2018-09-27: Serpentine Menace of Legend

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DG: A party led by Catenna is now entering Binding Depths of Serpent's Coils.
DG: Party formation is now over. An Entry Challenge will now be drawn and displayed to the party.
=====================<* Binding Depths of Serpent's Coils *>======================
==========================================<* Leck Mines - Flooded - Round 6 *>==========================================
================<* CHALLENGE - Do The Whole Serpent Coil Again *>=================
|Type: Entry       |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
----------------------------< Challenge Information: >----------------------------
 The Serpent Coils are overrun. Some power here is causing something new to    
 emerge from the dark caverns that lay beneath the dungeon. Demi-human         
 creatures with pig snouts and swords, wobbling, aggressive slimes, armed and  
 armored lizardmen and even the very sand beneath your feet coming alive to    
 grasp you; all these things have populated the halls, formerly occupied by    
 more common Filgaian threats. There is only one real solution to get to the   
 deeper layer quickly: Run past everything in your way like a maniac.          
                                                                               
 The path deeper down is obvious enough, when you find it: A rupture in the    
 Serpent Coils' brickwork, leading down to long caves...and much, much older   
 bricks.                                                                       
=Dungeon Conditions: Slow=====================================================


==================================<* +CAMP -  *>==================================
======================<* Catenna - Zoa Priestess Catenna *>=======================
Brute: 5            Agility: 7          Wits: 7             Combat: 7           
Exhaustion: 0/100   
===================================<* Tools *>====================================
Available Tool Slots: 2       

1   Grappling Hook            2  Agility    Limit: 3/3 Effects: Quicken

2   Celesdue Medium           2  Combat     Limit: 3/3 Effects: Embolden

3   The Owlet                 1  Wits       Limit: 4   Effects: Cleanse

Basic Actions: Force, Investigate, Rush, Fight.

Ethius Hesiod       Brute: 7  Agility: 4  Wits: 4   Combat: 4 Exhaustion: 0/100  
Tools:           Spectral Lens, Powder Grenade, Hot Air Sack.
Jacqueline Barber   Brute: 4  Agility: 7  Wits: 8   Combat: 7 Exhaustion: 0/100  
Tools:           The Lifeweaver's Codex, Brewte Force, Rapid Remedy.
Mariel              Brute: 3  Agility: 7  Wits: 8   Combat: 4 Exhaustion: 0/100  
Tools:           Gimel Coin, Millennium Diary.
Cyre H. Lorentz     Brute: 5  Agility: 8  Wits: 7   Combat: 6 Exhaustion: 0/100  
Tools:           Invigorating Vapors, Reverse Parachute, Gale Claw.
Chime Isa           Brute: 4  Agility: 7  Wits: 8   Combat: 4 Exhaustion: 0/100  
Tools:           Path Maker, Cure-Alls.
===================================<* Party *>====================================
Party Leader:   Catenna                                 
Exploration:    0/100                                   
Effects:        Your party has no Effects active.
Conditions:	Slow(2).
================================< Dream Chasers >=================================
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

It feels like it's been a long time since Catenna has been to Serpent's Coils. Largely because it has been a long time.

And since then, things changed.

The caverns are overrun now; a horde of monsters fills the caverns, once easier than this to venture down. Catenna doesn't rush into them right away. She peeks out from around a corner, watching the way the pig monsters move, tracking how the Lizardmen clump together in the large gallery ahead of them. Looking back towards the little band with her, she holds a finger up to her lips before lowering her voice to barely a breath.

"We will have to dash through."

Catenna does not immediately dash. Uncoiling her grappling hook, she affixes a large rock to the other end of it, tying it tight. Then she steps out into view.

Immediately, the pig monsters squeal at her, but she's acting too quickly, hurling the head of the grappling hook towards an outcrop on a far wall. Monsters begin to rush at her as the hook bites in. The Shaman holds her hands out and chants a few words.

And then the rock end of the rope flies towards another wall. Several pig monsters and lizardmen topple with shrieks and squeals as gravity yanks the rock away and affixes it sideways to a wall, cutting off half the room with a tripline!

"RUN," Catenna shouts as she sprints through the remaining critters, hoping her tripline can keep a few off of them!

DG: Catenna has used her Tool Grappling Hook toward her party's challenge, Do The Whole Serpent Coil Again.
<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

You don't need to tell Cyre twice! Horrible pigmen are not at all what he wants to deal with in the middle of a possibly sandworm-infested hole in the ground! Fortunately, Catenna has an amazing solution to the problem of the vast squealing horde.

It's actually kind of cruel, honestly.

Like, if one of those pigs got caught in that, it might straight up behead them. And that'd just be messy! So much blood, everywhere.

Not that Cyre particularly cares.

"Right behind you!" The shaman whoops as he leaps out from cover, conjuring a vast gale of wind to buffet the mass of teeming monsters and keep them at bay. Now, one might ask why he's not just flying over the threat like he (being a cheatyfaced bastard) usually does.

Well, that's because his parachute is presently occupied.

You see, Waffles decided that he wanted to take an extended nap, and the comfiest thing around was A CERTAIN SHAMAN'S PARACHUTE. So Cyre had to leave it at home.

Under a wolf pup.

...He'll probably need to check it for holes after this. And, you know, wash it.

DG: Cyre H. Lorentz has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Do The Whole Serpent Coil
Again.
<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

Mariel has never been to Serpent's Coils in her life. Literally never. It is, in fact, the very first time she has been in a ruin at all, at least as anything other than 'leaving quickly'.

This is not a great introduction.

"Is it always - like this?" Mariel puffs, not really out of breath - she hasn't been running that long - but definitely exerting herself. She is wearing a slightly different robe than she wore to the Carakin; it has a built-in hood and mantle and looks a little harder-wearing. She is holding up the lower hem of her dress, or robe, or whatever it is so she can run faster without getting tangled up in the striped garment. You can see her shins!

Well, actually you can't; you can see the sensible leggings she wears under the robe, tucked into her travelling boots. But you could see her shins if they weren't there.

Fortunately for her and everyone, Mariel is faster than she looks. Being small and used to travelling on her own, Mariel has gotten pretty good at simply avoiding threats. It pays off.

DG: Mariel has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Do The Whole Serpent Coil Again.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

The Serpent's Coils - Jacqueline had been here a few times. To her knowledge this place was 'the place where ancient merchants kept all their ledgers, apparently', but she knew there must be other things concealed within its depths. And fortunately, this time they've actually remembered how to get there without any difficulties!

Unfortunately, all of the difficulties await them inside the ruins themselves, which...complicates things.

"Here...I'd advise holding onto some of these." Jacqueline says, passing out some potions to everyone. Catenna, then, gives the suggestion that they dash through. Jacqueline nods in agreement and waits for the signal to run.

Once Catenna shouts Jacqueline bolts, leaping clear over the trip line. In one smooth flourish she draws and invokes a Crest from her pouch and rotates as she flies, sending earth pillars rocketing out of the stonework to smash into the foes and knock the backwards, while also providing additional cover for her allies to duck behind.

"Not always, but sometimes! I think this might be a special case, though..." Jacqueline replies to Mariel as she touches down, then turns and begins to bolt again.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has used her Tool Rapid Remedy toward her party's challenge, Do The Whole Serpent Coil Again.
<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

    Ethius comes along, quietly and unnerving as he generally is. He's just sort of there. (Previously, while being just 'sort of there,' he went on one of his not-at-all missed habit of obsessively checking for landmines along the route.)
     "I must agree with Miss Catenna's assessment." Ethius remarks. He doesn't recognize what these creatures are - they don't match with the fauna he's seen about this region of Ignas, which means a whole host of things that probably all lead somewhere towards going 'Ethius, no.'
     But he's agreeing with Catenna, so that path that leads to the inevitable 'Ethius, no' will be long-winded, indeed, unless the squealing of hostile pigmen and grabby slimes count as 'Ethius, no' in their own native tongue.
     As their cover is already blown, Ethius takes off running--
     He abruptly stops, throwing an arm back. Why? Why is he stopping--
     "The sand." Ethius remarks. "It is conscious." He could've just said 'quicksand' and they'd have the same idea, wouldn't they? Bringing this sand patch problem to their reckoning, Ethius hurriedly (but expertly) gets the harness for the Hot Air Sack on one of his wrists and goes through the Symbological casting motions to fill it with hot air so that he may float over these sand patches. He does not do so very quickly - but he's trading out one threat in exchange for probable vulnerability for anything with ranged weapons... like throwing spears.

DG: Ethius Hesiod has used his Tool Hot Air Sack toward his party's challenge, Do The Whole Serpent Coil Again.
<Pose Tracker> Chime Isa has posed.

    Chime moves along with the group, having been invited to see what was happening at Serpent's Coil. One of the older, storied ruins in the area. And one she hadn't been to in some time! So revisiting is always nice.

    As the group enters the Coil, Chime adjusts the straps of her backpack. Just in time for the sudden rush of monsters. And the excellent suggestions to run! The quick sudden movements mean her vest starts jingling with all it's loose objects and her toolbox also makes a soft thunk noise on hard landings or dodges.

    "Oh my~" the elven ARMs Meister giggles, "That's a start~ I don't remember this placing being quite - umff -" a leap making her pause "this hostile." she chimes cheerfully as she runs along with the group nimbly dodging problems as best she can.

DG: Chime Isa has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Do The Whole Serpent Coil Again.
=====================<* Binding Depths of Serpent's Coils *>======================
================<* CHALLENGE - Do The Whole Serpent Coil Again *>=================
|Type: Entry       |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
----------------------------< Challenge Information: >----------------------------
 The Serpent Coils are overrun. Some power here is causing something new to    
 emerge from the dark caverns that lay beneath the dungeon. Demi-human         
 creatures with pig snouts and swords, wobbling, aggressive slimes, armed and  
 armored lizardmen and even the very sand beneath your feet coming alive to    
 grasp you; all these things have populated the halls, formerly occupied by    
 more common Filgaian threats. There is only one real solution to get to the   
 deeper layer quickly: Run past everything in your way like a maniac.          
                                                                               
 The path deeper down is obvious enough, when you find it: A rupture in the    
 Serpent Coils' brickwork, leading down to long caves...and much, much older   
 bricks.                                                                       
=Dungeon Conditions: Slow=====================================================
================<* Binding Depths of Serpent's Coils - Round 1 *>=================
==================< Results - Do The Whole Serpent Coil Again >===================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Catenna                             0 --(5)--> 5                   Fail
Grappling Hook                      2   Agility Effects: Quicken              
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cyre H. Lorentz                     0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC                
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ethius Hesiod                       0 --(5)--> 5                   Fail
Hot Air Sack                        2   Agility Effects: Resilient            
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Barber                   0 --(5)--> 5                   Fail
Rapid Remedy                        1   Agility Effects: Cleanse              
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mariel                              0 --(5)--> 5                   Fail
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC                
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Chime Isa                           0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------< Party >-------------------------------------
Leader: Catenna                     0 --(20)--> 20                 Pass
Conditions: Slow(2)
Effects: Cleanse|Quicken(1)|Resilient(1)
================================< Dream Chasers >=================================
DG: The party led by Catenna has passed this challenge! The party gained 20 exploration! If anyone needs to use party
management commands, do so now. Otherwise, the next round's GM may begin the next round with +dungeon/draw.
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

"SSSSCREW THISSS, WE'RE GOING HOME," the lizardmen shout as they peace right on out of the dungeon by means of a Duplicator. Somehow. Whoops.

"Sometimes it is worse," Catenna admits with a wince as she looks back at Mariel, in mid-dash. She jukes past a particularly pesky pig. Fortunately she wore her light armour and airy silver-blue pants; nimble rolling is easier in an outfit that's not long and skirty.

The sand, she wasn't counting on. Ethius Hesiod, however, was. The CaraKin's most stoic member floats up over the sand as it attempts to grab his ankles.

It does manage to grab Catenna's. With a yelp, she staggers - nearly tumbling into a charging pig. But she's able to whip her sword out and slash through the monster, severing its arm as she dashes by.

A slime drips from the ceiling and globs towards Ethius; he's able to sneak past it with some effort. When Jacqueline jumps, meanwhile, more slimes globe out to try and impede her. Her foot lands in one. It's sloppy and gross. When Mariel dashes along, she too is accosted by the sand; it grabs at her ankles, but she's just able to jerk free.

By contrast, Cyre and Chime have the easiest time. The pair scoot on past while the critters are occupied with the other four - and ultimately they're left waiting a minute or so for the others before everyone manages to form up on Cyre.

Catenna winces and wipes blood from her sword. "Everyone okay?"

DG: Mariel has drawn a new Challenge.
====================<* Binding Depths of Serpent's Coils *>=====================
=======================<* CHALLENGE - A Sunken Bridge *>========================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 A moat of miasmic muck, water poisoned by the spiritual air here, stands      
 between you and the next chamber door. There's a mechanism, just visible      
 through the sludge, that should bring up a bridge, but you'll need to find    
 some switches to activate it. One seems obvious enough, right next to it,     
 but stepping on it does nothing. Maybe there's another around here            
 somewhere?                                                                    
=Dungeon Conditions: Stupify==================================================
<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

Mariel makes a surprised squeaking sound when the sand grabs at her, but manages to get free by the simple expedient of putting her other boot on top of it, stomping, and then running again. She almost loses the boot, and has to hop for a couple steps to get it back on straight.

But the group gets away from the monsters and to the rupture in the brickwork. Mariel waits to not be the first one in. "It's pretty dark..." She roots around in her bag for a few moments and comes out with a vial and a paper twist with powder in it. She opens the vial, puts the powder into the liquid filling it, closes it back up and shakes vigorously.

The little tube glows with an eerie green light, the colour of foxfire mushrooms growing on wood but much, much brighter. But it works for a torch as Mariel holds it up, revealing a flooded section - or not unintentionally flooded, judging by the moatwork and the sludge. "Um," Mariel says, as she shines her weird green light around, holding it between two fingers and up high to show more of the room. The first switch is obvious, and she prods it with a foot, but...

"Oh! Would it have fallen under the mud?" Mariel looks so earnest about her guess. She reaches back into her bag with the hand not holding the light, pulling out a slim book. ...it looks like it might be a copied Drifter story...

DG: Mariel has used her Tool Millennium Diary toward her party's challenge, A Sunken Bridge.
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Catenna takes a moment to catch her breath once they're all free of the critters.

Through the brickwork they go; Catenna goes ahead of Mariel, blinking in the darkness, before looking over with a little nod of recognition when Mariel lights up the fungi. It'll do. The tunnel ahead is... less promising than the light.

Wordlessly, Catenna crinkles her nose. She takes stock of how thick the muck is, shielding her nose with one hand to keep from inhaling any more of the murk than she needs to. Easing carefully along the edge of the muck, she takes stock of the switch, then leans over a little to try in vain to spot anything under the water.

She goes to plan B: From her inventory, she produces a simple traveler's stave. It's long, it's wood, and god only knows how she stowed it. RPG inventories, man.

With care, Catenna dips the end of the stick into the murk. She bites the tip of her tongue as she probes through the grime, attentive to the feel of the stick against whatever's under there, as though hoping it will catch on the edge of some covered switch.

DG: Catenna has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, A Sunken Bridge.
<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

Sometimes, being part cat has its advantages.

Like, in terms of reflexes specifically right this minute, but there are a whole host of other ones too. Like claws and teeth, excellent hearing, amazing balance and of course...

Eyes that light up all spookylike the minute Mariel whips out her amazing glow-in-the-dark mushroom powder. "Yeah, I'm good," Cyre says, patting softly at Catenna's shoulder, "You alright? Saw you take a bit of a spill back there."

Beat.

Oh. They need to find a switch. Hm. Cyre furrows his brow and stares meaningfully at the muck. He COULD join the others in wading through that mess, or...

Cyre... cranes his head up.

Is the other switch... On the ceiling!?

DG: Cyre H. Lorentz has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward his party's challenge, A Sunken Bridge.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

The sand is alive!? That wasn't something Jacqueline was expecting...and the slimes grab at her as she touches down. She kicks at them repeatedly, and in the end it slows her down a little. She does eventually manage to catch up to them.

"Y-yes, I'm fine..." Jacqueline says, a little out of breath. She takes a sip of the potion she had kept for herself and proceeds forward into the gap.

Mariel helpfully provides a light for them as they proceed and Jacqueline frowns as she looks around. She folds her arms in front of her with a pensive look on her face, and then looks to Mariel.

"Hmm...maybe. I'm going to take a look." She says, breaking off from the group. She doesn't stray too far, just looking for any signs of switches that might be more subtly hidden.

She keeps a Crest Graph firmly on hand - both to defend herself with and both to cast something to hit the switch if she finds it and its somewhere she can't reach.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, A Sunken Bridge.
<Pose Tracker> Chime Isa has posed.

    Chime cheerfully hums as she darts through the hallways to the end, saying postively to those she passes "You can do it!" "Keep up, not much further!" or "You got it, keep going!" in her bright cheerful voice. By the time she's at the rupture with Cyre, she pokes a toe at it asking idly "That was fun wasn't it?" as others catchup.

    Down and away they go! Till a bridge amiss stops the journey. As Mariel tries to activate the appearent bridge, Chime looks down into the muck and make a silly face at it before moving to look around the immediate area careful, pulling out a small book to consult the back of. The book of cure-alls might have a suggestion for anyone that ends up in the muck~

    "Hopefully the switch is on this side, instead of on the other side like an intelligent defended chokepoint would be set up!" she says in a cheerful amused voice as she looks around.

DG: Chime Isa has used her Tool Cure-Alls toward her party's challenge, A Sunken Bridge.
<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

    Ethius has a heck of a time with that slime. It's a weird cadence between him and said slime, like there's something the slime wants in specific that it thinks Ethius has, but doesn't. He doesn't ask it, it probably can't say why, and neither would be of the inclination to want to reach any sort of verbal consensus in which to allow the former safe passage, so it ends with melting sludge as he's one of the last to duck into safety.
     "That is quite possible... Miss Mariel." Ethius looms, hand to his forehead. "I can usually ascertain the location of connected mechanisms." With his mind?! Oh, no, with the monocle-like lens he takes out from under his poncho, going through the casting motions to impart a small yield of electrical power within it. With a soft teal-ish glow, he brings it to one of his eyes and tries to look at the mechanism Mariel prods with a foot, the muck... at one point the bioluminescent mushrooms, in which he takes the lens off his eye and stares at for a second...
     Then back to a general room sweep while the light is still there. If the connection points out where any other component (switch, etc.) is hidden, he can point it out to the rest.

DG: Ethius Hesiod has used his Tool Spectral Lens toward his party's challenge, A Sunken Bridge.
====================<* Binding Depths of Serpent's Coils *>=====================
=======================<* CHALLENGE - A Sunken Bridge *>========================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 A moat of miasmic muck, water poisoned by the spiritual air here, stands      
 between you and the next chamber door. There's a mechanism, just visible      
 through the sludge, that should bring up a bridge, but you'll need to find    
 some switches to activate it. One seems obvious enough, right next to it,     
 but stepping on it does nothing. Maybe there's another around here            
 somewhere?                                                                    
=Dungeon Conditions: Stupify==================================================
===============<* Binding Depths of Serpent's Coils - Round 2 *>================
=========================< Results - A Sunken Bridge >==========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Catenna                             5 --(0)--> 5                   Fail
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC                
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cyre H. Lorentz                     0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC                
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ethius Hesiod                       5 --(0)--> 5                   Fail
Spectral Lens                       2   Wits    Effects: Enlighten            
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Barber                   5 --(0)--> 5                   Fail
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC                
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mariel                              5 --(0)--> 5                   Pass
Millennium Diary                    2   Wits    Effects: Enlighten            
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Chime Isa                           0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Cure-Alls                           1   Wits    Effects: Cleanse              
-----------------------------------< Party >------------------------------------
Leader: Catenna                     20 --(20)--> 40                Pass
Conditions: Stupify(2)
Effects: Cleanse|Enlighten(1)
===============================< Dream Chasers >================================
DG: The party led by Catenna 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> Mariel has posed.

Her book wasn't helpful. Mariel tucks it away again, though she keeps the light raised, which is doing its own good.

The impression she gives is that she's trying to be excited so that she isn't so unsettled and afraid. It's only sort of working. She seems pretty on edge.

"Why would they put it on the far side? It's not useful if they're so far apart..." Mariel says, because she's not the sort of person that thinks about choke points. Then again, if she was setting it up, she'd just use one switch; why make it more complicated than it needs to be? That just makes it more likely to break.

"I don't think anyone would put it on the ceiling - "

*click*

Mariel looks up. Huh. Well, maybe there's a reason she needs experience.

DG: Ethius Hesiod has drawn a new Challenge.
========================================<* Binding Depths of Serpent's Coils *>=========================================
===========================================<* CHALLENGE - Corrupted Lagoon *>===========================================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
-----------------------------------------------< Challenge Information: >-----------------------------------------------
 The vast crystalline cavern complex opens up into a tremendous underground    
 lagoon. Once, this place glistened with the enticing purity of underground,   
 unsullied water. Drifters who visited the upper layers of the Serpent Coils   
 may even have caught glimpse of that, on their way out of the caverns. Those  
 times are over.                                                               
                                                                               
 The underground lake now sits thick, pulsing with some foul internal light.   
 This isn't Malevolence, but the taste of it is frustratingly similar, as the  
 thick air swirls with motes of purple light around you. There are a series    
 of platforms that will let you leap from here to another outcropping, which   
 leads down to a deeper floor. Touching the sludge this water has become is    
 not immediately deadly, but it's DEEPLY uncomfortable, and could burn badly   
 if you stay in too long.                                                      
=Dungeon Conditions: Exhaust==================================================
<Pose Tracker> Chime Isa has posed.

    Chime pats Mariel lightly on the back, saying "Switches wind up in all sorts of wierd places~ They're a sort of defensive mechanism after all! Good job Cyre!" she calls out to the shaman for spotting the switch cheerfully.

<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

    Before, and there was a before for many of them, they may have caught sight of a great reservoir of fresh, mirror-like water. Ethius doesn't recall going down this particular passage, so he doesn't have that happy sight to go by - instead, he throws his arm out again (it's kind of dark, someone might bump into it).
     "Look below." That is not usually sound advice to give to stop people from being anxious about the situation, but it is worth looking below - there is an underground lake that is pulsing with a light unseen prior. It doesn't look right. It doesn't feel right. It's not scent, it's a kind of feel. This isn't Malevolence. This isn't also some chemical concoction gone wrong. This is just plain wrong, as purple motes bubble about.
     "Take care as you move." Ethius says as he goes through the usual preparatory steps to get the Hot Air Sack going. The platforms are mostly at the same elevation level, only descending, so in theory he should have an all right time crossing slowly, stone by stone, to drift across. He's willing to help carry one or two people who are less certain of their footing.

<Pose Tracker> Chime Isa has posed.

    As the group areas at the now toxic reservoir, Chime actually pouts. "Awww, that's awful." she says sadly, looking over the tainted sludge that now sits in the reservoir. "Hrrrmmm." as she stands on the edge looking around, her smile slowly returning as she studies the way across.

    "Oh, well, that at least looks fun right?" nodding at the platforms as she begins to check and adjust her backpack straps and watching Ethius' clever clever hot air sack. Then she's off dashing and jumping from platform to platform to the other side, confident in her skills.

DG: Chime Isa has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Corrupted Lagoon.
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

"I will be alright," Catenna assures Cyre with a quiet smile. She leans over to briefly rest her cheek against his shoulder. "Thank you."

The reservoir was distantly familiar to Catenna; maybe she was there or aybe it was just described to her. But what's down here is even worse. As she looks down at the lagoon below, the Moon Shaman stares for a second.

And then her eyes grow wide. She curses softly to herself in Zortroan, recoiling a little and pressing herself up against the doorway. A little of the colour drains from her cheeks.

It takes her a few seconds to begin to pull her rope out again. "Cyre," she hisses, reaching out to tug urgently at his sleeve. "That substance down there... it is the same thing that tainted the Great White Owl. The Demon King's Malice...."

Visibly tense and unnerved, Catenna manages to cast her grappling hook across the gap. But even when she moves to cross the lagoon, she takes care. She lines up her jump meticulously, eyeing the sludge below warily. "...To find it here," she whispers, voice pinched, before she jumps and tries to swing over the substance as fast as she can

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

In the end, Jacqueline is unsuccessful in her search, but at the very least its an uneventful one rather than a dangerous one. She arrives to find the bridge already up, and beams brightly.

"Good work, everyone!" She says. Inwardly, though, she can't help but feel a little uneasy...the atmosphere of this place was unsettling. It was like Malevolence, but at the same time there was something...different about it. Something she couldn't place. She shivers slightly as she proceeds over the bridge, a little worried she might fall in.

She doesn't as she passes over the bridge...but the path stops abruptly before they get too far. Fortunately, Ethius stops them.

"...Y-yeah..." Jacqueline agrees with a nod. She takes another sip from her potion, which might prompt others to do the same. She also reaches into her pouch of Crests, drawing one and invoking it. This time, she creates a small sphere of light. She bids it to float forward ahead of them, stopping at each platform in turn so that people can see it clearly in the darkness.

She glances toward Chime, and then laughs nervously.

"I-I don't know if this is my idea of 'fun'..." She murmurs, making her next leap. She pauses at one platform, though, glancing toward Catenna.

...The Demon King's Malice. Jacqueline remembered what Catenna had told them of it...and what it had caused.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has used her Tool Rapid Remedy toward her party's challenge, Corrupted Lagoon.
<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

This place is definitely more unsettling than it was before. At first Mariel put it down to nerves and being in a ruin and not knowing what the heck was going on, along with the vague unease she has all the time now that her bond with Filgaia is quiet, but now she can't ignore it or put it down to being frightened.

Mariel swallows. She can't bring herself to reply to Chime immediately, but instead moves over to the sludge, poking one mittened hand about five millimeters in. She pulls it out almost immediately, some of that purple light clinging to the very tips of her fingers before Mariel desperately wipes it off on more-or-less clear rock.

"I don't like it," she says, which may be strictly unnecessary. Nobody should like that. "It's... something wrong." Mariel finds herself edging toward the known shamans in the group - Catenna, Cyre - as if she was going to hide behind them.

There is no way for her to hide behind them when jumping is required. Mariel takes it slow and careful, leaping only when she's sure she can make it. She does not want to touch that - for the humans (and elves, and beastmen, and so forth) it would be bad, but if she gets dunked in that she doesn't want to think about what she would feel climbing out.

DG: Mariel has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Corrupted Lagoon.
<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

Cyre flashes a thumbs up as he pushes down on the hidden bridge switch! From... upside-down. On the ceiling.

...

Best not to worry about how he got up there.

Deeper and deeper into the bowels of the earth they go. Cyre has been to the Serpent's Coils several times before, and yet he's never quite seen... this before.

The water he remembers. But the corruption? The awful, sickly, spiritual malaise gripping the land?

That is something he certainly does not remember. Not here anyway. The sight conjures uncomfortable images of his homeland, soaked in malevolence and the despair in the darkness of human hearts. But this feels... Similar, though also different.

One thing's for sure, he doesn't want to fall in.

"Careful now," Cyre murmurs, covering his nose and mouth with the sleeve of his robes. "I don't like the looks of--" He glances toward Catenna, then immediately goes so much more tense. "...Damnit. What does this even mean, that it's here...? Stay close, be sure not to fall in."

Cyre takes hold of the rope and makes sure it's steady before shuffling along after Catenna. There's no way he wants either of them taking a swim in... That muck. "Yeah. It's... We've encountered it before," he says back at Mariel. "Corruption, drawn by hatred and resentment toward the world. It's... It's not good."

DG: Ethius Hesiod has used his Tool Hot Air Sack toward his party's challenge, Corrupted Lagoon.
DG: Cyre H. Lorentz has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Corrupted Lagoon.
DG: Catenna has used her Tool Grappling Hook toward her party's challenge, Corrupted Lagoon.
========================================<* Binding Depths of Serpent's Coils *>=========================================
===========================================<* CHALLENGE - Corrupted Lagoon *>===========================================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
-----------------------------------------------< Challenge Information: >-----------------------------------------------
 The vast crystalline cavern complex opens up into a tremendous underground    
 lagoon. Once, this place glistened with the enticing purity of underground,   
 unsullied water. Drifters who visited the upper layers of the Serpent Coils   
 may even have caught glimpse of that, on their way out of the caverns. Those  
 times are over.                                                               
                                                                               
 The underground lake now sits thick, pulsing with some foul internal light.   
 This isn't Malevolence, but the taste of it is frustratingly similar, as the  
 thick air swirls with motes of purple light around you. There are a series    
 of platforms that will let you leap from here to another outcropping, which   
 leads down to a deeper floor. Touching the sludge this water has become is    
 not immediately deadly, but it's DEEPLY uncomfortable, and could burn badly   
 if you stay in too long.                                                      
=Dungeon Conditions: Exhaust==================================================
===================================<* Binding Depths of Serpent's Coils - Round 3 *>====================================
=============================================< Results - Corrupted Lagoon >=============================================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Catenna                             5 --(0)--> 5                   Pass
Grappling Hook                      2   Agility Effects: Quicken              
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cyre H. Lorentz                     0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ethius Hesiod                       5 --(15)--> 20                 Fail
Hot Air Sack                        2   Agility Effects: Resilient            
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Barber                   5 --(0)--> 5                   Pass
Rapid Remedy                        1   Agility Effects: Cleanse              
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mariel                              5 --(15)--> 20                 Fail
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Chime Isa                           0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC                
-------------------------------------------------------< Party >--------------------------------------------------------
Leader: Catenna                     40 --(20)--> 60                Pass
Conditions: Exhaust(1)
Effects: Cleanse|Quicken(1)|Resilient(1)
===
DG: The party led by Catenna 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> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

    Whispers are given about the Demon King's Malice. That is something a number of them do have some experience with, back at Titan's Roost. Just as it seems the exposition that might follow would find time to happen in-between careful platforming segments...
     The platform that Mariel and Ethius come to gives out underneath them! It collapses into the muck, splashing everywhere and introducing to the two of them a new, frightening sequence in which to run up the length of the toppled platform as the rising levels of Formerly Water nip at their heels. It's a harrowing, narrow escape for them to catch back up with the rest - they might even need some last-minute assistance to make the last, dramatic jump - but the group is thus ready to leave the whole muck behind and get to the heart of why that is here.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has drawn a new Challenge.
===================<* Binding Depths of Serpent's Coils *>====================
===================================<* Binding Depths of Serpent's Coils - Round 3 *>====================================
=======================<* CHALLENGE - Failing Floor *>========================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 1          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 You barely get ten feet into this long room's dirt floor before someone's     
 foot punches entirely through the floor. Recovery from that one is easy       
 enough, but it's clear the floor is bad here. You'll have to walk             
 carefully....or, run like hell and hope the ground doesn't crumble until      
 you're no longer standing on it.                                              
=Dungeon Conditions: Hesitate=================================================


<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline yelps as the platform Mariel and Ethius come to starts to collapse. She reaches out, aiming to help pull either of them to safety if it looks like they might need a little help.

"L-let's proceed carefully...it looks like the ground might be getting a little stable here..." Jacqueline urges. She leads the others into the next room and draws an extendable stirring rod from within her bags, using it to poke and prod the floor ahead of her experimentally. Her caution pays off when, at one point, the section of floor she pokes starts collapsing. This gives her enough time to move to safety, but it does make one thing clear - this room isn't safe.

"Try to avoid making any sudden movements..." She says. She's not sure how much it would take to cause bits of floor to drop...whether individual sections, or the entire thing at once.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has used her Tool Rapid Remedy toward her party's challenge, Failing Floor.
<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

The Demon King's Malice...

Mariel says, "Then definitely don't touch it," as she carefully lines up her jump to the next platform. She makes the jump all right, but the platform drops down, splattering noxious liquid everywhere and especially over Mariel, who was right on the platform.

The sound Mariel makes is a muffled squeak as she tries to not scream about it, with mixed success. It burns even as she tries to wipe it off, scraping it off her face - she discards her now-messy gloves entirely once she has gotten it off her face. Some of the violet sparks in the air follow her as she runs, trying to get away from the mess, up onto stable ground.

One of the downsides for Mariel is that, attuned as she is to the natural energies of a location, this isn't just gross mud and a toxic burning - it's actively spiritually vile in a way she would have trouble explaining, and now it's on her, seething. She gets away from the pit to a stable archway, and leans against it, breathing heavily with her head down - it looks more like she's going to be ill than anything else. Her cheeks have a distinct green cast to them and her ears have almost flattened against the side of her head.

She manages to take control of her stomach long enough to look up at the next room when Jay speaks, but her stomach does another flip when she pokes at the floor and makes part of it fall in. "I'm - " Mariel swallows, controlling her nausea, then finishes: "I'm light. Maybe I should go...?" The only person who's going to weigh less than her hear is Chime.

Mariel remains vigilant. She doesn't stomp through this room - she kind of shuffles, trying to spread her weight out and keep it balanced.

DG: Mariel has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Failing Floor.
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

"My people know a little of it," Catenna murmurs with a look towards Mariel. "It is what twisted the Owlet's mother into a monstrous creature... even a Totem of Celesdue was not immune...."

To find the Malice here has perturbed Catenna to no end. Her experience it was an utter negative, save for the fact that the Owlet came into her care that day... but even that required something she was none too happy to do.

The anxiety and tension show through her usual reserve. Her shoulders are stiff and her eyes are tight at the corners as she slips into the next room, collecting her rope. She brings an arched heel down onto the flooring -

It punches through. Malice glows in the muck beneath it.

Catenna gasps and recoils - but the floor shudders at her next step, too. "The floor!" she exclaims. She wobbles a bit and tries to bring her foot down more slowly.

It seems to help. Delicately, she proceeds to try and tiptoe her way veeeery cautiously across the floor, keeping her distance from the others in the hopes of not overburdening any few sections of the floor too much.

"But to find the Malice here... and in such quantities...." she worries, her voice very low.

<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

    Ethius, in comparison, seems to come out of there about as okay as he's going to - and even he has to take a moment to gather himself, hand to his forehead and everything. The platform appeared stable by his estimates. Why did it collapse? He has to consider whether or not the environs themselves might be actively conspiring to neutralize them.
     The sand definitely tried, earlier.
     Ethius takes a look at the Hot Air Sack. Turns out the slime from before did get a lick on it, and some of the patchy scrap cloth is looking frayed. It might burst if he pushes it too much harder, but still, he thinks the environs are going to try and game their sense of security.
     He's the last one to try. If it looks like the floor is going to start falling out from behind the group, that's his cue to give the Hot Air Sack one more burst of Symbologically-cast heat and drift through to help try to keep everyone from falling.

DG: Ethius Hesiod has used his Tool Hot Air Sack toward his party's challenge, Failing Floor.
DG: Catenna has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Failing Floor.
<Pose Tracker> Chime Isa has posed.

    When the pitted floor is discovered, Chime is towards the back of the group. And so she moves up to the entrance and watches everyone else go. "You can do it!" she cheers, fidgetting restlessly. "Don't fall~ You can find a path through!"

    The short elf adjust her vest and straps and crossbows as she watches and waits. She'll cheerfully shout out advice, happy thoughts, and cheer too for anyone that looks they need it!

    And once everyone else is safely across the rest elf eagerly dashes across the room, completely unworried by the hidden pits and jumping the visible ones with a nimbleness as she makes her way across.

    Once across, she'll ask cheerful, "So, this Malice is different than the other corruption stuff at the Sarced Grounds?"

</poem

 DG: Chime Isa has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Failing Floor.

 =====================<* Binding Depths of Serpent's Coils *>======================
 ===================================<* Binding Depths of Serpent's Coils - Round 3 *>====================================
 =========================<* CHALLENGE - Failing Floor *>==========================
 |Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Agility |Challenge Rating: 1 |
 ----------------------------< Challenge Information: >----------------------------
  You barely get ten feet into this long room's dirt floor before someone's
  foot punches entirely through the floor. Recovery from that one is easy
  enough, but it's clear the floor is bad here. You'll have to walk
  carefully....or, run like hell and hope the ground doesn't crumble until
  you're no longer standing on it.
 =Dungeon Conditions: Hesitate=================================================
 ------------------------------------< TOOLS >-------------------------------------
 |Player |Tool |Lvl|Ability|Effects |
 |Catenna |Rush |0 |Agility| |
 |Cyre H. Lorentz | | | | |
 |Ethius Hesiod |Hot Air Sack |2 |Agility|Resilient |
 |Jacqueline Barber |Rapid Remedy |1 |Agility|Cleanse |
 |Mariel |Rush |0 |Agility| |
 |Chime Isa |Rush |0 |Agility| |
 ================================< Dream Chasers >=================================

 DG: Cyre H. Lorentz has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Failing Floor.

 <Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.
<poem>"Malice and Malevolence," Cyre explains as he... conjures a brisk wind to try and blast the lingering muck off Mariel's robes. Clearly she's a little more spiritually sensitive than most-- or at the very least, REALLY hates being muddy. She seems uncomfortable, is what we're saying. "The latter is created from the inconsistencies in human beings, self-denial and self-rejection. The former... I don't know. It's different, some kind of... Like, liquid, spiritually puissant hatred. It's hard to describe."

Cyre shakes his head. It's almost as if the stuff itself is a liquefied curse on the land itself-- and yet, simultaneously alive...!

But, first, they have to deal with... This. Cyre frowns and carefully follows Catenna along, gingerly shifting his weight from foot to foot as he progresses, always ready to pounce just in case the floor gives way or... something.

===================<* Binding Depths of Serpent's Coils *>====================
=======================<* CHALLENGE - Failing Floor *>========================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 1          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 You barely get ten feet into this long room's dirt floor before someone's     
 foot punches entirely through the floor. Recovery from that one is easy       
 enough, but it's clear the floor is bad here. You'll have to walk             
 carefully....or, run like hell and hope the ground doesn't crumble until      
 you're no longer standing on it.                                              
=Dungeon Conditions: Hesitate=================================================
==============<* Binding Depths of Serpent's Coils - Round 4 *>===============
=========================< Results - Failing Floor >==========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Catenna                             5 --(0)--> 5                   Pass
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cyre H. Lorentz                     0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ethius Hesiod                       20 --(0)--> 20                 Pass
Hot Air Sack                        2   Agility Effects: Resilient            
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Barber                   5 --(0)--> 5                   Pass
Rapid Remedy                        1   Agility Effects: Cleanse              
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mariel                              20 --(0)--> 20                 Pass
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Chime Isa                           0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC                
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Catenna                     60 --(20)--> 80                Pass
Conditions: Hesitate(2)
Effects: Cleanse|Resilient(1)
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: The party led by Catenna 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> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline listens quietly as people discuss Malice, but she's a little too nervous to join in herself. She's a little wobbly as she steps through the room, which to her feels like a veritable minefield. She's not sure how many holes this floor can take...

...But, fortunately, she doesn't have to find out. One way or anothey, they all manage to make it to the other end without falling down into whatever lies beneath the floor. There might be a scare here and there, but it's over-all safe!

At least until they all get to the other end and the floor behind them cracks and crumbles into nothing, leaving them nowhere to go but forward.

Jacqueline pales a little.

"I-I'm sure there's another path back to the surface." She says uncertainly.

DG: Cyre H. Lorentz has drawn a new Challenge.
===================<* Binding Depths of Serpent's Coils *>====================
===================<* CHALLENGE - A Door With A BIG Lock *>===================
|Type: Climax      |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 This next chamber terminates in a massive door in gold and red. Although the  
 colors and materials seem like the chambers of a king, the door is also       
 blocked up and barricaded as though to keep something terrible inside.        
                                                                               
 There's no knocker, no magic puzzle: Just a single great big keyhole. You'll  
 need to find it somewhere else in the dungeon.                                
=Dungeon Conditions: Exhaust==================================================
<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

"I hope so," Cyre sighs, "We've been pretty lucky so far. At least it's just been that... gunk in liquid form. And not, like, infesting some kind of... giant... monster."

Beat.

There's a door.

It's a beautiful door. Regal. Royal, even. Covered in plush velvet with what must at least be gold-plated accents. If ever there was a door that screamed 'THERE IS A BOSS BEHIND THIS,' this one ranks way at the top of the list.

It's also locked.

Because of course it is.

"Uggggghhhhh," Cyre groans. "Anyone... Anyone see a key anywhere?"

Nope.

Because it's somewhere else in the dungeon.

But Cyre, Cyre is a devious rogue. And Cyre has had enough with trying to navigate this horrible, corruption-infested poop hole. Instead, Cyre is going to do what generations of adventurers before him have done.

He's going to try and PICK THE LOCK.

...

Of course, it's a very big lock, so he's going to have to be very careful with it and maybe use a very long stick to try and do the job.

If only someone here had some kind of DUPLICATOR KEY they could use...!

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Even from a bit of a distance, Catenna can tell Mariel is having trouble. She presses her lips together, watching the smaller woman for a moment, then eases a bit closer as if half-expecting she'll need to lend her a hand.

"It is very different," she answers Chime, not cheerful, just tense and quiet. "A Hellion can still think... this power turns creatures into mindless monsters. The Owlet's mother was tainted by it... it became a massive, insane monster, beyond any power to save. And the Demon King's Malice is not of Filgaia. It has been known to my people...."

She has a minute to explain that much because the locked door isn't doing them any favours in terms of getting out of here quickly. Catenna frowns as Cyre starts trying to pick the gigantic lock. Hands at her hips, she takes a step back and considers the massive door, her lips pressed into a flat line of anxiety. "It looks like it is meant to keep something in," she murmurs with a touch of worry.

She watches Cyre a moment longer, then raises her hand. "We will need to find the key," she says as she turns back and ducks out of the room. Checking across the weak floor they just passed, she scouts around for any side corridors. "It may be out of the way. There - behind that cracked wall. It looks like we could knock it down...."

Someone better have brought a bomb.

DG: Catenna has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, A Door With A BIG Lock.



<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

Mariel still looks like she's going to be sick, but at least she gets across the tottering room without anything falling under her feet. Once was enough.

As soon as she's in a stable chamber, Mariel plops down onto the ground, sitting with her knees pulled up toward her chin and her forehead resting on them. She does not immediately get up, instead taking those few moments to recover herself.

Mariel raises her head when she feels less likely that something is going to come out of it. She does not have a Duplicator key (seriously, why would she need one of THOSE) so Cyre is out of luck on that front. "Maybe it was under the last room..." Mariel says.

It takes her another couple moments to stand up, walk back to the door they entered and look down, shining her green light around to see if there is a big key in the area revealed by the collapsing floor. Maybe if she's lucky?

DG: Mariel has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, A Door With A BIG Lock.
DG: Cyre H. Lorentz has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward his party's challenge, A Door With A BIG Lock.
<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

    It's a good thing that they make it through there intact, because there is an airy 'pop' noise from the Hot Air Sack as it reaches its limits. Ethius has a bit of a rougher crouched landing even though he hardly falls more than a short ways. That just might be a stock animation. He silently makes up the rear when they come across the big door. He watches Cyre start to pick at it, as he brings a hand to his forehead.
     Catenna is familiar with what this is, he thinks. What train of logic does that led him to? What does that lead him to do? It would seem to be anything but 'stand there and watch Cyre try to pick the lock,' but that is exactly what he's doing... standing there.
     That's because he's busy listening intently to Catenna's exposition. "I can corroborate Miss Catenna's claims of the Owlet's mother." More importantly, the way she seems to frame it...
     "Then it is clear that this does not belong here." Which is good and all, but they still don't have a key. They go on a little side adventure through other rooms. Ethius has the eyeglass out to look for any weird activating mechanisms or traps or anything of the sort, when his attention is brought towards that cracked wall.
     "Perhaps I may be able to apply enough heat to render this no longer a cracked wall." He might make it into a welded shut wall. The horrors, the horrors! He holds a hand out as he begins the gesticulating components of a Symbological heat spell.

<Pose Tracker> Chime Isa has posed.

    Chime nods as she listens to Catenna, saying cheerful "I see~" with a mild air of understanding. The forty something elf is quick on the uptake. With that done, she moves to examine the lock, and then taps her chin.

    As Catenna mentions the wall, Chime pulls out her book of cure-alls and flips through it, reading outloud "Bomb-plants have a tendency to grow in caves, and can be used to blast open walls. But removing such plants requires great strength and ignites them on being pulled from their flower. In addition, the explosion from such plants can be used to put out fires should you be on fire, clear poisonous gases, and scare away animals! Nifty~" as she walks towards the cracked wall, or more to the round black orbish flower with green leaves.

    "Maybe?" she askes cheerfully reaching down and tugging on the flower and failing to pull it up. "Someone else want to try?" she askes motioning to the wierd plant convinently located near the cracked wall here. "I can't pluck it." as she holds up slender arms and shrugs helplessly. Someone needs a strength enhancing bracelet of some kind.

DG: Chime Isa has used her Tool Cure-Alls toward her party's challenge, A Door With A BIG Lock.
DG: Ethius Hesiod has used his Tool Spectral Lens toward his party's challenge, A Door With A BIG Lock.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

"...As far as we know." Jacqueline adds with an uncertain frown. It had to come from somewhere. For all they knew, it could be leaking off of something. For now, they'd just have to be careful as they moved forward. Of course, they don't get too far before they find themselves stopped by a massive locked door. The keyhole is also massive.

Jacqueline frowns again, then nods toward Catenna.

"...Yeah. Let's see here..." Jacqueline turns her attention back to the door. "Hmm...judging from the looks of this lock, I think we're looking for something massive. It's probably made of gold - or at least gold-plated - and it probably has an eye motif, just like this lock..."

Everyone else poses their own suggestions, and Jacqueline looks toward Chime as she points out an explosive plant.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, A Door With A BIG Lock.
===================<* Binding Depths of Serpent's Coils *>====================
===================<* CHALLENGE - A Door With A BIG Lock *>===================
|Type: Climax      |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 This next chamber terminates in a massive door in gold and red. Although the  
 colors and materials seem like the chambers of a king, the door is also       
 blocked up and barricaded as though to keep something terrible inside.        
                                                                               
 There's no knocker, no magic puzzle: Just a single great big keyhole. You'll  
 need to find it somewhere else in the dungeon.                                
=Dungeon Conditions: Exhaust==================================================
==============<* Binding Depths of Serpent's Coils - Round 5 *>===============
=====================< Results - A Door With A BIG Lock >=====================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Catenna                             5 --(7)--> 12                  Fail
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cyre H. Lorentz                     0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ethius Hesiod                       20 --(0)--> 20                 Pass
Spectral Lens                       2   Wits    Effects: Enlighten            
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Barber                   5 --(0)--> 5                   Pass
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mariel                              20 --(0)--> 20                 Pass
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Chime Isa                           0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Cure-Alls                           1   Wits    Effects: Cleanse              
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Catenna                     80 --(0)--> 80                 Pass
Conditions: Exhaust(1)|Hesitate(1)
Effects: Cleanse|Enlighten(1)
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: The party led by Catenna has passed this challenge! The party gained 0 exploration! If anyone needs to use party
management commands, do so now. Otherwise, the next round's GM may begin the next round with +dungeon/draw.
<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

The rest of the party is off doing this the RIGHT WAY and finding ADDITIONAL KEYS like GOOD ADVENTURERS. "I'll have this open in no time!" Cyre yells as they leave him behind. "Don't you all worry! I'll be fine on my own!" He will, too! You'll see!!

Meanwhile, Catenna has detected a cracked wall and has enlisted the help of the rest of the party in getting it open. Fortunately, their party includes one Ethius 'nuke it all' Hesiod and Jacqueline Barber, whose travels throughout the world have bestowed upon her the burly strength of at least one (1) muscle lady. Thus, she has no trouble hoisting Chime's bomb flower out of the ground and adding to the firepower being levelled at the cracked wall. Soon, the wall crumbles and reveals...

A GOL-DEN KEY

Meanwhile, elsewhere, Mariel backtracks to the room they nearly fell through and peeks into the abyss. However, it turns out that there's a small series of stone steps that leads to a hidden chamber underneath the collapsing floor, which contains within it...

A GOL-DEN KEY

Huh. Why are there two of them?

Upon returning to the door, the rest of the party finds Cyre sitting with his head in his hands, a massive golden lock sitting open next to him, and...

...A still-shut door.

With TWO locks hidden behind the first one.

"Why," Cyre groans, "Why would somebody do something like this?"

Fortunately, the two golden keys work just fine. The rest of the locks fall away, and the party is able to proceed.

...But what is it that they will find...?

DG: Chime Isa has drawn a new Challenge.
===================<* Binding Depths of Serpent's Coils *>====================
=============<* CHALLENGE - Parasitic Armored Arachnid: Gohma *>==============
|Type: Final       |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 The great double-doors open up into a huge cavern. The ceiling disappears     
 into darkness above. There's a skittering, clacking sound from those          
 shadows, before a tremendous creature, a spider bigger than most homes on     
 Ignas flips down from the ceiling and SLAMS into the dirt before you,         
 shrieking. A single huge eye gleams from between two massive shielded arms,   
 which move with nimbleness to block any attack on that central eye. Its       
 carapace in yellow and green glistens, before it jabs forward with a massive  
 claw! You'll have to hold those shields down somehow before your attacks      
 will do any damage at all!                                                    
=Dungeon Conditions: Weaken===================================================
<Pose Tracker> Chime Isa has posed.

    More locks! "Probably to thwart a cheater?" Chime offers Cyre unhelpfully in an amused voice as the two golden keys are brought forth and the door open. "It was good through! Maybe you saved us from finding a third key!" she offers helpfully, in a cheerfully amused voice.

    The group regathers and moves forwards into a huge cavern. The ceiling so high it vanishes into darkness, and the far edge of the room vaguely hidden in shadow. No soon do they entire than a fwsh! Torchs light up all the way around the strangly perfectly circular cavern, and then smash! A massive Armored Arachnid slams into the ground!

    It rears up, holding it's two massive shield like arms up as it fires a beam of condensed blue light through the air balanced on four legs before slamming it's shielded arms back down guarding it's large, yellow and red eyeball while the two arms right behind look like nasty metallic spear-like points ready to sweep and cut or strike and pierce.

    "Well... That's new!" she says cheerfully in glee. "But how will we fight it?" even as she slips a hand into her toolbox nimbly unlocking, opening, pulling out a large smokepowder bomb, and relocking the toolbox. "I might be able to help with the shields it has, at least maybe one of them?" as she holds up the bomb. "Through I doubt that'll stop it."

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

"I don't know," Catenna admits with a look Cyre's way, drawing the sword at her hip. "I don't even know which Demon King this power comes from...."

Fortunately what awaits them is no Demon King. It's a troubling darkness, full of skittering sounds that scrape away at Catenna's courage a little and gnaw on the animal parts of her consciousness programmed to fear unknown sounds in the darkness. Turning slowly, she readies her sword, on edge and prepared to strike. As though to search for the source of the sound, she scans the darkness.

And the eye opens up.

Catenna gasps.

The torches light, and the Gohma drops, brandishing those shields. When it fires that shining beam, Catenna lunges to the side, hitting the ground and rolling away - and the beam arcs over her, just barely missing. Coming up on one knee, she takes stock of its defenses --

"It is going to guard itself," she breathes, before leveling her hands. Soft words spill from her lips, ringing with arcane resonance. Something groans invisibly around the Gohma.

And gravity begins to increase. Pressure pulls on those shields, working to try and weigh them down and make them too heavy to lift in the Gohma's defense. But the creature's movements are making it harder. She struggles to keep the spell focused.

"Hurry...!" she urges.

DG: Catenna has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Parasitic Armored Arachnid: Gohma.
DG: Chime Isa has used her Tool Path Maker toward her party's challenge, Parasitic Armored Arachnid: Gohma.
<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

    Ethius draws his quarterstaff when the torches light up, drawing it back in a combative stance as he stares dead ahead. That is not where he should be looking.
     His footing is forfeit with the seismic shock that runs through the room as a tremendous spider - is that a spider? - slams down. He narrowly rolls off to the right in which to evade the sweeping beam of blue light, and he doesn't have any leeway in which to look back and ascertain the nature of its tactics or weaknesses until he can hurl himself behild cover.
     The cover is a pot. It's not a very big pot. It's a reach to consider it cover!
     Chime and Catenna seem to already be on it. They're using shields to guard itself while still firing and fighting back...
     "Spread out." Ethius suggests. "If it is given cause to consider assaults from multiple angles, an opening may yet be created." He works with Catenna's decision to try and use gravity-based magic in which to keep one held... by running closer. This is dangerous, he recognizes, and also he just has - in the big, wide world of weapons - a stick. A stick made for being a weapon, but it is just a stick.
     He maneuvers towards the opposite side, prodding with probing strikes every so often in an attempt to coax it to move that shield further away from the one already being subject to being weighed down.
     He knows not who is in charge of making use of any narrow opening that could be provided. He just has to assume someone's getting a bead on it, in some form or another, while he pokes and harasses it.

DG: Ethius Hesiod has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Parasitic Armored Arachnid: Gohma.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

...Multiple keys? That's unusual. Jacqueline looks at it with a hint of confusion, but shrugs. The important thing is that they were able to make it through.

"Alright, let's be careful. There's no telling what'll be behind that door." Jacqueline warns, stepping through. Unfortunately, the door slams shut behind them, looking them inside with the room's sole denizen - a massive, spider-like creature coated in armor.

Oh, and shooting lasers from its eye.

"Th-thaaat's not ideal..." Jacqueline murmurs, sidestepping the beam as it scathes a line across the ground.

Well, there's no going back. Jacqueline draws out a few bottles of a strength-boosting solution and passes them around before drawing out a Crest.

Catenna uses the power of gravity to weigh down its shielded arms.

"Good work!" Jacqueline says, then aims to try and take advantage of this. She brandishes the Crest, sending an spear of concentrated flame toward the obvious weakpoint.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has used her Tool Brewte Force toward her party's challenge, Parasitic Armored Arachnid: Gohma.
<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

Mariel returns. With a key!

"Ah, I thought this might help..." she says, offering it to Cyre. And it does! Though perhaps not immediately, because as it turns out Mariel has the *second* of the two keys. She's on guard when they walk into the next room, her hands actually inside her satchel rather than out, running her fingers over various vials and bottles and packages...

And then there is a spider. A huge, horrible, great spider with a single eye that fires a beam of energy wildly into the air, with gigantic shield-like plates to block it. Mariel does what comes naturally:

She screams.

But screaming doesn't mean she's helpless, and Mariel reaches deep inside her satchel for some of the items she had hoped to not need. She finds a crystalline bottle with a faceted side, picking it out by feel, and a cloth bundle with a specific knot on the string holding it closed.

She yanks both out. The first thing she does is throw the bottle, which shatters on the shields the Gohma raises and splatters said shields with a yellowish fluid that smells pungent. With rather more care, Mariel unwraps the bundle of dried mushrooms, picks out a particularly large yellow and red one, and clasps her hands around it.

There is a faint shimmer of pink - not the purple of the Malice, but a paler, brighter colour. The Shamans - Cyre, Catenna - feel a momentary surge of power, like Arcana without a Medium; something like what Baskar wise men and women have done for generation to call on the local spirits of wind and rain and soil, to bless a crop or feel the weather, but more intense. A momentary condensation of Filgaia's power...

"Watch out!"

Mariel throws a mushroom that doesn't seem that dried at all. It hits the shield, too, and puffs out a cloud of white spores - which, as soon as they touch the liquid now on the shield, go up in a sudden foomp of flame and heat and pressure. Little pink sparks, like tiny fireflies, drift away from Mariel's hands afterwards, fading away as whatever power she'd condensed returns to its natural flow.

She's trying to force the shields down - force Gohma to move them, so that Catenna's force can pull them downward. Mariel does not recognize the monster, but she recognizes it for a monster, and that might be enough.

DG: Mariel has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Parasitic Armored Arachnid: Gohma.
<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

Beyond the door, there is... Darkness. A primal sort of evil that gnaws at that primordial response to all things skittering and arthropodal-- the instinct that tells the body to avoid all things deathly, rotting and fetid. Cyre makes an uncomfortable noise as the party makes their way into the heart of this evil, and finds...

Some... thing. Cyre can only properly describe at as a vile parasite made colossal and swollen with evil. Something to be feared. Something to be erased from the world for the sin of its existence.

Well.

This thing certainly isn't Riesenlied-like in its friendliness, so for once, Cyre is actually going to get to make use of those finely honed warrior instincts.

A beam of light scythes through the space the shaman used to be, even as a pale, purple light radiates across the room in a manner not dissimilar to... The old magic. The workings of the Baskar Elders, forgotten now by most. But...

How did Mariel learn something like that?

He can ask later. For now, he has a plan. "Hey, Eye and Seven Despairs," Cyre yells, hurling something on a chain right for the creature's eye. "Let's see how you like that!"

It's...

His censer!?

It's a censer, emitting an especially strong aroma, smoke that stings the eyes and irritates the skin, and leaves soot that clings to all that it touches. It's a special mixture of poisonous herbs specifically made to make a monster's life difficult, set to burn right under Gohma's great big vulnerable eye.

And then Cyre hits it with a tornado.

Because why not?

DG: Cyre H. Lorentz has used his Tool Invigorating Vapors toward his party's challenge, Parasitic Armored Arachnid:
Gohma.
===================<* Binding Depths of Serpent's Coils *>====================
=============<* CHALLENGE - Parasitic Armored Arachnid: Gohma *>==============
|Type: Final       |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 The great double-doors open up into a huge cavern. The ceiling disappears     
 into darkness above. There's a skittering, clacking sound from those          
 shadows, before a tremendous creature, a spider bigger than most homes on     
 Ignas flips down from the ceiling and SLAMS into the dirt before you,         
 shrieking. A single huge eye gleams from between two massive shielded arms,   
 which move with nimbleness to block any attack on that central eye. Its       
 carapace in yellow and green glistens, before it jabs forward with a massive  
 claw! You'll have to hold those shields down somehow before your attacks      
 will do any damage at all!                                                    
=Dungeon Conditions: Weaken===================================================
==============<* Binding Depths of Serpent's Coils - Round 6 *>===============
===============< Results - Parasitic Armored Arachnid: Gohma >================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Catenna                             12 --(5)--> 17                 Fail
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cyre H. Lorentz                     0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Invigorating Vapors                 1   Brute   Effects: Cleanse              
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ethius Hesiod                       20 --(0)--> 20                 Pass
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Barber                   5 --(5)--> 10                  Fail
Brewte Force                        1   Brute   Effects: Fanfare and Strengthe
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mariel                              20 --(5)--> 25                 Fail
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Chime Isa                           0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Path Maker                          4   Brute   Effects: Liability, Efficient,
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Catenna                     80 --(35)--> 115               Pass
Conditions: Weaken(2)
Effects: Cleanse|Embolden(1)|Strengthen(1)
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: You have overcome the dungeon's trials! This run is a success!
DG: The party led by Catenna has successfully explored Binding Depths of Serpent's Coils!
===================<* Binding Depths of Serpent's Coils *>====================
===================<* CHALLENGE - Extremely Good Bottle *>====================
|Type: Discovery   |Dungeon Ability: Conclusion|Challenge Rating: 1          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 Gohma screams one last time before light pierces it from within. Bursting     
 rays rip out of the creature, again and again, some inner core going wild     
 before the whole creature finally shrieks and blows apart into gouts of       
 harmless smoke.                                                               
                                                                               
 As you explore the chambers nearby, you find a number of fallen bottles of    
 extremely hardy make. Matching corks are strewn about nearby as well. They    
 don't appear obviously magical, but the ancient civilizations were known for  
 their alchemy, so who knows what wonders they may be capable of? Perhaps a    
 little short of flashy, but a good bottle is a Drifter's best friend, you     
 know.                                                                         
                                                                               
 Especially as a few tests reveal that for practical purposes these glass      
 bottles are unbreakable and will hold just about anything that can't kill     
 you just by proximity.                                                        
=Dungeon Conditions: Treasure=================================================
<Pose Tracker> Chime Isa has posed.

    With focus and timing, everything gets set up! When Cyre throws his censor followed by the tornado and a spear of flame up into Gohma's eye one of it's shields is half gone along with the tip of arm that got to near when Chime's bomb went off with far more power than it's friendly handheld size suggested. Ethius, Catenna, and Mariel the remaining shields were kept away and the creature was unable to turn or guard it's only blatently obvious weak spot. It's eye takes the full force of the attacks aimed there, and then the creature shrieks and explodes into pieces that turn into harmless smoke!

    Chime hums happily, saying "Well~ That worked well~" in a happy singsong voice. "I've never heard or seen of anything like that in the last twenty some years I've been drifting, nor in the twenty one before that from my parents or any of the drifters that frequented our ARMs shop." her voice losing the singsong quality as she speaks cheerfully.

    When the search of the room turns up the bottles, she almost squeals in delight~ "These will be useful! I can better organize some items in my toolbox with this~"

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

That sure is a curious power source Mariel's drawing on. Catenna glances that way, vaguely recognizing the feeling, but figuring now is not the time to ask.

Especially not since holding the Gohma down is difficult. It's agile, even with others to help her. By the time it's all over, she's letting out a heavy breath, slouching to one knee and resting a hand against the turf. She sheathes her sword, hanging her head as she takes a moment to collect herself.

When Catenna finally looks up again, she does not pursue the treasure. Instead she looks up to Cyre, and then from him to someone else - to Mariel. "...If it is true that the Demon King's Malice is gaining a foothold here, then Ignas is in great danger," she says, her voice quiet. "The conflict with Mother cannot wait. But we must remember this place, and figure out a way to remove this power...."

All Catenna can think about is the Owlet's mother, mutated and driven to madness by this selfsame power - so far gone that killing it was the only option. She clutches her hand to her chest and bows her head.

...That's why I mustn't fail the Owlet....

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

What Mariel did is - in basic *concept*, at least - not surprising. Something with a lesser spirit of the land... but to do it that intensely is incredible, especially because she does not carry a Medium and is not a Zoa Priest. Really, she doesn't look Baskar at all. Either way, it worked, which is good because she only has a few of those mushrooms.

Mariel lets out a squeak as the Gohma just... explodes; she goes flat in case it's going to explode at her, but it's just light and smoke. She pushes herself up afterwards, slightly wide-eyed. One of her ears has flopped the wrong way; she reaches up to brush it back into place.

"Is - is that it? Is everyone okay?" Mariel rises, dusting herself off and straightening her satchel. "Because... you're right. We - we can't leave it like this. The Demon King's Malice is... vile."

She is totally going to take a bottle though. The bottle is not vile.

<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

    Ethius backs away as the thing explodes into smoke. Based on Catenna's descriptors, that smoke may or may not be a corruption risk. He waits for there to be absolutely no physical trace left to one's sight. He turns his head over to Catenna as he accidentally tips over a pot. Something shiny and red flits out that he doesn't notice.
     She brings forth another confirmed complication to the whole of Filgaia's story. Another element that piques his interest to some common thread he can't quite grasp. There seems to be many of them, and that is truly strange. A sense that he should pursue them, but... is there a specific one that calls out to him? It feels as though there should. Which one is it?
     Then, a side-eye glance as Chime happily skips off towards the bottle prizes.
     "No." Aaaaaaaaand Ethius is off to start scrutinize over bottles. He picks over them with an expert(?) eye, touching them gently as he seems to appraise their shape, their weight, their... seriously what the hell these are bottles! They're not metal things with colors and funny high-pitched noises.
     Maybe someone should pick up a pot and throw it at his dumb head.

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

"Ethius, don't be such a lump," Catenna says automatically and distractedly.

She's standing again, adjusting her swordbelt with a quiet frown. "I am not sure if purifying it the same way as Malevolence will work. But I suppose I can try...."

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

The massive, arachnid beast finally falls. Jacqueline exhales. That...could've been a lot worse, but she couldn't claim that it was easy, either.

"...Yeah." She agrees with a nod toward Catenna. Right now they didn't even have an idea what they could do to remove it.

With that done, the only thing left to do is investigate the room to see what they can find...and what they can find is quite exciting.

"...Oh! I know what this is! They're completely safe, Ethius, you don't have to worry about that." Jacqueline says, taking up one of the bottles and looking it over. ...Other than a bottle? "They don't make bottles like this anymore...they're practically indestructible, and the contents will stay fresher for much, much longer! At least, that's with all the books I've read say..."

Jacqueline starts to gather them up, or at least the ones that others don't claim.

"Not only that, you don't have to worry about contamination, either...the bottles clean themselves right out! You could store bugs, or fish, or milk, then replace it with a potion without any worry! There are even tales of people putting flames in them, too... Ancient alchemists really knew their work." She says.

"They put my suger-glass bottles to shame...but I guess those are at least better for throwing." She comments.

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

"It's, um, still a good idea to wash them," Mariel adds, suddenly. "Don't put milk in after you collect bugs."

Real helpful.

<Pose Tracker> Chime Isa has posed.

    Chime has no issue claiming a few bottles if given the chance, beyond the first she'd pick up~ Bottles are super useful!

<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

    The white-haired lump's already attempting to confiscate the whole lot of them for what he hopes will be disposal but in reality would instead be the beginning of a long series of inspired cartoon shorts of an increasingly determined (and possibly deranged) Ethius attempting to destroy what cannot. It is a strange future.
     It is not the one they get, as Jay disarms the problem with an understanding and familiarity that seem to overcome the man's occasional (...frequent) instinct to just destroy the first uncomfortably weird thing he can lay his hands on.
     "Is that so." His tone hasn't changed any, but it rarely does. That... seems to nip that issue in the bud.
     DA NA NA NAAAAA!!