2018-06-22: A Delivery to Burwich

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============================<* Goddodin Village *>============================

Goddodin Village is a tiny village in the north of Biroclef Ridge, seemingly at the edge of the Rolance Empire. The towering mountains of the ridge behind it form an imposing and awe-inspiring backdrop to a sleepy life in a village. Nonetheless, the people are happy here, and prosperous. Their village elder came from afar, carrying alchemical knowledge with him. With his aid, the people of Goddodin have began to sell alchemical products -- include, some whisper, the fabled curative known as "elixir." With this, they have built a new inn, general store, and school that makes this remote township have an unlikely level of prosperity.

DG: A party led by Fei Fong Wong is now entering Burwich Village.
DG: Party formation is now over. An Entry Challenge will now be drawn and displayed to the party.
============================<* Burwich Village *>=============================
====================<* CHALLENGE - The Treacherous Road *>====================
|Type: Entry       |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 The road to Burwich Village is really more of a trail. A treacherous          
 footpath leads through switchbacks along tall cliff faces and steep hills,    
 until it reaches a high elevation pine forest. The air here is much cooler    
 than the desert valley below.                                                 
                                                                               
 Unfortunately, the forest itself is afflicted with Malevolence. As you walk,  
 you see that some trees are glowing purple, with thick strands of black and   
 sickly gold running through them. As you get close, a pine tree snaps -- and  
 comes crashing down at you deliberately!                                      
                                                                               
 However, you can make your destination out ahead: a quaint village, with      
 tall peaked roofs, and a wall of stone around it. It seems untouched,         
 despite the Malevolent presence here.                                         
                                                                               
 Welcome to Burwich Village!                                                   
=Dungeon Conditions: Slow, Bad Luck===========================================
<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

        Riesenlied and Noeline, along with their other companions, have been going south to Glenwood in order to deliver a message from Nall to a companion of his... the Metal Dragon Lombardia. But recent factors in Glenwood, such as the invasion of Lastonbell, have made things significantly more complicated -- and made the task of heading to the Volgran Forest no easy feat with the roads barred.

        Burwich Village is a ways out of the way, but given its proximity, it seemed an ideal stop on their way there -- and along the way, Riese had also run into Jacqueline, who probably provided her with some information about the village's needs...

        ... and, just like that, Riesenlied's horns perk up at the sound of 'a settlement needs aid!' and she looks at Noeline with pleading eyes...

        But the trek there is much more different than expected, at least for Riesenlied. Cupping her mouth, she murmurs, "The Malevolence here is intense... I--"

        ...ssssssSNNNAPP!

        Riese stares, shadowed, at the pine tree as it slowly descends on her. "R-run!"

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

It had not been too long since Jacqueline had visited Burwich Village. But while she was there, however, she had agreed to help transport some supplies to them that they were in need of, and had immediately set out to do so.

As she heard learned getting there, however, the path into it is treacherous...so it was a fortunate coincidence that she happened to run into the others, where she asked for their assistance(and offered payment for it, since that was just how the business was done).

A slight detour couldn't hurt, right? After all, it was on the way and it wasn't like Lombardia was going anywhere, after she hadn't for all these years.

And so it is that she walks alongside the others, a pack filled to the brim with various supplies on her back. It was, unfortunately, a little to treacherous to bring her wagon up here.

And there were other dangers, as well, as she soon finds out - there's a loud snap and Jacqueline dives out of the way instictively. She expected what she encountered last time...but now, it's like the forest itself is attacking them.

"A-ah, Riese!" Jacqueline cries in alarm, and reaches out toward the pine tree itself. With a quick gesture of her left hand, the temperature around the base of the tree begins to quickly drop as ice begins to form around it, attempting to freeze it in place before it can fall...

...Or, at the very least, slow it down a little.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, The Treacherous Road.
DG: Riesenlied has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, The Treacherous Road.
<Pose Tracker> Fei Fong Wong has posed.

Fei Fong Wong has come along on this adventure for a few reasons. One is to go visit this Metal Dragon Lombardia. The other reason turns out to be because this village here could use some assistance and wouldn'tcha know it? Fei technically qualifies as assistance more times than he counts as 'your village is now gone'. At least for the moment. Maybe later someone will reconsider taking him to a village at all.

But for now, he's here and he's looking a little sick. The malevolence is indeed thick, but he'll stomach it to help a village of innocent people naturally. He has a large backpack on his back in order to more economically pack this trip into the village but is otherwise unarmed. He is already starting to regret this choice of his when the trees start moving.

"But..." Fei says. "The trees??" How do trees get inflicted with malevolence?? He doesn't want to think about it.

Instead he just runs. Just as suggested. He will probably not be too speedy, however, because he's carting a bag along. He does look periodically towards Elly to see how she's managing.

DG: Fei Fong Wong has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward his party's challenge, The Treacherous Road.
<Pose Tracker> Elhaym van Houten has posed.

 
There is unrest in the forest
There is trouble with the trees
For the maples want more sunlight
And the oaks ignore their plea

-- Traditional song of the vanished nation of Nimrod

Elly van Houten had been travelling with Riesenlied, and has, she thought, finally gotten somewhat comfortable with the fact that she is in fact near to the two Hyadaens and they aren't...

They aren't angry with her. They don't want to kill her. She hasn't perhaps sat down and operated a one-woman Truth and Recucconciliation committee about it, but...

Perhaps she can live with it.

Anyway, none of this subtle gentle shift in emotional valence, with all its subtle and complex tenderness, is applicable now, because a gigantic tree is coming towards them and oh it is NASTY with Malevolence. Just DRIPPING. Nasty and gross. "Oh... no -"

RUN!!!

Elly is wearing those low-key future boots and so she has extremely good footing. She does look over her shoulder, engaging in what might be flock-checking behavior -- which is probably good in the sense that nobody's likely to be left behind, but may lead to her getting clobbered by a second boughman.

DG: Elhaym van Houten has used her Tool Expedition Boots toward her party's challenge, The Treacherous Road.
<Pose Tracker> Josephine Lovelace has posed.

        Josie has come along with Riesenlied. There was no reason not to, once she'd recovered her belongings and sorted through what had been damaged and what hadn't been -- and of course tended to the necessary repairs.
        And quite possibly been a rather attentive pupil to Shalune, for some mysterious reason or another...

        No, it wasn't as if she had any reason to go anywhere else. Everything she needed was in her grasp, so technically speaking, there's only one thing left for her up here on the moon.
        And until they can find that, it isn't as if she has anything else on her agenda.
        ...Besides running a test on just how well that pot of Shalune's can perform, but that hardly requires rush work and will require materials and money. Both of which are in short supply.

        AND SO

        It just so happens that an opportunity is hand-delivered to them by Jay.

        "Don't suppose they'll pay up?" Josie queries, pack slung over a shoulder as she walks along the forest path. "It's not exactly out of our way, but still. Fair's fair, and we have a name to live up to."

        Her chatter might be airy, but the atmosphere is anything but. A wary eye tracks the trees and the path ahead; her left hand rests on the ARM holstered at her hip. Malevolence, more of it than usual, lingers in the air.
        Penelope has nearly flattened herself against the archaelogist's shoulder where she perches.

        Something's not right here.

        At that thought, naturally, is when the forest itself lashes out.

        "--Time to go!" Josie shouts at the lot of them, glancing back over her shoulder before breaking into a run down the path ahead.

DG: Josephine Lovelace has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, The Treacherous Road.
<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

        Noeline considers a healthy amount of skepticism to be part of her job. As Wayside's second, she's there to provide a dose of realism and a tempering force to Riesenlied's altruism - even if she'd be the first to admit that she's kind of a soft touch when it comes to allowing her partner to do as she pleases. After all, it's just as much her job to support Riese, as well... so Riesenlied's pleading look is ultimately met with an amused sigh and a grin tugging at the Crimson Noble's lips.

        It doesn't take long for her expression to sour when she sights the village, however, and particularly the aura and miasma around it. "Honestly-- I am starting to seriously believe this planet may have more problems than Filgaia," she huffs as she carefully picks her way amongst some of the strands of Malevolence, taking care not to touch any of them; she flexes her hand after a moment, obviously considering summoning her scythe to try carving a path clear through the undergrowth. "And that is not a statement I make particularly lightly--"

        She's cut off by the almighty crack of a tree next to them - and as if it were a sentient thing, the pine descends upon them with an eerily unnerving precision. "--this is only proving my point!" she adds loudly and indignantly, instinctively flicking a hand towards Riese; there's a string of high-pitched beeps in answer as Strife suddenly jets forwards from behind her, the pod dropping low as it more or less scoops the Tainted demon up onto its back.

        In comparison, Noeline strides forward, a hand out. She barely pauses at the sudden weight of the giant slab-like sword that appears in her hand - but it's a comfort nonetheless, and she grins in something like satisfaction as she plants her feet, hefts it up with her other hand braced against the blade, and prepares to simply challenge the falling tree head on, her demonic strength against...

        ... gravity??

DG: Noeline has used her Tool Strife toward her party's challenge, The Treacherous Road.
<Pose Tracker> Xantia has posed.

With the Black Wolves tapped to deliver supplies to this village she'd never heard of before, Xantia was quick to volunteer to do some of the heavy lifting. Being able to put her strength to good use always makes her happy. And so, she's here carrying a hefty crate filled with basic needs for a decent standard of living, making it unnecessary to bring a cart or anything like that to transport it. She has little trouble with its weight, the main issue is that it's so big that she can't see over it. But she can't really go wrong just following in the others' footsteps, so she stuck behind Fei, figuring he'd warn her if there's anything in the way.

It all went pretty well so far, there being no real obstacles to speak of. But when an obstacle does happen, it's one she couldn't see even if she didn't have a crate blocking her view. She gets the warning just fine, but... all she has to go on is what she heard happening. Which makes this reaction a bit confusing, to put it mildly. "Wait, why are you all running? A tree fell over, that's all!" Gosh, talk about overreacting.

Well, no sense in getting left behind! Xantia also increases her pace, though running at full speed obviously isn't happening. Which is fine because there's no actual emergency that she can see. "I guess they really want to get to the village," she muses to herself. "I hope they've got good food over there."

DG: Xantia has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, The Treacherous Road.
<Pose Tracker> Elhaym van Houten has posed.

 
"The tree is laden with evil energy!" Elly cries back to Xantia. "I can't explain right now -"

<Pose Tracker> Xantia has posed.

Well, that's probably enough for Xantia to get the gist of things. "Hang on, I have my hands full, I can't look up what 'laden' means right now!" Or maybe not.

<Pose Tracker> Fei Fong Wong has posed.

"Heavily loaded or weighed down!" Fei shouts mid-run.

<Pose Tracker> Josephine Lovelace has posed.

        "C'mon, kiddo!" Josie shouts back, twisting to gesture Xantia onwards with her right hand. "We'll explain later!"

<Pose Tracker> Xantia has posed.

"Oh, well if it's all heavy and weighed down then it's not gonna go anywhere, you've probably outrun it by now!" Xantia's got this all figured out guys, nothing to worry about.

============================<* Burwich Village *>=============================
====================<* CHALLENGE - The Treacherous Road *>====================
|Type: Entry       |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 The road to Burwich Village is really more of a trail. A treacherous          
 footpath leads through switchbacks along tall cliff faces and steep hills,    
 until it reaches a high elevation pine forest. The air here is much cooler    
 than the desert valley below.                                                 
                                                                               
 Unfortunately, the forest itself is afflicted with Malevolence. As you walk,  
 you see that some trees are glowing purple, with thick strands of black and   
 sickly gold running through them. As you get close, a pine tree snaps -- and  
 comes crashing down at you deliberately!                                      
                                                                               
 However, you can make your destination out ahead: a quaint village, with      
 tall peaked roofs, and a wall of stone around it. It seems untouched,         
 despite the Malevolent presence here.                                         
                                                                               
 Welcome to Burwich Village!                                                   
=Dungeon Conditions: Slow, Bad Luck===========================================
=======================<* Burwich Village - Round 1 *>========================
======================< Results - The Treacherous Road >======================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fei Fong Wong                       0 --(15)--> 15                 Fail
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Josephine Lovelace                  0 --(15)--> 15                 Fail
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Elhaym van Houten                   0 --(15)--> 15                 Fail
Expedition Boots                    2   Agility Effects: Stalwart             
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Barber                   0 --(15)--> 15                 Fail
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xantia                              0 --(15)--> 15                 Fail
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Riesenlied                          0 --(15)--> 15                 Fail
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Noeline                             0 --(15)--> 15                 Fail
Strife                              1   Agility Effects: Cleanse              
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Fei Fong Wong               0 --(10)--> 10                 Fail
Conditions: Bad Luck(2)|Slow(2)
Effects: Cleanse
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: The party led by Fei Fong Wong has failed this challenge! The party gained 10 exploration! If anyone needs to use
party management commands, do so now. Otherwise, the next round's GM may begin the next round with +dungeon/draw.
<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

        The Forest of Malevolence is Malevolent indeed, raising the question of whether one can truly miss the forest for the malevolent leaf... Riesenlied turns and-- winces as her ankle suddenly twists as she moves around too much and nearly falls down; she covers her hand to her face, but is immediately swept off her feet by Strife.

        "S-Strife!"

        The tree is slowed down by ice magic, and Noeline successfully clashes and tosses it aside with demonic strength...

        ... which would be fine if that was the end of it. But Malevolent trees being what they are, they find that they really branch out with their evil, bristling out with a splinter of various devilish effects!!

        "Elly is right... Malevolence is--" she yelps as she ducks another swinging bough as Strife navigates on through. Fei and Elly run, and this time she won't trip because she has comfortable future boots which are probably also incredibly comfortable, and Josephine picks up Xandia and drags her along... though, maybe the fact that Xantia can't see Malevolence for what it is allows her to see her clearer?? I mean she's not wrong in that it's ultimately just trees falling down...

        ... really, by the end of it, Riesenlied looks exhausted and beaten -- as evidenced by the fact that she has many more sproigs of flyaway hair, two scuff marks and a band-aid patch on her cheek -- as she cuddles onto Strife to murmur, "... what a devious forest..."

DG: Josephine Lovelace has drawn a new Challenge.
=============================<* Burwich Village *>==============================
======================<* CHALLENGE - Putting Up a Fence *>======================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 The wall around Burwich Village seems to keep out the terrors. While the      
 forest surrounding the town is rife with Malevolence, the village itself has  
 only a smattering. Fences and walls help keep it out, and a farmhouse on the  
 very edge of the village is in the processing of building a new, tall fence   
 to extend off the wall.                                                       
                                                                               
 As you get close, a farmer's daughter waves her hand eagerly. A silver        
 locket sways across her neck, as she leaps up and down with her excitement.   
 "Hey, hey!" she says. "We need some help over here! This fence is hard for    
 my Da to get up on his lonesome, and we need to clear some rocks! You look    
 pretty strong! Um, stronger than me, at least... could you help?"             
=Dungeon Conditions: Injure, Overzealous======================================
<Pose Tracker> Josephine Lovelace has posed.

        Running through the forest, in the end, does not go particularly well.

        Grabbing ahold of Xantia with her less-than-functional hand is also perhaps not one of the wisest decisions Josie has made recently. Hopefully the younger girl doesn't squeeze.
        In any case: while they narrowly dodge one horrible falling tree, there's the fact of the second one right after it that scratches and scrapes with ghastly limb-like branches.

        By the time they emerge from the forest, part of Josie's hair is hanging loose from her braid, she's wearing a considerable amount of twigs and leaves, and a scrape decorates one cheek.

        "I feel like I've had better forest strolls, don't you?" she comments to Xantia as she dusts herself off.

        Somewhere in the middle of all this, it will be belatedly noticed, Penelope has vanished entirely. There's certainly no sign of the bird as they approach the village, but though Josie does cast a perhaps vaguely concerned glance hither and yon... she doesn't seem particularly worried. "Anyway, nobody's got anything worse than a few scrapes, right? Heh, takes me back to my childhood..."

        It's as the group approaches the outermost fences that they first encounter signs of life.

        Noticably in the form of a rather exuberant but desperate little lady.

        "You'll help us out, right?" she cajoles, after explaining the situation. "It's jus' me and Da alone out this way, and I don't want to leave him here what with his back acting up..."

        Her lower lip trembles. She's at that age where it's hard to tell if it's on purpose or not.

        Josie, for her part, just sighs. "A little back-breaking labor for us, then? Fine, show us where it all is." Her lips quirk in a lopsided grin. "Lucky for me, breaking rock is a professional specialty."

        This is the point where she hauls out the good old mattock.

        The good news: the trek to where the rocks need breaking isn't far. There's an older-looking man leaning against the partially completed fence, looking like he's winded.
        The bad news: ...those are sure some rocks.

        "Huh," is Josie's commentary on the matter.

DG: Josephine Lovelace has used her Tool Well-Used Mattock toward her party's challenge, Putting Up a Fence.
<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

        Riesenlied's demeanor immediately rejuvenates when she sees someone who needs assistance, at least -- she looks sympathetically towards Josephine and Xantia as she expresses, "I've certainly had more pleasant ones..."

        A pause, as she smiles softly towards the girl and she explains the situation. "Carrying a fence, and breaking rocks? Yes, I think we can help..."

        Well, Riesenlied herself can't help. Atrophy has done a number on her physical strength, which is a far cry from Noeline's in the first place, but...

        "Let me play a flute and call someone who can help..."

        She draws a familiar enchanted green flute, and plays a six-note tune on it...

        ...

        ...

        Riesenlied looks expectantly with a :)? smile up into the skies, though even the below-averagely perceptive can notice a big, fluffy yellow bird peeeeeeeeking from around the village corner...

        Bobble, bobble, bobble--

        "Oh, Loccy! Would you be able to help us out?" Riesenlied asks the enormous, round yellow cucco... yes, this is a cucco, and not any other native Lunarian yellow bird specimen.

        Loccy pauses, before letting out a possibly betraying 'kweh!' and bobbling next to the quarry stack and--

        [ What would you like to put into storage today? ]

        >> Rock: 7...
        >> Rock: 12...
        >> Rock: 19...

        --starts making them disappear, slowly, one at a time. Loccy starts sweating more and more as it gets to work... heavyyy...

        "Isn't Loccy such a wonderful cucco~?" Riesenlied sounds extremely happy.

DG: Riesenlied has used her Tool Flute of the Cucco Queen toward her party's challenge, Putting Up a Fence.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline's not sure which of the troubles the forest brought upon them is worse, but both ended up the same way - with her running for her life looking somewhat bedraggled.

Still, in the end they all manage to make it out in one piece, and that's the important thing.

"Yes, I'm alright...a little out of breath, though." Jacqueline replies with a nod toward Josie. She'll have a potion for anyone who needs it, but it might almost be better to save it, considering what - or who - approaches them as they enter the village.

"Ah, yes, of course..." Jacqueline replies with a nod. She also offers Josie a smile for agreeing to it. She follows the others over to where the fence is being put up, and takes a moment to assess the situation.

It's at this point that Riesenlied plays her flute, and a giant bird appears!

Definitely a cucco.

"Indeed..." Jacqueline comments, giving Loccy an appraising look. Hmm...wasn't there something a little off about this...?

Well, with work there to be done, she can't take too much time to contemplate the bird before her. Instead, she turns her attention to the older fellow and rummages through her bags.

"Here, sir..." She says, approaching him and offering him a bottle. "This tonic should help you with your back..."

Jacqueline notably does not help with the physical labor.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has used her Tool Brewte Force toward her party's challenge, Putting Up a Fence.
<Pose Tracker> Fei Fong Wong has posed.

Fei nearly ends up seizing Xantia's OTHER hand to drag her along too but honestly after he gets clobbered by EVIL WOOD SHRAPNEL he just kind of keeps going. Xantia vs tree is still something he'd bet on Xantia every time.

He's pretty bruised and worn by the time he makes it into town but still in one piece. After checking on everybody, he stops to look towards the farmer's daughter who is waving them down. He sees the locket and grabs at something instinctively in a pocket but seems to relax shortly afterwards.

"Between this and the trees," He asides to Josie. "I'll take this." He stretches out with a groan and rubs at his back. "We'll need to rest up in here anyway after that beating." Perhaps in time they'll make like a tree and leaf.

"Um..." Fei looks over to Loccy. "I see you...I see you named the bird." He sweats faintly, dabbing at it with a kerchief. "And you're working them really...hard." Fei adds. "Are you sure uh... Maybe we should..." He looks over to Riesenlied. "You're uh. You're not going to make 'em carry all the rocks for...forever right?"

He should probably help lest Loccy become utterly stoned. He gets to work.

"Maybe Xantia could help with the posts. Since she's got the hammer and all." He looks over to Elly. "Holding up alright?"

DG: Fei Fong Wong has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Putting Up a Fence.
<Pose Tracker> Elhaym van Houten has posed.

 
A fence! A fence is a source of hope! Fences make for good neighbors, right?! Elly staggers as the trees slam Malevolently behind her.

And then they're confronted with -

A task?

"Um," Elly says. She pats her leather pouch. "Well," she says.

SOON

Elly mashes up some kind of peculiar white stuff underneath one of the stones, attaches... something; it's small. She wonders to herself as she clicks it to 75 seconds: How soon will we run out of these? Will we remember them? If we stay here on Lunar, will we pass on word of such wonders to our children...?

Elly then stands up, lets out a breath, and turns to jog away from the extremely well-buried boulder. She calls to the little lady, "Don't hold your breath, just breathe steadily. Open mouth!" What?

(Oh my God, J. B. - it's a bomb!)

POST EXPLOSION

"I am," Elly says to Fei, with a smile. Then she gazes upon the extreme power and girth of the most presentatious ch-- Cucco.

DG: Elhaym van Houten has used her Tool Crash Kit toward her party's challenge, Putting Up a Fence.
<Pose Tracker> Xantia has posed.

Suddenly, branches everywhere! Xantia was Not Prepared, taking a sudden unexpected beating from the trees lining the trail. "Ow, ow, ow! What's going onnnn?" Unable to run much faster carrying such a heavy load, even with Josephine's help, she eventually decides to set the crate down and whirls about, red energy blade springing to life from her bracer. "You should've told me the trees were monsters!" She'd have understood that right away!

One tree-felling montage later, the trek is resumed, Xantia bearing some bruises but overall not appearing too much worse for wear. "I dunno, I thought that was pretty fun!" she replies to Josie and Riesenlied, meaning every word. It didn't even dampen her spirits any. Why would it, she got to carry heavy stuff AND fight some monsters, that's like double helping! All this day needs now is some good food and it'll be perfect!

But before that, it looks like there's more heavy lifting to be done. Suits Xantia just fine! At the farmer's daughter's mention of rocks that need to be cleared, Xantia sets down the crate and reaches for the two-handed hammer strapped to her back. "Oh, I've got just the thing for clearing rocks, no problem! I'll smash 'em into tiny little pieces!" As long as she keeps getting to do things that play into her strengths, she's going to have a wonderful time today.

Those rocks, on the other hand... "Right, leave it to me!" She has yet to meet a rock that the combination of her solid metal hammer and her own brute strength couldn't break. Better keep her away from the fence posts, she'd probably just smash those into pieces too.

Of course, the bigger challenge is trying to keep from getting distracted by another appearance of that huge, tasty-looking bird...

DG: Xantia has used her Tool Megaton Hammer toward her party's challenge, Putting Up a Fence.
<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

        Riesenlied blinks at Fei as she laces her hands. "Huh...? I thought Loccy just-- moved the rocks... somewhere else??" She looks back at Loccy, who gives the equivalent of when you make a circle with your index finger and thumb, except you just have a choco--- CUCCO wing instead.

        Loccy also pauses and has |||| blue terror lines running down its face at Xantia's look for a moment. It knows that look. The look... of hunger...

<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

        Noeline considers a healthy amount of skepticism to be part of her job - and recently, she's seen enough in the way of illusions, smoke and mirrors. The idea that there could be a little village in the midst of this much Malevolence - an almost idyllic one, no less - is one that she's finding it hard to swallow, and she furrows her brow as she carefully steps over the village boundary, brushing at her skirts and quietly thankful that she's at least wearing some amount of armor these days.

        She looks to Reisenlied for a moment, letting out a sigh that betrays her suspicion along with an arched brow at her partner's telltale smile; another flick of her hand directs Strife to stick with the other demon, the pod offering itself up as a continued source of support to lean on as Riesenlied plays.

        Still, it seems harmless enough for the moment, Noeline supposes, and a chance to catch their breath and do something other than struggle against Malevolent trees would be welcome. Perhaps it'll turn out to be a village of monsters or nightmares, but for the time being... "--well-- we will see what we can do, I suppose," offers the dark knight to the old woman, before turning to squint at one of the rocks that Loccy hasn't handled.

        Hefting it is easy enough. A worried glance at the rest of the fence suggests that her skills do not lie in D.I.Y. - but Trouble appears to be there to help, driving one of the wooden posts home by repeatedly bonking into the top of it. Ancient, semi-sentient ARMs, now used as a simple hammer... and Noeline watches on, her arms folded as her attention tracks over the village.

        "How does this place even subsist?" she mutters quietly-- and then it registers that Elly just wired a bomb up in the middle of a village and even Noeline looks surprised for once. "Er--"

DG: Noeline has used her Tool Trouble toward her party's challenge, Putting Up a Fence.
=============================<* Burwich Village *>==============================
======================<* CHALLENGE - Putting Up a Fence *>======================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 The wall around Burwich Village seems to keep out the terrors. While the      
 forest surrounding the town is rife with Malevolence, the village itself has  
 only a smattering. Fences and walls help keep it out, and a farmhouse on the  
 very edge of the village is in the processing of building a new, tall fence   
 to extend off the wall.                                                       
                                                                               
 As you get close, a farmer's daughter waves her hand eagerly. A silver        
 locket sways across her neck, as she leaps up and down with her excitement.   
 "Hey, hey!" she says. "We need some help over here! This fence is hard for    
 my Da to get up on his lonesome, and we need to clear some rocks! You look    
 pretty strong! Um, stronger than me, at least... could you help?"             
=Dungeon Conditions: Injure, Overzealous======================================
========================<* Burwich Village - Round 2 *>=========================
========================< Results - Putting Up a Fence >========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fei Fong Wong                       15 --(10)--> 25                Fail
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Josephine Lovelace                  15 --(10)--> 25                Fail
Well-Used Mattock                   2   Brute   Effects: Strengthen           
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Elhaym van Houten                   15 --(5)--> 20                 Pass
Crash Kit                           1   Brute   Effects: Cleanse              
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Barber                   15 --(10)--> 25                Fail
Brewte Force                        1   Brute   Effects: Fanfare and Strengthe
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xantia                              15 --(5)--> 20                 Pass
Megaton Hammer                      3   Brute   Effects: Fanfare              
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Riesenlied                          15 --(10)--> 25                Fail
Flute of the Cucco Queen            1   Brute   Effects: Cleanse              
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Noeline                             15 --(5)--> 20                 Pass
Trouble                             2   Brute   Effects: Strengthen           
-----------------------------------< Party >------------------------------------
Leader: Fei Fong Wong               10 --(20)--> 30                Pass
Conditions: Injure(2)|Overzealous(2)
Effects: Cleanse|Strengthen(1)
===============================< Dream Chasers >================================
DG: The party led by Fei Fong Wong has passed this challenge! The party gained 20 exploration! If anyone needs to use
party management commands, do so now. Otherwise, the next round's GM may begin the next round with +dungeon/draw.
DG: Fei Fong Wong has drawn a new Challenge.
============================<* Burwich Village *>=============================
======================<* CHALLENGE - Dance Up a Storm *>======================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 Life in Burwich Village is lively and energetic. This is no foreboding,       
 terrified mountain hamlet, despite whatever monsters lay in wait in the       
 forest outside its walls. Evidence of this can be found as you approaching    
 the Hat and Tack Inn. There is a raucous inside: many voices, some singing,   
 and (in defiance of the Church, it would seem) the loud noise of dancing.     
                                                                               
 In fact, as you enter, you find a local folk dance competition! A young       
 woman sitting at a desk looks up and smiles. A faint gleam of a silver chain  
 is visible beneath her collar. "Welcome!" she says. "We're having this        
 week's dancing contest. Would you like to enter? There is a two hundred gald  
 prize!"                                                                       
=Dungeon Conditions: Tire, Treasure===========================================
<Pose Tracker> Josephine Lovelace has posed.

        Mild disbelief is the initial expression Josie wears. Then, perhaps at a bit of a loss, she shrugs and grins. "Well, that's the important thing, right?" she tells Xantia.
        All is well as long as you had fun doing it.

        "Heh heh... no kidding," is Josie's comment to Fei, which meets the both of them with a briefly befuddled look from the child, but.
        She's also at that age where while a question might be justified in forthcoming, she might also be willing to let things slide. You know, for the greater good (and finished fences). Also their current appearance does sort of suggest at a thing or two...

        But we digress.

        "Thanks much, missy," says the farmer, accepting the tincture from Jacqueline and giving it a sniff, then downing it himself. "Whew... lucky for me you all showed up. Sure am not getting any younger. Guess it's 'bout time to throw in the towel and think about one of the young lads from the village, eh? Heh heh..."

        Meanwhile, a short distance from the farmer, Things are afoot.

        "...You sure these are normal rocks?" Josie asks the little girl as she takes a step back from the pile and swipes a hand across her brow. Her attempts to shatter them have not gotten her very far. Similarly so even Fei and Loccy -- summoned from the heavens?! -- experiences their own stretch of trouble: there's just. so. many. rocks.
        And they're so very heavy.

        The ground, at least, demonstrates no such trouble: the soil gives way as Xantia and Trouble both do their best to knock in stakes where stakes need to go. This part of the proceedings are progressing unimpeded, but...

        The rocks still refuse to be broken...

        This is the point where Elly steps up. For a moment she'll have to just put up with Josie squinting at what she's doing with that substance, but even an archaeologist from a less... advanced part of Filgaia can read the signs.

        "Hey, kids! Let's back the hell up!"

        For her part, the little girl, as nonplussed as she seems, is entirely willing to do as Elly asks.

        Everyone heads for the hills as the detonation booms out.

        "Heavens," comments the farmer, gazing placidly upon where the troublesome rocks lay as the fires die down and the smoke clears.

        "...Got any more of that stuff?" Josie, ever enterprising, asks Elly.

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

        When the smoke clears, Loccy is a translucent image superimposed on the clear blue skies, saluting as Trouble salutes back.

        ... he'll be okay ...

<Pose Tracker> Fei Fong Wong has posed.

Fei breathes in for a while as he watches the impressive explosion from a distance. This is probably the most exciting thing to have happened in this town. He draws out a canteen from his pack and drinks water as the explosion. Explodes? Sure. "Well..." He pauses. "I'm not sure..." Loccy is now flying. "...I guess it's moot now." He gives Xantia a concerned look before...

"Let's ... let's head to the inn and drop off our gear." Fei suggests.

BUT ON THE WAY it seems that part of the path towards the inn is actually pretty busy. IT TURNS OUT JAY that dance competitions are pretty frequent in Burwich Village. There's already quite the competition going, in fact, though there's still room for signups! So far the teams seem to be...

JOMEO AND DULIET - A PAIR OF STRAIGHT-LINE STARRED LOVERS
SALLY AND MR. SMITH - a small child and a burly blacksmith. The child is dangling in the air as they 'dance' together.
MR. MCGREGOR AND PETER - A farmer and a rabbit beastman.

Fei slows down a bit before extending a hand down and looking at it. He thinks to the past.

LAHAN
SO YOU THINK YOU CAN LADANCE FESTIVAL

Alice tugs on Fei's arm. "Come on, come on! Let's dance together!"

"Yeah, yeah, sure." Fei says, smiling lazily. "But Timothy's right over there?"

Alice pouts. "Aw geeze, Fei. I already danced with Timothy, your turn! No excuses!"

Fei awkwardly waves a hand towards Timothy as he's pulled towards the dance floor. Timothy gives Fei a small grin and gives him a big thumbs up. Fei starts sweating frantically.

NOW

Fei sets down his bag with a heavy THUMP and he looks towards the group. "Guess we should enjoy the festivities since I'm not sure how we're gonna get around this."

He turns towards Elly shortly after, holding out his hands. She never got to experience a small village party like this. Not really.

Now, he thinks, she gets to.

DG: Fei Fong Wong has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Dance Up a Storm.
<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

        Noeline considers a healthy amount of skepticism to be part of her job - but this is basically like dangling catnip in front of a lion. The sound of revelry greets her before the door is even open, together with a snatch of upbeat music that makes the metal demon grin in sheer amusement; when it turns out that there's a dancing content involved, she can't stop herself from reaching up to flick out her hair in an overblown expression of confidence.

        "--I see," she notes primly, badly hiding the amusement on her face. In the blink of an eye, her hand is around Riesenlied's, tugging the other woman forwards towards the noise and din of the tavern interior; even then, she has the time to throw a grin over her shoulder at Fei. "Don't get shown up, hm~?"

        Evidently not taking 'no' for an answer, she's dived inside the warmth of the inn, laughing happily for a moment as a brief twirl sends her skirts flaring and leaves her standing up against Riesenlied. One arm rests on the other demon's waist, the other capturing her hand as her foot starts to tap. Catching the beat of the music, she's begun to sway - then begins leading Riesenlied in what is ultimately a fairly simple dance, but one marked with enough in the way of flourish to meet her standards.

        Case in point; a snap of her fingers sends Trouble and Strife winging around them in a tight decorative spiral, and gives Noeline enough of a distraction to wink at her partner. "Just follow my lead," she suggests with a playful grin and the light of confidence in her eyes. "I'll make sure you don't trip or fall."

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

        Riesenlied looks up towards the skies for a moment, but... well, cuccos do have a way of coming and going, and Loccy is a cucco, so there's no difference there, right?

        (Riese is going to have her world shattered a second time at some point.)

        They come across the inn, though, where they get to sit down and relax for a while -- she really could have her injuries treated and have a drink after all of that... but as the invitational to the dance party goes, she looks at Fei and Elly with an encouraging nod. "Are you two going to dance? Since, um, I..."

        There's a bashful smile as Riesenlied turns, slightly red-cheeked, towards Noeline. For once, they're in this village that's peaceful, without anything to really disturb or distract them... the mirth and laughter exuding from each of the villagers as they dance is infectious, and she puts her hands to her back as she leans slightly forward to ask:

        "Would you... teach me how to dance, Noeline?"

        She gets her answer right away, since Noeline's taking no for an answer! There's a wonderful smile as she laughs, holding her hand out afterwards, that smile still warm on her face... when Noeline draws her closer, nodding as she encourages her to follow her lead. Well, she might not be winning any awards for dancing, but the effort and willingness is all there.

        True End smile...

DG: Riesenlied has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Dance Up a Storm.
DG: Noeline has used her Tool Strife toward her party's challenge, Dance Up a Storm.
<Pose Tracker> Elhaym van Houten has posed.

 
Broken cucco, a million shards of down

"I don't have any at all left," Elly tells Josie apologetically. "If I get another kit and it has any of it I'll give it to you, though. It's got a trick to it." She doesn't explain the trick right now because it'd be kind of pointless, and besides which...

Small town life.

At the dance competition, Elly looks in - and smiles, shifting herself, before she is faced then with Fei. Who's holding out his hands...?

"I - I haven't ever really done anything like this," Elly says, her cheeks reddening. "And I'm wearing these boots, is it really alright to do something like this?" She does slide her bag off her shoulder before taking both of Fei's proffered hands.

DG: Elhaym van Houten has used her Tool Expedition Boots toward her party's challenge, Dance Up a Storm.
<Pose Tracker> Josephine Lovelace has posed.

        Josie gives Elly her most winning, certainly not a little bit terrifying smile. "I'll hold you to that one, Red."

        But there Loccy goes, up into the heavens.

        "..."

        Josie wears the tightlipped expression of someone defiantly attempting to 'hope for the best'. "I'm sure he's fine."

        This is also the point where she stops watching and turns to head off.
        In the backgroud, a small child waves cheerfully as they make their way towards the village proper. "No kidding. I think I could use a drink, myself," she says in passing to Fei as they head on in, pausing only long enough to grab her pack.

        Josie's been in a number of small towns before. She knows that the story about 'a sleepy little town' is often a cold-hearted lie.
        Exhibit A: the raucous party currently underway as they step into the inn.

        "Things are looking up already," she comments to the group at large. "...Two hundred gold, eh? Not bad. Even if we split it up, that's still a few coin in our pockets."

        This might be why she elbows Elly. "Go cut up a rug with your boy. Let your hair down!" She pauses. "Metaphorically."

        Before turning to Jay.

        She offers out her good hand -- the left. "So, what'dya think, Jay? Shall we dance~?"

DG: Josephine Lovelace has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Dance Up a Storm.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

E-explosives!?

"I-isn't that a bit-" Jacqueline starts, but doesn't go any further - instead, she moves to follow the others at a fast pace as the rock is violently detonated.

On the plus side, no more rock!

"Well, it turned out well..." She comments, folding her arms in front of herself. And no one got hurt!

Except Loccy.

You will be missed, brave soul...

(But then again, this is a good thing - now Loccy doesn't have to worry about getting eaten by Xantia.)

Still, they move on further into town. They need to drop off their things, as Fei says, and Jacqueline needs to make arrangements to make sure these supplies are distributed to where they need to go.

But on the way there, they encounter a fascinating sight. It's one Jacqueline's seen once before, but she's no less surprised to see it.

"Ah, I suppose we're just in time for the next one..." She remarks. It was the dancing competition again! Cyre and Catenna won the previous one, so Jacqueline's considering stepping out...but then Josie offers a hand to her.

"A-ah!?" She remarks, with a bit of a surprise, and then a sheepish chuckle. "I-I, um...I'm not much of a dancer, really...but if you guide me, I should be able to manage it..."

Jacqueline has danced before, but even then she wasn't particularly good at in, her mind...

But maybe with a little help...!

She can't help but be distracted by the two couples, though - there's something heartwarming about the way they dance together...

DG: Jacqueline Barber has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Dance Up a Storm.
<Pose Tracker> Xantia has posed.

Welp, it didn't go entirely as expected, but in the end the job is done! Wiping the sweat from her brow, Xantia leans on her hammer and takes a breather after needing to expend far more effort than she thought this would take. What the heck were those rocks made of? And she didn't even get to eat the big bird! Life just isn't fair sometimes.

Some time later, the supplies have been delivered to their destination: the local inn. A sigh of relief from Xantia upon being able to leave the heavy crate behind. Just carrying it all this way would've been fine, but after all the tree interference and smashing things with a hammer, things have added up a bit. She could do with a short rest.

Unfortunately, the circumstances don't really lend themselves to this. People are partying hard, and Xantia... Xantia feels a bit out of place. Talking to people is fine, but she doesn't really 'get' most other aspects of parties. Except for the food, of course. In these situations, she tends to go straight for the food. And a cursory glance reveals not much in the way of what she defines as food around, other than tiny snacks that aren't going to be very filling at all.

Moreover, the invitation presented to the party by one of the villagers hits upon one of her weak points. "...dance? I don't know how to do that..." She never had any aspiration to learn, she sure couldn't think of any situation where knowing how to dance would help her accomplish anything. This wouldn't normally bother her much, but seeing Fei and Elly pairing off to do so, then Noeline and Riesenlied as well... even Josie and Jay are getting into it. It feels like she's failing to understand something really important about the appeal of this sort of thing. That's never a great feeling.

Looking for something, anything else she can do in this situation to somehow contribute something, she takes note of the villagers standing on the sidelines, clapping in tune with the music and cheering on the dancers. Hey, that's something she can do! She has no idea why people are doing this, but all she has to do is do what they do and it'll be somehow helpful, right?

Her attempt to be supportive in this way is more than a little awkward. Xantia is pretty clearly only doing this because she thinks it's what she's supposed to do. This becomes especially obvious once she attempts to add in some cheers of her own. "Woo, yeah, dancing! It's... it's good, and fun, probably! And you're all really good at it, maybe, I can't really tell but I think so!"

A fish out of water doesn't even begin to describe this situation.

DG: Xantia has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Dance Up a Storm.
============================<* Burwich Village *>=============================
======================<* CHALLENGE - Dance Up a Storm *>======================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 Life in Burwich Village is lively and energetic. This is no foreboding,       
 terrified mountain hamlet, despite whatever monsters lay in wait in the       
 forest outside its walls. Evidence of this can be found as you approaching    
 the Hat and Tack Inn. There is a raucous inside: many voices, some singing,   
 and (in defiance of the Church, it would seem) the loud noise of dancing.     
                                                                               
 In fact, as you enter, you find a local folk dance competition! A young       
 woman sitting at a desk looks up and smiles. A faint gleam of a silver chain  
 is visible beneath her collar. "Welcome!" she says. "We're having this        
 week's dancing contest. Would you like to enter? There is a two hundred gald  
 prize!"                                                                       
=Dungeon Conditions: Tire, Treasure===========================================
=======================<* Burwich Village - Round 3 *>========================
========================< Results - Dance Up a Storm >========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fei Fong Wong                       25 --(5)--> 30                 Fail
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Josephine Lovelace                  25 --(5)--> 30                 Pass
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Elhaym van Houten                   20 --(5)--> 25                 Pass
Expedition Boots                    2   Agility Effects: Stalwart             
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Barber                   25 --(5)--> 30                 Fail
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xantia                              20 --(5)--> 25                 Fail
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Riesenlied                          25 --(5)--> 30                 Fail
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Noeline                             20 --(5)--> 25                 Pass
Strife                              1   Agility Effects: Cleanse              
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Fei Fong Wong               30 --(25)--> 55                Pass
Conditions: Overzealous(1)|Tire(2)|Treasure(1)
Effects: Cleanse
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: The party led by Fei Fong Wong 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> Fei Fong Wong has posed.

Fei says, "I didn't see any list of rules saying otherwise." On the surface ... there are no rules. Actually there are a lot of rules, but 'no boots' is probably not one of them. " Besides, it's for fun. We're not in it to win it or anything."

And honestly all told, Elly ends up taking the lead here as do Josie and Noeline in their respective pairs. Elly starts off with a couple of dips back before Fei follows through with a twirl back then forward, pulling Elly in close. The judge blinks and starts peering out towards these new dancers.

"You're doing great." Fei assures Elly. "Better than me by a long shot!"

The two of them back up, throwing arms up rhythmatically and then approach once again. Somehow they're managing to get in synch here even though it's their first time dancing together. It's like that evangelion sequence with Rei and Shinji except there was no previous fumbling involved. In fact, Fei almost does fumble at one point but, much like Noeline and Josephine, Elly is able to save their partner with a catch and ends up leading the dance the rest of the way as Fei follows along, making it look perfectly natural as she does so.

Eventually though the competition does come to an end and the judge clears his throat.

"Well!" He says. "The outsiders sure know their stuff! It seems like they'll be taking home the grand prize today! Now it was tough to call, it seemed all three of their teams were pretty close in skill but..."

The judge hands the bag of 200 gald to Noeline. "There was just that little extra something in yours. Your passion filled me to the core! And to honor your achievement..."

The judge hands Noeline a small badge.

"Take our village treasure--The Dance Idol Badge!"

WHEW 100 PERCENT COMPLETION SAVED.

DG: Elhaym van Houten has drawn a new Challenge.
============================<* Burwich Village *>=============================
==================<* CHALLENGE - True GS Filgaia Stories *>===================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 3          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 The Hat and Tack Inn is at the center of Burwich Village, and serves as a     
 watering hole for the souls who brave the Malevolence-infested wilds outside  
 of the village walls: the Hunters. These brave men and women have a grimness  
 to them that is quite opposite the general cheer and down-home friendliness   
 of the other villagers.                                                       
                                                                               
 When you enter, one catches your eye with her one good eye. She waves you     
 over. "Ho, outlanders," she says. "I take it you've seen a few scraps, eh?"   
                                                                               
 This perks up the interest of the other patrons. Soon, children and adults    
 alike are coming over. The Hunter leans over, a grin on her face, and her     
 silver necklace gleams. "Tell us your worst. What's the most dangerous thing  
 you've faced?"                                                                
                                                                               
 You have faced dangers, of course... but can you make the retelling just as   
 exciting?                                                                     
=Dungeon Conditions: Fright, Exhaust==========================================
<Pose Tracker> Elhaym van Houten has posed.

 
After the dance, Elly is left feeling - elated, somehow; she isn't sure how to put it. She is a little sweaty though, where she had been keeping her cool previously. Flushed, she smiles at Fei and perhaps he'll remember it fondly. But -

Her eyes turn out even as Noeline is awarded the badge. She waves Xantia over, breaking her hand-clasp with Fei after a moment, and giving Josie a flustered but cheerful look. "I suppose after that we can wind down peacefully -"

'Ho, outlanders,' says the hunter.

The hunter waves with her hand, missing a half of a ring finger. She grins rakishly, because she has to, with a split lip. "I take it you've seen a few scraps, eh?"

SOON

The common room is gathered. The Hunter is leaning forwards and compressing herself in a slightly uncomfortable way. "What's the most dangerous thing you've ever faced? Here, Cinnamon Stick, you go first."

Elly sputters momentarily at being called Cinnamon Stick. Then: "Well..."

Elly tilts her head forwards.

"... I don't really like to think of that kind of stuff..."

("Weak!" calls a rude child.)

DG: Elhaym van Houten has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward her party's challenge, True GS Filgaia Stories.
<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

        Riesenlied's pleasure is clear as she claps her hands and expresses, "You danced very well, Noeline... I can only hope I can be a good dance partner, hehehe..." as she turns towards the others and puts her hands behind her back. "Everyone danced very well, I really enjoyed this... I should suggest this for Wayside and the Fereshte sometime," nodding at Xantia and looking cheered for her support too.

        The image of Val trying to dance as she kips on one foot and knocks over the accordion tubing guy comes to mind...

        But soon, they're asked to regale the pub with their own stories. She smiles a little bashfully for a moment, not really sure which of her tales is fit for consumption, really, but...

        Well, she may not be able to dance very well, but there is one thing she can add here--

        --as she draws her guqin and seats herself at a nearby corner and expresses, "I'll provide some music to accompany your stories."

        She places the zither-like instrument on her lap and draws some resin to polish the strings, before neatly plucking away to test, and begin to play a melody upon it...

DG: Riesenlied has used her Tool Bella Aeterna toward her party's challenge, True GS Filgaia Stories.
<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

        "No boots is only a rule if you're not used to heels. Or liable to step on your partner's foot with them," the demon adds with an amused hum, midway through another twirl she makes while holding Riesenlied's hand. A Hyadean's physical abilities being what they are, it's fairly easy to ensure that her dance partner stays upright - and halfway through the dance it becomes clear that Noeline is coaxing the other demon into being the lead, so that she can provide the flourishing touches.

        Despite her concentration, she's still smiling quietly when they come to a halt against Riesenlied's shoulder, her eyes closed as she answers Riesenlied's joy with a sigh of satisfaction; she's obviously been looking forward to a dance for some time, willing to set aside her misgivings and allow herself the chance to relax. If it turns out to be an illusion, she'll deal with that as it comes. "You did wonderfully."

        She's nestled in close enough that it even takes her a moment to realize she's being addressed, and she perks up slightly with a gracious laugh as she accepts the badge. "... thank you," she tilts her head in a bow, and flicks out her hair as she immediately starts to get imperious. "But it is only thanks to my partner, as well." And, Noeline being Noeline, she's snuck a kiss right in front of everyone, to a cheer and a couple of catcalls.

        Before long, they've moved to the bar to seat theselves and recover from the dance; the energy of it subsiding, Noeline feels something tugging at her instincts once more, and a flash of silver sends a frown flickering across her face for a brief moment. She'd like to chalk it up to a natural wariness, but-- something tells her not to order a drink.

        Nothing against spinning a story, though, and she lets a grin melt back onto her face as she waves an arm. "Then, let me tell you a tale," she declares grandiosely. "A tale of a terror trapped underground, sat atop our only means of salvation - a tale of a race against time, and a betrayal, and a redemption." Leaning forward in her chair, she lets a flashing glint cross her eyes, and offers a fanged grin. "A tale of-- a Crimson Noble."

        noeline don't just remix Wayside into your dime store novels, ugh

DG: Noeline has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward her party's challenge, True GS Filgaia Stories.
<Pose Tracker> Josephine Lovelace has posed.

        Jay may not, perhaps, be the best of dancers, but truth be told -- there's no such thing as becoming good at something without trying, first.

        Josie makes no comment, and here she sees fit to simply smile in that cryptic lopsided fashion and simply leads the way.

        In the end, it's Noeline and Riesenlied who take the prize of the night and Josie, relinquishing Jay's hand with a flourish of a bow, drifts off towards the bar.

        She sinks heavily onto one of the seats and lifts her hand to pin back that stray lock that's been nagging her behind an ear.

        "Don't suppose there's any hope of a proper drink here, is there?"

        "Ho, outlanders," rings out the call.

        "The most dangerous thing I've faced... hmm. That's a tough one." Josie leans back in her seat, dark eyes drifting up towards the ceiling as the fire casts long shadows out into the room. "It's a dangerous world out there, you know... and I've got quite the career that walks into the very halls of danger." The corners of her mouth quirk upwards. "Oh, but I'm not talking about adventuring. Delving into a cave or vanquishing some fell beast? No, nothing like that."

        She sits up, leaning elbows first onto the table. "I'm talking about an expedition. Deep, deep into the depths of an ancient tomb, abandoned and lost to the ages." Her voice has lowered, pitching down into that tone better suited for a campfire. "The feeling of a cold chill on the back of your neck as you leave the sun behind. Dust stirring as you walk into the shadows."

        She pauses as if for effect, then bares her teeth in a rictus of a grin. "And realize you are not alone down here."

        This is the point where she pulls out her flask and takes a nip from the contents, as if this is the one thing keeping her going in her storytelling.

DG: Josephine Lovelace has used her Tool Liquid Courage toward her party's challenge, True GS Filgaia Stories.
<Pose Tracker> Fei Fong Wong has posed.

Fei smiles back at Elly, he's exhausted after all that but he does turn his gaze towards Xantia to say, "Thanks for cheering us on, Xan." If nothing else, he could tell she was kind of by her lonesome here. IF ONLY DIG PARTIES COULD ALLOW EIGHT! But alas, it is not to be. "Congrats Noeline! Riese! You owned that floor."

He steps off before...A HUNTER...

Fei is asked to tell everybody what the worst thing he faced was. He thinks back to his various battles. What would be a good exciting story with a happy ending? Images of K.K and Grahf float through his head. 'Hahahaha you can't beat us neener neener neener' they say to him. 'Look at us, we're so cool we don't even have real names, Fei!' Fei thinks to his battles against those two and--actually come to think of it, he only really fought GRahf once hadn't he? And it wasn't THAT bad when he did. He could talk about when Grahf burned his hometown down?

He looks at the smiling faces of children.

Maybe don't tell that story Fei, Fei thinks. Maybe something more recent? Siegfried? He glances to Riesenlied. That'd probably just upset her and, well, honestly---Fei himself too. He mostly thinks abuot how Siegfried plugged him full of Negative Rainbow holes like 4 times now. Nope. That won't do either.

He didn't actually fight the Lord of Calamity either, come to think of it. Berserk didn't seem too bad honestly. Uh... Ida? This is kind of pulling at strands here and he doesn't want to cause trouble for his friend either even if she is working for Bobbidi now. He looks towards Elly, frowning as a rude child calls her weak. To avoid her dark fate, he's going to have to come up with something even if--like Elly--he doesn't really like to think of that kind of stuff.

He reaches into his pocket and draws out his RPS Badge, thinking of it thanks to the dance compeitition. "...."

"...."

His eyes widen. That's right!

"Well you see...This is actually a story about before I left my hometown because the truth is...my most dangerous opponent... fought me within that town itself!"

Oh no he's not going to talk about THAT is he?

"It was the day before I left home for good." Fei fans out a hand for effect. "I happened upon the home of my friend Ron Perry Samson. Now, he was quite the character but the most notable fact about him was that he was the best person at Rock Paper Scissors...in the whole world!"

He throws out his hands again dramatically. Yes, he's telling this one. Probably better than the other dangerous Lahan story come to think.

"He gave me a challenge. He would give me his fabled RPS Badge--the badge of an RPS Champion that only the best RPSers can carry...if I beat him five times in a row at Rock Paper Scissors."

There's some oohing and aahing among the crowd. RPS is serious business guys.

"Now, the first time I couldn't even beat him once. He read my Paper and countered with Scissors in a single instant! But I kept trying, over and over for what seemed like hours! Until finally I beat him once. Rock VS Scissors. Then again, Paper versus rock! Then I threw paper again--just to throw him off, and he thought I'd do scissors--so I won a third time! And that's when the battle really began...Scissor vs Scissor Rock vs Rock! I thought it would never end...but my stamina beat his and soon I threw out a very nice Scissors and cut his defense in twain--! After that, it was just a well timed Rock and I soon..."

He holds out the RPS Badge for everybody to see.

"...carried the proof of a champion...and held onto it ever since."

DG: Fei Fong Wong has used his Tool RPS Badge toward his party's challenge, True GS Filgaia Stories.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline...well, thanks to Josie, doesn't do horribly. If she didn't have someone leading her, though...well, she probably wouldn't have even tried.

Still, she couldn't deny that she had enjoyed, even if she felt a little like she was holding Josie back. And when Noeline and Riesenlied earn that award, Jacqueline claps excitedly all the same. They sure deserved it!

"Thank you for the dance, Josie. I had fun." Jacqueline says with a bright, though still a little sheepish, smile as she returns Josie's bow with a curtsy.



But, all that dancing was more than a little exhausting! Jacqueline hoped to get a chance to rest a little bit...but before they can go too far, a woman with one eye calls them over, asking about the most dangerous thing they've encountered.

Jacqueline takes a seat, thinking it over. Like Elly, she didn't really like to dwell on things like that very much...

But she does have one thing.

"...I remember it well. It was a Sunday. I usually prefer to relax on the weekends, but...something came up. I couldn't ignore it." Jacqueline replies, shaking her head. "I gathered my friends and we set out, but...we didn't know what we were getting into. It was...horrible. Beyond anything we ever could have anticipated."

Her tone grows low and haunted as she continues, setting the mood. The atmosphere darkens.

"They were...everywhere. Each time we thought we had dealt with one of them, it was like three more emerged from the woodwork. I was losing curatives faster than I could replenish them. The screams and cries were enough to pierce straight through one's minds...sometimes I still hear them, to this day. Echoing. I kept shouting orders, frantically, so frantically that I felt I may lose my voice. I thought that would be the end of us. Somedays, I'm still not sure how we made it out alive..."

Her voice drops to a whisper.

"...But do you know what the worst part is...?" She says, leaning forward.

"...The oven wasn't working that day, so they were hungry. It was only after we managed to jury-rig a replacement that we were able to calm down...but that was two-thirds into the day."

...And then, she smiles brightly.

"...So anyway, that's the worst sales rush the Caravan Kinship has ever experienced. It really gets my heart racing, but I wouldn't give it up for the world!"

...Ah.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has used her Tool Reliable Repellant toward her party's challenge, True GS Filgaia Stories.
<Pose Tracker> Xantia has posed.

Xantia rejoins the rest of the group after the dance-off, expressing to Noeline, "Wow, you won! That was great!" She may not understand anything about dancing, but even she knows that winning something for doing a thing means you did well at it. She beams at Fei's thanks, now definitely sure that she did something to help make that happen.

Then the hunter waves them over, and Xantia can't help but get a little excited. Being addressed by someone who looks like that, informing about their previous battles... this is going to be a fight, isn't it? On Filgaia, this would definitely end up with a fight.

Unfortunately, as usual, things don't tend to be quite the same on Lunar. All they're asked to do is tell a story. Xantia doesn't even try to hide her surprise and disappointment at this turn of events. "What, really? That's it? You don't want to fight? ...Not even a little bit?" She lets out a deep sigh. This day started off so well, why's it getting so boring now?

Ah well. If that's the case, might as well tell them what they want to hear. Xantia crosses her arms, mulling it over. "Most dangerous, huh. I guess the big undead dragon was pretty dangerous. Or when I had to fight Siegfried and then the Lord of Calamity right after that. ...But..." She smiles, suddenly, and places her hands on the table. She knows just what to talk about.

"Have you ever heard of the Demon of Elru?"

She pauses for effect. Then ruins the effect by answering her own question. "Well, I guess you wouldn't have, you probably don't know where Elru is. ...anyway! They call him a Demon, but he's actually worse. He's human." That bit of wit was shamelessly stolen from Id himself, but hey, what better way to tell a story about somebody than in their own words?

"Now, think of the most powerful human you know." Another momentary pause. "Yeah, he's much stronger than that. He can blow up whole cities, just like that! He's got this powerful Gear-- er... Golem, do you know what that is? One of those. He has sooo many ways to kill you!"

It's... a bit strange how happy she sounds about all this. Straightening up, Xantia puts her hands on her hips. "Well, I fought him..." Another pause, while she counts in her head. "...Four times, I think, depending on what you count as a fight? Anyway, I'm still here! Not many people who can say that! You know, I don't think he even wants to kill me anymore at this point, I think he likes fighting me as much as I like to fight him! Isn't it great?!"

Xantia what even is this story anymore

DG: Xantia has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward her party's challenge, True GS Filgaia Stories.
============================<* Burwich Village *>=============================
==================<* CHALLENGE - True GS Filgaia Stories *>===================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 3          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 The Hat and Tack Inn is at the center of Burwich Village, and serves as a     
 watering hole for the souls who brave the Malevolence-infested wilds outside  
 of the village walls: the Hunters. These brave men and women have a grimness  
 to them that is quite opposite the general cheer and down-home friendliness   
 of the other villagers.                                                       
                                                                               
 When you enter, one catches your eye with her one good eye. She waves you     
 over. "Ho, outlanders," she says. "I take it you've seen a few scraps, eh?"   
                                                                               
 This perks up the interest of the other patrons. Soon, children and adults    
 alike are coming over. The Hunter leans over, a grin on her face, and her     
 silver necklace gleams. "Tell us your worst. What's the most dangerous thing  
 you've faced?"                                                                
                                                                               
 You have faced dangers, of course... but can you make the retelling just as   
 exciting?                                                                     
=Dungeon Conditions: Fright, Exhaust==========================================
=======================<* Burwich Village - Round 4 *>========================
====================< Results - True GS Filgaia Stories >=====================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fei Fong Wong                       30 --(5)--> 35                 Pass
RPS Badge                           3   Combat  Effects: Rally                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Josephine Lovelace                  30 --(5)--> 35                 Pass
Liquid Courage                      3   Combat  Effects: Rally                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Elhaym van Houten                   25 --(20)--> 45                Fail
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Barber                   30 --(5)--> 35                 Pass
Reliable Repellant                  2   Combat  Effects: Embolden             
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xantia                              25 --(5)--> 30                 Pass
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Riesenlied                          30 --(5)--> 35                 Pass
Bella Aeterna                       4   Combat  Effects: Fanfare and Efficient
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Noeline                             25 --(20)--> 45                Fail
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC                
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Fei Fong Wong               55 --(20)--> 75                Pass
Conditions: Exhaust(1)|Fright(2)
Effects: Embolden(1)
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: The party led by Fei Fong Wong 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> Elhaym van Houten has posed.

 
Listen to the music o/~

("That's heresy," says the small child. He says it 'herethy' though.)

Elly gets given a cool look. "Well," the Hunter says in disappointment, "fine, I guess."

Then it's story assessment time.

Noeline speaks... and the Hunter says, with a critical eye, "Hold on. Hold on, this is all about oral-sadistic sadomasochism. Cool it, lady. You've got good mood but find something other than imaginary sad mouth-molesters to tell stories about, alright?" FAIL!

Josie's turn. "Heh... not a conventional kinda fight, but I guess it is a struggle," the Hunter says to her. "Spooky. Didj'a find anything good?"

Fei. The Hunter's brow furrows. "I'm into it," she says, "but... scissors?"

("Tinsnips!" guesses a small child. Fei has successfully contaminated the culture of Lunar.)

The Hunter rests her chin on one hand and listens to Jay. Finally, she snorts. "I get it," she says. "Nice twist. Good take." And then -

the story of the Demon of Elru.

"No," the Hunter tells Xantia when she brings up Gears and Golems. (Some guy in the back of the room looks up, startled, but doesn't clarify or react to anyone further.)

FINAL JUDGMENT...

"You're pretty good," the Hunter says. "But drop by when you've fought some REAL monsters, alright!? You've got the chops, now you just need the meat on the bones! To turn INTO chops!"

And everyone stood up and clapped. (Politely, because they did just get free entertainment.)

<Pose Tracker> Fei Fong Wong has posed.

Fei looks a bit nervous as Xantia starts spreading stories about the demon of elru. The demon of elru does not have a great track record with small villages.

MEANWHILE IN FEI'S BRAIN

Id sips a glass of water.

'I think he likes fighting me as much as I like to fight him! Isn't it great?!'

Id spits out the water into oblivion.

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

        Riesenlied's expression does fall a little when both Siegfried and the Demon of Elru get brought up, for approximately different reasons. But she's about as close as she can get to being a musical professional without having a degree, so she keeps playing, even when you can see her horns wilt.

        MEANWHILE IN RIESE'S BRAIN

        "Ahahahahahaaaaa Id--" Nasrin gasps, before pausing to stare at her ribcage, "Wait, my lungs have holes--"

        Nasrin topples over on her chair.

<Pose Tracker> Xantia has posed.

Xantia fails to notice anyone's distress at her story, she's far too busy lamenting, "I wish I had some chops, any kind of meat is fine..."

<Pose Tracker> Josephine Lovelace has posed.

        Josie shrugs, nonchalant. "Just a find that'll be one for the history books, once I've completed my research," she says, eyeing the hunter as she takes her drink.

        "What about you? Anything interesting out in those hills?"

        She pauses, her grip tightening on the flask. For a moment, the look in her eyes could possibly boil water.

        "...Or just the deer?" she asks, all smiles and sunshine.

DG: Xantia has drawn a new Challenge.
============================<* Burwich Village *>=============================
===============<* CHALLENGE - Meeting with the Burgermeister *>===============
|Type: Final       |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 It seems that your helpfulness has earned the attention of the man who is     
 responsible for governing the village: Silas Dee, a younger man with a        
 short-trimmed black beard. The Burgermeister's home is the only three-story   
 house in the village, and you are escorted within. He looks up at you -- and  
 smiles, perhaps unknowingly about your involvement with some of his kin.      
                                                                               
 "Welcome, outlanders," he says. "I appreciate the help you have done. I do,   
 however, ask of you one more thing: what news of the outside world? We've     
 been worried, of late, and have little contact. Most of our Hunters have      
 been worried about Josiah, and... we've not made the rounds."                 
                                                                               
 OOC: The goal of this challenge is to impress the Burgermeister with your     
 knowledge. You can also, optionally, give him information to influence him    
 towards one group or another on Lunar -- for instance, to make him wary or    
 trusting of Althena's Guard. The end results will influence how the third     
 Dig in this trilogy goes. Please note your results here, including the title  
 of the Discovery received (if any; no Landmarks or Escapes, please):          
                                                                               
 https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1PLHycl8XSs9MO-jKurg-Vb5snrijoLwzWCIx  
 IJx2Wjk/edit?usp=sharing                                                      
=Dungeon Conditions: Secret===================================================
<Pose Tracker> Xantia has posed.

With storytime in the inn concluded, the festivities begin to wind down, and the innkeeper has a moment to properly thank the group for the supply delivery, directing them to the Burgermeister's house for a more official thank-you. "Burgers?! So there's gonna be food?" is Xantia's immediate obvious question. The innkeeper just gives her a puzzled look, pointing out, "This is an inn, if you wanted food you could have ordered some..." To which Xantia's eyes grow wide as if she was just let in on an incredible secret. "WHAAAAAAAT?!"

Spurring on the others to hurry, Xantia is more than a little eager to get this over with so they can go back and finally have some actual food. As far as she's concerned, the innkeeper is the real meister of burgers, she doesn't care much about this other guy. But one way or another, she does come to realize that this man is important, and thus this meeting is a big deal, so she isn't flat out rude or anything. She just remains quiet, visibly impatient during the Burgermeister's greeting.

For Jay, the Burgermeister has extra thanks to offer, appreciative of coming through with the promised supplies. With how much the 'outside world' keeps being emphasized, not to mention the evil forest outside, even Xantia can tell that they must not leave the village much.

As for news of the outside world? Xantia frowns, immediately hitting upon the obvious: "Well, it's probably not news to you that there's evil trees out there that are attacking people, but... that's happening. Other than that, um..." She looks to the rest of the group, falling silent and leaving the question to them instead.

In the mean time, she flips through her trusty Guidebook. It's full of interesting phrases related to adventuring, she's sure there's something intelligent in there that she can contribute. Sure enough, she finds something to her liking, quoting, "Trust your own eyes and ears - hearsay is a poor source of news." Words to live by, she thinks. There's no way she can understand why people would choose to stay cooped up in a village instead of travelling around. But then, she's never known anything but a Drifter lifestyle, as far back as her memory goes.

DG: Xantia has used her Tool Guide to Dungeoneering toward her party's challenge, Meeting with the Burgermeister.
<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

        Riesenlied feels a bit bad, since they should've ordered some food before to keep them well-fed, but... well, if the village chief wants to speak with them, they should attend...

        There is a hesitant pause as Riesenlied considers her words very carefully. In Filgaia, she feels a lot more strongly as one of its kin, as it was where she was born...

        ... but she recalls well the perils of trying to influence those in a land whose issues, customs and history she's not personally versed in. How one can do good, but ultimately wind up doing harm...

        So, ultimately, she picks a safer topic -- and one that's more relevant too. "The struggle between Hyland and Rolance has intensified -- Lastonbell has fallen in siege, though the struggle is far from Biroclef..."

        A pause, as she squints for a moment. She can't help but wonder why the silver necklaces are so prevalent in this village. Is there a reason...?

        "But... I would more warn you of a more pressing matter at your doorstep." Xantia mentions there's evil trees, but she can speak to it in further depth as she clutches the Dragon's Tear and lets it shine for a moment.

        "I am well-attuned to the presence of Malevolence. On our way here, the pathway through the forest is barred with it, taking deep root within the trees. I am happy to report it has not stricken the village, but..."

        She furrows her brow. "It is something best taken proactively, preventively. I would be happy to try to arrange a visit from the Shepherd, or others capable of it..."

DG: Riesenlied has used her Tool Dragon's Tear toward her party's challenge, Meeting with the Burgermeister.
<Pose Tracker> Josephine Lovelace has posed.

        Summoned to the chief of the village. Well, one hopes it's because the man in charge needs a favor, and not because they've (technically) broken several laws of the land in rapid succession. Still, know when to hold them and know when to fold them -- she'll see what's up before doing anything, either way.

        ...And to be honest, this village is a little strange. There are a few things here and there that nag at Josie, little wriggling questions in the back of the mind. Things she'd like to ask about.
        But even someone like Josie, who lives by the seat of her pants, still knows the difference between asking the hard questions and having a place to sleep at night.

        Instead, her gaze lingers on the burgermeister as she continues her silent count of the necklaces she's seen.

        "...Basically what she said," Josie voices at last, picking up where Riesenlied begins on the subject of recent news. "War might be coming, if I'm one to judge." She rolls her shoulders, shifts her weight from one foot to another. "Believe me, it's the sort of conflict I've seen around before. And also..."

        Here the archaeologist breaks away from the group, walking over to a window which she pulls open, a wince coloring her expression in direct consequence. Leaning out it, she whistles.

        A whistle which is answered moments later by the flapping of wings. Penelope settles on Josie's outstretched arm.

        Josie... takes something from the perched bird and withdraws back inside.

        (It's slight of hand)

        Her gaze flicks down at the paper. "I've got confirmation on the stuff in the forest from an ally of mine out there -- it seems to be dug in. No wonder you've lost contact!"
        She pockets the scrap of paper, which in truth says no such thing. No such ally exists.

        "Might be a good time for you to look for help, if I'm speaking plainly."

DG: Josephine Lovelace has used her Tool Penelope toward her party's challenge, Meeting with the Burgermeister.
<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

        Honestly, Noeline is still waiting for the other shoe to drop; she's half expecting everyone with a silver necklace to abruptly reveal they're cultists, or Malevolence monsters, or the sworn enemies of the Seraphs, or-- something, at least. So she looks a bit nonplussed at the way they're ushered into the burgermeister's office without anything untoward happening, frowning a little at her incorrect assumption. It's not like her, someone who used to pride herself on her adventurous spirit.

        She bows with a flourish, glancing to one side for long enough to pick up on Riesenlied's stance, tilting her head just a little as she thinks of what she can add. Eventually, she lets out a little sigh, shaking her head as she straightens back up. "You should at least be aware that Althena has made a large number of edicts as of late - including the declaration that song and dance is against her faith, along with drink."

        She pauses, tracking back through her memory to try to remember if she saw a church there, and slowly frowns. "--it is not a decision that has particularly endeared her to many, especially with the Guard rather overstepping their bounds as of late. I do not agree with their stance in the least, personally, but-- I mention it in case you should meet any of their number." At the very least, keeping the village abreast of the latest rules will mean it doesn't get Leo coming down on the place like a ton of bricks, should he ever find it.

        She plants a hand on her hip, and lets out a sigh. "War is already here - or 'there', I suppose, thankfully," she responds to Josephine, with a rather complex frown as she furrows her brow. "And someone is getting very, very imaginative when it comes to their weapons development. Bombs, gunsmoke ARMs and more... someone is certainly meddling in it," she mutters, more for the benefit of everyone else present.

DG: Noeline has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Meeting with the Burgermeister.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

"Trust me. An angry crowd can be a real monster." Jacqueline replies with a friendly chuckle. She knows what she means, though, and doesn't take it seriously.

Once that's done, however, Jacqueline is finally able to get her supply delivery taken care of, at which point it's suggested that they meet with the Burgermeister again.

Jacqueline readily agrees, of course - it was an important part of the job to make a report after the fact.

"Oh, it's no trouble...I am a merchant, I do this all the time. The Caravan Kinship is always willing to help those in need!" Jacqueline replies with a bright smile.

She leans back, then, and lets the others talk freely. She'd already told him everything she knew - it hadn't been that long since she'd been here, after all. Certainly not long enough for anything big to happen.

She does listen intently to what they have to say, though, curious to get their takes on the situation at hand.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Meeting with the Burgermeister.
<Pose Tracker> Elhaym van Houten has posed.

 
As they are brought to the local chieftain, part of Elly wants to just lay the f down and nap. She keeps getting bounced around. But, after a moment of frustration and a brief interior pout, she straightens up as they're brought forwards.

Xantia and Riesenlied have solid news. Others speak of warnings and recommendations. They speak of the Guard, and that does make Elly fret - especially when Noeline is the conduit of a religious instruction, albeit skeptically.

They've said everything they need to. That means, Elly thinks, I can be a tiny bit selfish.

"... Sometime," Elly says, "people may come here, who look a little like me... or with blonde hair, or who talk," and she puts on an accent that's hard to really place, having some aspects of German, Aramaic and inexplicable linguistic drift, "a bit like this, when they think that you are not listening."

A pause. Elly speaks normally again. "They'll act confident... probably even rude... or else they'll be very false, even if they're pleasant."

Another pause.

"... they're frightened," Elly says, "and far from home. So please... be gentle with them."

Her eyes turn to her toes. "They can't hurt you," she says. "Not here."

DG: Elhaym van Houten has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Meeting with the Burgermeister.
<Pose Tracker> Fei Fong Wong has posed.

Fei did think about the silver chain himself but ultimately he set it aside as a common kind of jewelry. He WANTS this town to be innocent despite his cynicism and perception and Fei is very good at convincing himself of a variety of things.

He looks over to Elly, eyes wide as she shares more than she likely knows. He works his mouth but fails to say anything. This is important to her, he realizes, he can't take this away. Not even for herself. Or her own safety. "Elly..." He says.

He lowers his head. He thinks about what he said not so long ago about Solaris to Gwen. He feels...guilty. It's not that he ever hated the people there, he certainly was mixed on the military but... It's just so like her, he supposes, to watch out for them even to such an extent like this. He wishes he felt like they could appreciate what Elly's doing here but he suspects they'll never know...and if they do, won't take kindly to it.

Of course, that accent is familiar. Does Xantia remember? It's an accent that sounds something like Xantia has heard before, on a language that Xantia has heard before.

This is a pickle. I should kill all of you, but... ...you're not the ones who took out several of my team members.

And then in the language itself.

Be careful of where you lead your lambs

It's familiar to Jaqueline too.

Fei of course, swallows faintly and says, "I can...draw pictures of them for you if you'd like. I...think you should be accomodating to them, if they show up. Well--" He manages a smile. "If you treat them like you treated us, I'm sure it'll go just fine."

He looks over to Elly briefly and then adds, "Anyway aside from that, I think everybody else hit the main points. Whatever you're doin' has worked so far, so I wouldn't make any suggestions, but putting up a neighborhood watch just t'be on the safe side wouldn't hurt."

DG: Fei Fong Wong has used his Tool Artist's Toolkit toward his party's challenge, Meeting with the Burgermeister.
============================<* Burwich Village *>=============================
===============<* CHALLENGE - Meeting with the Burgermeister *>===============
|Type: Final       |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 It seems that your helpfulness has earned the attention of the man who is     
 responsible for governing the village: Silas Dee, a younger man with a        
 short-trimmed black beard. The Burgermeister's home is the only three-story   
 house in the village, and you are escorted within. He looks up at you -- and  
 smiles, perhaps unknowingly about your involvement with some of his kin.      
                                                                               
 "Welcome, outlanders," he says. "I appreciate the help you have done. I do,   
 however, ask of you one more thing: what news of the outside world? We've     
 been worried, of late, and have little contact. Most of our Hunters have      
 been worried about Josiah, and... we've not made the rounds."                 
                                                                               
 OOC: The goal of this challenge is to impress the Burgermeister with your     
 knowledge. You can also, optionally, give him information to influence him    
 towards one group or another on Lunar -- for instance, to make him wary or    
 trusting of Althena's Guard. The end results will influence how the third     
 Dig in this trilogy goes. Please note your results here, including the title  
 of the Discovery received (if any; no Landmarks or Escapes, please):          
                                                                               
 https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1PLHycl8XSs9MO-jKurg-Vb5snrijoLwzWCIx  
 IJx2Wjk/edit?usp=sharing                                                      
=Dungeon Conditions: Secret===================================================
=======================<* Burwich Village - Round 5 *>========================
=================< Results - Meeting with the Burgermeister >=================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fei Fong Wong                       35 --(5)--> 40                 Pass
Artist's Toolkit                    2   Wits    Effects: Enlighten            
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Josephine Lovelace                  35 --(5)--> 40                 Fail
Penelope                            3   Wits    Effects: Resilient and Liabili
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Elhaym van Houten                   45 --(5)--> 50                 Fail
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Barber                   35 --(5)--> 40                 Pass
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xantia                              30 --(5)--> 35                 Fail
Guide to Dungeoneering              1   Wits    Effects: Rally and Stalwart   
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Riesenlied                          35 --(5)--> 40                 Pass
Dragon's Tear                       1   Wits    Effects: Cleanse              
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Noeline                             45 --(5)--> 50                 Pass
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC                
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Fei Fong Wong               75 --(35)--> 110               Pass
Conditions: Fright(1)|Secret(2)
Effects: Cleanse|Enlighten(1)|Resilient(1)
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: You have overcome the dungeon's trials! This run is a success!
DG: The party led by Fei Fong Wong has successfully explored Burwich Village!
============================<* Burwich Village *>=============================
==================<* CHALLENGE - Broken Chains of Silver *>===================
|Type: Discovery   |Dungeon Ability: Conclusion|Challenge Rating: 2          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 As you leave the Burgermeister's home and make your back to the inn, you      
 catch sight of something upon the ground. A gleam of silver. Reaching down,   
 you find a few broken chains of a silver necklace -- like the one worn by     
 every villager that you have seen so far.                                     
=Dungeon Conditions: Secret===================================================
<Pose Tracker> Xantia has posed.

The Burgermeister waves off Jay's modesty with a smile. "I'd hardly say the typical merchant would brave the dangers you have so readily. We are in your debt."

Xantia doesn't really say much that the Burgermeister hasn't already heard (and he is not charmed by her little saying), but the regarding the forest supplies by Riesenlied do catch his attention. "Truly, Malevolence you say?" With Josie's additional confirmation, the Burgermeister slowly nods, only willing to concede, "We'll... consider enlisting assistance. To be frank, I have heard some disturbing reports on the Shepard, and if even he cannot be trusted..." Darn Hellions and their misinformation!

The Burgermeister nods to Noeline next. "You confirm a number of things that have been brought to my attention before. I'll see to it that the necessary preparations are made." What exactly that means is not elaborated on.

And then there's Elly, whose description of possible visitors make the Burgermeister frown. "That's a rather strange description, vague in some ways, oddly detailed in others, and somewhat contradictory. I can see you're not telling me everything, so forgive me if I must be a bit cautious in my promises." Fei then adds his support, which alleviates the situation somewhat. "Very well... I'll see what I can do. You've given me no reason to doubt you have our best interests at heart."

Xantia remained quiet during the rest of the conversation, but she directed a more complicated expression than she typically wears to Elly after she spoke in that accent. It's not hard to tell that something about that surprised Xantia, but she soon averts her eyes again. She looks like she's thinking about something a moment longer, before she shakes her head, and a more neutral expression returns. Now's not the time... but she certainly has questions.

And thus, upon conclusion of theit business at the Burgermeister, the party returns to the inn for that long-awaited food. But not before running across some broken silver chains along the way. Even Xantia instantly knows what they are, it was hard not to notice. But what does it mean...?

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline smiles, and then glances in the direction of the Burgermeister when he mentions the Shepherd.

"I've met him myself. He's a good man...though he is only one man. There's only so much he can do. I can vouch for his character, however." She comments.

When Elly speaks in that accent, Jacqueline looks at her. No, perhaps it is more accurate to say that she looks in her direction. There's some familiarity there. The way she spoke...it reminded her of something.

Someone.

Someone from several months ago and a planet away.

Jacqueline frowns, and stows this information away for later. She likes Elly - she doesn't want to trouble her, if she can help it.

And those broken silver chains...

Somehow, that fills her with almost as much fear as the howl she heard last night.

Maybe Burwich isn't as nice and pleasant as she thought.

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

        Riesenlied bows her head softly and expresses, "I... see... I can vouch that he and his retinue do strive to do good work -- and there are his Squires, who are just as capable..."

        But she leaves the decision to him. Ultimately, she does not govern this village, nor would she wish to influence its course too hard in any one way. What they believe as peculiar and strict by Althena may not be so peculiar to all Lunarians, after all...

        She does pause when Xantia finds the chains, though, and she glances down. "... why are these... here?"

        A longer pause, as she shakes her head and softly sighs. "... I hope that Hunter is all right. Josiah, was it?"

        Still, they had a nice enough day that she can't help but think that this was a plus overall -- they've got a long road ahead to Volgran Forest, and next, the Earthspire Mountains where the Metal Dragon awaits them....

<Pose Tracker> Fei Fong Wong has posed.

FEI MEANWHILE...

...doesn't seem to notice the silver chains. If he acts like they aren't there, he's reasoned, he can keep pretending this is a nice village with only normal village secrets.

<Pose Tracker> Elhaym van Houten has posed.

 
Elly just figured they have a silver mine in the hills or something.

<Pose Tracker> Josephine Lovelace has posed.

        In the end, it's up to the people here to decide what to do. For their own good or ill, it's their decision.
        Though that won't stop her from attempting to weight that decision in her favor... particularly if there's coin to be had.

        And so, out they go.

        "Hmm," Josie muses aloud as she watches the chains dance in the light.

        "Say, Noeline... would you mind giving me one of those coins you won?"

        She grins, a grin that doesn't really meet her eyes. "I've always wanted a lucky coin or two."

<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

        The response that Noeline gets is-- noncommittal, but that seems to be more or less what she was expecting; she answers it with a nod of what appears to be genuine respect, and then turns to slip away with the others.

        "Well-- frankly, I'm astounded," she huffs to the rest of the group as they convene to figure out what to do next. "We are still alive, got some decent tales and a prize or two, and the entire place didn't even turn out to be a Malevolent nightmare. Whatever is up with that village, they are at least very comfortable in themselves, I suppose."

        She seems upbeat about it, at least - and happy to leave it at that, instead giving Josephine a rather crooked glance and a grin. "While I don't mind, I'm not sure if it's particularly appropriate to try to rely on someone else's luck, you realize," she quips - but flicks one of them across, in any case.

<Pose Tracker> Josephine Lovelace has posed.

        "Oh, of course," Josie replies, as quick as a deer vanishing into the brush. She snaps the coin out of the air, then holds it up to the light between forefinger and thumb.

        "Don't they always say, 'you've got to make your own luck'?"