2019-05-25: A Perilous Place To Visit

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DG: A party led by Ida Everstead-Rey is now entering Mushroom Rock Road.
DG: Party formation is now over. An Entry Challenge will now be drawn and displayed to the party.
============================<* Mushroom Rock Road *>============================
======================<* CHALLENGE - Sudden Triage Unit *>======================
|Type: Entry       |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 2          |
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 The wounded are in no small supply along Mushroom Rock Road. Be it at the
 entrances to the winding mountain pathway or the beach where Sin was
 battled, injured Crusaders are not uncommon. To make matters worse, the
 fiends have grown far more common since Operation Mi'ihen, as the Crusaders
 lack the numbers to clear fiends out regularly.

 As you start your journey, you come across over a dozen people with various
 types of wounds; some are severe, some are minor, and a couple are mere
 scratches that still have the unfortunate in a lather. It will take some
 work to decide who to treat first, and who has to wait until the truly dire
 wounds are tended to.
=Dungeon Conditions: Stupify, Tire============================================
<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

    Mushroom Rock Road remains a perilous place to visit, even weeks after the battle with Sin. The Crusaders were stretched thin before, but now things are even more desperate. Their leadership asked for help keeping the Fiends under control, and Ida has answered the call yet again.

    It's early evening. The setting sun glimmers on the water, turning everything the color of molten gold. The mushroom-shaped rock columns that give this place its name cast long, deep shadows. It's beautiful. Fiends could lay in ambush, anywhere. Ida walks down the road, calm and composed, wearing an outfit of Spiran make: a sleeveless shirt, loose slacks, and leather boots. It's far more colorful than what she usually wears, and exposes more skin--as well as most of her scars. She looks the part of a traveling warrior.

    A keening squawk splits the air, followed by the sounds of wagon wheels and talons scraping the stone. "Trouble," Ida says. She raises a hand, motioning for the others to stop. The source of the noise appears as it takes a sharp corner. It's a caravan wagon, and it has not had a good time. Its canopy is riddled with punctures, and splattered with blood. The pair of burly draft-chocobos drawing it are clearly agitated. The woman at the reins sees the group, and slows her wagon to a stop.

    "Are you with the Crusaders?!" she cries. "I--there's Fiends further up the path!" Someone moans, audibly, in the wagon behind her. The woman hoists herself out of the wagon, and stumbles as she hits the ground, revealing three long, bloody gashes down the small of her back.

    Ida's face pales. She rushes forwards, taking the woman's hand and steadying her. "You three see to the others," she says, as she lowers the woman to the ground.

DG: Ida Everstead-Rey has used her Tool Multitool toward her party's challenge, Sudden Triage Unit.
<Pose Tracker> Lorelei Calice has posed.

"There, there. You're going to feel much better soon enough, you know," a throaty, uplifting voice suddenly chirps - and something pink intrudes into the field of vision.

Standing up from where she's been treating a wounded man near the wagon, a woman flicks back her vast curtain of rosy pink curls, wiggling the pair of feline ears that cut through those tresses.

The sound of others approaching seems to have attracted her attention. Looking up towards the approaching group, she focuses on Ida with a blink - and for a moment, one could mistake her for Rosaline Calice. The hair and eye colour are a dead giveaway. So is the Ethos symbol clipped to her open overrode. A few more seconds' looking, though, reveal differences: Normal human hands, ears more rounded like a tiger's, a noticeably different facial structure around the eyes and cheekbones.

"Oh, goodness! Are you also here as adventurers?" Lorelei asks with a widening of her eyes, bringing a hand up to her cheek. "You should be careful - as they say, there are some very terrible Fiends ahead! They've done quite a number on many who have come through here, I'm afraid. If you have any healing supplies with you, they might actually be quite welcome -- ah, and you do seem intent on helping, don't you? How wonderful!" She clasps her hands and beams, in spite of the situation.

"Dame Calice, most of their injuries are messy but not lethal," says a quieter woman from behind her - a young, bespectacled blonde woman in a more austere Etone's robe and collar, in the process of administering some sort of shot to an injured young man sitting on the edge of the wagon.

DG: Lorelei Calice has used her Tool Mignonette's Hot Tips toward her party's challenge, Sudden Triage Unit.
<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    The operation may have failed and those who had lain here in the wake of it tended to as best as was able, but that does not make this passage across Spira any safer.
    Take, for instance, the scene that has unfolded already just ahead. "Ida, look," Avril says, once the damaged caravan comes into view. Picking up the pace, she hurries closer as the wounded woman stumbles to the ground.

    They had come here looking for Fiends, and Fiends -- or the trace thereof -- it seems they have certainly found.

    Ida bids her tend to the others, and here Avril stops up short, her gaze turning between the remaining caravan members, as if ascertaining their current status. "...Understood."

    It's in the process of this that she sees something pink peeking out from behind the caravan. "Rosaline?" Avril utters, eyes widened in surprise. She rounds the corner, so to speak.

    "...Oh, my apologies, you looked like..."
    Her gaze lifts, resting on Mignonette, whereupon Avril exhales a breath she hadn't realized she was holding in.
    Worry, about this mission? About the Fiend that lurks somewhere out there?
    ...Perhaps.

    "...Excuse me," she murmurs, taking a step back before drawing out the mirror. Pale luminous light limns her form as she stares into the depths of the Mirror, seeking...

    ...seeking something she doesn't understand.

DG: Avril Vent Fleur has used her Tool Mirror of De Soto toward her party's challenge, Sudden Triage Unit.
<Pose Tracker> Rebecca Streisand has posed.


"Gotcha! Ida - Dean - Avril - I'll take these three over on this side!" As Rebecca hightails it down one side of the caravan. It's not hard to see with a glance, one guy clutching his ankle. Another walking around with a gash in his arm.

"I'm bleeding!"

Rebecca rips off a strip of cloth around from around her mid-riff to tie it on someone's arm and then takes their own hand and applies pressure to it. "Hold that there."

"My ankle - I think I twisted it during the fight!"

Rebecca idly remarks, "Well then sit tight for a spell."

As she walks over to lean over a Crusader who is being particularly quiet. She can't see any visible wounds. Putting a hand at his chin, she finds her glove instantly drenched in sweat as she looks into his glazed over eyes. "Hey - hey still with me?" She taps a finger twice upon his cheek, and when he doesn't respond, slides her hand beneath his chestplate and gives it a hard rub.

As he jolts up, she puts a berry in his mouth. "Chew. Swallow."

The man tries, and eventually puts it down. A little color returns to his skin. "Huh. I feel..." "Better right? Hang in there until you can get some real treatment."

The man holding his own wound asks, "Hey wait - what was that? Why didn't you give me that?" And the man seated against a rock formation with the sprained ankle, "Yeah what's the deal with only giving him one?"

Rebecca crosses her arms, "You two aren't so badly off. Heal Berries don't grow on trees..." And then rethinking that, she adds, "Around here that is.

-=-=-

One of my earliest memories. Yeah alright.
I think I was messing around and I fell.
I wasn't really that hurt, but it was so surprising that I started crying out.
And mom looked me over and said it wasn't bad. That I just needed to get up.
It took me a while to stop crying. But then - I did.
I guess she was trying to teach me something.
That if you cry out and demand help for every little thing
you never learn what you can manage on your own.
Guess that's the kind of person I want to grow up to be.
The kind who doesn't cry about the little things.
Or the big things either I guess.

-=-=-

"Anyhow. The point is. You aren't that badly hurt. So suck it up for a little bit while we look after the ones who need it more."

Rebecca leans off to the side, before calling out, "Good to meet you Dame..." There's a momentary pause, as if the name were familiar and that's just registering, "Calice." Rebecca catches a glint of light off of Avril's mirror and follows her gaze, as she surreptitiously tries to read her expression. Before focusing in on what she's doing again, "Messy but not lethal is what I've got over here too."

"It could be lethal." The man applying pressure to his wound insists sulkily.

Rebecca replies rather gaily. "Could be, but it's not." And then preempting him before he says anything else, "Instead you're just kind of a mess."

-=-=-

Besides Dean can't resist lending a hand when a girl cries.
So if I become a woman who never cries, that'll show him just how mature I am!

DG: Rebecca Streisand has used her Tool Rebecca's Travel Diary toward her party's challenge, Sudden Triage Unit.
<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

    It's a grim situation, and has been for a while, but that's all the more reason to keep a positive outlook. Or, if not exactly *positive*, then at least undaunted and confident. People who are hurt and in pain have enough distress of their own to deal with. They don't need to deal with any more.
    
    So Dean nods firmly to Ida as she acknowledges trouble with the caravan ahead, jogging up to get a better look. He grimaces in concern when the driver stumbles, revealing the nasty injuries she's sustained, but nods again. "We'll take care of this," he says firmly, like there couldn't be any other outcome. He starts towards the caravan itself, when a pink vision appears. "Rosa?" he utters, partially echoing Avril--but no, it's just someone who kind of looks like her. Huh! "If you're here to help, it sure is welcome," he tells her. "We'll deal with the Fiends after we've helped these people get patched up."
    
    Speaking of which, there sure are a variety of injuries around here. He gives Rebecca a thumbs-up, then starts to say something to Avril--but as she's busy staring into her mirror, he thinks the better of it, and instead confers with a certain sphere that he pulls out of his pocket. "Okay, where's the part about telling which injuries are worse than others..." he mutters as he hurries around to the other side to help with triage and patching people up.

DG: Dean Stark has used his Tool Danger Sphere toward his party's challenge, Sudden Triage Unit.
============================<* Mushroom Rock Road *>============================
======================<* CHALLENGE - Sudden Triage Unit *>======================
|Type: Entry       |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 2          |
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 The wounded are in no small supply along Mushroom Rock Road. Be it at the
 entrances to the winding mountain pathway or the beach where Sin was
 battled, injured Crusaders are not uncommon. To make matters worse, the
 fiends have grown far more common since Operation Mi'ihen, as the Crusaders
 lack the numbers to clear fiends out regularly.

 As you start your journey, you come across over a dozen people with various
 types of wounds; some are severe, some are minor, and a couple are mere
 scratches that still have the unfortunate in a lather. It will take some
 work to decide who to treat first, and who has to wait until the truly dire
 wounds are tended to.
=Dungeon Conditions: Stupify, Tire============================================
=======================<* Mushroom Rock Road - Round 1 *>=======================
========================< Results - Sudden Triage Unit >========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ida Everstead-Rey                   0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Multitool                           2   Wits    Effects: Enlighten
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rebecca Streisand                   0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Rebecca's Travel Diary              2   Wits    Effects: Enlighten
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lorelei Calice                      0 --(5)--> 5                   Fail
Mignonette's Hot Tips               1   Wits    Effects: Enlighten and Fanfare
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dean Stark                          0 --(5)--> 5                   Fail
Danger Sphere                       2   Wits    Effects: Resilient
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Avril Vent Fleur                    0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Mirror of De Soto                   1   Wits    Effects: Cleanse
-----------------------------------< Party >------------------------------------
Leader: Ida Everstead-Rey           0 --(20)--> 20                 Pass
Conditions: Stupify(2)|Tire(2)
Effects: Cleanse|Enlighten(1)|Resilient(1)
===============================< Dream Chasers >================================
DG: The party led by Ida Everstead-Rey 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: Rebecca Streisand has drawn a new Challenge.
===========================<* Mushroom Rock Road *>===========================
=========================<* CHALLENGE - Dual Horn *>==========================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 2          |
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 Fiends are a constant danger on Mushroom Rock Road. One of the strongest is
 the Dual Horn: a massive, canine-like beast that has a pair of enormous,
 ridged horns that poke out of its back. With huge claws, snapping fangs, and
 a powerful fire breath, these fiends pose a serious danger... and one of
 them lunges at you now from the cliffside!
=Dungeon Conditions: Wound, Injure============================================
<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

    Someone speaks up. Ida looks up, an uncorked vial of Jacqueline Barber's Anti-Septic Wound Tonic in one hand, and her multitool in the other. She peers at Lorelei for a full second or so, realizes what she's doing, and blinks. "That's precisely what we were here for, ma'am," Ida says, as she wads up a length of sterile cloth and dabs the tonic all over the woman's wounds. Blood starts to clot. Ida wipes her hands off, cuts off a few lengths of bandage with her multitool's knife, and binds everything up. The woman's wounds were shallow, but bloody. She's lucky the Fiend didn't hit her spine.

    Dean searches his Sphere for triage information. It takes him a while to find what he's looking for, but while he searches, Rebecca and Lorelei and Mignonette get on the case. Rebecca's no-nonsense triage saves at least one person's life, today--the man she administered the Berry to, and a woman whose torso is a mess of burn wounds. The young man flinches away from Mignonette's strange device, and hisses something about 'machina'.

    Avril gazes deep into the Mirror of DeSoto. Who else but her could describe what she sees in its depths?

    After a few more nerve-wracking minutes, the injured are stabilized. Ida wipes her hands off on the cloth, and turns to one the caravaneers. "What kind of Fiends were they?"

    "It was a big one," she says. "Looked like a Mi'ihen Fang, but bigger, with--"

    Something stirs on a nearby ledge, sending a stream of gravel down towards the road. Ida looks up at it, and frowns.

<Pose Tracker> Rebecca Streisand has posed.


What starts as a little gravel...

Becomes an explosion of rock. Narrow vase like formations of rock suddenly disintegrate into giant clouds, as a massive creature with ridged horns leaps out. Immediately it takes a deep breath and starts showering the caravan with flame.

"-that's the one!" The man who started saying something to Ida squeaks. "Watch out - we barely put a scratch on it!"

Scouring the caravan with its flaming breath, it looks like it's trying to disincentivize any direct approach.

Rebecca has drawn out her ARM, spinning it to squeeze off two shots. Both shots seem to deflect right off. "It's armor looks pretty thick! But I bet Avril and Ida can pierce right through it!"

Rebecca pushes the man with a wound on his arm at the others, "You - grab your buddies and get them out of the way!"

He moves to comply, though he seems at a loss on how to do that while still holding his wound.

The girl pulls out her medium before long, and ley energy rises about her before another rock formation rips itself apart and falls towards the thing.

Trying to daze it long enough that it stops being a fiendish flamethrower...

"If Dame Calice is anything like another Calice I know..." The girl says to herself as a sudden thought... which causes her to flinch, a crooked smile forming on her lips at the image of what could happen.

DG: Rebecca Streisand has used her Tool Sky Medium toward her party's challenge, Dual Horn.
<Pose Tracker> Lorelei Calice has posed.

With a start, Lorelei blinks back at Avril, then at Dean. Then she gasps and cups her hands to her cheeks, suddenly smiling brightly. "Oh, goodness, you must be more friends of my dear little sister's! What a very small world! No, my name is Lorelei Calice - but Rosaline and I grew up together."

Mignonette glances at Rebecca, then at the man, lowering her eyelids slightly. "But it isn't. And it won't be if you stop flinching and let yourself be helped."

They manage to get it done. Mignonette does most of the work on the Ethos side of things.

Brushing her hands over her robe, Lorelei moues her lips and looks towards Ida - no doubt having seen the way she stared. "Well! I'm glad you were all here to help, then. Good deeds for strangers make Granas happy, after all--"

Something stirs. Lorelei's ears perk up, and she cuts off, her open-mouthed smile immediately snapping to something more sober. She briefly brings a hand to her mouth, then lowers it to her side, dipping into the folds of her overrobe.

Rock explodes. The immense creature bursts into the fray with a gust of flame. The fire billows towards Lorelei and nearly swallows her up. For a moment she's out of sight.

Until a sudden burst of wind divides the flame to either side.

Lorelei has drawn herself up, her hair and overrobe streaming as she holds her right hand out. Her chin rises and her shoulders angle back almost imperially. She doesn't say anything, just letting the wind around her rage - and then compress. It gathers in her palm, leveled forward with fingers flat together. Radiant light shines from the swirling ball of wind.

She takes a step forward, snaps her arm across her body, and slashes with a wide, arcing sweep of her arm. The wind and light erupt from her hand with an ear-rending squeal, bursting forth in an immense, whirling crescent. The massive arc of energy rips out, attempting to tear through the Fiend - and if it does, it'll continue on through.

In the background, Mignonette has moved to cover the civilians, though her overall demeanor is fairly placid.

DG: Lorelei Calice has used her Tool Curious Capsule toward her party's challenge, Dual Horn.
<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    "Oh? Then you know--"

    More than know. It would seem that they grew up together. "Is that why... no, that isn't it," Avril murmurs, tilting her head to one side. "Your features are different. Similar, but different. ...I am pleased to meet you, Lorelei. You may call me Avril."

    In a moment of self-preservation, of a sort, she omits her surname.

    What does she see in the depths of the mirror, that holds her gaze so firmly that even those who are wounded fall to the wayside in comparison to it?

    If pressed, Avril would say it's not so much what she sees as what she feels. The mirror appears to have some connection to the Ley; to use the mirror is to grant her a connection to it. At least, that seems to be the most likely case based on what she has teased out in her practice with the mirror, and with her apparently prodigious talent for sensitivity to Filgaia's spiritual element.

    Her gaze seems a million miles away.

    Until she returns to reality with a start. The glow fades. "Something's nearby," she says, as gravel falls in a short shower.

    "I believe it may be the Fiend. --Ah?"

    More than gravel falls next. The mirror is tucked away, traded for a small device that just about leaps into her grasp. "Ida! I will take left!" she calls out.
    With just a flash and a twitch of her hand, the blade leaps from the hiltlike object she holds.

    And as promised, she drives forward to introduce blade to Fiend.

DG: Avril Vent Fleur has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Dual Horn.
<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

    Ida is a bit too busy to comment on the family resemblance. She pulls something out of a pocket--something small, metallic, and embossed with designs that would be alien to any native of Lunar. Her hand tightens around the Crest Cap as she focuses on it, igniting the spell stored within. The crests of Wing and Muse flash in the air in front of her, wrought with streaks of light. The streamers peel apart, shooting out to touch the other party members, as well as the civilians. Time seems to slow for all affected by the spell, but their reaction time remains unchanged.

    Introductions can wait. Ida draws with a gunslinger's speed, her focus never wavering despite the screams and flame. A tongue of it roars at her, but the wall of wind intercepts it, shoving it aside before it can reach her. "Understood! Taking right!" Ida becomes a blur. She streaks around the Fiend's right flank, opening fire with a pair of heavy pistols--Devil's Due, and the other ARM that she really should get around to naming. That can wait. So can the introduction.

DG: Ida Everstead-Rey has used her Tool Haste Cap toward her party's challenge, Dual Horn.
<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

    Dean's still getting the hang of using this sphere--it's kind of difficult, as both a medium and a technology he's not used to. Still, people help patch everyone up, so that's what counts! Once they're all done, Dean tucks the sphere away and listens to the guy Ida talks to. A Mi'ihen Fang? What's that supposed to be again? ...Rock tumbles. It looks like he's about to find out.
    
    "Calice? Oh! So you're related to Rosa?" he says brightly to Lorelei. "That's cool! Yeah, we're friends of hers! She's a really nice girl!" Avril introduces herself; he nods to her, then adds, "Yeah, and I'm Dean!" He focuses back on the incoming Fiend. "...but we can talk about that more later!" It's not a good idea to pull his ARMs out in front of the technophobic Spirans. fortunately, he has that weapon he found in Linaweyul--the Devil's Arm, Ace of Spades (or so he named it). He pulls the demonic shovel out from under his coat; it's edged as sharp as a knife, and an eye implanted in the cross-shaft looks about wildly. Paying it no mind, Dean calls to Ida and Avril, "If you're going left and right--then I'm charging dead ahead! Rebecca, watch our backs! RAAARRRGH!!" And with that, he barrels directly towards the Fiend as it appears, Ace of Spaces flashing darkly as he swings it about.

DG: Dean Stark has used his Tool Ace of Spades toward his party's challenge, Dual Horn.
===========================<* Mushroom Rock Road *>===========================
=========================<* CHALLENGE - Dual Horn *>==========================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 2          |
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 Fiends are a constant danger on Mushroom Rock Road. One of the strongest is
 the Dual Horn: a massive, canine-like beast that has a pair of enormous,
 ridged horns that poke out of its back. With huge claws, snapping fangs, and
 a powerful fire breath, these fiends pose a serious danger... and one of
 them lunges at you now from the cliffside!
=Dungeon Conditions: Wound, Injure============================================
======================<* Mushroom Rock Road - Round 2 *>======================
===========================< Results - Dual Horn >============================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ida Everstead-Rey                   0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Haste Cap                           2   Combat  Effects: Embolden
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rebecca Streisand                   0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Sky Medium                          2   Combat  Effects: Embolden
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lorelei Calice                      5 --(0)--> 5                   Pass
Curious Capsule                     1   Combat  Effects: Cleanse
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dean Stark                          5 --(0)--> 5                   Pass
Ace of Spades                       2   Combat  Effects: Embolden
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Avril Vent Fleur                    0 --(0)--> 0                   Fail
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Ida Everstead-Rey           20 --(20)--> 40                Pass
Conditions: Injure(2)|Wound(2)
Effects: Cleanse|Embolden(1)
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: The party led by Ida Everstead-Rey 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: Lorelei Calice has drawn a new Challenge.
=============================<* Mushroom Rock Road *>=============================
=========================<* CHALLENGE - Floating Eyes *>==========================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 1          |
----------------------------< Challenge Information: >----------------------------
 Among the fiends that roam Mushroom Rock Road are Floating Eyes. These
 fiends are enormous eyeballs, with a leathery body and lid around them, with
 small legs, arms, and huge bat wings. This time, they descend from on high
 -- and shoot down beams of energy that can make one freeze-up with paralysis
 when struck! Worse, the creatures are especially agile.
=Dungeon Conditions: Fright, Stupify==========================================
<Pose Tracker> Rebecca Streisand has posed.


The blast of Wind and Light rocks the creature back on its rear legs, the flash bang like effect of the massive arc of energy causing the creature to shake its head to get the spots out of its eyes. There is a mark dented on each leg like a blade that's had dented it's armor in.

This all happens in slowed time naturally, thanks to the crests fired off

"Dean Stark do not rush in front and center! Dean!"

It completes the effect, the creature fully distracted as Avril rushes in to the left, with her blade. The creature seems to instinctively realizes she's there and suddenly thrashes to it's right, causing it to strike Avril with its shoulder, knocking her aside. Fortunately just barely missing one of its dual horns.

Ida has more luck, as her heavy pistols core a pair of holes into its flank.

"Oh my gosh- YOU COULD AT LEAST USE YOUR ARM!"

Rebecca finally manages to call as it comes to Dean's charge, before the thing get smashed in the head by the shovel.

There is a looney tunes like effect for a moment, it's tongue lolled out, its eyes unfocused as tiny dual horns dance over its head.

And then the fiend collapses, dissolving into pyreflies.

"Good work." Rebecca sighs like she hates to admit the shovel played a role in the thing's demise, and the good work that caused it. "Avril you alright? Everyone okay?"

<Pose Tracker> Lorelei Calice has posed.

Lorelei doesn't immediately answer Avril or Dean's's assumptions. She's focused on delivering that magical blow.

Only once the Fiend is down does she let out a light puff, flipping her voluminous curls back with a toss of her head. "Adventurous rascal, wasn't it?" she muses with a cant of her head towards the little group, her smile neat and relaxed. It's Dean who gets a look first. "Well! It's very nice to meet you, Dean! And you too, Avril - and both of you others, for that matter! But yes, Rosaline and I grew up together. Even though we have different parents, she's as close to me as a sister!"

As she begins to move along the road, she gestures back towards her smaller companion. "Ah -- I must have forgotten to introduce my apprentice, Mignonette. She may not like to talk about it, but she's actually a very promising student!"

Mignonette closes her eyes and inclines her head politely, nowhere near as chatty as her rosier superior.

Lorelei continues on. "We were not able to make it in time for the battle with Sin, sadly! But we heard that it was quite terrible, and that the Fiends attacks here were getting worse--" She abruptly cuts off.

Her ears prick. Her effusive smile fades, giving way to a frown. "...We don't seem to be alone," she murmurs.

She whirls, suddenly. Her overrobe ripples around her as she whips out a sleek-looking ARM from beneath it.

                        SPECIALIST ARM OF ELITE ETONE
                      A B L E A R C H E R M K . II

She opens fire. Something in the gun beeps. A burst of energy rips towards something in the sky - and with a shriek, an enormous eyeball plummets to earth, smoking and smouldering.

It's not alone. Several more eyeballs flutter down from above. They're quite large, with leathery bodies wrapped around their eyeball masses, batlike wings fluttering. Screeching, the floating eyes fire away with beams of energy.

"This is insanely frustrating," Mignonette grumbles as she finds herself rooted to the spot, struggling to move her legs after taking a shot in the knee. "Just so you know, they numb whatever they hit."

The Etone trainee reaches into her robe and pops what looks like a Remedy. Lorelei glances back at her, then pivots, strafing as she shoots up into the eyeball horde. A scope is mounted to the Able Archer; she takes the ARM in both hands and sets her eye to it, pivoting more quickly and leading her shots.

DG: Lorelei Calice has used her Tool Curious Capsule toward her party's challenge, Floating Eyes.
<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

%T"HaHA! Take that!" Dean cheers as he shunks Ace of Spaces into the earth in triumph, pyreflies wisping up and around. His good cheer doesn't last at Rebecca's scolding, though. "I *couldn't* use my ARM!" he protests, affronted. "They don't like..." He pauses, looking over at the caravan, and lowers his voices. "They don't like guns and stuff around here, remember? Said it's all 'blasphony' or whatever." He brightens at the others, though. "Good work, everybody! Let's keep this pace up! We'll have this path cleared in no time!"
    
    As they all move onwards, Lorelei talks. "Oh hey! So you two're like Rebecca and me!" Dean says to Lorelei. "We've got different parents too, but we're pretty much brother and sister! Right, Rebecca?" *Right, Rebecca??* "Oh!" he adds, looking over at Mignonette when Lorelei introduces her. He gives her a sheepish grin as he rubs the back of his head. "Sorry! Didn't mean to ignore you earlier." A nod and a smile. "Nice meeting you, too, Mignonette!"
    
    So she'd been coming for the fight with Sin. Dean's friendly smile slowly fades. Part of him wants to say that it was just as well she didn't make it, but... he doesn't quite have the heart to. Putting it like that feels... He doesn't know. Like it's disrespecting all those poor people who died trying to defeat it.
    
    Fortunately, FLYING EYEBALLS happen. With the group well along the road and no locals about, Dean summons Twin Fenrir this time and opens fire on the flying pests. That'll at least make it easier to *hit*, but hopefully he won't get struck by one of those paralysis rays! He nods at Mignonette's warning, and adds as he shoots, "Geez, they're fast to boot! Does anybody have a way to slow them down?!"

DG: Dean Stark has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Floating Eyes.
<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

    "I'm all right!" Ida says. Brass casings roll in the ground at her feet. Several of the caravaneers stare at her, and at Rebecca, but Ida pays them no mind. She holsters the Devil Arm, and bends down to pick up the casings, one after another. She's going to have to do some hand-loading tonight, but she can get the raw materials from the Kinship. "A pleasure to meet you, Dame Calice." Ida smiles at the senior Etone, even as a part of her grows anxious. "Rosaline is a dear friend of mine--I didn't know she had a sister..."

    The wagon crew doesn't stick around to yell at their saviors about the use of profane machina. They--or at least their wagon-driver--have common sense.

    "Ida Everstead-Rey," she says. Then Lorelei pulls her ARM. Ida ejects her clip, snatches the chunk of metal as it drops from the grip of her gun. Her off-hand rushes in to snatch it out of the air and stow it in a pocket, and returns to slide a fresh clip in place. "Up for a little target shooting?" A beam grazes Ida's cheek, and the whole side of her face goes numb. "Gh," she grunts. She plants both feet on the ground, and raises Devil's Due with both hands. Ida pulls the trigger, sending a round racing at one of the eye-things--it's barely left the barrel before she's in motion again, spinning to target another Fiend.

    Ida holds her ground as best as she can, targeting and destroying Fiends with minimalist motions and precise shooting. Five Precepts Chained Devil is a distinctive style of Etone gunplay.

DG: Ida Everstead-Rey has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Floating Eyes.
<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    Under any other situation, an approach from multiple fronts should have disoriented the creature, opening it up to a fortuitous strike from potentially multiple angles.
    ...Then again, maybe that does happen. It's just that Avril happens to be on somewhat more of the unfortunate end of this strategy as it clips her and sends her hurtling to one side, where she then rolls, her blade skittering out of her grasp. Rather than leap to her feet, she stays put--

    Particularly when Dean comes charging in.

    She only rises to her feet when the dust settles, stooping briefly to retrieve her sword.

    "I am alright!" she calls back, only to wince fleetingly when testing her shoulder. "Or perhaps I may yet develop a bruise? It is nothing serious."
    Far less serious than the horns might have proven, at least.

    "Is everyone else unhurt?"

    Shortly after that, Lorelei makes introductions. With a slight smile on her lips as Lorelei proves herself the more effusive and friendlier of those from a certain orphanage. Then her gaze shifts to Mignonette. "I'm pleased to meet you as well," she says, inclining her head in a nod. The smaller woman is without doubt the quiet type. It puts her in mind of Rosaline in her own right, in a way...

    But all is not well. Lorelei's ears may twitch. Avril meanwhile turns, her brow creased in consternation. "Something's here. I can feel its presence," she affirms--

    in those moments before her affirmation is confirmed.

    Blade in hand, Avril at first shifts her stance as if she were about to attempt to strike at the flying things from here -- in the way that Absolute Zero can permit -- when Dean asks if there isn't some way to slow them down.

    "Allow me," Avril says.
    There's no shout, no hand gesture. No incantation or really anything except her will as she gazes upon the fluttering Fiends and bids them become frozen where they fly, ice and wind whirling about them in focused vortices.

DG: Avril Vent Fleur has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Floating Eyes.
<Pose Tracker> Rebecca Streisand has posed.


"And bruises build character." Rebecca offers cheerfully to Avril, trying to mask how she was fretting over how hard a hit she took for a second there. It's easy to imagine her thinking bruises build character though. How many times did she flub a jump as an acrobat in training only to end up bruised?

Dean protests and Rebecca puts her hand at her side, "That-" Makes sense. Why did Dean have to pick right now to be sensible? Yet she doesn't back down right away. "Well sure normally! These are Crusaders though! They don't mind them so much. Even had one of them give me some pointers on how to shoot believe it or not!"

However fortunately it turns to different subjects. "Different parents? Oh so you just took the same last name as you're that close?"

Rebecca asks, before inclining her head at Mignonette, "Nice to meet you ma'am." As... she's not exactly certain how to address an apprentice Etone.

Dean then points that out, and Rebecca gets this little flush, "Well - I mean - not exactly Dean!" Rebecca says as she rubs the nape of her neck, which causes her two red twintails to bob a little as the motion knocks them aside.

In the past perhaps she would have protested Dean calling them Brother and Sister more. Now? Now... it doesn't sound so bad. Kind of sweet actually. Still, the feelings she held still loom a little large.

"It's different because they're... uh - sisters!"

Yes Dean. It's different because they're both girls. That's her story and she's sticking to it.

"Oh look more fiends!" Rebecca says, perhaps thanking... their presence for the fact that this conversation can end. "And I sure am Ida!" When it comes to target shooting.

This time she lines up a shot with her ARM, draws back the hammer, and sends a few more shots hurtling their way. Trying to evade the critical eye-beams.

She just tries to imagine the pupils as bullseyes.

DG: Rebecca Streisand has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Floating Eyes.
=============================<* Mushroom Rock Road *>=============================
=========================<* CHALLENGE - Floating Eyes *>==========================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 1          |
----------------------------< Challenge Information: >----------------------------
 Among the fiends that roam Mushroom Rock Road are Floating Eyes. These
 fiends are enormous eyeballs, with a leathery body and lid around them, with
 small legs, arms, and huge bat wings. This time, they descend from on high
 -- and shoot down beams of energy that can make one freeze-up with paralysis
 when struck! Worse, the creatures are especially agile.
=Dungeon Conditions: Fright, Stupify==========================================
========================<* Mushroom Rock Road - Round 3 *>========================
===========================< Results - Floating Eyes >============================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ida Everstead-Rey                   0 --(5)--> 5                   Fail
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rebecca Streisand                   0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lorelei Calice                      5 --(0)--> 5                   Pass
Curious Capsule                     1   Combat  Effects: Cleanse
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dean Stark                          5 --(0)--> 5                   Pass
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Avril Vent Fleur                    0 --(5)--> 5                   Fail
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC
------------------------------------< Party >-------------------------------------
Leader: Ida Everstead-Rey           40 --(20)--> 60                Pass
Conditions: Fright(2)|Stupify(2)
Effects: Cleanse
================================< Dream Chasers >=================================
DG: The party led by Ida Everstead-Rey 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> Lorelei Calice has posed.

The eyeballs are incredibly quick, and their paralytic beams prove to be an immense irritant. They dance through the group, shooting and zapping, darting and whirling.

But what they did not count on is that this stretch of road has been visited by more than a few expert shootists.

More than a few of them are Etone-trained, no less. Ida's show of marksmanship brings a few down; Lorelei's shooting knocks a few more out of the sky. Dean adds his own firepower; eyeballs squeal and plummet as he scores a few hits. A couple of them manage to swoop through the bullet hail; rays dance through the air, one grazing close to Ida's cheek, another past Avril's hip.

They don't stop the group. Not with four shootists. Rebecca's bullets dead-eye one of the, uh, eyes, then one more, sending them to the ground in sickening spirals.

It's Avril who finishes things off. There's no incantation - just willpower. Ice and wind fly. Shards of cold water batter the remaining eyes. The magical wind hurtles the rest away.

When the wind settles, Mignonette is giving Avril a considering look.

Lorelei lets out a soft sigh. She rests the Able Archer over her shoulder, the barrel smoking, as she cants her head towards Ida with a familiar smile. "You learned Five Precepts pretty well," she praises. "You have very good form and a good eye! And a friend of Rosaline as well, no less!"

She smiles gently. "...There were several children who lived at the Calice Orphanage - but Rosaline was the one who I always felt closest to. I hadn't seen her in... well. Many years."

Lorelei brings her hand up and adds, "A lifetime even for a beautiful 21-year-old damsel like myself, ohoho~"

DG: Avril Vent Fleur has drawn a new Challenge.
============================<* Mushroom Rock Road *>============================
======================<* CHALLENGE - Plotting a Course *>=======================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 1          |
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 Sometimes, the damage caused by Sin is akin to an earthquake. When you round
 the next bend, whether to look for survivors or to simply make your way
 through, you find that the road here has become a tangled mess. Moreover,
 you can't be sure that the road actually leads where it should; landfalls
 and damage may have made it lead into dead-ends. It may help to take some
 time and plot a course, both for your own safety and to help others in the
 future.
=Dungeon Conditions: Stupify, Slow============================================
<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    Avril's response is to smile back at Rebecca and giggle. "Hm, I suppose so, though would a less painful lesson be more easily learned...?"

    It does occur to her, in passing, that Rebecca would be well-acquainted with bruises, wouldn't she.

    Such mirth does not last overly long, not when the eye-like Fiends swoop in from above and make themselves known.

    The little localized storms she summons -- as shots fly -- seems more of a coup de grace than anything else; she exhales as the things dissolve into Pyreflies.
    "It's still... strange," she comments, moving on ahead over the short shallow rise. A slight breeze catches her long silver hair in its grasp for a moment.

    "...Pyreflies," she clarifies, glancing back over her shoulder.

    "I wonder if there are more Fiends ahead. Sin has... damaged this place."

    The road ahead is a tangled and broken thing. What might have been a few distinct paths are now multitudes, and not all of them -- as can be seen in the distance from here -- are safe roads to tread. If anything lurks here, it will have a most unfortunate advantage.

    Avril brings out the mirror. ...This time to use the more mundane aspect of its nature:
    It's a mirror. It reflects an image. And sometimes, an image -- even in 'reverse' -- can help make sense where the eyes fail. She traces one path over the mirror's image with a gloved finger, tilting the mirror to bring more of the landscape ahead into view.

DG: Avril Vent Fleur has used her Tool Mirror of De Soto toward her party's challenge, Plotting a Course.
<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

    Ida returns Lorelei's smile as best as she can with half her face paralyzed. She favors her left leg as she bends over to pick up her spent brass, and tries to work her jaw. Her tongue feels like lead in her mouth. Have the Floating Eyes stripped her of all capacity for conversation?

    Yeah, actually.

    "Mnh," Ida manages, nodding in the affirmative. "Mnh mnh." As the group moves ahead, Avril takes out her mirror, and Ida gets a good look at it. The memory of another mirror bubbles up in the back of her mind. "Nh?" She arches an eyebrow, trying to convey 'what is that?' through gesture alone. She can feel blood rushing to the half of her face that can still feel. Those Eyes had horrible timing. Nevertheless, Ida soldiers on, locating a scraggly, dead tree not far from the road. Ida produces her multitool's sawblade, and hacksaws through one of its larger limbs. She returns to the group with a length of sturdy wood, which she holds in her off-hand.

    As Avril peeks ahead with her mirror, Ida taps the path with her improvised walking stick, checking to see if it's sturdy.

DG: Ida Everstead-Rey has used her Tool Multitool toward her party's challenge, Plotting a Course.
<Pose Tracker> Lorelei Calice has posed.

Mignonette gives Avril a curious look, eyebrows arching slightly. "...Sin's a pretty unusual force. It makes you think a little," she muses.

"Well! Fortunately it seems to have faded away for now," Lorelei opines, touching a hand to her cheek. "At least, until it returns! For now we can at least help those left behind, certainly! Do you not think so, Mignonette? Certainly it's what Granas would expect of us!"

"It is as you say, Dame Calice." Mignonette clasps her hands neatly.

The road ahead is a mess. Scratching her cheek with one nail, Lorelei looks up towards the sky as if lost in thought. "Goodness, these really do seem like perilous routes... I wonder where the safe path might lie? I suppose we could try trial and error...."

"That won't be necessary, Dame Calice." Mignonette's leaning in towards Avril and her mirror. The Etone trainee adjusts her glasses, squinting intently at the image reflected in the glass. Then she looks back towards the landscape, boosting herself up onto one of the higher rocks. It takes her a minute; her left leg is still a little numb.

"Alright." Crisply, Mignonette pulls a notepad out of her overrobe and begins jotting things down. "From what I can tell, the worst of the rockfall damage came down on the sunward side of us - the western part of this path complex. It brought a few trees down with it, and that's blocking off several paths through the rubble. Most of the large boulders would've come down and become embedded in the soil. If we try to veer to the east, I think we'll find that more of the rubble was smaller and more likely to bounce and skitter out of the way of things."

Lorelei looks up at her trainee, her eyes wide with quiet wonder. "So we should try the east, then," she suggests.

"That's correct." Mignonette pauses a moment, then sighs and reaches into her robe, coming out with a Remedy to pass down to Ida.

"This should help."

DG: Lorelei Calice has used her Tool Mignonette's Hot Tips toward her party's challenge, Plotting a Course.
<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

    Soon, the creepy winged eyeballs are all down for the count, thanks in part to Avril following Dean's suggestion. He grins and gives her a thumbs up, Twin Fenrir flashing back into... wherever they go when he doesn't use them. "Great job, Avril! Your magic is always so *cool*!"
    
    did he just pun on purpose
    
    "Whaaat, really?" Dean says to Rebecca then. He pauses, remembering the Crusader-Al Bhed alliance. "Oh yeah... That'd make sense, with who they were just working for... But still!" Ethius made it *very clear* to Dean to avoid using technology in front of the locals. Regardless, distraction comes in the form of family talk, at which point Dean gives Rebecca a confused look. "Wait, how's that different?" he wonders. "Wait, is it 'cuz they have the same last name? Would it be different if I were Dean Streisand?"
    
    Naturally he would take her name, as it was her parents who helped raise him. Rebecca might have a different opinion on the matter, though. Regardless, the fight ends soon, and Dean nods over at Lorelei. "Ohh, I get it. You do have a kind of similar vibe, though! Maybe it's all the pink?"
    
    Avril speaks. "What's strange?" Dean wonders to her. He looks on ahead at all the damage. Well, yeah, of course it'd be damaged... He pulls out his Danger Sphere again, working it to try to pull up information.
    
    He's distracted, though, by Ida's... paralysis. "Uhh, are you gonna be okay, Ida?" he wonders, concerned--but if she can manipulate a hacksaw like that, she'll probably be fine, especially with Mignonette's remedy. "Lemme see if I can't get some info on what the terrain's supposed to be like around here," he suggests, going back to the sphere.

DG: Dean Stark has used his Tool Danger Sphere toward his party's challenge, Plotting a Course.
<Pose Tracker> Rebecca Streisand has posed.


She's smiling a little bigger to hear Avril giggle, "Maybe. But the hard lessons always stuck with me better."

Whereas Dean, Oh Dean. "Ethius is who you're taking your advice from now?" Rebecca points out, before then blushing, "H-Huhhhhh? It's... that'd be different sure. Or if I was named Rebecca Stark."

Rebecca never thought she'd have the chance to say those words publically. Though she'd written it down in her diary so many times.

Rebecca is still smelling gun smoke from the fight, but upon hearing Lorelei's story she has a little sitcom 'awww' soundtrack in her head. Until she goes full Ojou, and Rebecca has to press her lips together extra hard not to giggle upon hearing it. "Well, I'm glad... the two of you were reunited. Must have been painful being away from someone you were close to for so long." She knows how she'd feel if she were away from Dean for too long... or Avril as it happens now for that matter.

Her breath catches a little at the way Avril's hair sways in the breeze, and for a moment her mind can't think of Pyreflies, "They're... real pretty." Rebecca mumbles, "Is mostly what I think. Strange... how though, because of what Yevon says they are?"

Mostly Rebecca doesn't think of the hereafter at all. Other than keeping her friends out of it.

Rebecca starts nodding along at Lorelei's assessment, even though she's looking elsewhere. "Uh-huh... uh-huh..." It sounds like she's paying attention to her advice very well.

It may take people a while to realize she's not paying attention to the effort to trailblaze at all...

DG: Rebecca Streisand has used her Tool Rebecca's Travel Diary toward her party's challenge, Plotting a Course.
============================<* Mushroom Rock Road *>============================
======================<* CHALLENGE - Plotting a Course *>=======================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 1          |
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 Sometimes, the damage caused by Sin is akin to an earthquake. When you round
 the next bend, whether to look for survivors or to simply make your way
 through, you find that the road here has become a tangled mess. Moreover,
 you can't be sure that the road actually leads where it should; landfalls
 and damage may have made it lead into dead-ends. It may help to take some
 time and plot a course, both for your own safety and to help others in the
 future.
=Dungeon Conditions: Stupify, Slow============================================
=======================<* Mushroom Rock Road - Round 4 *>=======================
========================< Results - Plotting a Course >=========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ida Everstead-Rey                   5 --(0)--> 5                   Pass
Multitool                           2   Wits    Effects: Enlighten
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rebecca Streisand                   0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Rebecca's Travel Diary              2   Wits    Effects: Enlighten
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lorelei Calice                      5 --(0)--> 5                   Pass
Mignonette's Hot Tips               1   Wits    Effects: Enlighten and Fanfare
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dean Stark                          5 --(0)--> 5                   Pass
Danger Sphere                       2   Wits    Effects: Resilient
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Avril Vent Fleur                    5 --(0)--> 5                   Pass
Mirror of De Soto                   1   Wits    Effects: Cleanse
-----------------------------------< Party >------------------------------------
Leader: Ida Everstead-Rey           60 --(20)--> 80                Pass
Conditions: Fright(1)|Slow(2)|Stupify(2)
Effects: Cleanse|Enlighten(1)|Resilient(1)
===============================< Dream Chasers >================================
DG: The party led by Ida Everstead-Rey 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: Ida Everstead-Rey has drawn a new Challenge.
============================<* Mushroom Rock Road *>============================
=================<* CHALLENGE - Electrified Machina Wreckage *>=================
|Type: Final       |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 2          |
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 Finally, you start to see clearing skies -- and no more towering cliffsides
 -- as you reenter the main part of Mi'ihen Highroad. Before you do, however,
 you come across something: one of the Al Bhed cannons that was on the
 hillside. Worryingly, sparks fly from inside, and occasionally, an arc of
 electricity jumps down to the ground. It seems its engine is still working,
 but the rest isn't.

 You could walk past. Then, however, you hear something else:

 "Ramb..."
=Dungeon Conditions: Weaken===================================================
<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    "There's something to be said for that, I suppose. A painful lesson does stick. It's a shame..."

    Dean says her magic is 'cool'.
    Avril only barely suppresses a laugh. Was it on purpose or not? ...Maybe it doesn't matter.

    "'Dean Streisand... I think it has a good sound to it," she says, a slight smile on her lips. "I wonder what it would be like to have a brother or a sister," she muses.

    A nod meets Mignonette's comment. "Yes, it does. I only saw it from a distance the last time, and yet..." She closes her eyes, suppressing a shudder.
    The Guardians had screamed.

    "The Pyreflies," Avril answers Dean. "Something about them is..."

    Avril's gaze lifts, perhaps catching the sounds that Ida makes. Concern flits across her features.
    And yet she points at the mirror she holds: "It's an ancient mirror with a connection to the Ley," she explains, neatly avoiding the more... intimate truths that she would rather limit to another time and place.

    Explaining that it is yours, because you made it thousands of years ago is a particularly derailing piece of information.

    With the angled image -- and with Mignonette's assessment of the reflection, which Dean's sphere helps corroborate -- it becomes clear that they should try the eastmost path. "I see," Avril says, holding the mirror steady.

    The stick Ida finds is a sturdy one indeed; it should make traversing the crooked way ahead quite easy.

<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

    Dean grimaces at Rebecca's rightful critique. "Well, okay, sure, you have a point, but just because he's weird doesn't mean he didn't have a point about that stuff. I don't want to scare or upset anybody because they're not used to guns an' stuff, and it's not like I got rid of them." He never would, anyway; they were presents from Avril. He smiles when she reveals that, yes, it's *totally* about them having the same name. "Ah, so that's it! It *does* feel more like you're family when you have the same last name, huh?"
    
    Avril laughs at his maybe-joke. Dean grins back. Yeah, it really doesn't matter, as long as it makes her happy. Of having siblings, he tells her, "It's kind of a pain sometimes, but it's really nice, too. Hey, maybe Rebecca's mom could adopt you and *you* could be Avril Streisand!"
    
    
    
    His attention goes to the pyreflies when Rebecca's does. Unlike Rebecca, he completely doesn't notice the sway of Avril's hair in the wind, like april flowers. "They *are* pretty, yeah," he agrees, looking at the drifting souls. "But kind of sad, when you think about it..." He blinks over at Avril again, then frowns. "Hmm... Should we be careful? Or is it a more general kinda strangeness?" They *are* weird, for whatever they are...
    
    From there, the group reaches the main part of the Mi'ihen Highroad, passing the tall cliffs as they go. At their backs, though, something sparts, and Dean turns to see one of those Al Bhed cannons, sparking dangerously and threatening to blow--and, not unlike what happened before, a couple of Al Bhed who are attempting to jump ship, but have been caught under the heavy mechanism.
    
    "Oh no--hang in there, we're here to help!" he calls, grabbing a pounch of salty chalk and dusting his hands with it as he runs over. "Guys! Let's try to pull this thing up, help these guys get out of here!" He puts the chalk away, grips the edge of the cannon, and starts to lift it enough for the Al Bhed to get out and escape. "Okay, everybody, on the count of three, let's lift! One--two--*three*!"

DG: Dean Stark has used his Tool Purifying Chalk toward his party's challenge, Electrified Machina Wreckage.
<Pose Tracker> Lorelei Calice has posed.

"I know, right?" Lorelei gasps up at Dean, cupping her cheeks in her palms. "We were both pink-haired Beastgirls! People assumed we had the same parents, but we didn't! But that hardly means anything when you care for someone, does it?"

To Rebecca: "It was terribly hard. I worried about her so much. But she's grown up into such a good person and accomplished so much! I'm so proud of her."

Dean gets an arch smile from her; her eyes gleam with gentle mirth. "I like the sound of Dean Streisand! You two would be very cute together, too, ohoho~"

"Dame Calice," Mignonette murmurs, touching the Beastwoman's elbow delicately.

Straightening, Lorelei clears her throat. "M-mh! Right. Back on task."

Just in time to hear something sparking. Both Etones look up.

"Someone is in there, Dame Calice," Mignonette points out mildly.

Lorelei perks up, bounding up towards the cannon. "Alright! So be it!" She calls ut towards the cannon - "Hellooo in there! Don't worry, we're here to help you!"

Brushing in beside Dean, the senior Etone slips a pair of leather gloves on before moving to take ahold of the cannon lip. Her shoulders bunch as she attempts to help hoist the massive piece of machinery. Planting her feet apart, she groans with effort, lifting with what strength she has - on the count of three, of course.

Mignonette hangs back with a pensive frown. "They managed to develop surprisingly advanced ARMS for a world that's supposed to be well behind Filgaia."

DG: Lorelei Calice has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Electrified Machina Wreckage.
<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

    Ida accepts the Remedy, tips it into the half of her mouth that still works, and swallows with difficulty. A moment passes. Sensation begins to return. "Thank you," she says, to Mignonette. "I... didn't want to impose." Which is a terrible rationale, she thinks, a moment later. "I didn't expect them to do that." She reaches up and rubs her jaw, and then smiles at Dean. "I'm all right."

    ...That's their story? Ida feels a tiny spark of warmth as she hears it. "I'm glad to hear she had someone to care for her," Ida says. "Family is something precious, whatever form it takes."

    And then, things become significantly less all right. Ida's eyes shoot open. She charges forward, sprinting towards the downed turret. It's fallen so the access panel is exposed, and Ida... does the unwise thing, reaching inside for one of the breakers. If she can at least trip it, she can make everyone else's lives easier.

DG: Ida Everstead-Rey has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Electrified Machina Wreckage.
<Pose Tracker> Rebecca Streisand has posed.


"As well you should be..." Rebecca says with a smile to Lorelei.

Rebecca has her mouth open a little as Dean suggests Rebecca's mother should adopt Avril. Just after Avril said Dean Streisand has a nice ring to it. And Lorelei says she likes the sound of Dean Streisand. For a moment she can't get words out and just has to put a hand over her face.

Unable to articulate her feelings about any of that at all.

She's almost grateful that someone inside the ruined Machina cannon is asking for help. Though some part of her wishes that she'd heard the rest of what Avril had to say on the Pyreflies.

"Hold on! We'll have you out in a jiffy!"

Rushing up to Dean, she grips the edge of the cannon's metal alongside him, and waits for his count to try to heave with all of her might.

DG: Rebecca Streisand has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Electrified Machina Wreckage.
<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    "Avril Streisand..." Avril says, as if trying out the sound of it. "Hmm."

    Whatever she might think of the thought of getting adopted, though, she doesn't say.

    "Yes."

    Her gaze hoods, as if fixed somewhere between here and the horizon and yet remaining utterly unfocused. "They are beautiful and sad things..." Though all she can do is shake her head. "I do not know. Once a Fiend is slain, I no longer feel a menacing aura from them. Are they grateful to be released, or sad? ...I cannot say."

    Just strange. Sad. Beautiful.

    The trek along the easiest of the paths is a largely uneventful one.

    Until they see it -- similar to before, a fallen piece of Al Bhed machinery, and a pair of Al Bhed themselves trapped beneath it.

    She runs to join their side, but rather than move to lend her hand in lifting it--

    It had been a blade. Now it is no longer.

    Light scythes through the air, aimed to slice off the errant half of the cannon not immediately being lifted or overtop the pair of Al Bhed.

    It should lighten the load.

DG: Avril Vent Fleur has used her Tool Absolute Zero Beam toward her party's challenge, Electrified Machina Wreckage.
============================<* Mushroom Rock Road *>============================
=================<* CHALLENGE - Electrified Machina Wreckage *>=================
|Type: Final       |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 2          |
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 Finally, you start to see clearing skies -- and no more towering cliffsides
 -- as you reenter the main part of Mi'ihen Highroad. Before you do, however,
 you come across something: one of the Al Bhed cannons that was on the
 hillside. Worryingly, sparks fly from inside, and occasionally, an arc of
 electricity jumps down to the ground. It seems its engine is still working,
 but the rest isn't.

 You could walk past. Then, however, you hear something else:

 "Ramb..."
=Dungeon Conditions: Weaken===================================================
=======================<* Mushroom Rock Road - Round 5 *>=======================
===================< Results - Electrified Machina Wreckage >===================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ida Everstead-Rey                   5 --(100)--> 105               Fail
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rebecca Streisand                   0 --(100)--> 100               Fail
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lorelei Calice                      5 --(100)--> 105               Fail
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dean Stark                          5 --(100)--> 105               Pass
Purifying Chalk                     1   Brute   Effects: Cleanse
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Avril Vent Fleur                    5 --(100)--> 105               Fail
Absolute Zero Beam                  3   Brute   Effects: Fanfare
-----------------------------------< Party >------------------------------------
Leader: Ida Everstead-Rey           80 --(10)--> 90                Fail
Conditions: Weaken(2)
Effects: Cleanse
===============================< Dream Chasers >================================
DG: Ida Everstead-Rey is too exhausted to continue!
DG: Lorelei Calice is too exhausted to continue!
DG: Dean Stark is too exhausted to continue!
DG: Avril Vent Fleur is too exhausted to continue!
DG: The party led by Ida Everstead-Rey 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.
DG: Dean Stark has drawn a new Challenge.
============================<* Mushroom Rock Road *>============================
===============<* CHALLENGE - Lizardmen Hellions and Funguars *>================
|Type: Final       |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 2          |
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 Finally, you start to see clearing skies -- and no more towering cliffsides
 -- as you reenter the main part of Mi'ihen Highroad. Before you do, however,
 you come across the sounds of battle. There are shouts from soldiers ahead,
 and a clash of steel.

 A trio of Althena's Guard are on the ground, all badly wounded. There are
 two human-sized fungus fiends there, with mouths on the ends of their
 stalks. They snap and bite down at a pair of soldiers wearing Rolance red,
 but altered into lizardmen Hellions. They bleed the thick, cloying violet
 light of Malevolence... which is batted back, and in turn keeps at bay, the
 pyreflies swirling about the fiends.

 While you might be tempted to leave them alone, the wounded Guard will be
 the victims of whichever side wins this bout.
=Dungeon Conditions: Wound====================================================
DG: Rebecca Streisand has used her Tool Sky Medium toward her party's challenge, Lizardmen Hellions and Funguars.
============================<* Mushroom Rock Road *>============================
===============<* CHALLENGE - Lizardmen Hellions and Funguars *>================
|Type: Final       |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 2          |
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 Finally, you start to see clearing skies -- and no more towering cliffsides
 -- as you reenter the main part of Mi'ihen Highroad. Before you do, however,
 you come across the sounds of battle. There are shouts from soldiers ahead,
 and a clash of steel.

 A trio of Althena's Guard are on the ground, all badly wounded. There are
 two human-sized fungus fiends there, with mouths on the ends of their
 stalks. They snap and bite down at a pair of soldiers wearing Rolance red,
 but altered into lizardmen Hellions. They bleed the thick, cloying violet
 light of Malevolence... which is batted back, and in turn keeps at bay, the
 pyreflies swirling about the fiends.

 While you might be tempted to leave them alone, the wounded Guard will be
 the victims of whichever side wins this bout.
=Dungeon Conditions: Wound====================================================
=======================<* Mushroom Rock Road - Round 6 *>=======================
=================< Results - Lizardmen Hellions and Funguars >==================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ida Everstead-Rey                   105 --(X)--> X
                                                Effects:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rebecca Streisand                   100 --(0)--> 100               Pass
Sky Medium                          2   Combat  Effects: Embolden
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lorelei Calice                      105 --(X)--> X
                                                Effects:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dean Stark                          105 --(X)--> X
                                                Effects:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Avril Vent Fleur                    105 --(X)--> X
                                                Effects:
-----------------------------------< Party >------------------------------------
Leader: Ida Everstead-Rey           90 --(30)--> 120               Pass
Conditions: Wound(2)
Effects: Embolden(1)
===============================< Dream Chasers >================================
DG: You have overcome the dungeon's trials! This run is a success!
DG: The party led by Ida Everstead-Rey has successfully explored Mushroom Rock Road!
============================<* Mushroom Rock Road *>============================
=========================<* CHALLENGE - Phoenix Down *>=========================
|Type: Discovery   |Dungeon Ability: Conclusion|Challenge Rating: 1          |
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 On your way out, you come across a group of pilgrims. Some are civilians,
 finally braving the road to head towards Djose; some are Crusaders,
 traveling to seek redemption.

 A young priestess from the nearby Temple jogs up when she sees you. She
 waves a hand, before extending a red and orange feather out. "Here, please
 have this! If you see anyone who's fainted, or on the edge of death... this
 may save them before it's too late."
=Dungeon Conditions: Treasure=================================================
<Pose Tracker> Dean Stark has posed.

    "Ohh... I see what you're saying now," Dean muses to Avril. "Yeah, there's no way of knowing, huh...?"
    
    Wait. Together? Dean starts to get an uncomfortable, unpleasant feeling that people aren't talking about brothers and sisters. "Oh. Um..." He shifts nervously. At least Rebecca's also put off--usually she jumps on this romantic stuff, much to his dismay. He gives Ida a smile at least when she confirms that she's all right--and then there's the cannon, and thank goodness there's a distraction there.
    
    Blades flash, people lift, and the Al Bhed manage to pull themselves to safety and flee, stammering thanks in their language. "Okay, put 'er down easy, and let's get out of he--" Dean starts to say, acting as he speaks. However, with the extra damage to the cannon, the sparking erupts into explosions. Not a deadly one, but enough to knock everyone a good distance along, knocking the air out of some and consciousness out of others.
    
    The best one off is Rebecca, who was shielded by the angle and by Dean jumping in the way for her at the last second. She maybe has a couple of bruises from the landing, and ringing eardrums, but she's otherwise fine. The others are less fine--it'll take them several minutes to recover after that--but they'll survive.
    
    You know. As long as the approaching Hellion, attracted by the noise and spectacle, doesn't get them while they're down and vulnerable. Speaking of which...

<Pose Tracker> Rebecca Streisand has posed.


They're in the middle of attempting to lift the edge of the cannon, when Rebecca looks off to the side, and sees... "... Hey think we've got more prob-"Then she sees the way the cannon is sparking, "B-Back!"

The explosion hits her too, but she was shielded by the angle... rolled with it a little better.

Grimacing as she pulls herself back up into a standing position. She fights back a stinging in her eyes. "Barely a scratch." She mumbles, as if she was trying to play it off. To everyone. To herself. "See? Got up all by myself."

A glance at least tells her that all the others are alive at least. "Watch after each other. I've got this."

Along the edge of the rubble of the Machina cannon are three badly wounded Althena's Guard, who are more than a little wounded.

There are also two mushrooms with snapping jaws. And a pair of twin men from Rolance. In the olden days she'd just have seen these two men rise up.

Now? Now she sees them for what they are.

Her draw isn't as quick as she hopes.

A shot through the stalk of one of the fungal terrors spears clean through it and ricochets off the rock wall. Trajectory altered into one of the Hellion Lizard's knee joints, causing it to suddenly unbalance and fall to the ground. Hobbling it.

"All it takes is some practice..." THe girl says in this way that feels a little punch drunk, echoing a certain Crusader named Racca, "...and the world's my oyster."

Now they know she's here though, and they're turning away from the wounded. However, she exchanges her ARM for something else.

     "Material..."

-=-=-

Rebecca stumbles until her shoulder makes contact with something solid, as the rest of her body turns and slumps against the rock wall to rest. The fiends are pyreflies at least. The Hellions... well they're not dead, but they're not moving much either right now. She's sure she remembered Ida saying something mid-fight about... not killing them, though she's not sure why.

"You're a real mess Rebecca Streisand."