2019-11-03: Fila Dibs Fia

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  • Log: 2019-11-03: Fila Dibs Fia
  • Cast: Jacqueline Barber, Talise Gianfair, Kaguya, Ivan, Seraph Lanval, Seraph Ragnell, Josephine Lovelace
  • Where: Fila del Fia
  • Date: November 02, 2019
  • Summary: A dangerous site in the center of a crater at Damzena Desert calls for some of the greatest Drifters to walk the land in the modern day to take the risk to look into something that does not want to be seen, loathes being visited, and prohibits anything being taken... if anyone is left to stop them from doing it. An uneasy truce between otherwise incompatible worldviews and allegiances is bound together only by the sheer curiosity and pluck of the gathered, ready to be shattered the moment a secret rears its ugly (...shiny?) head. If only they agreed on dibs...

Local legend has it that the ruin at the center of a great crater in the Damzena Desert is the result of a flying city that fell from the sky a long, long time ago. Whatever the truth, the ruins, called Fila del Fia, are known to attract many Drifters...

...though few challenge its depths and return alive. Within the walls, the ruin crawls with twisted beings -- and there are those who say that the walls of the ruin themselves are not merely ancient inert metal. Whatever the case, Fila del Fia keeps its mysteries and keeps them well.

BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyalHwMVeyg
DG: A party led by Jacqueline Barber is now entering Fila del Fia.
DG: Party formation is now over. An Entry Challenge will now be drawn and displayed to the party.
==============================<* Fila del Fia *>==============================
========================<* CHALLENGE - Mind The Gap *>========================
|Type: Entry       |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 3          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 There are stories about Fila del Fia. The majority of them circulate thus:    
 it was a city that fell from the sky. The site where it fell in the Damzena   
 desert is filled with dangerous creatures. And no one has ever ventured       
 inside and come out to tell about it. But there's a first time for            
 everything.                                                                   
                                                                               
 Just inside the entrance, though, you meet with a massive problem. A          
 massive, deep problem.                                                        
                                                                               
 It's a gap, right in the middle of the floor, a big ragged wound in the       
 depths of Fila del Fia. You cannot see the bottom. Even a stone pitched into  
 its depths fails to report a sound for /some/ time.                           
                                                                               
 Under the circumstances, it may be best to find a way to circumvent the gap.  
 ...Which oddly seems to be growing wider by the moment. Haste in your         
 crossing may be ideal.                                                        
                                                                               
 BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyalHwMVeyg                              
=Dungeon Conditions: Cripple, Reckless========================================
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

There are many rumors about Fila del Fia. Many of them go the same way - it was a city that fell from the sky into the Damzena Desert, and the site is filled with dangerous creatures. Not only that, as far as anyone is aware, no one has ever ventured into it and emerged alive.

But, despite this danger, Jacqueline has reason to visit. There were too many things she didn't know anything about. And an ancient fallen city might have some information that might shed some light on things.

And so, Jacqueline has put out a request for help.

They all meet up at the top of a dune, over which they can see the ruin itself. It's ominous - imposing, even.

Similarly ominous and imposing are two of the party members accompanying them. Jacqueline was just a little hesitant at first...but, considering all the rumors she's heard about this place, she really can't turn down some good help.

Jacqueline takes a moment to observe the ruin with a pair of binoculars, perched atop her chocobo for better height.

"...It looks like they aren't going to make this easy for us. We'll have to be careful on our way in." Jacqueline says. With that said, she dismounts from the chocobo and gives the bird a brief hug and a pat on the beak. "Thanks for the help, Remedy. I'll take it the rest of the way."

With a 'kweh' the bird turns to leave, presumably returning to the Carakin, while Jacqueline descends the dune carefully, approaching Fila del Fia itself.

The meaning of her words becomes obvious the moment they draw close. It's like a great yawning chasm has been torn upon in the floor of Fila del Fia. It's deep, and dark - there's no telling if you'd even survive if you were to fall. But if they want to even get to the interior proper, they'll have to find a way across.

"If you want to turn back now... now's the best time to do it." Jacqueline says. But, she doesn't seem about to do so herself. She draws a potion from within her belongings and takes a swig - a tonic to help deal with the fatigue brought on from desert travel. Similar potions will soon be passed out to the others, as well.

And then, with a gesture of her left hand, Jacqueline conjures a pillar of earth from the wall and leaps to it. She takes a second to catch her breath before doing it again.

If anyone wants to follow her, the earth pillars might make a convenient trail. But...the observant might notice that the pit in the floor almost seems to be getting wider - and more demanding to cross.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has used her Tool Rapid Remedy toward her party's challenge, Mind The Gap.
<Pose Tracker> Talise Gianfair has posed.

"A city that fell from the sky, huh. I wonder if it's got any connection to Lydie's pals," Talise murmurs, her mail-lined longcoat jingling with each step as she looks through the entrance into the ruined site.

With more than a few of her friends engaged today, the swordswoman tagged along with Jacqueline. The alchemist is a friend in her own right, both reliable and kind. Talise eases behind her, peering through the opening and narrowing her eyes slightly at the sight of the gap. "I can tell this place is really happy to see us," she quips.

She shakes her head at Jay's offer to turn back, smiling roughly. "Not on your life," she says as she takes the offered potion, taking a swig of it.

The earth rises forth. Talise eyes it for a moment, then measures the distance across the gap. "Honestly, might as well be swinging on the fuggin' ropes," she mutters before shrugging her coat off. She wore a close-fitted vest under it along with shorts, high boots and reinforced gloves. Slinging her sword over her shoulder, she balls the coat up, then throws it across the gap to the other side.

It sails through the air like a heavy object. When it lands, it's with a thump and a jingle.

Without the encrumbance of the coat, Talise limbers up a little, then breaks into a sprint. She leaps, lunging across the gap as she attempts to land on the pillar and lunge off. It's a picture-perfect leap that ought to cover about as much distance as the gap does--

"Hey, did it get bigger," she asks in midair.

DG: Talise Gianfair has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Mind The Gap.
<Pose Tracker> Kaguya has posed.

A floating city, fallen long ago? Sounds exactly like the kind of place Kaguya should start looking for information. No one has ventured in and returned alive... But, frankly, the small Veruni is fine with that, because she regularly is the thing that people encounter without returning from alive, or has been in the past, and she's pretty confident in herself!

...She's trying to put the 'not returning alive' down to a minimum until it's necessary to raise the rate again, at least.

"Man, that bird is adorable," Kaguya is forced to concede about Jay's Chocobo. "Even if she smells terrible she's so cute!" And, as it turns out, Kaguya doesn't care all that much about smells, because she's wearing a facemask that covers nose and mouth and much of her thin jawline, against the nice, fresh outside air of Filgaia. Also a dress shirt, brown slacks, and a green overgarment that vaguely resembles an uneven poncho, partly for protection and partly for style.

She peers down as Jay mentions it, and then as they get close...

"Hmmmm," she says. "Yeah, that's better than just jumping..."

A beat, "Anyway, thanks Ivan. I appreciate you mentioning this little trip to me." She grins to the others. "Don't worry, I'll be nice. I'm here to learn--no wars involved. Maybe fewer wars if I learn the right things, who knows?"

Taking the tonic, Kaguya downs it, vaguely nostalgic at drinking another of Jay's potions. And then to Talise, "Ha! I like this one. Doesn't seem to understand danger." Also, is huge, like her people.

She then pulls a compound of her own, with a fresh syringe, and looks to the pillars. "Hmmm... Sec." Kaguya moves over to the side, where she's harder to spot, and does something that's hard to see behind herself, peering around to stare at her hip and--jab. Depress. "Hwoof," she says, breathing in through her strange mask, and pops the used syringe in her biohazard box before steadying herself--and running to leap to the next pillar.

"That's unusual. I wonder how it does that? Oh hold up, let me..." She pulls a little object before the next jump, is--

Is she recording this???

DG: Kaguya has used her Tool Formula AM-22X toward her party's challenge, Mind The Gap.
<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ivan's been a bit off the past few days. 'Wobbly' would be the best word for it, though not pervasively so. Mostly it's a thing when he lets his guard down, which he tries to do as little as possible anyway, as a rule.

At any rate, he doesn't intend to allow a slightly increased challenge in inhabiting his body at the moment to prevent him from exploring ruins, particularly ruins that might have a chance of being connected to Solaris in some way, if earlier speculation pans out.

Ivan may or may not be partially responsible for Kaguya and Ragnell coming along. But at any rate, he's never found them untrustworthy, at least not in terms of small scale personal interest things like this. He still doesn't know why Ragnell tried to destroy the world, though. That might be more worrisome now that he's on the one she tried to destroy.

As they arrive, Jacqueline Barber scopes the place out... and gives them all a chance to back out. She also hands out a few potions, which Ivan accepts readily, needing any edge he can get. But he seems almost guilty about drinking it.

"Having a horrible abyss on the way in just means we're more likely to find something interesting inside," Ivan replies, though he seems warier than usual about the challenge, even with Jacqueline's offered path of pillars across. He spends a while judging and re-judging his trajectory -- and the shifts required as the gaps grow, making that an even more daunting undertaking -- before leaping, keeping his whip handy in case he needs to save himself after a slip.

DG: Ivan has used his Tool Whip toward his party's challenge, Mind The Gap.
===================================================<* Fila del Fia *>===================================================
=============================================<* CHALLENGE - Mind The Gap *>=============================================
|Type: Entry       |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 3          | 
-----------------------------------------------< Challenge Information: >-----------------------------------------------
 There are stories about Fila del Fia. The majority of them circulate thus:    
 it was a city that fell from the sky. The site where it fell in the Damzena   
 desert is filled with dangerous creatures. And no one has ever ventured       
 inside and come out to tell about it. But there's a first time for            
 everything.                                                                   
                                                                               
 Just inside the entrance, though, you meet with a massive problem. A          
 massive, deep problem.                                                        
                                                                               
 It's a gap, right in the middle of the floor, a big ragged wound in the       
 depths of Fila del Fia. You cannot see the bottom. Even a stone pitched into  
 its depths fails to report a sound for /some/ time.                           
                                                                               
 Under the circumstances, it may be best to find a way to circumvent the gap.  
 ...Which oddly seems to be growing wider by the moment. Haste in your         
 crossing may be ideal.                                                        
                                                                               
 BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyalHwMVeyg                              
=Dungeon Conditions: Cripple, Reckless========================================
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Lanval has posed.

    Lanval wasn't paying much attention. He just knows 'call to adventure' and 'Jacqueline Barber.' His time tends to be occupied with things that have superficial resemblances to what he normally would do (seemingly lounge around and rest) but almost certainly involves important Oracle things... but a call to adventure usually means Talise or anyone else in Fox Company is up for some extra coin. Their well-being is of even greater importance now, for reasons already well-documented.
     Now, the other reason that was talked about - Jacqueline Barber.
     "Mmmm... heyyy, tell ya what~" Lanval has a stupid smile on his face. "I can't turn back, 'caushe if I do... I ain't gonna have a ship of ya-know-what! Ha ha ha!!" The 'you know what' is the Rapid Remedy. "Ahh, don't mind if I do~" Glug, glug, glug - that's not really supposed to be chugged, is it? It's not even supposed to be treated like a recreational drink!! (don't be like Lanval on this one)
     Other presences arrive, and Lanval's eyes open half-way and make a sideglance just as Talise is starting to make her leap and Jay her crossing as he sizes up the tiny Veruni with a silence. A disapproving silence.
     Lanval is lagging behind on jumping. There's a reason why, turns out - bubbles blow out from the 'safe' side, courtesy of a 'smoke' break. (It is more of a 'bubble' break.)
     Bubbles that fly out to help catch those making the leaps, because their safety means that much. Bubbles...
     ...that for some reason, either flit out of reach of, or mysteriously pop for the known enemies of Filgaia, because it is the little things like that which serve as a reminder that even for his oft-benevolent nature and simple-minded acceptance of small joys and pleasures, he is still some sort of otherworldly fey elemental spirit capable of those moments of mischief and capriciousness.

DG: Seraph Lanval has used his Tool Bubble Pipe toward his party's challenge, Mind The Gap.
===================================================<* Fila del Fia *>===================================================
=============================================<* CHALLENGE - Mind The Gap *>=============================================
|Type: Entry       |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 3          | 
-----------------------------------------------< Challenge Information: >-----------------------------------------------
 There are stories about Fila del Fia. The majority of them circulate thus:    
 it was a city that fell from the sky. The site where it fell in the Damzena   
 desert is filled with dangerous creatures. And no one has ever ventured       
 inside and come out to tell about it. But there's a first time for            
 everything.                                                                   
                                                                               
 Just inside the entrance, though, you meet with a massive problem. A          
 massive, deep problem.                                                        
                                                                               
 It's a gap, right in the middle of the floor, a big ragged wound in the       
 depths of Fila del Fia. You cannot see the bottom. Even a stone pitched into  
 its depths fails to report a sound for /some/ time.                           
                                                                               
 Under the circumstances, it may be best to find a way to circumvent the gap.  
 ...Which oddly seems to be growing wider by the moment. Haste in your         
 crossing may be ideal.                                                        
                                                                               
 BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyalHwMVeyg                              
=Dungeon Conditions: Cripple, Reckless========================================
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Ragnell has posed.

    Ragnell's dubious about this 'no one's ever gone there and returned alive!' business. Just because you never see someone again doesn't mean they died. On the other hand, places with reputations for danger tend to deserve those reputations, so it doesn't hurt to be a bit cautious.
    
    Not that she'll be letting on about that.
    
    "Yeah, thanks for the invite, Ivan," she chimes after Kaguya, giving Ivan a friendly little pound on the back. It's even actually friendly, not 'friendly,' like a smack just shy of knocking him over. Granted, with this group, that might make Ivan look even worse. She observes the growing abyss with interest. "Looks like somethin' doesn't want us comin' in. Too bad we're not houseguests, we're invaders!"
    
    She says this with perhaps a bit *too* much cheer. It's slightly undercut when she glances Talise's way at the mention of Lydie's "friends." She'd wondered that, too.
    
    As for why she tried to destroy Filgaia--people can ask, but that doesn't mean she'll answer. Especially since Lanval's here, and mutual snubbing is probably the best either can hope for.
    
    Either way, she vanishes in a sizzle of lightning to appear on the other side. ...Hopefully. Short-range teleportation is dead useful, but a moving abyss can be hard to judge.

DG: Seraph Ragnell has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Mind The Gap.
<Pose Tracker> Josephine Lovelace has posed.

    Josie has heard of Fila del Fia before, of course. Almost all archaeologists across Filgaia have at least heard about it. Hell, there have even been a number of papers written about it--

    ...all on what can be gleaned from the outside, or at best, somewhat within. The thing about Fila del Fia is that it's at best poorly explored.

    At worst, those who go in never come out again.

    Both categories exclude most archaeologists.

    On the other hand, archaeologists-turned-drifters...

    Josephine Lovelace sets down the oversized ARM in the lee of the nearby crest, the lights dying as it powers down. She'd seen another one of those things from a distance. Even outside the place, the ruin environs are crawling with powerful monsters.

    "This should do it," she remarks, before shading her eyes and sighting the gap that sprawls before it. "It'll take ages before this thing'll be running proper again, so I'm not going to lug it about. Might as well leave it where it'll get some sun, eh?" She flashes a grin Jay's way. "I tell you, getting all the sand out of it was the work of a devil and a half..."

    She squats, briefly, picking up a stone in her left hand and tossing it, as if to test its weight.

    Then she hurls it into the abyss.

    There is no sound for some time.

    "...Don't fall in, that's for sure," Josie remarks, punctuating the comment with a low whistle, before glancing at the others. Quite the motley they have here.

    Lanval, she's sure she's crossed paths with once or twice. Same with Talise. Jay of course she knows. Ragnell she had a few words with not that long ago. And Kaguya...

    Well, once she tried to shoot Kaguya. And not that long after, bought flowers from her.

    "Anyway. No time like the present-- oh, thanks, Jay."

    She has received one (1) tonic. Which she then downs.

    Other people might have their own methods of crossing. Josie only has herself. And so she follows Jay's lead, crossing the stone spires the woman has raised.

    Who knows? Maybe she'll get really lucky, in a place like this.
    Maybe she'll find what she's really looking for.

DG: Josephine Lovelace has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Mind The Gap.
==============================<* Fila del Fia *>==============================
========================<* CHALLENGE - Mind The Gap *>========================
|Type: Entry       |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 3          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 There are stories about Fila del Fia. The majority of them circulate thus:    
 it was a city that fell from the sky. The site where it fell in the Damzena   
 desert is filled with dangerous creatures. And no one has ever ventured       
 inside and come out to tell about it. But there's a first time for            
 everything.                                                                   
                                                                               
 Just inside the entrance, though, you meet with a massive problem. A          
 massive, deep problem.                                                        
                                                                               
 It's a gap, right in the middle of the floor, a big ragged wound in the       
 depths of Fila del Fia. You cannot see the bottom. Even a stone pitched into  
 its depths fails to report a sound for /some/ time.                           
                                                                               
 Under the circumstances, it may be best to find a way to circumvent the gap.  
 ...Which oddly seems to be growing wider by the moment. Haste in your         
 crossing may be ideal.                                                        
                                                                               
 BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyalHwMVeyg                              
=Dungeon Conditions: Cripple, Reckless========================================
=========================<* Fila del Fia - Round 1 *>=========================
==========================< Results - Mind The Gap >==========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Barber                   0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Rapid Remedy                        1   Agility Effects: Cleanse              
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Talise Gianfair                     0 --(0)--> 0                   Fail
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Seraph Lanval                       0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Bubble Pipe                         3   Agility Effects: Rally                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Josephine Lovelace                  0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ivan                                0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Whip                                2   Agility Effects: Quicken              
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Kaguya                              0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Formula AM-22X                      2   Agility Effects: Stalwart             
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Seraph Ragnell                      0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC                
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Jacqueline Barber           0 --(20)--> 20                 Pass
Conditions: Cripple|Reckless(2)
Effects: Cleanse|Quicken(1)
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: The party led by Jacqueline Barber 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> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

"You get used to it after a while." Jacqueline admits to Kaguya, in regard to the trademark scent of the chocobo. "The cuteness more than makes up for it."

The facemask doesn't go unnoticed, but she doesn't comment on it - they are on Filgaia, after all. She can imagine what it must be for.

Talise mentions Lydia's 'friends', and Jacqueline sends a quiet nod her way.

"I don't know. That's part of what got me interested." Jacqueline replies to Talise. Supposedly, they came from the sky - so maybe a city that allegedly fell from the sky would have some answers on how to find it? She nods grimly, then, as Talise remarks on how the place doesn't appear fond of them - but smiles, as she accepts the potion. The others get smiles too.

And with that, they all get to crossing, in their own ways - but the ruin doesn't seem to want to make it easy. Sometimes, it's almost like the wall shifts the earth pillars just enough that one might almost miss the landing. For Ragnell, it's attempt is a bit more blatant - as she starts to reform from her teleportation the ground starts to shift beneath her, but it isn't fast enough to drop her into the abyss below.

It does, however, manage to push one of the earth pillars out of Talise's reach - but, thankfully, Lanval is there to catch her with one of those bubbles, spiriting her safely to the other side.

Soon enough, everyone's across safely. Jacqueline's looking just a little tuckered out from all the casting, but it's not enough to stop her.

"If this is any indication of what we can expect to run into ahead, we'll want to make sure we're on our guard..." Jacqueline warns with a frown.

DG: Kaguya has drawn a new Challenge.
===============================<* Fila del Fia *>===============================
=======================<* CHALLENGE - A Foe Most Foul *>========================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 3          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 A low growling alerts you to trouble as you traverse the darkened corridors   
 of Fila del Fia. It's been rumored that strange, twisted creatures call the   
 ruined city home -- but still, perhaps you didn't expect /this/.              
                                                                               
 You can't entirely tell if they're functionally alive or not. They look like  
 they have been merged with pieces of scrap metal, pieces perhaps from this    
 very ruin, flesh and metal joined so well that you have difficulty telling    
 where machine parts stop and flesh begins.                                    
                                                                               
 On the side of a piece of metalflesh from one creature you can just barely    
 make out the block capitals 'HILA'. Maybe you could salvage it, if you        
 chose.                                                                        
                                                                               
 The growling breaks into a snarl and with a rush and a patter-clank of legs   
 along the floor, they are for you. Time to defend yourselves.                 
=Dungeon Conditions: Fright, Vault============================================
<Pose Tracker> Kaguya has posed.

'We're not houseguests, we're invaders!' "HA," Kaguya says to that. "Man, ain't that the half of it. Watch out, spooky ghosts, alien coming through!" She tilts her gaze, though, to curiously watch Lanval. As a troublemaking goblin, Kaguya is well used to disapproval. She can tell it's there--the problem is...

...She doesn't actually know why, so she just lifts her eyebrow. "What?" she asks. "The drunk dude has a problem with a gas mask?"

But soon she's distracted. She's entirely distracted by the big cool ARM there, which she stares at for a few moments. ".......Nice," she comments to Josie about her weapon, having seemingly forgotten about or already forgiven the matter of trying to shoot her. "That's real, real cool. Can I look at it later? I don't see a lot of Filgaian guns that are this big."

But down, down, down they go--and Kaguya still apprecaites the cuteness of a chocobo. Once they're all at the bottom, she looks around. "Hokay. Nobody missing, and nobody dying of horrible fall injuries. We're good!"

She leads the group forward, apparently willing to take point despite her small size on account of just assuming that she's the most durable person here. They travel through blankened hallways here and there, but through the dark corridors they abrubtly hear a low growling--

And the creatures rumored show themselves. Kaguya blinks, and a dangeorus look in her eyes follows her gaze towards them--but then she blinks. ".../Yikes/," she says, looking at the flesh/machine amalgamations before them with some disgust. "...Wait... There's something useful in there--"

Ah. There they are. They rush forward. Kaguya moves into action, dodging the first swipe--but these are dangerous to her as well as to the others.

She pulls a handful of Lightning Marbles from her Spiran stock suddenly, hurling them into the mass and setting off a cascade of lightning strikes as she takes the opportunity to pull her weapon. "If you think you're gonna die, get behind her!" She points at Talise, who seems quite tanky to her, and pulls her ARM.

DG: Kaguya has used her Tool Extravagant Inventory Overuse toward her party's challenge, A Foe Most Foul.
<Pose Tracker> Talise Gianfair has posed.

Talise, at least, hasn't been frosty to Kaguya. Indeed, she throws a smirk her way before she jumps.

She's been rather less cheery about Ragnell being along. She hasn't had much to say to her.

Fortunately, Lanval's got her back on this one. As the bubble catches her and deposits her safely on the far side, she offers the rain seraph a grateful smile, then retrieves her coat and shrugs back into it. "At least this time it wasn't a rope," she grunts as she makes her move after Kaguya.

The girl may be tiny, but she carries herself with authority - something Talise appreciates. She's less appreciative at the sound of a growl.

When the creatures emerge, the swordswoman sets her shoulders and clicks her teeth together, unsure whether these abominations are living or dead. A thought quickly occurs to her: It doesn't matter, because they're huge and about to kill them.

"Something useful?" she echoes Kaguya, but doesn't stop to ask much more before taking a couple of steps forward, seemingly recognizing what her role in these sorts of fights is. "Alright, bring it!" she shouts before sweeping her sword out.

The burst of magic that erupts from the blade isn't green anymore. It's a dragon's head of blue flame, roaring into the enemy ranks explosively. Talise follows with a series of quick slashes, delivering a few lightning blows, then a couple of heavy, tearing ones.

DG: Talise Gianfair has used her Tool Dragon Courage toward her party's challenge, A Foe Most Foul.
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Lanval has posed.

    Lanval drifts along after the rest. He watches Ragnell's movements with that same Look(tm). The idle giggling and lounging about - trademarks of the Water Seraph among them - has come to an abrupt halt. The most benign possible explanation is that he understands the weight of danger they are in by daring to challenge this locale.
     "...Mmm. I hear a low growlin'," he says, "jusht down the dark--" Kaguya takes point and interrupts his thoughts with a brisk pace. A part of him wonders if there was some natural order that just got disturbed but he can't put a finger on it. That's probably the least worrisome thing to hang oneself on right now.
     'If you think you're gonna die, get behind her!' Kaguya points to Talise. Lanval stands a bit more upright than he usually manages, taking more purposeful, anatomically correct-looking steps rather than the random stumbling about or another he often does as he stands by Talise's side with his eyes partially open to that glean of aquamarine underneath. He clutches the drinking gourd in both arms a bit closer to himself as those Lightning Marbles discharge.
     "Behind you, huh," Lanval says as he stands by the side of Talise's off-hand. He follows into the fray, helping to push outward - the drinking gourd is loosed at last. Though it looks small to the naked (...and Resonant) eye, it carries a tremendous weight that makes it equivalent to a crushing mace... but more importantly.
     Somewhere in this combination, he takes a hold of a shining white bottle and sweeps it outward, its sanctified waters attempting to create a buffer zone to slow and hold back the advance of the frightening metal-and-flesh mish-mashes any time Talise is winding down from a more committed swing.

DG: Seraph Lanval has used his Tool Holy Bottle toward his party's challenge, A Foe Most Foul.
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Ragnell has posed.

    That was a close one--but not today, abyss, not today. Once she materializes on the other side, Ragnell dances along the crumbling ground, ultimately backstepping to safety with a smug little "ha!" She tips her hat up, poncho sweeping in the dusty breeze, and kindly, patiently waits for everyone to make it across.
    
    "Relaaax, Jay," Ragnell drawls at her warning. "The worst that could happen is we all die!"
    
    She's not actually espousing letting down their guard. Ragnell's just being Ragnell.
    
    As the group advances, she smirks at Kaguya. "Right? Ain't no poltergeist scarier'n *me*!" A pause when Kaguya wonders aloud what Lanval's problem is, though. A look from one to the other; then she pops a fist into a palm. He's Looking at *her* the same way, which means-- "Ohhh, I get it. He's probably mad 'cuz o' your whole *thing* with the Guardians. He's workin' for them now. Specifically, Schturdark." Ragnell is *happy* to share information as long as it's not information she wants to keep hidden.
    
    In any case, as the group reaches deeper into the ruined city, bio-metallic growls reverberate. Ragnell's hands rest over her pistols as her gaze sharpens, searching for the source. When she finds it, her eyebrows rise. Yikes indeed. But there's some kind of lettering along the side, where the metal is-- "Let's see if we can't pry that somethin' useful off, then," she remarks, backstepping and opening fire on the creatures with her own lightning bullets.
    
    Kaguya's suggestion that they use Talise for a meat shield gets a bark of a laugh out of her, though, just before she grabs a magic grenade and throws it towards the center of the monsters to explode with electricity. She's noticed Talise has had little to say to her, and that bothers her not at all.

DG: Seraph Ragnell has used her Tool Lightning Grenade toward her party's challenge, A Foe Most Foul.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

"That's what I'm worried about..." Jacqueline replies to Ragnell with a sigh.

It isn't long before the party is assaulted a bit more directly. They look like corpses with mechanical bits embedded into them. It's...a little disturbing, to be honest - Jacqueline recoils back in horror, but it doesn't prevent her from joining the fray. She reaches into a bag, drawing out a certain book.

"These are... well, I'm not entirely sure what to call them. Regardless of that... If I were to guess, I'd say they're probably being animated by whatever is manipulating this facility." Jacqueline explains. "Unfortunately, that means they're probably not going to be deterred simply by pain - fight hard, and try not to let them overwhelm you!"

There's a lot of them. They might need a little help in dealing with the group. From within her belongings, Jacqueline draws out her newest acquired Medium - an Artifical Copy Mountain Medium.

She calls upon it's power and suddenly a hexagon of light sears itself into the ground around a group of the creatures. Their advance is immediately halted - while attacks can get through just fine, nothing can enter or leave until the spell wears off.

That should lessen the numbers a little bit - they can deal with those once they've dealt with the rest.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has used her Tool The Lifeweaver's Codex toward her party's challenge, A Foe Most Foul.
<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Okay, yeah, Ivan invited some villains. It will be fine probably. As Kaguya and Ragnell thank him for letting them come along (and he gets a relatively non-aggressive thump on the back from Ragnell) he shrugs and gives an awkward wave of his hands, dimly aware that there might be some tension in the group about these new allies.

"Ah, you know, I was trying to think of who I knew that was good with really dangerous situations..."

They make it across the chasm without losing anyone, though Ivan certainly saw his life flash before his eyes a few times as he waited to find out whether each pillar was actually beneath his feet or just seemed to be, and whether his landings would even hold.

But they regroup and begin heading down a corridor of the city ruins. As they travel along behind Kaguya, a group of monstrous, half-machina creatures besets them.

"Don't volunteer Talise to take all the hits, Kaguya!" Ivan calls out, as he sends a trio of rocky-cored fireballs crashing in ahead of him toward the monsters before rushing into the fray. He calls a short sword into his hand and weaves amongst the creatures with the blade flashing -- although his balance isn't what he should be, his footwork is fine for the time being. The trick is just pretending that the ground is moving for real.

"Is the lettering important?" Ivan calls out. He's not sure where to start with these mysteries most of the time. Kaguya, why did you ask him to help you investigate things...

DG: Ivan has used his Tool Memory toward his party's challenge, A Foe Most Foul.
<Pose Tracker> Josephine Lovelace has posed.

    Josie glances from Kaguya to Lanval and back again, and considers, by and by, a thing or two. "Hmmm."

    Though perhaps leave it to Ragnell to drag the fact of the matter out and kicking into the light. "Oh, so you're a... huh," Josie remarks, tilting her head to one side. "I seeeee."

    To Kaguya then, as she remarks on the ARM: "Sure enough, as long as I'm there to watch you. That baby's my pride and joy, you know, and I'll be a monkey's uncle if I'm gonna let you walk on off with it." She smiles then, broadly. Crookedly. "Listen, kiddo. If I were in your shoes, I know what I'd do. So don't take it personal or none. But if you want to take a look... maybe later, yeah?"

    After all, there's a big old ruin ahead of them.

    She makes it over -- even as the gap widens -- without too much difficulty. Though there is a dicey moment there, right at the end, her bootheel missing the edge before she rights herself and heads onwards into the depths. "Whew. Guess we've got an idea of why no one comes back usually, eh?"

    click click click-a click

    click click click

    click-a

    ...The source of the sounds soon makes itself known.

    "Well that's... a right mess," Josie remarks, grimacing at the sight of them. "What is that, d'ya think? A monster, or...?"

    She sighs.

    "I ain't had nearly enough for this today," she remarks, then fishes in her pocket for a flask. Unscrewing the top, she downs some of the contents.

    "...Better. Right--!"

    And draws from where it's slung across her shoulders her old friend, the Gawain-series rifle.

    Feels like it's been a while. Spira being Spira meant she'd tucked the long gun away, but now, back in Filgaia--

    "Let's see what you're made of!" she shouts, before pulling the trigger.

DG: Josephine Lovelace has used her Tool Liquid Courage toward her party's challenge, A Foe Most Foul.
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Lanval has posed.

    Lanval's movements are much like his namesake. He does not move with quite the 'zip' that Ragnell can. Though he appears to the Resonant as a fat, bearded, middle-aged drunk with no shoes on but strangely well-maintained robes, he moves with a smoothness and grace like the water itself moving. Crashing, ebbing, flowing, and... getting everything wet.
     "She'sh right, ya know," aww, look, Lanval can concede a fact from who is presently a sworn enemy without grousing or pouting about it, saying that in a moment where he can make half-open eye contact with Kaguya. "'n I'd shure appreciate it if ya don't try 'n volunteer Talise ta take any undue harm." He's slurring, but there's a firmness to that voice of his that belies that nature. There's a quality in the air that shouldn't be, in this wretched rust-and-blood environ. It's... water. Water, in all its forms, both clean and spoiled, great and terrible, as he whirls about once more for another covering spray of water to cover Talise's flank.

===============================<* Fila del Fia *>===============================
=======================<* CHALLENGE - A Foe Most Foul *>========================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 3          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 A low growling alerts you to trouble as you traverse the darkened corridors   
 of Fila del Fia. It's been rumored that strange, twisted creatures call the   
 ruined city home -- but still, perhaps you didn't expect /this/.              
                                                                               
 You can't entirely tell if they're functionally alive or not. They look like  
 they have been merged with pieces of scrap metal, pieces perhaps from this    
 very ruin, flesh and metal joined so well that you have difficulty telling    
 where machine parts stop and flesh begins.                                    
                                                                               
 On the side of a piece of metalflesh from one creature you can just barely    
 make out the block capitals 'HILA'. Maybe you could salvage it, if you        
 chose.                                                                        
                                                                               
 The growling breaks into a snarl and with a rush and a patter-clank of legs   
 along the floor, they are for you. Time to defend yourselves.                 
=Dungeon Conditions: Fright, Vault============================================
==========================<* Fila del Fia - Round 2 *>==========================
=========================< Results - A Foe Most Foul >==========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Barber                   0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
The Lifeweaver's Codex              2   Combat  Effects: Embolden             
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Talise Gianfair                     0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Dragon Courage                      1   Combat  Effects: Embolden and Fanfare 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Seraph Lanval                       0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Holy Bottle                         2   Combat  Effects: Resilient            
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Josephine Lovelace                  0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Liquid Courage                      3   Combat  Effects: Rally                
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ivan                                0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Memory                              3   Combat  Effects: Fanfare              
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Kaguya                              0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Extravagant Inventory Overuse       1   Combat  Effects: Cleanse              
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Seraph Ragnell                      0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Lightning Grenade                   3   Combat  Effects: Fanfare              
-----------------------------------< Party >------------------------------------
Leader: Jacqueline Barber           20 --(30)--> 50                Pass
Conditions: Fright(2)|Reckless(1)|Vault(1)
Effects: Cleanse|Embolden(1)|Resilient(1)
===============================< Dream Chasers >================================
DG: The party led by Jacqueline Barber has passed this challenge! The party gained 30 exploration! If anyone needs to
use party management commands, do so now. Otherwise, the next round's GM may begin the next round with +dungeon/draw.
<Pose Tracker> Kaguya has posed.

"Ahahah," Kaguya answers Josie. "Yeah just straight stealing it totally sprung through my mind, but if I did that i wouldn't get to see what other cool shit you might've cooked up. So sure--I'll look later, under 'supervision'," she grins back.

But ehre in the fight... Talise's broad, powerful strikes and blue magical power crash against the monstrous things, catching their attention quite effectively--as well as bisecting one. ...The first bisection doesn't kill it--but she's got plenty more where that came from. Meanwhile, Lanval starts behind her, but his powerful crushing gourd--stronger than it should be--cracks metal and strange flesh alike, before his sanctified waters prevent them getting in under Talise's guard.

Ragnell's helpful explanation catches Kaguya's interest--but they need a moment before they can talk about it, because Ragnell is using lightning bullets as she closes, and those stop the monsters up long enough to make her laughter about Talise as a meat shield the accompaniment to lightning exploding among them once again.

As the group keeps fighting, Jay's wisdom directs how they can strike to end the battle--and the Mountain Medium's power forces the monsters to hold back, and let the group deal with them some at a time, denying them the chance to rush them all. Kaguya's lip twitches at the Guardian--but she can't argue results.

And Ivan--Kaguya asked Ivan to help her investigate because a significant portion of investigating is killing things that want to stop you investigating. Also, "I am good with danger," she allows belatedly, now that the battle is ongoing. Still--"What??" Kaguya complains at Ivan. "She's got Jay to heal her, and this Water Seraph, she'll be fine! It's just sensible!" Nevertheless, Ivan's weaving movements follow up neatly on his fireballs, and the superheated metal buckles underneath his strikes, saving him from harm. Kaguya shouts to answer him--

"The lettering... might be important! It might also be absolute bullshit. That's what's called archaeology!"

But soon, they've won, and taken no injuries that Jay's potions and Lanval's magic can't heal. Felling a powerful group of monsters, the might of the group for the moment at least is clear. ...But...

But Lanval follows up, and Kaguya hmms. "All right, that's fair. I just figured she was safe for the more fragile members, but if people would rather, you can hide behind me next time--I'm just, y'know, not as big a shield." She notes the authority--and she bristles, it's obvious the way she stands up straighter. She doesn't even like water much. "But I'm tryin' to be nice here, so I'll go along with your request. ...Good work though, Talise," she says. "You ran with it great."

She starts to turn forward again, but pauses, looking at Lanval. "We all did good. But as for you... I'd like to ask you some questions, later. About the Guardians you're serving. I'll swear not to harm you in the conversation if you need it, since you've got good reason not to like me much. But there's things I need to know."

...With that, she moves forward, to a broken piece of metal. 'HILA' it reads...

Kaguya snaps a photograph with a small device, and moves on.

DG: Seraph Ragnell has drawn a new Challenge.
===============================<* Fila del Fia *>===============================
=========================<* CHALLENGE - Stuck On You *>=========================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 4          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 There is something wrong with Fila del Fia. First of all, even if you         
 backtrack to rooms and corridors you have been in before, there are           
 /shifts/. Walls extend further back than they were previously. Doors exist    
 where there were none before.                                                 
                                                                               
 And then there's... this.                                                     
                                                                               
 The good news is that the body fused with the wall here is very definitely    
 dead. The bad news is that it's still a carcass rather intimately entwined    
 with a wall.                                                                  
                                                                               
 Something glitters where wall and body meet. It looks to be... some sort of   
 metal badge? Perhaps it belonged to one of the city's inhabitants? The        
 writing on it is corroded and illegible but perhaps it might have value       
 somewhere.                                                                    
                                                                               
 But you'll need to pry it free if you want it.                                
=Dungeon Conditions: Treasure, Stupify========================================
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Ragnell has posed.

    Ivan's a former villain himself, after all. Doesn't it make sense that he'd bring his villain friends along on these tromps into grave danger? At least Ragnell and Kaguya are the types of villains who can cooperate when it suits them. For her part, Ragnell cocks a fingergun at Ivan, complete with mouth-made cocking noise. "Ain't *you* a flatterer," she drawls, winking.
    
    Is the lettering important, though? "Won't know if we don't salvage it!" she calls back.
    
    But back a step again. "Hmmm?" She raises an eyebrow at Josie when she does her own drawling at the news about Lanval. "Somethin' interestin' about that to ya?" Whether there is or not--or rather, whether Josie shares or not--Ragnell chuckles at her follow-up remark. "I was just thinkin' earlier, places that're called dangerous usually deserve the reputation."
    
    Meanwhile, Jay just gets a crooked grin in response to her sighs.
    
    The battle ensues, and ultimately ends with the monsters for the poorer. Lanval confirms what Ragnell says, while he and Ivan both chide Kaguya for voluntolding Talise for tank duty. She glances at Kaguya as she takes a picture of the metal plate; then onwards they all go.
    
    As they advance, she glances around, her body language nonchalant, her gaze alert. There's something... eerie about this place. She remembers how the abyss had grown larger as they'd approached. This, too, feels like... She pauses when they reach a dead end, then gestures back the way they'd come. "There were a couple a' doors back that way. Let's go through one of 'em."
    
    Except those doors aren't there anymore when they return; instead, there's a long hallway into flickering darkness. Ragnell hums, low and thoughtful, as she frowns to herself. This place is... *changing*. That's interesting.
    
    And also creepy as fuck.
    
    Also creepy as fuck: a body intertwined with a wall, which is what they all find at the end of the hallway.
    
    "Listen, buddy, there are closets for this kinda thing," she tells the skeleton faux-sternly. A glitter on the dead person's body makes her pause and peer closer. "Hm? There's somethin' on this guy's chest." She hunkers down to get a better look. "Some kinda writing... Can't quite make it out, though. The part that's in the wall might not be so corroded." A beat. "Could try diggin' it out."
    
    Another beat.
    
    "But I'll leave that to y'all," she drawls, pulling out a paper baggie from somewhere within her poncho. "Snacks, anyone?"
    
    The snacks in question are small cheesecake squares, which are a) delicious and b) magical, as only Seraphim-made snacks can be. These in particular boost one's lasting power, so they can, say, dig through a solid wall with human bones in it for longer without getting tired. Ragnell even pops one into her mouth first, helpfully, perhaps to show they're not poisoned or anything.

DG: Seraph Ragnell has used her Tool Cheesecake Bites toward her party's challenge, Stuck On You.
<Pose Tracker> Talise Gianfair has posed.

The fact that Dragon Courage is blue now is taking some getting used to. She grimaces, then glances back at Kaguya and Lanval with a shrug. "I appreciate you looking out for me, Lanval, but it's not like I'm not used to standing in front of people."

Blue eyes dart towards Ragnell for a moment, and she rolls her shoulders beneath her coat with a jingle of chain links beneath leather. "Feels a little familiar, huh," she remarks, more flippant outwardly than she feels. Something about this place is putting her on edge.

Then they turn the corner and there's a body in the wall.

"Althena's bra strap," Talise curses under her breath, clenching her fist near her collar as she resists the urge to recoil. "How does a guy get stuck in a wall?"

Ragnell spots something, and Talise sets her jaw. Somehow they'll have to do this. "Alright. Let me see here," she grunts as she shoulders her sword, pressing her gloved palms together and advancing on the wall.

Talise runs her palms over the smooth surface, then around the corpse, dragging fingertips over the interface between the two. "It looks like this person literally got fused into the wall somehow," she murmurs, mystified. But it passes, and she proceeds to ball her fist up, reaching out -

And pounding the dead guy's shoulder hard enough to crack bone and tear whatever flesh remains. She covers her mouth and nose with a fold of her coat as she swings her hand again, trying to crack that limb loose enough to create separation between the body and the wall - something she can get her hands into and begin to either pry the wall out from around the body or the body out of the wall, whichever gives first.

DG: Talise Gianfair has used her Tool Reinforced Gauntlets toward her party's challenge, Stuck On You.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

People who were good with really dangerous situations... Jacqueline opens her mouth to say something about that, but elects not to.

As for the lettering...

"It could be - it's something to keep in mind. Good eye!" She replies. They manage to salvage it, and then, with the monsters dealt with, it's time to move on.

She follows Ragnell's lead, and frankly Jacqueline's a little creeped out by this place, herself. This doesn't get any better when they find a body buried in the wall. Jacqueline backpedals, slapping a hand over her mouth.

It takes her a second to recover, accepting one of the snacks from Ragnell. It helps.

"...Right." Jacqueline says. She takes a deep breath, studying her surroundings. "This place...it's not made of earth and stone. But...I might still be able to work with this."

She draws a Crest Graph from the deck in her left gauntlet, inserting it into one of the slots. And then with a gesture she reaches out, as if taking hold of something.

It's reluctant at first, but then the wall itself begins to move. The reason why soon becomes clear - earth and stone has risen up around them to provide some support to the room so it doesn't collapse on them in their attempt to excavate the body, while also offering some protection from the walls themselves.

These walls have already taken one victim, after all - there was no telling if they might try it again.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has used her Tool Landscaper Crest toward her party's challenge, Stuck On You.
<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

The battle comes to a close, and Ivan steps back a bit, taking a few moments to catch his breath and try to let his head settle after all the movement.

"Whoever's a shield should want to be a shield," Ivan says to Kaguya, his logic on the matter going no further than that. Kaguya relents when Lanval protests as well, and offers to do the shielding herself.

"I can do it too, I don't care," he says. Ivan isn't particularly large, either, but he's bigger than Kaguya. Probably not sturdier, though he can still pretend...

But then Talise agrees to it, anyway! It seems this group doesn't need a meat shield at all...

"Maybe it might be more of a front and back row type situation."

As they carry along, the place around them seems to be... moving. Except Ivan doesn't want to be the one to ask if it's moving, because if it isn't, then he'll have admitted he can't tell for certain whether things are moving or not... He ventures a few times, things like, "Hey... does anything look weird to anyone..." but won't go much further than that.

Anyway, they come around the bend and find a dead body merged into the wall, which is rather horrifying, but everyone seems to see it, so... hooray! He's not hallucinating, at least. But... ergh...

"Does this mean the walls might eat us if we make a wrong move?" Ivan speculates.

Ragnell discovers... more writing! Is writing in a ruin just inherently interesting and mysterious and worth investigating? He tries to jot that down in his mind as an Exploration Fact.

Everyone sets about trying to pry the badge from the corpse/wall, and Ragnell offers snacks.

"...m-maybe after," Ivan says, not realizing they are enchanted to make the business of breaking rocks more maneagable, and instead more focused on the unappetizing nature of the task before them.

He calls his warhammer into his hands, joining the effort to break apart the merged entities.

DG: Ivan has used his Tool Warhammer toward his party's challenge, Stuck On You.
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Lanval has posed.

    "Shenshible ta you," Lanval grumbles as he takes a sip from the gourd as things wind down. Put in simple terms, though, Kaguya's tactical suggestions are valid. He's just being difficult about it today! Usually he brings a little trouble from being on the opposite side of that spectrum... but when Josie looks him over momentarily in confirmation, he just gives her a soft smile as if to reassure she's all right.
     The stuff comes to an end. When Kaguya looks at him, he pauses mid-stride, mid-stumble, to look her over in the eyes again. To the affable woman who has been nothing but cordial and helpful thus far, and he freezes up a bit.
     Even now, with that out-of-regular-scale-of-consciousness experience he had that awakened him to the sheer breadth of Schturdark's lot, he still can't fully comprehend what Ambrosius does with water to make it bend and move the way he can. Whatever degree the Veruni have taken advantage of the dying planet, they are skilled with what's left of it to a degree that it stands to confound abstracted embodiments of these very elements.
     In some ways, Kaguya may already know more about Lanval than Lanval might himself through the power of SCIENCE. (...Along with copious trial and error involved as to which parts of SCIENCE Seraphim pay lip service to, which is its own major can of worms. Gravity, maybe.) It's a scary thought, to be at that kind of disadvantage against your boss' sworn enemy.
     "Mmmph," he makes a non-committal grunt to Kaguya's terms. Talise chides him for his actions on the matter, and he comes along quietly enough as they come down... did they go back a ways? He stops as he sees the latest barricade. The moving husks were awful enough, but this sort of twisted corpse-like thing.
     Lanval's eyes pop without the color. Anyone who knows Lanval's history knows that him taking that sort of reaction to this kind of sight means something, and let's hope he doesn't speak about it out lou-- "...I've sheen shome pretty... intereshtin'... shtuff." Yes, yes he would, this is known, how abo-- "...They don't... go like that..." He trails off. That's the end of that. Good. Now for the part where he assi--
     "Except fer the--" AUGH (-EDITOR'S NOTE: the remainder of this passage has been removed from record)
 
** BEEP **
 
     It resumes around the part where Ivan is asking about having those snacks maybe later. "They're Seraphim make, ya know," Lanval seems to step to Ragnell's defense/support on this?! "Enemy of Filgaia she ish, there ain't much better fer a pick-me-up before shomethin' like that... shnack makin' ish an art ya take very sherioushly. Ash doesh anyone!" There is a specific sort of honor involved in the creation of that which few seem intent to break.
 
ELSEWHERE
 
Ethius has just made another whole stack of Gooey Stuff that will keep and last for another two months.
 
HERE
 
     Lanval blatantly tries to take the one intended for Kaguya as he sizes up the way the walls twist and move. At some point, there is a cursory attempt to wedge some sort of moisture in there, but moving Earth is not one of his strong suits - that is by his very nature as a Water Seraph.

DG: Seraph Lanval has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Stuck On You.
<Pose Tracker> Josephine Lovelace has posed.

    "Now you're talkin' my language," Josie remarks, hand resting on her hip. "Besides, if you know what I think you might about ARMs... maybe it might be mutually beneficial-like, eh?"

    If nothing else, Josie is mercenary about things.
    And has grown a little more lenient, strangely, over the last few months. It's funny how both a confrontation with your real father and stabbing to death the simaculra of the same might take a bit of your edge off.

    Though she never really had a strong grudge against Kaguya, even if she'd tried to shoot the girl. Some violence is just all in a day's work.

    Case in point: the violence that unfolds now, as they face down the horrible monstrosity before them.

    She holsters the rifle when all is said and done, and smiles lopsidedly, one hand planted on her hip.

    "Yeah. That's archaeology, all right. What's that thing say, 'HILA'?"

    She pauses.

    "Ain't Zeboim. For one, I can read that," she remarks, glancing at the others.

    In particular, her gaze lingers on the one person here she doesn't rightly know--

    Which is Ivan.

    Falling back as they head onwards, she ambles on over to the younger man.

    "Hey now. Ivan, ain't it? I remember you introducing yourself earlier." She jerks her head, as if to indicate herself. "Josie. Just reminding you, because if you try 'Josephine' or 'Miss Lovelace' I'll have your guts for garters, eh?" And as if to underscore that that was a bit of a joke, she makes to pop him on the shoulder with the flat of her hand and grins at him, broadly.

    Before the path they're walking along comes to an abrupt dead end.

    ...speaking of 'dead'.

    "Well, now."

    Josie cocks her head to one side. "...Didn't expect to see that in a place like this. D'ya think they were dead before or after they got stuck in the wall?" she remarks to her new companion, before glancing to the others. "Usually when I've found a corpse in wall it's 'cause the ceiling collapsed, right?"

    Something glints on the body.

    "But I tell you what, if it's a little extraction we're talking about here--"

    She first palms one of the Seraphim Cheesecake Bites and pops it in her mouth, chewing it thoughtfully before swallowing. Then dusts off her hands needlessly, and goes for her pack.

    "--If it's extraction, then I've got you all covered." She brandishes the mattock. "C'mon, then. --And hey, kid," she remarks to Ivan. "If you get stuck in a wall, I'll just crack you on out of it again, easy does it!"

    Before she sets about her work with the pick end of the mattock.

DG: Josephine Lovelace has used her Tool Well-Used Mattock toward her party's challenge, Stuck On You.
<Pose Tracker> Kaguya has posed.

The small Veruni grins at Josie. "I like you. And it just might. I like to see humans who know tech, anyway. It's a lot more interesting that way."

But then... HILA. "Yeah. Dunno what it means, though. This isn't Veruni tech, unfortunately."

But Kaguya, for her part, glances back Ragnell's way. It's true--she noticed, too, about Josie's interest... and things that are dangerous are dangerous. That's true.

But Talise doesn't mind! Kaguya beams. "There, see? It was cool." She scowls back at Lanval, immediately classifying him mentally in a particular category. "That's real bold talk coming from a heretic," she points out. "At least I didn't follow the Guardians before I told them to screw off. What's your excuse with Althena?"

Apparently she does know some, now that she knows his name. She doesn't follow up on it for the moment. ... But her magic--well, her magic is different from most Seraph's, some hybridization of Wind and Earth... not that she's showing it right now.

But first--"Wait, is that a normal curse among you guys who follow her?" Kaguya wonders to Talise. "...I didn't even know most of Lunar had decent bras." Hey. Whatever works. Fine for her. All the same, now she's looking at a guy in a wall.

"I mean walls don't eat people. Not unless they're living walls, made of some horrific crime against nature." Pause. "Okay yeah walls definitely eat people but what the crap, right?"

She considers Ragnell's offer--and reaches out to brush aside Lanval's hand with her own. "Hmm," she says. "i don't do cheese," she admits, "But I'm gonna save these for my girlfriend. She'll think they're great. Thank you, Ragnell." Hmph, her demeanor says, as if she's the haughtiest noble in the world, or else holding up her nose the way only a recent teenage girl can.

"Still, nice work, Jay. I've got an idea, though..."

Beat, "And it doesn't involve closets. I might be able to get to the writing."

"Anyway the walls aren't going to eat us. Oh, by the way--" Beat, "Those of you who aren't magic ghosts, don't get near this stuff, okay? At least, not if you're even thinking of having kids one day."

'This stuff' turns out to be a bomb that kaguya casually pulls from her bag and then--cracks open. She lets the resultant material drip on the skeleton as she works. "But this should dissolve some of the organic material," she says, as she carefully snips the wires that could result in it accidentally exploding and finishes breaking open the containment. Well, partially--the rest of the bomb should protect others from it... Probably. But metal starts to attract to the chassis.

"Oooh, over here," Kaguya suggests to Josie and her mattock after she drips some material down. "Just, carefully."

DG: Kaguya has used her Tool Magnetic Resonance Bomb toward her party's challenge, Stuck On You.
===============================<* Fila del Fia *>===============================
=========================<* CHALLENGE - Stuck On You *>=========================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 4          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 There is something wrong with Fila del Fia. First of all, even if you         
 backtrack to rooms and corridors you have been in before, there are           
 /shifts/. Walls extend further back than they were previously. Doors exist    
 where there were none before.                                                 
                                                                               
 And then there's... this.                                                     
                                                                               
 The good news is that the body fused with the wall here is very definitely    
 dead. The bad news is that it's still a carcass rather intimately entwined    
 with a wall.                                                                  
                                                                               
 Something glitters where wall and body meet. It looks to be... some sort of   
 metal badge? Perhaps it belonged to one of the city's inhabitants? The        
 writing on it is corroded and illegible but perhaps it might have value       
 somewhere.                                                                    
                                                                               
 But you'll need to pry it free if you want it.                                
=Dungeon Conditions: Treasure, Stupify========================================
==========================<* Fila del Fia - Round 3 *>==========================
===========================< Results - Stuck On You >===========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Barber                   0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Landscaper Crest                    3   Brute   Effects: Fanfare              
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Talise Gianfair                     0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Reinforced Gauntlets                1   Brute   Effects: Strengthen and Fanfar
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Seraph Lanval                       0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Josephine Lovelace                  0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Well-Used Mattock                   2   Brute   Effects: Strengthen           
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ivan                                0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Warhammer                           3   Brute   Effects: Rally                
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Kaguya                              0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Magnetic Resonance Bomb             3   Brute   Effects: Rally                
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Seraph Ragnell                      0 --(0)--> 0                   Fail
Cheesecake Bites                    2   Brute   Effects: Stalwart             
-----------------------------------< Party >------------------------------------
Leader: Jacqueline Barber           50 --(25)--> 75                Pass
Conditions: Fright(1)|Stupify(2)|Treasure(1)
Effects: Strengthen(1)
===============================< Dream Chasers >================================
DG: The party led by Jacqueline Barber has passed this challenge! The party gained 25 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: Ivan has drawn a new Challenge.
===============================<* Fila del Fia *>===============================
=======================<* CHALLENGE - A Shocking Turn *>========================
|Type: Final       |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 3          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 You find, after considerable time, the heart of the city, the part of Fila    
 del Fia that still feeds it with power even after so long.                    
                                                                               
 In other words, you've found the generator room. Still live and providing     
 energy to certain parts of the city, it thrums ominously in the center of     
 the room.                                                                     
                                                                               
 Its presence becomes perhaps immediately important for two reasons. First of  
 all, the generator seems to be powering a lock on the door beyond this        
 place.                                                                        
                                                                               
 ...Secondly, a series of wires have begun to unroll with                      
 suspiciously-calculated timing from the ceiling above, all of them alive      
 with current. They do not move; they lie there as the walls to a terrible     
 maze. It is almost as if it is attempting to electrocute everyone in sight.   
                                                                               
 Reaching the generator alone will take care rather than speed to reach. And   
 then there's the part where you'll need to shut down the generator itself...  
 it's going to take all your mechanical know-how to do this.                   
                                                                               
 Good luck.                                                                    
=Dungeon Conditions: Stupify, Injure==========================================
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Ragnell has posed.

    How *does* a guy get stuck in a wall? "Maybe someone built 'im in there," Ragnell remarks around her cheesecake bite. If the city itself is shifting... She glances back without turning her head. "Either way, I'll be fine, an' Lanv'll be fine, but y'all fleshy mortals better watch your backs."
    
    Ivan asks if anything looks weird to anyone else. "Oh yeah, super-weird," she says, matter-of-fact. "This city's shiftin' around us. Who wants to place bets on whether it's some kinda mechanized metropolis, or it's actually *alive* and actively hates us?"
    
    Jay uses a Crest Graph to manipulate the materials of the wall, while Talise beats up the corpse to try to create separation between body and wall. Between the two of them, it makes it easy for Josie and Ivan to break down the actual
 materials with their mattock and sledgehammer.
    
    Meanwhile, Lanval actually defends Ragnell's snack, a reality that makes her raise her eyebrows to him. "If he doesn't want it, he doesn't have t' take it," she says. "But Lanv is right, Ives, it'll give you a boost."
    
    The matter of Kaguya's snack, she leaves to her and Lanval, though she chuckles when she declares she'll give it to her girlfriend rather than eat it herself. "Suit yourself. You're welcome either way, Kags. D'you do chocolate? Maybe next time around I'll bring my chocolate rusks."
    
    Her smile fades when she gives Lanval shit about leaving the Goddess, though. "People change. Including us Seraphim," Ragnell tells Kaguya, it being her turn to come to Lanval's defense. "Just 'cuz the Goddess made us doesn't mean we have to stay beholden to 'er forever." As for the specifics--*that*, she'll let Lanval share or not share as he deems fit. There is, after all, a lot to unpack there.
    
    As for the body and its badge, Kaguya's bomb juice gets the body unstuck the rest of the way. With the crumbling of flesh and bone and other materials, the badge comes out nicely. The rest of it is still kind of rusty, but not as much as the rest; shine it up, and they'll be able to read it just fine. Or at least sell it off to someone who's weird like that. Either or.

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ragnell confirms the city actually is shifting. Ivan looks relieved.

"Ah, good, I'm not losing my mind. I say it's alive. Does anyone want to bet for real?"

Josephine comes up to Ivan and introduces herself properly, including a playful threat about what will happen if he's too formal about her name. He has never heard the expression 'guts for garters' before as far as he knows, and his eyebrows shoot up as he unwillingly visualizes it.

"It's not that easy to gut me," he replies in a solemn deadpan -- a response that makes it somewhat unclear whether he missed the joke of it entirely or if he got it and is playing along in his own way.

Ivan decides not to wade into the conversation about betraying Althena, since he is pretty sure that deserting the Guard also constitutes a betrayal of Althena.

There's some talk about the walls and their capacity for eating people.

"To everybody who thinks I'm worried about the walls eating me, I'm not worried about the walls eating me! I'm perfectly willing to fight a wall! Just for the record!" he calls that out between ckangs of his warhammer.

Everybody clears out of the way as Kaguya drips some noxious stuff into the skeleton.

Somewhere in there, Kaguya mentions taking cheesecake to her girlfriend, and Ivan glances over. "Did you find her?" he asks. The other possibility is she's just being very optimistic about the longevity of cheesecake bites.

The group, ultimately, manages to succeed in their grim task of dislodging the body from the wall and retrieving its badge. Ivan tries to get a sense of what they find so fascinating about it, but otherwise continues on along with the group as they find...

The generator room. They have a moment or two to see the lay of the place -- the generator itself, humming away, and the lock on the door thrumming with its power. Before they can do anything about those two factors, though, an array of live wires roll down from the ceiling like terrible serpents, forming themselves into a maze-like array that promises to give an unpleasant, perhaps even fatal jolt to anyone who carelessly brushes against them.

"Ah, dammit," says Ivan, with a groan.

Just... think of it as training! he tells himself. If you step where you didn't mean to step, you'll know it.

And he starts forward with slow deliberation, cautiously making his way through the maze.

DG: Ivan has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward his party's challenge, A Shocking Turn.
<Pose Tracker> Talise Gianfair has posed.

"If Lunar didn't have decent bras, I'd probably have a much sorer back," Talise grunts over her shoulder with a glance at Kaguya.

Then she dips her lashes slightly. "Personally I don't think you're being honest with your god and or goddess if you don't tell them to stick their dumber dictates up their holy butts every now and then. It's just part of being a good pray person. But what do I know, right? I'm just here for the booze."

And indeed, Talise reaches into her coat and comes out with a bottle.

    Old Man Ettlesbury's Olde-Fashioned Gold Label Lager

She knocks it back and drains half of it in one swig, then wipes her mouth and continues on as if she wasn't committing a sin.

Beyond, the generator room lies. As those filaments snake down from the ceiling, Talise - a six foot two brick shithouse of a woman clad in a large amount of steel insulated only by leather - frowns deeply. She takes another swig of her drink. "I can see this is gonna cause me some problems. Well, damn. Hm. Let's see here."

As the wires crackle and sizzle, Talise watches little Ivan begin to wiggle-woggle his way through them. "Must help to be a slim guy," she mutters before looking up to the ceiling.

And she shoots her arm out to her side. With a sudden crack, her beer bottle hits the wall. The bottom half breaks off, leaving jagged glass jutting from the neck.

Grunting, Talise sidearms the broken beer bottle towards a denser cluster of wires. Shards of glass catch electric charges. Some vapourize - but more burst apart into sharp shards, slashing into a few wires and cutting them down, shortening them enough that Talise can wait a few seconds and just barrel-roll beneath them into part of the maze with slightly more space to maneuver.

DG: Talise Gianfair has used her Tool Old Man Ettlesbury's Olde-Fashioned Schnapps toward her party's challenge, A
Shocking Turn.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline sends Kaguya a brief glance when she mentions her girlfriend. A part of her wants to ask how she's doing, but maybe the middle of a ruin that may or may not want to eat isn't the best place for small talk...

After dealing with the man in the wall, they're able to move on ahead. Jacqueline can feel it before they even see it - the ominous thrumming of power indicative of a running generator. She's become more familiar with that since she started traveling. But, there's a problem - because of course there would be.

The wires unravel from the walls, alive with current and forming a terrible maze.

"That's...not good..." Jacqueline mutters with a frown. She glances toward Ragnell, then. "...Well, for most of us, I guess."

She might be just a bit jealous right now - it'd certainly make things easier if they didn't have to worry about the electricity. But, unfortunately, they do, so they'll have to find a way through.

"Okay... we're going to need to figure out how to shut this thing down. But...to do that, we're going to need to get there, first." Jacqueline says to herself. She thinks on it for a moment and then gestures with her left hand once more. Pillars of earth begin to rise up. The wires are largely staying put - the columns, then, might make for decent grounding to help avoid the electricity.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, A Shocking Turn.
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Lanval has posed.

    Lanval (rightfully, by almost all accounts except for the Guardians') gets his hand brushed aside for his attempt to steal an extra snack from Kaguya. He has been infamous in his time among the Drifters for his gluttony with good... and bad... and as of a recent incident on the Thames, pretty much anything resembling a drink... that somehow it takes this long for someone to, from the jump, recognize and subvert his treat-thieving ways.
     Seraphim are occasionally an annoyance with their petty larceny in general, what with them 'living' like hermit crabs in vessels more often than not.
     It's the barbed words that come before that's the real slap on the cheek. The 'coming from a heretic' has him turning his head, one eye half-open in confusion. Then the words continue, further clarification that she means that specific designation like she were a devout of Althena of all things but that...
     He goes quiet, looks down, and holds the drinking gourd a bit tighter. Ragnell, who is now a mortal enemy, comes to his defense about the whole of it. There's that shift in the air with the ambient energies of water building - maybe even further eroding rusted scrap-flesh obstructions. For a hot minute, there's a flash of building power that...
     ...subsides, as he has a sip, falling to his seat. He may need to be coaxed to get up and follow. It seems telling, even, that he doesn't immediately reach out for Talise's trademark brew. (He does, eventually.)
 
NOW FOR THE PRESENT
 
Lanval trails along. He flings water in the way expected, as if they were snakes he were trying to scare back. They're not snakes, they're not scared, they're not doing anything but conducting electricity, and also it takes him two times to realize this effort is only electrifying and ruining the escape route for almost all of them - at least an escape route this way.
     He ambles by wearing those stupid novelty glasses, in a drama-ruining moment where someone forgot to take off the silly attachments again, but wait... those glasses, amber-tinted as they are, glassy and unfocused because of their origin as beer bottle lenses... they seem to be reflecting off another piece of metal above, showing part of the maze...?
     He's taking a biiiiig drink from his gourd, as if to nurse what emotional wounds there are, so he's keeping his head tilted the correct way for an extended period of time. Convenient - but now to get through.

DG: Seraph Lanval has used his Tool Amber Tinted Glasses toward his party's challenge, A Shocking Turn.
<Pose Tracker> Josephine Lovelace has posed.

    Is there something interesting about that?

    Josie's respose to Ragnell might be belated, but she just cracks a smile and shrugs. "I know all of you ain't on the same side necessarily-like, but the way you just out and said it -- color me a little impressed, I guess," she remarks, shrugging her shoulders nonchalantly.

    "Though I gotta wonder how you two are getting on, after all that..." The business in the cradle, perhaps.

    "Alive, huh."

    She ponders this a moment as they head onwards. "I wonder what that makes us? Crawling around inside a living thing."

    Or what that makes things like a corpse stuck in the wall. A cyst, perhaps?

    Ivan proclaims that it's not that easy to gut him. Josie busts out with a laugh in spite of their current circumstances. "Now that's the spirit! Don't let anyone take your guts from you, kid." She makes to clap a hand on his shoulder again. "They're very important."

    At which point she, apparently liking his style, offers him over the rest of her flask.

    Is Ivan even allowed to drink?

    Needless to say: the matter with the wall (and the corpse embedded in it) comes to a head soon enough, loosing the strange object from it.

    "What's that thing say? Anything?"

    But from there it's onwards--

    And into the generator room.

    "Huh."

    zzzt zzzt zzzzt

    "Still active?" Josie remarks.

    The wires unfurl from above. "...Heh. Talk about a live wire," she quips, then glances over at Talise and Jay. "Easy now. We just gotta--"

    Dismay crosses her face as Talise dashes the bottle against the wall. "Now come on there, if you were gonna do that, you could have at least let me have a shot first," she complains. ...Was there anything left in the bottle, though, after Talise had her pull?

    "...But not a bad plan," she adds, glancing over at the hissing part of the 'maze' before them.

    She glances again at Jay -- Talise having moved on ahead -- and fishes in her pocket as the woman causes the pillars to rise (and hopefully ground) the wires in here.

    She pulls out a cigarette.

    Approaching one of the nearer live wires, she crouches and lights the end off of a snapping spark.

    Standing, she for all the world begins to take a smoke break, evidently careless of the obstacle they're facing.

    Until she hurls the lit cigarette further into the maze of wires. The smoke settles more heavily where the sparks are sparer.

    And she repeats this action, lighting, smoking, and tossing off cigarette after cigarette ahead, as a strange makeshift way of pathfinding.

    "Better'n nothing," she drawls, once she's finally out of smokeables.

DG: Josephine Lovelace has used her Tool Pack of Cigarettes toward her party's challenge, A Shocking Turn.
<Pose Tracker> Kaguya has posed.

"Point taken," Kaguya answers on the matter of bras, glancing slightly less up and then up at Talise with a nod.

But, "Oh yeah, I love chocolate! I'm sure these are tasty too it's just cheese doesn't agree with my system, is all. Still that sounds great." A beat, though, on Lanval. "That's true," Kaguya says, "But you can't always escape your past. Sometimes, no matter what you'd rather... It'll come back and haunt you."

She smiles at Lanval unpleasantly where he sits, seeing that building power and taking satisfaction in the fact that her barb definitely seems to have hit. Her face is covered, but the unpleasantness is in her eyes anyway. "Not that that'll happen in your case, I'm sure. To be honest I'm just giving you shit because I don't like you. But hey... maybe I struck a nerve?"

To Talise, "I won't argue that one," she says with a shrug about being a good pray person. ....Not that she is a very good pray person. She actually laughs a little about the sin. She is who she is.

"Yeah!" Kaguya answers Ivan cheerily about her girlfriend. "We met up! I mean, I can't give you many details, but, she's safe, you know." Also, 'is a member of Odessa', but that's why Kaguya isn't giving out a ton of details. Some of the room already knows this anyway. Kaguya does glance back at Jay, though. She might understand the questions she naturally wants to ask--and at least it's not a closed-door kind of glance.

Kaguya has conspciously failed to comment on the idea that this place is alive, even with bets on the line. ....But she did laugh at the 'guts' lines from Ivan and Josie.

The mazelike array... "Mmm. This is... not my strongest suit," Kaguya admits. "I don't have anything for this. I'm sure I can deactivate it if I can get close, but..." Pause.

"Bluh. Glad I have a mask on," she comments morosely about Josie's smoke. "I mean, good idea, but..."

Kaguya lets the others find the path--and follows, as best she can. If she can make it to the generator, she's true to her word--she knows technology. ...But can she get there without tiring herself out with lightning, first?

DG: Kaguya has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, A Shocking Turn.
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Ragnell has posed.

    "Mmmm, I would, but I'm with ya on the 'actually alive' part," Ragnell says to Ivan. "'Course, it could be a machine *too*, so..." A broad shrug. His very loud disclaimer about walls gets a loud, hearty laugh out of her. "Wouldn't it be embarrassin' if you fought a wall an' lost?" she teases.
    
    Josie gives her a belated response. "Ah, that it?" she replies. "Mmm... Well, if it's not a secret, an' if I'm not just fuckin' around, I think I'm usually pretty straightforward." She shrugs and half-smiles. "As for how we're gettin' along: we're not. It is what it is."
    
    Case in point: Lanval takes both Kaguya's barb (and follow-up pettiness) and Ragnell's defense rather poorly. Ragnell watches him sidelong. She feels the building power, and she feels it burst like a bubble, and she sees him sag into a lump that needs to be dragged or coaxed along. She does not volunteer for the job.
    
    The group moves on. As they go, Ragnell says to Kaguya, "Ahh, that so? That's a shame. Cheese is delicious. I think that's usually the case 'bout the past, though. It's what makes you who you are, after all." A pause. "Your girlfriend was Matilda, right? Glad you two reunited. World-hoppin' isn't easy."
    
    After some searching through walls and doors and corridors that change around them, they ultimately reach the heart of the city: the generator room. Ragnell considers it thoughtfully. When the live wires drop with suspicious timing, she smiles. Jay remarks on how it's not good for most of them; her smile widens, and she winks at her.
    
    Once the live wires form a sort of labyrinth, she taps one with her foot. "Mmm, tingly," she pronounces. Silver flashes in her hand as she produces and then plays a shiny silver harmonica. That eerie melody resounds even after she dissolves into light and electricity, then enters the wires themselves, passing through at speed. The music follows her, creating an aural path to safety... should anyone choose to use it, anyway.

DG: Seraph Ragnell has used her Tool Polished Harmonica toward her party's challenge, A Shocking Turn.
===============================<* Fila del Fia *>===============================
=======================<* CHALLENGE - A Shocking Turn *>========================
|Type: Final       |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 3          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 You find, after considerable time, the heart of the city, the part of Fila    
 del Fia that still feeds it with power even after so long.                    
                                                                               
 In other words, you've found the generator room. Still live and providing     
 energy to certain parts of the city, it thrums ominously in the center of     
 the room.                                                                     
                                                                               
 Its presence becomes perhaps immediately important for two reasons. First of  
 all, the generator seems to be powering a lock on the door beyond this        
 place.                                                                        
                                                                               
 ...Secondly, a series of wires have begun to unroll with                      
 suspiciously-calculated timing from the ceiling above, all of them alive      
 with current. They do not move; they lie there as the walls to a terrible     
 maze. It is almost as if it is attempting to electrocute everyone in sight.   
                                                                               
 Reaching the generator alone will take care rather than speed to reach. And   
 then there's the part where you'll need to shut down the generator itself...  
 it's going to take all your mechanical know-how to do this.                   
                                                                               
 Good luck.                                                                    
=Dungeon Conditions: Stupify, Injure==========================================
==========================<* Fila del Fia - Round 4 *>==========================
=========================< Results - A Shocking Turn >==========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Barber                   0 --(100)--> 100               Fail
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC                
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Talise Gianfair                     0 --(100)--> 100               Fail
Old Man Ettlesbury's Olde-Fashioned 1   Wits    Effects: Cleanse              
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Seraph Lanval                       0 --(100)--> 100               Pass
Amber Tinted Glasses                3   Wits    Effects: Fanfare              
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Josephine Lovelace                  0 --(100)--> 100               Fail
Pack of Cigarettes                  1   Wits    Effects: Cleanse              
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ivan                                0 --(100)--> 100               Fail
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC                
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Kaguya                              0 --(100)--> 100               Fail
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC                
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Seraph Ragnell                      0 --(100)--> 100               Fail
Polished Harmonica                  1   Wits    Effects: Cleanse              
-----------------------------------< Party >------------------------------------
Leader: Jacqueline Barber           75 --(10)--> 85                Fail
Conditions: Injure(2)|Stupify(2)
Effects: Cleanse
===============================< Dream Chasers >================================
DG: The party led by Jacqueline Barber 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: Talise Gianfair has drawn a new Challenge.
================================<* Fila del Fia *>================================
===============<* CHALLENGE - Can't Even Sleep When You're Dead *>================
|Type: Final       |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 3          | 
----------------------------< Challenge Information: >----------------------------
 You find, after considerable time, the heart of the city, the part of Fila    
 del Fia that still feeds it with power even after so long.                    
                                                                               
 In other words, you've found the generator room. Still live and providing     
 energy to certain parts of the city, it thrums ominously in the center of     
 the room.                                                                     
                                                                               
 Its presence becomes immediately perhaps important: the generator seems to    
 be powering a lock on the door beyond this place.                             
                                                                               
 But the locked door may be of a lesser concern when you realize you are not   
 alone here. With a pained moan, corpses roll to their feet, rising from       
 behind shattered equipment and from darkened corners. There are many of       
 them. And they converge upon you as if impelled, lumbering forward you with   
 ill intent.                                                                   
                                                                               
 Forget the generator. Defend yourselves.                                      
=Dungeon Conditions: Wound, Injure============================================
DG: Talise Gianfair has used her Tool Dragon Courage toward her party's challenge, Can't Even Sleep When You're Dead.
DG: Jacqueline Barber has used her Tool The Lifeweaver's Codex toward her party's challenge, Can't Even Sleep When
You're Dead.
DG: Seraph Lanval has used his Tool Holy Bottle toward his party's challenge, Can't Even Sleep When You're Dead.
DG: Seraph Ragnell has used her Tool Lightning Grenade toward her party's challenge, Can't Even Sleep When You're Dead.
DG: Ivan has used his Tool Memory toward his party's challenge, Can't Even Sleep When You're Dead.
DG: Kaguya has used her Tool Extravagant Inventory Overuse toward her party's challenge, Can't Even Sleep When You're
Dead.
===================================================<* Fila del Fia *>===================================================
==================================<* CHALLENGE - Can't Even Sleep When You're Dead *>===================================
|Type: Final       |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 3          | 
-----------------------------------------------< Challenge Information: >-----------------------------------------------
 You find, after considerable time, the heart of the city, the part of Fila    
 del Fia that still feeds it with power even after so long.                    
                                                                               
 In other words, you've found the generator room. Still live and providing     
 energy to certain parts of the city, it thrums ominously in the center of     
 the room.                                                                     
                                                                               
 Its presence becomes immediately perhaps important: the generator seems to    
 be powering a lock on the door beyond this place.                             
                                                                               
 But the locked door may be of a lesser concern when you realize you are not   
 alone here. With a pained moan, corpses roll to their feet, rising from       
 behind shattered equipment and from darkened corners. There are many of       
 them. And they converge upon you as if impelled, lumbering forward you with   
 ill intent.                                                                   
                                                                               
 Forget the generator. Defend yourselves.                                      
=Dungeon Conditions: Wound, Injure============================================
DG: Josephine Lovelace has used her Tool Liquid Courage toward her party's challenge, Can't Even Sleep When You're Dead.
================================<* Fila del Fia *>================================
===============<* CHALLENGE - Can't Even Sleep When You're Dead *>================
|Type: Final       |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 3          | 
----------------------------< Challenge Information: >----------------------------
 You find, after considerable time, the heart of the city, the part of Fila    
 del Fia that still feeds it with power even after so long.                    
                                                                               
 In other words, you've found the generator room. Still live and providing     
 energy to certain parts of the city, it thrums ominously in the center of     
 the room.                                                                     
                                                                               
 Its presence becomes immediately perhaps important: the generator seems to    
 be powering a lock on the door beyond this place.                             
                                                                               
 But the locked door may be of a lesser concern when you realize you are not   
 alone here. With a pained moan, corpses roll to their feet, rising from       
 behind shattered equipment and from darkened corners. There are many of       
 them. And they converge upon you as if impelled, lumbering forward you with   
 ill intent.                                                                   
                                                                               
 Forget the generator. Defend yourselves.                                      
=Dungeon Conditions: Wound, Injure============================================
===========================<* Fila del Fia - Round 5 *>===========================
=================< Results - Can't Even Sleep When You're Dead >==================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Barber                   100 --(0)--> 100               Pass
The Lifeweaver's Codex              2   Combat  Effects: Embolden             
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Talise Gianfair                     100 --(0)--> 100               Pass
Dragon Courage                      1   Combat  Effects: Embolden and Fanfare 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Seraph Lanval                       100 --(0)--> 100               Pass
Holy Bottle                         2   Combat  Effects: Resilient            
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Josephine Lovelace                  100 --(0)--> 100               Pass
Liquid Courage                      3   Combat  Effects: Rally                
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ivan                                100 --(0)--> 100               Pass
Memory                              3   Combat  Effects: Fanfare              
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Kaguya                              100 --(0)--> 100               Pass
Extravagant Inventory Overuse       1   Combat  Effects: Cleanse              
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Seraph Ragnell                      100 --(0)--> 100               Pass
Lightning Grenade                   3   Combat  Effects: Fanfare              
------------------------------------< Party >-------------------------------------
Leader: Jacqueline Barber           85 --(35)--> 120               Pass
Conditions: Injure(2)|Wound(2)
Effects: Cleanse|Embolden(1)|Resilient(1)
================================< Dream Chasers >=================================
DG: You have overcome the dungeon's trials! This run is a success!
DG: The party led by Jacqueline Barber has successfully explored Fila del Fia!
================================<* Fila del Fia *>================================
========================<* CHALLENGE - A Sword Of Light *>========================
|Type: Discovery   |Dungeon Ability: Conclusion|Challenge Rating: 2          | 
----------------------------< Challenge Information: >----------------------------
 The door beyond the generator opens with a hiss, revealing the room beyond.   
 Though the generator appears damaged, it still shows signs of life; given     
 the nature of this place it may not remain inactive forever. So be it.        
                                                                               
 Was this a storage area? At a glance, it looks the part: shelving units,      
 locking safes, and all the rest of it, bundled into this tight place. Most    
 of the units turn out to be in fact fairly empty and the terminals seemingly  
 dead to the world.                                                            
                                                                               
 Until you find in one small black metal locker a strange vaguely gun-shaped   
 device. If you /do/ take the moment to experiment with it, you find that it   
 is 1) a weapon and 2) capable of putting a hole through the nearest wall      
 with a brilliant beam of light. Suffice to say, don't point it at any of      
 your comrades here.                                                           
                                                                               
 More circumspect investigations will find a tag on the bottom of it that      
 says that this weapon is the property of the Pangalactic Federation and that  
 unauthorized possession and use will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of   
 pangalactic law. Interesting.                                                 
                                                                               
 (OOC: This is a power ARM-type weapon, but it has limited shots before a      
 recharge. Suggestions for how to use it include: as high-powered Brute or     
 Combat tool or as a Signature-class ARM attack in the Gunslinger system.)     
=Dungeon Conditions: Vault====================================================
<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ragnell teases Ivan about the possibility of losing to a wall. He harrumphs about that.

"I wouldn't lose to a wall, but if I somehow did, I'm counting on you to make up a better story than that."

Josie laughs at Ivan's response to her guts comment, and encourages him not to let anyone take his guts. He nods. "I won't. My guts are my own," he replies in what still appears to be complete seriousness. She offers him a drink from her flask. He IS allowed to drink -- no one is the boss of him!! Except Jacqueline, sometimes, or whoever happens to be paying him for jobs. But no one is in charge of his drinking!! Except he thinks maybe that's not such a great idea under the circumstances.

"Um. Nah..." he says. And then, like the cheesecake bites: "Maybe after."

Kaguya says she managed to find her girlfriend.

"Ah, that's great!" says Ivan. He should ask about seeing her, later, but he doesn't want to make a thing of that, here. Especially if there's some secrecy around her.

The group... takes on the maze, with Ivan taking point.

As everyone evaluates their own strategies, there is a BZZT from up ahead as Ivan bumps into a live wire.

"G-good news, it's not a lethal shock!" he announces, like he was testing it on purpose.

Talise makes her way through with a more innovative approach -- using a glass bottle to slice apart some of the wires to allow her access to a less cramped portion of the maze.

Jacqueline uses her earth pillars to take some of the sting out of the wires by directing their electricity to ground.

Lanval... ... well... Lanval is trying, but initially his watery ways create more of a hazard than anything else. But his glasses ultimately offer a helpful glimpse into the maze's twists and turns.

Talise also focuses on pathfinding, in her own peculiar way, using the smoke from a series of cigarettes to point the way to where the currents are lowest. This helps the group to see some of where Jacqueline's grounding efforts have had the strongest effects.

The efforts of the others give Kaguya some options when it comes to finding a safe path to follow.

Ragnell has the easiest time of it of them all, simply converting herself into a current and using the wires as a transport mechanism.

But, the fact of the matter is, there is a lot of electricity flinging around, and not much room for error on anyone's part. As they make their way through, there is a lot of ZAP, ZAP, ZAP, and everyone is a bit bedraggled and twitchy by the end. Except probably Ragnell.

But the more mechanically inclined among them rally to wrestle with the generator, and...!

They discover a storage room. A quick inspection reveals a powerful firearm. How powerful? They might be about to find out if anyone decides to give it a test run...

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Lanval has posed.

    It is a kind of special miserable experience. When you are a water elemental - embodying something that by nature has everything get in it and also have everything take from it, there's plenty of things for ions to get excited over. Somewhere along this equation, he just gets an even more brilliant idea.
     Getting electrocuted is for things that have to deal with physical space like that, so he just retreats into his bottle and lets it roll along with far less care. In fact, he kind of seems to disappear in this messy maze - it's not entirely clear at the end if they all manage to get out on the other end... (but for Lanval's part, quietly speaking, he is one of the last ones to leave - he is making sure Talise and the others make it through before he steps, er, rolls out).
     He doesn't manifest again for some time, worryingly, during the struggle with the generator. When they duck into a storage room that looks less likely to be full of flesh-scrap monsters for rest, there is at least one very shiny thing that Ivan might lay first eyes upon. There might be others. It is of fantastic preservation, compared to its environs - this isn't a mere storage room, no, this seems to be a space set aside specifically for this weird-lookin' cool thing. An ARM? Of... Zeboim? Do Zeboim era ARMs look like this? A piece of history, come to life before them n--
     And there's a flash of aquamarine color, Lanval right behind it. And on it. With his hand.
     "Iiiii have no idea what thish ish!" Lanval declares, so he should put it down. He doesn't. He holds it up in the air. "But I do know one thing...!"
     Lanval's eyes open, the stupid smile on his face getting less stupid smiley and more gentle, mirthful, like there is a huge joke about to be played.
     "Kaguya of the Veruni... the bounties of Filgaia art not for thy pleasure...! Ha ha ha...! Now, I bid thee be in thy way in good--"

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Ragnell has posed.

    "*Yoink*," Ragnell interrupts, deftly snatching the strange gun from Lanval's hand.

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Lanval has posed.

    "heaaaaa..." Lanval trails off, the glow of his eyes following Ragnell. "...I know what yer gonna shay next..."

<Pose Tracker> Kaguya has posed.

"What???" Kaguya answers Lanval, scowling as she stands there, shocked, exhausted. She starts to say something, starts to look angry--

Yoink!

"...Hahaha," Kaguya says, covering her mouth with a laugh. It turns into a giggle, and Kaguya leans against the locker, cracking up.

...She won't insist on taking it. She will look at it. "His face," she manages, and it's clearly painful laughing this hard after all that but it's still hilarious.

<Pose Tracker> Talise Gianfair has posed.

"I've got more where that came from!" Talise calls back to Josephine with a grin.

But the grin subsides as she looks through the wires at Lanval. "C'mon, bud," she murmurs, reaching out to give him a squeeze when she can. "You and me."

Pathfinding's tough, though. Things spark and fritz. Talise is smoking a little by the tile she staggers into range of the generator, her hair mussed and a few scorch marks racing across her cheeks. "Technology," she sighs, shoulders sagging visibly. "Just when I think I've got it figured out."

Then she twitches as a last shock ripples through her. Deflating visibly, she sighs. "Crud."

Lanval holds the gun up. Blinking, Talise leans in, peering at the grip. "What's a Pangalactic Federa-"

    YOINK

Behind Ragnell, Talise looms ominously, a shadow passing over her eyes.

"Seraph Ragamuffin, are you stealing stuff from my ghost pal."

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Lanval has posed.

    "Maybe I shoulda put it in my mouth, that ushually worksh," Lanval murmurs, "I mean ya don't take food that'sh been in othersh' mouthsh..."

<Pose Tracker> Josephine Lovelace has posed.

    Even with the precautions taken, Josie is a little bit frazzled by the time they're able to reach the generator. Hair stands on ends in places where it has already slipped her braids and bun. But they're able to put a halt to the generator, and the door in the back slides open--

    She stumbles in perhaps at a slight delay behind the others.

    "A pangalactic fedora?" she says, having half-caught what Talise has uttered.

    And just in time to see the device pass from hand to hand, in a sense.

    She leans against the doorframe.

    "Sounds like you lot already got all the good stuff, huh?"

    But there's no rancor in it: she smiles, laughs, and shakes her head.

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ivan is not super interested in the gun; he barely understands how guns work. He is more interested in looking like it didn't bother him at all to be repeatedly electrified. He realizes after a while though that no one is actually paying that much attention to him since they're fighting over the gun, and he quietly tips sideways against the nearest wall.

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Ragnell has posed.

    Ragnell grins wolfishly at Lanval and gives him a cheeky wink. A huge joke has indeed been played. "Then I don't need t' say it, do I?" Her grin only gets wider when Kaguya cracks the fuck up. She might not be the Mirthful Wellspring, but she's always loved her some pranks.
    
    Talise asks her if she's stealing from Lanval. "It's not theft if it didn't belong to him in the first place!" she says cheerfully. She holds it up and inspects it, hands curved to avoid counter-yoinking. It's only funny if she's the one doing it, after all. She does at least let everyone read the tag, which she turns into the light. Pangalactic Federation... Her eyes lid as she considers the implications of this. Galactic, as in Galaxy? And a federation insinuates a collection of alliances... meaning alliances from *all over space*? And a powerful one too, if they think they can apply their laws to someone who just happened to find this object. She twists the gun-like object around, then aims at the wall (possibly just as Ivan is tipping towards it) and fires.
    
    BSHPEW, goes the gun. There is suddenly a sizzling hole in the wall. Ragnell's eyebrows *rise*.
    
    "Yeah this is mine now," she states, moving to tuck it into her poncho. If space dudes have a problem with that, they can come and fucking arrest her.

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline is very glad that she keeps her hair short, because by the time they get through the generator room its all standing on end. There's still some electricity crackling over her. It's not pleasant.

But, they're all alive, and they find themselves in what appears to be a storage area! Jacqueline busies herself with looking through the shelves and terminals...but, unfortunately, nothing seems to come up. And then, someone finds what appears to be some sort of weapon.

Lanval snatches it up quickly. Jacqueline looks it over. The label on it is clearly visible at this angle. 'Pangalactic Federation'... Talise reads it out, too. Her eyes open wide in surprise - which is conveniently timed with Ragnell 'yoink'ing it right out of Lanval's hands. That might help prevent her from having to explain anything - that would be awkward. She has a feeling she has something she needs to ask Arleph about.

"This...seems incredibly dangerous. I...don't think it would be wise to just...handle it lightly." Jacqueline says - at which point, Ragnell promptly puts a hole in the wall, and decides its hers now.

Jacqueline sighs. If it was up to her, they'd just destroy it - she didn't think it'd do any good in anyone's hands. But it's too late for that now.

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Lanval has posed.

    Lanval makes a few spirited attempts to swipe at it while Ragnell is politely at least allowing the complicated words to be shared - they're legible complicated words! They're not in the Ancient Tongue or anything. Lanval might be slippery but there is no way he can move fast enough to snatch something out of Ragnell's grasp.
     Then it goes off.
     Lanval is bending his upper body WAAAAAAAY back as it just goes right past him. Gravity, one of the few things that can have its suggestions heeded by Seraphim, takes him back onto his seat.
     "...Sho it'sh good I didn't put it in my mouth." He has learned that the classic Food Dibs is a bad idea with these things.

<Pose Tracker> Talise Gianfair has posed.

"I could, in fact, dispute that," Talise says with a dip of her lashes, folding both arms across her chest. "Especially given that last time we hung out, you were kind of a jerk."

She breathes a slow sigh and settles visibly. "But I'll give you a pass this time. But only because you're cute and audacious."

And because of the discovery. Scratching her cheek with one gauntleted finger, she tilts her head to one side in thought. "...Some kind of alliance the size of a galaxy?" she murmurs. "So does that mean...."

Talise pauses, then widens her eyes as it occurs to her that there may be more worlds out there than just Lunar and Filgaia - and Hyades, for that matter. Could every star in the sky have its own Lunar...?

Then Ragnell blows a hole in the wall.

"I feel moderately worse about this," she says.

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ivan watches a portion of the wall about a foot in front of him get obliterated and doesn't even flinch. Apparently he was wiped out enough he was just willing to go with it at that point. He does give kind of a flat look to Ragnell, though.

Also, there's more aliens, apparently. Is there any chance Solaris is part of that galactic whatever...?

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

...

"Well, I guess we're ready to fight the walls now," he adds, after a beat.