2018-06-16: Canyon Chaos

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  • Log: Canyon Chaos
  • Cast: Dean Stark, Catenna, Seraph Lanval, Margaret, Avril Vent Fleur
  • Where: Plains of the Goddess
  • Date: June 16th 2018
  • Summary: In search of keystones, a group ventures into the depths of the Forbidden Canyon. Avril is betrayed. Catenna delivers an ultimatum. Lanval opts to force the matter. Dean gets a nickname. Margaret offers her condolences.

DG: A party led by Dean Stark is now entering Forbidden Canyon.
DG: Party formation is now over. An Entry Challenge will now be drawn and displayed to the party.
=============================<* Forbidden Canyon *>=============================
=================<* CHALLENGE - But This Isn't a Platformer! *>=================
|Type: Entry       |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 3          |
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 The deep rift of the Forbidden Canyon slices through the mountains ahead of
 you. As you begin your journey into the canyon, you quickly find that the
 path you're on ends - at a huge chasm with a deep pitfall waiting for you.
 Across the chasm, there's another rock outcropping you could jump to. But
 it's narrow and doesn't go anywhere - except to offer you a chance to jump
 to another outcrop, then another, until you can reach a larger flat area way
 off to the other side of the canyon. One fall will send you plummeting into
 the stalagmites far below.

 This is completely unreasonable for characters not in a platform jumping
 game.
=Dungeon Conditions: Cripple==================================================
<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

    "...And after we almost got ducked into that weird spell of Id's, we all fell down and found this rock that glowed blue and pointed off into the distance," Dean explains to Avril and the other folks who've gathered with him to challenge the Forbidden Canyon. "We agreed to let Ida hang onto it, and she says she thinks it's pointing to somewhere in the sea between Glenwood and Meribus, but it's hard to know for sure with just one. So I figure, what if there's more of them? No harm in looking!" A firm nod.
    
    Of course, there's no way of knowing if there'll be a keystone like that in this particular spot, but there's also treasure here, according to the rumors. Dean figures no matter what, as long as they can push through it, they'll find something useful. So why not go here?
    
    Well, aside from the huge chasm with the pitfall at the end of the path in. Dean is undeterred, though; he simply summons his paired ARMs into hand. "Leave this to me!" he tells his companions before shooting an ice beam to coagulate water in the atmosphere into a block of ice, lengthening the platforms below into longer, easier-to-reach targets. "Hup!" he yells as he jumps down--and over, and over, shooting ice extensions as he goes. Hopefully he doesn't slip.

DG: Dean Stark has used his Tool Freeze Ray toward his party's challenge, But This Isn't a Platformer!.
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Catenna is still dressed like a palette-swapped Jean. She carries it pretty well.

"An odd rock that glowed blue?" the Moon Shaman echoes with a quick blink and a cant of her head as she follows along behind Dean, her sword in hand. "Interesting. If there are more of them, perhaps it would be interesting to see if they all point to somewhere in that vicinity."

Of course, if there were a keystone here, Catenna may have overlooked it her first time through - and it bothers her that she did. She should've been more alert for something like that. She mut've been too distracted by...

...By Cyre, damn his handsome hide.

...She can't stay mad at him.

She can be mad at the waiting pitfall, though. "Ah, right. The canyon is extremely perilous," Catenna begins to explain.

Dean's off and away before she can finish her sentence. Catenna blinks after him, her mouth hanging open slightly. Then she closes it with a little sigh, shaking her head.

"I was going to say be careful, but clearly you have that covered," she murmurs drily as she carefully gauges her distance, then takes a few steps and lunges to one of the outcrops. Her heels hit the rock with a click, and she steadies herself with a hand on the wall to keep her momentum from causing her to overshoot.

DG: Catenna has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, But This Isn't a Platformer!.
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Lanval has posed.

    There's a drunken water spirit about.
     Waddling off from the usual people that tolerate his company, this latest bit is a ploy to avoid having to wash dishes by simply not being there to wash dishes when someone takes notice. In doing so, the bearded barefoot Seraphim takes slacking off to the next level. It's brilliant. Soon he'll find a way to get Lord Chauncey to do everything! (The circumstances in which a Seraphim gets roped into doing mortal household chores are weird and arcane, indeed.)
     What better way to go and not wash dishes than go back to the Forbidden Canyon? A dumber cat-like smile crosses his face as he just helps himself that way. That place is so nice that he scarce recalls why they seem to avoid going there every time their travels take them nearby.
     Then he straight-up walks off a cliff, subjecting himself to one of the few physical forces of the universe that yet appears to properly apply to his kind - gravity. There's a goofy-sounding combination of laughing and yelling the entire way--
     Then a bunch of bubbles appear. Large ones that float high into the air, as the Seraphim catches himself in one of them while holding a fancy-looking kiseru. The passing wind sends a whole bunch of those bubbles drifting over that way. If anyone falls, the bubbles will catch them. (Whether the bubbles will carry them back, or just pop and drop them again, who knows.)
     From Lanval's vantage point, he sees a whole lot of movement from mortals. One of his eyes open half-lidded. Huh, that loud one with the blue hair's got a really funny-looking set of ice wands. A few other familiar people, too. Hmm.
     May as well trail them, he thinks, as his bubble drifts along.

DG: Seraph Lanval has used his Tool Bubble Pipe toward his party's challenge, But This Isn't a Platformer!.
<Pose Tracker> Margaret has posed.

"Id, Ida... are they related?" asks GRIZ, the man with the greased chest and the leather vest, member of the HOUNDS of HELL. He has on leather-studded gloves and is grinning a lot. He did calesthenics in odd hours coming here. Is he on stims or something? Maybe.

MARGARET looks wry as she often does. "I like your can-do attitude, Dean, even now that you've emigrated," she tells him, and then they crest a switchback and before them is revealed:

"What a huge hole," Margaret says, eyes widening.

"Heyahh! Time to get this going!" Griz states, twisting around to flex explosively. His pectoral and arm muscles tighten as he tilts his head forwards, jaw line tightening. The cold wind blows...

"Just cast it already!" Margaret says. "They're already getting moving, do you want them to think we're SLOW?"

"Y-yeah! Uh - thunderroad," and with a burst of thundersnow, the burly man's magic is cast. Margaret twists her newfound spear round and joins him in this magic, and soon enough they're dashing and leaping and in Griz's case doing totally unnecessary spinning somersaults.

"So why did you give it to Ida, exactly?" Margaret asks, moving to keep up with Dean. "I mean I'm not judging you, it doesn't sound like it was some destroyer of cities or whatever, but it doesn't seem like -- I mean if you'd found a sack of gels and she was having some kind of horrible deadly wound, THAT would make sense, to just hand her the gels."

Griz backflips near Catenna's area. "Need a hand, ma'am?" he asks, chinnishly.

DG: Margaret has used her Tool Hounds of Hell Represent toward her party's challenge, But This Isn't a Platformer!.
<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    "Hm..."

    A pensive look meets Dean's explanation of what had transpired while Avril was buried in her studies of all the magical texts a crumbling city like Vane could muster. Perhaps it says something about the values of the people who still remain in the town that a librarian still tends to the shelves.
    Her time had been well spent. The outlines of what she can manage are becoming clearer, even if she has not yet found where her limits lie.

    So there's a glowing stone, that appears to point somewhere.
    And Dean... and Ida.

    "Perhaps if we investigated other ruins..." she offers up at length, rousing from her thoughts, her gaze tilting towards the gash in the earth before them.
    ...Which, yes, is what they're doing.

    "..."

    "Dean, that reminds me. Later, I need to talk to you. ...About Ida."
    Perhaps about other things, too. Such as Ethius' disappearance.

    But in any case, the more immediate issue to tackle is the gap before them that prevents further passage.

    She frowns at the abyss. "Hmm. How would be best to -- oh,"
    Which is about as far as she gets before Dean rushes in, so to speak. A half second passes while Avril simply watches on as Catenna makes as a mountain goat might, while Margaret and her partner apply a more magical solution to the problem of the gap before her. If she notices the Seraph's approach, she shows no sign.

    She just stands on the edge for a few seconds more, hair and skirt caught by the wind.

    Light glints off the octagonal object she withdraws from her beneath her wrap.

    "Lucadia," she intones simply; the Medium shines with light.

    Avril steps right over the edge, heels clicking against stone as she springs into a final leap, confident in the Guardian's power.

DG: Avril Vent Fleur has used her Tool Sea Medium toward her party's challenge, But This Isn't a Platformer!.
=============================<* Forbidden Canyon *>=============================
=================<* CHALLENGE - But This Isn't a Platformer! *>=================
|Type: Entry       |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 3          |
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 The deep rift of the Forbidden Canyon slices through the mountains ahead of
 you. As you begin your journey into the canyon, you quickly find that the
 path you're on ends - at a huge chasm with a deep pitfall waiting for you.
 Across the chasm, there's another rock outcropping you could jump to. But
 it's narrow and doesn't go anywhere - except to offer you a chance to jump
 to another outcrop, then another, until you can reach a larger flat area way
 off to the other side of the canyon. One fall will send you plummeting into
 the stalagmites far below.

 This is completely unreasonable for characters not in a platform jumping
 game.
=Dungeon Conditions: Cripple==================================================
========================<* Forbidden Canyon - Round 1 *>========================
===================< Results - But This Isn't a Platformer! >===================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dean Stark                          0 --(10)--> 10                 Fail
Freeze Ray                          2   Agility Effects: Quicken
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Catenna                             0 --(5)--> 5                   Pass
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Seraph Lanval                       0 --(5)--> 5                   Pass
Bubble Pipe                         3   Agility Effects: Rally
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Margaret                            0 --(5)--> 5                   Pass
Hounds of Hell Represent            3   Agility Effects: Rally
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Avril Vent Fleur                    0 --(10)--> 10                 Fail
Sea Medium                          2   Agility Effects: Quicken
-----------------------------------< Party >------------------------------------
Leader: Dean Stark                  0 --(20)--> 20                 Pass
Conditions: Cripple
Effects: Quicken(1)
===============================< Dream Chasers >================================
DG: The party led by Dean Stark 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> Dean Stark has posed.

    "Yeah! That's what some of us were thinking too," Dean says to Catenna, nodding her way. "It just pointed in one line, and if there's more lines, we could get a better idea of where they're pointing to! Or at least, that's what they said." The 'they' here is unspecific, but there were smart people in that group, so chances are good at least two people came to that conclusion off-screen. Don't worry about it.
    
    He then nods at Avril. "Yup! --Oh? Yeah, sure!" he says of talking to him about Ida. "When we're done this, okay? Shouldn't take too long!" Ah, there's that youthful confidence again.
    
    Meanwhile, Catenna attempts to warn the group about the canyon's perils. She's a little too slow for Dean's devil-may-care adventuring style. It's all good. At least he's making sure to make the platforming easier for himself and others!
    
    "Thanks!" he calls over to Margaret with a big grin. "And I don't think they are! They're just friends," he adds to Griz. Hop, hop, hop from platform to platform... Sadly, being unable to see Seraphim, he can't see Lanval's antics, which means no hearing that goofy yelling/laughing or seeing those kiseru bubbles. But he'd really appreciate them if he could! Even if Lanval's just kinda tailing after them for S&G.
    
    "Oh--because Ida's a friend of mine, too," he explains to Margaret. "Originally it was me and her going to Aifread's Hunting Grounds, but then we picked up a bunch of other people along the way and ended up with a big group." He shrugs. "Just about everyone else who showed up also knew Ida, so... we were all okay with it, I guess? It's not like she'll refuse to tell me what she found out about it."
    
    The group moves across the gap. Avril summons Lucadia's power, and steps into the abyss, trusting in the Guardian's power--
    
    Maybe if this were Filgaia, it would have transported her all the way across. But this is Lunar, and she's a long way from home. Lucadia transports her about halfway across, with no ledge beneath her. She drops.
    
    "--Avril!!" Dean shouts, seeing this. Without a second thought, he leaps out to catch her, heedless of who's going to catch *him*--
    
    *Boing*. *Boing*. ...*Boing*.
    
    By sheer coincidence, Dean, with Avril in his arms, bounces off invisible bubbles that launch them to the other side of the gap. The others make it across with no problems too, with their jumps and bubbles and backflips. Dean looks pretty surprised by that, though.
    
    "Wow!" he says as he lets Avril down. "I didn't know Lucadia could do that!"
    
    ...No one tell him.

DG: Seraph Lanval has drawn a new Challenge.
=================================================<* Forbidden Canyon *>=================================================
=============================================<* CHALLENGE - Fill the Gap *>=============================================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 1          |
-----------------------------------------------< Challenge Information: >-----------------------------------------------
 Ahead of you, the canyon rim crumbles away, opening up into a shallow pit
 below. It's only ten or fifteen feet - not bad compared to some of the
 others - but it's rugged and spiky at the bottom and might hurt if you took
 a tumble. Fortunately, not far away sits a large boulder, shaped just right
 that you could roll it. Perhaps you could manhandle it into the pit and use
 it to jump the gap.
=Dungeon Conditions: Tire=====================================================
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Lanval has posed.

    The local geography doesn't get any kinder from where they all collect themselves, physically and otherwise. It just gets less cruel.
     Not too far off from where they are after all that, the rim of the canyon's features give way to a shallow(-ish) pit... about ten or fifteen feet? It's not as bad a jump to make. It is still not a good jump.
     A tree large boulder - okay, just a large boulder - rests precariously balanced against smaller rocks. It might not be attached. The decline ahead of it is perfect in which to allow it to roll in and make for a fine stepping stone if loosened and loosed, but then not lost. To put that order of events into perspective.
     Lanval's bubble pops, depositing him atop the boulder. He slides off of it like a ragdoll - or more like a droplet of water - coming to a rest suspended upside-down against the small pile of rocks surrounding it.
     "Mmmmph. That'sh shome weird onesh, yep," he muses quietly as he goes about lounging against the rock. "Aaaah, it'll be fine. Thish place is great...! Ooh. Can't wait ta have another--"
     He trails off into unintelligible laughter as he continues to sit up against the boulder. He's not helping things, but as he lacks physical mass in the conventional sense, he's not hurting things either.

DG: Seraph Lanval has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Fill the Gap.
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Catenna isn't backflipping! She does blink as an extremely greasy-chested man lands next to her. "Ah... I think I shall be alright. Thank you," she answers Griz politely, bowing her head with a reserved smile.

Then she jumps to the next platform and nearly falls off.

"Lucadia," she murmurs. Her voice rings subtly.

A surge of magic shimmers around Catenna as she casts exactly the same spell Avril does. Little ocean-blue sparkles twinkle behind her as she Jumps across the last of the gap and touches down on the far side with a sharp click of her heels. She makes a note of what happened to Avril; she didn't try to jump the whole way.

Well, she realizes. Interesting. I can't feel her as strongly here. But Celesdue....

She doesn't dwell too much on it, just looking back towards Dean and Avril with a touch of worry, then a quiet smile for the pair, before whirking her way onwards, towards yet another gap ahead.

It is not a great jump - but the boulder presents an opportunity. Catenna gives Lanval an odd look as he comes to rest atop it.

"I am going to roll this," she says patiently. "And I would prefer not to flatten you when I do so. I am going to count from five. At that point, you will need to move.

"Five. Four. Three." Catenna plants her shoulder against the boulder. "Two. One."

DG: Catenna has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Fill the Gap.
<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    Lucadia's power has been... somewhat less pronounced here, up on the moon. Yet, it has worked in the past--
    It just doesn't work, not the way she's expecting it to. That much is plain on her face as the Guardian's power abruptly fails and she plummets earthward, this time without a golem's hand to shield her from the fall. Her eyes are wide, her gaze fixed. She doesn't scream.

    She's caught, quite neatly, in Dean's arms.

    ...As they both begin to plummet, together.

    Before they're bounced -- she not being in the position to see can't tell exactly by what -- to safety on the opposing ledge.

    "Dean--"

    Avril takes a long look into those trusting eyes of his. Her lips part.
    Before she apparently thinks better of whatever she had been about to say and says nothing at all.

    Once all is done and dusted, she has a moment to look around herself, and in particular, at the obstacle before them: another gap.
    And a rock to fill the gap.
    ...And a man apparently lounging atop the rock.

    "...Excuse me?" Avril voices, stepping forward across the distance towards the man and his perch. Her gaze turns Catenna's way, as the shaman appears to have a similar brainwave to her own. "We will need to push this rock to get across the gap. Please, I ask that you move," she explains.

    Before she steps forward a few feet more to stoop and touch a gloved hand to the rock below. Now perhaps is as good a time as any to test this power she's been practicing.

    Frost radiates in a crackling fractal push down across the path the rock might travel if pushed; perhaps it will ease the descent.

DG: Avril Vent Fleur has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Fill the Gap.
<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

    'Dean--' Avril begins to say. Dean smiles back at her. "Hmm?" ...But she doesn't complete her thought, so he thinks nothing of it. For now, instead, the group moves forward...only for the ledge to collapse ahead of them. There's a boulder nearby they can roll into the gap, but...
    
    Dean looks back and forth between Avril and Catenna. "Who're you guys talking to?" he wonders. He's met Beast, of course, but he could at least see the armor she possessed, and no one ever told him that wasn't her actual form, so he doesn't connect that this might be another Seraph.
    
    Still, Catenna starts counting down, so Dean shrugs, gets out White Fenrir from under his coat, then applies the shovel to the bottom of the boulder. "Okay, ready when you are!" he says--and when Catenna reaches the end of her count, he applies all his strength to using the shovel as a lever.
    
    He notices Avril's use of her ice powers, but he's a little busy right this second to comment on them. And what's to comment on, really? He already knows at this point she has them. It's not like they negate their friendship or anything like that!

DG: Dean Stark has used his Tool The Trusty Shovel toward his party's challenge, Fill the Gap.
<Pose Tracker> Margaret has posed.

"Parties always expand beyond your plans," Margaret says to Dean with a certain sympathy.

Griz gives Catenna a thumbs-up and an OK-sign at the same time. He's able to go both ways.

A bubble pops and deposits a Seraph on... a boulder. A bolder boulder. Margaret, landing, sweeps her hair back and lets out a chest-heaving sigh. "Oh alright."

"Heave -"

"Ho!"

And then she (with her spear as a lever) and Griz (with his body as a ... body) push, too, against the rock. Push and SHOVE...

DG: Margaret has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Fill the Gap.
=================================================<* Forbidden Canyon *>=================================================
=============================================<* CHALLENGE - Fill the Gap *>=============================================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 1          |
-----------------------------------------------< Challenge Information: >-----------------------------------------------
 Ahead of you, the canyon rim crumbles away, opening up into a shallow pit
 below. It's only ten or fifteen feet - not bad compared to some of the
 others - but it's rugged and spiky at the bottom and might hurt if you took
 a tumble. Fortunately, not far away sits a large boulder, shaped just right
 that you could roll it. Perhaps you could manhandle it into the pit and use
 it to jump the gap.
=Dungeon Conditions: Tire=====================================================
============================================<* Forbidden Canyon - Round 2 *>============================================
===============================================< Results - Fill the Gap >===============================================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dean Stark                          10 --(5)--> 15                 Pass
The Trusty Shovel                   2   Brute   Effects: Stalwart
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Catenna                             5 --(8)--> 13                  Fail
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Seraph Lanval                       5 --(8)--> 13                  Fail
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Margaret                            5 --(8)--> 13                  Fail
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Avril Vent Fleur                    10 --(5)--> 15                 Pass
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC
-------------------------------------------------------< Party >--------------------------------------------------------
Leader: Dean Stark                  20 --(20)--> 40                Pass
Conditions: Cripple|Tire(2)
Effects:
===================================================< Dream Chasers >====================================================
DG: The party led by Dean Stark 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> Seraph Lanval has posed.

    "Huh?" The bearded wastrel of an elemental spirit turns his head as the flatteringly-dressed priestess of Celesdue gives a more than fair warning about her intents and how he's in the way. "...Okaaaay." He struggles to think of good babbling material for this five seconds. In this five seconds, Avril gives further context as to why Catenna seems so interested in rolling the boulder.
     "Ooooooh, yeah, that makesh... lotsha shenshe, ha ha--"
     Griz throws himself up against the boulder, as Margaret plants her spear in as a lever. The collective shuddering from Griz throwing himself into it sees him roll right off, lying prone and out of the way as they struggle to move it. Well, he's out of the way, that's good enough.
     The boulder seems to be wedged in a bit more firmly than appearances first reveal. Avril puts forth some odd sorcery that freezes the ground in the direction they want the boulder to go. Dean helps join his shovel where Margaret plants her spear, and everyone's collective pushing work pays off as the boulder breaks free from the rock. It bounces once and rolls all the way into the chasm.
     It rests dead center, at the perfect place to make sure there's only two mildly harrowing leaps to make to get to the other side, rather than one regularly harrowing leap to make.
     From where Lanval lies, he scratches at his beard contemplatively as the lot of them continue onward. (He'll catch up. (Sadly.))

DG: Catenna has drawn a new Challenge.
==============================<* Forbidden Canyon *>==============================
==============<* CHALLENGE - Cutie-Patootie Chiro Death Stampede *>===============
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 2          |
----------------------------< Challenge Information: >----------------------------
 As you proceed through the canyon, a low rumbling sound begins to build from
 somewhere up above. It grows louder; the entire earth begins to tremble. And
 then a shadow falls over you.

 And a tidal wave of adorable waist-high critters with tan fur, cute pawsies
 and fwishy red tails comes bubbling over a ledge and pours down into the
 canyon, racing towards you at unbelievable speed. They're Rock Mongrels,
 cousins of the Chiro Mongrel.

 They are also forming an incredibly fast-moving stampede that will probably
 swallow you up and pulverize you if you don't somehow manage to outrun a
 million rampaging Rock Mongrels. Hope you brought your running shoes.
=Dungeon Conditions: Slow, Suffer=============================================
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Catenna smiles gently back at Avril as the other woman gets the same idea she does. She nods once. "Thank you," she murmurs, before planting her shoulder and getting ready to roll the rock when Dean starts levering.

They manage. The rock rolls. The group manages to hop across it and to the other side. With a puff of breath, Catenna wipes her forehead with the back of her arm, brushing sweat away. "Goodness... how heavy," she breathes.

From somewhere, there is a faint sound like distant thunder. Catenna frowns and looks up to the sky. "I hope that is not a storm," she murmurs.

But the sound persists - and grows louder. A few pebbles on the canyon floor around the group vibrate. Soon, the rumbling peaks, vibrating like an impending earthquake.

"What in Celesdue's name," Catenna gasps before looking up towards the sound -

Just as a wave of pure cuteness comes soaring over the ledge just above the group.

There must be hundreds of them. They're cute and button-eyed and tan and have big fwooshy tails. And they're also descending in a huge pack, hitting the ground and scampering onwards in a breathtakingly fast-moving typhoon of Rock Mongrel fluff and pawsies.

Catenna widens her eyes. "Run!" she exclaims as she whirls, bursting into motion. She sprints down the canyon as fast as her legs will carry her.

Being tired does not help.

DG: Catenna has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Cutie-Patootie Chiro Death Stampede.
<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    "There is a man on top of the rock," Avril answers simply, though her gaze, as she glances between Lanval and Dean gives lie to the wheels turning in her head. "I had met him before in Meribia."
    Aha, she thinks, solving the conundrum lying before her. That explains it.
    "You cannot see him, can you, Dean?"

    Because this person is a Seraph.

    And to see a Seraph, one must...

    Then she kneels, and freezes the rock to speed the boulder's descent.

    Roll it does, down the slope to wedge neatly into the gap, making a perilous crossing much less the perilous.

    "Thank you, everyone. Let's go, Dean. I feel as if we shouldn't linger."

    It's... an odd premonition to have, perhaps.

    One that quickly makes itself known.

    "--! It's a stampede--!" Avril cries out, whirling to grab Dean's hand while grabbing for the perhaps not-entirely-trustworthy Medium with the other. "Please-- just a little bit!" she asks of the Guardian.

    The Medium shines forth, and--!

DG: Avril Vent Fleur has used her Tool Sea Medium toward her party's challenge, Cutie-Patootie Chiro Death Stampede.
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Lanval has posed.

    Lanval crosses that gap with less the grace of a hale-and-hardy adventurer, and more someone he seems to be very good at flopping and throwing oneself in such ways they approximate idiot savant parkour. It all ends with him lounging on the ground on the other side as he grabs his roped gourd and has himself a sip.
     "Nahh... that ain't a shky about to thunder." This is almost proper sage advice about the weather from someone who has seen more seasons than-- uh, actually, let's revisit that figure later.
     Catenna expresses righteous fear of the situation at hand. She calls to run. Lanval has another drink. "Why're we runnin'? 'Caushe there ishn't a shto--"
     Both of his eyes open up half-lidded. "Oh. Guessh we should! Ha ha haaaaaaa?!"
     The portly phantom doesn't react anywhere near in time to prevent his lack of bones from being pulverized by an endless wave of cuteness. Somewhere in that mess, he pops up into the air as he lands with one foot on the back of one of the stampeding Rock Mongrels' tails in an impossible feat of balance and overall leverage for what his assumed physical mass would be if he really had any.
     Corwynt would be jealous.
     "Jusht keep goin' that waaaaaaay!" Lanval calls out as he sneaks a drink in while he is balancing between life and death on a tail that should not support him at all. "'n then--- whoaaaaaa"
     He falls back into the mass. He's laughing! So he must be enjoying himself, even if the assumed visual in all this is excruciatingly painful (it is)!

DG: Seraph Lanval has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Cutie-Patootie Chiro Death Stampede.
<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

    "Phew! That does it!" Dean says cheerfully as the boulder rolls into place, perfectly set in that gap so that there's only a couple of small jumps to make to move onwards. He puts White Fenrir away, then jogs across with the others. "You guys doing okay?" he adds to the others. "That boulder was pretty heavy!" To Margaret, he gives a grin and a little shrug. "Eh, it was all right. We all got through okay in the end, and everyone was a big help!"
    
    This might be somewhat of an exaggeration. But Dean is a kind soul like that.
    
    Avril tells Deal there's a man on the rock. He blinks over at her, then back up at the rock, where there's a whole lotta nothing. "I don't see anyone... Oh! Is he one of those guys you need the Malevolence-sight to see? So is he a Hellion? Or a Seraph?"
    
    But then there's a sound like thunder. Dean, too, looks up at the sky. "It looks pretty clear out to me..." But then Avril says they shouldn't linger, and the gorund begins to shake-- "Is it an earthquake?!" he utters, looking down.
    
    And then the Rock Mongrels arrive.
    
    They're fluffy. They're adorable. And there's hundreds of them, all stampeding their way. Possibly even spampeding their way. The little bastards probably *would* send shady emails en masse, if the internet existed on Lunar. And also if monsters could use it.
    
    Avril grabs his hand and once again calls upon the power of Lucadia. Dean calls one of Twin Fenrir into his other hand. "Don't worry, I've got your back!" he promises his friend, squeezing her hand--and also, if needed, the trigger for his Freeze Ray, in case they're dropped over open air and need a sudden ledge to land on...or maybe a slick surface to slide down. Maybe it was okay for crossing a huge hole in the ground, but this is another circumstance entirely.

DG: Dean Stark has used his Tool Freeze Ray toward his party's challenge, Cutie-Patootie Chiro Death Stampede.
<Pose Tracker> Margaret has posed.

Griz and Margaret both look upwards. Griz...

Seizes up. He stiffens. Every muscle in his body, visible or invisible, goes taut - painfully so - and he grits his teeth as he says, with a sort of quivering tension, "Ch - Chi - Chiros -"

Margaret flicks his ear.

"Ghahhhh!!" the magus of Neo-Vane wails, clutching his ear. The spell broken, he looks away, and Margaret looks towards the others, exhaling. She seems in no great haste but --

"Thunder Road!"

-- oh right, the speed thing.

After a little Griz-slapping, he gets the picture and gets with the program, moving forwards. The magoi take a slightly staggered backwards route, hanging in the back of the group, but perhaps this is in case of saves. Or because Griz is caught in the tortrous tension between 'fear' and 'want to touch the fluf'.

"I don't know if it's a proper stampede actually," Margaret muses to Avril: "I think that's just for herd animals, you know? I mean this is like a herd but you know what I mean: it's not like antelope or anything like that."

DG: Margaret has used her Tool Hounds of Hell Represent toward her party's challenge, Cutie-Patootie Chiro Death Stampede.
==============================<* Forbidden Canyon *>==============================
==============<* CHALLENGE - Cutie-Patootie Chiro Death Stampede *>===============
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 2          |
----------------------------< Challenge Information: >----------------------------
 As you proceed through the canyon, a low rumbling sound begins to build from
 somewhere up above. It grows louder; the entire earth begins to tremble. And
 then a shadow falls over you.

 And a tidal wave of adorable waist-high critters with tan fur, cute pawsies
 and fwishy red tails comes bubbling over a ledge and pours down into the
 canyon, racing towards you at unbelievable speed. They're Rock Mongrels,
 cousins of the Chiro Mongrel.

 They are also forming an incredibly fast-moving stampede that will probably
 swallow you up and pulverize you if you don't somehow manage to outrun a
 million rampaging Rock Mongrels. Hope you brought your running shoes.
=Dungeon Conditions: Slow, Suffer=============================================
=========================<* Forbidden Canyon - Round 3 *>=========================
================< Results - Cutie-Patootie Chiro Death Stampede >=================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dean Stark                          15 --(18)--> 33                Pass
Freeze Ray                          2   Agility Effects: Quicken
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Catenna                             13 --(23)--> 36                Fail
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Seraph Lanval                       13 --(23)--> 36                Fail
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Margaret                            13 --(18)--> 31                Pass
Hounds of Hell Represent            3   Agility Effects: Rally
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Avril Vent Fleur                    15 --(18)--> 33                Pass
Sea Medium                          2   Agility Effects: Quicken
------------------------------------< Party >-------------------------------------
Leader: Dean Stark                  40 --(20)--> 60                Pass
Conditions: Cripple|Slow(2)|Suffer(1)|Tire(1)
Effects: Quicken(1)
================================< Dream Chasers >=================================
DG: The party led by Dean Stark 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.

The problem with cutie-patootie Rock Mongrels is that they are, in fact, faster than they look. In fact, they can really move. They've got an attitude. And while they may not be the fastest thing alive, they are rapidly gaining on the little crew.

Lanval is the first to find himself pelted with little tan pawsies and foofy red tails. Catenna, perhaps unwidely, turns back and widens her eyes. "Oh no... oh no!!" She slows as if to turn back and help the Seraph...

...who is laughing. Uproariously.

Catenna lowers her eyelids in consternation as the Rock Mongrels swarm over her.

The power of Lucadia, however, can't be completely denied even with Filgaia so distant. Dean and Avril leap ahead of the Mongrel mob. Margaret and her buff companion are not far behind, though a couple of fluffy Mongrels cling to Griz's shoulders and vest, gnawing stubbornly on him as he tails the haughty priestess. Three at least have made it.

Then there's a flicker of pseudomotion. With a wince, Catenna comes out of her own Lucadia-powered Jump and touches down next to Dean and Avril.

"Blasted thing," she grumbles as she shakes the Rock Mongrel out of her hair. It yips at her and then runs off to rejoin the pack, which took a left turn and went trundling down thataway.

They might be leaving pawmarks all over Lanval.

DG: Avril Vent Fleur has drawn a new Challenge.
=============================<* Forbidden Canyon *>=============================
=====================<* CHALLENGE - Mobs That Con Green *>======================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 1          |
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 As you pick your way through the canyon, the earth in front of you gives
 way... and a group of mole-like creatures pops up, wiggling their noses and
 throwing large rocks at you. The moles look like they'd be about as tall as
 a decent-sized man, and they've got a decent throwing arm... but the rocks
 won't hurt all that much considering some of what you've faced before now,
 and the creatures don't move all that fast.

 I mean, holy cow, guys, it's mobs that are actually in your level range.
 Maybe the canyon's decided to throw you a bone.
=Dungeon Conditions: Tire=====================================================
<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    Avril, well, nods. "Yes, that is right," she answers him, glancing sidelong at the younger boy. "A Seraph, I believe. He does not feel like..." She trails off, unwilling to say the first name on her mind.

    Ida. Or Jack. Or Rosaline.

    In those moments before she has a sense of forboding, in those seconds before the critters come charging down, her expression grows sober as her thoughts dive towards another direction.

    Weather can change quickly out in a place like this. But this, this is not the weather--!

    "Is--" She glances over at Margaret. "--that--" Avril then ducks, narrowly evading a charging Rock Mongrel. "--so?"
    And the light from the Medium erupts with a surge as laughter rings out, sending her and Dean in a forward leap ahead of the mob to land on a rock amidst the furry fluffy tide pushing past into the depths of the canyon. Catenna lands not long after them.

    "...I shall keep that in mind," Avril finishes, brushing off her gown as the last of the cutie critters vanish off into the distance, headed Althena-knows-where.

    "Here, let's climb down..."

    Getting down off the rock is hardly a challenge.
    Somewhat more of a challenge: the rocks that pop up from underneath, revealing the mole-like (but hardly mole-sized) creatures that emerge from the depths.

    They announce their intentions immediately by hurling rocks, which shatter and crumble against the sides of the boulders littering this section of the canyon. Next time, their aim might be somewhat better.

    "Dean--"

    The Medium has traded places for the hilt of the ARM.

    "Let's do this quickly. They could be trouble." She pulls the trigger.

    Light comes forth.

    "I'm sorry," she informs the mole creature she sweeps the arc of the laser beam whip towards; in spite of the words she speaks she does not hesitate in the slightest.

DG: Avril Vent Fleur has used her Tool Beam Whip Mode toward her party's challenge, Mobs That Con Green.
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Catenna blushes a little as the little moles pop out of their little holes and immediately start lobbing rocks at them. What? They're sort of cute - not unlike the Rock Mongrels.

And then Avril starts obliterating them with her laser whip. Catenna blinks a couple of times. "Goodness," she murmurs, touching a hand to her cheek.

Her reverie is broken when one of the moles throws a rock at her. It hits her on the shoulder. "Ow!" she protests, wincing and rubbing the point where it hit. She drops back a little ways, scowling at the pesky mole creatures more in irritation than in outright dislike. How inconvenient!

Dipping her hand to the Medium at her side, Catenna whispers a few words; 'Celesdue' can be made out among them, though most of it is in Zortroan and thus probably unknown to anyone but those familiar with the obscure culture in southern Elru. The effect, however, is clear enough: Moles suddenly begin flying out of their holes and falling upwards.

Catenna's using gravity to lob moles towards the other side of the canyon. And despite Lucadia's weakness here, the power of Celesdue seems to come through as clear as ever.

DG: Catenna has used her Tool Celesdue Medium toward her party's challenge, Mobs That Con Green.
<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

    For once, Lucadia shows mercy on others besides Avril! She and Dean make it across just fine, while Margaret and Griz make it across the regular way, and Catenna... well, Lucadia takes pity on her too, apparently.
    
    "You okay?" Dean asks her. "That was a close one!" To Avril, he nods. And although she trails off before naming who she thinks of, Dean's smile flickers away. "Like Ida?" he guesses. "It's okay. I know."
    
    Regardless, the critter not-herd hurries past. Dean watches them go by, hand shading his face, then jumps down from the rock on which they'd landed. He's greeted by mole-like creatures, who then throw *more* rocks at him and his friends.
    
    "Wh--hey! Watch where you're throwing!" he shouts at them. Avril calls his name--and he nods at her, seeing her ARM. Twin Fenrir, too, flash into his hands. "Yeah. Get ready, everybody!" he calls. Avril swings her beam sword, Catenna uses gravity to erupt the moles from their holes--and once they're out in the open, Dean charges forward with a battle roar to swing his combat rods around and batter the monsters until they're either gone or GONE.

DG: Dean Stark has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Mobs That Con Green.
<Pose Tracker> Margaret has posed.

Griz seems relieved as the Chiro Storm passes, and he's left with the Careless Whisper of the wind. His eyes close.

"Oh it's these little shites," Margaret says. She catches herself, turns towards Dean, and tells him with a little bit of a simper, "Oh do excuse my language. You know how it is, time on the road, associating with rough characters like Griz here - you do pick up a bad habit or two!"

"Know what," Margaret says, before Griz blurts out, "MOLES!"

"Oh by the Goddess, are you afraid of them too?"

"Only when they show up on your back unannounced!" Griz says, lunging forwards into a vicious straight at a mole, who will probably erupt into Mole Meat.

Margaret looks to the heavens and twirls her spear around before leaping up into a high parabolic arc to descend towards another Mole entirely.

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Lanval has posed.

    The laughter subsides, after a while. The Rock Mongrels disperse, and a(n even more) dishevled-looking Lanval lies motionless. Motionless, like a corpse. Seraphim don't leave behind proper corpses, do they?
     Nonchalantly, he drinks from his gourd again from where he lies. The arm slaps down limp. The elemental spirits under Althena often carry a grace and dignity that is, culturally speaking, a great boon and blessing to be able to witness.
     There is precious little separating this one from any of the grungy gutter-dwellers that tend to populate the seedier parts of populated towns. Dean's blessing may be that he doesn't have to suffer looking at or hearing him.
     Lanval plops down by the rest of them from that higher rocky outcropping soon enough. He watches that weird wand-whip-thing the mysterious silver-haired woman brings forth. Catenna says a bunch of weird words he doesn't get, and then there are moles flying everywhere. Kind of like in that underground cavern. He helps himself up...
     A rock bops him. He flinches. As an elemental of water, he is kept in check by the very element of earth. Another rock bops him again, and he doesn't flinch as much. Huh, these are weakness hits, and they aren't doing that much damage...
     "Mmmm... if I'm not mishtaken, it'sh closhe by...! Ha ha ha! I can't--" He gets rocked again.
     Both of Lanval's eyes open up half way, and his smile spreads as he gets out a shiny bottle of liquid (it is the actual shiny component part, the bottle is just a bottle), has a sip, pours the rest of it into his gourd...
     Then starts to swing it overhead by the rope with more uproarious, eager laughter as he all but skips merrily through the battlefield. "I can't waaaaaiiiiiit~"
     Wait for what? That is not as important as the sight of shining, pure water spraying out anywhere and everywhere. It doesn't have to 'hit' anything. Wherever the water splashes, the moles don't seem keen to cross.
     He dips his head back and around as he navigates about Griz's mighty strikes mid-joyful stroll.

DG: Seraph Lanval has used his Tool Holy Bottle toward his party's challenge, Mobs That Con Green.
DG: Margaret has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Mobs That Con Green.
=============================<* Forbidden Canyon *>=============================
=====================<* CHALLENGE - Mobs That Con Green *>======================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 1          |
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 As you pick your way through the canyon, the earth in front of you gives
 way... and a group of mole-like creatures pops up, wiggling their noses and
 throwing large rocks at you. The moles look like they'd be about as tall as
 a decent-sized man, and they've got a decent throwing arm... but the rocks
 won't hurt all that much considering some of what you've faced before now,
 and the creatures don't move all that fast.

 I mean, holy cow, guys, it's mobs that are actually in your level range.
 Maybe the canyon's decided to throw you a bone.
=Dungeon Conditions: Tire=====================================================
========================<* Forbidden Canyon - Round 4 *>========================
=======================< Results - Mobs That Con Green >========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dean Stark                          33 --(5)--> 38                 Pass
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Catenna                             36 --(5)--> 41                 Pass
Celesdue Medium                     2   Combat  Effects: Embolden
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Seraph Lanval                       36 --(5)--> 41                 Pass
Holy Bottle                         2   Combat  Effects: Cleanse and Liability
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Margaret                            31 --(5)--> 36                 Pass
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Avril Vent Fleur                    33 --(5)--> 38                 Pass
Beam Whip Mode                      3   Combat  Effects: Fanfare
-----------------------------------< Party >------------------------------------
Leader: Dean Stark                  60 --(15)--> 75                Pass
Conditions: Cripple|Slow(1)|Tire(2)
Effects: Cleanse|Embolden(1)
===============================< Dream Chasers >================================
DG: The party led by Dean Stark 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> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    Her gaze heavy-lidded, Avril inclines her head. "Yes," she answers Dean simply, her mouth twisted in a sad smile.

    Before that little moment is interrupted by the very (if foolishly) hostile molemen. Monsters.

     It may be a bit much, at least from Avril's end of the battlefield. Nevertheless, she does live up to her declaration to end this 'quickly'. The beam of light cuts true.

    Any of the creatures that decide to fall back in light of this opening strike quickly find that's no longer possible: dragged from their mole-holes, Celesdue's power wrenches them into the air to float, clear targets for whatever comes their way next.

    Those that remain fighting find there are other threats to content with:

    Be it Twin Fenrir's battle rods to batter them down.
    The relentless fury of a spear and fists in tempo with one another.
    As the water splashing everywhere fences in those moles left free of the Guardian's grasp and pushes them further into conflict with their ill-chosen targets.

    In the end, the moles simply... are not.

    Avril exhales a breath, then turns away from the field, slipping Absolute Zero away once more. "...We should move onwards."

DG: Margaret has drawn a new Challenge.
============================<* Forbidden Canyon *>============================
=================<* CHALLENGE - Who Locks a Gate This Way? *>=================
|Type: Final       |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 3          |
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 Ahead of you looms an ancient gate, wrought of some intensely silvery metal
 and framed by solid, sheer rock faces. Attempting to climb or force the gate
 results in a charge of magic throwing you back. It's locked up tight.

 However, next to the gate is a pillar with about two dozen slots arrayed
 around its circumference, about the right shape for a key. Each one has a
 small crystal perched above it. Most of them have faded to a pale white
 colour; a couple have traces of pigment left. Atop the pillar are three
 dozen keys, also with matching crystals. Evidently this was a colour-coded
 locking system, and inserting the keys in the correct order would open the
 gate.

 Have fun figuring it out when time has bleached the crystals of colour and
 you have no basis for determining which key goes in which lock, much less
 what order to put them in.
=Dungeon Conditions: Madness==================================================
<Pose Tracker> Margaret has posed.

"Yeah," Griz says, flicking mole fluids from his glove. "Yeah."

Margaret saunters forwards. And then it comes, round a corner, looming above them. Clad in moon silver, framed by stone, Margaret and Griz both straighten up - it's Griz who explains: "Sweet sardines a la Althena, this thing's lit up brighter than the commander before they got rid of all the liquor!"

Margaret's response, first, is: :|

Then, it is, "There has to be a key or a trigger or something. Friend!" she calls out. Nothing happens.

The pillar gleams helpfully.

"..." "..."

"I'm going to resort to divination if nobody has any better ideas," Margaret announces.

"I think... hey, check me here, is that one blue? Or is it just like, reflecting the sky?" Griz asks the assembled, looking around. "Back me up here."

DG: Margaret has used her Tool Traveler's Cards toward her party's challenge, Who Locks a Gate This Way?.
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

"I should be alright. Thank you, Dean," Catenna says with a blush and a quiet smile. That said: She looks tired already, sweating heavily and with her hair and outfit mussed by the trampling of chiro paws.

She may have a certain claim to the 'moon' title, but at the moment Catenna just looks somewhat less splendid than Margaret. She gives the woman a brief look.

Must be an Althena thing.

The pillar ahead of them doesn't deter Catenna, nor really surprise her; she's either heard about it or been through it once before. She does, however, pause just long enough to lay out a few sticks of incense in a circle around the column, lighting each one. The clarifying scent of it wafts through the area as she briefly sinks to her knees and murmurs a prayer in the hopes of finding some guidance in what, last time, turned out to be a hideous guessing game.

When she's done, Catenna looks up with a soft sigh. "We will have to make our best guess," she says as she stands again, beginning to sort through the keys, squinting at a few in the hopes of finding trace amounts of colour.

She pauses. "...I think it is turquoise," she suggests, leaning in to peer at Griz's key.

DG: Catenna has used her Tool Ritual Incense toward her party's challenge, Who Locks a Gate This Way?.
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Lanval has posed.

    Lanval's among the very first to the gates. He's suffered stampedes and having rocks thrown at him, but nothing can take the wind out of his sails now! He helps himself up to the ancient silver gate, which is closed.
     "Hm, hm, hm, now, time to re--"
     Just as he lays a hand on the gate like he were about to open it, a magical charge of energy repels him. He makes a goofy shut-eyed >_< face with a cartoonish cringe as he is hurled back a ways.
     "...Whaaaaaa... it'sh... not open," he whimpers as he lies upside down against some other rocky debris, "nooooo...!!"
     Lanval hurriedly goes over to the pillar. "Why ish it closhed," he looks about ready to break into tears as he starts frantically going through keys. "Mmmph... white, white, white, white," um, "white, white.. uh, whiiiite... white... 'n white... oh! Ha ha! Shilly meee~"
     His mood flips as he just starts randomly putting these various 'white' keys into 'white' crystals like this will solve everything ever. Whew! Crisis averted, he thinks. Now he knows why he didn't bother to remember how the others figured it out, it had to be that simple in the end after all...
     ...Right?

DG: Seraph Lanval has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Who Locks a Gate This Way?.
<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

    "Oh, that's okay," Dean reassures Margaret, of her filthy, filthy use of the word shites. "I've met people with way worse language before!" To Avril, his own expression remains clouded, but... they're both on the same page on this matter. He suspects now she might not approve, like she didn't approve of Kaguya. The reason why isn't beyond him, but...
    
    Well, at least Catenna's okay, and at least that's a straightforward matter. "Good to hear it! You're welcome, Catenna!" he says brightly, nodding back at her, before the group moves onwards.
    
    Then there's a big old wall with crystals that might've been colored back before the color was bleached out of them by nature and time. He stares up at the wall and the keys and everything. "Uhhh..." He looks around at the others. "...To be honest, none of this makes any sense to me, but if there's anything that's out of reach that you need hitting or knocking over--" He summons Twin Fenrir and holds the guns up helpfully. "I can do that!"
    
    With rubber bullets, he means. Not real ones. He's not going to break the wall!!

DG: Dean Stark has used his Tool Standard Cartridge toward his party's challenge, Who Locks a Gate This Way?.
<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    Avril... says nothing more on the subject. Which, in its own way, might make it all the clearer to Dean what weighs on her mind.

    It doesn't take long before they find something here in the canyon.

    A portal of sorts; her gaze travels over it, one balled fist raised to chest height. "Oh..." Avril gazes up at the gate before them as if in supplication. Has she... been here before? Is there something at all she can recognize? It's...

    ...

    ...Completely unfamiliar.

    There is perhaps predictably silence from her end of the field.

    "...Ah," Avril vocalizes at length, tilting her head slightly to one side. "Hmm." Her brow creases in consternation. "Let's see-- oh, did you find something?" Griz gains another pair of eyes as she considers his key. "...I believe Catenna is correct, it is more of a turquoise. ...This one seems to be a rosy pink," she says, plucking another too-pale key from the set.

    "There look to be about thirty-some keys here, but far fewer locks. A difficult sequence to guess at," she comments, picking another key from the set. "Is there some sequence of color that might be significant? I am not a native of this land," probably, "so I cannot begin to even consider what it may be."

    ...Or maybe there is something to be said for guessing anyway, she supposes, as Lanval just starts turning keys at random.

    "Well, if they are all white by now, perhaps... well, perhaps we should give it a try?"

    In the end, she... joins in with the Seraph. Maybe there's something to be said for the power of guesswork even in the face of terrible longshot odds.

DG: Avril Vent Fleur has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Who Locks a Gate This Way?.
============================<* Forbidden Canyon *>============================
=================<* CHALLENGE - Who Locks a Gate This Way? *>=================
|Type: Final       |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 3          |
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 Ahead of you looms an ancient gate, wrought of some intensely silvery metal
 and framed by solid, sheer rock faces. Attempting to climb or force the gate
 results in a charge of magic throwing you back. It's locked up tight.

 However, next to the gate is a pillar with about two dozen slots arrayed
 around its circumference, about the right shape for a key. Each one has a
 small crystal perched above it. Most of them have faded to a pale white
 colour; a couple have traces of pigment left. Atop the pillar are three
 dozen keys, also with matching crystals. Evidently this was a colour-coded
 locking system, and inserting the keys in the correct order would open the
 gate.

 Have fun figuring it out when time has bleached the crystals of colour and
 you have no basis for determining which key goes in which lock, much less
 what order to put them in.
=Dungeon Conditions: Madness==================================================
=======================<* Forbidden Canyon - Round 5 *>=======================
===================< Results - Who Locks a Gate This Way? >===================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dean Stark                          38 --(100)--> 138              Fail
Standard Cartridge                  3   Wits    Effects: Fanfare
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Catenna                             41 --(100)--> 141              Fail
Ritual Incense                      1   Wits    Effects: Cleanse
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Seraph Lanval                       41 --(100)--> 141              Fail
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Margaret                            36 --(100)--> 136              Pass
Traveler's Cards                    3   Wits    Effects: Fanfare
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Avril Vent Fleur                    38 --(100)--> 138              Fail
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Dean Stark                  75 --(10)--> 85                Fail
Conditions: Madness
Effects: Cleanse
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: Dean Stark is too exhausted to continue!
DG: Catenna is too exhausted to continue!
DG: Seraph Lanval is too exhausted to continue!
DG: Margaret is too exhausted to continue!
DG: Avril Vent Fleur is too exhausted to continue!
DG: The party has failed this challenge! All party members are now Exhausted. This attempt is over.
DG: The party led by Dean Stark has been fully Exhausted by Forbidden Canyon!
DG: The party will now draw a conclusion.
============================<* Forbidden Canyon *>============================
====================<* CHALLENGE - Grind Lots of Levels *>====================
|Type: Escape      |Dungeon Ability: Conclusion|Challenge Rating: 1          |
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 The dangers within the Forbidden Canyon live up to their reputation, and
 you're forced to retreat back the way you came, licking your wounds and
 conceding that the horrific valley has beaten you... for now. Perhaps you'll
 have to come back after you've done a little level-grinding.
=Dungeon Conditions: Bad Luck=================================================
<Pose Tracker> Margaret has posed.

"Well I mean, yeah," Griz says, "Turquoise, yeah, but turqouise is a shade of blue even if I guess you could call it indigo. Like that's actually a whole aesthetic dispute and I don't think anyone's wasted the Goddess's time asking for an official call, so I'm gonna come down on it here and say that it's just a deep blue, 'cause Indigo dye is like... It's actually white, right? It reacts with air -"

Margaret looks at the incense moodily. She probably wishes she'd brought her pipe. Or a flask. Or hell, both!

Lanval meanwhile starts attempting to solve the puzzle. "Oh goodie," Margaret says very quietly to herself, before she squats down for a moment and tells Dean, "Well these old puzzles usually have some kind of logic to them. We have a whole routine but Rex handles it and he's not here now, is he? I usually go with the cards because they let me feel the present through symbolism - lower case, mind you -"

"Maybe that's the secret," Griz speculates. "Like it's white, right? Maybe if we dip it in water-"

click

glow...

The gate opens just a tiny crack, letting those who have 'eyes to see' glimpse a glint of water in the sunny distance behind it. Margaret rises to her feet on sheer calf strength alone -

                                    SLAM!

All the keys fall out with a rattle.

Griz spreads his hands as if to say 'what can you do' and Margaret just closes her eyes as if to count to ten in peace.

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Catenna lower her eyelids slightly as she looks up at Griz.

zBut that's alright. The key turns out to have been purple in another life.

The keys come tumbling out of their locks. With a sigh, Catenna pushes her hair back, both hands raked through it to try and keep the locks away from her sweaty face. She throws a wistful look towards the gate, remembering all too well what's beyond.

"Of course," she murmurs before turning to make her way over to Margaret.

She rests a delicate hand on the Guardswoman's shoulder and flashes her a reserved smile, though there's a quiet gratitude behind it nevertheless. "Thank you for helping us to get this far. If you wish to come back here when we are rested, I would be happy to travel with you."

Strange planet or not, Kourin friendship or not, Catenna has no real beef with the Guard. They're just people.

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Lanval has posed.

    Lanval's head turns away from playing jam-all-the-keys-where-he-pleases as the gate starts to open a tiny crack. They can't see it because he's not looking at them, but his eyes open up widely, brimming with elemental mirth as he disengages and starts for the gate--

               SLAM!

     Lanval flinches like he's been struck, or even like he was shoved over as the gate rejects their attempts. His eyes have gone back closed as he just falls down onto his back, all sprawled out.
     "...Not the firsht time she dishapproved," he mumbles. Deprived of whatever it is about this place that made him so eager to want to come here by his lonesome on one of his many, many days off (read: all of them), he thinks to himself... maybe that is a divine sign from on high that, today, he is meant to wash the dishes.
     He lets the various mortal dramas play out around him with scant little input on his part. No, let's correct the record. There is some further input, but it is entirely in the realm of 'input contents of gourd into one's own maw.' Beyond this sort of input, there is otherwise scant little as first described.

<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

    Dean nods to Margaret, listening to her explanation that puzzles all follow their own logic. "Right, but that logic never makes any sense," he says. Then the door starts cracking open, and...!
    
    All the keys fall out. The door slams back shut.
    
    Dean stares.
    
    "So what was the logic there supposed to be?" he asks Margaret. Griz goes on about indigo actually being white and turquoise being a dark blue. "'Cuz I don't get it."
    
    Arguably, none of them do.

<Pose Tracker> Margaret has posed.

"Oh, like, when you prepare indigo dye and stick some cloth in it," Griz explains to Dean. "It comes out white but it turns blue in the air. You with me, Dean-O?"

"I'm sorry he called you Dean-O," Margaret tells Dean.

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    Avril, for her part, listens carefully as Griz does a brief delve into colors and the semantics thereof, her gaze turning down towards the key she holds in her hand. "Hmm. So, when we consider the different shades, we may want to also consider the context of the ones who built this. What color would they have considered this closer to, for instance? Would it have been a red, or perhaps an orange? Or, would it have been considered its own color?"

    Which is then followed by: "Is it? I did not know that about indigo, I believe."

    Which is then followed by, well. Avril just giving the good old guessing approach a try and opting to see if the now faded colors of the keys might mean that any order is acceptable.

    Spoilers: nope.

    The door opens but a crack before slamming shut again.

    "Oh," says Avril, a little disappointed.

    "Well, I suppose we will have to keep looking, won't we."

    She sighs, and steps away from the pillar.

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Catenna tilts her head as Margaret shifts to Dean instead. She sighs and takes a step back from the woman, then moves to pull out a waterskin and splash a little in her face.

"I could truly, truly go for a good long soak in something," she murmurs, more to herself than anything else.

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Lanval has posed.

    Lanval sighs wistfully, as if on cue. "Mmmmm.... hmmmmm~"