2019-05-18: Thunderstruck

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  • Log: 2019-05-18 Thunderstruck
  • Cast: Kaguya Alathfar, Pearl, Lydia Seren
  • Where: Thunder Plains
  • Date: 18/05/2019
  • Summary: A trio led by Kaguya inspect the Thunder Plains for evidence of Machina. Lydia is helpful. Pearl is extremely cruel. Kaguya is mostly amused.

==============================<* Thunder Plains *>==============================

The Thunder Plains, occasionally known as the Gandof Thunder Plains, are an open, barren landscape connecting Guadosalam to the Macalania region. It is an area that is constantly - yes, /constantly/ - bombarded by lightning and thunder. Crossing the plains was all but impossible due to the never-ending storm, until an Al Bhed named Bilghen set up several towering lightning rods to draw the storms' fury and provide travelers with a (comparatively) safe road. He was in the process of setting up the final tower when he was struck by lightning and killed, something which lesser minds would regard as irony, but which the faithful know is poetic justice for a blasphemer against Yevon.

I mean, they'll still /use/ the road. Because Yevon wants them to. 

Clearly.

BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Gea_xz-cJ8
DG: A party led by Kaguya Alathfar is now entering Thunder Plains.
DG: Party formation is now over. An Entry Challenge will now be drawn and displayed to the party.
==============================<* Thunder Plains *>==============================
=====================<* CHALLENGE - The Shattered Lands *>======================
|Type: Entry       |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 1          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 The far borders of Guadosalam eventually give way to the barren rock of the   
 Thunder Plains. Here, the storm holds sway: respect it, fear it, but never    
 underestimate it.                                                             
                                                                               
 In the short distance one of the lightning rod towers receives a strike; the  
 dark heavens are briefly illuminated.                                         
                                                                               
 On this end of the eternal storm though the greater threat is the change in   
 terrain. Unstable and broken by countless strikes, there is a real threat of  
 injury should one tread poorly. Whether you opt to power through or apply     
 your own means to adjust this fractured landscape, you must continue on.      
=Dungeon Conditions: Overzealous, Injure======================================
<Pose Tracker> Kaguya Alathfar has posed.

Guess who's not going to the Farplane right now? Definitely Kaguya. No, she's on her way out to the Thunder Plains for entirely different reasons, something to investigate... but she may as well make it a more useful trip. Passing through the peaceful tree city--making a note to return--the Duchess Kaguya Alathfar, in Hyland armored travelling garb, steps out onto the barren rock of the Thunder Plains, looking up to the lightning rod towards; the storm above rages as always, no sign of the sun present. There is a bit before the first towers...

But the ground's awful. Seriously awful. Kaguya tilts her head, looking it over. "Hm," she comments. "I knew people around here weren't that big on travel but this is ridiculous."

A slow shrug, as she pulls a couple of strange potions from her bag, extending them to her 'assistant' from the Guard, Pearl, and to...

Lydia Seren??? Yep. Without so much as an additional word. "So, these'll probably work fine. They should make you better able to get across this next part so we can search properly."

"...If you see any machinery other than the towers, that's part of what I'm interested in. If not..."

Shrrrug. Kaguya tips the potion back, puts away the bottle. "C'mon, it'll be fun. I hear there's giants."

DG: Kaguya Alathfar has used her Tool This Week's Best Guess toward her party's challenge, The Shattered Lands.
<Pose Tracker> Pearl has posed.

    The silver-haired guardswoman has no reason to refuse a request to join a noblewoman going on a quest into dangerous territory. The damage to her arm has been healed, and quite frankly, she is longing for an opportunity to fight something she can kill. The Thunder Plains seem a place more than willing to provide in that regard.

    Pearl has not exactly been talkative, mostly responding to orders, or the occasional question that is asked by the others on this adventure. There is a touch of concern to her expression, but it's not for her current superior's sake.

    It's because also attending this journey into the Thunder Plains is a woman who Pearl had unceremoniously hurt very badly back on Taben's Peak. Sure, she was in disguise at the time, and Lydia may not recall her voice, but Pearl is being careful to not give her too much to recognise, just in case. The whims of fate out here keep putting her together with people she really didn't want to encounter in this guise.

    "Understood." Pearl's response to the search for non-lightning rod machines is kept short, taking the potion and drinking it quickly. Another glance over at Lydia, but then they start setting off. Pearl's clawed boots dig into the ground, providing her stabler footing over the rocky terrain of the Thunder Plains. Hopefully it's enough.

DG: Pearl has used her Tool Wolf Claws toward her party's challenge, The Shattered Lands.
<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia will lend Kaguya a hand just because she is Kaguya. It's not as if she is doing anything that will harm Filgaia from Lunar anyway and honestly, Lydia isn't too fond of Spira right now. Maybe Kaguya's schemes will lead to a way back home.

She takes a potion and pockets it into her inventory before adding, "Probably huh? Did Tilde make these?" AFTER BREAKING JAY'S HEART.

Honestly a lot of people have been breaking Jay's heart lately. Lydia wonders if she's going to end up one of them.

"Well," Lydia says. "I'm sure someone who is like mostly metal bits is going to get through this place without any problems."

She draws out her bat and--

...yeah, she's attracting all sorts of electrical blasts right into her. But at least this means everybody else probably doesn't have to worry about them as much!

She doesn't bother Pearl just yet, though.

DG: Lydia Seren has used her Tool Good Luck Bat toward her party's challenge, The Shattered Lands.
==============================<* Thunder Plains *>==============================
=====================<* CHALLENGE - The Shattered Lands *>======================
|Type: Entry       |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 1          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 The far borders of Guadosalam eventually give way to the barren rock of the   
 Thunder Plains. Here, the storm holds sway: respect it, fear it, but never    
 underestimate it.                                                             
                                                                               
 In the short distance one of the lightning rod towers receives a strike; the  
 dark heavens are briefly illuminated.                                         
                                                                               
 On this end of the eternal storm though the greater threat is the change in   
 terrain. Unstable and broken by countless strikes, there is a real threat of  
 injury should one tread poorly. Whether you opt to power through or apply     
 your own means to adjust this fractured landscape, you must continue on.      
=Dungeon Conditions: Overzealous, Injure======================================
=========================<* Thunder Plains - Round 1 *>=========================
=======================< Results - The Shattered Lands >========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Kaguya Alathfar                     0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
This Week's Best Guess              2   Brute   Effects: Cleanse and Liability
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lydia Seren                         0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Good Luck Bat                       2   Brute   Effects: Strengthen           
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pearl                               0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Wolf Claws                          2   Brute   Effects: Strengthen           
-----------------------------------< Party >------------------------------------
Leader: Kaguya Alathfar             0 --(15)--> 15                 Pass
Conditions: Injure(2)|Overzealous(2)
Effects: Cleanse|Strengthen(1)
===============================< Dream Chasers >================================
DG: The party led by Kaguya Alathfar 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.
DG: Pearl has drawn a new Challenge.
==============================<* Thunder Plains *>==============================
=======================<* CHALLENGE - A Qactuar Morph? *>=======================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 Local legend speaks of High Summoner Gandof, responsible for sealing away     
 the wily Qactuar in the Thunder Plains. According to the story, there are     
 stones scattered through the Thunder Plains -- find the stones and you may    
 find the secret of the Qactuar.                                               
                                                                               
 Much less of a legend and story though -- the creature that has bounded out   
 of the storm towards you.                                                     
                                                                               
 It looks like a Qactuar (and thus a Cactuar for that matter). But it's not    
 usual for one of these Fiends to be quite so spiky. Or for that matter, to    
 have detachable sections of its body which it can hurl -- grenade-like --     
 for its unfortunate prey. Which then naturally explode. Grenade-like.         
                                                                               
 This is taking 'One Thousand Needles' to a terrible new level...              
=Dungeon Conditions: Overwhelm================================================
<Pose Tracker> Kaguya Alathfar has posed.

"Nah," Kaguya admits to Lydia. "I've got her stuff--well, I mean, she made the formulas, I've had to synthesize new medicine--but I can't predict how it would affect you two, since it was tailored really strictly to me and my illness. Might kill one of you!" She laughs.

"You'll be fine. What, a little lightning? You got shot in the face recently! I got teleported into the ocean! We're all fine. Pain is uh, temporary, or... some... shit, whatever."

Kaguya watches Pearl with her stabler footing thoughtfully--and takes off with the others. Her strides, naturally, are shorte,r but--

In point of fact, they all get through safely and uninjured. The ground is no match for them. ...For the moment, anyway.

"See? It's fine. What's the worst that could happen?"

<Pose Tracker> Pearl has posed.

    With Lydia's decision to pull all the lightning to her, Pearl takes advantage of an opportunity to not have electricity arc to her face. "We could all be killed by a fiend for carelessness." Her answer to Kaguya's question isn't admonishing, just a statement of fact." The path is traversed without too much difficulty, but Pearl holds up her hand suddenly. "There's a fiend."

    There's a flash of lightning, and a silhouette is visible on the path ahead. A Qactuar, though spinier than normaly. It's small and it's limbs are at right angles to it's body, and bending a further ninety degrees halfway through the limb. It bounces from foot to foot, back and forth, waiting for the trio to close further. It's body bristles with spikes, making it extremely dangerous to touch. It does a little flip, and then it's arms start ratcheting back and forth rapidly. It leans slightly backwards and then...

    Fires off one of it's 'hands' at the group, which spikes into the ground infront of it, then explodes, firing needles all around it. That's just the first of many, as the Qactuar starts bombarding Kaguya, Pearl and Lydia with these tiny needly explosives. Part one of the challenge is getting close enough to actually hurt it.

    For Pearl there is the additional problem of trying to make contact with her claws without spiking her hands. She takes a few moments to try and work it out, before deciding that is not going to happen. Instead, she slashes without care for her own wounds, spikes digging into her hands and bare arms, drawing blood. The pain is evidently not enough to warrant a response.

    That said, she's not sure the fiend can feel pain either. It's far less satisfying fighting an enemy that you can't effectively hurt. With any luck there will be some raiders or similar on the path. Something that can grant satisfaction.

DG: Pearl has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward her party's challenge, A Qactuar Morph?.
<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

"Yeah I think I'm gonna hold off drinking experimental medicine for a---nother person." Lydia exhales faintly. She almost said 'An Alien' there. Also because, well, she got zapped a few times so smoke is what's being exhaled out of her mouth there. It seems she has some ZAP resistance which is good because she usually gets hit by fire which she's weak to. It's pretty terrible.

She doesn't seem to either recognize or remember Pearl either so she's just kind of nodding at her periodically or shrugging periodically depending on how she feels. It's usually 'shrug' territory.

When the Qactuar shows up, well, she approaches and it throws s grenade of spines which, yeah, gets Lydia to hide behind Kaguya.

"What the fuck is that????"

Yeah she's not going to be helping much on the 'fighting' aspect huh.

DG: Lydia Seren has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward her party's challenge, A Qactuar Morph?.
<Pose Tracker> Kaguya Alathfar has posed.

"That's true," Kaguya admits, in a 'fair enough' sort of voice. "See, hardly anybody in our organization would say anything near as blunt as that. I appreciate that kind of honesty!" She grins at Lydia. "And that kind." The kind that is lying, and dishonesty. "Man, that lightning really likes you, huh? How's it feel? I bet it's more tingly than it used to be."

Bam--a flash of lightning. There is a fiend! Kaguya tilts her head at it as Lydia immediately moves to hide behind her, and abrubtly it... fires a hand. A hand??? "What the shit," Kaguya says, picking up Lydia bodily and shifting away behind another rock for cover as she thinks about it--and there, she spots Pearl rushing in, not seeming to care about injury.

"...Nice," the small Veruni mentions. "Hey, stay here," she says to Lydia, and hops up.

"You can do explosives, huh? Welllll..."

"Let's see if it squeaks when we stab it!"

Kaguya bends at the knee again, and leaps forward, somersaulting over Pearl and pulling her butterfly sowrds mid-flip to start shanking. She seems to rely more on armor than tough skin, but--

"Hey that's prickly you little jackass--"

DG: Kaguya Alathfar has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward her party's challenge, A Qactuar Morph?.
==============================<* Thunder Plains *>==============================
=======================<* CHALLENGE - A Qactuar Morph? *>=======================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 Local legend speaks of High Summoner Gandof, responsible for sealing away     
 the wily Qactuar in the Thunder Plains. According to the story, there are     
 stones scattered through the Thunder Plains -- find the stones and you may    
 find the secret of the Qactuar.                                               
                                                                               
 Much less of a legend and story though -- the creature that has bounded out   
 of the storm towards you.                                                     
                                                                               
 It looks like a Qactuar (and thus a Cactuar for that matter). But it's not    
 usual for one of these Fiends to be quite so spiky. Or for that matter, to    
 have detachable sections of its body which it can hurl -- grenade-like --     
 for its unfortunate prey. Which then naturally explode. Grenade-like.         
                                                                               
 This is taking 'One Thousand Needles' to a terrible new level...              
=Dungeon Conditions: Overwhelm================================================
=========================<* Thunder Plains - Round 2 *>=========================
=========================< Results - A Qactuar Morph? >=========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Kaguya Alathfar                     0 --(20)--> 20                 Pass
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC                
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lydia Seren                         0 --(25)--> 25                 Fail
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC                
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pearl                               0 --(25)--> 25                 Fail
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC                
-----------------------------------< Party >------------------------------------
Leader: Kaguya Alathfar             15 --(10)--> 25                Fail
Conditions: Overwhelm|Overzealous(1)
Effects: 
===============================< Dream Chasers >================================
DG: The party led by Kaguya Alathfar has failed this challenge! The party gained 10 exploration! If anyone needs to use
party management commands, do so now. Otherwise, the next round's GM may begin the next round with +dungeon/draw.
<Pose Tracker> Pearl has posed.

    The qactuar comes under assault from multiple sides, Pearl attacking from the front, Kaguya from the rear. Kaguya's approach of bringing swords to the fight pays dividends for her, making inroads against the cactus fiend. Pearl is having less luck, getting spiked far more than she's able to make cuts into the monster. Indeed, it looks like Lydia's 'hide behind Kaguya' idea will probably pay off better.

    And then the cactuar starts shaking, it's arms ratcheting again, and then it flips up and explodes, needles firing everywhere. No one is safe from the onslaught of cactus spines. Kaguya and Pearl catch the brunt of it, but the range is enough that even Lydia isn't safe.

    When the qactuar is gone, Pearl pulls a batch of needles from her arm,dropping them bloodstained to the ground. "...I underestimated it. My apologies, Duchess Alathfar." Her comment is flat, but underneath it she is seething. This wasn't a fight like Sin, a fight against something they couldn't beat. This was just a monster. She kills monsters. That shouldn't be hard for her.

    If only she wasn't held back by her orders. By this idiot animal martial arts style. Even out here, it feels like there's no room to disobey. The rage butts up against her careful demeanour, and even if she doesn't show it on her face, her body language has tensed up significantly.

    "If you are done hiding, we should move on." There's a touch, ever so slightly, of disdain for Lydia. It's hard for Pearl to respect anyone who hides in the face of combat.

DG: Kaguya Alathfar has drawn a new Challenge.
==============================<* Thunder Plains *>==============================
=====================<* CHALLENGE - Land Of Endless Rain *>=====================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 1          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 Lightning isn't the only hazard that falls from the sky in this place. The    
 rain is also an element to be endured.                                        
                                                                               
 This only becomes the more evident when the heavens truly open up upon you    
 now. It falls in sheets, relentlessly, apparently endlessly. There seems to   
 be little-to-no escape to be had from the deluge upon you. All you can do is  
 endure it and power through, or reshape the landscape in some form to ease    
 your passage.                                                                 
=Dungeon Conditions: Weaken===================================================
<Pose Tracker> Kaguya Alathfar has posed.

Well, that sucked.

Kaguya laughs despite herself as they handle themselves after the battle. "Man. I'm gonna be pulling these for ages. Brutal! They even got through the armor! Hey, let's hold onto these spines. They could be useful for something!" It... Well, it obviously hurt. She winces as she pulls some out. It's clearly a bittersweet kind of laughter. Or maybe just 'crazy'. Also possible. "I wasn't expecting something like that."

A beat, and Kaguya shakes her head. "Hmmm. Did you?" she says, tilting her head, looking over the tension. "Well, the past is gone. How about you show me more against the next one?"

A beat, "Ha! Don't worry. Lydia's talents are best elsewhere. Well--let's move on."

They move on. They move on a lot. The lightning strikes a tower. The lightning strikes Lydia. ....Another bolt of lightning strikes Lydia. Another.

Ah! The next one goes for Pearl. Can she dodge? Kaguya dodges the immediate next one.

It goes on like this, except, the rain is now falling even harder than it was before, and they walk in it for a while until--

"Okay forget the shit out of this, why bother being rich if you can't cheat?" Kaguya reaches into her bag and pulls a few strange yellow potions, handing one to each. "These will keep water off of you for a bit. If they also make bubbles appear around your fists for the next ten minutes then that's fine too. It's cool. Don't worry about it. Probably no side-effects."

Kaguya downs hers in one go. "Take that, WEATHER!" Kaguya shouts to the heavens, and makes a gesture that presumably is extremely rude in Hyland. She keeps walking.

DG: Kaguya Alathfar has used her Tool This Week's Best Guess toward her party's challenge, Land Of Endless Rain.
<Pose Tracker> Pearl has posed.

    "Very well." Pearl remains somewhat taciturn, as the weather starts to turn. She darts to the left, just barely avoiding lightning striking, a few sparks arcing to the claws on her boots.

    Those claws once again get a solid workout, as the rain bears down upon them. Even as the water pushes back against them, Pearl pushes forward, determined not to be stopped by water of all things. When the potion is offered, the martial artist accepts and drinks it. No point in passing up an edge. The whole 'bubbles around your fists' thing is an odd potential side effect, but so be it. She should probably think a bit more about 'drinking weird potions handed to you by a strange woman' thing going on here.

    "I do not think the rain will respond." Pearl comments, though given the timing of the lightning, she could be completely off base with this observation.

DG: Pearl has used her Tool Wolf Claws toward her party's challenge, Land Of Endless Rain.
<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

"Sure thing, Spinely." Lydia says to Pearl. Sometimes you show your bravery in ways beyond htiting things--like by sassing the lady who tried to beat up an exploding cactus. Maybe it isn't bravery so much as an inability to shut up? Yeah it's probably that.

"Uh..." Lydia adds Kaguya's potion to her collection of potions. "I think..." Lydia says. "I'm going to just accept that I'm going to get 'wet' in the Thunder Plains."

She does, however, also flick off the sky with both fingers. It's nice, really, to get that little bit of defiance out again and maybe just accept they can be a Rowdy Trio again from time to time.

(There's only two of them but that's okay).

DG: Lydia Seren has used her Tool Good Luck Bat toward her party's challenge, Land Of Endless Rain.
==============================<* Thunder Plains *>==============================
=====================<* CHALLENGE - Land Of Endless Rain *>=====================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 1          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 Lightning isn't the only hazard that falls from the sky in this place. The    
 rain is also an element to be endured.                                        
                                                                               
 This only becomes the more evident when the heavens truly open up upon you    
 now. It falls in sheets, relentlessly, apparently endlessly. There seems to   
 be little-to-no escape to be had from the deluge upon you. All you can do is  
 endure it and power through, or reshape the landscape in some form to ease    
 your passage.                                                                 
=Dungeon Conditions: Weaken===================================================
=========================<* Thunder Plains - Round 3 *>=========================
=======================< Results - Land Of Endless Rain >=======================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Kaguya Alathfar                     20 --(0)--> 20                 Pass
This Week's Best Guess              2   Brute   Effects: Cleanse and Liability
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lydia Seren                         25 --(0)--> 25                 Pass
Good Luck Bat                       2   Brute   Effects: Strengthen           
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pearl                               25 --(0)--> 25                 Pass
Wolf Claws                          2   Brute   Effects: Strengthen           
-----------------------------------< Party >------------------------------------
Leader: Kaguya Alathfar             25 --(15)--> 40                Pass
Conditions: Overwhelm|Weaken(2)
Effects: Cleanse|Strengthen(1)
===============================< Dream Chasers >================================
DG: The party led by Kaguya Alathfar 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> Kaguya Alathfar has posed.

"Look," Kaguya says, "It's the principle of the thing."

In point of fact, the three of them are doing fine. Indeed, their weapons are suffused with the power of water at the same time as they themselves become more resistant to it, but the important part is that the driving rain does not sap their strength in the way that it usually might. Well, Pearl and Kaguya's, anyway. Lydia has her own methods.

Pearl's clawed approach keeps her completely steady here. Nobody dies of poison. Indeed, Pearl becomes the trailblazer for the moment. Lydia, meanwhile, gets to flick off the sky. It's real satisfying.

Things are nice and rowdy, for the moment. And the rain isn't that bad.

DG: Lydia Seren has drawn a new Challenge.
=============================<* Thunder Plains *>=============================
==============<* CHALLENGE - Between A Rock And A Hard Place *>===============
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 These are not well-traveled lands, but they are not /un/traveled, a fact      
 that becomes clear when you hear a cry for help ahead of you. A rock has      
 fallen, pinning a fellow traveler by their leg; they're unable to get free.   
                                                                               
 While they don't seem to be injured, they're in understandable distress       
 given their predicament and the storm, and would very much like a rescue.     
 Ideally, this would be as quickly as possible -- who knows when the next      
 unlucky bolt might strike?                                                    
=Dungeon Conditions: Reckless, Injure=========================================
<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

There is a crash of lightning nearby and a cry of help. Lydia's feet grow...skates?...along the underside of their feet and she rushes off to have a look without even thinking about it. This is what spending a lot of time with the Carakin and Wayside simultaneously does to you. It makes you care if someone is in trouble.

Also Lydia was never completely heartless. And it is something to DO besides get rained on and dodge thunder.

The cry comes from a woman on the floor with a large rock on her leg. She doesn't seem injured, at least besides maybe the leg, but she can't get it off.

The rock is a pretty large one too that should take several people to lift or at least roll off. Lydia approaches the boulder and picks it up with one hand, lifting it up.

Of course the others might provide their own aid.

Or murders.

Lydia sets aside the large rock haphazardly. Yep, not only does she hide in a fight but she has terrible augmented strength.

Unforgivable

<Pose Tracker> Pearl has posed.

    "If you insist." Pearl does not understand the principal behind yelling angrily at the sky. When Lydia shoots off at speed at the sound of someone in trouble and Pearl... is not fast to follow. "Our purpose is meant to be looking for machines." She says, not particularly loudly as the metal woman leaves. But eventually, Pearl does follow. Possibly with some prompting.

    And they come across the scene of Lydia calmly picking up a really big rock with little effort. Well. That's a problem that doesn't involve Pearl. But for some reasons, she walks toward the woman. "I will see if she is injured." Pearl kneels down next to her, and investigates the rather untrapped leg.

    Pearl is meticulously careful, as she inspects. The claws on her gloves do not touch skin, and Pearl leaves the limb with no obvious damage. There's just a momentary, small purple flash, small enough to easily go unnoticed to those not paying attention. But it's enough time for the corrosive ki to enter the woman's leg. It will act slowly. Indeed, it will go unnoticed initially, but over time the pain will increase, and the leg become less reliable. Eventually it will become too painful to run, or even walk. And who knows where this woman will be when that happens. She should hope not to be beset by fiends.

    There is the slightest upturn of Pearl's lips. "She requires no treatment."

DG: Pearl has used her Tool Wolf Claws toward her party's challenge, Between A Rock And A Hard Place.
DG: Lydia Seren has used her Tool Good Luck Bat toward her party's challenge, Between A Rock And A Hard Place.
<Pose Tracker> Kaguya Alathfar has posed.

Skates! "Hey, that's cool," Kaguya points out as she looks to Lydia. Ther's a cry for help and all, and Lydia just... goes to it, so that's fine. Kaguya glances back to Pearl. "You gotta show the sky who's boss," she explains. "Very important."

At their purpose, though... Kaguya shrugs. "That's true. But, Lydia's going to go give a shit because she's like that. Besides, maybe there's something interesting that prompted someone to travel out here."

"Or there's just the bodies of her friends, I guess. Man. Brutal."

Kaguya shrugs and follows after, which leads her to see Lydia picking up the rock. "Hey, nice," she says. "Good work there." She walks up, but Pearl says she's going to handle the matter, and...

And Kaguya is paying just enough attention that she wonders, before she glances back Lydia's way. "Nice work. Hey, lady,' she says, "Not a wise place to be alone," as she looks back to her. What did Pearl do, that made her smile? It is a mystery. "I have a feeling you might wanna get yourself over there," she says, gesturing to the Travel Agency. "...We don't have the extra supplies to bring you along, so..." Kaguya hmms a moment.

"Take these." Kaguya produces four grenades, and says, "If a fiend comes too close, pull this out," she gestures, "And then throw it at the Fiend. Then, run."

A little test of her own, maybe. Maybe she'll favor Yevon and refuse the machina, maybe not... "If you use these, you'll make it to safety over there. Take care of yourself."

She gives Pearl a sly look and starts onward. "See?" Kaguya says. "Adventure, maybe helping somebody. Not that boring, right?" Pause. "OH."

She turns, to look at their new 'friend.' "Actually, before we go--see anything interesting out here?"

DG: Kaguya Alathfar has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Between A Rock And A Hard Place.
=============================<* Thunder Plains *>=============================
==============<* CHALLENGE - Between A Rock And A Hard Place *>===============
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 These are not well-traveled lands, but they are not /un/traveled, a fact      
 that becomes clear when you hear a cry for help ahead of you. A rock has      
 fallen, pinning a fellow traveler by their leg; they're unable to get free.   
                                                                               
 While they don't seem to be injured, they're in understandable distress       
 given their predicament and the storm, and would very much like a rescue.     
 Ideally, this would be as quickly as possible -- who knows when the next      
 unlucky bolt might strike?                                                    
=Dungeon Conditions: Reckless, Injure=========================================
========================<* Thunder Plains - Round 4 *>========================
================< Results - Between A Rock And A Hard Place >=================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Kaguya Alathfar                     20 --(0)--> 20                 Pass
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lydia Seren                         25 --(0)--> 25                 Pass
Good Luck Bat                       2   Brute   Effects: Strengthen           
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pearl                               25 --(0)--> 25                 Pass
Wolf Claws                          2   Brute   Effects: Strengthen           
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Kaguya Alathfar             40 --(20)--> 60                Pass
Conditions: Injure(2)|Reckless(2)
Effects: Strengthen(1)
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: The party led by Kaguya Alathfar 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.

Pearl checks out the leg and secretly infects it with evil energy. Lydia can't tell what it is even if she does see the flash (maybe it's a healing evil energy, she doesn't know!) and while she understands that some people are dicks, purposely sabotaging someone's ability to get home for no reason is SO assholeish that she doesn't anticipate it. Pearl's scheme goes off without a hitch!

"Yeah, sorry, but we have important machine stuff to deal with." this might be why she's here actually. Kaguya might have super science on her side but janky goblin-esque solutions are Lydia's specialty and may be useful when the full breadth of Veruni tech isn't presently at her fingertips.

"Um... aside from the lightning pillars..." The woman says. "If you keep going this way you'll reach Macalania though, which is a lot nicer..." She performs the Yevon bow. "Thank you and--"

Kaguya offers four grenades. The woman quirks her head curiously at the devices and takes them after looking curiously at them.

She didn't even recoil but she is sort of looking at them like she has no idea what they are.

She doesn't seem to realize it's machina!! "O-okay, thank you, miss." She says, figuring the lady's an outsider and she can give it a go, worst case scenario, but she'll probably dump them once she's back at Guadosalam because--they're kind of suspicious looking. And this group is pretty suspicious looking.

"Well there goes our good deed. Thanks for helping!" She adds that last bit to Pearl.

DG: Pearl has drawn a new Challenge.
==============================<* Thunder Plains *>==============================
========================<* CHALLENGE - Bad Visibility *>========================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 Between the lightning, the Fiends, and the unpleasant terrain, one would      
 think the matter of the rain perhaps of a lesser concern. Unfortunately, one  
 would think incorrectly: the rain has picked up, obscuring your visibility.   
                                                                               
 It's impossible to tell now where the next tower is -- or indeed, if the      
 next few feet will be easy walking, or if you will be at risk of an ambush    
 by Fiends. You'll have to think your next steps through carefully, or         
 consider alternative means of determining where you're headed.                
=Dungeon Conditions: Stupify==================================================
<Pose Tracker> Pearl has posed.

    That slight smile disappears quickly, and Pearl stands up as Kaguya gives the gift that keeps on giving: grenades. Her cruelty seems to go unnoticed, and that's the best case scenario. Pearl gets to have her cake and eat it too. "Of course. I merely do my duty as a guardswoman." Again, her voice is quite flat, showing very little by way of emotion.

    It's then that Pearl notices that the rain starts to pick up again, and visibility decreases rapidly. "...I see the rain has responded after all." Pearl stands up and looks around, and takes a deep breath. "That diversion has cost us." Again, plain and matter of fact instead of chiding, though it could definitely be interpreted that way. Pearl starts to look around, and try to work out the direction to go.

    I believe we came from that direction." It's not a particular solid declaration. "Should we go back the way we came?"

DG: Pearl has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Bad Visibility.
<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

"Oh whatever," Lydia says.

Suddenly there is a cat on Lydia's head. It meows grumpily because it keeps getting summoned in wet places. Lydia ends up following the path the cat dictates by gestures with a paw one way or another. This is weird but at least it keeps the rain off of Lydia's head.

"Heh heh heh..." Lydia chuckles evilly in Pearl's direction. "What... getting cold feet?" Yes of course she is in this rain. "Schrodinger knows where to go.... Heh heh heh..."

Why is she acting like she gets to brag for something the cat is doing?

DG: Lydia Seren has used her Tool Schrodinger the Cat toward her party's challenge, Bad Visibility.
<Pose Tracker> Kaguya Alathfar has posed.

"Okay, cool," Kaguya says. She values Lydia's approach to problem solving. But, Macalania... "Hmm, okay," she answers then. "Hey, thanks." She inclines her head. She doesn't offer the bow in turn but then, she's kind of obviously a foreigner. That she doesn't even notice... "Anytime," she answers.

A glance to Pearl. "Totally. Above and beyond, even." She considers. The rain replied...

"This is when it's especially important to get stubborn, and show the rain who's boss. Rain. Who ever came up with rain, anyway? It's pretty bullshit."

She grins. "Nah. The strong have no need to retreat here," she says. "We'll crush this as surely as any living opponent. Such as by..."

A meowing cat. Kaguya considers the cat. "Well, that's one way to do it." For her part, she pulls out a small device, lights it on--and bam, its screen starts showing her... something, anyway. "Time to see if the upgrades to handle electrical interference worked..." Beat, "Checking... radar suggests..."

"Either that's a tower, or there's some other reason there's a huge hunk of metal there. Let's check it out!"

DG: Kaguya Alathfar has used her Tool Radi-74 Tablet toward her party's challenge, Bad Visibility.
==============================<* Thunder Plains *>==============================
========================<* CHALLENGE - Bad Visibility *>========================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 Between the lightning, the Fiends, and the unpleasant terrain, one would      
 think the matter of the rain perhaps of a lesser concern. Unfortunately, one  
 would think incorrectly: the rain has picked up, obscuring your visibility.   
                                                                               
 It's impossible to tell now where the next tower is -- or indeed, if the      
 next few feet will be easy walking, or if you will be at risk of an ambush    
 by Fiends. You'll have to think your next steps through carefully, or         
 consider alternative means of determining where you're headed.                
=Dungeon Conditions: Stupify==================================================
=========================<* Thunder Plains - Round 5 *>=========================
==========================< Results - Bad Visibility >==========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Kaguya Alathfar                     20 --(0)--> 20                 Pass
Radi-74 Tablet                      2   Wits    Effects: Enlighten            
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lydia Seren                         25 --(10)--> 35                Fail
Schrodinger the Cat                 2   Wits    Effects: Enlighten            
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pearl                               25 --(10)--> 35                Fail
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC                
-----------------------------------< Party >------------------------------------
Leader: Kaguya Alathfar             60 --(20)--> 80                Pass
Conditions: Injure(1)|Reckless(1)|Stupify(2)
Effects: Enlighten(1)
===============================< Dream Chasers >================================
DG: The party led by Kaguya Alathfar 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> Pearl has posed.

    Honestly, 'oh whatever' is a pretty fair response to Pearl's statement. She sure as hell doesn't believe it, even if she's better at selling it than that. Pearl just looks at Lydia and her strange cat friend as the chuckling starts. "It seemed the prudent option. If you would rather move forward, then let us do so."

    Kaguya talks about showing the rain who's boss and Pearl still doesn't get it, but she's not going to argue. She can get behind the talk of strength. "As you say, Duchess Alathfar." Yeah she's going to keep using that title.

    It turns out neither prudence or magic cat are the solution to the problem, but strange technology from another world that bears a route through the rain. Kaguya gets the trio out of the rain and to the next landmark that awaits them.

DG: Kaguya Alathfar has drawn a new Challenge.
==============================<* Thunder Plains *>==============================
=======================<* CHALLENGE - Lightning Dancer *>=======================
|Type: Final       |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 In the distance you can see it -- sunlight. The end of the storm. And beyond  
 that, Macalania Forest.                                                       
                                                                               
 But the storm is not yet finished with you. Before you can cross the          
 distance, a flurry of bolts rain from the heavens. There is no time to        
 think, only to act, lest you be struck.                                       
                                                                               
 You must get through.                                                         
=Dungeon Conditions: Slow, Bad Luck===========================================
<Pose Tracker> Kaguya Alathfar has posed.

How's that lady back there doing? It's a mystery. Maybe there'll be a story about her later when they pass back through. ...Or maybe Macalania will be more interesting for the moment. It's hard to say. For now, though...

"She kinda does that," Kaguya explains about the chuckling. "It usually means something interesting is going to happen! Either that, or she's cracked a ltitle. But like, i don't know of anything that would've been upsetting, so..."

She gestures, vaguely. "It's cool, prudence is fine." She doesn't mind the use of the title. She doesn't mind it at all. In point of fact, as she looks away from her table, sets it amongst her things, she looks out ahead of them...

"Hmm. It is pretty..." There's a lot of bolts. A whole lot of bolts. Kaguya starts jumping around.

"Ha!" Strike. "Ha! Take that, nature!" Hop. "Let's race--whoever doesn't make it gets laughed at before we pull you out!"

Kaguya slips something from her things, as she moves about the lightning, a little device...

Bzzz. What's it do?

Doesn't matter. Kaguya takes off like a shot. Time to earn some Ethers!!

DG: Kaguya Alathfar has used her Tool Formula AM-17V toward her party's challenge, Lightning Dancer.
<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

"Race you, Kaguya!" Lydia shouts as the skates pop back out and she dashes after her friend and, technically speaking, family. She doesn't worry too much about Pearl because she seems like a hardass to her and, honestly, she just wants to get out of the storm and avoid getting lightning blasted anymore. A few times is enough, okay!

She did her part!

DG: Lydia Seren has used her Tool Radical Skates toward her party's challenge, Lightning Dancer.
<Pose Tracker> Pearl has posed.

    Pearl nods at Kaguya's explanation. The noblewoman may have odd choice in friends, but that's not her business. She's here to assist- and possibly get killed for- Kaguya, what with how she's an important titled person and Pearl is just a grunt. Oh well. It might be better than the inevitable violent death facing Sin.

    Pearl is kind of a hardass, Lydia has got the correct read of her. As the other two rush off for the race, Pearl shakes her head. "This is infantile." She says, mostly to herself, as the race begins. But she is in no mood to be left behind, either.

    Pearl starts running forward, and then flicks out her risk. A grapnel fires from her wrist and crashes into the ground. And then she pulls, and it retracts with speed, sending Pearl zipping forward. She launches past the point, and then fires again. Going too high would mean she's a better lightning target, but this is a lot faster than running.

    The real question is whether it's faster than lightning.

DG: Pearl has used her Tool Wrist-Mounted Grapnel toward her party's challenge, Lightning Dancer.
==============================<* Thunder Plains *>==============================
=======================<* CHALLENGE - Lightning Dancer *>=======================
|Type: Final       |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 In the distance you can see it -- sunlight. The end of the storm. And beyond  
 that, Macalania Forest.                                                       
                                                                               
 But the storm is not yet finished with you. Before you can cross the          
 distance, a flurry of bolts rain from the heavens. There is no time to        
 think, only to act, lest you be struck.                                       
                                                                               
 You must get through.                                                         
=Dungeon Conditions: Slow, Bad Luck===========================================
=========================<* Thunder Plains - Round 6 *>=========================
=========================< Results - Lightning Dancer >=========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Kaguya Alathfar                     20 --(10)--> 30                Pass
Formula AM-17V                      2   Agility Effects: Cleanse and Sacrifice
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lydia Seren                         35 --(10)--> 45                Pass
Radical Skates                      3   Agility Effects: Fanfare              
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pearl                               35 --(10)--> 45                Pass
Wrist-Mounted Grapnel               3   Agility Effects: Rally                
-----------------------------------< Party >------------------------------------
Leader: Kaguya Alathfar             80 --(35)--> 115               Pass
Conditions: Bad Luck(2)|Slow(2)|Stupify(1)
Effects: Cleanse
===============================< Dream Chasers >================================
DG: You have overcome the dungeon's trials! This run is a success!
DG: The party led by Kaguya Alathfar has successfully explored Thunder Plains!
==============================<* Thunder Plains *>==============================
======================<* CHALLENGE - Tinkerer's Choice *>=======================
|Type: Discovery   |Dungeon Ability: Conclusion|Challenge Rating: 1          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 The outskirts of the Thunder Plains are reached; sunlight breaks through the  
 edges of the storm's clouds. You can see in the distance the outermost        
 reaches of Macalania Forest. The worst of the trek through is now complete.   
                                                                               
 And as the light scatters through the dark clouds, it catches on a bit of     
 metal. A large bit of metal, as the case may be. This is a particularly       
 well-preserved piece of Al Bhed Machina. This one had been without question   
 a smaller automaton of some sort, though it's missing several                 
 important-for-function sections. Perhaps being left here near the edges of    
 the storm saved it from being ruined by rain and lightning.                   
                                                                               
 While it's too fractured to be used for whatever its original purpose might   
 have been, it's otherwise perfectly salvageable, whether one intends to       
 strip it for its near-pristine components or repurpose it as it is for a new  
 project.                                                                      
=Dungeon Conditions: Treasure=================================================
<Pose Tracker> Kaguya Alathfar has posed.

"C'mon," Kaguya calls back. "You gotta have fun with it!"

In point of fact--between skating, just, outright running through lightning, and zipping forward on a grapnel...

Pearl makes it first. Oh, they all have to exert energy to get there that quickly--it's tiring, a little exhausting. But maybe worth it, considering that when they come to a stop, Macalania just ahead, the lightning crashing to the towers instead of to them--

"...Huh," Kaguya says, turning, examining a pile of junk. "Guess ARMS didn't leave their radio, but..." She gestures. "This could still be useful. Seems like we found something after all."

<Pose Tracker> Pearl has posed.

    Pearl, at least, does not have the motivation to do the laughing thing. Instead she waits for the other two to catch up. Machina is all beyond her ken, but Kaguya seems happy with it. She stands watch, looking back towards the plains for any fiends wanting to come charging out. So far, so good.

    As she watches, she sees something move against a sheet of lightning, if only for a moment. It's long enough, and she knows those movements. The shadow zips across the sky, and flies past a lightning tower.

    She's not out of reach anymore.

    "...So, we can consider this mission a success?" she asks Kaguya, as she keeps an eye on the horizon. Either way, she doesn't want to stick around unnecessarily all of a sudden.