2020-12-27: The Spirit Chasers

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  • Log: The Spirit Chasers
  • Cast: Venetia Vuong, Lydia Seren, Josephine Lovelace, Cecilia Adlehyde
  • Where: Elw Teleporter Network
  • Date: December 27, 2020
  • Summary: A rather varied group -- whether they all realize it or not -- ventures in to explore Hoel and find the gate. But that isn't the only thing they find.

DG: A party led by Venetia Vuong is now entering Hoel - Shrine of the Light Trial (First Visit).
DG: Party formation is now over. An Entry Challenge will now be drawn and displayed to the party.
=============<* Hoel - Shrine of the Light Trial (First Visit) *>=============
======================<* CHALLENGE - Forty Meter Drop *>======================
|Type: Entry       |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 2          |
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 The original entrance to Hoel has long been covered by sand, and is deep
 underneath the desert. The new entrance, cut open by Cid's men, is on the
 roof of the place. This leads to a grand chamber at the center of the ruin:
 a massive, forty meter high chamber that looks down upon a circular mosaic
 of the Goddess Althena.

 The circular mosaic is divided into thirty-six sections, each depicting
 scenes from Althenan dogma circa a thousand years or more ago: the arrival
 of Althena's Fortress; the blessing of water, earth, and sky upon the Silver
 Star; the first Dragonmaster, leading Althena's Chosen to their waiting
 promised land; and the last, standing against the Magic Emperor. All of them
 are dim.

 There are dun gemstones scattered across the ceiling. If lit, they should
 shine down upon this mosaic and light it up. Doing so will unlock whatever
 is necessary to open the sealed door at the central north wall of the
 chamber. Numerous other doors lead off from it, like spokes from a wheel.

 However, first, you must enter -- and you are at the top of that forty foot
 ceiling, with no easy way down.
=Dungeon Conditions: Slow, Secret=============================================
<Pose Tracker> Venetia Vuong has posed.

"From this angle," Venetia Vuong, noted expeditioner and mistress of the deep ways, "it looks like it's just forty Kislev feet. But watch this."

She takes a pebble and drops it in the hole.

The pebble falls.

Falls.

Falls.

tak!

WANDERING MONSTER CHECK: Failed.

"I would offer," Venetia says, to the group, "to just hop in, but unfortunately, do you remember my Yashichi Ring?" She holds it up. It sparkles, preciously, yet somehow... duller. "It stopped working."

Away it goes. "As I was saying," Venetia says as she fishes round for a rock on which to anchor a rope, "that drop is more like one hundred and twenty-one Kislev feet, or as we call it in Guild Galad, where we have a proper oligarchy instead of whatever insanity a bunch of Gear-fighter prisonistas run, 'forty meters.'"

"Now here's a fun thought: Is the terminal velocity on Lunar the same as it is on Filgaia? I doubt they're grossly different - we would have noticed - but they could be SLIGHTLY different. And if they AREN'T different... why is that? These are the questions that open to us the vistas of science. Hold on, I have a rock in my boot."

DG: Venetia Vuong has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Forty Meter Drop.
<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

"I could fly down," Lydia says. "But I put the wings away because they were clipping through my swim ring."

Lydia is presently wearing Aviator sunglasses, a pirate hat, and a swimg ring around her waist. She seems content with this.

"So I better not keep at it," Lydia adds, looking down. "Besides I could only carry one of you at a time. Maybe two. And then I'd have to fly aaaaalll the way back up."

She makes a show of cracking her knuckles but they don't actually crack and then looks to Venetia. "Honestly I don't know why the rest of you don't get wings of your own or jetpacks or something so you can just fly over all your problems too. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me to not have free flight." She frowns. "Um, well, the gravity feels about the same so it ought to be right?"

Instead of flying down she just ends up relying on the power of wall jumping her way down. The floatie is safely secured.

DG: Lydia Seren has used her Tool Icarus Wings toward her party's challenge, Forty Meter Drop.
<Pose Tracker> Josephine Lovelace has posed.

    A retreat had been necessary at the outset. Between the injuries she'd sustained, and the general retreat of all Odessa operatives at the ruin, well...

    But Miss Lovelace is an archaeologist, and perhaps some inclinations cannot be easily subdued.

    "Well, well. Look what we've got here. Seems like one hell of a hole, yeah?" remarks the woman, approaching the crowd that's gathered at the rim. She crouches by the lip, running a pair of gloved fingers along the edge of the hole. "...Not bad. Shouldn't've expected any less, from Cid's lot." She rises to her feet on the edge of the gap.

    "Forty meters down, what? Don't suppose any of you-- oh, good."

    She has it seems spotted the rope. Did she... not bring any herself?
    Apparently not.

    "Don't suppose you'd mind if I joined your merry little band or none? Seems I'm on my lonesome with this business, and I'd die for a closer look-see. Just look at that mosaic!"

    She'll avail herself if permitted. Though one-handed climbing is perhaps a bit of a tricky feat.

DG: Josephine Lovelace has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Forty Meter Drop.
<Pose Tracker> Cecilia Adlehyde has posed.

Cecilia Lynn Adlehyde, Princess of Adlehyde, is leaning over the edge of the chasm with too much interest and not enough concern. "I think it's a monarchy," she says, half-attentively, at Venetia's jab toward Kislev.

Venetia is asking really important questions and it actually takes Cecilia a few seconds to realize they are not going to be answered. She decides she should ask her brilliant scientist friend, Emma Hetfield, whom Cecilia does not know is at this very moment driving a boring machine through Adlehyde substrata she doesn't have the permits to build in.

Josie and Lydia both turn up. Cecilia has lost track of how alliances work anymore and, hey, more hands to unlock the secrets of the universe, she'll take that. In the meanwhile she produces her Change Rod and fires a bead of light down into the darkness. "I think I see a spot," she declares, helpfully, and then disappears as the Change Rod magically swaps her location with that of a Leypoint on the ground below.

DG: Cecilia Adlehyde has used her Tool Change Staff toward her party's challenge, Forty Meter Drop.
=============<* Hoel - Shrine of the Light Trial (First Visit) *>=============
======================<* CHALLENGE - Forty Meter Drop *>======================
|Type: Entry       |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 2          |
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 The original entrance to Hoel has long been covered by sand, and is deep
 underneath the desert. The new entrance, cut open by Cid's men, is on the
 roof of the place. This leads to a grand chamber at the center of the ruin:
 a massive, forty meter high chamber that looks down upon a circular mosaic
 of the Goddess Althena.

 The circular mosaic is divided into thirty-six sections, each depicting
 scenes from Althenan dogma circa a thousand years or more ago: the arrival
 of Althena's Fortress; the blessing of water, earth, and sky upon the Silver
 Star; the first Dragonmaster, leading Althena's Chosen to their waiting
 promised land; and the last, standing against the Magic Emperor. All of them
 are dim.

 There are dun gemstones scattered across the ceiling. If lit, they should
 shine down upon this mosaic and light it up. Doing so will unlock whatever
 is necessary to open the sealed door at the central north wall of the
 chamber. Numerous other doors lead off from it, like spokes from a wheel.

 However, first, you must enter -- and you are at the top of that forty foot
 ceiling, with no easy way down.
=Dungeon Conditions: Slow, Secret=============================================
========<* Hoel - Shrine of the Light Trial (First Visit) - Round 1 *>========
========================< Results - Forty Meter Drop >========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Venetia Vuong                       0 --(13)--> 13                 Fail
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lydia Seren                         0 --(5)--> 5                   Pass
Icarus Wings                        2   Agility Effects: Quicken
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cecilia Adlehyde                    0 --(5)--> 5                   Pass
Change Staff                        3   Agility Effects: Fanfare
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Josephine Lovelace                  0 --(5)--> 5                   Pass
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Venetia Vuong               0 --(20)--> 20                 Pass
Conditions: Secret(2)|Slow(2)
Effects: Quicken(1)
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: The party led by Venetia Vuong 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> Venetia Vuong has posed.

Lydia Seren raises the question: Why do they simply not grow wings?

"And why does the Kaiser of Kislev, as the largest of the autocrats of that ice-cursed state, not simply EAT Shakhan?" Venetia answers Lydia.

A moment later, she clarifies: "That's sarcasm. Nobody should eat political figures."

Venetia has a visible gap in her dialogue where she was probably going to talk shit about all other forms of governance beyond quasi-electoral oligarchy - THE METHODOLOGY THAT MADE GUILD GALAD GREAT - because, well, Cecilia. No need to pick a fight when people aren't yet committed. To Josie, Venetia says, "Pleased to meet you. I'm Vuong. These other people have their reasons for me not introducing them."

Josie gets her hand shook if she isn't careful.

Venetia's contribution to the descent is losing her grip on the rope about ten feet below the finish and falling directly onto her ass with a "hiiaaagh!" of dismay. She rolls onto her side, clearly crippled for life; then she looks upwards and around and rises upwards, gradually. Rubbing her backside, she mutters, "That wasn't as bad as I thought. I suppose this Al Bhed fabric's probably got some secret in it. Memo to self, sell it to someone on Filgaia if we are spared..."

Then she looks around.

"... Is that Althena?" Venetia says, pointing at the ground. "I recognize from the pamphlets."

A moment passes.

"I thought the Althenides were on the other continent," Venetia continues. "Why do they have an ancient ****ing temple in the sands of THIS place? Does anyone have a map of this ocean-haunted orb?"

Fortunately, there is a door.

DG: Lydia Seren has drawn a new Challenge.
=============<* Hoel - Shrine of the Light Trial (First Visit) *>=============
=============<* CHALLENGE - Crypts of Pendrago's Ancient Lords *>=============
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 2          |
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 The hallway that you enter next is an ancient crypt. The long hallway is
 dark, except for a few stray rays of light that shine down impossibly. This
 illuminates is architecture, which has a motif resembling Pendrago hundreds
 and hundreds of years ago. At the end of the hallway is a deep indigo
 gemstone. After you touch it, you will light one of the mosaic segments in
 the central chamber.

 The gemstone is hidden behind a shimmering barrier, colored a deep red. In
 fuzzy detail, the outline of the imperial house of Rolance can be seen upon
 it.

 There are, as it happens, four sarcophagi in this room. The stone lids must
 be pushed aside on each -- and hidden within them is a button.
 Unfortunately, the moment the lids are moved, the dark purple swirl of
 Malevolence can be seen. Then, lizardmen Hellions rise from the skeletons
 within -- and wear plate mail, red tabards, and carry great swords as they
 did in life.

 The ancient lords of Pendrago buried here, long since turned into Hellions,
 rise to do battle with you. They must be dispatched, before you can press
 the buttons in each coffin and deactivate the barrier.
=Dungeon Conditions: Wound, Weaken============================================
<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

"Because he's a racist dink," Lydia answers Venetia. "Who puts people into prison camps just cause he doesn't like the looks of them and, as such, hasn't considered the benefits of eating his Solarian-backed fuckhole, because it's confirmed that people like him just doesn't think as good as most folks. He should totally eat Shakhan. It would solve a lot of problems and also dispose of the evidence anyway. Monarchy is a joke that likes to make eternal wars happen just so nobody else gets to be happy neither." She looks to Cecilia for a moment and then adds to Venetia. "For every Cecilia you get like five jerks." She winks once at Cecilia as if to say 'you're one of the good ones since you saved the planet and all ^_-'.

The next hallway leads into an ancient spooky crypt. There's a whole bunch of mosaic segments about and even--four sarcophagi. Lydia jogs on over.

"I'm sorry you're lonely Josie. I'll be happy to be your friend if you don't have any." Lydia adds to Josephine. She looks around and doesn't see much beyond a barrier--and a BLOOD RED gemstone behind it. There's a vague outline of a house but Lydia doesn't get it.

"Anyway, I bet there's treasures in these coffins so." Lydia approaches one of them and opens it up.

There is a swirl of malevolence and then lizardmen start jumping out off the sarcophogi!

"...Uhhh.... I thought hellions weren't supposed to be here." She hops back a few feet to avoid a lizard claw swipe. "Sometimes I wonder if they're just making up the rules as we go along." She looks to Cecilia as if for confirmation. Nevertheless, the lizardman goes in for another swipe andd Lydia darts in, slicing for its neck with her blade even as the other hellions start clambering out and assaulting the rest of the group.

"Well they probably still need their heads so it won't be too bad." Lydia adds.

DG: Lydia Seren has used her Tool Rachiel Medry Is Doing Her Best toward her party's challenge, Crypts of Pendrago's
Ancient Lords.
<Pose Tracker> Cecilia Adlehyde has posed.

"I think it is Althena..." Cecilia says, because she had a few extra moments on account of teleportation. She trusts Venetia to be fine because she has learned Venetia is clearly a powerful wizard of tremendous power and indisputable wizardry. She learned this from Venetia.

"You're right," she mutters, getting more focused. "How is it possible for an Althenian temple to be here? Even assuming some long-ago expedition made it, just the resources you'd need..."

She decides not to intercede in Politics because Wild ARMS 1's politics don't particularly hold up to scrutiny more intense than 'pretty girl good dress. monkey brain clap.' At least she got a free compliment just for doing things she thinks are important! This is a huge success.

Cecilia agrees with Lydia's handling of the coffins, at least, and pops one open.

Just in time to receive a grim premonition and force herself to stagger back, narrowly dodging a sweeping blade. "I don't know! This whole building should be impossible, anyway!"

So saying she produces a Crest Graph from her case and fires a wave of ice spikes into her assailant.

DG: Cecilia Adlehyde has used her Tool Crest Graph Case toward her party's challenge, Crypts of Pendrago's Ancient
Lords.
<Pose Tracker> Venetia Vuong has posed.

"You're an angry little sheeplady, aren't you," Venetia answers Lydia. "I respect that."

As they move forwards, Venetia reaches for her case of Crest Graphs, battered but retaining recently forged content. She looks round, inhaling the visuals of the environment. "Let's see," she murmurs. "If I recall Bikanel here is on the western side of Spira, and I believe that the main settlements of various primitives and Althenics was... where, in relation to this? Inferentially I would say west, but I recall further that this Sin attacked them and it was considered remarkable..."

"It doesn't seem impossible structurally," Venetia continues. "With ten stout men of the sea and a good quarry I could build something struct - well, kiss my ass and call me Susan," Venetia continues.

Fortunately, she has an answer to kings.

Is it her Crest Graph? No.

A GUN!! She clears leather from the holster on her OTHER hip and fires at center mass, sufficiently quickly to shroud herself in gunsmoke and make her swear because she did that one handed and now her ears and wrist hurt!!

DG: Venetia Vuong has used her Tool Gun toward her party's challenge, Crypts of Pendrago's Ancient Lords.
<Pose Tracker> Josephine Lovelace has posed.

    Josie and Venetia have met, in fact -- if by the means of a lecture that Vuong was leading. Josie had happened to be a little bit drunk at the time, which may be in turn one of the reasons why she doesn't point this fact out. One of the reasons, indeed.

    She's unable to avoid a handshake; so be it. She offers up the left alone. "Josephine Lovelace. Charmed," she says, flashing a grin.

    Which is about when her dark-eyed gaze slides over towards Lydia who she... also knows.

    "Lonely? Who said anything 'bout lonely?" the archaeologist drawls. "I'm just here on my lonesome," she reasserts, shaking her head and shrugging. "But nevermind it. I'm more keen on that mosaic. If I didn't know better, I'd say it was--"

    A FEW MINUTES LATER

    "...So it is Althena. I'll be a monkey's auntie," the archaeologist remarks, shaking her head. "Well now. Let's take a look 'round, right?"

    And so they do! Being an archaeologist, Josie's instincts immediately lead her to the sarcophagi, one of which with some effort she slides off the lid of and

    "Don't that beat all," she deadpans, taking a few steps back as the Hellions rise from their graves. She palms a flask from her hip and at quite short range splashes some of the rotgut into a Hellion face!

    Protip: it's quite flammable.

DG: Josephine Lovelace has used her Tool Liquid Courage toward her party's challenge, Crypts of Pendrago's Ancient
Lords.
=============<* Hoel - Shrine of the Light Trial (First Visit) *>=============
=============<* CHALLENGE - Crypts of Pendrago's Ancient Lords *>=============
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 2          |
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 The hallway that you enter next is an ancient crypt. The long hallway is
 dark, except for a few stray rays of light that shine down impossibly. This
 illuminates is architecture, which has a motif resembling Pendrago hundreds
 and hundreds of years ago. At the end of the hallway is a deep indigo
 gemstone. After you touch it, you will light one of the mosaic segments in
 the central chamber.

 The gemstone is hidden behind a shimmering barrier, colored a deep red. In
 fuzzy detail, the outline of the imperial house of Rolance can be seen upon
 it.

 There are, as it happens, four sarcophagi in this room. The stone lids must
 be pushed aside on each -- and hidden within them is a button.
 Unfortunately, the moment the lids are moved, the dark purple swirl of
 Malevolence can be seen. Then, lizardmen Hellions rise from the skeletons
 within -- and wear plate mail, red tabards, and carry great swords as they
 did in life.

 The ancient lords of Pendrago buried here, long since turned into Hellions,
 rise to do battle with you. They must be dispatched, before you can press
 the buttons in each coffin and deactivate the barrier.
=Dungeon Conditions: Wound, Weaken============================================
========<* Hoel - Shrine of the Light Trial (First Visit) - Round 2 *>========
===============< Results - Crypts of Pendrago's Ancient Lords >===============
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Venetia Vuong                       13 --(5)--> 18                 Pass
Gun                                 2   Combat  Effects: Embolden
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lydia Seren                         5 --(5)--> 10                  Pass
Rachiel Medry Is Doing Her Best     3   Combat  Effects: Fanfare
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cecilia Adlehyde                    5 --(5)--> 10                  Pass
Crest Graph Case                    1   Combat  Effects: Cleanse
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Josephine Lovelace                  5 --(5)--> 10                  Pass
Liquid Courage                      3   Combat  Effects: Rally
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Venetia Vuong               20 --(30)--> 50                Pass
Conditions: Secret(1)|Slow(1)|Weaken(2)|Wound(2)
Effects: Cleanse|Embolden(1)
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: The party led by Venetia Vuong 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> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia beams brightly, clearly taking 'Angry little sheeplady' as a compliment. She does not push for Cecilia to share her political insight and well--being called an angry little sheeplady seems to calm her mood somehow. Maybe she's just happy to be seen. And at least she isn't pro world annihilation yet. That's something.

But she does say, "Well it's an Elw structure so--I mean, maybe aat some point Althena's people WERE here and they just sorta moved? And the people who stayed behind becaame the Spirans? Or it's possible that there was some kind of time-space mishap and it got teleported over here but if you think about it, it makes sense right? Since the Elw are involved and a lot of their temples seemed to become temples for other people eventually? Like, even the Fayth was one right? And the the Guardian Temple. Maybe their teleportation circuit is WHY those places of worship have been put there to begin with. I mean, it'd explain how Althena even knew about Spira enough to send an army to attack it in the first place right? Even with Sin around, you wouldn't assume 'secret civilization on the other side of the moon' right off the bat otherwise right?"

Regardless, the battle isn't too tough. Maybe the party is overleveled by now--Venetia cacn gun a lizardman down eaasily, Lydia cuts one's head off, and Cecilia puts one lizard... ON ICE... and Josephine grills another lizard. Literally. It's starting to smell honestly.

"

She then looks to Josephine and adds, "Oh sorry for presuming or anything. It's just you seem to always work on your own."

DG: Cecilia Adlehyde has drawn a new Challenge.
==============<* Hoel - Shrine of the Light Trial (First Visit) *>==============
========================<* CHALLENGE - Prism Prisons *>=========================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 2          |
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 The hallway that you enter from the main room is long, like many are. Unlike
 others, this one has a checkerboard pattern on the floor. Periodically, one
 of the tiles flashes -- and then a brilliant, solid block of light appears
 and locks a person inside of it for a full minute.

 On the other side of the hallway is a dark green gemstone. If you can touch
 it, you will light one of the mosaic segments in the central chamber. Doing
 so, however, means not being caught in one of the light jails, which are
 solid -- and impossible to break through.

 If everyone is caught, it could take quite some time to get to the gemstone.
=Dungeon Conditions: Treasure, Exhaust========================================
<Pose Tracker> Cecilia Adlehyde has posed.

One of the mosaic segments lights up as the team returns to the main chamber. Cecilia angles up to look, watching with curiosity. "Segments lighting up as we clear chambers," she muses. "I guess that was inevitable. If we clear more, maybe we'll light up the whole thing."

Thus, the group passes into another long loading zone^h^h^h hallway. The panels below are checkerboarded. As they approach, one of the panels far down the hallway lights up, and thrusts up a prison of light, which lingers. And lingers...and lingers...

It's not gone yet by the time one of the panels underfoot flashes to life, and Cecilia feels her ankles caught in a rising light prison. "Move!" Cecilia barks, and thrusts her Change Staff forward, casting a bead of light forward to a Leypoint nearby. This prison flashes away if it doesn't catch anyone...but soon, other lights will appear!

DG: Cecilia Adlehyde has used her Tool Change Staff toward her party's challenge, Prism Prisons.
<Pose Tracker> Josephine Lovelace has posed.

    Lightning snaps from her fingertips in the next and the Hellion goes up like an unfortunately lit mid-winter festival tree. She pockets the flask on the follow through, after first giving the contents a wiff, as if even she weren't entirely sure what she'd poured in there last.

    Lydia apologizes as the dust settles -- and as Josie reaches her hand into then now emptied tomb and depresses a button therein. She straightens after, regarding the girl for a moment, then shakes her hand dismissively. "Eh, don't you worry after it none," she remarks, shaking her head for good measure. "The life of a Drifter, right?"

    Whistling jauntily, she continues along as they head back to investigate the mosaic in the chamber once again. "Heh. Clever lock, there. Light up the mosaic to proceed? Well, then let's get on with it."

    They might have been forced off, but Odessa is bound to still be interested about the contents of the ruin, after all.

    And so it's onwards and inwards to another of the chambers. "Seems easy enougaaah," Josie utters, bolting forward as the panel she was standing on starts to flash and erupts into a cell of a size that would put her digs in Bevelle into a more flattering contrast. Sure, that one might have been evaded, but it's far from the only one of the potential light-prisons, and a square is already starting to flash again.

    "Don't gotta tell me twice!"

DG: Josephine Lovelace has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Prism Prisons.
<Pose Tracker> Venetia Vuong has posed.

"If the Elw worshipped Althena, why are they all dead?" Venetia answers Lydia. She taps her forehead. "It would make sense if there was an aperture here and it was later claimed as a holy site, or a temple, but this is obviously some kind of tomb. And obviously, people would not want to bury their dead in their elevator lobbies."

So she thinks.

Venetia then pauses.

"... that's true," Venetia says. "'Althena' would know - or at least would know enough to tell them it was worth trying the voyage... but why wouldn't they start it before then? You can hardly keep people out of secured locations these days."

Venetia says to Josie as she goes, "The idea that this Althena woman may have had continuity of existence for thousands of years is troubling. I think she might be a Crimson N"

Venetia walks directly into the trap.

One minute later Venetia says, "WHAT IN THE NAME OF DINOGINOS'-"

She surges forwards and is caught two rows forwards.

YES: Venetia is HELPING, by SETTING OFF THE TRAP REPEATEDLY with her BODY! This is also replenishing her rage storage! This is 'Duck Spirit' !!

DG: Venetia Vuong has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Prism Prisons.
<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

"Yeah... Yeah, I guess so." Lydia says, cheeks silvering faintly. "The life of a drifter."

She looks to Venetia. "What? That doesn't make any sense. For starters, the Elw aren't all dead." Her cheeks puff out a bit, no doubt using this opportunity to distract herself from the general gnawing feeling of emptiness rising up within her gut. "And I wasn't saying the Elw worshipped her in the first place. Just saying that these teleporter systems often end up as temples too. It's been like that every time we hopped worlds pretty much. Maybe Althena CAME through here, they hung out here for a while, then people traveled onto Glenwood and such and the Spirans stuck behind, eventually forgetting about their Althenian roots when the giant whale killed everybody. Or through any of the other sixteen billion awful things that happened...!"

She shakes her head. "Sides, it's not like Althena's omnipotent or nothin'. No Guardian of Wisdom or anything."

She doesn't comment on Althenaa being a Crimson N though because--lights! Cameras! Action!

More specifically she is told to move aand immediately starts skating around, dodging lightbeams in a manner that feels honestly a bit sacriligeous.

"Supposed to be a cool shaman of all things shiny," She grumbles. "Shouldn't I be getting a free pass here?"

DG: Lydia Seren has used her Tool Icarus Wings toward her party's challenge, Prism Prisons.
==============<* Hoel - Shrine of the Light Trial (First Visit) *>==============
========================<* CHALLENGE - Prism Prisons *>=========================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 2          |
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 The hallway that you enter from the main room is long, like many are. Unlike
 others, this one has a checkerboard pattern on the floor. Periodically, one
 of the tiles flashes -- and then a brilliant, solid block of light appears
 and locks a person inside of it for a full minute.

 On the other side of the hallway is a dark green gemstone. If you can touch
 it, you will light one of the mosaic segments in the central chamber. Doing
 so, however, means not being caught in one of the light jails, which are
 solid -- and impossible to break through.

 If everyone is caught, it could take quite some time to get to the gemstone.
=Dungeon Conditions: Treasure, Exhaust========================================
=========<* Hoel - Shrine of the Light Trial (First Visit) - Round 3 *>=========
==========================< Results - Prism Prisons >===========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Venetia Vuong                       18 --(5)--> 23                 Pass
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lydia Seren                         10 --(5)--> 15                 Pass
Icarus Wings                        2   Agility Effects: Quicken
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cecilia Adlehyde                    10 --(5)--> 15                 Pass
Change Staff                        3   Agility Effects: Fanfare
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Josephine Lovelace                  10 --(5)--> 15                 Pass
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC
-----------------------------------< Party >------------------------------------
Leader: Venetia Vuong               50 --(25)--> 75                Pass
Conditions: Exhaust(1)|Treasure(1)
Effects: Quicken(1)
===============================< Dream Chasers >================================
DG: The party led by Venetia Vuong 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: Venetia Vuong has drawn a new Challenge.
=============<* Hoel - Shrine of the Light Trial (First Visit) *>=============
================<* CHALLENGE - Octavio - The Steps of Faith *>================
|Type: Climax      |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 3          |
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 You return to the central room. So do a number of other groups, which had
 visited others of the numerous hallways inside of here. Strangely, all of
 you are greeted with the same sight, when you exit: a tile on the floor
 alights, and then Pyreflies swirl about. They reveal not some ancient
 Yevonite, but instead a man wearing a blue-and-white uniform with a Glenwood
 cut.

 He smiles -- and speaks to you, and all of the other groups, as one. "I am
 Octavio," he says. "The chosen guardian of this place, in the name of Seraph
 Lenawere. You have done well to come this far.

 IF YOUR GROUP HAS SERAPHIM:

 The Unsent glances over all of you, but hesitates upon seeing the Seraphim.
 A visible regret fills his eyes. But it does not stop him.

 FOR EVERYONE:

 He takes a deep breath. "There is a final step. Or--" He smiles. "--several.
 See." He motions -- and the great mosaic of Althena has lit up entirely. It
 shows much of Lunar's first days; of her arrival, of the first Seraphim
 forming at her command, of the Oaths she spoke to the Four Dragons, and one
 that shows darkened figures marching in two separate groups for the
 idealized Frontier. It shows this, and more. Octavio steps over, then taps
 it. There are numerous, interlocked lenses -- which must be turned to
 brighten one part, as gemstones shine down.

 "Move these into place, over the pieces of the Silver Star's past that touch
 your soul the most," Octavio commands. "And you shall rise to the next
 level. There, each of you shall face Lenawere's trial -- and shall be
 granted access to the teleporters of the Ancient ones."

 You can see them: sets of stairwells, but made only of light. To make them
 corporeal, you must find portions of the great mosaic that somehow speak to
 all of you deeply -- and then slide a series of magnifying lenses mounted
 over them, on great spokes that let them be turned, to magnify only segments
 that you choose.
=Dungeon Conditions: Stupify, Tire============================================
<Pose Tracker> Cecilia Adlehyde has posed.

The pass is not free.

But it's not too bad, either. The group, with nimble feet and the awesome power of teleportation, are able to skip through light prisons with only a few bruises to their pride. Cecilia stumbles up to the activation crystal and slaps her hand against it, and the whole system shuts down, including releasing Venetia from her second prison. "Well!" she chirps. "That wasn't so bad! Back to the center, I suppose!"

<Pose Tracker> Venetia Vuong has posed.

Venetia Vuong, her furious face partly veiled by her lace mask, says "thank you" as she's helped loose. She replies to Lydia: "In my old neighborhood there were ten thousand, eight hundred and sixty-two people when I left. The calculus has likely changed since then, and this ignores the criminals who do not pay taxes. I will allow that there may be a relict population somewhere, but there is, to my knowledge, a number of Elw alive between"

And then forwards. Venetia swallows her anger, packing it away for the day of wrath, because they are faced with a man in a blue and white uniform.

Venetia blinks slowly.

INSERT MOOD (ignore the title): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcNxi-gMSh0

'There is a final step.'

Octavio explains things as per the statement. The lenses appear but Venetia's reaction has been an elongated gawp followed by, "This... this IS some kind of an Althenic holy place, isn't it? It isn't just a tomb. By the Guardians! Adlehyde, look at these damn things! It's like they made stage lights but they're not burning ANYTHING for them."

'Move these into place, over the pieces of the Silver Star's past that touch your soul the most.'

Venetia's lip curls. "What! That's preposterous! None of this means anything to me! It might as well be decorations on the wall of a saloon! I barely believe anything outside of this Spira realm exists, though I must allow also that most of the accounts of Spira itself were accurate, suggesting that..."

Venetia gets an idea and attempts to turn one of the gems to point towards the stairwell.

This does not work, although she takes a few moments to try to force it. This will probably be resolved in a few moments when she gives up.

DG: Venetia Vuong has used her Tool Annotated Guide to Economic Stone toward her party's challenge, Octavio - The Steps
of Faith.
<Pose Tracker> Josephine Lovelace has posed.

    In the end they reach the other side, one way or another (and fortunately not without wasting a lot in the way of time spent). The crystal's light is quite brilliant...

    And perhaps it is with some surprise that they return to find that they are not quite here alone. A man awaits them.

    "Ain't that..."

    Aha.

    Octavio explains a few things. And, well, the things he doesn't explain are clear enough from his appearance on this stage proper. "Looks like history was wrong again," Josie remarks, her gaze sweeping the mosaic. "Now, maybe if I knew some about Althena's history..." Was she not paying any attention to the church lore when she was last in the rest of Lunar proper? Apparently not.

    But then one of the lenses appears and that has Josie's attention. "What glass do you got in here?" she remarks to Octavio, who more than likely doesn't have a good answer. "Well, no matter. Give me a second or three here, and..."

    She produces a screwdriver and kneels alongside the lens, her attention now all-consuming on the mysterious ancient device and how best to, well, take it apart. Of course, these things were made a little better than that, more likely, so the most she might end up being able to do to it is...

    Well, maybe the lens's focus was on the loose side.

    "...This doesn't come out? Well, ain't that a kick in the pants," Josie sighs, and slides it along haphazardly to a portion of the mosaic. It has the Magic Emperor on it. "This fella looks familiar," she remarks.

    Probably because she saw him a few weeks ago when escaping from Via Purifico.

DG: Josephine Lovelace has used her Tool Lucky Screwdriver toward her party's challenge, Octavio - The Steps of Faith.
<Pose Tracker> Cecilia Adlehyde has posed.

Cecilia senses something, as Octavio appears, and she grimaces and touches her head.

"It seems this man built it himself, long ago. I've heard Shepherds have incredible power. I guess a Seraph of the right inclination could let you build a temple around a teleporter without much issue."

"But...It's not just that," she says, quietly, to Venetia. A soft screeeek, as a mercifully un-Malevolent mouse scampers past, and Cecilia looks down at it as if it knew all. "I knew I sensed something. There's a Medium here. Reaching out."

"It makes sense," she says, eyeing Octavio thoughtfully, then the lenses. "Mediums have a way of finding their way to places they belong. Fire to flames, earth to stones."

She places hand on a lense and glides it up, over, all the way to an icon of Althena, up, higher, higher, to her head...

To the halo above it.

"Light to radiance," she says.

DG: Cecilia Adlehyde has used her Tool Magic Wand toward her party's challenge, Octavio - The Steps of Faith.
<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia says, "Are you like an angry little human lady 'cause if so I totally respect that." with upmost sincerity and a big smile. She nudges Venetia in the ribs lightly with an elbow and then Octavio.

"Ehhhhhhhh....." Lydia says, but doesn't seem too troubled by it. She looks at the various murals. "I'm not sure this is legal considering our faiths here but..."

She crouches down to take a look." "..."

But the truth is, she can't seem to find one that really speaks to her no matter how hard she tries. She glances to Cecilia. "Let me guess, Stare Roe?" She looks towards Josie's pick and adds, "Magic Emperor. Think I saw something in Meribia about it."

She frowns faintly and presses her hand on the mural of the Four Dragons. "...You know, too much malevolence meaans you get dragons too right? I wonder if these dragons are like... Anti Fell Dragons or something."

She sighs. "...I wish I was born on Lunar. People know how to treat beastmen there, the world isn't dying. Even Spira. All I ever hear on Filgaia is how nothing can be done about it. Know it isn't perfect, got its own problems, but there's problems I could fight. Filgaia I just gotta endure it."

She shakes her head again and adds, "Least I'd be free."

DG: Lydia Seren has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Octavio - The Steps of Faith.
=============<* Hoel - Shrine of the Light Trial (First Visit) *>=============
================<* CHALLENGE - Octavio - The Steps of Faith *>================
|Type: Climax      |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 3          |
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 You return to the central room. So do a number of other groups, which had
 visited others of the numerous hallways inside of here. Strangely, all of
 you are greeted with the same sight, when you exit: a tile on the floor
 alights, and then Pyreflies swirl about. They reveal not some ancient
 Yevonite, but instead a man wearing a blue-and-white uniform with a Glenwood
 cut.

 He smiles -- and speaks to you, and all of the other groups, as one. "I am
 Octavio," he says. "The chosen guardian of this place, in the name of Seraph
 Lenawere. You have done well to come this far.

 IF YOUR GROUP HAS SERAPHIM:

 The Unsent glances over all of you, but hesitates upon seeing the Seraphim.
 A visible regret fills his eyes. But it does not stop him.

 FOR EVERYONE:

 He takes a deep breath. "There is a final step. Or--" He smiles. "--several.
 See." He motions -- and the great mosaic of Althena has lit up entirely. It
 shows much of Lunar's first days; of her arrival, of the first Seraphim
 forming at her command, of the Oaths she spoke to the Four Dragons, and one
 that shows darkened figures marching in two separate groups for the
 idealized Frontier. It shows this, and more. Octavio steps over, then taps
 it. There are numerous, interlocked lenses -- which must be turned to
 brighten one part, as gemstones shine down.

 "Move these into place, over the pieces of the Silver Star's past that touch
 your soul the most," Octavio commands. "And you shall rise to the next
 level. There, each of you shall face Lenawere's trial -- and shall be
 granted access to the teleporters of the Ancient ones."

 You can see them: sets of stairwells, but made only of light. To make them
 corporeal, you must find portions of the great mosaic that somehow speak to
 all of you deeply -- and then slide a series of magnifying lenses mounted
 over them, on great spokes that let them be turned, to magnify only segments
 that you choose.
=Dungeon Conditions: Stupify, Tire============================================
========<* Hoel - Shrine of the Light Trial (First Visit) - Round 4 *>========
==================< Results - Octavio - The Steps of Faith >==================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Venetia Vuong                       23 --(8)--> 31                 Pass
Annotated Guide to Economic Stone   2   Wits    Effects: Enlighten
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lydia Seren                         15 --(8)--> 23                 Pass
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cecilia Adlehyde                    15 --(8)--> 23                 Pass
Magic Wand                          3   Wits    Effects: Rally
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Josephine Lovelace                  15 --(16)--> 31                Fail
Lucky Screwdriver                   2   Wits    Effects: Enlighten
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Venetia Vuong               75 --(0)--> 75                 Pass
Conditions: Stupify(2)|Tire(2)
Effects: Enlighten(1)
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: The party led by Venetia Vuong has passed this challenge! The party gained 0 exploration! If anyone needs to use
party management commands, do so now. Otherwise, the next round's GM may begin the next round with +dungeon/draw.
DG: Venetia Vuong has drawn a new Challenge.
=============<* Hoel - Shrine of the Light Trial (First Visit) *>=============
===================<* CHALLENGE - Octavio - Shining Bind *>===================
|Type: Final       |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 3          |
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 The stairs of light appear and you climb them. The other groups do the same.

 The next room that you enter is an Elw Teleporter. You recognize this;
 though the architecture largely remains Althenan, the doorway that the
 stairs lead to leads to a square-shaped chamber with four blue steel spokes
 that glimmer. Runes on them are Elw, rather than Althenan.

 A crystal is mounted in the wall. Once this is activated -- and the others
 like it, in the rooms of the others -- the Teleporter will be online.

 The center of the room has a circle, which is aglow with white-gold light.
 Octavio steps ahead of you. He turns, then, and looks back at you. "There is
 but one thing left. Lenawere's Trial... were she here to give it." His eyes
 close -- and he changes. The Unsent's garments shift from blue and white, to
 the purest white with golden lining. His eyes, when they open, are a deep
 gold -- and his black hair changes to gold. His hand clutches a
 newly-appearing great sword.

 Armatization.

 "I am Exorcist Octavio," the middle-aged man says. "And this place is our
 tomb... and my penance. In ages past, I bound Malak Lenawere to me. Her will
 robbed, her spirit was imbued into mine -- and when I came here, bringing
 her work to this distant land, I found death would not take me."

 He nods his head once, at that.

 IF THERE ARE SERAPHIM IN THE GROUP:

 "If you hate me... then I accept that," he says. "My crimes are too great to
 forgive. Too great to ignore. I act in her interest, now, but I took her
 life. You know what must come--you know what must be done."

 FOR EVERYONE:

 Octavio's eyes turn over each of you, in turn. "The Trial is to withstand my
 light... and to make your own shine, all the brighter! The Trial is to cast
 aside stolen light... WITH YOUR OWN!"

 Octavio swings his great sword forward. Brilliant chains of purest light
 explode outward, criss-crossing together, and them slam down amidst you with
 brilliant explosions. "I am a sinner and no saint! I will show no mercy!
 SHINING BIND!"

 The battle is joined.
=Dungeon Conditions: Wound====================================================
<Pose Tracker> Venetia Vuong has posed.

"Wait," Venetia says, turning her lens around as she regards Cecilia. "Wait, wait - back up for a moment, your highness. Do you mean what you said in the literal, the literal sense? For as I said, with some workers I could carve the bones of this place out in a few weeks' work, but the way that you express this suggests that..."

"ALL of this... was done in a single go... by THIS man, aided only by one of the Seraphs?"

Venetia's lens is left pointing at the Goddess Althena's hair. Well, it is pretty good hair. She pinches her nose, takes a breath, lets it out. Lydia elbows her and she grimaces. "I understand your concern and your thoughts," she tells the anomalous woman: "I feel the same way half the time. Everyone's acting like they've given up. Maybe it's just because they live out where there's dust and nostalgia for dinner and little else."

The stairwell appears. "And to answer your question: No," Venetia says. "Nothing about me is little."

Up.

Up.

Up. Past the muraline show. Up up up, to the crystalline layer.

'There is but one thing left'.

"Must be a tollw bridge," Venetia asides to Josie.

Before her brow knits... as Octavio reveals himself in full. He bound Malak (Malak? Venetia thinks: Is that the first name of --) to himself. He assumes a new form... for a moment her eyes meet his. And then he bellows out his words and as the world swirls into chaos:

INSERT: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcNxi-gMSh0 - BUT FOR REAL, THIS TIME

"You backbiting son of a," Venetia says before the SHINING BIND washes over her. She is forced to her knees, and then to lay on her belly on the ground in these shackles of screaming light! For a moment she thinks: I hope Marivel has her own ways because this would definitely fry her to a fritter:

But then she's getting out something from her hip.

"Your - SWORD - is IMPRESSIVE - but let me show you - THE FRUIT OF A WORLD THEY'VE GIVEN UP ON! This is not a relic of - GAH! - eld - it is a thing my subordinate bought... with MONEY... from a MACHINE!! And now, we shall see who - nfgh!"

Venetia stops trying to talk and instead fires the entire magazine of the revolver at an upward tilt at Octavio's center mass! And these are the big bullets. With a two handed grip it's easier to aim accurately. And each boom promises FOOT POUND PRESSURE, the kind of impact that could stun even a rampaging chocobo!

DG: Venetia Vuong has used her Tool Gun toward her party's challenge, Octavio - Shining Bind.
<Pose Tracker> Josephine Lovelace has posed.

    Josie stops for a moment, her gaze cast over Lydia's way.

    "You're just a kid, I reckon. Comparatively-like, and all. I ain't all that old yet, but even I've seen it day-to-day. Wells go bad. Forest withers. Towns die. And so on," Josie remarks, glancing up at the ceiling.

    "Filgaia's dyin'. And I know why. Maybe, if we're all lucky enough, we can push it back a little more yet," she says, pulling out a cigarette and lighting it with a snap of her fingers. "Or maybe you kids can run off here and live on Lunar or somesuch. Your call," says the archaeologist.

    "But I've made up my mind about what I'm doin'."

    Apparently, it seems, regardless of the blood that'll end up on her hands in the process.

    "Anyway, c'mon. You said there was one more trial?"

    There may be a stubbed out cigarette left somewhere on the stairs of light. It... may impact the ambiance somewhat, possibly.

    "A toll bridge? Heh," says the archaeologist, grinning lopsidedly.

    Before they reach the top and Octavio assumes a new form. "Malak--"

    The word means nothing, but the implications -- she's no fool. She gets the idea.
    Her flask returns to hand. Downing the contents and stuffing the rest of it deep into a pocket, she spins her black shotgun into her grasp and then as the terms are set and light implodes about her

    dodges, rolling to try to slide under about and should it become necessary, through the bursts of light, her own glimmering ward boiling off her.

    "So that's it, eh? You're lookin' for somewhere to put it all to rest. Then, from one sinner to another--"

    She swings the shotgun ahead of her and pulls the trigger; a roaring crack of a shot follows as her answer.

DG: Josephine Lovelace has used her Tool Liquid Courage toward her party's challenge, Octavio - Shining Bind.
<Pose Tracker> Cecilia Adlehyde has posed.

"I'm guessing," Cecilia admits to Lydia, "But I think so, yes."

"...I'm guessing about that, too," Cecilia notes to Venitia. "But it's...plausible. Maybe not one shot, certainly not without an Earth Seraph, but the Seraphim have tremendous power over their elements. It's not impossible. And our host is not offering much in the way of alternatives."

...she can do little but look to the side, chastened, by the rest of Lydia's lament. "I--" she tries, but the words are already hollow, and crumble in her throat. Josephine, at least, speaks to something, and Cecilia can only draw in a breath. "Right," she breathes. "We must be...the best we can be."

And then Octavio reveals himself, in awesome power. Cecilia knows some little about Lunar's ways, by now, but she's stymied by what comes. The first assault leaves her stumbling toward the back - not that this party has much of a front line - and forces her to fall to her knees, while she rummages through her Crest Graph Case. She slides a Crest Graph from the slots, flicking it into position in a shining circle before her. "In other words...kill him," she mutters. "Again, I suppose." Well, an immortal ghost with some kind of stolen Seraph power sure would make building a temple easier, she guesses. All this light is making it impossible to try and home in on the Medium. It's near, but...no, she'll have to end this, first.

So she does, blasts of fire roaring out of her Crest Graph toward Octavio.

DG: Cecilia Adlehyde has used her Tool Crest Graph Case toward her party's challenge, Octavio - Shining Bind.
<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia looks over to Josie. She speaks of Filgaia dying and knowing why. "You... know why? Why is it? I mean, I figured it was 'cause of all the apocalypses but..." She frowns. "It's not like I wouldn't want to save Filgaia if I could. But you're telling me you know why. So... Why is it?"

Lydia blinks once. She listens to Octavio's story. She regrets it almost immediately. "I don't buy it either." She asides to Venetia.

She looks to Venetia, briefly looking at her with a quirk of her head. "What? ... No, I mean, I'm literally a second class citizen on Filgaia. Twice over really if you count me being from the Colony." She shakes her head. "If I was human like you, maybe I could've gotten a hotshot education too and been a super cool ARMsmeiter like Miss Hetfield. Or at the very least... I bet I wouldn't have lost my body."

Now the guy is talking about facing...his Trial. To fight stolen light with her own.

Lydia blinks once and rolls her arms back. "Huh. So let me get this straight."

She quirks her head to the left. "You're just like the people who enslaved me, yeah? Nah," She shakes her head. "You might even be worse."

"And you want to see I'm a better person than you...at using light powers."

She thinks real hard. "This sounds a lot like bullshit."

Brilliant chains of light come crashing down towards Lydia as the guy chastizes himself further. The mediums within her body glow vibrantly as she extends a hand and the chains dispel away from her body--

--and she says, "But alright. I can doo that. I'll start with moonlight."

She channels Celesdue. The Guardian of the Moon ripples into being from above and launches an arrow down towards the exorcist. Moonlight shines down from where the arrow lands, gripping the exorcist with extreme gravitic forces--it's not quite the same as Catenna's talent with the Medium, but she's had a lot of practice.

"The light of the sky." Lydia continues as she brings her hand up gain. Celesdue fades as Solais Emsu appears, guiding a pentgram underneath the Exorcist's feet and sending a barrage of light crashing down upon him in a moment. Maybe OS is a thief of light, but Lydia isn't. These mediums call naturally to her.

"The light of the stars." Lydia continues, silver fluid dripping from her left nostril as she summons a three eyed meteor shrimp into the sky that aims to slam itself against Octavio and detonate in yet another bright flash of light.

"And, I dunno, just the Guardian of light itself." Lydia says.

The bug creature ripples briefly into existence--Lydia is still getting used to this medium. She sinks to one knee as she summons it--and it flies on over to Octavio and just barfs brilliant light all over him beffore fading away.

"...Fuck yo light." Lydia says. "Been bringin' the light since...well a couplle years ago."

She looks to Cecilia. "Oh shiiiit, bringing some FIRE LIGHT in this!! Looks like you thought we were a LIGHT challenge but we totally uh... lightened up this room cause we're lit! Fuuuuucker...!"

She promptly throws up silver fluid over the floor.

DG: Lydia Seren has used her Tool Rachiel Medry Is Doing Her Best toward her party's challenge, Octavio - Shining Bind.
=============<* Hoel - Shrine of the Light Trial (First Visit) *>=============
===================<* CHALLENGE - Octavio - Shining Bind *>===================
|Type: Final       |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 3          |
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 The stairs of light appear and you climb them. The other groups do the same.

 The next room that you enter is an Elw Teleporter. You recognize this;
 though the architecture largely remains Althenan, the doorway that the
 stairs lead to leads to a square-shaped chamber with four blue steel spokes
 that glimmer. Runes on them are Elw, rather than Althenan.

 A crystal is mounted in the wall. Once this is activated -- and the others
 like it, in the rooms of the others -- the Teleporter will be online.

 The center of the room has a circle, which is aglow with white-gold light.
 Octavio steps ahead of you. He turns, then, and looks back at you. "There is
 but one thing left. Lenawere's Trial... were she here to give it." His eyes
 close -- and he changes. The Unsent's garments shift from blue and white, to
 the purest white with golden lining. His eyes, when they open, are a deep
 gold -- and his black hair changes to gold. His hand clutches a
 newly-appearing great sword.

 Armatization.

 "I am Exorcist Octavio," the middle-aged man says. "And this place is our
 tomb... and my penance. In ages past, I bound Malak Lenawere to me. Her will
 robbed, her spirit was imbued into mine -- and when I came here, bringing
 her work to this distant land, I found death would not take me."

 He nods his head once, at that.

 IF THERE ARE SERAPHIM IN THE GROUP:

 "If you hate me... then I accept that," he says. "My crimes are too great to
 forgive. Too great to ignore. I act in her interest, now, but I took her
 life. You know what must come--you know what must be done."

 FOR EVERYONE:

 Octavio's eyes turn over each of you, in turn. "The Trial is to withstand my
 light... and to make your own shine, all the brighter! The Trial is to cast
 aside stolen light... WITH YOUR OWN!"

 Octavio swings his great sword forward. Brilliant chains of purest light
 explode outward, criss-crossing together, and them slam down amidst you with
 brilliant explosions. "I am a sinner and no saint! I will show no mercy!
 SHINING BIND!"

 The battle is joined.
=Dungeon Conditions: Wound====================================================
========<* Hoel - Shrine of the Light Trial (First Visit) - Round 5 *>========
=====================< Results - Octavio - Shining Bind >=====================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Venetia Vuong                       31 --(5)--> 36                 Pass
Gun                                 2   Combat  Effects: Embolden
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lydia Seren                         23 --(5)--> 28                 Pass
Rachiel Medry Is Doing Her Best     3   Combat  Effects: Fanfare
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cecilia Adlehyde                    23 --(13)--> 36                Fail
Crest Graph Case                    1   Combat  Effects: Cleanse
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Josephine Lovelace                  31 --(5)--> 36                 Pass
Liquid Courage                      3   Combat  Effects: Rally
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Venetia Vuong               75 --(35)--> 110               Pass
Conditions: Stupify(1)|Tire(1)|Wound(2)
Effects: Cleanse|Embolden(1)
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: You have overcome the dungeon's trials! This run is a success!
DG: The party led by Venetia Vuong has successfully explored Hoel - Shrine of the Light Trial (First Visit)!
=============<* Hoel - Shrine of the Light Trial (First Visit) *>=============
==================<* CHALLENGE - Putting the Dead to Rest *>==================
|Type: Discovery   |Dungeon Ability: Conclusion|Challenge Rating: 1          |
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 The final blow drives Octavio to his knees. He hits the ground, skidding
 backward. His great sword is driven point first into the stone, and leaves a
 divot carved into the ground where Octavio struck it to the flagstones. He
 looks up, and his form flickers -- pyreflies visible instead of the person
 -- and then he resumes his black-haired, blue and white uniform again.

 Octavio nods, once. Respectfully. "You fight well... do not lose sight of
 who you are. Of what you can accept. Of what paths you can walk. Stay with
 the light--and not the darkened ways, that seem easier, but only lead to
 worse."

 He smiles once. "Thank you. May she rest, now."

 His eyes close -- and then he bursts apart into so many pyreflies. They waft
 away from him, then. The Elw Teleporter's crystal awaits; with but a touch,
 it comes alive, with a hum. The four blue pillars shudder, as it comes
 online in other rooms.

 OOC: If you have the Blessing of Althena and Black Magic, as well as the
 Light elemental, you may now use the Diaga spell or a similar offensive
 Light magic. You also feel that you spirit is strengthened against
 Malevolence and Malevolent Domains.
=Dungeon Conditions: Wonder===================================================
<Pose Tracker> Venetia Vuong has posed.

Venetia's head turns towards Josie for a moment from the ground, but she cannot see her in the glare, only hear her --

Bullets and shot fall in on Octavio as SHINING BIND fills everyone's eyeballs. Another light counters it - a light of the heavens, not a light from below. Light struggles with light, and the ripples too are light; a flood of light, a sea of light, a storm of light.

Light contends with light and flame rips forwards, melting lead - scorching armor - and then -

"FAH!"

"thank shit," Venetia says from the ground.

"You fight well. Do not lose sight of who you are. Of what you can accept. Of what paths you can walk. Stay with the light -- and not the darkened ways that seem easier, but only lead to worse."

Octavio smiles. "Thank you. May she rest, now."

And a moment later...

The way is clear.

"..." Venetia says as she pushes her way upwards. "Well," she answers Lydia, "I can't say as I understand half of what you're saying. But I think I can get the realm of it. Don't let them get you down. And if you ever want to take up geological pursuits..."

Venetia reaches behind her head to tighten the ribbon on her mask.

"Let's continue this conversation on another planet," she says, before striding forwards, reaching up to place her hand upon a crystal that links two words--

<=== THE END?

<Pose Tracker> Josephine Lovelace has posed.

    Josie cracks a wide smile. "Heh... you really wanna know?" She shakes her head, then says quite simply:

    "Because that's the decision our ancestors made. Burning their future to save their present... world's falling apart 'cause their choice was a quick death or a slow one."

    She straightens, looking only at the image of the Goddess, now.

    "They picked slow. Maybe that's hope. Or maybe it ain't." Josie shrugs. "Who even knows, anymore."

    She steps away from the lens, then, heading for the stairs.

    And the battle that awaits it beyond.

    'May she rest, now,' says Octavio, in his last.

    Something about Josie's expression grows strange, distant.

    "You'n me both," she murmurs, to the Pyreflies.

    She shoulders the shotgun and approaches the place that unites two worlds.

<Pose Tracker> Cecilia Adlehyde has posed.

Cecilia watches the...ghost? Unsent? Yes, an Unsent, she concludes. Such a strange form of unlife...regardless, its final words. Her hand rests against her chest. Stay with the light, he says.

She remembers the look in Jack's eyes. Ida's, as the hate burned them like fire inside.

"Rest now," she says to the air. "We'll take it from here."

She steps forward, but not quite reaching for the teleportation stand. She steps off to one side.

It's lodged in one of the murals. Did Octavio put it there? Did it simply come to this place on its own? She prizes at it with short nails and fingertips for a long few seconds before it comes free, a solid stone tablet the size of a hand tumbling to the stones. She takes to her knee and picks it up, turning it over. An icon of intersecting starbursts; Stare Roe, as Lydia suspected.

    Shaman.

Holding it in her hands, the Guardian's voice pierces all distance and barriers.

    My light will go with you, wherever your path my wind.
    Bear it in your hand and in your heart.

The sense fades. Cecilia takes a long, deep breath as her head clears. "Yes," she says. "Of course."

She steps toward the pedestal.

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

"Shit tell me about geology," Lydia says. "Oh wait did you mean like metaphorical light? Fuck, I really screwed that up."

She follows Venetia back to Filgaia. "But honestly he should've been clearer like if he was fighting with I don't know water I'd be like 'oh ok I get it metaphorical light' but since he was using light powers TOO I thought he meant like laser beams and shit. I've really got a pretty good lock on elemental light, it's like my jam."

She considers Josie's answer and adds, "I don't know. That seems kinda naive I mean...It's like you're saying they did the best they could, but why was the other choice death in the first place? That doesn't seem like something that just happens. A group of decisions surely threw the world into the brink in the first place, and then rather pay for it themselves they threw it out into the future. Course, maybe the people who made that choice, and the people who made the other choices weren't the same people but..."

She trails off there and gives Cecilia a thumbsup. "Welcome to Team Gleam." She adds as she ports back to Filgaia.

<Pose Tracker> Josephine Lovelace has posed.

    Josie shrugs. "Naive? Heh. Tell it to our ancestors. They're the ones who decided," she says. "After all... the way I heard from Lombardia, it was that or death from the Diabolos. Maybe they coulda done something before that to stop it. Maybe not." But she grins, in spite of the hopeless story.

    "If they hadn't've done, we wouldn't even be here. And ain't that a thing?"

    She continues on, then, into and through the light.