2018-11-16: After A Name

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DG: A party led by Avril Vent Fleur is now entering Memorial Sanctuary.
DG: Party formation is now over. An Entry Challenge will now be drawn and displayed to the party.
============================<* Memorial Sanctuary *>============================
======================<* CHALLENGE - We Need A New Hero *>======================
|Type: Entry       |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 2          |
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 The approach to the Memorial Sanctuary is a difficult one -- not only is the
 ruin located far away from any settlement, but the road is ill-kept and the
 lands unfriendly. But finally, there the building stands -- what's left of
 it that rests above the ground, that is. Time has since buried much of it,
 but with a little searching, an alcove can be found, and within it, a door.

 The door is locked. A console, standing nearby, will respond once prodded.

 When our homeworld, Filgaia, is in danger, a hero will arise, bearing twin
 guns, to lead all life into a new world. Enter the name of that hero:

 It requests a name. A certain name.

 That's the easy part. Basic guesswork -- as it were -- should uncover the
 name the machine requires soon enough. The door WILL open.

 But, then there's the hard part: the chitinous beetles that come pouring out
 the door once it opens. Either they're eager for an escape, or they're eager
 for a fleshy snack. In either case, they'll just have to be handled before
 anyone can get inside.
=Dungeon Conditions: Bad Luck=================================================
<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.
<SoundTracker> Noriyasu Agematsu - The Place Once Called A Temple https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFpvWupIyr0

    She had known for some time that eventually she would have to go east. After all, someone out there is searching for her. Is it because Elru is her home, or...?

    What she has found, so far, has been the wasteland. By the by as she searches for traces of her own name, the trail has led her south.
    As far south as she dares to go, between the twin factors of the Veruni Control Zone that lies to the south and the sheer necessity that is Mother, to the north. If she finds no hint of herself, she'll have to turn away and apply herself to more necessary tasks, but...

    It's a familiar land, Elru: more than most. In a way, it's as if she's following a road long grown over but where traces yet remain.

    Sometimes a trace is enough to go by. Someone recalls hearing a name.
    It isn't hers, but perhaps the name 'Johnny Appleseed' is enough to go by. It's enough for Avril.
    According to the villager, it had been spoken by a member of a group that had ventured out to a nearby ruin not even a week ago. The 'Memorial Sanctuary', a long-sealed ruin, which has stood in this land for time immemorial. Perhaps, if they hurry, it might be possible to catch up with them -- if they have not simply given up and left.

    -*-*-*-

    There's no sign of an encampment outside the ruins, just the presence of a single sealed door and the console that rests alongside it. Against the odds, it remains powered and once engaged, requests answer to a single question:

    Someone's name. The name of a hero.

    ...Did the other group come in through here? Perhaps they went through this door, though there's no sign of entry or exit.

    There's but one way to find out.

    "The name of a hero..." Avril murmurs, considering this one with care. "If that person had been correct, they had been talking about 'Johnny Appleseed'. ...Perhaps that may be the hero in question?"
    It doesn't... feel right, though.

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

    As damaged as Riesenlied has been ever since her misfortunes in Elru, she knew that when Avril spoke of an important place she had to visit that... she needed to be there, to help her. Like that time when they met, at the Temple of Rejection. She's not certain if something is calling to her, yet...

    The Hyadean's seen better days, even with her degenerated state. She's a natural when it comes to guiding the group through the Ellurian wastelands -- even the northern part Veruni Control Zone isn't unknown to her, given how much she's kept tabs on their movements....

    ... that, and the Lost Village of the Fereshte was in there, in the end. This is something of a backyard for her.

    She's smaller than usual, shrunk in with extensive bandages wrapped around her arms. She's a little reticient to admit it, but eventually it did come up--

    Her Original Artificial Medium had been... burning her.

    That's neither here nor there, though.

    "The name of a hero... with... twin ARMs?" Riesenlied whispers softly, lowering her head. She bashfully chuckles.

    "Well, I would call Maya Schrodinger a hero. And she wields twin ARMs. She's been through thick and thin with us. But maybe that's not what this door seeks..."

<Pose Tracker> Rebecca Streisand has posed.


This place makes her nervous. So close to the Veruni control zone, it felt like they were tempting fate. And yet Avril felt drawn here, felt a need to come here though... so she's here.

It doesn't make her any less nervous about it though.

-=-=-

Rebecca considers, "That's a real headscratcher... I know next to nothing about history either..." She was never an academic after all.

Struggling with the images of those she knows who wields two guns...

"... well Lunar had heroes named Alex... maybe we should go with something simple...?"

Rebecca enters in...

Virginia.

Nothing happens. Though Rebecca seems on edge for a few seconds after, until she relaxes.

"Well on the bright side... it didn't kill us for a wrong answer?"

Perhaps that's why she tried first, to test if there were traps that would zap the person who tried first, figuring she was better suited to leaping out of the way if it did.

"... she seemed pretty heroic to me at the time." She makes her excuse. Other than trying to grab her diary - but hey. Heroes have flaws. A hero without them isn't any kind of hero she'd want saving her world.

<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

    Dean's also gone east, because where Avril goes, he's sure to go, too. He promised to help her find her memories--to find Johnny Appleseed. And Avril's journeys bring her here, to a strange ruin called the Memorial Sanctuary. It seems promising! Memorial means it's got to do with memories, right? And granted that the Ruin of Memories didn't have any promising leads, but hey, you never know. And of course there's that group that traveled out there that mentioned Johnny Appleseed... That makes it doubly worth going!
    
    That's Dean's logic, anyway.
    
    The ruin looms tall. Within the door, there is a machine that requests the name of a hero. Dean peers at the screen, reading the message, scratching his head. "Huh... I don't know any legends or stories like that," he comments. "Isn't it kinda weird that it says this *will* happen, instead of that it was something that *did* happen? How could you know something that hasn't happened yet? D'you guys think whoever wrote this was just being poetic or something?"
    
    He thinks hard as the others try names--Johnny Appleseed, Maya Schrodinger, Virginia Maxwell... His concerned gaze lingers in particular on Riese, who's been collecting new and exciting injuries at an alarming rate lately. Still, she does have Noeline with her, so... better not to fuss over her too hard. At least, not for right now.
    
    Hmm, who else do they know with twin guns? Dean nods thoughtfully at Avril's suggestion, then grins when Rebecca inputs a name and relaxes when there's no attack. "Yeah, that's always a good thing! I guess we can just try guessing whatever until we get it right! Since it hasn't happened yet, it could be just about anybody, right? If it isn't just a made-up story, anyway." He pauses, then laughs again and adds, "Hey, why don't we all put our own names in? It couldn't hurt!"
    
    And so he reaches over to hunt-and-peck in D-E-A-N. Possibly this is after everyone else has had a turn, because Dean is nice like that.

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia is eager to help her friends and, by extension, her parents. It's not as if she has anything better to do than to check out this shrine everybody's talking about. Honestly, it's just nice to meet a villager with 'room' to gossip on top of everything else and Riese in particular seems like she really needs her company right now.

This doesn't stop her from her attempts to be cute at Rebecca."Hey Becca," Lydia says. "How do you like my new style? Feel comfy with the pistols yet?"

She considers Rebecca's answer as she puts in 'Virginia'. Lydia considers this for a moment, similarly on edge but...nothing happens.

"Well maybe it's not her..." Lydia says. "But I think you have to include the last name. Let's try it!"

Lydia enters in...

Virginia Maxwell

Obviously this will totally work.

"I dunno, there hasn't been an adequate scientific analysis of prophecy." Lydia asides to Dean.

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

<Pose Tracker> Virginia Maxwell has posed.

    Is Virginia a hero? Where is Virginia right now?

    *cromch*

    "Mmm Skeleton kale-flavored kale is the only food for me," murmurs Virginia--

     DC: HEY you dropped Virginia as an alt! Stop that!
 
  awww

<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

    Noeline's mental map of Elru is still entirely intact from her time on the continent. While she's not as nimble as Riese is at actually moving around the shattered wasteland, her knowledge of Veruni movements and territory comes in handy more than once, the twintailed spy able to indicate the boundaries of their patrol routes and likely places to avoid Metal Demon scrutiny.

    She's clearly concerned about Riesenlied's state, trying not to be too protective but naturally drawn in that direction anyway. It leaves her ranging back and forth a lot, darting forwards for short jaunts as they travel along to scout ahead before circling back to the group time and time again, and always offering an arm to her partner when with them.

    She huffs with irritation at the sight of the console and its rather open-ended question; with a frown, she folds her arms. "What a ridiculously open-ended question. If I pick up a couple of ARMs, could you use my name? Even Strife and Trouble would potentially count," she points out with a sigh. "Besides, it isn't as if dual arms are particularly uncommon. I do remember a fad that ran through Kislev a couple of decades ago - I heard that everyone was trying it out for a while, though most people tended to accidentally shoot their foot off."

    Giving herself a pause, she sighs quietly - and takes a closer look around her. "This architecture-- well, if this is a Temple to a Guardian, I suppose that would at least limit the choices to those who hold Mediums, perhaps? Of course, we have no way of knowing that about your Johnny Appleseed," is her intuitive guess.

    Either way, she remains at the ready, feeling a certain sense of foreboding about the place that she can't quite shake. The Temple of Rejection was not a pleasant experience, and something about this ruin seems all too familiar; her hand grasps at the air, effectively keeping her weapon nearby at all times. At least that means she'll be ready when the door opens and the creatures pour out.

DG: Noeline has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward her party's challenge, We Need A New Hero.
<Pose Tracker> Matilda Whitehead has posed.

Matilda's more than happy to go with Avril and Dean; she *needs* it, at that. If Matilda stays in, she gets... weird, or at least, that's been the case since she returned from Lunar. She practically leaps at the chance to go -- well, *anywhere* would be good, really.

She takes a few moments to stare at the console. "... I don't think prognostication is my strong suit," Matilda reflects aloud, "and I don't know that we'd even be aiming for, well, *present* heroes...?"

Dean suggests... putting in their own names? Matilda chews at her lip a moment as that suggestion comes, and says, "... I don't think it'd be me, really. You're welcome to try, if you like." She squirms a bit and looks away -- though Noeline's suggestion of limiting it to Medium-holders gets her to perk up a bit. "... Oh, that's a good thought," she offers.

... she still has no guesses.

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    The Medium... had been burning Riesenlied. The Original Artificial Medium. Kin to the one that Noeline had used without difficulty, one that should by rights be controllable by anyone, regardless of origin.
    It had been rejecting her.

    It flew in the face of logic, but what could she do or say? It was happening nevertheless.

    If only she could remember more about these Mediums. Perhaps there was -- something. Something she could do.

    It's another reason to chase after this glimmer of a hint about herself.

    "Maya...? Perhaps, we should try a name and see what happens--"

    She turns her head, in time to watch Rebecca enter a name. "...Virginia? Hmm, it's worth trying, isn't it? It seems to be willing to let us make another attempt." Followed by a pause as Lydia tries the same name with surname included, this time. "...I suppose it isn't her?"

    Twin guns, twin ARMs... As Noeline says, it's an open-ended question, one that is bound to have as many qualifying answers as there are grains of sand in the Aveh desert. "I see what you mean, Noeline. It may be that this might require to know more about the people who built the Temple, or perhaps it refers to a particular historical figure. Or, indeed, if this is a shrine to a Guardian. --Yes," she agrees, nodding once as Matilda remarks on much the same sentiment. "Of course, I don't think I will be of much assistance, here."

    And Dean suggests they just enter their own names and see what happens. Avril tilts her head to one side as if to consider this. "I do not think it would do us any harm," she opines, before Dean starts by entering his own name.

    D-E-A-N.

    The console chimes pleasantly.
    And slowly, inexorably, the ancient sealed door begins to grind open. Will they be able to meet with that mysterious party, should they still be within these ruins?
    What secrets lie within these long-lost halls?

    Something rasps in the darkness beyond the door.

    One of the questions is answered at least, as the storm of beetles comes rattling out through the opening and into the light. Towards flesh. Avril's retort is a swift one: Absolute Zero flies to hand, then in a flurry of swordstrikes, sets to handling the swarm they face.

DG: Avril Vent Fleur has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward her party's challenge, We Need A New Hero.
<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

    For what reason does the Medium reject her?

    Is it rejecting her? It is unusual, to be certain. And there is no small amount of fear from both the bearer and the Medium itself. When Avril inspected it, she could felt as much.

    A deep and profound longing, forgotten in the snow for so long...

    She looks to Matilda for a moment, then to Noeline as she stays by her side for support. "Medium bearers... that is a good start, is it not?" She smiles to the two, grateful for their support.

    She looks to Rebecca as she bobs her head. She enters the name, but nothing happens. "It is good there is no trap mechanism..."

    Riesenlied blinks very genteely, though, when Dean enters his name-- and tilts her head. "Oh dear... it worked?" she's about to speak more, but beetles emerge out from the darkness and lands on her. "Aah!"

    She flails a little for a moment, but there is a soft glimmer, and the ring on her finger calls out to Noeline. A promise, not so easily forgotten, suffusing her with power...

DG: Riesenlied has used her Tool Rings of Promise toward her party's challenge, We Need A New Hero.
<Pose Tracker> Rebecca Streisand has posed.


"Yeah seriously." Rebecca says to Riese, trying to look more confident about her choice than she actually was.

Is she feeling comfy with the pistols? Well. A prank played on Dean says she is.

Though mature Rebecca Streisand would never boast about that.

Rebecca leans over and whispers to Lydia. "Comfier. Though I'm not quite ready to rely on them in a pinch." She puts her fingers together. "Need some more practice first. I brought them though. Just don't want to make things worse by trying to use them haphazardly." Lydia then enters in the full name and... "That's... how science works?" Rebecca gives her a questioning look that seems half-good natured sass. Before nodding at Noeline, "Medium Holders huh? Well I guess that would be the mark of someone chosen to be a hero... more than twin guns."

Dean makes a suggestion and Rebecca gives him a questioning look then as Avril agrees, she shrugs, smiles at her then begins to rib Dean some, "Want to be named after some ancient hero Dean Stark? Well... I don't blame..." Chime. "... No way it worked!?" Rebecca just looks so shocked, "Maybe there was a hero once who just happened to be named Dean." Gun Master Dean?

However she doesn't have time to consider it because as soon as the storm of beetles comes out, Rebecca pulls out her Medium. Waiting for an opening from Avril's use of Absolute Zero-

A pressure wave of explodes into the midst of the beetles as if it had simply come in the wake of Avril's blade cutting the air, rather than anything else.

DG: Rebecca Streisand has used her Tool Sky Medium toward her party's challenge, We Need A New Hero.
<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

    "It *is* pretty broad, huh," Dean remarks to Noeline when she criticizes the message on the console. "That's why I wonder if it isn't a story or something like that." He blinks at Lydia. "A prophecy? ...You mean like, someone guessing at the future?" Well it's not really a 'guess' per se Dean but sure, okay. Matilda turns down the attempt to put in her own name, and he nods. "Well, yeah. You don't have two guns," he says, as if this is the most logical thing in the world. Putting in the names of Medium-users is also a good idea--but then he tries his own, just for the heck of it. Avril thought it'd be okay, so why not?
    
    D-E-A-N
    
    *bing*
    
    'It worked?' Riesenlied wonders. "Oh, hey, it worked!" Dean declares, delighted. He grins at Rebecca and elbows her playfully. "Now see who's an ancient hero of prophecy!" A beat. "Hey, what's that skittering noise?"
    
    SUDDENLY, BEETLES
    
    With a flash of light, Dean summons twin pistols into his hands. He then utterly fails to use them as pistols, opting instead to extend combat rods from the handles and smash them into the flood of bugs. Bang! Zoom! Right in the kisser!! ...wait, do bugs have kissers? Maybe we shouldn't think about that too hard.

DG: Dean Stark has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward his party's challenge, We Need A New Hero.
DG: Lydia Seren has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward her party's challenge, We Need A New Hero.
<Pose Tracker> Matilda Whitehead has posed.

Matilda thinks 'twin ARMs and heroic' is a pretty good descriptor for Dean, of course -- but actually seeing it *work* has her a little gobsmacked. "... I -- hmm. Well. I'm. ... not going to argue with a door already open," she eventually settles on, though the halting delivery indicates the... remaining... questions.

Fortunately, she doesn't have time to think about them, because there are beetles. Matilda doesn't have anything *particularly* great for handling beetles of any size, significant or otherwise. Her primary contribution, thus, is staying out of the way and occasionally delivering smacks of opportunity with a shield she retrieves from her coat.

"... Hopefully," she says quietly, "this is all the beetles." She does not sound optimistic.

DG: Matilda Whitehead has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward her party's challenge, We Need A New Hero.
<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

"I guess Dean is a pretty common name," Lydia says after a moment.

She whispers to Rebecca. "Legit. You'll get it eventually!" She then adds, a bit louder. "Well I mean, it's a little harder to put prophecy through the scientific process unless, well, it's proven wrong or it doesn't come to pass at the foretold time and such. A lot of prophecies are pretty vague though, purely so you can't do tests! I think it's an unscientific bias at play here--"

BUT NOW...BEETLES!

"Ghyaaah!" Lydia says, stumbling backwards. "Great Hero Dean! Please stop the beetles from munching on me gaahhh--!!"

<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

    "I'LL SAVE YOU LYDIA," Dean yells, just before running to her rescue!!
    
    It's a little hard, since the way there is also full of beetles.

<Pose Tracker> Rebecca Streisand has posed.


"Don't call him that!"

As Rebecca uses her Airblast ability over and over again on the beetles, "It's going to go to his head!"

============================<* Memorial Sanctuary *>============================
======================<* CHALLENGE - We Need A New Hero *>======================
|Type: Entry       |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 2          |
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 The approach to the Memorial Sanctuary is a difficult one -- not only is the
 ruin located far away from any settlement, but the road is ill-kept and the
 lands unfriendly. But finally, there the building stands -- what's left of
 it that rests above the ground, that is. Time has since buried much of it,
 but with a little searching, an alcove can be found, and within it, a door.

 The door is locked. A console, standing nearby, will respond once prodded.

 When our homeworld, Filgaia, is in danger, a hero will arise, bearing twin
 guns, to lead all life into a new world. Enter the name of that hero:

 It requests a name. A certain name.

 That's the easy part. Basic guesswork -- as it were -- should uncover the
 name the machine requires soon enough. The door WILL open.

 But, then there's the hard part: the chitinous beetles that come pouring out
 the door once it opens. Either they're eager for an escape, or they're eager
 for a fleshy snack. In either case, they'll just have to be handled before
 anyone can get inside.
=Dungeon Conditions: Bad Luck=================================================
=======================<* Memorial Sanctuary - Round 1 *>=======================
========================< Results - We Need A New Hero >========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Avril Vent Fleur                    0 --(5)--> 5                   Fail
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Riesenlied                          0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Rings of Promise                    4   Combat  Effects: Efficient and Fanfare
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Matilda Whitehead                   0 --(5)--> 5                   Fail
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Noeline                             0 --(5)--> 5                   Fail
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rebecca Streisand                   0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Sky Medium                          3   Combat  Effects: Rally
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lydia Seren                         0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dean Stark                          0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC
-----------------------------------< Party >------------------------------------
Leader: Avril Vent Fleur            0 --(15)--> 15                 Pass
Conditions: Bad Luck(2)
Effects:
===============================< Dream Chasers >================================
DG: The party led by Avril Vent Fleur has passed this challenge! The party gained 15 exploration! If anyone needs to use party
management commands, do so now. Otherwise, the next round's GM may begin the next round with +dungeon/draw.
<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    In a flurry of blades, magical prowess, and other assorted attempts -- to either withstand or struggle against the clicking flurry of released beetles -- the group as a whole stands strong.

    Sure, a few of them might be a little worse for wear (Avril included, as it turns out even the finest of blades is perhaps not the best choice against beetles), but in the end they do stand victorious, with the horde beaten back or just beaten, period.

    "That seems to be the end of them," Avril states, before gazing over at Dean for a single heartbeat of a moment.

    "Does this make you a hero, Dean?" she asks, quite seriously. Innocently, even.

DG: Riesenlied has drawn a new Challenge.
===========================<* Memorial Sanctuary *>===========================
===============<* CHALLENGE - Putting The Pest In Pestilence *>===============
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 3          |
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 'Stars' spangle the wall of this large, nearly open chamber within the
 Memorial Sanctuary -- this room is more well-lit than most, but still never
 progresses far beyond a lazy twilight glow. The pathway here traces in a
 circle around the edges, with a hole in the center and a large pillar
 occupying the middle of that gap that reaches above and below where you
 stand.

 It's from above that the sound of chitinous wings chrrs in the air; the
 origin soon becomes clear as the absolutely monstrously large beetle lands
 square in your path. It twitches its wings and immediately a greenish fog of
 toxins stirs into the air, threatening to steal your breath (and life) away.

 The Plague Beetle is here. It does not look like it wants to be friends.
=Dungeon Conditions: Slow, Exhaust============================================
<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

    Not altogether too far in, the source of the beetles that emerge out of the door become clear -- a massive chitinous beetle with whirring (chrring) wings echoes in the air, prompting a cough from Riesenlied as she notices...

    "The air..."

    Indeed, a greenish fog of poison stirs within the air without too much fanfare. She hesitates for a moment, then concentrates on her Medium--

    "If I just... use..."

    There's a flash, as the Medium of Life reacts. An erupting veil of life washes over the group as the toxins begins to push past, clearing the air--

    And then it erupts again.

    There's a yelp as Riesenlied drops to her knees, as a strange blue flame starts to ensconce her arms once more; the nature of the burn marks become clear, as what feels like the Ley erupts to existence.

    "Why... why do you do this?"

    Which... poison is one thing, but the armored beetle with the massive horn is still a problem.

DG: Riesenlied has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Putting The Pest In Pestilence.
<Pose Tracker> Rebecca Streisand has posed.


'Does that make you a hero, Dean?'

That question that came so innocently from Avril's lips...

She can't shoot it down.

Which is absolutely why even though it's horrifying when a giant Plague Beetle comes...

She's glad to have a target.

"That has to be the Queen!"

How does she base it? Well on size she guesses.

Rebecca starts unloading her Revolver in the air into the whirring back and forth of the wings, trying to fill them with enough holes to bring it to the ground.

"Oh shoot!" As the green fog fills the air, and she puts the arm of her jacket across her mouth, "Don't breathe it in."

However Riese dispels it with her Medium and Blue Flame Erupts.

Riese looks... in bad shape.

Rebecca opens the cylinder of her revolver and lets the casings fall out, before snapping in her next clip.

She wants to help. She absolutely does. Yet right now she figures the best way to help is to shoot that thing down.

Sighting it down she lets another six shots fly at its softer underbelly, hoping to avoid deflection off any unseen armor.

DG: Rebecca Streisand has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Putting The Pest In Pestilence.
<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia's eyes bug out as MORE POISON MORE PROBLEMS and then--now--a giant beetle! Lydia covers her mouth and nose with one hand and draws out her Medium into her hand. She promptly starts chanting.

"Oh Rigdobrite, Guardian of the Stars, Wandering Guardian, Three Eyed Shrimp In SpaceRock, please grant listen to our entreaty--"

Time passes as Lydia casts.

"--We honor your radioactive light, the gifts from the Heavens, and your favor--"

Time passes as Lydia casts.

"--In return when we offer you the cosmic dust from which we will one day return to--"

Yeah by the time Lydia finishes her prayer, this battle will be over.

DG: Lydia Seren has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Putting The Pest In Pestilence.
<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    After that, it's just a matter of pressing on into the depths of the ancient long-sealed (?) temple.

    Though it isn't very long at all that they cross paths with the apparent mother-of-all-beetles.

    "The Queen--"

    Avril draws on the oversized Plague Beetle, blade pointed right at it, lifting one jacketed arm to cover her mouth and nose. "Careful... try not to inhale the fumes!" she calls out, approximately in chorus with Rebecca.

    Before her gaze slides from the beetle towards Riesenlied. Riesenlied attempts to use the Medium.
    Riesenlied is rejected, once more.

    Something hardens within her, a cold plume of fury of all things. Face still covered by her arm, she lunges for the gigantic beetle, blade vanishing from Absolute Zero's hilt as she closes.
    There after, she pulls the trigger.

    Enough.

    Yes, vocalizes that presence, from within.

    Light flares. Then cuts.

DG: Avril Vent Fleur has used her Tool Beam Whip Mode toward her party's challenge, Putting The Pest In Pestilence.
<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

    The beetles are defeated!
    
    Their mom/dad/parent/boss seems pretty pissed about it.
    
    The instant before it appears, Avril asks Dean if this means he's a hero. He grins and puffs his chest out. "That's right! Just call my name and I'll come running to save you, anytime, anywhere!" Then he laughs and adds, "Just kidding! Well, not about the saving part, but the rest of it. Dean must be a pretty common name after all, like Lydia said." He grins at Matilda. "But who's gonna argue with an open door, right?"
    
    They pass through to the next chamber. Plague Beetle belches hideous gases at them. This time, thanks to Rebecca and Avril's warnings, Dean actually uses his pistols like pistols, firing bullets into the creature's carapace while attempting to keep his distance from it and its noxious poison fumes.
    
    The fumes clear a moment later--but then flames erupt around Riesenlied from the Medium of Life. Dean snaps a worried stare over at her. "Riese! Don't push yourself! If the Medium's giving you trouble, just use something else!" he calls. "So please stop setting yourself on fire!!"
    
    One would think it's a reasonable request, AND YET

DG: Dean Stark has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Putting The Pest In Pestilence.
<Pose Tracker> Matilda Whitehead has posed.

Matilda breathes a momentary sigh of relief as, at long last, the beetles are beaten down. She considers assessing the beetle corpses for reagents -- but that's something to do on the way back, not on the way in. Weight is a practical concern, after all. Dean's comment gets a brief smile back.

Matilda's hesitation, at least, is promptly rewarded with a much larger beetle that is *definitely* full of reagents, instead of small beetles that are only *probably* full of reagents. She considers her weapon options, and in the end chooses the revolver out of the lot -- Freischütz doesn't have the sheer penetrating power of conventional ARMs, after all.

Matilda covers her face with one arm, keeping her elbow up over her nose as she takes aim with her other hand. It's a bit difficult... but they're not exactly dealing with a small target.

DG: Matilda Whitehead has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Putting The Pest In Pestilence.
<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

    Noeline's weapon turns out to not be terribly useful after all. Given her enormous sweeps and lunges, you'd think that she'd be better suited to cope with a wave of beetles washing past them - but the lack of edge on her sword means that the battering swing mostly just batters the small creatures aside, clearing space but leaving them more-or-less intact to rejoin the fight.

    In the end, some instinctive flares of Duras Drum's power prove much better at convincing the insects to retreat; a corona of sorcery pushes the creatures back and throws them off her before their mandibles can dig in, and with an effort of will she maintains the field as she strides forwards through the rest of them, seeking to make space rather than stand and fight, almost scooping up Riesenlied to propel her forwards with her.

    Ahead of them is the obvious leader of the beetle forces - or at least, in the back of her mind, Noeline quietly hopes that these creatures are intelligent enough to flee once their leader is gone. Her partner's exclamation regarding the sickly air makes Noeline wince; though she doesn't expect it to harm her, it isn't a good omen that something so vicious has seated itself just inside the door.

    "Cover your mouths! You too, Ri--" she calls, before her voice audibly hitches with fear at the sudden flare of the Medium. "--ese! Get down! Miss Streisand, pin that thing down!"

    There isn't time to go to Riesenlied's side, not with a threat so clear and present. Instinctively she clutches at her hand, concentrating on a ring that sits there - on her solemn promise - as she pulls at the power pooled at the back of her mind. In response, a ring of shadowy sorcery bursts into life around her stricken partner, Noeline's best attempt to keep her out of further harm.

    Contrary to most, she doesn't say anything about Riese's aborted attempt to use the Medium; she knows, all too well, how much it means to her to try to forge that contact, to try to take up the mantle of the Heritor. Instead, she sweeps forwards, lunging into a jump that takes her over most of the chittering creatures and allows her to bring the weight of her sword fully down on the Queen.

DG: Noeline has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Putting The Pest In Pestilence.
===========================<* Memorial Sanctuary *>===========================
===============<* CHALLENGE - Putting The Pest In Pestilence *>===============
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 3          |
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 'Stars' spangle the wall of this large, nearly open chamber within the
 Memorial Sanctuary -- this room is more well-lit than most, but still never
 progresses far beyond a lazy twilight glow. The pathway here traces in a
 circle around the edges, with a hole in the center and a large pillar
 occupying the middle of that gap that reaches above and below where you
 stand.

 It's from above that the sound of chitinous wings chrrs in the air; the
 origin soon becomes clear as the absolutely monstrously large beetle lands
 square in your path. It twitches its wings and immediately a greenish fog of
 toxins stirs into the air, threatening to steal your breath (and life) away.

 The Plague Beetle is here. It does not look like it wants to be friends.
=Dungeon Conditions: Slow, Exhaust============================================
======================<* Memorial Sanctuary - Round 2 *>======================
=================< Results - Putting The Pest In Pestilence >=================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Avril Vent Fleur                    5 --(15)--> 20                 Pass
Beam Whip Mode                      3   Combat  Effects: Fanfare
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Riesenlied                          0 --(30)--> 30                 Fail
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Matilda Whitehead                   5 --(30)--> 35                 Fail
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Noeline                             5 --(30)--> 35                 Fail
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rebecca Streisand                   0 --(30)--> 30                 Fail
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lydia Seren                         0 --(30)--> 30                 Fail
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dean Stark                          0 --(30)--> 30                 Fail
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Avril Vent Fleur            15 --(5)--> 20                 Fail
Conditions: Bad Luck(1)|Exhaust(1)|Slow(2)
Effects:
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: The party led by Avril Vent Fleur has failed this challenge! The party gained 5 exploration! If anyone needs to use party
management commands, do so now. Otherwise, the next round's GM may begin the next round with +dungeon/draw.
<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

    The beetle charges-- but is summarily stopped as Rebecca's bullets whizz through the air. Several off them ping off its surprisingly durable chitinous armour, but several sink in and it shrieks with a glowering anger as she draws blood.

    Lydia gets a >CT< status icon over her head as she begins chanting. If you check the Active List, her name isn't present until like, waaaaaaay down there.

    Dean offers Riese some profoundly sound logic. She should listen, and yet...

    "... if I cannot even... have this much, then what... who..." Riesenlied murmurs in a dazed, half-trance like state. It's not an unfamiliar state--

    --that gets bowled over as the beetle crashes through; Matilda pops it mid-charge and sends it sprawling, with enough time for Noeline to crash down with her sword and send a large gash over it.

    But it's not enough -- eventually, it's Avril that decides enough is enough, and that there can only be one Queen.

    *ga-shinkk*

    There's that camera shot that starts in darkness, then a glowing red line is drawn as Avril is seen on the other end with the beam whip extended.

 GS: Lydia Seren uses Material - Rigdobrite!
 GS: But no valid targets remain....

DG: Lydia Seren has drawn a new Challenge.
===========================<* Memorial Sanctuary *>===========================
===================<* CHALLENGE - You Shouldn't Be Here *>====================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 1          |
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 Most of the Memorial Sanctuary is but dimly-lit, with numerous spots and
 spaces shrouded in darkness. Still, the way forward is typically clear
 enough, and this passageway is no different--

 Until the assortment of the pale lights in this hall turn a dull menacing
 red, as text in an ancient lost language slides across the panels. An alarm
 blares, briefly.

 Then the lights go out, plunging the chamber into complete darkness. A sense
 of oppression and menace settles in after. You've got to find your way out
 of here.
=Dungeon Conditions: Reckless, Cripple========================================
<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia says, "Oh neat. Saved my FP." Pause. "It stands for Fierce Points. I have calculated that in any given situation I have a natural end limit for how 'Fierce' I can be so I try to save them for moments that really require 'Ferocity'."

Lydia didn't shout at Riese to 'not set herself on fire' because while that's certainly logical, she too knows how important it is to Riese to forge that connection. Lydia herself is worried about it too, worried that maybe she is pushing Riese i this direction when Lydia would love her even if she didn't have a Medium, but ... but it's also unfair. She should be able to...shouldn't she?

Lydia is left in the dark on that answer.

Lydia is also left in the dark in general because the lights just went out, an alarm blaring briefly beforehand. "Ghaaahh--I wanted to write that down." Lydia complains before frowning.

"Ahh---maybe..." Lydia says, Schrodinger appearing on her head. She picks the cat up and sets them down on the ground. And then Schrodinger becomes like ten Schrodingers.

"I bet we can try following the Schrodingers but light might be better."

"Meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow."

Can you follow the sound of their meows??

"Meow meow meow meow meow meow meow."

"I'm having second thoughts about this plan." Lydia admits.

DG: Lydia Seren has used her Tool Schrodinger the Cat toward her party's challenge, You Shouldn't Be Here.
<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

    Riesenlied looks at Lydia and assumes she's talking about math again, because FP is about as foreign a concept to her as when Cetiri is trying to explain that what she's technically doing is cohering to her phase locality and--

    She steps forward as she looks to Noeline quietly, contritely. There's a fear that's not particularly foreign to her. A look that's almost more like...

    A certain little Hyadean, without a face. Someone who's always searching for a mask to wear...

    "Maybe... you can trace it, with graphite pencil?" Riesenlied suggests as she looks towards the runes and-- hitches a little as the alarm blares and leaves them in the dark.

    "Why did it show itself to me, if it would just reject me such...?"

    Riesenlied lowers her head, feeling her palm on that Medium. She thinks on what Dean said for a moment, then... bites her lip as she relents.

    She holds onto the Dragon's Tear instead, and it shines with a warm, familiar light.

    "... I can't find any answers from within it..."

DG: Riesenlied has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, You Shouldn't Be Here.
<Pose Tracker> Rebecca Streisand has posed.


It's all going so wrong until Avril-

"... that was so cool." Rebecca whispers with a note of awe.

And then Lydia mentions FP. Rebecca raises an eyebrow questioningly. "... Nah that can't be right." She says, nudging Lydia's shoulder with a hand, "I mean ferocity? That's not you. You're more maximizing out your CP." As she teases, "That stands for cuteness. Your cuteness total is going up as we speak."

She'd believe that Avril has both an FP and CP gauge, but Lydia? Nah.

"You alright Riese?" She asks out of concern now that she's less on fire and they're all less in immediate danger.

However then the lighting grows dimmer until...

It is the nemesis of every budding writer.

Inadequate lighting.

And so Rebecca gulps and trends towards Dean and Avril in these moments. "It's pretty dark right now... aha... ha..."

It's one of those moments when she wishes Dean would get the hint offer his arm and say 'Well stay close to me Rebecca. I'll protect you no matter what happens.'

And Rebecca would play off and pretend she wasn't scared but absolutely take that arm and hold it... a little more tightly.

For now she's just following the meows of the Schrodingers. "Uh... it's getting harder to tell the further they get..."

DG: Rebecca Streisand has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, You Shouldn't Be Here.
<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    Absolute Zero cuts true, vanquishing the terrible Beetle Queen...

    But only after a protracted battle, after her friends and allies do their utmost to strike against its fierce chitinous shell. The beam of light vanishes in an instant afterwards, returning the ARM to its hiltlike state.

    The halls are winding and only semilit. Like in the halls of an observatory, perhaps... or a theatre.

    The lighting flares with an angry light before it grows ever dimmer. Darker.

    "Is this hall becoming dar--"

    Pitchblack.

    Avril stands still in the darkness and takes a breath.
    It's not as bad as it once was.
    Still, it evokes something old and ancient inside her.

    It was a dark room. The one in her dreams. The ones that force her awake in the middle of the night at times, when the rest of the world is still and quiet.
    Dark, cold, confined. She did not want to--

    Something catches in her throat.

    Taking a start of a step forward, Avril reaches out blindly, as if in pursuit of another person's touch.
    It won't be Dean's hand that reaches out to Rebecca.

    "We... we must continue," she says, forcing steadiness into her voice.

DG: Avril Vent Fleur has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, You Shouldn't Be Here.
<Pose Tracker> Matilda Whitehead has posed.

Matilda squints at Lydia. She opens her mouth to speak -- and promptly just sputters out a bunch of poison. She tries again. "... I don't think that's the sort of thing you can quantify," she manages, this time, with a little effort. Rebecca's comment gets a slightly strained-sounding laugh, as Matilda admits, "... Yes, that's *much* more to the purpose. We do have a very cute group, with only one unfortunate exception!"

There's a pause, before Matilda appends, "Ah... self-deprecating humour." Another awkward pause. "... Let's proceed."

As they're plunged into darkness, though, Matilda's enthusiasm for proceeding... *significantly* spikes downward. "I -- ah -- there's bound to be..." Matilda pauses. "... I think I might have a small symbological lamp in here, for night reading -- if I didn't leave it back on the Carakin..." She starts groping around blindly in her bag, hoping she actually... finds anything useful. It's going to be a little touch-and-go...

DG: Matilda Whitehead has used her Tool Portable Library toward her party's challenge, You Shouldn't Be Here.
<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

    Dean honestly doesn't know anything about Original Artificial Mediums and who should and shouldn't be able to use them or whatever. He just knows that using the one causes Riesenlied significant pain and injury, and he hates seeing his friends get hurt, ergo she should use something she's better able to control in the middle of uncertain major battles like this. Especially ones where the beetle kicks all their butts until Avril slices it in half.
    
    He groans as he gets up, Twin Fenrir flashing away, but--well, any fight you can walk away from. "Everyone okay?" he asks, looking around at the group and at Riese in particular. He'd head her refusing, but...
    
    oh that's the lights, that's not great
    
    "Woah, what just happened?" he utters, looking up and around even though he can't see a thing. He holds his hands out, trying to feel for the others. He's not afraid of the dark, thankfully, but he knows Rebecca is--and so is Avril, though Dean isn't actually explicitly aware of that. "Rebecca, are you gonna be okay? Avril?"
    
    A cute group, with one exception. "Who's the exception?" Dean asks Matilda blankly. Another pause as Matilda replies. "...Wait, but who's the exception??" It sounds like he doesn't get it... Which means that he thinks Matilda's cute...???
    
    Thankfully, Lydia unleashes the Schrodingers, and Riesenlied uses the power of the Dragon Tear, giving everyone sound and sight back. Dean grins in relief, then, in consideration, summons Twin Fenrir back. They always appear in a flash of light, so... Flash, and they disappear. Flash, and they appear again. Flash, flash, flash, which might be kind of annoying in other circumstances but you gotta do what you gotta do to see what's in front of you. "Okay, I think this'll work! Let's keep moving forward and see if we can't find a way to turn the lights back on, or reach some other part of the building where they're still working!"
    
    And if neither is a readily available option, well, they'll just have to deal with that as they move onwards.

DG: Dean Stark has used his Tool Standard Cartridge toward his party's challenge, You Shouldn't Be Here.
<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

    Panting a little, it takes Noeline a few moments to pick herself back up after her strike; she winces as she wills her sword away, realizing too late that she's taken a number of nicks and scrapes. "Really, now," she sighs in quiet irritation. "What a mess. That was quite the welcoming party. We can only hope they managed to find a ways to sneak in, rather than have made their way up from below," she grumbles loudly, perhaps having to cover for the fact that her mind is only just catching up to the fact that the legendary hero of the day is apparently Dean "Bean" Stark.

    Despite that, she's still quick to hurry back to Riesenlied's side, immediately kneeling with concern as she looks over the other Hyadean's wounds and burns. For a moment, she's left chewing at her lip with an obvious fear that mirrors Riese's contrite expression - but she bites it back when she studies her partner's face, willing a quiet smile onto her own in the few short moments before the lights abruptly go out.

    Not that that stops her. In lieu of sight, her hands manage to find Riesenlied's, feeling out her presence via the link the piece of the Dragon's Tear providers her; she sighs a little in relief, and squeezes the other woman's hands in hers. "... that is a question we will find the answer to together. I am not going anywhere," she reminds quietly.

    And, immediately afterwards, a cacophony of quantum meows that rather sets her off-balance. Squinting, she tries to pick out the sounds of the cat past the countless dopplering echoes; the sound seems to reverberate against itself, and before long Noeline's feeling a need to speak up a little. "I-- points for effort, certainly, but I think this might get just a little confusing?" she ventures, keeping her hand firmly in Riesenlied's just in case.

    Above her, there's a soft beep - and then a miniature light source, as Strife twirls in place and sends light scattering across the walls from its main lens. It isn't bright, and it isn't particularly focused, but it does help cut ever so slightly through the gloom, and Noeline uses it as best she can to begin edging their way forwards.

DG: Noeline has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, You Shouldn't Be Here.
===========================<* Memorial Sanctuary *>===========================
===================<* CHALLENGE - You Shouldn't Be Here *>====================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 1          |
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 Most of the Memorial Sanctuary is but dimly-lit, with numerous spots and
 spaces shrouded in darkness. Still, the way forward is typically clear
 enough, and this passageway is no different--

 Until the assortment of the pale lights in this hall turn a dull menacing
 red, as text in an ancient lost language slides across the panels. An alarm
 blares, briefly.

 Then the lights go out, plunging the chamber into complete darkness. A sense
 of oppression and menace settles in after. You've got to find your way out
 of here.
=Dungeon Conditions: Reckless, Cripple========================================
======================<* Memorial Sanctuary - Round 3 *>======================
=====================< Results - You Shouldn't Be Here >======================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Avril Vent Fleur                    20 --(0)--> 20                 Pass
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Riesenlied                          30 --(0)--> 30                 Pass
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Matilda Whitehead                   35 --(0)--> 35                 Pass
Portable Library                    1   Wits    Effects: Cleanse
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Noeline                             35 --(0)--> 35                 Pass
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rebecca Streisand                   30 --(0)--> 30                 Pass
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lydia Seren                         30 --(0)--> 30                 Pass
Schrodinger the Cat                 2   Wits    Effects: Enlighten
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dean Stark                          30 --(0)--> 30                 Pass
Standard Cartridge                  3   Wits    Effects: Fanfare
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Avril Vent Fleur            20 --(20)--> 40                Pass
Conditions: Cripple|Reckless(2)|Slow(1)
Effects: Cleanse|Enlighten(1)
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: The party led by Avril Vent Fleur 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> Lydia Seren has posed.

"C...Cuteness Points...!?" Lydia gasps. "You...you got me...!" She hangs her head. "B..but I can be fierce too! Just...like...I gotta build up to it. And I'm not feeling fierce today. And I did keep a log based on my personal experience and even though an outside observer would be the superior option---"

"Meow meow meow meow (meow meow)."

"Well yeah I guess we should follow cat." Lydia admits, glancing in what's probably Rebecca's direction. "So you like it? The whole tech outfit I've got goin' on?"

Her cheeks puff out when Matilda says she's not cute.

"You have lots of CP, Matilda! You can't pretend you don't!" Lydia shouts.

Luckily thanks to some light sources and uh ... magic teleporting guns--it becomes considerably easier to see. Matilda herself finds a light herself to help matters further.

And of course through it all, the Dragon's Tear still shines.

Riesenlied asks a question and Lydia considers the answer. Eventually with the wisdom of the shamans she shares her knowledge.

"I dunno." She tells Riesenlied.

DG: Noeline has drawn a new Challenge.
===========================<* Memorial Sanctuary *>===========================
=================<* CHALLENGE - Seems Too Easy Doesn't It? *>=================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 3          |
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 Maybe the Memorial Sanctuary was a sort of storage site, once upon a time.
 It's one way to parse the endless array of tapes and slides and other
 stranger objects that fill the cabinets and stone shelves of the rooms of
 this place. Unfortunately, the labeling is cryptic and largely faded into
 illegibility.

 That, and you're not even sure what they'd be used with -- without the right
 machine they're just ancient pieces of strange material.

 But while the current room you're in is still packed with shelves of the
 stuff and no way to understand what it means, perhaps it's the sizable crack
 along the back wall with the tantalizing promise of some sealed-up space
 behind it that holds more promise. Was something important or valuable
 hidden away in there?
=Dungeon Conditions: Exhaust, Secret==========================================
<Pose Tracker> Rebecca Streisand has posed.


"Uh-huh." Rebecca says to Lydia, seeming entirely unconvinced. "And sure I do! It adds to your appeal. And that makes your CP even higher." Before Matilda makes the self-deprecating joke, and Rebecca arches an eyebrow, "Trying to pretend you're not just raises those points even more." Before she sighs at Dean's response. "Uhhhhh... noone tell him."

Avril's hand blindly touches hers, and she's surprised. Yet despite that steadiness, she hears that hesitation. That repeated word.

Rebecca's fingers lace around Avril's hand, squeezing gently. There's a certain warmth to it. Rebecca's skin is soft but callused from all of her acrobatic training. It gives it a certain tactile character to the touch.

It's another girl's hand, so Rebecca is too embarrassed to say what she wanted to hear from Dean. Instead she just whispers, "I'm here."

She's scared too, but somehow knowing that Avril for all of her determination was frightened, it helps her get over that enough to say.


Dean's muzzle flash keeps leading them on. "'Together' makes everything seem a little less overwhelming - doesn't it?" She murmurs to Avril at his exuberance, hoping to cheer her up some.

<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

    The dark path the various light sources pick out seems to go on forever - with no landmarks easily visible, there's no way to judge how far the group has left to go, and nothing to compare against to try to get their bearings. It almost seems like the corridor might have begun to angle downwards, but perhaps that's just the tugging of exhaustion and a sinking feeling all at once?

    Eventually, though, the lights of the cat's many eyes come to a stop, arranged around a roughly rectangular shape at which the passageway seems to end. One of the cats sat next to the rest makes an encouraging meow; Noeline frowns in response, and steps forwards to try petting it - only to have her hand land on a console, which lights suddenly up under her fingertips. A couple of experimental presses later, and she's shielding her eyes against the sudden light of the rest of the ruins, spilling through a now-open door that leads further down into the ruins.

    "Ah..." she murmurs with immediate recognition, her eyebrows going up as she stalks inside and looks around her. She's never been here before, of course, but some things you can't ever really confuse or mistake. Dress it up or design it however you like, but a filing cabinet stuffed with papers is still a filing cabinet stuffed with papers, and Noeline makes for it with a clear air of interest...

    ... only to look incredibly disheartened as she turns one of the pieces of yellowed paper over in her hands. The sheet is so crisp it's already flaking apart just from a touch, and any writing on it is nothing more than black flecks. She tries another, and another, with no luck.

    "... here I thought we might get a little context about the place," she sighs as she plants her hand on her hip and shrugs one shoulder. "So much storage media, and no way to look any of it up. I suppose if we could get it out of here, we might be able to tell if it is intact - but no such luck, I dare say."

    Behind her, her twin ARMs are poking curiously through the rest of the room, and explode into a flurry of beeps and whistles when they come across the telltale crack. Strife bobs back to Riesenlied to curl around her, seemingly trying to get her attention. Trouble - still filled with the vigor of cuccos, and still wearing its beak of folded paper - apparently chooses the more direct method of simply bashing against the wall repeatedly.

DG: Noeline has used her Tool Trouble toward her party's challenge, Seems Too Easy Doesn't It?.
<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

    Riesenlied slowly feels them, not by sight, but by feeling. The way Rebecca holds someone's hand, and tells them it's okay. The way Lydia tells her she doesn't know, and she feels that earnestness... even if it leaves her feeling lost.

    Rebecca asks her if she's all right.

    "'Together'... it... does," Riesenlied admits, though she doesn't sound certain. It feels deeply uncharacteristic of her, to not readily spring optimistically to camaraderie and unity.

    She hears Lydia's chat with Matilda and Rebecca about 'CP'. Cuteness...? Muni ought to have an abundance.

    Noeline clings onto her hand, as she watches Strife move, and in the moment... and they move towards the next room where the light returns to them, and she watches Noeline experiment with the console.

    She pauses as she gazes about the filing cabinets and Noeline checks it out...

    Trouble is indicating for her. Trouble is filled with the power of cuccos! She should play the flute and lend a hand. But...

    But...

    She doesn't seem to have the energy to summon cuccos right now. That's how you know it's serious.

    (also the tool got changed -so-)

DG: Riesenlied has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Seems Too Easy Doesn't It?.
<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    It's better than it once was. The dark.

    Yet, still, in a place like this -- it undoes all the checks and balances you feed into yourself. In the end, it's not so much the fact of darkness itself, but the way it stifles. Chokes. Cuts off. She can't see where she is, or where anyone else is, or where they're going. But for sound, the rest of the universe might not exist.

    "It doesn't want me here..."

    Rejection, while far from the drumbeat it was in the temple back on Ignas, is still heavy here, thudding a long slow pulse.

    She reaches out in an effort to find something, someone, and catches Rebecca's hand.

    I'm here.

    A simple pair of words, and yet, it means the world to Avril, right now.

    "Yes. So am I."

    The cats call out. Light, from Dean's ARMs, helps guide the way. They emerge from the darkness back into the temple's twilight, and before long, follow after Noeline into the room she's discovered. Back into the light.

    "What might this be?" She holds up a single glass slide, turning it this and that. Even squinting, she can't make out the image well. It needs a projector.
    ...Which isn't in here. There's no way to decrypt or use anything that's stored in here, she soon finds, sorting through some of the materials.

    The wall stands out. Approaching it, she regards the crack with interest, particularly when Trouble starts to slam into it.

    "What's that? Is there something here?" she asks the... machine. "Hm..." Gloved fingertips trace the seam of the fracture, and pensively, she appears to consider their options.

    "It seems that someone built a wall here in a hurry," she says. "It does not seem to be particularly thick. Perhaps if we were to widen the crack?"

    Her answer to this conundrum is to make use of her magic, pouring ice into the break in the wall to further push the crack apart.

DG: Avril Vent Fleur has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Seems Too Easy Doesn't It?.
<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia gets silver blush lines all across her face. Oh dear. Luckily the lights are out. She covers her face with her hands all the same though. She completely misses pretty much everything important this round as a result.

Luckily, she's calmed down by the time they return to a lighted area and that brief comical silvering has faded mostly by the time her face is particularly visible. Still, she gives Avril and Rebecca a small smile. That could also no doubt raise the CP total very quickly but Lydia keeps quiet on it this time because it's time to move past that discussion.

If Lydia had all the answers about Guardians she'd be Granny Halle. Maybe she should ask Riesenlied to talk to Granny too. If even Granny doesn't know, then nobody knows and breaking new ground, while scary, is also kind of epic.

Lydia does give her a small pat with her hand though.

"It'll be okay though. We've got each other so we'll pull through."

She glances towards that crack along the back wall.

"Speaking of, time for me to engage in my specialty technique...!"

She approaches the crack on the wall and---

--yes she's swinging her baseball bat at it repeatedly.

CLANG CLANG CLANG CLANG CLANG CLANG.

DG: Lydia Seren has used her Tool Good Luck Bat toward her party's challenge, Seems Too Easy Doesn't It?.
<Pose Tracker> Matilda Whitehead has posed.

Everyone showers Matilda in affirmations; whether this is just as planned for Matilda or a nice surprise is unclear, but she does seem pleased by it, and even turns a little pink. ... Maybe she's just been missing Kaguya again.

As they bumble their way forward in the dark to an ending at last, Matilda sticks close to the silhouettes of her friends but doesn't quite bunch up on any of them. Her gaze turns toward the crack in short order, the material of only modest interest to her -- like so much in this ruin, she thinks she wants to take some out, but... later, rather than now. The crack, on the other hand, seems worth exploring now.

"I can try weakening the wall itself," Matilda offers, reaching into her pack and fishing out a familiar sky-blue lotion. She pours it along the cracks carefully, with plenty of time to work.

DG: Matilda Whitehead has used her Tool Bubble Lotion toward her party's challenge, Seems Too Easy Doesn't It?.
<Pose Tracker> Rebecca Streisand has posed.


Something about Avril's statement makes her feel more frightened. The idea of a place having a will, that it could actually not want Avril here. Yet at the same time... "Well. Don't panic. If it doesn't want you here - then this place has awful judgment." She tries to tell herself that, to try to reassure Avril, "There's no good reason to keep you out, as far as I'm concerned."

Maybe there is. For the person Avril used to be. Whatever secrets her lost memories hold.

As far as Rebecca is concerned though, the Avril she knows now is not that person.

Back into the light, she waits for Avril to let go first, then finds herself staring at her hand after for a few seconds.

By the time she jolts up to actually look at the room, everyone is focused upon the wall.

"Well if it's all iced up - and that stuff of Matilda's works..." Rebecca bounces on the balls of her feet as she approaches, then lifting a leg she pivots around to- "Ha!"

Rebecca definitely just performed a high roundhouse kick on that wall.

DG: Rebecca Streisand has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Seems Too Easy Doesn't It?.
<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

    Manipulating the others into showering her with compliments?! What a tricksy little Matilda. Dean doesn't notice.
    
    "What??" he protests to Rebecca--but forging a way forward is more important at this point. Eventually the group reaches the end of the road, so to speak, to find some kind of storage room with lots of metal cabinets and, oooh, is that a crack in the wall? Who knows what treasure waits behind it!
    
    Avril makes observations about it. Dean nods thoughtfully. "If it's not thick or strong, we should be able to dig right through it. If you guys widen the crack more, I'll be able to use WHITE FENRIR--" Here he holds up his trusty shovel with a triumphant chord out of nowhere "--to bust the wall wide open!"
    
    Which is precisely what he does, or at least attempts to do, once they others have applied ice and baseball bats and high kicks and lotion to it. "We might still find information," he tells Noeline when she comments in disappointment on the flaking, yellowing paper. "You never know if we might stumble across a room like this that's better-preserved! We just gotta keep looking around!"
    
    Looking and digging. Both won't be too difficult with Riesenlied's support light. *Chunk*, goes the shovel, and Dean thrusts it to one side to attempt to break down the battered wall entirely, or at least open up whatever hole has appeared so far further.

DG: Dean Stark has used his Tool The Trusty Shovel toward his party's challenge, Seems Too Easy Doesn't It?.
===========================<* Memorial Sanctuary *>===========================
=================<* CHALLENGE - Seems Too Easy Doesn't It? *>=================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 3          |
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 Maybe the Memorial Sanctuary was a sort of storage site, once upon a time.
 It's one way to parse the endless array of tapes and slides and other
 stranger objects that fill the cabinets and stone shelves of the rooms of
 this place. Unfortunately, the labeling is cryptic and largely faded into
 illegibility.

 That, and you're not even sure what they'd be used with -- without the right
 machine they're just ancient pieces of strange material.

 But while the current room you're in is still packed with shelves of the
 stuff and no way to understand what it means, perhaps it's the sizable crack
 along the back wall with the tantalizing promise of some sealed-up space
 behind it that holds more promise. Was something important or valuable
 hidden away in there?
=Dungeon Conditions: Exhaust, Secret==========================================
======================<* Memorial Sanctuary - Round 4 *>======================
===================< Results - Seems Too Easy Doesn't It? >===================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Avril Vent Fleur                    20 --(10)--> 30                Fail
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Riesenlied                          30 --(0)--> 30                 Pass
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Matilda Whitehead                   35 --(10)--> 45                Fail
Bubble Lotion                       2   Brute   Effects: Strengthen
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Noeline                             35 --(0)--> 35                 Pass
Trouble                             2   Brute   Effects: Strengthen
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rebecca Streisand                   30 --(10)--> 40                Fail
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lydia Seren                         30 --(0)--> 30                 Pass
Good Luck Bat                       2   Brute   Effects: Strengthen
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dean Stark                          30 --(0)--> 30                 Pass
The Trusty Shovel                   2   Brute   Effects: Stalwart
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Avril Vent Fleur            40 --(20)--> 60                Pass
Conditions: Exhaust(1)|Reckless(1)|Secret(2)
Effects: Strengthen(1)
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: The party led by Avril Vent Fleur 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> Noeline has posed.

    It doesn't take Noeline long to realize that Riesenlied has slipped into silence, outside of those three words in return to Avril. The Hyadean sets the paper she was looking at down with care, apparently fearing it will shatter into a million dusty shards - and she isn't that far off, not with the way the edge of the preserved paper continues to flake away. She sighs in quiet regret, but there isn't really time to dwell on it too much, not when she feels it important to be back at her partner's side. Trouble seems to share in her worry; however Noeline's link to her ARMs works, the pod's response to Riesenlied's flagging spirit is imply to try harder.

    Avril's ice helps to destablize the crack at least a little, though the construction here is solid enough to wear the test of time and doesn't seem to be particularly moved by the increase in pressure that the blockage creates. In much the same way, the rock doesn't seem to be significantly porous; Matilda's lotion can't seem to penetrate far past the surface, though it does cause the finish of the wall to be quickly worn away.

    Rebecca's roundhouse kick is certainly impressive, but there's only so much force that can be applied so quickly in that fashion - and while it sends chips of stone flying every which way, there's still a good amount of stone to get through. Lydia's bat helps further, the metal ringing a series of high-pitched raps around the storage room as more of the blockage is torn away - though Noeline has to make a bit of a face at the sight, Riesenlied's hand safely in hers as she sighs. "You're going to destroy your palm from the impact. At least be careful," she grumps.

    With their way still blocked, the group is forced to resort to the one thing they have in spades - spades. Dean's shovel gets to work on the job, and it isn't long before the digger can tear the rest of the rubble aside. Trouble immediately tries to take all the credit itself, whistling brightly as it spins in the air above the sudden gap.

DG: Matilda Whitehead has drawn a new Challenge.
============================<* Memorial Sanctuary *>============================
====================<* CHALLENGE - Didn't Read The Manual *>====================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 4          |
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 As you enter this chamber, lights flare up about you as part of an ancient
 computer system comes online. A sealed door is visible at the far end but it
 remains shuttered. At first the text scrolling the screen is unintelligible
 but then:

 LINGUISTIC MATCH FOUND. DOOR LOCK STATUS: ENGAGED. DISPLAYING: UNLOCK DOOR?

 There's no time to make a response. The system beeps. It's not a happy beep.

 ERROR! SYSTEM INTEGRITY SCAN... SCAN COMPLETE.
 DISPLAYING: ERROR! LOGIC ERROR DETECTED IN SYSTEM. INITIATING DEBUG MODE.
 INITIATED.
 AUDIENCE CAPACITY SCAN... SCAN COMPLETE. INITIATING 'EASY-USE' GUI.
 INITIATED.

 In midair around the group, panels of hard light of varying shades of color
 and brightness burst into being. Various impossibly varied symbols litter
 each one. The panels hover almost invitingly.

 DISPLAYING: PLEASE PERFORM NECESSARY SYSTEM REPAIRS NOW. REFER TO MANUAL FOR
 GUIDANCE.

 ...What manual?
=Dungeon Conditions: Slow, Secret=============================================
<Pose Tracker> Matilda Whitehead has posed.

Matilda applauds Dean's very showy finishing-off of the wall before them. Even if her own attempt did next-to-nothing, she still appreciates watching someone succeed at something! ... Mostly.

As the group heads through the gap, Matilda looks around for some obvious guidance about how to proceed. This seems to trigger something -- specifically, it turns on the whole room. As the computer system starts to boot up, it's almost blinding compared to the rooms before it. As it displays an unidentified script, Matilda... frowns.

"I don't suppose anyone can --" The display changes, prompting the group about whether they'd like to unlock the door.

Almost instantly, it moves on from that, mentioning its transition to debug mode and then improvement of its GUI -- and pops up panels of hard light in myriad colours.

Matilda reaches into her pack immediately, this time pulling out a blank notebook. "... I'll keep notes on what the colors and symbols actually correlate to, as far as output is concerned, and sequences we've already tried," she says, with the tone of the truly defeated.

DG: Matilda Whitehead has used her Tool Portable Library toward her party's challenge, Didn't Read The Manual.
<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

    Riesenlied sucks in a breath as Trouble detects that she's struggling, moving by her side as she looks towards Noeline and nods at her. She steps on through with the rest of them. Dean's enthusiasm that they'll find something buoys her for a moment, as she looks alarmed at Rebecca's kicking... hopefully she won't hurt herself -- probably not, with the bubble lotion from Matilda in play.

    "... if it rejects you..."

    She looks to Avril. "Then... at the very least, let us be rejected together."

    The slew of uncharacteristic comments continues as Riesenlied descends into pessimism, it seems.

    She looks a little alarmed, though, as a computer system erupts blindingly, and she shrivels a little. It reminds her a little of the time at the Pleasing Gardens.

    She sucks in a breath, as she looks to the locked door. "... I can feel a connection... to the Ley..."

    Whatever that might mean, she sucks in a deeper breath as the tainted Medium thrums to life. Slowly, surely, there's an ebb as those flames start to contort and disrupt around her--

    --and she explodes into uncountable shards of photons and does what she did once for Lily's ether amplifier, and the Teleporter in the Pleasing Gardens. The fibre of her being can be transmitted as information via light, after all.

    She becomes the ghost in the shell.

DG: Riesenlied has used her Tool Tainted Medium of Life toward her party's challenge, Didn't Read The Manual.
<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

    Dean shows that wall what's what! Once everyone breaks through, and Matilda gives him literal applause, Dean grins at his friends in pride, rubbing a finger under his nose. "Let's get going!"
    
    And go they do. Once Dean puts his shovel away, the group heads through the gap to another room. It's full of advanced, tech-y kind of stuff. He looks around in curiosity and interest, wondering if any of this is Elw tech, when sudden light and symbols literally appear out of nowhere. "Woah!" he utters, more startled than anything else. But then the gibbering turns into letters he recognizes, even if he... doesn't actually understand what the words are saying. Mostly. 'Unlock Door?' is pretty comprehensible.
    
    But then there's a beep, and more gobbledygook, and... Dean scratches his head and looks at Matilda. "I don't know what all this is about, but doesn't it mean we just need to open up that door over there?" he asks, pointing at it. "We don't need a manual for that, right? How about we just try to figure *that* out? Maybe there's some buttons that'll turn on if we hit them..." He holds up Twin Fenrir out of nowhere invitingly. No better way to solve a puzzle than by shooting it!!
    
    Or by shattering. Riesenlied speaks of rejection, then explodes into light. Dean jumps, then yells, "RIESE STOP EXPLODING YOURSELF"
    
    He's gonna have to get used to this or he'd going to end up having a heart attack. But hey, it's better than breaking into individual motes of light, probably!!

DG: Dean Stark has used his Tool Standard Cartridge toward his party's challenge, Didn't Read The Manual.
<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia Seren considers the computer system intently, rubbing her chin in deep thought.

"I have an idea." She says before picking up a Schrodinger and setting them down on the keyboard.

The cat sprawls out on the keyboard hitting all sorts of keys.

"It's ok. Mom explodes all the time. She'll be fine."

DG: Lydia Seren has used her Tool Schrodinger the Cat toward her party's challenge, Didn't Read The Manual.
<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    Let them be rejected together.
    Let them be fools together. Come what may, at least they won't be alone.

    "Yes," she answers Riesenlied, in the dark. "Let's."

    In spite of herself, in spite of the dark, Avril emits a soft little giggle. 'It has awful judgement', does it?

    "...Thank you," she murmurs at length, as she and Rebecca make their passage through the pitchblack dark.

    Until they reach that room and reach the light.

    ...Though it does appear that she may have underestimated the integrity of that wall. Still, it holds not a chance against the lot of them, and, well, Avril might just be a little biased since she smiles happily when Dean carves his way through.

    Someone had sealed up this room. This approximates the first thought to cross Avril's mind as she steps inside the hidden chamber, her glance tracing hither and yon before settling on the console nearer to the center. "The door over there, perhaps we might be able--"

    Lights flash and flare. A script she cannot yet read appears only to replace itself with a far more modern one, and asks a simple question--

    "...Ah?"

    Avril takes a step back, regarding the myriad of panels about them with mild bewilderment. "'Debug'? That is... Does that mean that it would like us to repair it?" she asks the lot of them, as if any of them would know better than she would.

    Matilda offers to take notes.

    Reminded, strangely, of a puzzle involving an assortment of keys near a gate at the bottom of a canyon, Avril can only nod in assent. "Thank you, Matilda. Now, let us see..."

    She touches not one at first, apparently regarding the array critically, as if to guess what might be the root of the puzzle on display here. "The Temple on Ignas used colors of red, white, and blue," she comments, thinking her way through it. "It may be complimentary tones. Perhaps the yellow-- ah?!"

    Riesenlied applies her own solution to the problem.
    She becomes light.

    "Riesenlied?! Are you... can you..."

    Avril pauses for a good five seconds.

    "Are you able to see... what needs to be done?"

DG: Avril Vent Fleur has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Didn't Read The Manual.
<Pose Tracker> Rebecca Streisand has posed.


Rebecca just... locks up as everything starts going wild, with the flashing lights and the ancient text scrolling across the terminal. "H-Hey slow down... okay nobody panic..." And then Riese explodes, and Dean shouts at her for exploding. And this whole experience feels like the height of panic. "NOBODY PANIC!" She commands, while panicking.

The terminal is right there, and its colorful, and she has no idea what to press. The symbols mean nothing to her.

So gulping back panic as she doesn't want anyone to see her panicking she pulls out her diary and opens it and...

Ever seen a smile so bright? It feels like sunlight reflecting through ice to create this whole prism. All the colors of the Rainbow.

"Oh." Rebecca starts and looks up at the colors on the terminal. Then starts pressing a Red one.

Then an orange one.

Then a yellow one.

"ROY..."

Green.

"G"

She keeps on continuing as she pronounces, "BIV."

She doesn't know what the symbols mean at all, but maybe she doesn't have to. "I just thought... if we can't understand it the symbols - then maybe the color coding is important? And it's like... going from red is deescalating..."

Maybe that's a language that transcends time.

Or maybe she just assisted in blowing them all up. Who can say right now?

All she knows is that she gave it her best effort.

DG: Rebecca Streisand has used her Tool Rebecca's Travel Diary toward her party's challenge, Didn't Read The Manual.
<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

    "... hmm... ... this seems like nothing more than a vestibule," Noeline comments as they pick their way through the remains of the wall they've just busted through; sure enough, there's really nothing here but another door, and Noeline has to plant a hand on her head as she sighs at the lack of anything interesting.

    Her sigh comes too early; the room explodes around them into colour, but blares a warning at them at the same time. What first looked like a light show slowly resolves itself into a seriously distressed computer system, and Noeline clicks her tongue at the first of the screens, trying to make head or tail of the warnings blaring across it.

    "... Riese," she mutters when her partner speaks; she struggles to find the words for a moment, and is just about to open her mouth again when the other Hyadean abruptly dissolves herself into component particles. Left in the wake of it, she bites back the lump in her throat and turns to the screens, her eyes flicking across them to try to make sense of what little she can pick out.

    Her gaze strays across to Rebecca as the girl starts to pick up on Dean's nervous energy and amplify it back; that alone makes her pick her expression up, and though the snort isn't exactly whole-hearted there is a quiet smile behind it. "It's fine. Or, at least, this is a way in which she can help. ... she may be rather tired afterwards, but that will hopefully be all."

    "As for this... well, there isn't a great deal of iconography, but we can at least try to see what can be done on our end," she steps up, picking out what she can of the myriad symbols. "Several components are reported as... missing, is that? Let me see if I can find any serial numbers on the things in the room we just left behind us, hm?"

DG: Noeline has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Didn't Read The Manual.
============================<* Memorial Sanctuary *>============================
====================<* CHALLENGE - Didn't Read The Manual *>====================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 4          |
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 As you enter this chamber, lights flare up about you as part of an ancient
 computer system comes online. A sealed door is visible at the far end but it
 remains shuttered. At first the text scrolling the screen is unintelligible
 but then:

 LINGUISTIC MATCH FOUND. DOOR LOCK STATUS: ENGAGED. DISPLAYING: UNLOCK DOOR?

 There's no time to make a response. The system beeps. It's not a happy beep.

 ERROR! SYSTEM INTEGRITY SCAN... SCAN COMPLETE.
 DISPLAYING: ERROR! LOGIC ERROR DETECTED IN SYSTEM. INITIATING DEBUG MODE.
 INITIATED.
 AUDIENCE CAPACITY SCAN... SCAN COMPLETE. INITIATING 'EASY-USE' GUI.
 INITIATED.

 In midair around the group, panels of hard light of varying shades of color
 and brightness burst into being. Various impossibly varied symbols litter
 each one. The panels hover almost invitingly.

 DISPLAYING: PLEASE PERFORM NECESSARY SYSTEM REPAIRS NOW. REFER TO MANUAL FOR
 GUIDANCE.

 ...What manual?
=Dungeon Conditions: Slow, Secret=============================================
=======================<* Memorial Sanctuary - Round 5 *>=======================
======================< Results - Didn't Read The Manual >======================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Avril Vent Fleur                    30 --(15)--> 45                Fail
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Riesenlied                          30 --(10)--> 40                Pass
Tainted Medium of Life              3   Wits    Effects: Sacrifice and Enlight
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Matilda Whitehead                   45 --(15)--> 60                Fail
Portable Library                    1   Wits    Effects: Cleanse
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Noeline                             35 --(15)--> 50                Fail
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rebecca Streisand                   40 --(10)--> 50                Pass
Rebecca's Travel Diary              2   Wits    Effects: Enlighten
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lydia Seren                         30 --(10)--> 40                Pass
Schrodinger the Cat                 2   Wits    Effects: Enlighten
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dean Stark                          30 --(10)--> 40                Pass
Standard Cartridge                  3   Wits    Effects: Fanfare
-----------------------------------< Party >------------------------------------
Leader: Avril Vent Fleur            60 --(20)--> 80                Pass
Conditions: Secret(2)|Slow(2)
Effects: Cleanse|Enlighten(1)
===============================< Dream Chasers >================================
DG: The party led by Avril Vent Fleur has passed this challenge! The party gained 20 exploration! If anyone needs to use party
management commands, do so now. Otherwise, the next round's GM may begin the next round with +dungeon/draw.
DG: Avril Vent Fleur has drawn a new Challenge.
============================<* Memorial Sanctuary *>============================
=======================<* CHALLENGE - Shining Eternity *>=======================
|Type: Climax      |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 3          |
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 There are more of those dim light-emitting panels lining the walls and the
 dome of the arched ceiling of this chamber. This, perhaps, is the first
 impression one might have of the largely bare room in those seconds before
 the door you came in through slams shut.

 Hard-light panels manifest in an array around the lot of you and begin to
 speak, their words at first unintelligible. Then:

 ...LINGUISTIC MATCH OBTAINED. ATTENTION: REMAIN IMMOBILE FOR SECURITY
 SCANNING.

 Beams of light emit from the panels, shining over each person present in
 turn.

 SCANNING... SCANNING..

 Until one of them scans Avril.

 MATCH OBTAINED. ALERT: 7071TH1A. ERROR! SUBJECT THREAT LEVEL: MAXIMUM.
 ERROR! INITIATE HIGHEST-LEVEL FACILITY DEFENSE PROTOCOLS AND TERMINATE ALL
 SUBJECTS PRESENT. FILGAIA RESTORATION PROJECT CANNOT BE JEOPARDIZED.

 The hard-light panels wink out of phase as the multitude of light-emitting
 panels in the walls and ceiling of the chamber unfold and reveal their true
 form: hard-light laser beam emitters.

 And the oppressive, rejecting atmosphere of the sanctuary has only grown
 three-fold.
=Dungeon Conditions: Overwhelm================================================
<Pose Tracker> Matilda Whitehead has posed.

Matilda's note-taking proves unnecessary -- the group is able to solve the repair well in advance of actually needing to crosscheck in any meaningful sense. Noeline goes looking for serial numbers, but why would anything nice ever happen on *that* front?

Riesenlied, now -- Riesenlied seems to have the right idea. As she becomes the light, Matilda practically lets out a squeak. She's not able to directly repair the machine -- but she *does* get a much clearer picture of what is broken, and how it can be reset at the software level. She's able to relay that information, once she pops out -- and Schrodinger randomly hitting buttons makes it *very* clear what's what by the time she gets out.

Rebecca's actually close to on the mark, too -- it requires ascending rather than descending, but the *theory* is correct. They're through in almost no time at all, thanks to... well, everyone, really! Even notorious genius hero Dean Stark.

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    Not just yellow, it seems.

    "The color of the rainbow?" she asks Rebecca, glancing over Noeline's way, as if to silently query after Riesenlied. Most certainly, the Hyadean is fine, but, to use the Medium again when it's at such odds with her being, and so suddenly...

    The reverse of the rainbow proves the key. The system is restored successfully, at which point the door across the room opens.

    Through the door, then, they venture. Is it possible that the group that came before went this way?

    The room that meets them is largely featureless, save for the paneling dotting the walls. Behind them, the entrance slams shut.
    Perhaps there is a reason why the door leading into this chamber had been so heavily locked.

    As before, the translation kicks in quickly. Stand still? Avril freezes where she stands, watching one of those shining panels that manifest quizzically as the beams of light begin tracing the bodies of everyone in here. The light drifts across her.

    The klaxons scream out almost immediately.

    "What... an alert? Terminate 'all subjects'? No! You can't--"

    The program was built without mercy. It proceeds as it was directed.

    They're all packed in here, like rats in a trap. With the domelike shape of the room, there's no place to hide, not a place that will be safe.
    The beams sizzle as they cut through the air.

    "Please--" Avril begs of the Medium she draws forth. The light of Lucadia's benediction comes forth in a sudden burst.
    And to her friends, to the ones who accompanied her here, without thinking about their own safety or what hazards and traps might lie waiting, she asks only this of them: "Run!"

    Keep moving. Don't stop. At least, until they can find a way out of here.

DG: Avril Vent Fleur has used her Tool Sea Medium toward her party's challenge, Shining Eternity.
<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

    Some part of Riesenlied gazes within the system towards the others. She has a strange, almost dysphoric feeling of dissociation right now within the light...

    As Avril asks her, as Matilda works through the system, her agreement or disagreement comes with off-colours as they work to align the system towards their needs.

    She feels bad for panicking Dean, and by extension Rebecca; perhaps shying away into the system was a way to hide. She didn't like to hide. But right now...

    She flecks her gaze to Noeline, as she whispers her name. It's fine, she says. She'll always be there.

    No, the problem wasn't others drifting away. It was...

    Riesenlied herself...

    ... who hasn't come out of the system. Perhaps she's barred from leaving by the sudden detection of '7071TH1A'.

    Filgaia Restoration Project...?

    There's no moment to think, however, as those hard-light panels start to wink to existence and emerge to assault the group.

    She had to do something.

    Several square motes of data begin to digitise into existence; it is as if some presence has hijacked a portion of the system within the Memorial Sanctum, a screen swivelling as it proves itself to be hard light and blocks several of the lasers shooting towards the group.

    Then the terrifying happens.

    >> Cucco.exe
    >> Program Advance, Loaded
    >> Battle Routine, Set
    >> EXECUTE

    A swarm of digital cuccos, somewhat blocky and with Tron lines creasing throughout their wattles, emerges out of the screen. If the croon of the cucco in real life was terrifying enough, then there may perhaps be something even more horrifying about their digitised croons as they explosively throw themselves face-first towards the emitters.

DG: Riesenlied has used her Tool Flute of the Cucco Queen toward her party's challenge, Shining Eternity.
<Pose Tracker> Rebecca Streisand has posed.


"I mean... it feels right." And when it doesn't work, someone trying it in reverse... it puts a smile on her face. To think she managed a working theory about something like that.

"What!? What's going on!? Why would it... kill us all when it scanned..." And then the last word never leaves her mouth. Because that word is Avril.

There's no good reason why.

Right now though Avril says Run. And Rebecca is off, lit up by the energy of Avril's Sea Medium.

She dives over one hard light beam that nearly pummels her into the wall, roll and slides under another that quite nearly beheads her, popping up to cartwheel over another, then a series of handstands that take her into a swarm of...

Cuccos.

"What the!?"

A swarm of digital blocky feathers flies into her mid-acrobatic frenzy and she sputters them out before continuing at a rapid pace, hoping the Cucco distraction buys them a few seconds. "WHAT EVEN WAS THAT!?"

When it looks like one is going to be particulary troublesome, Rebecca draws out her revolver and shoots at the lens of the emitter three times, hoping to break it before it fires.

DG: Rebecca Streisand has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Shining Eternity.
<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia picks up Schrodinger and places them on their head. "Good work, Kit. You saved the day, probably."

Lydia quirks her head as lasers aim at the group. Avril warns the team to run but Lydia is worried. "Riesenlied... Isn't out yet, though. Is she hacking the planet?"

Digital cuccos appear in reality.

"She's hacking the planet!"

Lydia starts skating around the room through the use of her RADICAL SKATES, rapidly picking up steam. She hops over a laser, duckcs under another and then Lucia slides across a wall as a laser chases after her, the beam sizzling through the room. Lydia, as usual, laughs like a maniac during this nonsense. "Rebecca this is amaaaaazing!!" She isn't too worried about Rebecca after all she's an ace acrobat but on the other hand she does not have radical skates.

Lydia summons the power of Rigdobrite with her mind, a light glow rippling around her skates as she leaps high up into the air and grinds off a laser beam before dropping back down near Rebecca.

"GWa ha ha ha ha ha ha again! Again! Mom can you get it to go again??"

DG: Lydia Seren has used her Tool Radical Skates toward her party's challenge, Shining Eternity.
<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

    Noeline has seen Riesenlied do this trick before - but she's also seem the deleterous effects that her partner's disassociation has had on her health in the past, and with everything else going on right now there's a tight ball of worry in her stomach that start to curl up tighter as Riesenlied doesn't return to them. As it grows, it leaves her increasingly coiled like a spring, tension running through her frame; such are her nerves right now that she almost manages to make it through the door despite how quickly it crashes shut.

    Her hand slowly grasping at midair for the security of knowing she has the Errant Blade on hand, she submits to the 'search', glaring defiantly as the light runs across each of them. The fact that she's cleared doesn't really offer much in the way of comfort, not with the door still closed; that suspicion is borne out when the alarm suddenly sounds at Avril's presence. "Lolithia?" she wonders to herself, taking a lightning-fast glance at the screen and the text upon it, where misreading it becomes an advantage--

    --but any more analysis can wait. The first of the panels to unfold suddenly gets a slab of metal rammed unceremoniously into it, the gigantic blade of Noeline's summoned out of her hand in the blink of an eye. With a grimace and a noise of effort, she rams the blade in harder; even if the system itself isn't going to be brought down so easily, she can at least tear into the actual mechanics of the place, leaving so much scrap metal in her wake as she shifts her stance and tears the blade along the wall next to her.

    It is, perhaps a little more destructive than she needs to be - but such comparisons seem very far off at present, and the burst of fear and adrenaline towards their situation isn't going away any time soon. "We have faced worse than an angry corridor!" she calls through gritted teeth, even though it's not clear if it's in sheer defiance or in support.

    Within the swarm of cuccos, Strife bobs merrily; the little pod twists and turns amongst them, carried along by their flow, before beeping and emitting a large swathe of laser fire to scatter against the walls.

DG: Noeline has used her Tool Strife toward her party's challenge, Shining Eternity.
DG: Dean Stark has used his Tool Freeze Ray toward his party's challenge, Shining Eternity.
<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

    Klaxons scream. Beams sizzle. Avril tells her friends to run.
    
    "And leave you behind?! No way!!" Dean declares. He might not understand what happened to Riesenlied, but for now, he has to trust that she's okay, or will be okay. Noeline seems calm enough, and she'd have the most reason to freak out if something was wrong, right? Right now, he has to protect Avril!
    
    Oh, she meant for all of them to run, together. That's more reasonable. Dean summons Twin Fenrir and shoots the floor ahead of them with Freeze Ray, then hits it at a run and begins to slide. His speed increases significantly, and hopefully so does everyone else's.

<Pose Tracker> Matilda Whitehead has posed.

As the room scans each of them, Matilda stays still -- she doesn't know what's coming, but she doesn't want to provoke the machine. ... Unfortunately, it's not *her* that provokes it -- it's Avril's presence, instead, that bothers it.

Bothers it, in fact, might be an understatement. Matilda's reflex is to run *away*, rather than stand and weave through it... but that'd require finding a way to reopen that slammed door, and it's better being together in a bad call than isolated, when it comes to not dying.

Accordingly, Matilda does her best to weave forward, moving along just behind Dean.

DG: Matilda Whitehead has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Shining Eternity.
============================<* Memorial Sanctuary *>============================
=======================<* CHALLENGE - Shining Eternity *>=======================
|Type: Climax      |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 3          |
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 There are more of those dim light-emitting panels lining the walls and the
 dome of the arched ceiling of this chamber. This, perhaps, is the first
 impression one might have of the largely bare room in those seconds before
 the door you came in through slams shut.

 Hard-light panels manifest in an array around the lot of you and begin to
 speak, their words at first unintelligible. Then:

 ...LINGUISTIC MATCH OBTAINED. ATTENTION: REMAIN IMMOBILE FOR SECURITY
 SCANNING.

 Beams of light emit from the panels, shining over each person present in
 turn.

 SCANNING... SCANNING..

 Until one of them scans Avril.

 MATCH OBTAINED. ALERT: 7071TH1A. ERROR! SUBJECT THREAT LEVEL: MAXIMUM.
 ERROR! INITIATE HIGHEST-LEVEL FACILITY DEFENSE PROTOCOLS AND TERMINATE ALL
 SUBJECTS PRESENT. FILGAIA RESTORATION PROJECT CANNOT BE JEOPARDIZED.

 The hard-light panels wink out of phase as the multitude of light-emitting
 panels in the walls and ceiling of the chamber unfold and reveal their true
 form: hard-light laser beam emitters.

 And the oppressive, rejecting atmosphere of the sanctuary has only grown
 three-fold.
=Dungeon Conditions: Overwhelm================================================
=======================<* Memorial Sanctuary - Round 6 *>=======================
=========================< Results - Shining Eternity >=========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Avril Vent Fleur                    45 --(0)--> 45                 Pass
Sea Medium                          2   Agility Effects: Quicken
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Riesenlied                          40 --(0)--> 40                 Pass
Flute of the Cucco Queen            3   Agility Effects: Fanfare
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Matilda Whitehead                   60 --(5)--> 65                 Fail
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Noeline                             50 --(0)--> 50                 Pass
Strife                              1   Agility Effects: Cleanse
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rebecca Streisand                   50 --(0)--> 50                 Pass
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lydia Seren                         40 --(0)--> 40                 Pass
Radical Skates                      3   Agility Effects: Fanfare
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dean Stark                          40 --(0)--> 40                 Pass
Freeze Ray                          2   Agility Effects: Quicken
-----------------------------------< Party >------------------------------------
Leader: Avril Vent Fleur            80 --(0)--> 80                 Pass
Conditions: Overwhelm|Secret(1)
Effects: Cleanse|Quicken(1)
===============================< Dream Chasers >================================
DG: The party led by Avril Vent Fleur 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.
DG: Avril Vent Fleur has drawn a new Challenge.
============================<* Memorial Sanctuary *>============================
==================<* CHALLENGE - From Anxiety To Impatience *>==================
|Type: Final       |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 2          |
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 Whether the onslaught is initially evaded or not, the relentless barrage of
 the laser-beam defense weaponry does not cease. You're in danger as long as
 this facility draws power, or at least as long as you remain in here. After
 all, you'll have to keep on being lucky or quick for an apparent eternity.
 The weaponry, on the other hand...

 The door you came in by remains closed, red lights and scrolling text in an
 illegible script perhaps declaring the door is truly shut and sealed.

 But there's more than one door. There, on the opposite end of the chamber--!

 This door is similarly shut tight. But next to it stands a console strung
 amidst almost organic-looking cabling. The screen is bright. It's
 operational. Maybe it controls the door. Maybe if you were to hack in you
 can get it to open the door for you.

 But you'd better hurry up, in any case. The security system is still
 actively trying to eliminate you.
=Dungeon Conditions: Stupify, Injure==========================================
<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    Avril is aware, fleetingly -- as the door slams shut -- that Riesenlied is not with them. Did she not come out--
    And then there are other things to be worried about.

    Against such a threat, everyone does what they can to stack the deck in their favor -- for all of them.

    Even against the potent presence of Mother dampening what the Guardian can accomplish, Lucadia's presence is felt in this room, enhancing their ability to evade the deadly beams of light.

    Lydia meanwhile takes to the streets, so to speak, and races her way through the beams. One tries to chase after her, but can't quite keep up.

    Dean's Freeze Ray functionality only further tilts the odds in their favor: before long even the most tenacious panel can't quite keep up with their mark. Sticking close to Dean helps make the most of it for Matilda -- it's a good plan.

    Taking a more offensive approach, Noeline's Strife ducks through a hail of laser fire only to return the favor; a series of screens sputter out of apparent existence.

    A screen blocks a beam.

    Then there is more than just a single screen interfering.

    THERE IS A FLOCK OF CUCCOS. Several of the beam-emitting panels are simply crashed out of commission.

    "--Riesenlied!" Avril cries out, perhaps intuiting the source. ...Even if Lydia names the cause for what it is, anyway.

    And it's in this fashion that they piecemeal make their way to the far wall, where a panel rests, next to a door.
    The door won't open if pushed. Perhaps like the door outside, there way through is via the console?

    Avril seizes the keypad. "Rebecca-- it was the rainbow in reverse, wasn't it? Perhaps-- perhaps it might be thus again?"

    It's a long shot. But with nothing else to base a guess on, she'll take her chances here.

DG: Avril Vent Fleur has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, From Anxiety To Impatience.
<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

    Riesenlied is...

    She watches... she watches them. In many ways, it is nostalgic. Perhaps truefully so, moreso than anything else in her behaviours.

    The way she'd peek around corners and admire Noeline at a distance, back when she was a neonate whom she was unfamiliar with, battered yet defiant to the others.

    The way she'd peek around corners and gaze at Nasrin as she talks to others, jovially, with no confidence to call her own...

    Riesenlied's cucco screen is beginning to warble and break out, however, as the flood of errors and warnings begin to spread. She's being pushed out of the system. It's shoving her out. She's not wanted--

    She jitters for a moment.

    She remembers Rebeca's words.
    The rainbow, in reverse.
    A negative rainbow...

    Father...

    There is a pause, as the systems begin to 'leak' around them -- flowing spreads of the Ley echoing with what Avril senses to be the Medium of Life reacting again. There is a loud tear as something slices through the system--

    And for a moment, Riesenlied re-emerges alongside them, albeit in a haphazard manner. She slumps by Noeline's side, barely conscious; it's more like she's deposited by her side. And it can be seen, from the screen she was on...

    A unicorn with butterfly-winged legs, trotting into the distance.

DG: Riesenlied has used her Tool Tainted Medium of Life toward her party's challenge, From Anxiety To Impatience.
<Pose Tracker> Rebecca Streisand has posed.


"DEAN SHE'S RUNNING WITH US!" Rebecca calls out to try to alert him to the fact that Avril isn't staying in some kind of sacrifice and to keep him moving.

Rebecca not being tech savvy for the terminology has no idea what hacking means. "What does that mean!? Hacking!? She blew up! Is she taking a hatchet to the planet's soul or something!?"

Rebecca just stays barely ahead meeting Ge Ramda on a personal basis. It's a very close thing, almost certainly due to the efforts of everyone else - Avril's influence from Lucadia's medium certainly, and Dean freezing an emitter.

When they make it to the door with a console... Rebecca shouts, "Oh come on!" As she ducks an emitter beam. "Right! Try that again! Then-"

Rebecca suddenly has to flatten herself backwards, doing a limbo in order to prevent it. Panting hard from her countless near death experiences from an 'angry corridor', she finishes that thought.

"-if that doesn't work try it the normal way!"

Rebecca just starts firing wildly, hoping plan B - destroy a few emitters to keep them from killing them is still on the table.

DG: Rebecca Streisand has used her Tool Rebecca's Travel Diary toward her party's challenge, From Anxiety To Impatience.
<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

It doesn't really take much to intuit Riesenlied when cuccos are near. One day cuccos may arrive and it may not be Riese at all!

Nevertheless, Lydia, still cackling like a maniac as she heads towards the door. Is she going to hack it? Schrodinger IS on her head, so her thinking cat is ready. She is ready to think real hard...!

And that's when she swings the bat for the console rapidly figuring that if this thing is setting off the alarms, then smacking it a littl might reboot it. Or, you know, break it and get it to stop.

Either way this still technically qualifies as 'hacking away' at the problem.

DG: Lydia Seren has used her Tool Schrodinger the Cat toward her party's challenge, From Anxiety To Impatience.
<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

    Noeline continues her rampage as they chase their way down to the main panel; by the time she's done, several such gashes have been cut into the wall, and while Noeline looks rather the worse the wear for the effort of it all she can't deny a bit of grim satisfaction at the same time.

    She nearly rounds on the panel as well, but recognizes just in time that it is the key out of their predicament. With an effort, she instead grounds her enormous blade, sucking in a breath of exertion as she twists it around to face behind everyone else. "I'll leave that up to you, hm?" she mutters towards the others, bracing herself as she rams her sword into the ground in front of her. There's a spark of sorcery - and then a gout of smoke erupts from the hilt of her sword and her hand alike, shifting up into the air to form a wall of energy and mottling light and shadow.

    Where the beams hit it, they scatter against the particles, dissipating the lancing energy into harmless pinpricks instead - and while Noeline grits her teeth all over again at the effort of it, and feels her head swim with dizziness, she still manages to hold on and maintain the barrier.

    All the moreso when Riesenlied reforms out of nowhere, tumbling into her side. The spy has to shift in a hurry, but just about manages to catch the other woman in time before she can hit the floor of the corridor, dragging her to one side enough to be behind the wall of smoke.

DG: Noeline has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, From Anxiety To Impatience.
<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

    "I GET THAT NOW," Dean yells back to Rebecca, because this is absolutely the time for that. Fortunately, they're all fast enough to outrace the lasers! Unfortunately, there's a door in front of them, and as brash as Dean can be, even he is reasonably certain that this control panel with its bright lights and fancy buttons is not a puzzle he ought to shoot.
    
    He looks back towards the approaching security system, smiling at Matilda just behind him, as Avril grabs the keypad and tries to input REVERSE RAINBOW. He looks back in time for Lydia to start cackling and attempting to beat the shit out of the console with a bat. "LYDIE NO," he yelps, leaping forward to try to stop her, not getting her logic, which might even be correct? He'll greet Riese back after communication has been restored. Noeline's got her covered, anyway.

DG: Dean Stark has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward his party's challenge, From Anxiety To Impatience.
<Pose Tracker> Matilda Whitehead has posed.

Matilda is glad at least one of them can cackle. ... honestly, no, she really isn't -- as is the case with many of the places she's gone with Avril, Matilda finds herself increasingly... bewildered and frightened, by not just the number of obstacles but their intensity.

As they get a tiny bit of a reprieve -- only a few seconds -- by arriving at that console, Matilda immediately... reaches into her pack again and starts fishing out another book. She winces as Lydia bangs on the console, *really* hoping that doesn't make the problem worse.

"Ah -- if it's not the same as the previous, try inverting it again -- or perhaps starting from the middle...?" It's just a guess. ... This one, Matilda resolves to write down. Just in case it ever comes in handy again.

DG: Matilda Whitehead has used her Tool Portable Library toward her party's challenge, From Anxiety To Impatience.
<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

"LYDIE YES!" Lydia yells.

The camera pans up to the moon where Kaguya's face is smiling proudly down at the proceedings.

============================<* Memorial Sanctuary *>============================
==================<* CHALLENGE - From Anxiety To Impatience *>==================
|Type: Final       |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 2          |
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 Whether the onslaught is initially evaded or not, the relentless barrage of
 the laser-beam defense weaponry does not cease. You're in danger as long as
 this facility draws power, or at least as long as you remain in here. After
 all, you'll have to keep on being lucky or quick for an apparent eternity.
 The weaponry, on the other hand...

 The door you came in by remains closed, red lights and scrolling text in an
 illegible script perhaps declaring the door is truly shut and sealed.

 But there's more than one door. There, on the opposite end of the chamber--!

 This door is similarly shut tight. But next to it stands a console strung
 amidst almost organic-looking cabling. The screen is bright. It's
 operational. Maybe it controls the door. Maybe if you were to hack in you
 can get it to open the door for you.

 But you'd better hurry up, in any case. The security system is still
 actively trying to eliminate you.
=Dungeon Conditions: Stupify, Injure==========================================
=======================<* Memorial Sanctuary - Round 7 *>=======================
====================< Results - From Anxiety To Impatience >====================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Avril Vent Fleur                    45 --(15)--> 60                Fail
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Riesenlied                          40 --(10)--> 50                Pass
Tainted Medium of Life              3   Wits    Effects: Sacrifice and Enlight
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Matilda Whitehead                   65 --(10)--> 75                Pass
Portable Library                    1   Wits    Effects: Cleanse
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Noeline                             50 --(10)--> 60                Pass
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rebecca Streisand                   50 --(10)--> 60                Pass
Rebecca's Travel Diary              2   Wits    Effects: Enlighten
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lydia Seren                         40 --(10)--> 50                Pass
Schrodinger the Cat                 2   Wits    Effects: Enlighten
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dean Stark                          40 --(15)--> 55                Fail
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC
-----------------------------------< Party >------------------------------------
Leader: Avril Vent Fleur            80 --(35)--> 115               Pass
Conditions: Injure(2)|Stupify(2)
Effects: Cleanse|Enlighten(1)
===============================< Dream Chasers >================================
DG: You have overcome the dungeon's trials! This run is a success!
DG: The party led by Avril Vent Fleur has successfully explored Memorial Sanctuary!
============================<* Memorial Sanctuary *>============================
======<* CHALLENGE - The Stars Shine Constant Like The Unwavering Flame *>======
|Type: Discovery   |Dungeon Ability: Conclusion|Challenge Rating: 1          |
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 When you pass through the door, you find that you are not alone. A trio of
 individuals stand here around a dais, their bodies veiled in a variety of
 concealing clothing. One of them turns, followed by the others. "Humans!
 What are you doing..."

 Before they notice Avril. Shocked -- perhaps terrified -- silence descends
 across the group. One of the figures awkwardly clears their throat. They
 look, even concealed by the full-body suits they wear (so common among the
 Veruni who travel) like they would rather be anywhere else but here.

 One of them finally breaks the silence. "The Ice-- Your Majesty! Your
 appearance here is unexpected! Please, accept our most humble apologies.
 We..."

 The one opposite him gives him a look. He clears his throat and changes
 tack. "Indeed. Say no more. You are visiting our ancestors' facilities." He
 pauses, glancing over at his partners. "Er. You... have come for this, have
 you not? It is of course yours to... to claim." He makes a sound that might
 be a slightly strained choke of nervous laughter, before lifting the object
 from the dais and offering it with all due reverence to Avril.

 "We are the first to enter. I assure you, it has remained untouched for five
 thousand years."

 Avril has received the Original Artificial Mountain Medium from the Veruni
 Infiltrator Team!

 (OOC: You have gained a mild amount of suspicion from the Veruni Infiltrator
 sub-faction. Please alert staff via +request!)
=Dungeon Conditions: Treasure=================================================
<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    Avril, as it happens, is wrong about her guess. It's not the rainbow in reverse that serves as an answer here. The beams are still firing; the screens are converging on them now. Rebecca turns to fire; Noeline throws up a shield, putting everything she has into keeping them safe. Avril doesn't look; another combination is attempted.
    'Try it the normal way!'

    'Try inverting it again--'

    Avril keys the buttons in the reverse, just as Rebecca indicate. The beams stop. But the door doesn't open.

    Instead, the way opens by slightly more... brute force means. Light cuts through the system on a molecular level.
    Riesenlied makes her reappearance moments thereafter.

    The door starts to shudder open, only to stop.
    ...Percussive maintainence, as it were, is the answer; Lydia slams her bat into the system and the door starts moving again.

    And beyond that final, hard-won door...

    It appears that they have indeed found the group Avril was in search of.

    It also just so happens that the group in question is Veruni.

    Veruni who rather quickly switch from a sort of irritated to a most definitely subservient. Awed, even, in the original sense of the word.

    As if the woman before them, clad in the raiments of an ordinary Drifter, were someone to be feared and obeyed.

    Your Majesty?

    "..." Avril breathes, remaining silent, still. She draws herself up, her stare maintaining on the suited Veruni.

    Yes. Like that.

    With all due reverence, the object is presented to her. Of course, she recognizes it at once. A Medium. An Original.

    "...Thank you," she says, holding it carefully.

    Her expression has not so much as twitched. A situation like this requires care.

<Pose Tracker> Rebecca Streisand has posed.


The door opens and the danger passes. And there are three figures standing in shocked awe over Avril's presence..."

-=-=-

After the Mountain Medium is handed over, and Avril thanks them. Rebecca murmurs, "Avril you're going to say something about this right?" Before clearing her throat and stepping forward.

"Okay so wait a second." Rebecca asks the figures. "The way you're talking about Avril - it's like you know her. So do you know about Johnny Appleseed?"

One of the figures in concealing clothing looks at Rebecca as if she sprouted a second head. "Errr... is this some sort of joke?"

Rebecca crosses her arms, "Does it sound like some kind of joke!? The whole point of our journey is to find Johnny Appleseed!"

And then suddenly, all three of them burst out into laughter as they confer among themselves:

"Ahahahaha! That was the most amusing thing I've ever heard! Bravo!"
"It certainly is! Really - the very idea of it!"
"My side... hurts. Your majesty you keep the most amusing company!"

As if she were keeping around Rebecca, Dean, and the others as jesters. Rebecca looks indignant, a vein bulging from her forehead, "What's the big idea!? It's a serious question!"

All three of them stop laughing instantly. And instead look fearfully at Avril.

"Were we... not supposed to laugh?"
"A thousand apologies."
"Please... we were... confused."

Rebecca sighs, "I'm just not getting across to them."

The trio looks among themselves, "Ah. Well we have to get back to our work."
One of them whispers to the others, "Best not to anger her."

The three back up, bowing before heading towards another chamber. Rebecca scratches her head, before looking questioningly to the others and dropping her voice, "You think... I should have said something about you losing your memory - Avril?"

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

    Riesenlied is barely conscious as they emerge through the door, past scathing lasers and towards... something less pained, less arduous. She softly shivers as she stares towards them, feeling an unusual... pang of familiarity.

    She's seen Veruni before, of course, but the way they are garbed...

    Why...

    Somewhere. At the village... back then...?

    Riesenlied drapes her arms a little closer to herself as she tries to hide behind Noeline, barely conscious. Her eyes widen as they offer something she senses as a Medium... an Original. It's hers...?

    'Majesty'...?

    She doesn't understand...

    She glances to the other Medium being handed.

    Would that one... reject them as well?

    She doesn't know... she just doesn't know...

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    Rebecca asks a very, very important question. After all, was it not a group speaking of 'Johnny Appleseed' that brought them to this place?

    Avril, though, remains silent throughout the asking of that most important question -- the object of her quest since the moment she awoke.

    She's realized something. Something that unsettles, even worries at her.

    Her gaze tilts sidelong towards Rebecca as the Veruni laugh at her. And in silence, Avril returns the full weight of her attention to the suited Veruni.
    Along with every bit of malice she can muster.

    Yes. Do you remember yet? What people understand best?

    She doesn't move. She doesn't say a word. Not a muscle in her face so much as twitches. She just fixes the three Veruni with a stare that could cut through glass.

    Were they supposed to have laughed?
    A good question.

    "Enough," Avril says simply. Like that time at the gallows, it's the simplest words that cut deepest.
    Today, she's learned perhaps too much.

    Only once they return to their business here -- collecting materials from some of the storage units in this room, it seems -- does she turn her gaze away.

    "We should go."

    A pause follows. She glances at her friend.

    "No," she murmurs to Rebecca, her voice lowered. "I feel it may be best to refrain mentioning that right now. ...Riesenlied does not look well," she says, seizing on the Hyadean's condition as a means to an end.
    And there's still the matter of Mother, looming large.

<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

    Oh. So beating up the door *was* the right answer. "Oh," Dean says, echoing this reality, when the door opens after Lydia beats up on it. "Sorry," he adds sheepishly, rubbing the back of his head as he stops trying to interfere with his friend. "Gee, and here I thought trying to smash it was *totally* the wrong idea! Serves me right."
    
    Someone is possibly walking away with the wrong message here.
    
    The door opens. Everyone heads through. And there's people on the other side! Veruni people even! And... they're talking to Avril like she's royalty or something? He blinks, stares at them, stares at her, stares back at them. "Uhhhhh," he utters. "Are you sure you don't--?" 'have the wrong person,' he's about to say, but then Rebecca asks about Johnny Appleseed, and the Veruni laugh at her, and Dean frowns mightily. This is nothing compared to Avril's arctic glare, though, and in the end the Veruni hand them (or more specifically, Avril) a Medium, and an Original at that even though Dean doesn't recognize it as such in this moment, so... good job...?
    
    "Yeah, we better get out of here," he murmurs to the others in agreement with Avril, glancing at Riese. "It looks like what we were looking for wasn't what we were hoping for." ...........but they did get a free Original Medium so....... GOOD JOB????

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

"Sometimes you gotta bust these things open to mess with the yummy insides." Lydia asides to Dean. "Course, sometimes you just gotta give it a good whack."

Lydia strolls all confident-like into the next area only to come up short! It's the Veruni! Her shock doesn't last long as she says, "I ain't human. I'm Beastman. Don'tcha lump me in with humans." She doesn't have anything against the humans here, of course, but she is proud of what she is and she is also not eager to have to carry the baggage of humanity along with her.

Of course, she swings up her bat, expecting that they'll have to fight but then something truly shocking happens.

They call Avril her Majesty. The Ice Queen. Lydia blinks at Avril, at first in disbelief, but then it's clear in her silver eyes--she is believing them.

Rebecca starts quizzing them about Johnny Appleseed. Lydia's grip curls tightly around her metal bat. There's all sorts of questions whirling about in her mind but she has the presence of mind to not start blabbing in front of ... ... well they might damn well be Avril's men.

She turns to look at Avril once more when it's done.

"You lost your memory, huh?" Rebecca is saying it so it must be true. Unless she's being tricked? No she's clever.

She is Rebecca's friend, so she shouldn't be an enemy of her people, right?

But Lydia manages to keep calm. Calm for Lydia at any rate even though her heart is pounding and for the first time questions what they're actually helping Avril do. She doesn't know.

AVRIL doesn't seem to really know but it's one thing to be a random Veruni botanist, and it's another to be of their ruling elite.

"You're their queen, Avril?" Lydia asks. "Then--when we're done with Mother ... ... you'll help rescue my people right? Granny said they were making us slaves."

Her grip tightens on the bat. "Granny don't lie. After Mother I ain't gonna sit around and let 'em be slaves anymore. Not in Kislev, not in Elru."

She starts heading out on her own, her mood drastically ruined. "We're not gonna be the acceptable sacrifices anymore."

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    'You're their queen, Avril?'

    Sometimes it just takes one simple statement to put an enormity of an event into proper focus.

    She remembers. What Elder Halle had said. What the Veruni were doing.

    "..."

    Even Avril, eternally calm, forever in control, has hit a moment where she can feel her world tipping.

    "I..."

    Yes, of course. The answer is yes. But right now, the words won't quite come. She is at a loss.

    "Let us... speak of this later."

<Pose Tracker> Rebecca Streisand has posed.


Rebecca simply nods when Avril says she shouldn't have, trusting her danger instincts here.

Though when Lydia mentions being their Queen. Rebecca says nothing. Absolutely nothing.

The memories jar about in her skull. Of herself and not herself. Just tiny fractured images of herself in Avril's shoes.

...

She says nothing. They're not her memories. It's like peeking into someone's diary. Even if its on accident.

If those thoughts weren't for her to know - then noone else can hear them. The only thing that allows her to even bring it up is that Avril saw hers too.

Later she says.

And Rebecca vows to make that true. Someday in private...

... she just needs to have the courage.