2019-06-20: Secret Weapons

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  • Log: 2019-06-20: Secret Weapons
  • Cast: Lydia Seren, Ivan
  • Where: Thunder Plains
  • Date: June 20, 2019
  • Summary: Ivan and Lydia take on the Thunder Plains for a second time! What secrets might they uncover???

=============================<* Kilika - Jungles *>=============================

The island of Kilika is filled with a massive jungle, which is no stranger to Fiends. The recent attack by Sin has made the jungle a dangerous place indeed; powerful Fiends patrol, and a few Sinspawn are rumored to be sighted. Much of Althena's Guard, having arrived, is devoted to making headway into the jungle and protecting the route to the Temple, which is nestled up in the mountains beyond the jungle.

BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHw2V0C-D-o
DG: A party led by Lydia Seren 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> Lydia Seren has posed.

'Lightning may not strike the same place twice, but we do!'

That was the reasoning behind Lydia's decision to go back into the Thunder Plains and give it another go! She is pretty sure this time she won't end up nearly bisected!

Does that mean she will end up actually bisected?

N-no way. It'll be fine. It'll be fine!

Regardless Lydia doesn't want to accept defeat. The trauma of 'last time' is put neatly out of her s pot because now she has managed to find entirely new things to get anxious about, things she hasn't mentioned yet! But don't worry, Lydia isn't great at keeping quiet.

She steps forward out onto the plains and swings a metal bat forward towards the distance. "This time we probably won't get ambushed by a giant armor with a sword that is somehow electrically resistant!" Lydia says. "And we will find the hidden treasure of the Thunder Plains!"

Miraculously she doesn't immediately attract lightning and get blasted right there. Instead she turns to Ivan. "You ready?" with that big cheeky grin of hers.

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ivan is just a little bit uncertain about this Round Two, but if Lydia isn't rattled at the thought of facing the creature that gave her existential crisis-inducing injuries, why should he be worried about it on her behalf? He'll just have to do a better job of being the Fighting Stuff Guy this time.

"That would be a good motto for this operation, but only if we kept searching the Thunder Plains over and over forever and never found anything. So I guess actually it would be a bad motto." He frowns. Is a good motto for losers a bad motto or a good one? Oh well, Doesn't really matter.

"Yeah, I'm ready! This time has better energy."

It might be good to try a new route this time, so it's not literally retracing the same failed steps -- Ivan looks around for a way that seems promisingly inhospitable. The ground is actually pretty rough and uneven for a place known as the 'plains' -- it looks like there's a pass that's mostly blocked by some rubble that fell who-knows-when. Ivan summons his warhammer, and starts chipping away at it.

"You want to go through here? Looks like probably no one has in a while!"

DG: Ivan has used his Tool Warhammer toward his party's challenge, The Shattered Lands.
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
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lydia Seren                         0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Good Luck Bat                       2   Brute   Effects: Strengthen           
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ivan                                0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Warhammer                           3   Brute   Effects: Rally                
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Lydia Seren                 0 --(20)--> 20                 Pass
Conditions: Injure(2)|Overzealous(2)
Effects: Strengthen(1)
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: The party led by Lydia Seren 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.

"I know right?? I was confident before but this time I'm confident times two!"

Lydia quietly hides her shaking hand behind her back, ignorant that Ivan was worrying about this on her behalf and then elected not to because she was over it. Yep. Totally over it here!

"Well, if we set our expectations low, then victory will be all the sweeter. And if we lose it'll be like 'pffh whatever' right? We just need to manage, like, the correct proportion of being cool with failing utterly and not like self sabotaging ourselves. It's all about being zed about it."

She did not say 'Zen'.

Lydia rushes after Ivan to catch up to him, barely avoiding an electrical blast whereupon she smashes apart debris with her bat as well. It's probably a good thing they are both 'swing a heavy object at this debris' type people because now they can't complain to each other about how horribly noisy it is!

"Do you think that armor can hear things?" Lydia asks. "Say I--uh..."

Hmm. How does she ask Ivan. About prosthetics. Do they even have prosthetics on Lunar? Probably not right? She frowns thoughtfully.

DG: Ivan 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> Ivan has posed.

"Who's Zed?" Ivan asks, as they smash. But she seems to be working her way up to asking something else? He hopes it's not something on the List of Forbidden Topics, which he has never consciously codified, yet can always recognize somewhere in his bones.

"Yeah?" he asks.

But it seems as if this secret path through the Thunder Plains has a previous inhabitant! A spiny inhabitant who is not too keen on being disturbed. Or perhaps they even freed it, by smashing one of its stones? If that's the case, you'd think it would be more grateful. Instead, it super wants to explode them with flying explosive cactus grenades.

"Oh shit, look out!" Ivan says. He is serious about his intention to prevent any further horror-provoking injuries to Lydia, and so he storms into battle, wielding (still) his warhammer, and answers its projectile needle explosions with his own explosions of fire. Boom, boom, boom. Is anything about this exchange of hostilities actually safe for Lydia?

DG: Ivan has used his Tool Memory toward his party's challenge, A Qactuar Morph?.
<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

"Zed is this weird Hyadean guy who is like a good guy, well he is now, but like kind of carefree about it? And he messed up a lot but he doesn't let it get him down and people like him even though he is like an 11 on the dork scale." Pause. "I figure I'm more like an 8? But that's okay. That's probably enough to get into Zed Thought." Pause. "It's ethics agnostic though so don't worry."

As for the other question... "Well I am feelinng pretty nervous about--"

Woops explosions stop that for the moment. Lydia yelps and starts running around, explosions from the Qactuar following her fast behind. Periodically she tries to snap off a quick solar laser blast in the direction of the Qactuar but as usual, Lydia isn't exactly the best at quick battles like these. Something long and prolonged where she can take her time and start throwing meteors sat things? Sure! Great! But this is something she clearly still has to work on.

"How do you naturally evolve explosion spines??" She asks. Maybe that's what she wanted to bother Ivan about.

DG: Lydia Seren 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
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lydia Seren                         0 --(15)--> 15                 Fail
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC                
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ivan                                0 --(5)--> 5                   Pass
Memory                              3   Combat  Effects: Fanfare              
-----------------------------------< Party >------------------------------------
Leader: Lydia Seren                 20 --(20)--> 40                Pass
Conditions: Injure(1)|Overwhelm|Overzealous(1)
Effects: 
===============================< Dream Chasers >================================
DG: The party led by Lydia Seren 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> Ivan has posed.

"I don't know, but I want them!"

Explosion spines would fit right in with Ivan's personality.

Lydia's lasers fly into the fray, though it's more difficult than usual to find the target or even see the results of her shots, given the Thunder Plains' naturally obscuring mists are combining with the general fiery chaos. A muffled "Thanks!" from Ivan suggests she zapped it at least once!

Eventually, the explosions stop, and Ivan emerges from the smoke, his warhammer braced against his shoulder. The hammerhead drips grimly with cactus goo.

"I think I got fewer needles than last time," he says. Although it's... maybe not dramatically less. He decides it's okay to pull them out because, well, they just got started and he needs to stay in good fighting condition in case they run into another big metal guy.

As he works on de-needling himself, he casts a furtive glance over at her to check for disfiguring injuries or other violations of anatomy.

"...All good?" he asks.

DG: Lydia Seren has drawn a new Challenge.
=============================<* Thunder Plains *>=============================
====================<* CHALLENGE - Falling Tower Debris *>====================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 A bolt of lightning strikes a tower, as it should. Unfortunately, time has    
 taken its toll on the tower, and a good section of it shatters, raining down  
 debris on the lands below.                                                    
                                                                               
 Even more unfortunately: right beneath it, where the debris falling, is       
 where you are currently standing.                                             
                                                                               
 It's time to run for it, effective immediately.                               
=Dungeon Conditions: Hesitate, Injure=========================================
<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

It really kind of would, Lydia reflects as if answering the first part of someone else's narrator voice with her own internal monologue. Those mists and general fiery chaos is not helping Lydia's aim and honestly she's a little worried she might zap IVAN on accident. And then they would have to have a funeral. And Talia would be very sad. And she would say something like 'My brother is no longer with us yadda yadda it's lydia's fault get her!' and that absolutely cannot happen (yes Talia said 'yadda yadda' at her brother's funeral).

Luckily thanks to Ivan's work, Lydia is mostly winded rather than partially exploded or on fire. It seems Lydia figured she best save her strength this time.

"I think I'm okay!" Lydia says. "Just...you know... didn't really think we'd find another one of those!"

She looks at the cactus goo. She does not feel sympathy for the cactus that tried to explode her.

"Maybe we're running into them a lot because we took out that one cactus and now they're like all united against us...?" She wonders aloud before shaking her head. "Anyway, all good! I wanted to ask you about--"

There is a crackling crash of lightning against the tower.

"Oh come on," Lydia complains. "I was just trying to ask--"

And then the debris starts noisily tumbling towards the two of them.

"Oh shit!" Lydia shouts as she activates SKATE MODE, grabs for Ivan's hand and starts skating away from the shattered tower tumbling towards them.

"Who knew that the thunder plains would be so full of interruptions!" She complains.

DG: Lydia Seren has used her Tool Radical Skates toward her party's challenge, Falling Tower Debris.
<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

"I guess it's possible! I don't know what the natural habitat is for cactus fiends, but we did find them in two dramatically different places."

Lydia's latest effort to ask a question gets cut short again as lightning crashes down and broken tower debris flies at them, and she grasps for Ivan's hand and tries to skate away with him. Ivan suffers from an acute lack of wheels, and can't think of an opportunity to take advantage of SKATE MODE without kicking his legs up and, like, letting her carry him. He's just not really prepared to cope with that, emotionally. So he releases his grip from her after the initial yank so he won't hold her back, and attempts to jump clear of the rain of debris on his own via a series of acrobatic flips.

DG: Ivan has used his Tool Whip toward his party's challenge, Falling Tower Debris.
=============================<* Thunder Plains *>=============================
====================<* CHALLENGE - Falling Tower Debris *>====================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 A bolt of lightning strikes a tower, as it should. Unfortunately, time has    
 taken its toll on the tower, and a good section of it shatters, raining down  
 debris on the lands below.                                                    
                                                                               
 Even more unfortunately: right beneath it, where the debris falling, is       
 where you are currently standing.                                             
                                                                               
 It's time to run for it, effective immediately.                               
=Dungeon Conditions: Hesitate, Injure=========================================
========================<* Thunder Plains - Round 3 *>========================
======================< Results - Falling Tower Debris >======================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lydia Seren                         15 --(5)--> 20                 Pass
Radical Skates                      3   Agility Effects: Fanfare              
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ivan                                5 --(5)--> 10                  Pass
Whip                                2   Agility Effects: Quicken              
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Lydia Seren                 40 --(20)--> 60                Pass
Conditions: Hesitate(2)|Injure(2)|Overwhelm
Effects: Quicken(1)
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: The party led by Lydia Seren 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.

"To be honest, I would expect cactus fiends in deserts. Not in an underwater ruin where...cacti aren't normally seen. Or in a plain that's constantly covered in thunder and lightning and sometimes rain. They're desert lifeforms aren't they?" Wait is there even a desert on Lunar? She hasn't actually seen one. It makes her kind of miss the long days of walking through the wastes of the Badlands carting a large swath of water jugs around to make easy (actually hard) money.

It IS true that taking advantage of SKATE MODE is a pretty temporary deal here without like jumping into the air or something. Lydia says, "Hahh?" as Ivan lets go and she turns to look, slamming backwards into one of the towers. "Oof!"

But at least she didn't get SQUISHED by all that debris! And for that matter neither did Ivan who managed to ninja his way through.

Oh, Lydia realizes, she can't actually...take people with her with the skates.

She frowns thoughtfully. This makes her miss those pistols again but they are in a better place.

"Hm... Maybe I need to get him skates too to make it work."

Well at least they aren't dead. and there is even a moment for Lydia to actually ask her question!

"Anyway I've been wondering," Lydia says. "Janey--she's family--she asked me to make something for her along with a couple other peeps but uh-- I am not sure... I can? Maybe the others can but I'm worried it's a bit beyond my ability and they'll do all the work."

There isn't a question there Lydia.

"Oh--uh...and I was wondering... what to do about that?"

DG: Ivan has drawn a new Challenge.
==============================<* Thunder Plains *>==============================
========================<* CHALLENGE - Lightning Maze *>========================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 The gap between functional lightning towers can be considerable in places.    
 Take the situation ahead -- it's a long way between where you walk now and    
 where safer ground awaits ahead.                                              
                                                                               
 Worse, the lightning is striking the ground ahead quite frequently. However,  
 all is not lost -- the strikes are regular and appear to be following a       
 particular pattern. If you could tease out the shape of this storm's path,    
 it should be possible to work out a safe crossing without even the need to    
 race the storm.                                                               
=Dungeon Conditions: Reckless, Overzealous====================================
<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Damn, there's a long stretch without any of the lightning towers. Ivan regretfully remembers the time he got struck by lightning, but doesn't really think he took any lessons away from the experience other than 'next time, don't get struck by lightning.'

He contemplates the field as it gets struck again and again, and also contemplates Lydia's... question? Quandary?

"What about me makes you think I'd be able to give you good interpersonal advice?" he grumbles. But he thinks about it anyway. He has, after all, kind of stopped resisting his current role as stand-in until Lydia finds an actual person for whatever niche he accidentally filled. That means he ought to try to say what a person would say. Probably.

"Why does it matter if you contribute? Have you like, staked your identity around being useful or something?" NOT THAT HE CAN RELATE TO THAT.

DG: Ivan has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Lightning Maze.
<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

"Well Ivan I can't ask the people I would normally because they are the people right now I don't want to know about this." Lydia points out even though there probably are still yet other people who can but she is not going to get into that discussion and this is as good cover as any. Yes of course she wants to have wholly honest conversations with her friend here at some point but right now she is okay with...with whatver this is. Accepting Ivan's comfort levels. Yes. That's a good thing.

And weirdly maybe Ivan does havee something that can help as he throws out his own question back at her. "I guess... I mean, I'm not sure I would say my 'whole' identity but it's important to me that I help her. Since she's asking me, you know? Since she's family and all? I mean I'm sure you get it. You've got a sister too and all." That might be a real reason as to why she's asking Ivan but she only brought it up in this kind of belated way so it's still okay hopefully!

Lydia picks Schrodinger off her head (they weren't there a moment ago but this is Schrodinger. They just sort of appear when Lydia really needs a cat). She sets the cat on the ground and--

--and picks Schroidnger back up. She is having second thoughts of testing the pattern with Schrodinger as bait in front of the boy she liks. It might make her seem like someone who is bad maybe?

So instead she just runs forward with Schrodinger on her head, the cat's paws sometimes drooping down over her eyes which probably shouldn't help as much as it does. If you can't see the trouble coming it's that much easier to move with gusto!

DG: Lydia Seren has used her Tool Schrodinger the Cat toward her party's challenge, Lightning Maze.
==============================<* Thunder Plains *>==============================
========================<* CHALLENGE - Lightning Maze *>========================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 The gap between functional lightning towers can be considerable in places.    
 Take the situation ahead -- it's a long way between where you walk now and    
 where safer ground awaits ahead.                                              
                                                                               
 Worse, the lightning is striking the ground ahead quite frequently. However,  
 all is not lost -- the strikes are regular and appear to be following a       
 particular pattern. If you could tease out the shape of this storm's path,    
 it should be possible to work out a safe crossing without even the need to    
 race the storm.                                                               
=Dungeon Conditions: Reckless, Overzealous====================================
=========================<* Thunder Plains - Round 4 *>=========================
==========================< Results - Lightning Maze >==========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lydia Seren                         20 --(5)--> 25                 Pass
Schrodinger the Cat                 2   Wits    Effects: Enlighten            
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ivan                                10 --(15)--> 25                Fail
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC                
-----------------------------------< Party >------------------------------------
Leader: Lydia Seren                 60 --(20)--> 80                Pass
Conditions: Hesitate(1)|Injure(1)|Overwhelm|Overzealous(2)|Reckless(2)
Effects: Enlighten(1)
===============================< Dream Chasers >================================
DG: The party led by Lydia Seren 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> Ivan has posed.

"If somebody else helped Talia with something I really wanted to help her with but couldn't..." the sentence trails off with a dull look of horror crossing his face as he realizes how prominently that exact problem is looming over his entire life right now.

"I guess I'd resent everyone involved and act really weird and angry about it and make her cry. But I'm a bad person! You seem like you're a pretty good person, so you can just do the opposite of what I'd do."

On that encouraging note, they dare to traverse the stormy clearing. Fate or the inherent instinct of cats to distract her at the right times seems to guide Lydia's meandering steps, as none take her into the path of an errant lightning bolt. Ivan, also kind of self conscious about looking like an asshole (or more of one than he does already), doesn't want to seem like he's using her to sweep mines for him, so he takes an arbitrarily different route through the field and totally gets struck by lightning. Ow, ow, ow. Maybe there is some lesson to draw from these experiences... but he doesn't know what it is!!

He shuffles after her, smoking again, but seemingly not catastrophically injured or anything.

DG: Lydia Seren 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> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia might be not entirely self aware at times but when Ivan explains how he'd react, Lydia can very definitely see herself also resenting everyone involved and acting really weird and angry about it and making them cry. Heck, didn't she do that with Rebecca? It wasn't EXACTLY the same sort of situation, like her goal wasn't to go help them but it was sort of a similar feeling and a similar effect.

"But I do do that stuff." Lydia protests. "And I mean ok it isn't exactly fair and I should just be happy for them, it's like not about me I get these things but uh--"

She trails off since knowing the facts of the matter and not feeling shit about it are two entirely different things.

"I'm sure she'd be happy with my best effort but what if I'm not happy with my best effort, I guess? Gahh I don't know--"

Perhaps the lesson is to not worry about appearances when there's nobody around who would see it (thanks to cat's paws).

Or maybe the lesson is don't go for a journey through a field of constantly striking lightning. There are a lot of lessons that can be drawn from the Thunder Plains that is why it's ok to give it a shot twice. Maybe even thrice!

"Oh you got hit--" Lydia says before looking out into the distance. "Aw woops. We found Macalania. Well, maybe we'll see something on the last stretch."

She looks towards Ivan and says, "I'm gonna run it. If you gotta feel free to whip in my direction and I'll give a quick tug to get out of a danger zone or something." Is that enough to keep all the various prides present uninjured? Well it will have to do because she adds, "I brought along some of Jay's ointments once we get past this!"

She starts a-skating.

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

"Are you sure you do that...?" Ivan can't picture Lydia getting angrily jealous. But maybe he doesn't know her very well -- they've been getting to know one another mostly either against his will or, more recently, by his own initiative, but via very specific legal loopholes, so it wouldn't be surprising to him if it's going slower or not actually going at all compared to an actual friendship. It's only a treasure hunting partnership, after all. ...Associateship.

Lydia suggests a plan, and offers some sort of healing salve in the event that the plan ends in more lightning strikes.

"I don't think I'm allowed to use those..." he says, but then she's off.

Ivan still doesn't know what technique he needs to use to fight nature and win, so he decides to literally try to outrun lightning, racing into the field and trying to somehow anticipate and dodge the bolts. He'll try the whip thing, too, if it happens that either him or Lydia could be spared a zapping from being yanked closer to the other. But who's got that kind of reaction time??? Maybe he does, if he puts his mind to it! Who knows!

DG: Ivan has used his Tool Whip toward his 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 5 *>========================
========================< Results - Lightning Dancer >========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lydia Seren                         25 --(5)--> 30                 Pass
Radical Skates                      3   Agility Effects: Fanfare              
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ivan                                25 --(5)--> 30                 Pass
Whip                                2   Agility Effects: Quicken              
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Lydia Seren                 80 --(35)--> 115               Pass
Conditions: Bad Luck(2)|Overwhelm|Overzealous(1)|Reckless(1)|Slow(2)
Effects: Quicken(1)
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: You have overcome the dungeon's trials! This run is a success!
DG: The party led by Lydia Seren has successfully explored Thunder Plains!
=============================<* Thunder Plains *>=============================
======================<* CHALLENGE - Water's Blessing *>======================
|Type: Discovery   |Dungeon Ability: Conclusion|Challenge Rating: 1          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 All that's left of the storm is the rain, battering down from above, and      
 even that lessens the close you get to the light peeking through at the edge  
 of the storm. In the distance you can even see the edges of Macalania         
 Forest. Lightning flashes and thunder rolls behind you, but they are of no    
 further concern.                                                              
                                                                               
 What may be more of your concern is the good-sized chest left stranded here   
 by a rock pillar, stamped with the mark of Yevon.                             
                                                                               
 Was it left here purposefully or by accident? It's hard to say. Once opened,  
 it reveals a weapon possessing a minor enchantment of water, a potent force   
 in these lands against beings aligned to lightning.                           
                                                                               
 (OOC: Choice-of-weapon is up to the player with the caveat that it would not  
 be anything considered an ARM.)                                               
=Dungeon Conditions: Treasure=================================================
<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia Seren says, "Well I mean--it feels like I do? Maybe I'm just really self-concious about it all," She admits this almost too readily. The question of whether Ivan will need to take those healing salves is ultimately proven to not be too neccessary since the two of them both manage to avoid getting clobbered by lightning though Lydia does help Ivan att one point by tugging him out of a dire situation--admittedly one he might've been able to get out on his own but she got nervous, okay.

Regardless the storm ends. It's raining but, hey, at least you aren't submerged in it. Lydia doesn't even shiver slightly at first but then she seems to remember she should and starts shaking once she thinks of it.

And there is a chest. A chest stamped with the mark of Yevon!

"Well you probably don't want Yevon to have whatever is in there right? So let's see..." She lifts it up and inside--

--weapons! Water elemental weapons! Lydia seems surprised by this because she hasn't actually seen a WATER elemental weapon before let alone a group of them.

"I wonder who left these here." Lydia says. "But it totally counts as treasure."

She looks to Ivan. "Yeah you're probably right though. I should just... be happy for her and not worry about it. But it still just succcks to think about being unable to help."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

"Maybe your feelings seem meaner on the inside?" Ivan still doesn't know if he's managing his own problems effectively enough to be trying to help Lydia cope with hers.

But they successfully make it through the storm! Ivan honestly seems way more tragic about passing through the rainy part of the storm than the part that could potentially electrocute them. But he is distracted from potentially doing anything about it or complaining about it by Lydia's discovery of... a chest! A treasure chest??

"There really was secret treasure in the Thunder Plains!?"

Water elemental weapons! He examines one with a bit of suspicion.

"It's definitely treasure! Weapons are valuable. I wonder if Talia would want one, though..." He certainly can't use them himself. Or, well, he probably could, but wouldn't it be wrong to clash elements like that?

He looks at her as she continues to ruminate, despite their unlikely success.

"Could you help with a different thing?"

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia is gradually realizing that Ivan is making her feel better about herself by convincing her that mean things she thought she did may not have been all THAT mean because maybe she thought it was worse than what it actuall was which honestly makes a lot of sense even if it's pretty hard for Lydia to admit because she still feels like she was way mean.

Ugh why does he keep doing things that make her like him when he doesn't want to be liked! That's both unfair and sweet and incredibly frustrating!!!

"Yeah there really was!"

She picks up a knife that is like a water blade. Lydia seems suspicious at its cutting power while swinging it around recklessly.

She almost misses Ivan's suggestion. But not quite. She blinks, lowers the weapon and stares ahead for a moment.

Help with a different thing? She was pretty clear she wanted the ears but--

--BUT there are a lot of different elements of what makes up the ears. Even without engineering skill at all there's cosmetics to think about here! A whole character creator of ears is possible!

"Shit. That's a good idea." Lydia admits.

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

"Is it really?" Ivan asks, with a mixture of what seems to be both relief and dismay.

But in the meantime, they are still standing about in the drizzle with their newfound stockpile of watery weaponry. Ivan contemplates how to gather it all up, but in the meantime, as he tries to do this, he is only getting more and more miserably soggy and cold, with rivulets of stupid rain going in his eyes. He seems to come to a decision of some importance, then. Perhaps it is a grim one, because he reaches for the sword at his side -- the real one not hidden in a ring, which he has otherwise never seen occasion to use.

Has the time finally come to give up on all of this silliness and assassinate Lydia?!

He draws the sword out still sheathed like he's going to do some kind of samurai move, and then -- pops it open??

It is an umbrella.

He holds it up and takes a step closer to Lydia, so she can stand under it too if she wants.

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia plays with knife for a bit before returning the weapon to the chest having managed to not cut off her own fingers (it was a close thing though her player considered it but then Ivan's player did a cute so new plan).

FWOOFH.

Lydia's hair fwips a bit from the displaced air caused by an umbrella oopening up. She looks towards Ivan.

She looks towards Ivan's umbrella.

She is about to say 'you have an umbrella?? You've had one all along??' but then Ivan steps closer and it doesn't seem like he's going to do that cool thing where you murder someone WITH the umbrella and then the umbrella part keeps the blood off and it's all really stylish.

Wait----is this...the legendary....What do they call it anyway? Umbrellacute? Is this it??

Lydia has never done an umbrellacute before!

Wait Ivan did not quite put the umbrella over her it's kind of halfway...Oh! Right.

Lydia is afflicted with paralysis! But through great concerted effort she is able to...

...inch a little closer too. Does she make it? Did she make it under the umbrella?? Her face cannot move from side to side or look up right now, instead frozen staring ahead completely silverfaced.

Yeah she has totally forgotten about the weapons. What weapons?