2018-10-27: Into the Drowned Sanctum - Side A

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  • Log: Into the Drowned Sanctum - Side A
  • Cast: Catenna, Kourin, Cyre H. Lorentz, Carina Wynne, Mariel, Tesni Inoue
  • Where: The Drowned Sanctum
  • Date: October 27th, 2018
  • Summary: Jacqueline leads the Caravan Kinship to the mysterious, newly-discovered ruin known as the Drowned Sanctum. They split off into two groups, with Catenna leading a party deeper into its outer ring...

The Drowned Sanctum

The Drowned Sanctum is, as far as one can tell, a fairly large facility. In the past it served as a facility for the study of various types of Sorcery, and even with the former inhabitants having long since vanished, many of these experiments are still on display.

The Sanctum's construction can be likened to a pair of rings encompassing an all-important core - this core, however, is currently locked down due to flooding and the security systems that are still active to this day.

The outer-most ring of the Drowned Sanctum appears to take the form of a great mansion or library, with ornate halls lined with columns and wide windows that allow one to peer outside. Occasionally one can see signs that people once lived in this place - abandoned items can occasionally be found littered throughout.

Among the studies conducted in the Sanctum were studies of plantlife. Various types of flora are present in the Sanctum, but without its former habitants to keep it under control it has grown wild, taking over much of the Sanctum's outer ring.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

A while back, Jacqueline had alerted her friends of the Caravan Kinship that she had made an amazing discovery. She had noticed iconography in her studies referencing an ancient ruin, and by cross-referencing an old map of Filgaia that had come into her possession and a map of recent seismic activity, she had noticed things beginning to line up.

She had investigated it beforehand to be sure that it was safe, of course, so it's a hint of pride that she approaches the ruin she had uncovered with the Caravan Kinship.

From the outside, it looks like the average ruin - a little beaten up and worn down by age, with various troubles littered throughout. It's no trouble for this experienced party, though - Jacqueline had managed to deal with it by herself, after all, and with everyone behind her this time it goes much faster.

And then they reach the very bottom of the facility. Here, something that is immediately obvious as a teleportation array is visible. Some equipment's set up here, and it seems to be monitoring the other side of the circle - it's old, but appears to be in functioning condition.

"Here it is! Now, I'm going to want you to brace yourselves. If you're afraid of the water, then I would recommend staying behind. What you see on the other side may surprise you - but don't worry, it's quite safe! We just need to step onto here, and...!"

And they're teleported off to the destination at the other side.

It's a rather ornate structure that greats them, like the foyer of a great mansion untouched by time. Seeing is no trouble - it's brightly lit with artifical light sources, and even without that there's windows to give a clear view outside. They can easily see the shimmering blue sky outside, the sunlight streaming down, and the...fish swimming past the window...?

...Wait a second.

Yeah, you're definitely underwater right now.

There are four doors - one seems to lead outside, and on the opposite side of the door is a large metal one with two smaller doors on each side of the facility.

Jacqueline's main interest right now is a terminal on the side of the room. It was once covered in plants, but seems mostly clear right now...

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Catenna came home from Linga last night and slept for a damn long time. She had a lot to heal up from. Not only that, her best ritual dress was ruined!

As such, she's fallen back today on her light armour and airy blue pants, with the plated boots and gloves for good measure. Her sword was mangled when she used it as a doorstop in the basement of Linga, and instead she's carrying a simple shortbow and a quiver of arrows.

As the group materializes again, Catenna blinks with amazement at the sight of the huge facility, then at the sight of the fish drifting past - they're clearly underwater somewhere. "Amazing," she murmurs, lowering her bow and taking a long, slow look at the chamber around her, and at the array of doors facing them.

"Jay," she asks, "did you wish to keep together? It is large enough that we may need to split up."

<Pose Tracker> Lunata Croze has posed.

        Like Lunata'd noted on the post-it note she left on the Caravan Kinship, the ex-waitress has been... rather scarce around the caravan itself -- she's been spending most, if all her time on the sandcruiser known as the Yggdrasil. Like the rest of Adlehyde itself, she's on the warpath, spending her time getting her Gear ready for the inevitable assault against Mother and the Metal Demons.

        "... Meredin'd be impressed by your find," Lunata comments to Jacqueline as she looks to the teleportation circle, and steps--

        --through, causing her to blink as she looks around and... stares towards the skies outside, the fish swimming past the window.

        "Weird..." she murmurs with a scratch of her head. "Is that sunlight through the ocean above, I wonder?"

        She looks to Catenna, then closes her eyes as she nods in turn. "... I've got no idea what to expect here, but... I'll stay with you, Jay."

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

Mariel did not know about this particular facility. Which is not a surprise to the Drifters (why would an herbalist know that kind of thing?) and not a surprise to her (contrary to popular belief, being old doesn't mean you know everything about the era you have lived in), but it does mean she was curious to come and see it.

She *is* glad that Jay knew how to use the teleporter, because she wasn't looking forward to double-checking it if she didn't.

"This is..." Mariel looks around, clearly taken by the view. An underwater facility! It's pretty, even disregarding everything in it; they can't be very deep or the sunlight wouldn't penetrate. She wonders where it actually is. Maybe she should try to figure it out...

Well, not right now. She clasps her hands in front of her as she walks around, looking at the foyer. It's not really an investigation as such; she's not poking enough to make it that.

<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        Ethius is along, because naturally something of the description Jay gives seems to get the man running, or... somehow managing to stand alarmingly close without one noticing until he announces his presence, either of them work. He at first expresses concern as to whether it is a good idea for multiple people to step on the teleporter at once, but as it turns out, yes, it's fine.
        His ears pop with the change in pressure as he appears within the world where fish swim right out the windows. Once more, those eyes of his stare - taking! - everything and giving back very little. It is a whole lot to take in at once no matter who, or what, you are. The strange man approaches the terminal, a ways behind Jay, without saying much of anything.

<Pose Tracker> Shalune Amira has posed.

        Shalune does not even begin to see the rest of the underwater manor at first; she's too busy gawking with wide, eager eyes at the barrier that's somehow managed to keep them safe from what must surely be a crushing water pressure.

        "Wa~ah, check it out..." she burbles, her hands to one of the windows. "I wonder how they do it? We must be-- um, I dunno how deep we must be, but I didn't even feel my ears pop or anything, so it must be equalizing the pressure. It'd prob'ly be real bad if that thing ever broke, but in the meantime, check out the view!" she exults, the slightly worrying statement tempered by genuine enthusiasm.

        Eventually, she does manage to get back on track, if only because 'ancient ruin consoles' are something else on the list of things that naturally interest her; she gravitates towards Jacqueline, curious at how ready and prepared the alchemist is for whatever waits ahead. "Ooh, Jay's done her homework..." she wonders, peering around her before she folds her arms. "Between the teleporting array an' the dangerous commune with the extremes of nature, I'm kind of assuming this is Elw stuff," she adds, just a little bit sour as she accidentally and unknowingly takes a sideswipe at Mariel's ancestors. "Hopefully this doesn't fall apart? It really seems like we've got a rough track record when it comes to that stuff."

<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

Compared to dealing with Linga and the inevitable foray into yet another malevolent domain setting up shop near home, a good old fashioned romp through a mysterious ruin is just... Pleasant. It's nice in the nostalgic and adventurous sort of way. Also, it's very clearly important to Jay that she has all hands on deck for this one, and if she, Lydia and Catenna are all good for it after all that happened in Linga, then Cyre is too!

In spite of what one might think from everything they know about stereotypical feline behavior, Cyre has absolutely no problem with water. He's a catMAN after all. Also, tiger. Tigers like water. But that's all beside the point! The party materializes in a place that looks less like a ruin and more like some kind of lost city of the ancients. Cyre's jaw briefly hangs open at what stretches out beyond the massive glass windows separating them all from a watery grave. "This place is... Amazing. How has it survived so intact for all this time?"

Cyre breathes a long, awestruck sigh and makes his way to the plant-covered console. "And look at this. Something's growing down here. Can you imagine how long these plants must have survived for?"

<Pose Tracker> Kourin has posed.

Kourin starts in surprise as they wind up underwater. "How...is this done?" she asks, awed. Spirit barks at a passing fish. What wonders await!

<Pose Tracker> Carina Wynne has posed.

"Whooooooa... It's like we're in a reverse fishtank..."

Miss Jay's amazing discovery is indeed amazing, by Metal Digger Locus' recknoning. For a moment, she just stares at the fish with her compound eyes.

The superheroine has appeared once again to keep the CaraKin safe. Her help isn't really needed right now, as inevitable trouble has yet to rear its head. And so, instead, she opts to lean back against a wall, looking cool with her arms crossed and her ponytail... well, it isn't waving in the wind since there is none here, but it's sort of... bobbing... in a low-gravity field? Close enough.

From her Cool Spot(tm), she watches Jacqueline work on the monitor thoughtfully. People speak of possibly splitting into teams for whatever is up next. "Wherever justice is needed, Locus will be there!" she announces. Well, that probably means she's good either way.

<Pose Tracker> Matilda Whitehead has posed.

While Lunata's been gone a lot, Matilda's actually been around *more!* She's been positively enthusiastic about being around the CaraKin... though it might just be that Filgaia is much more hostile to roughing it than Lunar was, and at this point, Matilda has no place else to go.

She sticks close to Jay, looking around. "... It's honestly incredible, to see things like this..." She peeks around a bit, taking in what Shalune has to say. "W -- well, if we die, at least the scenery will be nice," she says, sounding noticeably strained as she says it.

... yeah, that's not reassuring. Matilda scoots a little closer to the group.

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

To be fair, most people don't know who Mariel's ancestors are.

She does tense up for a split second, but that might just be part of poking around.

<Pose Tracker> Arleph Ardan has posed.

         Arleph have a pretty good idea that he might like it down there. To a degree, anyway, it will be far better than most other hellhole ruins or living metal forests.
 
         At least, he hopes.
 
         "Amazing." Arleph comments, adjusting his spectacles, adjusting his jacket around him with his other hand. "Let's give it a look."

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Don't tell anyone, but Catenna absolutely loves water - and plants.

Reaching for Cyre's hand, she briefly squeezes it in hers. Then she nods to Lunata quietly. "If needed, I would not mind exploring some of these areas around the outside. At least, I think one of those doors goes that way...."

<Pose Tracker> Tesni Inoue has posed.

Tesni Inoue was all keen for a dig, who knows what they might find and it could have a lead on whatever Tess seems to be looking for. What's she's seeking? She's been tight lipped about it other than it's something she's spent most of her adult life hunting. Well she's here with bells on she's also singing a bit, then again she's never really stopped singing since they got back from Lunar.

 Still the song trails off as she arrives and she nods in agreement to Catenna.

 "Your right this may take more than one team."

 She does look excited though. She's also trying to keep a bit away from Ethius but what else is new?

<Pose Tracker> Shalune Amira has posed.

        "Well, it's not really surprisin' that stuff's growing down here. I mean, the Whatsit Garden was the same way - you wouldn't expect plants to grow so high up where the air's scarce, but they managed it anyway," Shalune points out to Cyre's comments, before her eyebrows raise in Matilda's direction.

        "--maybe that was the point? Check what grows in what kinda conditions? Set up a bunch of labs to find out?" she guesses, but then brightens with a rather impish smile. "Well, remember, if we gotta swim, make sure you only climb 'fast' rather than 'very fast'. I read you get-- bendy otherwise."

        She doesn't elaborate, and perhaps that's for the best.

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia is naturally inclined to help out! Still, for the moment she is being pretty quiet because, like, yesterday she fought a manifestation of badfeels and got speared in the gut. She is feeling a little low energy but she is not skipping out on some wild Carakin adventure.

Lydia sweats faintly when Jay mentions hydrophobia. Lydia steps a little closer to Ethius.

After, Lydia's attention is drawn by the terminal.

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Catenna offers a suggestion, and Jacqueline thinks it over. It might be safer to stick together, but as she said, this place was pretty large...if they had any hope of searching through it at any decent speed, they'd pretty much have to.

"I think you're right..." She says. She presses a button on the terminal, switching it on. It seems to be a map of the facility, though the actual labels on it are difficult to read. The center-most room seems to be designated with some importance...but from the symbols on the map, the way to it was flooded. Not only that, there appeared to be some kind of warning regarding it, too...

If they wanted to get there they'd need to find a way to flush the pathway and clear up whatever else was preventing them from moving forward.

Lunata compliments her and Jacqueline brightens.

"D-do you think so?" Jacqueline asks. It was no secret that she looked up to Lunata's mother. "I don't think I would've been able to figure any of this out without everything I'd learned from watching her..."

She nods as Lunata decides that she'll stay with her, then looks back to the monitor. It really was impressive, wasn't it? Jacqueline was still excited, though hers is just a little dulled since this isn't her first time seeing all of this. For now, she studies the terminal, tracing a pathway with her finger. She seems to have an idea.

"Alright. In that case, Catenna, can I leave the outer group to you? Just grab whoever you'd like to come with you. I think I've found a way inside. We'll split up and see what we can find separately..." She says. With that, she starts to make her way to the larger door.

- To follow Jacqueline's party, read 2018-10-27: Into the Drowned Sanctum - Side B. -
DG: A party led by Catenna is now entering Drowned Sanctum - Outer.
==========================<* Drowned Sanctum - Outer *>===========================
======================<* CHALLENGE - Clear the Overgrowth *>======================
|Type: Entry       |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 1          | 
----------------------------< Challenge Information: >----------------------------
 In its prime, the Drowned Sanctum was a place of learning, combining          
 technology with the beauty of nature to create a perfect environment for the  
 study and research of Sorcery and the planet. It once floated freely on the   
 surface of the sea...but now it has sunk to the very depths. With its         
 curators long gone, nature has overrun the Sanctums outer ring.               
                                                                               
 As you exit the lobby, you immediately find your path barred - thick roots    
 have long since grown over the door leading inside, preventing entry. For     
 your journey to even begin, you will need to devise a way to clear them.      
=Dungeon Conditions: Overzealous==============================================
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

"Of course," Catenna answers Jay as she unshoulders her bow again. She handles it a bit tentatively, though not without skill - in truth she learned how to shoot as a child, and she's just let the skill get cold over the years.

They slide through the large entryway and into the outer ring of the sanctum - and immediately, they're greeted by windows in one of the corridor walls. An inquisitive shark peeks into the window, then flits away after some fish. Catenna looks up with awe, her eyes moving from the window to the thick branches and vines snaking through the chamber. "...There is almost more life here than there is on the surface," she murmurs with wonder. "Incredible."

Just as incredible as the great tangle of roots growing over the main door in front of them. Catenna sets her jaw and starts forward, drawing a small knife from her hip.

"We will need to cut these away," she says as she takes ahold of a large root, beginning to dig her knife into it. She huffs with effort as she attempts to hack through the tough plant fibers, pulling on the root for added leverage - but alone it's a tall task.

DG: Catenna has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Clear the Overgrowth.
<Pose Tracker> Kourin has posed.

Kourin stares, wide eyed and quiet, as they proceed. "This is...unbelievable. That such things..." She trails off. Seeing the roots, she nods at Catenna's assessment. "I could freeze them, make them brittle?" she offers.

DG: Kourin has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Clear the Overgrowth.
<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

"Wow, this really is overgrown as all get out," Cyre mutters as he approaches the great big roots blocking their path forward. The shaman cants his head one way then the other, trying to piece together a decent way through that doesn't necessarily involve just straight up setting the whole thing on fire.

And then a shark swims up to the window to say hi.

'Hi!' The shark seems to say. 'I'm a shark!!'

Cyre gives it a happy little wave, and then joins Catenna in the chopping. But he moves carefully, diligently, and...

Is apparently trying to see what happens if he shoves some of these roots into his censer.

Uh. Is now the best time to be trying empirical herbalism...!?

DG: Cyre H. Lorentz has used his Tool Invigorating Vapors toward his party's challenge, Clear the Overgrowth.
<Pose Tracker> Carina Wynne has posed.

"We won't let you down!" Locus says, straightening up with a salute as Jacqueline's party disappears. She follows after Catenna and the others.

"Yeah, it's kind of amazing," she says, looking outside with her arms crossed behind her head in true anime laid-back fashion. She's a bit more relaxed as usual in a party like this, where everyone knows her secret identity and she doesn't particularly feel the need to impress anyone. Well, maybe Mariel, who is new-ish and obviously younger than everyone else here.

"Looks like we've gotten to the root of the problem!" she announces, drawing the Locusaber out of hammerspace, then placing the red marble within.

                                ELEMENT: FIRE_

The translucent blade glows red. "Setting hero-sword to 'burn'!" Well, hopefully it doesn't burn out of control. Though with how damp this place is, this seems unlikely. And so, she starts chopping away.

DG: Carina Wynne has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Clear the Overgrowth.
<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

Splitting up isn't a bad plan. Mariel understands that you can't explore a place of this size in a reasonable amount of time if you don't. But...

...well, it's still a little worrying. Hopefully there's nothing dangerous here!

Roots do not count as dangerous. Mariel looks at them. (They, fortunately, do not look back.) "Don't cut all of them away," Mariel says to Catenna, with a slight frown - that would injure the plant they're attached to. But they do need to clear them, and Mariel is a lot more careful about the roots she chooses to go after, pulling out a surprisingly painful-looking knife from her satchel with a sharp, curved blade. (What? It's not a weapon.)

She winces when she sees Carina going at it with a flaming sword. "Try those," she says, pointing at a specific set of roots. Mariel wants to cause the minimum amount of damage to the plants. They can afford to squeeze a little to get past, right? Surely that would impress her the most!

DG: Mariel has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Clear the Overgrowth.
<Pose Tracker> Tesni Inoue has posed.

Tess has her pad out and is holding it up taking some images on her ARM before she's going to get to work, the woman rolls up her sleeves puts the ARM away and pulls out an old hazard orange crowbar in hand. She looks at it for a moment and nods to Catenna. She then takes the crowbar and moves to apply it to the plant to rip and pry her way through. She seems to have a good deal of experience with this though.

 She seems focused on her work, of clearing the roots that are in their way, she does keep her work in time with any of her friends who might have other means such as magic to take a crack at this too.

 "Oh for a bottle of weed killer right now."

DG: Tesni Inoue has used her Tool Crowbar toward her party's challenge, Clear the Overgrowth.
==========================<* Drowned Sanctum - Outer *>===========================
======================<* CHALLENGE - Clear the Overgrowth *>======================
|Type: Entry       |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 1          | 
----------------------------< Challenge Information: >----------------------------
 In its prime, the Drowned Sanctum was a place of learning, combining          
 technology with the beauty of nature to create a perfect environment for the  
 study and research of Sorcery and the planet. It once floated freely on the   
 surface of the sea...but now it has sunk to the very depths. With its         
 curators long gone, nature has overrun the Sanctums outer ring.               
                                                                               
 As you exit the lobby, you immediately find your path barred - thick roots    
 have long since grown over the door leading inside, preventing entry. For     
 your journey to even begin, you will need to devise a way to clear them.      
=Dungeon Conditions: Overzealous==============================================
=====================<* Drowned Sanctum - Outer - Round 1 *>======================
========================< Results - Clear the Overgrowth >========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Catenna                             0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cyre H. Lorentz                     0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Invigorating Vapors                 1   Brute   Effects: Cleanse              
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mariel                              0 --(5)--> 5                   Fail
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Kourin                              0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Carina Wynne                        0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tesni Inoue                         0 --(5)--> 5                   Fail
Crowbar                             2   Brute   Effects: Strengthen           
------------------------------------< Party >-------------------------------------
Leader: Catenna                     0 --(20)--> 20                 Pass
Conditions: Overzealous(2)
Effects: Cleanse|Strengthen(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.

Leave it to Cyre H. Lorentz to try and deal with a botanical problem by smoking it.

Mariel's guidance is well-taken; Catenna nods quietly and adjusts the way she cuts, shifting roots where she can and cutting only the ones that truly impede things. Mariel has the same idea, the two of them delicately pruning the roots of the plant.

Which Locus then takes a flaming brand to. Catenna presses her lips gently together. "Try not to burn them all down, please. Plant life already has a difficult time on Filgaia."

It helps. Mariel runs into some tougher roots, and it takes Tesni a bit of muscle to force one of the more stubborn roots out of the way. But together, they're able to proceed, with Kourin even turning a couple of roots to ice and snapping them off. Soon enough, though, they've managed to clear out just enough of the roots that when Catenna's hip bumps the door, it chugs a little, but slides open nevertheless.

Blinking, Catenna peers down the corridor. "...Very well, then," she says as she sheathes her knife. "Good work."

DG: Cyre H. Lorentz has drawn a new Challenge.
========================<* Drowned Sanctum - Outer *>=========================
=====================<* CHALLENGE - Aquatic Attendant *>======================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 1          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 Despite being beneath the sea, no water breaches the barrier surrounding the  
 Sanctum. But with all this plantlife, the facility must be providing it with  
 the water it need to survive somehow. The answer to this quandary comes to    
 you now, in the form of a large, bestial construct roaming throughout a       
 forested section of the Sanctum. It seems almost to carry with it a           
 perpetual rain, to provide the plants with the water they need to survive.    
 It seems almost gentle...but as it spots, you, /something/ seems to come      
 over it. It twitches unnaturally...and then lets out a screech, turning its   
 aquatic sorcery on you instead! If you want to progress, youll have to find   
 some way to subdue it or get around it.                                       
=Dungeon Conditions: Reckless=================================================
<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

Hey, look, sometimes you find out that the local plants are in fact imbued with all manner of useful medicinal properties that are released only upon being set on fire. It's totally real and objectively true science!!

"Well! That wasn't so bad. Roots look like they're going to be okay, too," Cyre grins and stashes his censer at his hip where it can continue to burn and smolder in a nice, pleasant-smelling sort of way. The corridor ahead seems to open up into some kind of massive garden, with lush plants lining the corridor on either side. "Let's keep a move on and-- wait."

The shaman frowns and draws his hood back. His ears flick forward attentively. "There's something coming. Not sure exactly what, but it sounds... Squishy? Wet? Get ready...!" And sure enough, there in the distance, something... That looks at first glance like a massive construct of moss and plantlife, but that's only because the enormous, ursine thing is utterly overgrown with the stuff. It stomps merrily through its garden, bringing a gentle rain wherever it passes... Until it catches sight of the intruders to this sacred space.

With a jerk and a shriek that seem utterly unnatural coming from such a jolly-looking green giant, the thing turns its aquatic sorcery upon the party. Blasts of high-pressure water surge down the corridor, threatening to drive them back through the doorway...!

"Damn, looks like the locals aren't exactly friendly!" The way it turned aggressive was odd, though-- as if something or someone had seized control over it. Or maybe that was just a long-buried defense protocol coming online. Either way, Cyre moves to deflect its attack, wind howling as a massive vortex pushes back against the rising tide. "Go for it, guys! I'll open a path!"

DG: Cyre H. Lorentz has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Aquatic Attendant.
<Pose Tracker> Kourin has posed.

Kourin drops into a ready combat stance, one hand withdrawing a rimebomb from her belt pouch and hurling it at the shambling thing. Drawing her sword with the other hand, Kourin dances into the fray, almost joyfully. This is the sort of foe she enjoys challenging herself against!

DG: Kourin has used her Tool Rimebomb toward her party's challenge, Aquatic Attendant.
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

"Yes... I think the plants will be alright," Catenna says with a quiet smile up towards Cyre. "We should do our best to be careful with them as much as we can."

But they've got company. The rain construct ahead of them seems like it's going to be peaceful at first, but when it jerks and roars at them and fires those blasts of water, Catenna's forced to jump to one side. She hits the floor, rolls, comes out into a quick leap and lands in a three-point stance.

"No, Cyre!" she shouts. "I do not think it will kill us. Let me just...."

Brushing her fingertips over her Medium, Catenna focuses intently. It takes effort to draw even upon Celesdue's spells, the pall of Mother's awakening leaving the Moon Guardian's power so much more distant - but she whispers her enchantment anyway, her free hand moving through the air in little patterns.

Gravity takes its effect - but it is not overpowering. The rain creature will feel a gentle heaviness - a growing sluggishness of the mind. An urge to lie down and rest awhile and unburden oneself of the heaviness of exhaustion. Catenna is not trying to crush it.

She's trying to put it to sleep.

DG: Catenna has used her Tool Celesdue Medium toward her party's challenge, Aquatic Attendant.
<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

"Oh, no, we don't need that!" Mariel is surprisingly firm about that as she responds to Tesni. Weed killer? They don't want to kill it!

Mariel knows a lot about plants, but - even with the aid of a vicious-looking pruning knife - is not actually all that strong; she can cut through the roots, but it takes a while and a good deal of work. She gets tied down between that and making sure the plant won't get too badly hurt from the experience; it might not grow as big, for a while, but she's determined to make sure it survives. She even pulls out something from her satchel to apply to the cut roots, folding the pruning knife (the blade fits into the handle) and putting it away.

But eventually she catches back up with the group, only slightly delayed. And then she almost delays again when she sees the garden. It's wonderful! "More of Filgaia should look like this," she says, and the stars in her big green eyes are just about visible. Mariel scoots over to some of the plants to look at them, going so far as to pull herself up by her hands on the railing (she's short, okay) and lean dangerously far over to both look at and smell the greenery.

So distracted is she that she doesn't see the thing coming. She hears it, though, her ears twitching once as her head turns, eyes widening. What is that? She identifies it as an overgrown elemental construct, but beyond that, she doesn't know - and anyone with eyes and a minimum of experience could do that.

Mariel drops off the railing and scoots behind the people to the front - Cyre, Locus. She roots in her bag again, but this time it's not a folding knife that comes out but a bundle of little white alpine flowers. Mariel clasps them tightly in her hands, then opens, drawing the energy out.

Catenna and Cyre (and any other mages) feel some of their energies restored. Apparently it's all right to put a little more into your spells; Mariel can cover for it.

DG: Mariel has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Aquatic Attendant.
<Pose Tracker> Tesni Inoue has posed.

Tesni Inoue overextends herself a bit as she works to get through the roots and the crowbar doesn't prove to be as useful as Tess has hoped but thankfully her friends have better luck than she does. Still, she's not useless and they are clear at last.

 "Well onward then."

 Things seem to be going pretty well all things considered. Then comes Cyre's warning and she halts for a moment. She looks at the thing coming at them.

 "What the sam hill is that..."

 Oh it's hostile and Crye is trying to keep it locked down with some help form Kourin. Tess meanwhile has the dead man's arm out, then Catenna seems to have another idea she lowers the ARM and will move to try to push by and giving it a good smack with the butt of her ARM if it's needed. Otherwise, she's going to keep on trying to barrel past this thing.

DG: Tesni Inoue has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Aquatic Attendant.
<Pose Tracker> Carina Wynne has posed.

"Okay!!" Locus enthusiastically answers Mariel, slicing away where indicated. She doesn't care all that much either way about that plant's well-being, but Catenna does have a point. And so, nature is preserved, for now.

The party advances, and Locus shifts to a martial artist's stance (having already ditched the sword, which is reserved for special occasions and things that need to be cut). It relaxes a bit, however. "It's actually kind of... cute?"

Wait, NOPE NOPE NOPE, not cute at all, what with the surging water and all! Locus leaps over it, twirling through the air as she switches the marbles in her belt...

                              ELEMENT: LIGHTNING_

"All right, looks like Big Wet needs to get zapped!" Except... wait...

A set of doodles appears in Carina's brain. She isn't always the sharpest one of the bunch, but she does at least know that water conducts electricity. So if everyone gets wet (as represented by stick figure versions of the party, with blue droplets around them)... everyone gets zapped (as represented by yellow lightning bolts and everyone turning into stick figure skeletons)!

"--Actually, let's try Plan B first!" And so, she produces a bag of... Huh?

"LOCUS FRUIT PIES!" she announces in her best saleswoman's voice, "with golden flaky crust and real fruit filling! Mmmm! There's a big delight in every bite! Big enough to stop attackin' us for a second, I'm sure!"

And so, she throws several pieces of individually-wrapped pastry at the beast. They come in cherry, lemon AND blueberry! Surely it'll find a flavor it likes.

DG: Carina Wynne has used her Tool Element Marble toward her party's challenge, Aquatic Attendant.
========================<* Drowned Sanctum - Outer *>=========================
=====================<* CHALLENGE - Aquatic Attendant *>======================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 1          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 Despite being beneath the sea, no water breaches the barrier surrounding the  
 Sanctum. But with all this plantlife, the facility must be providing it with  
 the water it need to survive somehow. The answer to this quandary comes to    
 you now, in the form of a large, bestial construct roaming throughout a       
 forested section of the Sanctum. It seems almost to carry with it a           
 perpetual rain, to provide the plants with the water they need to survive.    
 It seems almost gentle...but as it spots, you, /something/ seems to come      
 over it. It twitches unnaturally...and then lets out a screech, turning its   
 aquatic sorcery on you instead! If you want to progress, youll have to find   
 some way to subdue it or get around it.                                       
=Dungeon Conditions: Reckless=================================================
===================<* Drowned Sanctum - Outer - Round 2 *>====================
=======================< Results - Aquatic Attendant >========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Catenna                             0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Celesdue Medium                     2   Combat  Effects: Embolden             
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cyre H. Lorentz                     0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mariel                              5 --(5)--> 10                  Fail
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Kourin                              0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Rimebomb                            3   Combat  Effects: Rally                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Carina Wynne                        0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Element Marble                      2   Combat  Effects: Fanfare and Rally    
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tesni Inoue                         5 --(0)--> 5                   Pass
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC                
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Catenna                     20 --(20)--> 40                Pass
Conditions: Overzealous(1)|Reckless(2)
Effects: Embolden(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> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

"I know!" Cyre answers, "I'm just keeping it back! Don't worry, even I can tell something ain't quite right here!"

Fortunately for the rest of the team, this so-called elemental construct isn't built for battle. Even turned savage as it was, it's still just a peaceful groundskeeper. The creature's water blasts are frozen solid by Kourin's frosty assault, which also has the added benefit of... slowing it down, somewhat, the moisture clinging to its body solidifying and making it difficult to move.

Catenna adds to the effect by amplifying the gravitational forces surrounding the elemental. It groans as it's dragged to the floor, weighed down by frost and the world itself. Sleep tugs at its consciousness, but it cannot stop. It cannot...!

And then Metal Hero Locus pops a deliciously fruity treat into its mouth. It... seems to chew thoughtfully, sleepily, even as Mariel bolsters Cyre's and Catenna's magic. Still, it struggles on mightily, in spite of the deliciously lemony treat in its mouth...

And then Tesni clonks it on the head.

The elemental falls over, swallows its treat, and begins snoring.

...Also, little lemon trees begin sprouting from its head.

Huh.

"...Well," Cyre huffs, "I guess we can just go through now. Good job everyone!"

DG: Mariel has drawn a new Challenge.
=========================<* Drowned Sanctum - Outer *>==========================
===================<* CHALLENGE - The Root of the Problem *>====================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 At one point, this room appears to have been an alchemy lab of some kind.     
 Vials and beakers, caked in various colors from experiments and mixtures      
 that have long since faded away line the walls on the far side of the room.   
 As a precaution it comes equipped with solid doors that shut tight in the     
 occasion of a leak that needs to be contained. By some stroke of misfortune,  
 this failsafe is activated the moment all of you are inside, trapping you     
 within.                                                                       
                                                                               
 At first it seems you are trapped but after some investigation, a possible    
 exit is revealed. A section of ceiling tiles has been broken away by a long,  
 sturdy root that has pushed through it, making an opening. It might make a    
 convenient way out, but be careful: this particular root is equipped with     
 unpleasant thorns.                                                            
=Dungeon Conditions: Wound====================================================
<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

Mariel does not take a lemon. Those are not her lemons.

"Let's go before it wakes up," she says, seeming a little nervous about that. Mariel is not good at fighting, and she doesn't enjoy it either; she's just as glad to not have to do it, and is pleased that they got away without having to kill the poor thing. It didn't really mean them any harm, did it...?

She ducks into the first room she finds with an open door, which is an alchemical lab. Going past it is difficult, anyway - the tunnel is mostly blocked. "I wouldn't touch those," Mariel says immediately, having some second-hand experience with alchemy; there's barely anything left of any of the contents, but that doesn't mean they're not dangerous if you touch, mix, or moisten them. Or breathe on them, which basically counts as #1 and #3.

She stays away from them and looks at some of the less-used equipment, and as the others enter, the door slams shut behind them, causing her to jump in place. Well, that answers her question as to whether some of those contents were dangerous...

Mariel looks around the room and settles on the sturdy root. "We can get out that way?" It's more of a question than a direction, but she does tug on her mittens a little more firmly - if she's going to climb, it's going to be with some hand protection.

<Pose Tracker> Kourin has posed.

Kourin unrolls a length of rope. She hasn't used it in awhile. It...rises, on its own! Like some kind of magician's trick. It offers a less thorny approach to the situation! She scrambles up it, meeting Spirit at the top.

What? He's a dog.

They do that.

DG: Kourin has used her Tool Trick Rope toward her party's challenge, The Root of the Problem.
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

The spell Mariel casts surprises Catenna a little. The flush of energy helps. Drawing on Moon magic is challenging right now, but the little florist's magic makes it seem like just another day. Catenna looks over to her with a small, grateful smile.

It helps. Leaving the creature to sleep with a pitying smile, Catenna follows Mariel down the tunnel she picks out.

The lab they emerge into sends a little chill down the Moon Shaman's spine. She flicks her hair back with a huff, scanning the equipment in search of a way out as fast as possible. But Mariel's soon pointing them upwards, towards a root bedecked with thorns. Catenna, whose armour leaves her arms and shoulders exposed and whose pants can be torn, shudders with brief dread.

She uncoils her rope anyway. Maneuvering carefully around the root, she casts the grappling hook upwards and tugs it secure once it's latched on to something. "This might be helpful," she says as she begins to climb upwards, once again drawing her knife.

It doesn't entirely get her past the root. But once she's close enough, she can begin trimming some of the thorns off of the root, making it a little easier for others to scale it.

DG: Catenna has used her Tool Grappling Hook toward her party's challenge, The Root of the Problem.
DG: Mariel has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, The Root of the Problem.
<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

Well.

This is extremely familiar, and not in the nice kind of way. "It feels like I'm back in that weird alchemy lab on Lunar," Cyre mutters, shuddering at the memory of the sins against science and nature alike that call the Soul-Alchemy Lab their home. "Let's just... go. I don't want to see what those bottles'll do if we disturb them too badly."

Of course, it can't be that easy. The way back slams shut and the only other way out of this apparently trapped storage closet is... Up a giant, thorny root that's crept in through the ceiling.

Yeah, Cyre's not gonna risk his parachute on this one.

"Catenna, I'm comin' up," Cyre says, following her up her rope. It seems they both have similar ideas, though, as Cyre begins joining in the thorn-cutting as well. It's the only way to scale this thing safely, after all.

DG: Cyre H. Lorentz has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward his party's challenge, The Root of the Problem.
<Pose Tracker> Carina Wynne has posed.

'More of Filgaia should look like this,' Mariel says. "...Yes," Locus admits. "I'm used to dusty dunes 'n' such, but y'know... it's a hard-scrabblin' life, and this is pretty."

Yes! The Locus Fruit Pies prove a success, and now it'll be hard to dissuade Carina from using them again. Good... job?

The lemon trees sprouting from the creature's head prompt some chin-scratching, too. (Metal gloves against metal helmet, yes. The noise is a little annoying.) "Wow! Didn't know it worked like that... You learn somethin' new every day." She doesn't take a tiny lemon either, because she CAN'T EAT IN THE FORM. It hasn't stopped being the actual worst. But besides, small lemons are probably more sour than regular ones, anyway. That's just science.

They move on to an alchemical lab. Already, the superhero is poking at things before Mariel can tell them not to touch anything. To her credit, Locus stops, holding her hands up before anything explodes. The door does slam, however! "Wasn't me!"

Oh well. They need to find another exit.

"Heh, piece of cake!" she says, before dragoon-jumping up the giant root, hopefully finding a place to land and jump again, then again. This should be easy enough! Unless she jumps straight into some sharp thorns, at least. If all else fails, there's always Kourin's ladder or Catenna's rope.

DG: Carina Wynne has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, The Root of the Problem.
<Pose Tracker> Tesni Inoue has posed.

So the adventure continues and Tess is now pushing on head but what is before them is well thankfully not a fight she take s about to look about the room, there seem to be a way out but the root that leads out is going to take some serious manoeuvring to get through as she goes after the rest of the party and tries to push her wandering mind about the creature they just got past out of her thoughts. Well for the moment as she doesn't want to end up impaled.

DG: Tesni Inoue has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, The Root of the Problem.
=========================<* Drowned Sanctum - Outer *>==========================
===================<* CHALLENGE - The Root of the Problem *>====================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 At one point, this room appears to have been an alchemy lab of some kind.     
 Vials and beakers, caked in various colors from experiments and mixtures      
 that have long since faded away line the walls on the far side of the room.   
 As a precaution it comes equipped with solid doors that shut tight in the     
 occasion of a leak that needs to be contained. By some stroke of misfortune,  
 this failsafe is activated the moment all of you are inside, trapping you     
 within.                                                                       
                                                                               
 At first it seems you are trapped but after some investigation, a possible    
 exit is revealed. A section of ceiling tiles has been broken away by a long,  
 sturdy root that has pushed through it, making an opening. It might make a    
 convenient way out, but be careful: this particular root is equipped with     
 unpleasant thorns.                                                            
=Dungeon Conditions: Wound====================================================
====================<* Drowned Sanctum - Outer - Round 3 *>=====================
=====================< Results - The Root of the Problem >======================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Catenna                             0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Grappling Hook                      2   Agility Effects: Quicken              
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cyre H. Lorentz                     0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC                
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mariel                              10 --(5)--> 15                 Fail
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC                
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Kourin                              0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Trick Rope                          2   Agility Effects: Quicken              
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Carina Wynne                        0 --(5)--> 5                   Fail
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC                
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tesni Inoue                         5 --(0)--> 5                   Pass
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC                
-----------------------------------< Party >------------------------------------
Leader: Catenna                     40 --(20)--> 60                Pass
Conditions: Reckless(1)|Wound(2)
Effects: Quicken(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.

"With the plants, it might be experimental herbalism," Mariel points out, which arguably makes her an expert on the topic if she's right.

She doesn't seem to be terribly interested in taking them for study, though - thousand-year-old stained lab materials are not very useful for the kinds of study she'd be capable of doing, and you'd never be sure about getting them clean. Instead she starts to go up the root.

Mariel stops trying and lets someone else go up first after a few moments, because she's having trouble getting a good grip on the root without stabbing the heck out of her fingers. Most of the party makes it up without a problem; by rope and grapple, just raw climbing, or anything else.

As for Mariel, she eventually gets up mostly by cheating and half-climbing, half-getting pulled up on one of the ropes, because although she may be light she's not used to climbing up places by ropes. Drifting uses a lot of weird muscle groups! Carina, for her part, is mostly slowed down later by running out of room to jump when she's passing between floors, up the roots. Gotta climb after all.

But eventually everyone makes it up, at least!

DG: Carina Wynne has drawn a new Challenge.
=========================<* Drowned Sanctum - Outer *>==========================
=======================<* CHALLENGE - Arboreal Curator *>=======================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 Periodically, you can feel something moving through the soil beneath your     
 feet, accompanied by faint tremors. The flora around you doesnt seem to be    
 bothered by this. In fact, every time it passes, they seem healthier...if     
 only a little. However, eventually these tremors stop abruptly...and a        
 construct resembling a worm a little larger than a man bursts from the        
 ground and stares at you. Its body twitches unnaturally...and then it dives   
 for you, attempting to drag you into the earth along with it!                 
                                                                               
 Whether or not it is successful, once it submerges you find yourself          
 attacked on all sides by earth-based Sorcery - it wont stop until it is       
 subdued or it can no longer pursue you.                                       
=Dungeon Conditions: Slow=====================================================
<Pose Tracker> Carina Wynne has posed.

And so, the group proceeds, out of the laboratory area and into... well, whatever this place used to be, it's too overrun by greenery now to recognize as much of anything.

"Hey, is it me or is the floor really uneven 'n' bumpy here?" Locus asks, a little bit ahead of the pack now. "Or wait, is it... movin'?"

She looks down to see the ground bulge up right beneath her, before outright exploding. She goes flying as a man-sized moss-covered worm construct appears, twitching at the group menacingly! It lunges for... oh, let's say Cyre, and attempts to grab him before diving back into the ground!

Once it does, the ground trembles as earthy spikes burst out from its location, meant to impale the party members, until it pops out once more to resume the same pattern.

"Looks like it's time for a game of whack-a-worm!" Carina announces, Slow Fall-ing back towards the creature, with an electric crackling fist ready to be thrown, any time now!

DG: Carina Wynne has used her Tool Element Marble toward her party's challenge, Arboreal Curator.
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

It is easier for Catenna to climb up the rope than it is for others. Namely, Mariel. She does her best to help the tiny woman up.

When they move into that next room and Carina makes her observation, Catenna takes a second to try and feel things out.

"CARINA, LOOK OUT," she shouts suddenly - but it's too late.

The worm bursts out of the ground and attempts to snag Cyre - and then the earth magic begins to burst forth. Dancing through the spray of spikes with the grace she's beginning to master with the help of Jean, Catenna hisses and draws her bow, firing an arrow after the fleeing worm. "Hands off my man!" she shouts at it irrationally, but it's gone before she can actually make an argument.

Only when the worm reappears can she belt off a spell. When it does, she's ready. Thrusting her off hand forward, Catenna shouts a few sharp words in Zortroan and lets Celesdue's Arcana do its work. A groan of shifting gravity can be more felt than heard as the pull of it inverts.

Rocky spines snap as Catenna attempts to gravity-yank the worm out of the ground and slam it into the ceiling.

DG: Catenna has used her Tool Celesdue Medium toward her party's challenge, Arboreal Curator.
<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

"Uhhhh, yeah," Cyre scratches at his cheek. "It's almost like there's something that's been stirring it all up or something. Like maybe a giant earthworm or some--"

                                  *WHUMP*

O-oh no, Cyre's been abducted by a GIANT WORM!

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

"HANDS OFF MY MAN!" Catenna shouts again. She's really trying to throw the worm into the ceiling now.

<Pose Tracker> Kourin has posed.

Cyre is ambushed by a worm and Kourin frowns, brow furrowed. "I'll try to catch it with a rimebomb," she offers, dubiously. The sword stays sheathed--the risk of hitting Cyre is too great. He's survived close contact with a rimebomb before...

DG: Kourin has used her Tool Rimebomb toward her party's challenge, Arboreal Curator.
<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

Mariel eventually pulls up onto the new floor. She takes a moment to catch her breath.

If there is one thing Mariel was not expecting, it was a floor with soil a level above the last. Perhaps this place is built into a submerged hill? Or maybe they just brought all the soil in? She kneels, pulling off one of her gloves and almost immediately burying her hand in the soil, denying the audience (and the team) a good look at her bare hand.

It feels... mobile? Soil isn't supposed to feel mobile, or at least not in this way. "Ah," Mariel says, about to explain this to the party, when a GIANT WORM erupts from the soil and chomps on Cyre!

Mariel bounds to her feet and pulls out something from a concealed pocket on her green robe. It's something she originally brought as a good-luck charm; it's supposed to keep you safe, a little silver or silver-ish coin with some unusual writing on it. But she doesn't use it on her own behalf - she uses it on Cyre's, a gleam just visible between her fingers as she discharges the momentary power of the Elw-made magical item, giving him a second chance to get free of the worm; there's a short stutter in time and he finds himself held in the mouth. CAN HE ESCAPE this time??

Whether he can or not, Mariel goes rooting in her bag, pulling out medical herbs and tucking the no-longer-gleaming coin back in a concealed pocket. Someone is going to need them.

DG: Mariel has used her Tool Gimel Coin toward her party's challenge, Arboreal Curator.
<Pose Tracker> Tesni Inoue has posed.

Tesni Inoue says "Could be, Mariel. Also could be they were trying to improve various food and cash crops too." She notes as she keeps moving she's quite curious about this. She's able to without much trouble get past the thorns and out, it should be smooth sailing from here right? That would be entirely wrong here. There is something underfoot.

 "uhoh."

 She gets the Deadman's ARM out again. She's force to leap clear of the spikes and fire shots when the thing does appear again.

 "Who makes things like this?!"

DG: Tesni Inoue has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Arboreal Curator.
<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

Is this the end of our hero!? Has Cyre been devoured by a worm with no recourse for salvation!? WILL HE EVER RESOLVE HIS FAMILY ISSUE--

Wait what's that weird coin doing?

                  LET'S DO THE TIIIIIIME WARP AGAAAAAIIIN~

Suddenly, Cyre seems to *pop* back into the worm's mouth, which is incidentally also now back on the surface. Both Cyre and worm seem terribly and abruptly confused, before the former screams something that sounds vaguely like "AUGH NO WORM GOOP" before exploding into a veritable tornado of ultraviolence.

Really it's just rapidly expanding the air surrounding him with a great big shockwave to give the earthworm some really, really awful heartburn.

Cyre himself is launched bodily out of the worm's maw and lands on the bare and lumpy earth, covered from the knees down in awful green gunk (that Mariel might be able to tell is also amazing fertilizer, judging by how the plants near Cyre's feet seem to be just a little bit healthier for the gunk's presence). "Ugh. Ugh! What's with things in dungeons and wanting to eat me!?"

DG: Cyre H. Lorentz has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Arboreal Curator.
=========================<* Drowned Sanctum - Outer *>==========================
=======================<* CHALLENGE - Arboreal Curator *>=======================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 Periodically, you can feel something moving through the soil beneath your     
 feet, accompanied by faint tremors. The flora around you doesnt seem to be    
 bothered by this. In fact, every time it passes, they seem healthier...if     
 only a little. However, eventually these tremors stop abruptly...and a        
 construct resembling a worm a little larger than a man bursts from the        
 ground and stares at you. Its body twitches unnaturally...and then it dives   
 for you, attempting to drag you into the earth along with it!                 
                                                                               
 Whether or not it is successful, once it submerges you find yourself          
 attacked on all sides by earth-based Sorcery - it wont stop until it is       
 subdued or it can no longer pursue you.                                       
=Dungeon Conditions: Slow=====================================================
====================<* Drowned Sanctum - Outer - Round 4 *>=====================
=========================< Results - Arboreal Curator >=========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Catenna                             0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Celesdue Medium                     2   Combat  Effects: Embolden             
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cyre H. Lorentz                     0 --(5)--> 5                   Fail
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC                
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mariel                              15 --(0)--> 15                 Pass
Gimel Coin                          3   Combat  Effects: Rally                
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Kourin                              0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Rimebomb                            3   Combat  Effects: Rally                
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Carina Wynne                        5 --(0)--> 5                   Pass
Element Marble                      2   Combat  Effects: Fanfare and Rally    
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tesni Inoue                         5 --(0)--> 5                   Pass
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC                
-----------------------------------< Party >------------------------------------
Leader: Catenna                     60 --(20)--> 80                Pass
Conditions: Slow(2)|Wound(1)
Effects: Embolden(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> Carina Wynne has posed.

Thanks to Mariel's time interference, Cyre does not friggin' die just yet, though he does have a bad time. The shockwave stuns the creature, letting a rimebomb land and solidify it to the point where it can't wriggle back into the ground just yet. Catenna's arcana, fueled by righteous Cyre-protecting/avenging fury, pulls it out of the dirt even further and SLAMS it into the ceiling. A few shots of Tesni's ARM and a hit from Carina's mid-air lightning fist later, and...

Things get positively Nickelodeon as green slime explodes out. What's left of the worm lands with a wet thud, kicking up more of that fertilizer. It's all a bit gross, but the good news is, it's all biodegradable, the worm included! ...Hurray?

"Well. Onwards!" Locus says, after wiping her compound eyes clean and taking a moment to wash her ponytail in a conveniently-located water basin.

DG: Catenna has drawn a new Challenge.
==========================<* Drowned Sanctum - Outer *>===========================
======================<* CHALLENGE - The Security System *>=======================
|Type: Final       |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 3          | 
----------------------------< Challenge Information: >----------------------------
 Finally, you come across the security room you noticed on the map earlier.    
 The computer you need to access is just ahead...but as you begin to approach  
 it, something seems to seep out of the floor. It appears to be water...but    
 it joins together to form a sphere floating in the air before you.            
                                                                               
 It does not react until someone makes an attempt to move toward the           
 computer, but when they do, it begins to lash out with tendrils of water and  
 water-based Sorcery. If you want to access the computer, youll need to deal   
 with this first!                                                              
=Dungeon Conditions: Fright, Hesitate=========================================
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Someday Catenna's going to figure out how Mariel keeps doing that. But not right now.

Pushing through into the next room, the group breezes past a few more windows, and then into a larger chamber. Catenna sets her hands at her hips, taking a moment to take stock of the place. "The map we passed earlier. This must be that room," she says before once again taking up her bow. She's beelining towards a computer just ahead, in the centre of the plant-filled chamber.

Her foot lands just shy of a puddle of water that wasn't there a minute ago. And it's growing. Catenna widens her eyes and steps back, edging towards the terminal. More and more water beads out, swelling upwards and forming into a globular shape that hovers in the air.

Catenna stares at the watery orb for a moment. She's halfway between it and the computer. "...Hello," she says.

The orb doesn't do anything.

Catenna stares for several seconds more. Then, tentatively, she begins to inch towards the computer.

And the orb immediately spawns a long, watery tendril, extending it far enough to slap her across the face and knock her away.

With a gasp, Catenna hits the floor, rolling. She comes up with her Medium in hand, wincing as she tries to pin the orb in place with a gravity spell - but it's hard to do with a liquid. "It won't let us get to the terminal!" she calls.

DG: Catenna has used her Tool Celesdue Medium toward her party's challenge, The Security System.
<Pose Tracker> Kourin has posed.

It's a good thing Kourin's an ice mage. Again, she doesn't bother to draw her sword, focusing all her energy on her magic, trying to freeze tendrils to be shattered, sending ice lances into the thing's core, and doing what she can to defend her allies as well! "We will stop it!"

DG: Kourin has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward her party's challenge, The Security System.
<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

"Ugh," Cyre groans, sort of... wiping his pants-legs off on the nearest corner-shaped object he can find. He doesn't want to touch the bug goo. That'd be really, really gross. Eugh, jeez. What's with worms and thinking he's tasty, anyway...?

MEANWHILE IN CYRE'S INVENTORY: PRESERVED SANDWORM MUSHROOM TREATS

But soon, the party moves on, finally reaching the heart of this place. What they find there is... Uh.

A great big sphere of water?

"Huh," Cyre mutters, frowning. "That's... Weird. How's it just floating there, exactly? Another elemental thing--"

                                 *KA-SLAP*

"Oh no you didn't!" Cyre snarls, his arms and legs suddenly surging with howling winds. "Catenna's face is NOT for slapping, you overgrown raindrop! I'll beat that surface of yours concave!"

How do you do that, exactly?

With Fengalon Punches apparently...!

DG: Cyre H. Lorentz has used his Tool Gale Claw toward his party's challenge, The Security System.
<Pose Tracker> Carina Wynne has posed.

"Oh, that's what we were looking for, right?" Locus says, having obviously not been paying enough attention. "Neat! I wonder if Miss Jay and the others are doing ok--"

Her musings are interrupted by the appearance of... an orb? Well. Maybe it's a nice orb. You never know. Catenna greets it. "Hi!" Locus also says, a hand raised.

It quickly becomes clear that it's not a nice orb. Nuts! Is there even such a thing as a nice orb? Carina wants to believe. But until then...

"Like I said: Hi! Ice to meet you!!" She charges in, once again drawing the Locusaber and placing a marble within, this time blue. The blade's hue changes as rime covers it.

                                 ELEMENT: ICE_

She slashes a few times at its tendril(s), but hops away after a moment.

"Okay! Time to cool down your ambitions! Brave Blade - Locusaber!"

BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MN9vYsbxrCc

She's doing a pose with a stock footage background, the musical leitmotif and the colored text and everything! This must really be the end of the episode!

DG: Carina Wynne has used her Tool Element Marble toward her party's challenge, The Security System.
<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

Mariel might even explain how she's doing it, in vague terms. She can't make those coins, even if she has a basic grasp of how to use and recharge them, so she probably couldn't explain it in explicit, complicated terms even if she wanted to.

Fortunately, just using it is enough to get Cyre out, and she can do some patch-up with some ointments on the party afterward. Which she does. She also scrapes some of the fertilizer goo into a spare vial or three, for reasons.

The party moves on, toward a computer. Mariel looks around to see if anyone else knows how to use one, because she hasn't seen one like this in a long time but at least has a vague idea. And it's not like she's really keeping her ability to use things like that a secret; it just doesn't seem like she wants to announce it around certain people.

But there's a little ball of water in the way. Huh.

"I don't know if, ah, it should..." Well, it should attack apparently. Mariel flinches backwards, but it isn't aimed at her at all; she kind of edges to the side, pulling out her other 'lucky charm' and holding it in her hand while she bag-hunts for the right collection of medical gear.

It doesn't do anything obvious. But it doesn't need to. Mariel avoids one of the water-based spells that she has no right to be able to scramble out of the way of, as if she saw it coming; it lets her get behind the group with a handful of walnuts, which she draws the power from and scatters recklessly.

As it turns out, walnuts make you go faster. Who knew?

DG: Mariel has used her Tool Gimel Coin toward her party's challenge, The Security System.
<Pose Tracker> Tesni Inoue has posed.

Tess has no idea how Mariel does that and she may never know unless Catenna succeeds in finding out someday. For now, though they made it through, she's feeling good and they now see they have made it to the room.

 "Looks like this is the place I see the computer we should be able to get what we nee..." WHAM Tess gets smacked by a water-based spell, Tess goes for her ARM again and will try to fire a few shots at the thing.

 "Why are these old sites always infested with things like this?!"

 She does not know and may never know and if she ever were to find out it might just drive her mad.

DG: Tesni Inoue has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward her party's challenge, The Security System.
==========================<* Drowned Sanctum - Outer *>===========================
======================<* CHALLENGE - The Security System *>=======================
|Type: Final       |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 3          | 
----------------------------< Challenge Information: >----------------------------
 Finally, you come across the security room you noticed on the map earlier.    
 The computer you need to access is just ahead...but as you begin to approach  
 it, something seems to seep out of the floor. It appears to be water...but    
 it joins together to form a sphere floating in the air before you.            
                                                                               
 It does not react until someone makes an attempt to move toward the           
 computer, but when they do, it begins to lash out with tendrils of water and  
 water-based Sorcery. If you want to access the computer, youll need to deal   
 with this first!                                                              
=Dungeon Conditions: Fright, Hesitate=========================================
=====================<* Drowned Sanctum - Outer - Round 5 *>======================
========================< Results - The Security System >=========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Catenna                             0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Celesdue Medium                     2   Combat  Effects: Embolden             
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cyre H. Lorentz                     5 --(0)--> 5                   Pass
Gale Claw                           4   Combat  Effects: Efficient and Rally  
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mariel                              15 --(0)--> 15                 Pass
Gimel Coin                          3   Combat  Effects: Rally                
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Kourin                              0 --(5)--> 5                   Fail
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC                
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Carina Wynne                        5 --(0)--> 5                   Pass
Element Marble                      2   Combat  Effects: Fanfare and Rally    
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tesni Inoue                         5 --(5)--> 10                  Fail
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------< Party >-------------------------------------
Leader: Catenna                     80 --(35)--> 115               Pass
Conditions: Fright(2)|Hesitate(2)|Slow(1)
Effects: Embolden(1)
================================< Dream Chasers >=================================
DG: The party led by Catenna has successfully explored Drowned Sanctum - Outer!
==========================<* Drowned Sanctum - Outer *>===========================
=======================<* CHALLENGE - Environmental Data *>=======================
|Type: Discovery   |Dungeon Ability: Conclusion|Challenge Rating: 1          | 
----------------------------< Challenge Information: >----------------------------
 With the security rooms guardian soundly defeated, you are free to move on    
 to the computer itself. While it takes some effort to figure out, before      
 long youre able to access the option needed to deactivate the security        
 system so that the other team may proceed safely.                             
                                                                               
 But while youre here...it would be a shame not to take advantage of the       
 situation, wouldnt it?                                                        
                                                                               
 Further investigation of the computer causes it to put out a large amount of  
 data. Itll take some time to analyze so youll want to take it with you, but   
 it appears to be an analysis of the Sanctums ecosystem, including the         
 variety of plants on display here and the methods used take care of them.     
 Thisll prove useful if you want to take some samples home with you.           
=Dungeon Conditions: Secret===================================================
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

There's a wet, reddish mark across Catenna's cheek where the orb hit her. But it didn't put her out of the fight. And despite the fact that it's a liquid, Celesdue's magic works on it: The orb shudders, sinking visibly in the air. Water drips off of it and hits the ground.

It gives everyone else time to act.

Kourin and Carina do as much as anyone to seal the fight. Ice sorcery and Locus Ice come together to strike true, and more and more of the orb's mass solidifies into thin, patchy ice. The water dripping from it congeals into snowflakes - but it's still in the fight. Kourin takes the brunt of a blast of water, the rest of it going wide of Carina.

But there's Mariel. The walnuts help. Everyone's able to keep ahead of the spells. Well. Everyone but Tesni, who takes a blast of water fairly hard but is able to lay in a few shots. More and more of the orb is freezing over; it drops slowly, and her shots put a few holes in it.

And then the wind surges. The orb, frozen and encumbered and battered, cannot hope to withstand the Nahual of Fengalon. Water and ice fly apart as Cyre simply tears what's left of the watery guardian apart, leaving behind a few rapidly-shrinking puddles.

Breathing heavily, Catenna whips her slightly-damp hair back with a toss of her head. "...Is everyone alright?" she asks, moving towards the computer terminal. Everyone's still standing, at least. She didn't lose anybody.

Hunching over the terminal, Catenna...

...stares at it in complete bafflement. Catenna's level of technical aptitude is more akin to a Lunarian's; she grew up in the wilderness. But she can see enough that, after a moment's confusion, she understands what she's looking at. "...It is a security thing," she says with a blink. "And that indicator is Jay's team. And there is some sort of security system blocking them...!"

She taps a few buttons. The terminal whirrs. It ejects something at her in a little holder.

        Old Man Ettlesbury's Sarsaparilla Surprise

"No, I do not want a sarsaparilla surprise!" Catenna huffs before jabbing another few buttons - and she sighs with relief as the indicators on the screen wink out. The security systems are down!

<Pose Tracker> Kourin has posed.

Kourin staggers back to her feet, soaked. "Hm." She begins squeezing water out, confident she can't help with the strange devices. Spirit shakes himself, water spraying everywhere.

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

"If you are hurt, I can help," Mariel says... well, helpfully. She's mostly intact, after all; she probably hurt herself worse when she was climbing the root and vine, and threatened to skin her knees with thorns. And getting attacked by worms. And... well okay, it was pretty busy, but not from the water elemental.

But nobody is critically injured, she thinks, and so she heads toward the computer console with Catenna to take a look at it. She lets Catenna take a look first, poking at it and getting some not especially useful data and an unlocked door. (Well, the unlocked door is very useful.)

"May I see?" Mariel asks, sliding in toward the keyboard. And - improbably - she actually seems to understand how computers work, in a general sense; it takes her a while to get back in the habit of typing, especially typing in this language, so she's a little slow but picks up quickly. Mariel is no power user or hacker, and she doesn't know any of the passwords, but she manages to bring up some screens showing data on the ecosystem.

"Oh!" Mariel isn't reading in depth, but even skimming shows this is something she wants to read. "Do you think there is a printer? A spare data crystal? A - " Well, she's getting ahead of herself. "... well, anything to put this on...?"

<Pose Tracker> Tesni Inoue has posed.

Tesni Inoue is a bit beat up but is doing well enough to keepo moving as the gurdian is down she looks ot Catenna for a moment smiling a bit. "Hey let me see what else I can dig up there. This should be close enough to my pad ARM that I could get some information off it." She notes wioth a bit of a grin though Old Man Ettlesbury's Sarsaparilla Surprise sounds pretty awesome to her. She'll pull out her pad and get to work if no one will stop her.

<Pose Tracker> Carina Wynne has posed.

"Hey, neat!" Locus says, putting her hands on her hips after vanishing the sword once more. "I didn't know you were a tech-head, Mariel!" That info might be useful on the surface, too. This world needs gardening more than ever!

Well, looks like all's well that ends well until tomorrow. But right now, it's time for...

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~LOCUS 4-KOMA THEATER!~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Panel 1:
LOCUS, READING FROM A SHEET OF PAPER:
So our next email asks... "Mariel, how do you type with mittens?"

MARIEL, SITTING AT A COMPUTER:
Oh, I don't, actually.


Panel 2:
MARIEL, TAKING OFF HER MITTENS:
Whenever I need to type, I take off my mittens...


Panel 3:
LOCUS, SUPER ZOOMED-IN WITH A DRAMATIC LINE BACKGROUND:
What?! Are we finally going to see what Mariel's hands look like?


Panel 4:
MARIEL, TYPING WITH BOXING GLOVES:
And then I type with the boxing gloves I wear underneath!

LOCUS, FACEPLANTING:
Boxing gloves?! I-I don't understand at all!!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~LOCUS 4-KOMA THEATER!~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

"Of course," Catenna says, sidling aside to make room for Mariel. Maybe the tinier woman can make more sense of this computer stuff than she can.

Fortunately it looks like Mariel has about Catenna's level of aptitude. Looking over Mariel's shoulder, the Moon Shaman blinks, then draws a small sheaf of paper from her waist pouch, a pencil following. She begins to scribble things down rapidly.

"I am not sure," she admits. "I do not know much about computers, but I am trying to take down what I can...."

But there's Tesni to help, and she's got a pad, even! Catenna's more than content to let the Designated Techno Person download the data.

"...I hope Jay and the others are doing alright," she says, her thoughts drifting back to her glasses-wearing friend soon enough. "...Tesni," she asks, "can we watch them through this computer, somehow?"

<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

"I'll take a Sarsaparilla Surprise," Cyre says, deftly snatching the bottle from the place where it popped out of the console. He doesn't straight up start drinking it because wow no this is getting saved for later. But still. Yyyyyoink!

Cyre's basically of no help here, though. For all the times he ran through Cage Tower and other such ancient ruins, he's never really learned... how to computer.

Like, he can operate ElwSoft Word?? That's it???

So when Mariel starts actually making sense of it all, he looks suitably impressed. "Oh, huh. That looks like a bunch of plant species. Uhhhh." Cyre frowns, "Data crystal? What's it look like? Catenna, wanna help me look?"

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

"Oh, um... well..." Mariel has no real response to Carina. She doesn't think of herself as a tech head, but when she was young, they did have more of it... Fortunately, she is saved!

Mariel does not have any of the tech gear that would allow her to, say, save a copy of the file, but Tesni apparently does. Mariel slips aside to let her do that, because that would be a lot faster than her plan B (taking notes by hand until they had to leave).

"This computer had the security controls," Mariel points out, "so there might be a way to look... but it would probably be locked, because it has the security controls." And Mariel might have ideas of how to use a computer, but guessing passwords is a little outside of her comfort zone.

<Pose Tracker> The Drowned Sanctum has posed.

- Some time later... -

One way or another, the group manages to record all the environmental data for later analysis. It will certainly prove useful in the future! But as they might be considering leaving, or looking through the system some more, a message appears on the screen.

'SURFACING...'

A mechanical voice reaches them, suggesting they remain put while the facility is in motion. There's nothing to do but go back to looking at the console, but the moment they attempt to...

Something appears. Or, rather, someone.

A humanoid figure appears on the screen, their face shadowed to conceal any identifying features. It isn't a picture, or recording footage - it's moving far too smoothly, and staring right at them.

It grins...and then the image disappears as the console is locked down from a different location.

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

"WHAT," Catenna shouts as she jumps back from the leering image in the console. Or rather, not an image. Is that someone there? Physically inside the console, somehow?

Catenna's face grows a little more pale. She looks towards Cyre. "Jay is in trouble."

Something's moving. They probably should too.


Continued in 2018-10-28: Breaking the Shackles.