.

DG: Catenna has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Schturdark Shrine.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline nods. Somehow, she expected that.

"Alright. Thank you for your help, Dean." She replies, then turns to follow the others into the chamber where the Statue lies.

As soon as she passes the door, she can feel it - that subtle sense of foreboding, an aura of power that undoubtedly belongs to whatever is being kept in place by the seal.

"I never imagined it would be so..." Jacqueline murmurs. Powerful? Intimidating? Terrifying? She can't place the words, but it is immediately clear why they needed to be careful here.

Jacqueline reaches into her bag, pulling out a few more bottles of red liquid. She takes one for herself, and shares the rest to whoever feels they need one. And then, with that done, she starts to climb her way up.

No magic here, none that she didn't need to use. Until she got close enough to examine the seal she didn't want to do anything that might shatter the fragile equilibrium.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has used her Tool Brewte Force toward her party's challenge, Schturdark Shrine.
<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        When Riesenlied flashes the Dragon's Tear in the preceding chamber, Ethius takes care to stand about as far away as possible as he can from her. Consequently, he's the last one in - giving Dean a hard look for a few poignant seconds before going inside to see the awe-inspiring sight of a shrine dedicated to the very personfiication of water in all of Filgaia.
        He draws out the Spectral Lens again, from the way inside. The beauty and historical reverence does not phase this man, nor elicit a pause. As though with purpose, he goes through the Symbological casting motions to give it light again, hold it up to one of his eyes...
        He exhales, as his body feels the overwhelming pressure of... something, as though it were sneaking up behind him and waiting for the opportune moment to sharply jab him in the shoulder. He blinks a few times, and stands motionless as the light fades from the Spectral Lens.
        "I will need to be closer to be certain." Certain of what, exactly? Does he have a prospective answer to what on Filgaia this... force... must be? One of JAcqueline's bottles of Brewte Force comes in hand again. He takes a deep whiff.
        Jay might notice that one of his hands is trembling, almost imperceptibly. Even someone who seems as numb to so many things - emotional trauma, some matters of Resonance - something shakes him. It's not clear if the concoction does anything for it. (Maybe if he DRANK IT, it would.)
        He clutches the Spectral Lens tightly, before stowing it away for the final climb. He would need to get closer to confirm. (But, what is he confirming...?)

DG: Ethius Hesiod has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Schturdark Shrine.
<Pose Tracker> Shalune Amira has posed.

        Within the central chamber, Shalune hangs back. Perhaps it's the way that she's worried about Dean - perhaps it's the way she's been here before, and recognizes that there's not a great deal she can do when faced with the quandary in front of them - she's not spiritual, she's not really scientific unless it comes to mechanisms and machines, she's certainly not political or someone on whom you could really hang the weight of the world.

        But she does at least watch respectfully, and even pipe up a few times. "A-ah-- go up the right hand side, Jay! That way was easier - I remember everyone else favoring that side, so it's gotta be okay to climb. M-Miss Riese, you be careful too!" she blurts as she pumps her fists. "Don't make me go make you a whole new pair of wings! Somehow!"

        ... given that she's still on ground level, she kind of ends up as a tiny cheerleader, but one well meant.

DG: Shalune Amira has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Schturdark Shrine.
===========================<* Wayside Wellspring *>===========================
=====================<* CHALLENGE - Schturdark Shrine *>======================
|Type: Final       |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 Through the scale-door you find an ancient shrine to the Water Guardian,      
 Schturdark. Its highlight is an enormous fountain surmounted by the Water     
 Guardian's statue. You have no idea why people would've located a shrine so   
 far underground, unless the water is particularly blessed? It does look pure  
 -- and tastes it, if you dare to. Reaching the statue to seal or destroy it   
 will be a demanding climb -- the builders never intended for anyone to        
 actually touch it.                                                            
=Dungeon Conditions: Save Point===============================================
======================<* Wayside Wellspring - Round 7 *>======================
=======================< Results - Schturdark Shrine >========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
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Ethius Hesiod                       51 --(5)--> 56                 Pass
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
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Jacqueline Barber                   48 --(5)--> 53                 Pass
Brewte Force                        1   Brute   Effects: Fanfare and Strengthe
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Riesenlied                          55 --(5)--> 60                 Pass
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
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Catenna                             50 --(5)--> 55                 Pass
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
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Shalune Amira                       53 --(10)--> 63                Fail
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Jacqueline Barber           80 --(35)--> 115               Pass
Conditions: Save Point(1)
Effects: Strengthen(1)
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: You have overcome the dungeon's trials! This run is a success!
DG: The party led by Jacqueline Barber has successfully explored Wayside Wellspring!
===========================<* Wayside Wellspring *>===========================
========================<* CHALLENGE - Water Wheel *>=========================
|Type: Discovery   |Dungeon Ability: Conclusion|Challenge Rating: 1          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 In this cave you find a waterfall with an ancient water wheel, still          
 turning. There's no telling what its builders used it for. It could           
 potentially be tapped into to provide kinetic power for Wayside, though this  
 would mean digging an access hole from the surface and attaching the wheel    
 to some gears (not Gears).                                                    
                                                                               
 (OOC: @mail Riesenlied if you want to report this Discovery to Wayside.)      
=Dungeon Conditions: Treasure=================================================
<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

        The Drifters make haste slowly, the streaming waters of the statue of Schturdark coarsing powerfully before them. Catenna proceeds onward with her climb, guided by the auspice of Celesdue in her wake; Jacqueline takes a slightly more direct approach with her liquid, passing it towards people to strengthen them for the climb upward. Truly, the homebrewted solutions are the ones that carry us far.

        And there is Ethius, with his intent to move closer -- he holds at the Lens, as he moves closer... what is it that he seeks to confirm? He will get there, soon.

        Riesenlied does falter gently as she hears Shalune, but smiles gently as she focuses a little harder to land at the top with a sigh of relief. That took a lot out of her.

        Closer, those with the tools and the training would be able to see the effect placed upon the ground.

        The Statue is undoubtedly something of a signal booster here -- Schturdark itself is the Guardian of Water, aligned with the power of Muse... and Jacqueline might be the first to realise that the sigil upon the floor is an intricate Crest affixed with the crest of Muse.

        It's a Leyline-imposed barrier, aligned with the power of water. Ethius' Lens can tell him that much, if it can tell him of the four primal elemental channels that flow through Filgaia.

        And of the Statue itself? Would sealing it dampen the power it's lending to the sigil? It shows no visible signs of breaking, but...

        ... the presence that encroaches underneath is tangibly felt. There is probably no one left alive to tell them whether the seal should 'leak' in feeling like this or not...

        "... I feel as if ... we are trying to meddle with a perfectly balanced situation, where one careless nudge one way or the other could-- cause something drastic ..." Riesenlied murmurs.

        She glances to the door.

        "Perhaps that puzzle with the weights earlier was a warning, rather than a mechanism or a lock."

<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        Threatening great heresy by daring to approach the statue of Schturdark, the white-haired Symbologist - whom seemed to shut out almost any detail this entire journey unless immediately relevant to their progress or continued existence - takes no time to look back and think of helping up anyone who might have lagged behind him.
        It's a milder form of one of his more worrying mindsets for him to take. That of one Ethius Hesiod, the Technology Hunter, whom seemed to have only a keen interest in what he would seek. At any cost, above almost anything else, he must find what he is looking for...
        How does a Guardian Statue, in itself, tie into this? Was it to seal it? No, there was firm dialogue that they could not seal it immediately, but... more importantly.
        One might be moved to prayer and reverence immediately. He used the Stone Mediums as a pep talk in the Caravan Kinship's darkest hour, suggesting some level of spirituality and reverence for the Guardians. Before one of their most sacred relics in front of them, there is none of this.
        He does not look away from the statue except to confirm everyone's positions, as he holds out his right hand.
        "I require a compass." Subtly, there is more urgency in his words than he ever tends to let on. Just shy of a demand - but there is that insistence. Why a compass? They all know where they are right now.
        What is going on?

<Pose Tracker> Shalune Amira has posed.

        Shalune stands slightly to attention at the sudden urgency in Ethius' voice; she pips slightly, then scurries forwards towards the statue and the climb up to it. "A-ah-- um-- yeah, I've got one here," she mumbles as she rummages in her bag, pulling out a small round keepsake-looking thing attached to a handle by a strap of leather cord. "I mean, it's kinda old, and I want it back, but--..."

        Trailing off at that point, she just nods; wordlessly, she offers it up by placing it atop the Little Dipper and letting the craft levitate up towards them.

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

The power of the Moon guides Catenna onward. Before long, she reaches the creast of the great slope, that platform upon which the statue rests.

That platform of grim portents - a leyline-imposed barrier, woven into the statue itself. With a soft frown, Catenna begins to move forward, towards the statue. She doesn't move to touch it just yet, simply coming to her knees at the statue's foot.

For a moment, Catenna says nothing. She only concentrates. Closing her eyes, she tries to listen to the pulse of the Guardian's power through the room - tries to trace with her mind the course of leylines and the flow of water through some spiritual continuum imperceptible to most. Her breathing slows, her chest rising slowly, then falling.

In her own ears, even her heartbeat goes silent.
                there is the rush of water.

"You were right to be conservative, Riesenlied," she says gravely. "The statue is... reinforcing this ward. Even with the presence of the Guardian's power, whatever lies beneath it is so potent that we can feel it."

Her eyelids lower a little. Opening her mouth to say something, she cuts off as Ethius asks for a compass in...

In that goddamned tone. Catenna presses her lips together. "What are you planning?" she asks him anxiously.

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

It isn't the easiest climb, but eventually Jacqueline manages to make her way to the top. She stands and brushes herself off. Her attention is drawn first to the statue of Schturdark. It was truly impressive to be in its presence...it brings to mind what she felt upon seeing the statue of Moor Gault for the first time.

"This is...!" She says, with a gasp of surprise.

"It's...a giant Crest, utilizing Muse...the Crest of Water..." She murmurs, then reaches into her bags. Slowly and very carefully she begins to make a drawing of the seal, making sure that she captures every bit of it accurately.

"I feel the same way, but...something needs to be done. Now that knowledge of the Statue is starting to get out, someone will undoubtedly do something sooner or later..." She replies, glancing toward Riesenlied. "It's possible that there might be a Crest that can reinforce it, but...I don't know. I'd have to do some research..."

She pauses, then, hearing Ethius speak.

"...A compass?" Jacquelince glances toward Ethius. He sounds...urgent. Why? Shalune is handing him one, so undoubtedly they would find out what his purpose was soon enough. She watches him carefully/

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

        Riesenlied's surprise is plain as well as Ethius makes his demand, but she's a bit too slow on the uptake as Shalune delivers the compass via Little Dipper to her. "A Crest...?" she sounds surprised, glancing down towards the sigil on the floor, not realising that facet of knowledge.

        "The Crest of Water... that would-- rather align with the Statue of Schturdark, wouldn't it? And Catenna, you said the statue was reinforcing it... water tempers water..."

        She furrows her brow. "Do we need the knowledge of the one who created the Sealing Rod...? I defer to your judgement here..."

<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        Ethius is so familiar with the humming noise of the Little Dipper's engines that he need not look back when it draws close. His grasping hand takes a few tries to locate the leather strap connected to the old compass, something that could be alleviated if he would just turn around and look at it - look to anyone. His back remains turned to all of them, as he grasps the thing.
        He sets the strap around his wrist for a moment as he holds up the Spectral Lens one more time. The lens in question is growing foggy from repeated use, but he can give it one more activation before it needs its time to thaw out. Catenna's query goes unanswered, momentarily, as he holds the lens up to one of his eyes anew as he lets the old compass slip back into his free hand with the dip of his forearm.
        What wisdom he could glean... it could corroborate with what Catenna is saying, right? If he can see it. Why would he need the compass, if all the components related to the statue and what it does are located within this very chamber?
        He exhales again, a bit more loudly. For the stiff, oft almost-motionless posture he tends to take at rest - to say 'at rest' would be a paradox when so little of himself ever conveys he could be at rest - his body trembles. Whatever's here, under the statue, it is overpowering.
        It takes his everything to stand so close to whatever incredible thing this statue must be holding back, as a hand closes around the fading light of the lens to stow it away. Is the urgency in his voice because of this strange task he seems to have taken upon himself, or just being overwhelmed by this location's particular aura?
        He mutters something. What is it? When the lens is put away back under the poncho somewhere, his hand goes to his forehead. He turns back to the lot of them, as he respectfully affixes the heirloom compass back upon Little Dipper to be sent back to Shalune whenever it returns back to its owner.
        They expect answers of this man.
        "My apologies." He says, returning to that usual speaking tone of his as he folds his arms behind his back. "A simple matter of curiosity, of which I appreciate your assistance in indulging, Miss Shalune. I have nothing further to report above the findings of Miss Jay and Miss Catenna."
        He looks over to Riesenlied. "Your guidance, too, is most appreciated."
        ...Just a simple matter of curiosity? With half of his face hidden under that yellow bandanna, and those eyes of his unmoving, he lets on virtually nothing.

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

"There are things we can do," Catenna says with a dip of her head. "We can ensure that the statue is guarded at all times until we are sure we have a way to reinforce this seal - or until we are sure that sealing the Statue will not have an effect."

Her gaze lowers to the seal. The priestess comes to her feet, considering for a moment, then turns her eyes on Riesenlied. "That might be best. If you can ensure that the Statue is protected for now, I will go to meet with Elder Halle and seek her wisdom on this matter. I would suggest that Jacqueline come with me, as my knowledge of the Crests is... rather less than hers."

Her gaze returns to Ethius. For a moment, she grapples with the realization that he might go nuts and try to break the Statue. It wouldn't be the craziest thing he's done.

She breathes a small sigh of relief as he doesn't do what she fears. "...Elder Halle will know more," she decides.

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

The knowledge of the one who created the Sealing Rod...? Ah, Elder Halle. She was one Jacqueline hadn't considered. Of course, bringing her here would be out of the question. Fortunately, they had her notes to use as a reference point.

It would seem that, whatever Ethius had planned, it was merely to satisfy his curiosity. Jacqueline...isn't quite sure about that, but for now she nods and looks toward Catenna.

"I can come with you, yes. In the meantime, I'll try to dissect this Crest as best as I can...I'll see if I can't figure out anything about the way it works." Jacqueline says.

Of course, with the Statue placed on top of the Crest, it was likely she would be missing some vital information...but for now, this was the best she could do.

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

        Riesenlied does look just a little concerned and... perplexed -- not that she isn't already, with everything that'd already gone on regarding this Waterway. She thinks a little of asking Ethius what he'd discerned, but she's certain she probably wouldn't elicit a response.

        ... she doesn't know whether he thinks of her as an abberant, as the Technology Hunter, after all.

        It's not something she's wished to think about...

        "I'll try to get the Ebony Wings to station themselves here, as best I can," Riesenlied nods. She knows it's difficult to ask anyone to stay down here for any length of time, past all the dangers they themselves have had to go through, but...

        "... and--"

        She bows her head.

        "Thank you... from the bottom of my heart, once more." This time, she doesn't question her lack of a heart.