2018-02-19: Forth to July (Side B)

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=================================================<* Gunsmoke Desert *>==================================================

The Gunsmoke Desert occupies the northwestern portion of Ignas. This desert is different from Aveh's. Instead of rolling dunes of sand, it has dry and cracked ground, and the mountains that rim it also intrude into the interior, forming stunning rock formations that can look as beautiful as they look impossible. The settlements here are hard-pressed to survive, consisting of countless small towns. The lucky few are connected by railways to the Seed Cities scattered about the Gunsmoke. Many are lost to the sands, which cover them and a tremendous concentration of ruins from Filgaia's past. This makes these badlands the heart of Drifter activity in Ignas.

BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4z_CxmE0AkA
DG: A party led by Ethius Hesiod is now entering Lost July.
DG: Party formation is now over. An Entry Challenge will now be drawn and displayed to the party.
====================================================<* Lost July *>=====================================================
====================================<* CHALLENGE - The Glass Crater - Slide Down *>=====================================
|Type: Entry       |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
-----------------------------------------------< Challenge Information: >-----------------------------------------------
 The entrance to the ruins of Lost July is through the crater where the        
 greatest devastation here. The ground here has been blasted by some force so  
 mighty that it rendered the crater into glass. The path onward requires       
 crossing it, which is a treacherous thought.                                  
                                                                               
 The way down is steep, and the walls are made of glass that is uneven,        
 jagged, and frightfully sharp. Things slip easily -- and cut easily. The      
 surface here is unnatural, and it falls to you to pave a way through this     
 danger.                                                                       
=Dungeon Conditions: Hesitate, Bad Luck=======================================
<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

Glass crunches under the feet of the Caravan Kinship as they embark upon the rumored location of an Elw ruin - underneath the ruins of Lost July. A legendary figure, called the "Humanoid Typhoon," allegedly destroyed the place all of fifty years ago - earlier than any one of them here have been alive, by anyone's reckoning. By the designs of Jay, the plan comes to split the eleven-man merchant team (...ten merchants plus whatever the hell Ethius is or does) into two groups to best cover ground as they descend the crater.

Ethius peers from the edge of the great crater as he picks up the blackened glass shards in a gloved hand. He rubs it between his fingers for a while, letting the crumbling matter slip out his grasp and tumble down into the depths with nary a poetic thought to share to the rest for the effort.

"Miss Kourin." He names her first, of the gathered. Why? Is there something here she can do that he feels is in need? "In your time on Filgaia, I am to assume you have seen much you do understand." Has there been anything on Lunar, to her recollection, that could have done or left anything so devastating like this crater...? What happened to Lost July? (More importantly, why does he feel the need to address her, specifically?)

"I ask that you do not concern yourself much with what eludes your recognition. I will ensure it does not endanger you... or anyone else present." Those might be heartfelt words, but it's the same sort of scripted feel to it. He doesn't look them in the eyes. "Miss Jay and the others should be approaching from the other side of the perimeter as we speak. We are to meet together at the bottom. Let us commence our descent."

Ethius gets out the patchy-lookin' sack around his right wrist, casts the proper Symbological spell, and fills it full of hot air. He's going to take point and hover a ways up above the crater to help highlight a good safe route down before following that same route himself.

DG: Ethius Hesiod has used his Tool Hot Air Sack toward his party's challenge, The Glass Crater - Slide Down.
<Pose Tracker> Kourin has posed.

Kourin frowns. "What could do something like this? Nothing mortal, surely..." She wasn't worried, before.

Is now.

Spirit licks her hand reassuringly. Kourin's trick rope helps the pair navigate the sharp, dangerous environs, at least.

DG: Kourin has used her Tool Trick Rope toward her party's challenge, The Glass Crater - Slide Down.
<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

"Are we really doing this," Lydia says. "the Elw are way beyond ancient, you know. Plus it's always weird walking in a place that used to be a city but no longer..is a city? I mean, I guess I don't really know, I have never been in a city like this before, but it's really creepy."

She does have a pair of portals she can launch out to make descent easier. "Hey guys, if you can't hold onto the rope, use the portals, kk?"

She hops on into one end and pops back out the other.

DG: Lydia Seren has used her Tool Portal Pistols toward her party's challenge, The Glass Crater - Slide Down.
<Pose Tracker> Arleph Ardan has posed.

Arleph knows what sort of things could create this. He don't like the implication of it. He don't like it at all.

"An explosion that is sufficiently massive could do something like this." The newest Symbologist, added to the Caravan Kinship's roster says, looking down with a frown, preparing a spell to slide down -- and help himself with the other's aid. "Something truly massive."

DG: Arleph Ardan has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward his party's challenge, The Glass Crater - Slide Down.
<Pose Tracker> Carina Wynne has posed.

For some reason, whenever the Caravan Kinship gets into trouble as of late, it's not rare for the mysterious superhero Metal Digger Locus to show up out of nowhere and offer to help. Just the oddest thing. Today is no exception. When Carina was told the group would be journeying to Lost July, Carina spat out her entire drink.

This would certainly be a dangerous place, and while she doesn't expect they'll run into the Humanoid Typhoon today, you know what they say... Criminals always comes back to the scene of their crime! Such as destroying the city. Possibly the biggest crime of all?

"All right, I shannot concern myself with things that dilute my recognition," Locus says, with crossed arms and a serious nod. "And down we go now!" And she runs off the edge.

She COULD use the rope like a normal person, but a portal is presented, and so she leaps into that, because that sounds awesome.

DG: Carina Wynne has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, The Glass Crater - Slide Down.
====================================================<* Lost July *>=====================================================
====================================<* CHALLENGE - The Glass Crater - Slide Down *>=====================================
|Type: Entry       |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
-----------------------------------------------< Challenge Information: >-----------------------------------------------
 The entrance to the ruins of Lost July is through the crater where the        
 greatest devastation here. The ground here has been blasted by some force so  
 mighty that it rendered the crater into glass. The path onward requires       
 crossing it, which is a treacherous thought.                                  
                                                                               
 The way down is steep, and the walls are made of glass that is uneven,        
 jagged, and frightfully sharp. Things slip easily -- and cut easily. The      
 surface here is unnatural, and it falls to you to pave a way through this     
 danger.                                                                       
=Dungeon Conditions: Hesitate, Bad Luck=======================================
===============================================<* Lost July - Round 1 *>================================================
======================================< Results - The Glass Crater - Slide Down >=======================================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ethius Hesiod                       0 --(5)--> 5                   Pass
Hot Air Sack                        2   Agility Effects: Resilient            
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Carina Wynne                        0 --(5)--> 5                   Fail
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lydia Seren                         0 --(5)--> 5                   Pass
Portal Pistols                      2   Agility Effects: Stalwart             
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Arleph Ardan                        0 --(5)--> 5                   Fail
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Kourin                              0 --(5)--> 5                   Pass
Trick Rope                          2   Agility Effects: Quicken              
-------------------------------------------------------< Party >--------------------------------------------------------
Leader: Ethius Hesiod               0 --(15)--> 15                 Pass
Conditions: Bad Luck(2)|Hesitate(2)
Effects: Quicken(1)|Resilient(1)
===================================================< Dream Chasers >====================================================
DG: The party led by Ethius Hesiod 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.

It's quite the descent - but between Ethius' guidance and Kourin throwing down ropes from point A to point B, a viable route can be charted. A matter of crossing it becomes another concern, but Lydia has that covered when everyone joins the descent she basically skips outright.

When Arleph and Locus run into trouble, all it takes is a well-timed portal shot to make sure they pop out right on the other side where Lydia awaits. As Ethius brings up the rear and touches down, he gives Locus another cursory glare.

It's not... the nicest glare, as far as Ethius glares go which are rarely, if ever, warm or friendly. He glances back over to Kourin as she and Spirit await everyone to get their bearings.

This was the easy part. What lies further down the crater... they will soon see.

DG: Lydia Seren has drawn a new Challenge.
===============================<* Lost July *>================================
===================<* CHALLENGE - Underground Explosion *>====================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 3          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 Sometimes, the residents of Lost July buried things in the ground. The        
 presence of Drifters hhas caused disruptions throughout the ruined city --    
 especially where firefights have broken out. You hear one in the distance,    
 now; apparently, two groups of Drifters have started firing on each other.    
 There is a crackboom, and then a gunshot from a block over comes flying       
 down. It shoots between your party, and then strikes the ground. It sinks in  
 -- and then there is a /titanic/ explosion behind you, as an underground      
 fuel tank goes up in a huge fireball. However, it seems this may have opened  
 a gateway into the sewer system of the city.                                  
=Dungeon Conditions: Slow, Overwhelm, Secret==================================
<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia Seren says, "Careful, Locus, headbutting the floor isn't gonna help anything."

She pockets her pistols and adds, "Let's keep on going."

Of course that's when the gunfire breaks out. At first, it doesn't seem like it's directed towards YOUR group and Lydia, at least, isn't inclined to go check it out. Unfortunaely, a heavy blast slams into the ground between Ethius, Lydia, and Kourin and the rest of the part. There's an explosion behind the group as well, suddenly a huge fire behind everyone.

"Shiiit!" Lydia says. "Take cover!"

She launches a pair of portals to throw herself into the sewer system rather than take her risk running between two rampaging groups of drifters. "what the hell is their problem??" Lydia shouts.

She doesn't seem to be concerned about sewer smells. She's used to shit.

DG: Lydia Seren has used her Tool Portal Pistols toward her party's challenge, Underground Explosion.
<Pose Tracker> Kourin has posed.

Kourin and Spirit dash agilely. This is stuff Kourin and Spirit are good at doing. Action girl! Graceful and athletic and all of these things. That Kourin is.

DG: Kourin has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Underground Explosion.
<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

Gunfire. Ethius turns his head before almost anyone else hears it. His eyes widen noticeably as he gestures with the arm lacking a dangling makeshift hot-air sack thing to move, move, move - even before a heavy blast happens, he seems to be aware, in some form, that something of that yield is headed their way. Any blowback is lethally dangerous, because there's so many sharp spikes of glass about the crater. Anyone risks being impaled if they're thrown off their feet.

Ethius finishes the Symbological incantation and gesture set just as the blast rings out, trying to angle himself so he'll be flung at an upright building to catch himself against, instead of any of the sharp glass. If someone remains in arm's length, he's willing to carry them along. (The 'landing' will still hurt, but it is vastly preferred to colliding with glass.)

From there, he'll try to kick off and follow into the portal or whatever other escape route the group might go with if this approach suddenly becomes unavailable. (Thanks to his bandanna, the terrible scent of the sewers won't reach him... immediately.)

DG: Ethius Hesiod has used his Tool Hot Air Sack toward his party's challenge, Underground Explosion.
<Pose Tracker> Carina Wynne has posed.

Locus misses the intial portal, which leads to a lot of skidding and grasping and a little tumbling, too. She tries her best to make it look cool, and at a few discrete points actually manages it! But luckily there's ANOTHER portal to put an end to her whole sorry descent.

And she staggers to her feet, dusting herself off. She shoots Ethius a counter-glare, or possibly something like it, because that's the problem with expressionless bug masks, you know?

"'m okay," she mumbles.

And so she runs to catch up, and things seem fine until there's gunfire. Things still seem fine because Carina lives in the Badlands and can instinctively tell when gunfire does and doesn't concern her. It doesn't, until SUDDENLY IT DOES.

"EMERGENCY TOH," she calls out, backflipping when everything explodes, hopefully managing to land into the sewer system in a way that doesn't involve headbutting the ground.

DG: Carina Wynne has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Underground Explosion.
<Pose Tracker> Arleph Ardan has posed.

Arleph is very much glad for portals and the aid of others. Such toomfollery of this magnitude involving jumping and cautious climbing down of perilious situations is certainly not one of Arleph's forte. Still, they manage to go through. "Thanks you." Arleph says, nodding in Lydia's direction.

As they step onward, Arleph takes in on the sights, subtly adjusting his glasses to turn them on, scanning the area. Was this caused by a sort of nuclear explosion, or something else? The answer to his own investigation will wait, as gunfire erupts and, immediatedly, he dashes on to move, diving into one of the portals unleashed. Past a point, you stop asking, you stop looking over your shoulder when something dangerous is happening. You just GO.

DG: Arleph Ardan has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Underground Explosion.
===============================<* Lost July *>================================
===================<* CHALLENGE - Underground Explosion *>====================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 3          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 Sometimes, the residents of Lost July buried things in the ground. The        
 presence of Drifters hhas caused disruptions throughout the ruined city --    
 especially where firefights have broken out. You hear one in the distance,    
 now; apparently, two groups of Drifters have started firing on each other.    
 There is a crackboom, and then a gunshot from a block over comes flying       
 down. It shoots between your party, and then strikes the ground. It sinks in  
 -- and then there is a /titanic/ explosion behind you, as an underground      
 fuel tank goes up in a huge fireball. However, it seems this may have opened  
 a gateway into the sewer system of the city.                                  
=Dungeon Conditions: Slow, Overwhelm, Secret==================================
==========================<* Lost July - Round 2 *>===========================
=====================< Results - Underground Explosion >======================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ethius Hesiod                       5 --(20)--> 25                 Fail
Hot Air Sack                        2   Agility Effects: Resilient            
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Carina Wynne                        5 --(20)--> 25                 Fail
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lydia Seren                         5 --(20)--> 25                 Fail
Portal Pistols                      2   Agility Effects: Stalwart             
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Arleph Ardan                        5 --(20)--> 25                 Fail
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Kourin                              5 --(15)--> 20                 Pass
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC                
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Ethius Hesiod               15 --(5)--> 20                 Fail
Conditions: Bad Luck(1)|Hesitate(1)|Overwhelm|Secret(2)|Slow(2)
Effects: Resilient(1)
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: The party led by Ethius Hesiod has failed this challenge! The party gained 5 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: Carina Wynne has drawn a new Challenge.
================================<* Lost July *>=================================
=====================<* CHALLENGE - Beaten to the Punch! *>=====================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 The rumors that an Elw ruin sits underneath Lost July have prompted no small  
 number of Drifters to come here, and some are not so friendly. As you round   
 the next bend -- or perhaps enter a building that has some appeal -- you      
 come across a group of them, who turn and look at you. Scowls dance across    
 their faces; several ARMs come out, while one from Lunar starts to summon     
 lightning. Negotiation is unlikely -- as they send a hail of bullets and      
 sorcery careening towards you!                                                
=Dungeon Conditions: Exhaust, Bad Luck========================================
<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Unfortunately, that underground explosion from earlier? It turns out that jumping down into the sewer, well, it's still going. And rapidly approaching everybody in the sewer. "Back the other other way!" Lydia shouts before jumping back in. Everybody has to acrobatically throw themselves back up the sewer before the fire engulfs them.

On the plus side the gunfire seems to have died down!

Then again maybe that just means someone won the fight and is now heading after you.

Maybe.

<Pose Tracker> Carina Wynne has posed.

"Goin' in, goin' in!" Locus cries out as she leaps into the sewers... which are exploding just as much as the surface. DANG.

"Goin' out, goin' out!" Luckily, jumping very high is one of her main superpowers.

The team is reunited, a little worse for wear but at least mostly unexploded. However, the winners of the gunfight are now bearing down on them.

"You people would do well to get out of the way of the Van Companionship," announces their apparent leader, a masked symbologist as he begins casting a dual tech with another symbologist, who is also probably not from space.

A giant sword-toting Lunarian swings her weapon and sends a lightning arc towards the group, while a cat beastwoman wearing a Dan Dairam foam head fires a pair of Zeboim-era black hole pistols. A turtle-shelled beastman, disconcertingly nimble for his size, brings up the rear with a volley of ninja stars.

"Hey, guys, I've got an idea!" Locus says, so far having some success blocking the onslaught with her metal-clad forearms. She reaches into... somewhere, pulling out a glowing red marble, and sets it into her belt, replacing the yellow one...

ELEMENT: FIRE_

And she starts blasting away at the ground in front of the opponents charging towards them.

"Maybe that'll trigger another explosion and beat 'em at their own game!" she explains.

LOCUS, THAT'S A VERY DANGEROUS IDEA

DG: Carina Wynne has used her Tool Element Marble toward her party's challenge, Beaten to the Punch!.
<Pose Tracker> Kourin has posed.

Kourin sees the enemy, and hurls a rimebomb towards them--following it, unusually of late, with sorcerous ice magics, sharp lances of ice flying through the air like daggers.

DG: Kourin has used her Tool Rimebomb toward her party's challenge, Beaten to the Punch!.
<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

Ethius finds the very slow drift of his hot air sack to work against him when he attempts to cut off the hot air and rush back out. He just only barely escapes hot burning deathination, as he comes up against the survivor(s) of the previous skirmish among the rest. He stares down that talkative masked Symbologist as Locus professes to have an idea...

"I do not--" He has no space to talk, because he has to prepare a smoke cover immediately.

Bullets - or rather, black hole-powered pistols - start flying. Ethius gets out a satchel and stays in front of the rest, throwing down that satchel after casting a quick Symbological spell to activate it... and then again, adopting a defensive posture as he signals to the rest to try and move behind and around him.

A bright spark of electricity flashes from his body every time an ARM round makes impact against him, noisily deflecting bullets and ninja stars that pass a certain speed threshold. He flinches as though someone sharply pokes him with a finger, instead of taking a full-on bullet wound.

He looks like he'll be doing his best to make good on his word, for what it's worth, in getting them through safely - if they can trust being near or behind him. Just as much as he may as well be trusting the measure of the counterattack with the rest!

...Something curious happens as an electrical spell shoots through the dust cover. It arcs improbably from its present path towards him, connecting with the white-haired enigma and sending him into pained spasms as he falls to a kneel.

...

It appears Ethius' protective anti-ARM Symbology spell will also draw lightning towards him while it is active. An Achilles heel...

(Wait, who's Achilles?)

DG: Ethius Hesiod has used his Tool Powder Grenade toward his party's challenge, Beaten to the Punch!.
<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

The Van Companionship??!?

Suddenly there's black holes flying out at her and Lydia shrieks and starts running away from the black holes but of course, she can't escape black holes so she has to summon a portals to get out of the way so she doesn't end up fighting lavos. But as she reappears, she sees it--the catgirl with the cathead.

Her eyes narrow.

She rushes the black hole catgirl and tries to pull off her foam head. The black hole catgirl slaps Lydia. Lydia bites her. The cat bites back. They become a comical dust cloud in short order.

Who will win?! A foam head is ON THE LINE here!

DG: Lydia Seren has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Beaten to the Punch!.
<Pose Tracker> Arleph Ardan has posed.

Arleph is starting to have second thoughts about lacking a teleportation spell that is quicker to cast. Falling down nasty holes is annoying enough as it is, but getting stuck in a battle you didn't ask for or started yourself is even worse.

The Symbologist grunts, putting himself to his feet as he looks around. His first instinct is to slam back a fist into the ground, a symbol spreading out to around the group with a wall of ice erupting from the ground. At least, that should give some cover.

From most things. Anyway. He's not sure of how it'll do against blackholes.

DG: Arleph Ardan has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Beaten to the Punch!.
================================<* Lost July *>=================================
=====================<* CHALLENGE - Beaten to the Punch! *>=====================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 The rumors that an Elw ruin sits underneath Lost July have prompted no small  
 number of Drifters to come here, and some are not so friendly. As you round   
 the next bend -- or perhaps enter a building that has some appeal -- you      
 come across a group of them, who turn and look at you. Scowls dance across    
 their faces; several ARMs come out, while one from Lunar starts to summon     
 lightning. Negotiation is unlikely -- as they send a hail of bullets and      
 sorcery careening towards you!                                                
=Dungeon Conditions: Exhaust, Bad Luck========================================
===========================<* Lost July - Round 3 *>============================
=======================< Results - Beaten to the Punch! >=======================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ethius Hesiod                       25 --(5)--> 30                 Pass
Powder Grenade                      3   Combat  Effects: Fanfare              
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Carina Wynne                        25 --(5)--> 30                 Pass
Element Marble                      2   Combat  Effects: Fanfare and Rally    
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lydia Seren                         25 --(17)--> 42                Fail
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC                
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Arleph Ardan                        25 --(5)--> 30                 Pass
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC                
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Kourin                              20 --(5)--> 25                 Pass
Rimebomb                            3   Combat  Effects: Rally                
-----------------------------------< Party >------------------------------------
Leader: Ethius Hesiod               20 --(25)--> 45                Pass
Conditions: Bad Luck(2)|Exhaust(1)|Overwhelm|Secret(1)|Slow(1)
Effects: 
===============================< Dream Chasers >================================
DG: The party led by Ethius Hesiod has passed this challenge! The party gained 25 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> Carina Wynne has posed.

That spell the two symbologists are cooking up seems like it could be very bad news, but Kourin's rime bomb interrupts the duo's casting. "It seems this group has several tricks up its sleeve," the masked one says to the other.

Those tiny black holes are still a real problem. Getting sucked into one would be very bad news, and so nimbleness is required, until Lydia goes straight for the throat-- or rather, the head. She tussles mightily, but will she get her prize?

Ethius is offering protection, and while Locus hesitates to move into what she terms his 'Secret Weirdo Field', she eventually does so. This takes care of the ninja star problem, until electricity is thrown into the mix. Arleph blocks the bolts with his ice walls, taking some pressure off of Ethius while Kourin and Locus counterattack with ice lances and fireballs...

...the latter of which DOES indeed trigger another explosion. It sends the enemy team flying right in the opposite direction, protected by symbological fields of their own. Lydia's opponent slips out of her grasp, sadly, her head intact. Maybe it reall IS her head?

"Van Companionship," Locus says, grimly, as she watches them fly away, "sounds like we're destined to meet them again..."

But probably not, let's be honest.

DG: Ethius Hesiod has drawn a new Challenge.
====================================================<* Lost July *>=====================================================
===============================================<* CHALLENGE - The Gear *>===============================================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 3          | 
-----------------------------------------------< Challenge Information: >-----------------------------------------------
 With Lost July being so far out of the way, the powers that be are less       
 likely to intervene for the use of ARMs. Some less scrupulous Drifters have   
 decided that the consequences and damage to Lost July's ruins be damned,      
 they will use overwhelming firepower to secure their fortune. As you make     
 your way down the street, the ground suddenly quakes. Ahead of you, an        
 immense Gear slams down into the ground. The concrete street cracks further   
 under its weight. Its optics flash -- and then it begins firing its massive   
 hand cannon in your direction.                                                
=Dungeon Conditions: Suffer, Vault, Maim======================================
<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia bares her teeth and hisses at the Van Companionship until they're good and gone.

Then she blinks, straightens up, and adds, "Huh kinda lost it there for a moment." She scratches her head with one of her tendrils. "Well, nothing to worry about for now ha ha ha."

Or maybe not.

<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

The ground shakes. A building collapses behind them... that's the way they came. Glass shards fly up everywhere, threatening to stab and draw blood unless they find new cover or otherwise protect themselves. As the dust clears, an immense Aveh Gear, a hodge-podge of stolen parts from various sources - some exotic - levels a strange glowing gun with a spinny barrel that's kind of cool and oh it's pointed their way.

"Move." Ethius calls, dashing to the left. He has a great sense for how a gun might fire, how it might swivel, what the exact safe range for movement is to avoid it. Their escape from the volley of bright laser-like fire is narrow indeed, glassing the glass anew.

"Miss Kourin!" That's... that's actual exclamation mark, from Ethius, as he kneels behind rapidly disintegrating cover frm the giant Gear fire. He looks to the rest. "Miss Lydia. Doctor Arleph." He doesn't address Locus' name.

"Miss Jay will speak of mercy in all circumstance." The enemy fire stops for a while. At least he can be heard, as long as tinnitus isn't setting in. It might be. "I do not fault her approach. It is not my place to tell her how she lives her life."

He doesn't need to look over his shoulder to get a sense for what the immense weapon might be doing. Every mechanical noise it makes, his mind dances with the possibilities. Why is he so familiar with this? He doesn't know. "Those like the Gear pilot do not operate under those parameters. I could tell you what sort of person they are. I will make this one matter clear."

His expression darkens as he opens back up his eyes. "I do not allow their kind to walk away."

...Um, they're all on foot? What can they do against the Gear? He flashes the Spectral Lens for a moment to get a better read on what's connected to what, and gives out ideas and instructions accordingly...

Except to Kourin. Why? Does he want her to stay there in cover?

"If we cannot overcome them, I can at least provide an escape." He'll save that Powder Grenade for that escape, but he moves in earnest once he gives the signal to the rest to move in and try to dismantle the overpowered opponent with their every talent at their disposal in hopes of bringing it down.

Ethius starts by trying to get an electrical surge - a Recurrent Current - dancing through its frame in order to erode its power output and maybe slow down its attempts to work up another volley. Its pilot prepares another volley of laser fire, opening up all sorts of other nasty weapons hatches whose qualities were described by Ethius as educated estimates.

They are accurate ones, but they may also be vital openings. It may not be a fight to advance further into Lost July - this might be a fight for their very lives.

DG: Ethius Hesiod has used his Tool Powder Grenade toward his party's challenge, The Gear.
<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

"Hey Ethius, dude." Lydia says. "I'm pretty much gutless, you know? I don't think I could take someone out. I'm not sayin' it cause it's mercy, but because, well, killing people is kind of...gross, you know? I mean, like, their blood gets everywhere, you can't get it out, then all their buddies want revenge and their mom is crying and like I mean there's some people out there, sure, who radiate like evil and shit, but I'm pretty sure in like most cases I'd just be too freaked out to take anybody out so if you, like, want to take somebody out I don't think I could really help you, but don't let me stop you or anything, I mean, you do you you know?"

There's also a gear firing at everybody so while she's saying this you can bet that she's hiding behind cover. She raises a middle finger above the cover, which the AVEH gear disintergrates with a laser blast. The finger regenerates of course back with its silver metal, but Lydia doesn't raise her middle finger at it again.

"Maybe it knows that you have something against technology and it's seeking revenge for all the toasters you exploded." Lydia suggests to Ethius.

She is pretty much not especially helpful in this fight but maybe the flicking off the death machine distracted it long enough for someone with actual combat skills to take advantage.

<Pose Tracker> Kourin has posed.

Kourin tosses a rimebomb...this time, directly in front of her. She uses it to jumpstart her glacial golem spell. She's behind cover, it's fine, but then suddenly there's a giant ice fist slamming into the enemy gear, followed by the rest of the angry golem!

DG: Kourin has used her Tool Rimebomb toward her party's challenge, The Gear.
<Pose Tracker> Arleph Ardan has posed.

This is the second time that Arleph wishes he had under his possession a full plasma cannon to deal with threats like this. Mind you, he's never been one that were very good with ARMS -- Guns, he reminds himself. They're called guns. -- but it is still a basic wish he wish he could fulfill to himself. Or, at least, his Own Gear. It's getting ready to be used, by now.

"You've got to be kidding me." Arleph mutters, adjusting his glasses up as he stares up at the Aveh Gear. It's... certainly one hell of a piece of work. "Let us talk about the morality of killing other individuals when we are out of this particular mess, Ms." The Symbologist says, slamming his fists together. This is not just a mere show of bravardo, it is also a casting implement, with a circle spinning into existence from his knuckles, as he spread out his gloved hands. A thick mist shoots out to adds to the explosion, to, at least, give a good enough cover to get running.

The second part of his plan is to, uh. Run.

DG: Arleph Ardan has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward his party's challenge, The Gear.
<Pose Tracker> Carina Wynne has posed.

Carina, for one, is pretty satisfied that her ridiculous gamble paid off. Surely now nothing else can threaten them--

Aw, beans.

She raises her arms to cover her face, but quickly has to turn ponytail and run the hell away. "I KNOW!" she shouts as Ethius tells them to move, and she does just that.

She finds cover behind what little is left of a large building, and Ethius gives... a little speech, huh.

"Oh come on, we really gotta kill 'em?" she mumbles, apparently ignoring the fact that she would have had a lot more blood on her hands a minute ago, had the opposing team not had a symbological bubble to protect them. "Well, whatever, we gotta disable this stupid thing!"

And so, she swaps out her belt's power source(?) once more. Its computerized voice makes itself heard.

ELEMENT: LIGHTNING_

"My lightning'll make you go haywire!" Locus announces, pointing at the Gear (...through cover, because yeesh) before leaping right for it and trying to cling for dear life, unleashing mighty electrically-enhanced punches and kicks. They seem, against all odds, as if they might actually manage to put a dent in the thing's armor and, hopefully, disable some vital components. She continues leaping and frantically climbing up the massive shape, trying her best to stay in its blind spots.

"aaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH," Carina says as she does all this.

DG: Carina Wynne has used her Tool Element Marble toward her party's challenge, The Gear.
DG: Lydia Seren has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward her party's challenge, The Gear.
====================================================<* Lost July *>=====================================================
===============================================<* CHALLENGE - The Gear *>===============================================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 3          | 
-----------------------------------------------< Challenge Information: >-----------------------------------------------
 With Lost July being so far out of the way, the powers that be are less       
 likely to intervene for the use of ARMs. Some less scrupulous Drifters have   
 decided that the consequences and damage to Lost July's ruins be damned,      
 they will use overwhelming firepower to secure their fortune. As you make     
 your way down the street, the ground suddenly quakes. Ahead of you, an        
 immense Gear slams down into the ground. The concrete street cracks further   
 under its weight. Its optics flash -- and then it begins firing its massive   
 hand cannon in your direction.                                                
=Dungeon Conditions: Suffer, Vault, Maim======================================
===============================================<* Lost July - Round 4 *>================================================
=================================================< Results - The Gear >=================================================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ethius Hesiod                       30 --(20)--> 50                Pass
Powder Grenade                      3   Combat  Effects: Fanfare              
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Carina Wynne                        30 --(20)--> 50                Pass
Element Marble                      2   Combat  Effects: Fanfare and Rally    
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lydia Seren                         42 --(25)--> 67                Fail
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Arleph Ardan                        30 --(25)--> 55                Fail
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Kourin                              25 --(20)--> 45                Pass
Rimebomb                            3   Combat  Effects: Rally                
-------------------------------------------------------< Party >--------------------------------------------------------
Leader: Ethius Hesiod               45 --(25)--> 70                Pass
Conditions: Bad Luck(1)|Maim|Overwhelm|Suffer(1)|Vault(1)
Effects: 
===================================================< Dream Chasers >=================================================
DG: The party led by Ethius Hesiod has passed this challenge! The party gained 25 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.

They fan out. There should have been no expectation that any of them could have withstood fighting this Aveh Gear on foot, and yet, at least one of them acts and moves with a confidence that just doesn't seem natural. Almost fearless, once he says his piece on what everyone needs to do. The same sort of fearlessness he showed even when facing down a giant metal abomination back out on those ancient battlefields on behalf of a university's studies.

Arleph's mist throws down a liquid cover that allows electricity to better conduct, and conduct it does, sapping away at the giant machine. Locus strikes at the weak points in the armor as pointed out, charging more electricity in there to sap and weaken its collective systems. Lydia proves an ample enough distraction, as weapons fire starts to be ready to move on her rather than those with better tools in which to take this on. Ethius is trusting Lydia to know to get away in accordance to how he described the weapons systems.

Even with these early advantages, it doesn't seem enough as the Gear falls to a knee and opens up a shoulder port to reveal a giant missile that might... make a whole new crater within the crater. Ethius considers the options. He doesn't think he can chant the spell of the proper yield in time, let alone get clear. He throws down the Powder Grenade in hopes of scrambling any targeting system as they might pull back, and Locus might be wise to leap off right about now--

Kourin's ice golem emerges. The courageous young woman cannot possibly know the full breadth of what it is she's standing against. Lunar has nothing like this. But this doesn't stop her from choosing to throw it all to help her friends, as the giant ice fist slams into the open missile port. From the immense heat generated from it, the golem's limb melts and fuses into the rocket.

From the cockpit, the pilot panics as they try to cancel the launch. They can't.

Unable to clear the bay, the rocket explodes dramatically. The Aveh Gear falls backwards in a spectacular series of explosions, and Ethius just watches. He... is not of the belief anyone will survive that. When he looks back, he'll see the remains of Kourin's melting golem - and the rest of her - as the cover collapses.

"Your timely action is... appreciated." There's that rare pause in Ethius' speech, as though conflicted about what to say and how to feel about the matter as he strides past to make sure everyone is in one piece. "Is Spirit well?"

Then a side-glance. "Miss Lydia. May I please see your hand?" Oh, he saw what happened to her middle finger. It grew back, sure, but he still wants to take a moment to check. For what she said, the way she seemed so emotionally overwhelmed, but resolute, to not want to get to messy, gross, disgusting, vengence-cycle-starting killing even in the heat of all that... how does he feel about that?

He doesn't say, but he doesn't seem too displeased. Relieved? Him at rest is not so much a far cry from him in action where he has declared an intent to kill, so, it's kind of tricky to pin down.

What is not unambiguous is that they won, and that they're alive, and that they may now proceed.

DG: Lydia Seren has drawn a new Challenge.
===============================<* Lost July *>================================
======================<* CHALLENGE - Rolling Thunder *>=======================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 Lost July isn't completely flat. This is because some buildings were melted   
 down, the superstructures heated up to the point that they became hills.      
 When you come to the top of this jumble of shattered buildings, you find the  
 other side is nearly impassable: a solid wall of tangled, broken buildings    
 and trolleys and more. However, there may be a solution. A large building     
 teeters. With a solid push, you could send it into a roll -- and maybe clear  
 the way.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Or maybe worsen the path.                                                     
=Dungeon Conditions: Injure, Treasure=========================================
<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia also just is kind of squeamish when it comes to gore. She knows this. It's partly why she's decent at fighting big threats but the average threats in ruins she just can't seem to help much. It's a lot easier fighting someone like Berserk than avarice poisoned drifters for someone like her because of how tough he is.

"Uh sure," Lydia says, showing off her automail flavored arm. "It's no big. I still haven't figured out how to make it, you know, skin-like. I guess this is the best I can do right now."

She sighs faintly before adding, "Thanks for the assist Kourin!" Why is she singling out Kourin?! Because Kourin needs the headpats by Lydia's reckoning.

Metaphorical headpats.

Regardless, the team eventually comes to an area that seems utterly impassable. Lydia starts walking around the molten, tangled buildings before yelping and hopping back from a building that looks like it's about to fall over.

"The gear must've jostled something." She says. At least the order of the cards seems weirdly appropriate. She looks over to Ethius. "We might be able to topple this in such a way it clears the path. ... and breaks a lot of stuff."

She blinks a few times. "So you'll probably like this challenge right?"


DG: Lydia Seren has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Rolling Thunder.
<Pose Tracker> Kourin has posed.

Kourin looks down. "It...needed to be done," she says. "So I did it."

She examines the problem. Steps back a few feet, eyes the building, then steps back one more careful pace. Then she crouches and puts her hands on the ground, forming - much more slowly than she did her golem - a giant ice pillar, at an angle, to put pressure on the building at an appropriate spot to topple it.

She did the math. In her head.

DG: Kourin has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Rolling Thunder.
<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

Ethius moves on with Lydia and the rest once he's sure she's okay. With that, they're off to see that molten, tangled mass of buildings a ways off. He points a palm out defensively as Lydia yelps, as though expecting for them to be beset by bandits... but no, there's a structure there.

"I would offer to attempt to melt the obstructions ahead, but," as is blatantly obvious, they're already melted and they wouldn't become any smaller or lower a pile for it. "I would not say it is a matter of 'like,' Miss Kourin," he replies as he puts a hand to his forehead, but let's be real. Ethius melts so many obstructions and other things in his way in expeditions that he must have a thing for it. He must be a super-duper-pyromaniac under the cool, distant surface!! But cooler heads prevail here, on his part, as he sees Kourin try to align the building for being knocked over.

"...I believe I see what you two are going for." He looks over to Arleph. "If I am not mistaken, Doctor Arleph, you are in possession of a high-yield explosive...?"

Failing that he'll probably just keep hitting the barely-standing building with precise quarterstaff strikes until it just gets enough coaxing to fall over with help of anyone else's percussive forces, but the star of the show here isn't him.

DG: Ethius Hesiod has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Rolling Thunder.
<Pose Tracker> Carina Wynne has posed.

Locus jumps clear when she sees that missile, because she has some idea what that thing is and what it's capable of. She drops and rolls with an apparent expertise completely at odds with her flailing down the crater earlier, soon Naruto-running towards her friends (and acquaintances).

There is an explosion. The smoke clears.

"...Everybody all right?" Locus asks, still catching her breath.

Flash forward to the thoroughly busted vista before them, and the precarious-looking building.

"Yeah, okay, that's a thing I'm good at! All right! Locuuuuus..." Lightning crackles around her fist as she draws it back. "BUILDING-TOPPLING PUNCH!"

And she swings it forward. BOOM, crackle crackle crackle. Rinse and repeat until Carina's hand hurts or something terrible happens.

DG: Carina Wynne has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Rolling Thunder.
<Pose Tracker> Arleph Ardan has posed.

Arleph is quite surprised they managed to get away with this. It is not that he likes to kill. Far from it, actually. However, in a situation like this, where you don't have a choice... well, sometimes, you just have to make sure you get out, the people trying to kill you be damned.

Panting, the Doctor looks up and over at the wall they've been faced with, giving a firm nod in Ethius' direction. "That's... that's correct." He lets out, wiping off his brow with a slight flick of his wrist. He reach into one of his pockets, taking out a small packaged ball of clay, covered in circles and symbols. He rubs a finger on it, leaving a trail of light on the inscriptions behind, going all around it. "Stand back." He instructs, before flicking the clay ball at the ball, at an position others aren't punching into it.

The ball detonates, with a flash of searing light neatly exploding. It does not have a large conflagration or kickback, but at least, it should put a massive dent with it's flash plasma reaction.

DG: Arleph Ardan has used his Tool Symbological Bomb toward his party's challenge, Rolling Thunder.
===============================<* Lost July *>================================
======================<* CHALLENGE - Rolling Thunder *>=======================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 Lost July isn't completely flat. This is because some buildings were melted   
 down, the superstructures heated up to the point that they became hills.      
 When you come to the top of this jumble of shattered buildings, you find the  
 other side is nearly impassable: a solid wall of tangled, broken buildings    
 and trolleys and more. However, there may be a solution. A large building     
 teeters. With a solid push, you could send it into a roll -- and maybe clear  
 the way.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Or maybe worsen the path.                                                     
=Dungeon Conditions: Injure, Treasure=========================================
==========================<* Lost July - Round 5 *>===========================
========================< Results - Rolling Thunder >=========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ethius Hesiod                       50 --(10)--> 60                Pass
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Carina Wynne                        50 --(20)--> 70                Fail
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lydia Seren                         67 --(20)--> 87                Fail
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Arleph Ardan                        55 --(10)--> 65                Pass
Symbological Bomb                   3   Brute   Effects: Rally                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Kourin                              45 --(20)--> 65                Fail
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Ethius Hesiod               70 --(25)--> 95                Pass
Conditions: Injure(2)|Maim|Overwhelm|Treasure(1)
Effects: 
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: The party led by Ethius Hesiod has passed this challenge! The party gained 25 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> Lydia Seren has posed.

Sadly, after all that effort, Kourin's golem just doesn't have the juice right now to help topple over the building. Lydia didn't bring her tool for the job so she just throws random debris at it but most of the time, she just flatout misses. Carina punches the building with mighty building toppling punches until she sprains her left wrist and is forced to stop. Lydia quietly offers Locus a rosesol with the most deadpan expression on her face.

Nevertheless, Ethius does seem if nothing else to be the best at smashing stuff and after some careful strikes from the quarterstaff, Arleph casually finishes the job--making everyone stand back so they don't get hit by it--and explodinates the building nice and proper.

And it falls perfectly, creating an easy path to the team's destination. Maybe the other team is having this much luck!

"Are you sure it's not a matter of 'like'?" Lydia asks suspiciously.

<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

"Of this, I am certain." Ethius says as he stands back and watches the building roll down and smash all the obstructions in the way to clear the path forward. He has a bandanna over his face. He could be grinning widely and you would never know.

DG: Ethius Hesiod has drawn a new Challenge.
====================================================<* Lost July *>=====================================================
============================================<* CHALLENGE - The Barred Way *>============================================
|Type: Final       |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 3          | 
-----------------------------------------------< Challenge Information: >-----------------------------------------------
 It has not been easy to locate the rumored Elw ruins. However, it seems that  
 you may have found the way. Inside a building, a stairway made of stone       
 instead of concrete or rusted metal leads down into a long, narrow chamber.   
 The air is cool here, and less dusty and smelling of decay. The hallway leds  
 on for a very long way, until you come to the end.                            
                                                                               
 There was a doorway here. However, someone has beaten you to it. Instead,     
 you find the way ends in a massive pile of rubble. The rubble is much too     
 focused. It fills the way, floor to ceiling. This was done deliberately to    
 block the way.                                                                
=Dungeon Conditions: Weaken, Overzealous======================================
<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

As the group goes ahead into the building revealed a ways forward, there is the sound of hissing, melting rock along with loud ear-splitting mechanical noises grinding at the rock. There are flashes of light ahead, but they are quickly obscured as rubble rattles and settles back into place.

A group was just here. Ethius takes point from the mechanical noises alone, pointing a palm forward as he leads the team down through the long, narrow chamber. The air here is... cool... refreshing... kind of nice? It doesn't smell like broken dreams, gunpowder, or anything here, but it all terminates before a large pile of warm rubble.

He brings a hand to his forehead. Actually, the mechanical sounds he heard, they did sound like something from one of Shalune's many interesting devices. Were they just here...?

"I am only making an educated guess at this juncture, but it is my estimation that Miss Jay, Miss Shalune, Miss Lunata, Miss Catenna, and Mister Cyre passed through." Jeez, Ethius! You could've just said 'Jay's party!' But no, he had to spell out their names. "They did not have much sorting space, it would appear."

Indeed, it is so. In order to have cleared the rubble, they pretty much had to put it behind themselves... and thus repeat the process of blocking them off. Oops. No harm done, if it was them. Should they be complacent, rest up, and wait for their return? They expended many resources coming to this point... but then again, there's no telling what's on the other side. The rubble here is still very hot to the touch, courtesy of SKY LASER DRILLS from Cyre.

Ethius decides to strike at a few of the larger pieces previously moved about by Catenna to try and break them into smaller ones, with further precise quarterstaff whacks. (He also likes to spam Far Point, it turns out.)

There doesn't appear to be much mounting pressure to clear through this pile that quickly, but if they could... well, they already lost bragging rights by coming here second. They could just wait for Jay and friends to come back.

DG: Ethius Hesiod has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward his party's challenge, The Barred Way.
DG: Kourin has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, The Barred Way.
<Pose Tracker> Arleph Ardan has posed.

Arleph looks over, still keeping his glasses on and scanning. His optics are nice at analysing what they see, backed up by the computer he have in his pockets, attached to him. "You know, you could have just said, 'Jay's Party', Ethius." There. He said it. WHATCHA GONNA DO ABOUT IT. He takes a look around at the door, frowning for a moment, not being able to make a good reading from the rubbles.

He supposes he's glad he's started packing two of the bombs, now days.

Arleph takes out another clay ball, doing the same rub of a finge accross it's symbols, staring over at the rubbles. Before everyone start rushing in and plowing upon things, he carefully lay it upon some of the rock, steps back, instructs the others to DO the same, then snaps his fingers.

The same, perfectly spherical burst of light flash through, hopefully heating through enough rock and leaving a clean hole through will follow.

DG: Arleph Ardan has used his Tool Symbological Bomb toward his party's challenge, The Barred Way.
<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

"Geeze." Lydia says, frowning. "...If we were just going to end up in the same spot maybe we should've just traveled in a pack." She thinks about all the people who tried to kill them for no reason. "...Or, you know, maybe not."

She isn't getting close because she knows that Arleph is ust going to blow it all up anyway.

"I believe in you Arleph." She says in a deadpan. "Blow up the shit."

DG: Lydia Seren has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, The Barred Way.
<Pose Tracker> Carina Wynne has posed.

"Owowowow," Locus lets out weakly, possibly drawn with comically big tears dangling out of her bug eyes as Lydia hands her a Rosesol. "Thank you, Lydia, you're a true... friend of justice, 'n' such."

But they proceed, into a place that almost seems... nice, in a way the Badlands rarely are. But there's noise ahead, and Locus is preparing herself for a fight... until Ethius voices his guess.

"Huh, might be. Well, it'd be much better than fighting off another team of bizarro jerks."

They round the corner, and she slumps at the sight of... discarded rubble. "Aw, jeez, think of the others, guys! Think of, I dunno, the environment! Well, whatever, rubble, prepare for a real SHOCK!"

She giggles at her own incredible joke.

"LOCUS DRILL BOLT!" she calls out, swinging her fists to project electricity forward-- albeit in a more haphazard way than the dramatic name would suggest.

DG: Carina Wynne has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, The Barred Way.
====================================================<* Lost July *>=====================================================
============================================<* CHALLENGE - The Barred Way *>============================================
|Type: Final       |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 3          | 
-----------------------------------------------< Challenge Information: >-----------------------------------------------
 It has not been easy to locate the rumored Elw ruins. However, it seems that  
 you may have found the way. Inside a building, a stairway made of stone       
 instead of concrete or rusted metal leads down into a long, narrow chamber.   
 The air is cool here, and less dusty and smelling of decay. The hallway leds  
 on for a very long way, until you come to the end.                            
                                                                               
 There was a doorway here. However, someone has beaten you to it. Instead,     
 you find the way ends in a massive pile of rubble. The rubble is much too     
 focused. It fills the way, floor to ceiling. This was done deliberately to    
 block the way.                                                                
=Dungeon Conditions: Weaken, Overzealous======================================
===============================================<* Lost July - Round 6 *>================================================
==============================================< Results - The Barred Way >==============================================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ethius Hesiod                       60 --(100)--> 160              Fail
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Carina Wynne                        70 --(100)--> 170              Fail
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lydia Seren                         87 --(100)--> 187              Fail
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Arleph Ardan                        65 --(100)--> 165              Fail
Symbological Bomb                   3   Brute   Effects: Rally                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Kourin                              65 --(100)--> 165              Fail
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
-------------------------------------------------------< Party >--------------------------------------------------------
Leader: Ethius Hesiod               95 --(10)--> 105               Fail
Conditions: Injure(1)|Maim|Overwhelm|Overzealous(2)|Weaken(2)
Effects: 
===================================================< Dream Chasers >====================================================
DG: Ethius Hesiod is too exhausted to continue!
DG: Carina Wynne is too exhausted to continue!
DG: Lydia Seren is too exhausted to continue!
DG: Arleph Ardan is too exhausted to continue!
DG: Kourin is too exhausted to continue!
DG: You have overcome the dungeon's trials! This run is a success!
DG: The party led by Ethius Hesiod has successfully explored Lost July!
====================================================<* Lost July *>=====================================================
============================================<* CHALLENGE - The Elw Ruins *>=============================================
|Type: Discovery   |Dungeon Ability: Conclusion|Challenge Rating: 1          | 
-----------------------------------------------< Challenge Information: >-----------------------------------------------
 The path is cleared, and you find that the doorway leads into another         
 hallway. This hallway, however, has a strange feature. Instead of being       
 darkened, sunlight spills in -- inexplicably, given the depth of the hallway  
 -- and lights up the stones here a brilliant golden color. The path leads     
 ahead, to stairs leading upward, and a double door. It swings open, and       
 reveals a strange sight: an open sky, seemingly underground. And yet, there   
 is a shimmer in the air.                                                      
                                                                               
 Elw sorcery, which has transported you to a place of interlocking platforms   
 that float in the mountains. The air is cool here, but you can see that the   
 stone platforms are dotted with trees. Somehow, you have risen thousands of   
 feet into the air, for if you look down, you can see the ruins of Lost July   
 below. Even still, the stairway leading down will lead back under the ruined  
 city.                                                                         
                                                                               
 Welcome to the Pleasing Garden.                                               
=Dungeon Conditions: Vault====================================================
<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

It's a lot to move, but Kourin soldiers on anyway to move the pile. Ethius breaks apart the pieces they do. Arleph uses a bomb. Lydia cheers along - but altogether, they seem to only succeed in just rearranging the rubble.

Then Locus moves in and punches it so hard that the foundation of the very tunnel shakes...! Cold air rushes in around them, enveloping them and obscuring their vision as bright, colorful lights ensnare them. Oh no, something happened! Something malfunctioned! What's going on?! Where are they being taken to...!

<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

Suddenly, at least one warm body - and probably more - are violently deposited through the open doors. One of them is a certain white-haired Symbologist who collides and rolls against the ornate stone and comes to a stop under the shade of a great, vibrant verdant tree.

Ethius staggers up to a stand, hand against his forehead as unnatural colors hit his eyes. A bright, clear blue. Clouds flit by. The air is... the cleanest. He's tempted to take off his bandanna just to take any of it in, but seems to think better of it as the forms and outlines of familiar faces refill his vision, just as his other hand comes shy of pulling it down.

"...Miss Jay?" He asks. He glances back over his shoulder to check for the presence of the rest.

<Pose Tracker> Lunata Croze has posed.

Lunata certainly looks like she's been on an adventure. Several lightly severed cables are wound up around her where the manuevering equipment's kind of gotten to its limits; she's slicked with soot, gunpowder and explosives and has her ghastly gas mask dangling from one side of her. And is that... Gear fluid slaked on her cloak? Well.

She steps a little bit closer as she puts a hand to her head and murmurs, "... I wanna camp here."

... well, that's not a bad choice for a first set of words, one supposes.

<Pose Tracker> Arleph Ardan has posed.

Another symbologist appears and is dropped upon the ground, this one of a more red haired color, slamming into the stone, rolling over the door. After him a hat floats after, flung and fired by some unknown force.

Arleph grunts, rolling on the ground with a groan, slowly sitting up. "Ugggh. I do... not think that was... quite right." He muses, blearily, groping around for his discared hat before placing it on. "...Jay?"

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

As Cyre reaches down, Catenna slides one slender hand into his. Her fingers find the spaces between the Shaman's, curling to clasp his hand tightly. She lifts pale grey eyes to him and smiles an almost epiphanic smile.

Soon enough here comes Ethius Hesiod of all people. Catenna looks back towards the group from where she's kneeling next to Cyre, looking out across the hovering garden. Nothing seems to be able to knock the smile off her face.

Her grip tightens in Cyre's for a moment. "We all made it, then," she murmurs, her pale grey eyes growing a little brighter. "I am glad."

<Pose Tracker> Kourin has posed.

Kourin looks around in surprise. "This...is not what I expected to find..." she murmurs.

+Vote: Cyre H. Lorentz has voted for you.

<DICE ROLLER> Lydia Seren rolled 1d4 <4> + 0 = 4

<Pose Tracker> Carina Wynne has posed.

And SUDDENLY!! METAL DIGGER LOCUS tumbles in unceremoniously.

"'m okay," she mumbles, staggering back on her feet.

"All in all, maybe that was a lil' bit too much electricity," she decides. "How's everybody doin'?" She trails off, looking around herself.

"...This place is SO COOL," she declares.

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia comes flying through the door. She was apparently trying to ram the door in impatience when Carina did her thing.

She goes flying outward and tackles into Cyre at high speeds.

<Pose Tracker> Shalune Amira has posed.

Shalune absolutely, utterly lights up at Lunata's suggestion, her face splitting into an enormous beaming smile. "Right--?!" she blurts eagerly, impulsively taking the girl's hands in hers - and then drawing back in surprise at the state of the girl. For a moment, she looks worried all over again, biting once more at her lip - then she huffs out a breath, puts on her Granny voice out of nowhere, and lifts a finger--

--to wag it. "You need a Lunie-bath, young lady!" she croons, which is pretty goddamn rich coming from her. But her intent is pretty obviously just to be silly, and maybe bring a smile to the other girl's face.

<Pose Tracker> Kourin has posed.

Spirit appeared next to Kourin, of course. He looks about as blase at this place as the loyal, good dog always does around Kourin.

<Pose Tracker> Arleph Ardan has posed.

"This..." Arleph lets out, begining to speak as he takes in the sight of the area for the first time. His mouth remains open for a few moments as he stands back up. This, reminds him of some of the gardens he's seen, taking greenery not only on amazing, alien plants in beautiful arrangments, but bringing it into a third dimension, with floating platforms. "This is... Facinating and beautiful."

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline listens intently as Catenna explains, about the importance of the Elw who created this place. This place clearly holds a great important to her...Jacqueline can understand why.

Shalune asks if it'd be possible for someone to reach it from the ground floor...and carefully, experimentally, Jacqueline draws something from one of her bags - a stirring rod, for potion preparation. She extends it out carefully past the stone pathway...but it isn't long before it's stopped by a shimmering barrier.

"Hm...I'm not sure. It depends on whether or not the barrier can keep things from coming in..." She considers. Still. It does make her feel some relief...

Especially when she's startled and nearly jumps as five more individuals are thrown out of the hallway they just came from. Five familiar individuals.

"Ah! Everyone! You're alright!" Jacqueline says, with a bright smile on her face. "I was a bit concerned about splitting us up at first, but...it seems I needn't have worried!"

She seems to have gotten out it alright, though her dress does seem to need patched up from where it was caught and roughed up as she tried to make her way through the steel skeleton of a building.

"Camping? I agree..." Jacqueline says, looking back to Shalune...and then smirks. "...And I agree with that, too."

She says, before looking back toward the others.

"Well, everyone...it looks like we've reached our destination! I think we're all a bit too tired to move on, but...I think we'll be able to come here whenever we want to, now, now that we know where it is." She says. "I consider this mission a success!"

<Pose Tracker> Lunata Croze has posed.

Lunata has to pause and look around skeptically as she murmurs, "... I'm--" she looks towards the rest of the group with relief, "I'm so surprised something horrible and ancient hasn't risen up to kill us for discovering this by now...?"

A pause.

"It-- it tends to happen a lot, it feels."

<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

Ethius doesn't know what to feel. All he has ever known on Filgaia, for the last two years of his awareness, was... desert, rotting fields, desperation, dust, and a lack of a perfect picture as to why he's here. This place doesn't look at all like Filgaia.

His eyes fall upon the smile of Catenna, blissful as she takes in the sights with her beloved. To the simple peacefulness in which Kourin seems to accept all of this. Talks of simply taking it easy, relaxing, enjoying their time here.

A part of him... wants to. It's just like...

It's just like...

...What? It's just like something. Something that's... is... was... will be... good, but...?

He turns his back to the rest, silently, taking a few steps away as he faces back towards the door down. Does he mean to break away from them, as they celebrate seeing a surviving miracle of a people and a place once long thought to be myth?

...

He seems at a loss as to what to feel, as he looks out to the door that leads here. Behind him, the fresh breeze and the green trees await him, but he does not partake. Instead, he faces out back to the world of decay, of rampant violence, of unchecked developments, of unstoppable monsters.

...

A part of him feels as though there is something he can no longer see, but that is... is... he cannot complete the thought.

An unknown instinct, or some sort of undefinable mania, gives him a different objective as he opens back his eyes to stare down the door that brought them here. While everyone rests, he will watch.

While everyone cooks, he will watch.

While everyone prays, he will watch.

While everyone enjoys, he will watch.

He will watch this door, this boundary between a world of strife and this, for...

...For...

...

...

...

<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

>Peacefulness of her beloved.

Yeah, right up until Lydia straight up GOAT-CHECKS Cyre right in the back, sending him face-first into the soft, loamy soil.

WHAT A JERK.

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

SUDDEN LYDIAROID

"Cyre!" Catenna yelps as the catman gets planted in the turf by the former Asteroid the Kid. Of course, she's holding his hand as he's falling.

She ends up tumbling forward and landing across his back, in a pile with Lydia.

This is not the serene visit to an Elw ruin she had hoped for.

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia falls on top of Cyre afterwards. Due to being a 'Kid' beastman, Lydia is actually very good at RAMming people. Let this be a lesson.

Nevertheless, she wasn't really expecting to do that so she still flops over on top of Cyre afterwards with swirls in her eyes, dizzy as all heck.

She doesn't comment on an ancient evil failing to rise up and try to kill them because, honestly, they haven't gotten to the end of this Etrian Odyssey scenario yet.

"Heeeey...." Lydia says, lying there in the pile. "We got through..."

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

"W-well..let's just enjoy this for now, before we head back." Jacqueline says, as Lunata brings up a very important point. Frankly, she was glad nothing terrible had happened yet.

And then Lydia leaps at Cyre, sending herself, Cyre, and Catenna into a pile. ...Jacqueline can't help but giggle slightly at this.

It certainly helped assuage her earlier uneasiness. She takes a deep breath. It might be a little difficult to go back, after experiencing this...

...But they couldn't ignore the world below them forever.