2022-10-29: Yggdra Union

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<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

    Part of the whole piece and parcel of living with illness and disability is that, sometimes, it doesn't give you a lot of choice; such has been the case of Riesenlied, whose symptoms have worsened -- and thus she's spent time in Shevat in therapy and recuperation, as their medical facilities and sum of knowledge are among the best of those available to Drifters, what with their understanding of nanomachines.

    But very recently, the Leyline has been calling--

    --and where the Leyline calls, Riesenlied has no choice but to answer.

    She's here today with newfound resolve, however; she's managed to stave off the trance that drags her across the world and has asked those closest to her for aid. She's even here with several upgrades, given the urgency and direness of the situation:

    Namely, her wheelchair is floating softly, with a certain round pod (hi, Strife) planted onto the space underneath her seat. Several softly gleaming Crest Caps are also mounted to improve manoeuvreability.

    "This reminds me of the Keqili's island... and Alcidamas as well," Riesenlied muses to herself. She breathes a bit faintly, her skin a bit pale -- whether it's her illness acting up again or her proximity to the disturbance in the Ley, she cannot tell. But she knows they have to press onward--


    --and as they press through... uh oh, that certainly is a very, very large gorilla in grey-white, shaking the very canopy with its roar. Riesenlied's eyes widen, and she immediately throws her hand out as the Dragon's Tear glimmers, as she entreats the beast with good old fashioned animal empathy--


DG: You risk with your Tool My Dear Friends against your party's Challenge, Level 81 Gorilla!
DG: Riesenlied has risked with her Tool My Dear Friends toward her party's challenge, Level 81 Gorilla. Fanfare!

<Pose Tracker> Ashiya Khaimova has posed.


The instruction pings gently in Ashiya's ears, and she looks down at the small plasteel rectangle in her palm giving this advice. She then looks up at the unfamiliar land she's found herself in, noting there is NO sign of the cobblestone path she's PRETTY sure she marked in the database last time. In fact, is this even the same country? The blue-skinned Fellpool's mouth presses firmly into a line and she blows her cheeks out in nearly-silent frustration.

Alien geography isn't supposed to be this hard~!!!

(This might have something to do with asking Magilou for a ride. Or asking Magilou for any kind of transportation assistance. Or asking Magilou for anything at all.)

"Where the heck did you send me, you swamp witch!? Gaaaaah!"

Dressed in a leather duster and jeans, and modern-day Adi*as-style sneakers, the feline lady angrily kicks a rock which sails into the distance, disappearing. Never to be seen again.

... until there's a great roar and a shaking of the ground, and the rhythmic thumping of angry beast-limbs. The canopy splits wide at the behest of a great and terrible gorilla, who may or may not be pissed at getting beaned with a pebble. "Geh!" Ashiya backpedals a few spaces, glances across and notices what looks like a frail lady in a hover-wheelchair (Hey, is that tech from back home? Neato.) and quickly reaches down to poke the tip of her shoes. Like any normal shoe would, they blaze with neon green symbological crests, and she then takes off at a racecar-speed sprint into the Gorilla's line of sight to make a more tempting target than the mysterious someone on the path.

"Hey, big guy! Right here! Pick on someone your own, uh... " a beat. "Yeah, c'mon, loser!" and she slides down a nearby fallen trunk while flipping the bird at the rampaging beast. This is a losing proposition even at the best of times.


"Quiet, computer!"
DG: Ashiya Khaimova has used her Tool Symbological Sneakers toward her party's challenge, Level 81 Gorilla. Rally!

<Pose Tracker> Kaguya has posed.

If Riesenlied hadn't contacted Kaguya, Kaguya would've gone on her own. ...This is definitely better. Kaguya wasn't sure a team of Veruni operatives would particularly listen to her on something like this. And she doesn't have a lot of helpful contacts right now in the Drifter world...

But here she is! She is with Riesenlied, and suddenly, there is--

"Oh man," Kaguya says of the gigantic gorilla shaking the canopy. "I wanna fight it!" She looks excited! Then she remembers that she's here with this group, and looks around, "...Uh, but I guess that's a bad idea, actually." Pause. "Are you nuts?" she asks Ashe. "Get moving!"

Kaguya, for her part, starts running--but not without kneeling down beside Riesenleid's chair and, "Hup--!"

She picks the whole thing up, drone and all, and starts running. She will throw it if the monster gets too close, and take her chances.

"This way!!"
DG: Kaguya has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Level 81 Gorilla.

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    The Ley is calling, and all those sensitive to it must pay it the requisite attention.

    It had arrived for Avril like a low uncomfortable throb -- a headache on the verge of erupting. Something was terribly amiss on Filgaia, and the world cried out for aid.

    Even the feeling about her Original Medium feels disrupted, as if it is missing some vital connection point to the world.

    In the aftermath of Asgard's disappearance and all else that had occured in Dan Dairam's shrine, Avril was given to wonder if there was a connection, a thought likely shared when she spoke of it with her friends.

    She didn't have to ask anyone for assistance. It was a matter of following that ache of the world like it were a compass needle, honing in on its source.


    "Dean, might the cause be within--"

    Without further ado, the outcropping of root had given way under Avril sending her plummeting below with a cry, her friends stranded further above.

    "Oh... but I am alright!" she calls upwards towards the jagged patch of sky above.

    ...Avril, who has landed right in the nest of a giant slumbering ape, who has awoken to an intrusion with a start.

    "...Oh," she utters.


    The giant overleveled ape may, in fact, also be in the process of chasing someone. Can Avril stay out of its aggro range indefinitely!?

    "Lucadia--" gasp "please!!"
DG: Avril Vent Fleur has used her Tool Sea Medium toward her party's challenge, Level 81 Gorilla. Quicken! Party Agility boosted!

<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

    Noeline is a Ley Sorceror only by association - in every sense of the word. It is only her connection to Duras Drum that allows her to do sorcery at all, and it is the ring nestled on her finger that allows her to perceive and manipulate the Ley by borrowing a little of Riesenlied's power. She's wondered before how different her life would be without either of them present within it, but not at length. There are much happier 'what-ifs' to daydream over.

    She hadn't felt the pull of the Ley directly, but she and the crew of the Fereshte are old hands at spotting when Riesenlied might be about to spirit herself away. Perhaps the most surprising thing of all this is that her partner managed to shake off the trance this time around - though that did leave a rather sheepish Noeline to explain why the rest of the airship's operation had paused in preparation for a wheelchair slipping away in the night.

    With Strife handling Riesenlied's wheelchair she's free to glance around her at the unnatural lush, humming a little under her breath. She seems remarkably unaffected by the closeness and darkness of the forest around her, though that might be because she's almost disappearing into the shadows most of the time out of sheer habit. Besides, it's not like a Crimson Noble's going to be put off by a little gloom - in fact she's taken point instead, helping hack their way through the foliage.

    "It is certainly some rather rough terrain," she muses as she drops back to her partner's side. She's been doing that a lot; maybe she's just a little antsy and jealous at Strife handling the wheelchair, taking her traditional spot. "Still, I think there's a silver living in the end. Even if much of it dies off once the disturbance is quelled, maybe something will manage to take more permanent root here. It isn't how I expected Filgaia to be reseeded, but I'll take what we can get. ... don't push yourself too much," she adds gently as she watches the colour of Riesenlied's face.

    The growl from behind sets her immediately on edge, and the sudden thundering all around them leaves her freezing stock-still as her mind spins through options. She could pick up Riesenlied herself, but there's too many in their group to just turn tail and run without some kind of decoy. As much as she could encourage Kaguya forwards-- "Leave this to your mother," she huffs instead, and raises her voice to cover the group - and the newcomer who's crashed into their progress. "Get to the Observatory! I'll be right behind you!"

    On the list of 'gigantic enemies that Noeline has stared down', the gorilla ranks remarkably lower than it has any right to; it's no Solaris Gear, nor is it about to dump Sin's toxin down on her. "Behind me! Keep going!" she yells to Avril before she's even properly registered her presence - and once the other woman is behind her, she sweeps her weapon forwards in a vibrant blaze of shadows, a wave of power that might help cow the beast.

    Then she turns on her heel and runs like hell.
DG: Noeline has risked with her Tool Strife toward her party's challenge, Level 81 Gorilla. Stalwart! Party shielded from some Exhaustion this round!

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

    Don't worry, Noeline, Riesenlied is also fast realising the downside to letting Strife take over as well, so it's not like she minds her coming by her side...

    "I can only hope so, but... we have seen a lot of instances where a forced regeneration of nature is not the solution we wish it is," Riesenlied admits.

    Let it be known who the culprit of today's incident is, but also that Avril has just surreptitiously entered the party due to circumstance (poor Rebecca's probably having a stressful one right now); as she bursts into the scene, Ashiya erupts out of the woodworks with shoes that we can only rightfully call Radical Sneakers -- and taunts the massive, overlevelled Gorilla, who grunts and growls and starts to turn her way.

    Its eyes gleam red for a moment, distracted on both fronts, and starts to reach for that same fallen trunk to try to just wholesale flatten the Fellpool and the Ice Queen with it!!

    It's rebuffed by a wave of shadows from Noeline, ever so briefly -- but it's the opening that Ashiya and Avril need to just slip out of its range of aggression -- and time for the boldness of Kaguya grabbing Riesenlied wholesale by her chair, prompting a yelp from the beleaguered Hyadean. "K-Kaguya!"

    A pause, but she feels relieved to be taken care of too; having support means she can redouble her focus on her empathic powers, and between that and Noeline's shadows...

    By the time Immovable Gonzalez notices, well... I mean, 'Immovable' is part of its name. It means it doesn't really want to move, and it scratches its head, turns around, and leashes back to its aggro spot. Success!

<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

    With the gigantic beast driven off there's a chance to catch their breath, and Noeline jogs quickly back to Riesenlied's side to take stock of what just happened, sighing with relief as Kaguya gets her partner clear of any danger and to enough distance to be able to resolve the situation. Rather than try to pretend she's just fussing over Strife, she instead rests a hand on Riesenlied's arm and draws in a breath to reassure herself.

    It's short, but it's enough, and she looks up the next moment. The last thing she expected was for a gorilla attack to almost double the size of their entourage, but it's something of a relief to have backup suddenly appear, to know that there are plenty of other Drifters also on their way to Yggdrasil. She offers Avril a quiet smile of greeting, then scans over the other newcomer to check that she isn't hurt.

    "Are you quite alright?" she asks the Fellpool as she offers a hand up, not that she actually knows that word; she's obviously chalking the features up to some kind of Lunarian or Spiran ancestry, given the light grin on her face as she adds: "Welcome to Filgaia. This sort of thing just happens here from time to time. You might find it safer to come with us, though-- well, we are doing something ridiculously dangerous ourselves, I suppose."

    * * *

    Finding a way into Yggdrasil is a lot easier than forging through the rest of the forest. Noeline's been getting steadily more wary and alert as the foliage gets deeper and thicker around them, but it suddenly and abruptly breaks to provide access to the smooth walls of the spire, and without any fanfare at all there's a wide staircase leading upwards and into the facility, lit by a rather eerie glow coming off of a series of lit pillars that flank it.

    This close, the structure is not something that she can completely describe as 'man-made'. "... it feels like this was almost 'grown'," she comments with a frown, her eyes naturally trying to trace the twisting paths of black amongst the white. Is it marble, or perhaps metal? "And it also feels very... sterile, does it not?"

    She shares a look with the others behind her, and then places one foot on the first step. The only surprise this time is that she isn't immediately facing down a hail of gunfire or sorcery. In comparison to what she might be expecting from the Prophets, a trio of Metal Beasts is something a lot more simple and concrete to try to deal with.

    Her sword raises as she doesn't break her pace - though rather than rush forwards on the attack she is instead bracing her position, taking up as much of the available hallway as possible as she prepares to receive their snarling charge. "Incoming! Riese, Avril--" she has just enough time to yell before they crash into her, and with a grunt of effort she's pushed backwards and down several steps before she can catch her balance.
DG: Noeline has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Metal Beasts.

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

    Now that they've got an opportunity to breathe, Riesenlied turns towards the newcomer with a quiet smile. "Hello! I do not believe I have had the opportunity to introduce myself... I am Riesenlied, of the Wayside Outreach. Ah, if you need a towel...? Kaguya, are you okay?"

    Indeed, she has water bottles and towels out for people after that ordeal, ever so equipped as a high-level Mom...!! That's part of the charm of having storage space on the wheelchair. And snacks for later, certainly.

    Avril's sudden appearance also surprises her, and she tilts her head. "Did you come here with Dean and Rebecca, Avril...? We will try to reunite you, if so... though we may not have much choice of where we may go, at this point."

    As the foliage gets deeper, Riesenlied is definitely struggling, even with the new enhancements to her chair -- it doesn't take much for it to get snagged on something.

    "I do wonder what the nature of their plan is..." Riesenlied murmurs. "I am reminded of Jarvindr as well, of places where nature has overtaken, yet in an unnatural way..."

    But then they have company -- it doesn't take long for Riesenlied to realise what these creatures are -- some of these she knows to have been under their command, what feels like one lifetime ago in Ignas. She was really hoping to have catalogued and accounted for all of them, but... there simply are too many.

    Noeline bears the brunt of the blow, and she calls, "Noeline!" as she shapes a shield around her partner, before diverting her power towards empathy, the Dragon's Tear shimmering in kaleidoscope at her neckline.

    "Please, cease this advance!" Riesenlied cries as she extends her hand once more, the wheelchair planting down as she focuses her empathic presence upon the Beasts closest to her -- she's done this before, and she understands their structure and composition and how to get to their core... but have the Prophets changed them enough? She has to try.
DG: You use your Tool Rings of Promise against your party's Challenge, Metal Beasts!
DG: Riesenlied has used her Tool Rings of Promise toward her party's challenge, Metal Beasts. Fanfare!

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia is always happy to get to do stuff with her family. She's having a rough time as you might expect and that it's the first thing she has to do tonight is escape a giant gorilla while carrying Rachiel around in her arms doesn't help matters.

And then they drop down right in front of a horde of Metal Beasts. "Uh hey moms!" Lydia says, if out of breath that she technically does not need.

Rachiel gives Riesenlied a longer look, somehow, before clearing her throat. "Ahh, well...we're...." She looks towards KAguya, a bit longer.

Lydia, meanwhile, is kinda giving Ashiya a long look--one that's keeping her from particularly helping out with the Metal Beasts for a spell--forcing Rachiel to startle and actually dart in, cutting things up to cover for Lydia's distraction.

"Ummm! Lydie!!" Rachiel complains.

"Oh--oh right." Lydia moves in to start helping cut beasts up.
DG: Lydia Seren has used her Tool Rachiel Medry Is Doing Her Best toward her party's challenge, Metal Beasts. Fanfare!

<Pose Tracker> Kaguya has posed.

As it turns out, Kaguya loks healthier than she has for a while. But she doesn't complain this time that Noeline wants to take care of things, since she can't fight the monster and get Riesenlied out of here. But the forced regeneration of nature...


That's all Kaguya says about it! Instead, she just keeps going until she can set Riesenlied down. Catching her breath is strangely easy. Especially as she looks around and--"Oh, hey, Avril," Kaguya says, and waves o Ashe too. Bu soon--

"'Grown' is right. This is not normal tech for the area," Kaguya says to Noeline, as she keeps going. but suddenly--the metal beasts!!

Kaguya tilts her head. "Either play with them or eat them, whatever Mom makes them do," Kaguya says, and throws a canister that explodes into three gigantic killer tomatoes. It's fine.

<Pose Tracker> Ashiya Khaimova has posed.

Kaguya was previously wondering if Ashe was nuts, to which the young scientist could only reply: "Yes, yes, I'm sorry! I'm moving, I'm moving!" with a wail as pitiful as it is comical. Everyone seems to make it out okay, though, as the Gorilla is unable to break the chains that bind it. Specifically, the need to return to its nest and chill out, rather than pursue and pulverize the gang.

The very blue cat groans as she takes Noeline's hand, as offered, and rubs her own head tenderly. "I've been here for at least a few months, and nothing makes sense here..." she moans with big blobby tears. Clearly still in good health. "Oh, but I know Miss Avril! She was really nice and helped out my friend and I while we were poking around here. So if you guys are all Miss Avril's friends, that's good enough for me!"

Yes, it clearly is. A simple soul, maybe...?

Ashiya immediately perks up and waves cheerily at Riesenlied, upon their greeting. "Er, hello! My name's Ashiya and I'm very lost here, and-- " she receives a fluffy towel, and her ears droop with joy. "--waaaaa~, you're nice..."

There's a long pause as Lydia stares at her. Jiiiiiii~.

Luckily, the two get distracted by the onset of lupine Metal Beasts. "A--anyway, I'm kind of an archaeologist and stuff! I'm in your care today, thank you!!" she bows immediately, too-fast, flustered, and in doing so dodges a lunging and voracious blow.

"It's my turn to protect you, Miss Avril!" the Fellpool girl crows proudly, rearing up on one leg with the other bent. Some kind of martial artist's stance? Her borrowed towel flows elegantly around her neck and hands, suddenly as much a tool of combat as it is an important means of keeping dry. It would be silly if it weren't so... uh... effective.
DG: Ashiya Khaimova has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Metal Beasts.

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    It seems a close one for Avril for a moment, but once the moment presents itself for Sudden Evasive Action, well, she takes it, bolting well out of the giant gorilla's aggro radius. Given enough time and the space to collect itself, it departs.

    Avril takes a moment to catch her breath. That was a bit of a dash!

    "Yes, I am afraid so," she admits to Riesenlied with a sheepish grimace. "It appears I chose a poor place to stand. Is everyone alright?" she asks, looking all of them over, as if to ascertain how they're currently doing. "I agree. It would be better to press onwards, and perhaps our paths may cross," she tells them, nodding. ...Going back would put them back in the danger radius of that gorilla, anyway.

    The foliage only grows denser the deeper they go. Avril has since traded her Medium for her blade, using Absolute Zero's keen edge to carve their way forward.

    "If I had known you were here," she says after a time, "I would have come along with you, Riesenlied. Noeline. Ashiya." She pauses a moment before turning her gaze Kaguya's way. "Kaguya."

    ...Kaguya and she are on the same side, more or less, but it doesn't mean she doesn't have at least some trepidation regarding why she's here.

    "I crossed paths with Ashiya some time ago," Avril explains, nodding as Ashiya does the honors and explains matters. "Is Rixia well? I had been worried about her, of late..."

    Why, what's wrong with Rixia?

    This all comes to a screeching halt, though, when Avril stops dead in her tracks. "Wait, something is--"

    Her reaction time is a little on the slow side, even so.
    Perhaps the more so for witnessing what greets them. "--Metal Beasts? Here?!"

    Maybe it's a good thing that Ashiya's offering her protection. Still, Avril will give as good as she gets with a series of ice missiles... once she's no longer flatfooted, that is.
DG: Avril Vent Fleur has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Metal Beasts.
 ====================<* Yggdrasil - Spire of Rejuvenation *>=====================
  =========================<* CHALLENGE - Metal Beasts *>=========================
 | Type: Exploration | Dungeon Ability: Combat | Challenge Rating: 2 |
 ---------------------------< Challenge Information >----------------------------
   The Prophets have shown themselves to have, somehow, Metal Beasts. Those are
   the creatures that they used in the attack on Meria City; those are also the
   creatures that the Prophets have deployed to defend Yggdrasil. As you enter
   this next chamber, you see a trio of them approach: huge, wolf-like
   creatures with an armored hide and a powerful build. Eyes glow a baleful
   pale yellow, as they step forward.
   The wolf-life creatures roar -- and then all three charge down the hallway,
   rushing straight for you.
 ============================= Dungeon Conditions: =============================
 | Slow:_Agility_Down!, Tire:_Exhaustion_Up!, and Wound:_Combat_Down! |
 = Digger 2.0 ===================================================================
 ==============<* Yggdrasil - Spire of Rejuvenation - Round 2 *>===============
  ==========================< Results - Metal Beasts >==========================
 Player Exhaustion Pass/Fail
 Riesenlied 10 --(8)--> 18 Pass
 Rings of Promise 4 Combat Effects: Efficient and Fanfare
 Kaguya 10 --(8)--> 18 Pass
 Killer Tomatoes 3 Combat Effects: Fanfare
 Avril Vent Fleur 10 --(20)--> 30 Fail
 Fight 0 Combat Effects: BASIC
 Ashiya Khaimova 10 --(8)--> 18 Pass
 Fight 0 Combat Effects: BASIC
 Lydia Seren 10 --(8)--> 18 Pass
 Rachiel Medry Is Doing Her Best 3 Combat Effects: Fanfare
 Noeline 10 --(20)--> 30 Fail
 Fight 0 Combat Effects: BASIC
 ----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
 Leader: Riesenlied 20 --(20)--> 40 Pass
 Conditions: Slow(1)|Tire(2)|Wound(2)
 ==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: The party led by Riesenlied 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> Noeline has posed.

    Noeline isn't being antisocial, her player is just out of practice...!

    The Hyadean's Momly Aura isn't quite as advanced as Riesenlied's and tends to be more outwardly focused rather than nurturing. It's not that it's taken a backseat, more that she's channeling it into a fierce sort of protectiveness that envelops the group rather than handing out lunchboxes. (Though she'll still accept hers, with an amused and soft little huff as it keeps her from thinking too much.) She gets to watch in realtime how quickly Ashiya melts under the force of Riesenlied's powers; four seconds is far from a new record, but she still smirks in amusement and pride.

    "I am Noeline, of the same. I may have been a bit flippant before, but I can only assume that if you're here you must be on your way to Yggdrasil as well - in which case I would definitely not recommend going it alone," she smiles wryly, before glancing at Avril in turn. "... honestly... do I need to have words with Dean? How on earth is it that the three of you always seem to get into these sorts of situations? We can at least ensure you stay safe on the way back to them. ... we appreciate the thought," she adds to Avril's promise that she would have come with them. "But it's not as if we want to take you away from travelling with them. We're all here to work together, after all."

    * * *

    Noeline's attempt to deflect the beasts charging towards her is only partially successful; she certainly manages to take the brunt of it herself, but trying to do this on a staircase is not the smartest thing she's ever tried to do. The first and second hits make her wince with effort; the third sends her far enough back that one foot slips off the step, and she's suddenly grasping for purchase as she falls downwards and back. Thankfully, Riesenlied's barrier forms around her in protection just in time, as Avril's array of projectiles don't seem to slow down their fervor.

    The fall backwards gives her a rather unique viewpoint of Lydia firing onto the scene; Noeline's eyes widen in surprise before she remembers to throw herself into a sideways roll, giving both of their daughters the space they need to get to work in cowing the Beasts further. Lydia coming in on the attack and Kaguya-- there's a spike of momentary panic as she lifts up from her roll in time to see blood-red dripping from the beasts claws - only for her brain to catch up several moments later as Kaguya looks triumphantly on at her work.

    She's forced to wonder if she hit her head on her slip down the stairs, because the other thing she sees is a bunch of voracious tomatoes attacking alongside someone managing to beat up a Metal Beast with a towel. What she expected from a pack of Drifters, she doesn't really know - but the combined assault is enough to stop the Beasts in their tracks for long enough for Riesenlied's power to take hold. Slowly, bit by bit, the growling dies down - and then in something like a surrender, the Metal Beasts simply seem to decide they've had enough, breaking as they slip back into the tower in retreat.

<Pose Tracker> Ashiya Khaimova has posed.

Avril is worried about Rixia, but why is that? Why is that, indeed? Ashiya cranes her head to one side a little as she searches for an answer. "Um. She's good. We've been busy chasing stuff, but, you know..." a very indecisive answer. Is love in the air to blame? (A trick question, it is always to blame.)

"And, I'll be honest to everyone here," continues the cat as she talks while walking backwards, facing them all. Towelling off briefly. "I'm just plum lost, but I'm drawn to cool and dangerous places like a moth to the flame, ehehe~..." she laughs a little laugh of absolutely zero worries. If she wandered here, it truly was at her own pace.

The gleeful giggles die down as the gang pass through an archway of curiously tiled make. "You know," she comments as she turns, tail swishing to and fro. "That floating chair is *way* fancier than anything else I've seen here on Filgaia. It's like where I come from! Are you two--" Noeline and Riese, clearly, "--from offworld too?"

Space teens: not even a little sense of self-preservation.

Anyway, the room that lies beyond the archway is formed of many simple, flat-toned blocks of lacquered tile. Ashiya peers around curiously, arms folded over her head, as she drinks in the sight that lies before them. "Hm~m..."

One sneakered foot falls on a big square tile, and those tiles near it begin to glow blue with a little pin~pon~ chime. This pleasant noise distracts her for long enough she can't see any venomous glares that may/may not be going on between Kaguya and Avril right now. Oh, to be blissful and ignorant, like the cat.

"Oh, I bet I know what this is." Ashiya's ears stand up excitedly as she pulls her phone back out of her pocket and starts pokingswipingstabbing at it rapidly. "Y'see, I've been in fancy ruins before and seen my share of things, so..."


"Maybe we can all float across on the hover-chair? Or, um, hmm..." she thinks aloud, waiting for her catalogue to catch up and offer some advice.


Time to wing it.

"A--anyway, I think it's an ancient dance floor. You just gotta do the right dance moves to get... the door... open."
DG: Ashiya Khaimova has used her Tool LookUp Function Fact of The Day toward her party's challenge, Tile-Locked Door. Enlighten! Party Wits boosted!

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

    Lydia erupts on-scene, with Rachiel! Riesenlied looks on with surprise for a moment, but calls brightly, "Lydia! It has been a while. Are you well...?" as she feels more invigorated to try harder for her daughter. She's not sure who's with her, but her voice sounds a bit familiar...?

    "Hello, are you a friend of Lydie's?" Riesenlied smiles towards Rachiel.

    Kaguya's killer tomatoes are new to her! Riesenlied tilts her head and spends about two seconds, before approving: "They look very healthy and cute, Kaguya!" Just like that, she's charmed, huh?

    Ashiya introduces herself, and smiles in turn; "Oh, you are a friend of Avril's? We too have been friends and allies for a long time. An archeologist..." She's reminded of Josephine for a moment. What happened to her...? "It is nice to meet you--" and then there's a gasp as the Fellpool uses her towel as a martial weapon! Wow!

    Avril explains what happened, and Riesenlied looks bashful for a moment. "I apologise for the short notice myself... I did not anticipate being here, given my own state, but... where the Ley calls... it is too difficult to ignore."

    She does wonder, for a moment, what might happen in the future, if the call should become too difficult to answer. ... she'll have to trust in those that she's chosen for her healthcare.

    There's a haggard sigh of relief once the din of combat subsides; she turns towards Noeline with concern, supplementing her barrier with healing now that she has the time to focus on that. "If you are wounded, please call out. I have ample supplies as well."

    The upgraded wheelchair certainly is coming in handy, what with staircases being a natural enemy of the chair; she pats Strife on the side for a moment, encouraging, "You are doing well... thank you." Ashiya comments on the floating chair being fancier, and she asks if she's from 'offworld'--

    A pause from Riesenlied, as she apologises, "I am afraid not, but I do understand what you mean. We have met our share of individuals from beyond the stars. Rather, it is with our chirping friend that this chair now floats..." She glances down. "The terrains are rather challenging for a chair alone."

    They eventually arrive at... a puzzle room! Riesenlied bobs her head as she watches Ashiya interact with the puzzle, and she looks a bit curious in turn as Ashiya starts using her phone. "That tablet is not unlike the one Shalune uses often, is it not...? Not unlike a Hyadean datapad..." she muses.

    As for the puzzle, though...

    Riesenlied holds onto the Tear again, and its shine intensifies for a moment as she takes advantage of the puzzle being in some way dependent on the spectrum of light to analyse it underneath the tiles and see how it's wired. Hey, she's pretty technologically savvy in... a way... isn't she?

    "I see... if we begin with the corners, and work in such a counterclockwise fashion..."

<Pose Tracker> Kaguya has posed.

Rachiel gets a Cool Nod from Kaguya. For cool people. That's all.

Awww. Well. Kaguya hedges. "I'm not sure I'd say I'm Avril's friend exactly..." Pause. She looks at Avril. "Eh, whatever. I'm not here on behalf of the Veruni, anyway. At least, not like that."

Pause. "Oh, you're a..." Pause. "You're..." She looks at Noeline. "It's not fair," Kaguya says. "She's adorable." Then to Lydia, "She's cute!"

Kaguya is pretty pleased with her work at least. Her tomatoes are quite effective. As they should be. All except one tomato, that she had to destroy...

But that's a story for another day.

Pause. Ashiya mentions 'offworld'. Kaguya is suddenly sanding beside Ashiya, peering up at her. "So," she says, "They're not, but I am. You're not from Lunar, right? Space? Somewhere out there in the black?"

Then they get to the tiles, and... kaguya considers. They chime. They change color.

"yeah we COULD dance with it," Kaguya says, pulling a few bottles from her inventory, "Or we could do this the SMART way."

Kaguya pulls her ARM and attaches a bottle to it somehow, cla-CLACK cocking the mechanism, and then--

It's painting time. They're all gonna be the same color one way or another!!!

Using these convenient dyes that can handle fabric and metal both!

Kaguya just kind of ignores the whle thing about the actual puzzle and goes for her own solution.
DG: Kaguya has used her Tool Absurd Inventory toward her party's challenge, Tile-Locked Door. Stalwart! Party shielded from some Exhaustion this round!

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    "...Oh, I see."

    Is that all it is, with regards to her reaction towards Kaguya? Apparently so!

    (But Avril is frowning, thoughtfully.)

    "Is she, now? I am glad to hear it," she says, when Ashiya reassures her about Rixia. Still, when she speaks of being from 'space'--!
    Avril's first reaction is to look at Kaguya. Even though Ashiya absolutely is not Veruni. It's just reflex, honest. "From space...?" So she hadn't known?

    "So, you as well...?" she muses, when Riesenlied speaks of the Ley. "I see. It is quite alright. It is what drew me here as well, after all." Besides, with Riesenlied being particularly ill as of late...

    But at least Noeline is here.

    "Oh, please, do not," Avril says to Noeline, quite earnestly. "It was not his fault, but mine. I should have paid more attention to where I was standing," she adds, shaking her head. It seems that Noeline's tease... has gone right on over her head.

    "No, I do understand. Still, it may be safer to proceed with you," she says, on that particular matter, "than to risk an attempt to rejoin them. I have the feeling they will be alright on their own."

    She is... convinced of this, it would seem.

    Perhaps it's just as well she's traveling with the others, since at least this way there's safety in numbers.

    Particularly when it comes to managing the Metal Beasts. But all's well that ends well, as the spider said.

    "It is a clever design," Avril remarks, once the dust has settled, of Riesenlied's chair. The greenery eventually gives way to a chamber behind an archway, and within that chamber is...


    It's a puzzle.

    Mirror in hand, she gazes long into its depths, perhaps in search of a possible answer--

    Or, well, Kaguya could brute-force it.

    "Will that work?" she wonders aloud, holding her mirror to her chest.
    Perhaps it will.
DG: Avril Vent Fleur has used her Tool Mirror of De Soto toward her party's challenge, Tile-Locked Door. Cleanse! All negative effects will be cleared at the end of the round!

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

"She's my employer," "She's my friend!"

Lydia the first part, Rachiel the second. They look at each other for a moment. Lydia's expression continues to be deadpan as heck.

Rachiel clears her throat. "Well... I'm her friendployer." Lydia continues to stare. "Employ...pal?" Rachiel frowns a little. "Well, I like her." She beams happily at Riesenlied. "It's nice to meetcha! I'm Rachiel Medry, I work for Solaris! Hope WE can be friends too! I've heard so much about you!"

"And watched while I was forced to fight her that one time." Lydia says.

"Hahahahaha! Yeah! Wow!! That was awful!!!" Rachiel laughs, her eye now twitching periodically.

"You're friends with Avril?" Lydia asks of Ashe as she talks about how she's lost and such. She's no longer staring at least, but well---"Always happy to meet another beastfolk."

Is somethingw rong with Rixia??!?

Lydia bites at her lip worriedly but doesn't comment on it just yet. Instead she makes her way to the tiles and starts pushing at them to try and figure out this puzzle while Rachiel tries to not be devoured alive by an anxiety monster.

"Y,yeah she's cute." Lydia says to Kaguya, now AVOIDING looking directly at Ashe.

"Yep we're all cute here." Rachiel says. "Ahahah....hahh..."
+ooc rixia is off gathering power by playing children's card games atm

<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

    With the Beasts gone, Noeline picks herself up and pats herself down, allowing herself a faint grumble at her poor performance. "It's quite alright," she sighs as she offers a quiet smile. "Thanks to your hard work, the only damage is to my pride, I promise." Not that she's about to say no to the warmth that washes over her; she closes her eyes and enjoys the sensation, feeling the tension leave her shoulders.

    She makes her way back to the steps by memory, only opening her eyes again as she starts to climb. "'Lost' is something we're pretty good at handling," she notes to Ashiya with a snort. "As far as the 'cool and dangerous' part, you certainly have found yourself a jackpot. ... I don't think there's anywhere more dangerous than this right now. For the sake of being as clear as I can, this is the base of the Prophets. If you continue upwards, you might find yourself drawn into quite the fight."

    She blinks in surprise at the question they're asked next, and looks to one side as she shares a glance with her partner. "We are Filgaia-born, I'm afraid," she says when she looks back with another wry smile. "The history of our race is a bit more complicated than that, but that's how it is for us at the very least. The chair is a local design - just from a rather strange and imaginative designer. And as for its power source, it is that tried and true story--" she adds, letting Trouble bobble forwards to lazily bonk into Ashiya's shoulder. "I found them at the bottom of some ruins and snuck them away."

    (That part of Noeline's brain that is still hardwired 'spy' quietly logs the word 'too' away to be examined later, but the rest of her is aware of how rude that'd be.)

    Noeline looks back towards Lydia - and the passenger in her arms, which makes the Noble's eyebrows slowly raise upwards. "... it is good to see you," she makes sure to say first, relief in her tone before she's cut off by Rachiel and Lydia as they each try to talk over each other. Bit by bit, she picks up on the pieces that make up the story. A Solaris operator - present tense - but once who is distinctly nowhere near Solaris, and talking to them in a much too upbeat manner. There's a wariness to her tone all of a sudden, but she does her best to move past it. "... I see. Thank you for looking after our daughter, then."

    She's silent at that thought, then breaks into a grin in Kaguya's direction. "If we'd thought to bring Janey and Mikaia, we'd have had a true family reunion. It's been too long," she hums.

    "Haah, I need some paper and a pencil for something like this," Noeline adds as they come across the puzzle; despite her grumbling, her eyes are alert as she scans the room, and she watches closely as the colours change from the first couple of experimental steps that Ashiya and Riese make. When she helps, it's to suggest corrections and pick out the smaller, more fiddly mistakes, focusing in on detail rather than the solution as a whole.
DG: Noeline has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Tile-Locked Door.

DG: You use your Tool Heritor's Regalia against your party's Challenge, Tile-Locked Door!
DG: Riesenlied has used her Tool Heritor's Regalia toward her party's challenge, Tile-Locked Door. Rally!

<Pose Tracker> Ashiya Khaimova has posed.

Kaguya isn't afraid to ask the hard-hitting questions (or the obvious ones).

-- 'You're not from Lunar, right? Space? Somewhere out there in the black?'

Ashiya blinks a few times and then just nods, because she has made the (possibly reasonable) assumption that with all this world-hopping between Filgaia and Lunar going on, that the general populace are all spacefarers like her. Whoops! Oopsies! "Oh, yeah. I'll pull up a map sometime and show you. Wolf cluster is aaaages away though." she looks relaxed upon saying this, as if talking about nothing more troublesome than a rainy trip to the market.

Riesenlied offers another viewpoint, and seems to recognize what Ashiya's computer is. Kind of.

"Hm? Oh, this thing's just my PD. I wish I brought a tablet or something better with me, but I was kind of in a hurry, ehehe..." the blue catgirl rubs the back of her head again and snickers only just a little nervously. Then, one of Noeline's drones bobs into the girl's shoulder like a big, mechanical, friendly bumblebee. "You two could've fooled me, I guess. Those things look really modern..."

Lydia is also looking at her without staring, but Ashe doesn't seem like she minded the staring too much... she reaches up and pokes one of her own ears as the two talk. "Oh, yeah. I noticed there's a lot of people here who just get called 'Beastfolk'... where I'm from, we're called Fellpool. I thought Beast-people sounded kinda mean, you know..." she folds her arms and puffs her cheeks out again. Grump.

From behind her, Kaguya mentions that Ashiya is cute. Being professionally oblivious, she blinks once or twice and then wonders why she feels suddenly like a predator is lurking nearby...

-- 'From space...?' wonders Avril, which is a fair thing to wonder.

Ashiya turns around quickly to bow again at her like a student caught being mischevious. "A--ah, that's right! I was kind of nervous about talking about it at first, you know, but then I saw people are zooming between Filgaia and Lunar and there's hover-chairs and giant robots, so--" she wears a slightly nervous (guilty?) smile. "--I figured no point in pretending to be from around here when I'm not..."

* * *

Riesenlied's Tear casts a beautiful, hallowed light onto the room which reveals the inner workings of all the wiring beneath the floor. No more having to guess which tile is linked to which colour, and all the rest of it. Avril's mirror soaks in the light of the Tear and bathes in the view of this puzzle alike, and the wisdom it offers... ... suggests that Kaguya's crazy brute-forcing scheme might not be so crazy after all. If there's a simple chroma-keyed detection system, then heck, fooling it might be as good as actually figuring this puzzle out.

Lydia finds that the tiles aren't actually secured that solidly to the floor, so an enterprising fiddling type might actually find themselves able to hotwire the detector and tell it to, perhaps, give the all-clear signal when everything is green instead of blue. Not a bad find. And Noeline charts out exactly where these colour corrections need to happen in order to flip the door switch and progress. Okay, that all makes sense.

So then there's the raw metal-on-metal noise of a round being loaded into a breech, as Kaguya totally primes the paint pump into her ARM and prepares to Ink Home Base. Ashiya squawks and dives out of the way before the room becomes a paintball battlefield.

One camera-wipe later, the door at the far end of the room chimes happily as it looks upon a monocolour Lime Green room, decides that looks close enough to the tile puzzle, and then opens.

"G--good work, team..."
DG: Avril Vent Fleur has drawn a new Challenge.
 ====================<* Yggdrasil - Spire of Rejuvenation *>=====================
  ======================<* CHALLENGE - Infernal Clockwork *>======================
 | Type: Exploration | Dungeon Ability: Brute | Challenge Rating: 3 |
 ---------------------------< Challenge Information >----------------------------
   The next room you enter is a large, circular room. There is a large pillar
   at the center, with four large poles sticking out from it. Up above are
   numerous gears. On the floor, you can faintly make out a line that weaves
   through the floor. By pushing on the poles, you can make the elevator rise
   -- this is something that normally would need to be done by machines, but
   none are in evidence. It will need a lot of force to push on the poles, and
   cause the manually operated elevator to lift upward.
 ============================= Dungeon Conditions: =============================
 | Bad_Luck:_All_Stats_Down!, Enlighten:_Wits_Up!, |
 | Exhaust:_Exhaustion_Up_On_Failure!, Slow:_Agility_Down!, and |
 | Stupify:_Wits_Down! |
 = Digger 2.0 ===================================================================

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    From space?


    "...I see. I do not think I have met anyone else from space before," she says, glancing Kaguya's way. "Excepting my own people, of course."

    Wait, what's that supposed to mean...?

    A Solaris operator.

    Avril hasn't forgotten Lydia's former minder. She's downright pensive as she regards Rachiel, watching her as if she expects to find on her person some sign of...

    Well, even Avril cannot rightly say. Her interactions (to her knowledge) with Solaris have been far and few between, but rarely have they been good ones.

    She doesn't say a word on this subject, at least, not presently.

    Instead, in short enough order, she's focused her attention on the puzzle before them, those tiles which apparently must conform to a particular hue--

    Which the mirror, through her visions (her memories) suggest is not a strange solution after all. As a matter of fact--

    "Oh, so that's how it works," she reports rather mildly. The door opens.

    Which leads them into another room. A circular room, one taken up by a series of poles connected to gears. "Hmm..."

    Avril takes a long moment inspecting the room, prodding and pushing at the poles. The floor shifts slightly, but not nearly enough.

    "I understand. This room will lift upwards when the poles are pressed with enough force, but..."

    How to gain enough force when there aren't machines? Or--

    Aren't there?

    Avril hesitates for but a moment before taking out that strange singular device and pushing the red candy-like button within. Every so slightly, the structure of this space has begun to rumble and tremble. Hopefully, it isn't an earthquake?
DG: Avril Vent Fleur has used her Tool Remote Golem Override toward her party's challenge, Infernal Clockwork. Strengthen! Party Brute boosted! Liability! Failure will result in extra Exhaustion!

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

    Riesenlied snickers to Kaguya for a moment and tilts her head. "Oh, but we do not play favourites here, though...? Do not worry." Maybe she's misunderstanding Kaguya's lament of it not being fair, but still...!

    She is her daughter after all.

    But then the Veruni pops open with her paint gun, and-- she looks enthusiastic. "I see! Yes, that is certainly thinking outside the box, Kaguya...! Well done." She approves?!

    She has a more somber nod towards Avril, however. "Yes... though I managed to at least stave off the trance that it puts me into. Those are particularly dangerous, and nervewracking to Noeline and the others." Riesenlied is inwardsly a bit proud of being able to control her connection better, at this point.

    Noeline's teasing goes over Avril's head, and she chuckles in turn, tilting her head. "You are amongst close friends, do not worry. But it would be nice if we could send a message and say you are safe..."

    Rachiel introduces herself, though, as a member of Solaris -- which doesn't really give Riesenlied pause at this point, given Elly and Citan, but... 'while I was forced to fight her that one time'. She quietly nods, and says, "I see... it was unfortunate, and I do not know the entire circumstance, but..."

    A pause, and she smiles just a bit sorrowfully and looks to Rachiel, "Please take care of Lydia, as much as you can, okay? I know I cannot be there all the time for her..." She trusts her! She trusts her so much! Or maybe she just wants the best for Lydia in a difficult situation she can't wholly act on uwaaaa....

    Ashiya's origin is certainly interesting, and Kaguya and Avril have mentioned such as well; "They certainly have been steadfast allies ever since," she adds to Noeline, of her pods. "And it is true, but... well, suffice to say, I understand feeling alone in a world where you cannot express who you truly are, so I would like to say, please do not hesitate to explain, and if I do not understand at first... I am certain I can learn quickly."

    The Wolf cluster... like the Hyades cluster! Goodness, but space is truly so vast.

    There's a soft look on Riesenlied's face as Noeline reassures her, and there's a soft chuckle in turn. "I do have my notebook...?" she offers, though with Avril's mirror, her own Tear, and Kaguya's wondrous brute-force method, it may be solved in fairly swift measure. "... it seems like continued use might be tiresome on Strife, as well." If that's her quiet nudge that she'd like Noeline to be close again like before...

    Still, quasi-flirting has to wait, because they come across a circular room with poles connected to gears. She's about to speak when Avril--

    Riesenlied looks to her right to where Avril has just pressed The Red Button.

    "Aaah-- umm-- we may wish to steer very well clear of the environs, this way everyone!" Riesenlied panics.

DG: Riesenlied has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Infernal Clockwork.

<Pose Tracker> Kaguya has posed.

Kaguya's pretty sure the Veruni wouldn't mind some Ley problems. But that's why she's here! Because she does. It's fine. She does not comment on Friendplayer or other statuses. Insead she grins at Lydia. "SHe is!" Then she looks at Rachiel. "Well," Kaguya says, "We'll see how cute we all are..."

But Riesenlied reassures her and that isn't what Kaguya meant but it's super fine. Kaguya beams at Riesenlied's praise. "I thought it wasa good plan! Nice color, too."

"Yeah," Kaguya says then to Avril, "A lot of our people aren't even properly from space. We had something of a baby boom while I was sleep," she points out.

But the Wolf Cluster... "Hmmm. I've never been there," she says. "Fellpool. Cool. I'm a Veruni."

But once they reach this other room... Kaguya considers. She was going to just blow somthing up, but Avril hits The Button. So Kaguya considers. ...She considers a little more. Then she reaches out and pulls a bomb. "Let's see... disable the secondary reaction, just concussive force... there, tha should help."

She tosses it underneath the elevator. "Hold on folks!"
DG: Kaguya has used her Tool Magnetic Resonance Bomb toward her party's challenge, Infernal Clockwork. Rally!

<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

    Even Noeline is left rather speechless at how candidly Ashiya talks about space and traversing it; her eyebrows are raised sky-high at the end of it all, and she has to pause and wonder what exactly to say first. "... Filgaia is like that, I'm afraid. A good many civilizations have come before ours, and almost all of them have left a good deal of litter around, just waiting to be found. Or, alternatively, to shoot at you. Or to fall apart at the worst possible times. Or all of the above, one after the other."

    She clears her throat a little carefully. "I would be perhaps a little wary about who you tell your origins to. You are safe with us, but I would not ever mention it to anyone from Solaris, or I am quite sure they will do everything they can to capture you. That said, I don't disagree with your point that we do seem to spend a great deal of time bouncing between two different worlds. ... it's been a very eventful few years, I suppose," she adds with another touch of wry humour before the catches herself. "Ah, and-- I apologise for getting your race wrong. I'll bear it in mind."

    She's about to say something more when the whirr of Kaguya's paint gun starts up - and she and Riesenlied are both abruptly absent from the space, only a little puffed cloud of movement to indicate where she was standing mere moments ago. When the carnage finally subsides, she slips out from the shadows she's cloaked them both in, her expression flat. Riesenlied is in a princess carry - but there'd be no point just saving her from the paint conflagration, so what this actually means is that Riesenlied's wheelchair is in a princess carry as well.

    There's a long-suffering sigh, and then she smiles as she gets to flirt with her partner for a while. "... rest assured, I will not be leaving you alone, whether Strife is tired or not," she hums as she carefully sets the wheelchair back down in the next room, free of paint.

    She's about to turn and say something to Avril, but she scans around to the Veruni just in time to watch an innocent red button on a little device get pushed. Immediately, her mouth clamps shut again, and her hands close once again around the handlebars of Riesenlied's wheelchair. She looks about ready to jump straight back into the shadows a second time. Behind her, on top of one of the pillars, Trouble is relentlessly bonking the stone pillar downwards.
DG: Noeline has used her Tool Trouble toward her party's challenge, Infernal Clockwork. Strengthen! Party Brute boosted!

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia says, "Wait what?" to Ashe. "Are you from space? Can you take me to space someday? I want to go to all these space places though I guess at this point you're like the third or fourth space person I've met... Maybe I should be less excited..." She hangs her head, wondering if Kaguya counts as a space person since the Veruni are mostly settled on Filgaia now. "Though you're the firest beastfolk from space I fou---wait no, there's Homer." She sighs. "Yeah that's right. And he told me that beastfolk don't have to deal with discrimination as much really." She brightens. "Is that true?? He's kind of an EX CRIMELORD so I should probably get a second opinion just to be safe. Are you like a Space Commander? Are you here to save our planet??"

Her eyes sparkle hopefully. "I want to see one of the really cool beastfolk worlds. I bet I wouldn't get stoned at all." This is a joke that Star Ocean players will get. "Er, not that that really happens anymore because I'm a cool cyborg lady now but you know. Still nice to see and all that."

She dreams of a beastfolk world. Just kind of like getting to wear nice clothes and not getting sneered at or getting wings or tails or horns clipped--

She puts the thought out of her head after a moment. Could Veruni and Hyadeans be welcome on Beastfolk world? Why not? it's her imaginary world. Jay, Ivan, Talia, ahhhh beastfolk world is getting increasingly like the current world! Well, ok, beastfolk + cool people world. There.

She smiles at Kaguya and Riesenlied's interplay.

Rachiel gets hit by the double mom. She gives a half frightened look towards Avril but calms down when Avril just seems content to not say a comment about it. Her chilly gaze, her icy stare! Rachiel is not ready!

But the double mom, while maybe less frightening, does kind of dig right into the heart doesn't it? Rachiel already made her choice. Oh sure she could find a way to back out but honestly it was kind of liberating just making the moves she already made, like invisible chains have pulled away from her--

--well that's not why she's doing it.

Rachiel steadies her breath and she says, "Well I....hope you can be there for her a little more often, s-someday..." She rubs at her cheek awkwardly. "Listen um, it wasn't really my idea or anything..." She's making excuses again, she thinks. She sighs. It's so easy to fall into that habit isn't it?

"Well, here's my promise." Rachiel manages a smile. "What I do, it'll the best I could do, okay?"

Lydia gives Rachiel a confused look but doesn't comment.

Rachiel hopes she can live up to Riesenlied's expectations. Rachiel's mom is actually a pretty alright lady all told but she hasn't seen her mother in a while and she gets that weird kind of vibe from her that makes her worry about dissapointing her anyway.

Lydia meanwhile looks to Ashiya. "That makes sense. You're like the first person from space space who made sense about this." If Kaguya says Veruni don't count as space, she'll just have to accept her reasoning!

"What's a tablet? What's a PD?" Lydia asks. "Can I look at it? Can I take it apart? Do you have an extra one?"

She asks like 6 more questions like this before marveling. "Fellpool..."

It honestly sounds a lot nicer than beastfolk. Though wait--

"You aren't named that because you fell in a pool right? Just making sure covering my bases here."

<Pose Tracker> Ashiya Khaimova has posed.

I guess on the flipside to all this spacefaring business, Ashiya has no idea about the finer points of the Veruni and what tensions may be at play here. She beams at Avril's mention of her own people being travelers, though. "Oh, cool! I was worried that, y'know..." she scratches around one of her ears again. "Maybe I shouldn't have just said it like that, oh well! All's well that ends well."

Noeline is a lot more sensible, though, and gives some much-needed cautioning advice. "Oh, uh, I guess that's a good way of putting it... are there like, kidnappers or something? I'm not that easy a target!" and she stops for a few moments to pull up Galactoogle Maps, then holds her computer up where Kaguya can see it. She points at the screen, which (un)helpfully shows a galaxy with a little red push-pin icon on it. "Oh yeah, Wolf's over here somewhere. I'll totally show you guys around when I get outta here!"

Her smile is also wobbly because Riese is so disarmingly nice. "Oh my go~osh why couldn't I have crash landed at your doorstep or something? I've gotta drag my friend out here to meet you, lady, you're the biggest softie I've met in my life!" Ashiya, that's alt interaction, you can't encourage that!!

Ashe's gold eyes blink a few times in surprise at Lydia saying she's the first person to make sense about all this space travel business. "Really? Maybe it's 'cause I'm just your average girl, I'm not royalty or a military super-badass or anything, so I'm very approachable and normal!"

Real 'told you so, mom!' energy in declaring yourself normal...

All this joyful talk and she hasn't done anything to actually help get the elevator going yet. "Oh. Uh, I just need to be a counterweight to these, right?" while pointing at one of the pillars. While waiting for an answer would be good, it isn't in her wheelhouse, so she just suddenly double-jumps off of the wall and strikes the top of the pillar with both hands. Flesh should probably yield to stone, and yet.
DG: Ashiya Khaimova has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Infernal Clockwork.
 ====================<* Yggdrasil - Spire of Rejuvenation *>=====================
  ======================<* CHALLENGE - Infernal Clockwork *>======================
 | Type: Exploration | Dungeon Ability: Brute | Challenge Rating: 3 |
 ---------------------------< Challenge Information >----------------------------
   The next room you enter is a large, circular room. There is a large pillar
   at the center, with four large poles sticking out from it. Up above are
   numerous gears. On the floor, you can faintly make out a line that weaves
   through the floor. By pushing on the poles, you can make the elevator rise
   -- this is something that normally would need to be done by machines, but
   none are in evidence. It will need a lot of force to push on the poles, and
   cause the manually operated elevator to lift upward.
 ============================= Dungeon Conditions: =============================
 | Bad_Luck:_All_Stats_Down!, Exhaust:_Exhaustion_Up_On_Failure!, |
 | Slow:_Agility_Down!, Strengthen:_Brute_Up!, and Stupify:_Wits_Down! |
 = Digger 2.0 ===================================================================
 ===============<* Yggdrasil - Spire of Rejuvenation - Round 4 *>================
  ========================< Results - Infernal Clockwork >========================
 Player Exhaustion Pass/Fail
 Riesenlied 18 --(35)--> 53 Fail
 Force 0 Brute Effects: BASIC
 Kaguya 18 --(5)--> 23 Pass
 Magnetic Resonance Bomb 3 Brute Effects: Rally
 Avril Vent Fleur 30 --(5)--> 35 Pass
 Remote Golem Override 3 Brute Effects: Strengthen and Liabil
 Ashiya Khaimova 18 --(35)--> 53 Fail
 Force 0 Brute Effects: BASIC
 Lydia Seren 30 --(5)--> 35 Pass
 Tiebreaker V 2.0 4 Brute Effects: Efficient and Rally
 Noeline 30 --(5)--> 35 Pass
 Trouble 2 Brute Effects: Strengthen
 -----------------------------------< Party >------------------------------------
 Leader: Riesenlied 60 --(20)--> 80 Pass
 Conditions: Bad Luck(1)|Exhaust(1)|Slow(2)|Stupify(2)
 Effects: Strengthen(1)
 ===============================< Dream Chasers >================================
DG: The party led by Riesenlied 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> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    "It would," Avril agrees. "Nevertheless... I do have faith in them. As long as we keep pressing forward, I am sure that we shall meet again."

    It's a little bit of an overdramatic speech, given that all that's happened is that they've gotten separated for a bit...

    "Still, I am glad to hear it. May I ask at another time however you managed it?"
    Riesenlied isn't the only one who has found themselves in a strange place under stranger circumstances, after all...

    "Yes, so I have heard. I suppose that I am no longer the only one," she says, in response to Kaguya's remark. Will the planet eventually accept the younger Veruni? Will that take generations to repair? Or...

    "...Oh, yes, we should all move," Avril remarks, on the topic of That Button.

    The rumbling only increases.

    Getting out of the way is definitely a good idea.

    The rumbling only increases further.

    It comes in with a terrible crash! Right out of nowhere (well, from their perspective) an absolutely enormous Golem's arm comes bursting through the wall in a spray of masonry, mud, and earth! It tears right for one of the pillars--

    And wraps its enormous fingers around it. Despite not being attached to anything else at all, the Golem's arm pushes steadily... forward?

     Between its efforts and Ashiya and Strife's own contributions, the floor begins to rise, gently lifting all of them upwards.

    Thank you, Golem. Thank you.

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia Seren slowly pulls her attention away from space beastfo--NO, space Fellpool... wait, no, it's just Fellpool right? Right.

The floor rises, Lydia seems to remember she's in a dungeon. She was really distracted for a moment there and she was kinda just gabbing along rather than helping! Which is embarrassing!

The floor rises up into a final chamber and... there'se some kind of research tubes with withered metal beasts, .... corpses of ... a blonde human lady? Monsters and the like.

Lydia stares at the blonde dead ladies for a while. This is hitting a little close to home. She thinks of words she told to Ivan, once.

"Am I even really me or just some..." Lydia murmurs to herself.

No, it failed, she thinks. It's not possible. If it was possible, they wouldn't be dead right? Lydia takes a swallowing breath and walks forward to five pillars of light and five...crystals alos mounted on pillars.

Rachiel says, "Lydia! Careful! They're volatile! They need to be carefully energized with light or they might explode! And it has to be simultaneous!!"

Lydia blinks a few times. "With light you say?"

"Lydia I wish to emphasize cautio--"

"FACE THE POWER OF THE STARS...!!" Lydia shouts, fanning her arms out like a Jojo villain as she channels Rigdobrite and Solais Emsu's powers and just sort of radiates LIGHT all over the place!

Well at least it WILL be simultaneous?
DG: Lydia Seren has contributed a risky Wits Action toward her party's challenge, Pillars of Light to Darkened Truths.

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

    Whatever else Riesenlied is about to say is gone with her breath, as she's suddenly in a princess carry -- wheelchair and all -- and flush and a little winded, she pouts and says, "Noeline! Really," She's definitely protesting a bit much, though, given it seems to have had a super-effective effect on her.

    Lydia's excitement of Ashe coming from space does fill her with charm, though; it reminds her of how she studied astronomy hard for Lydia's sake too. She still wants to go to space one day with her!

    Riesenlied regards Rachiel a bit more calmly, and promises... what she does, it'll be the best she can do.

    "... mm," Riesenlied nods, sympathetic and from the heart. "I understand." Because she can tell this young lady doesn't have the power to just change everything overnight, and has her own burdens... so to hear her say that -- it's the best she can hope for, a true friend within the horrifying husk that is Solaris threatening to devour them.

    A world just for Beastfolk... "Let us make sure we visit Wayside again sometime, Lydia," she offers. It may just be a village, but it's a stepping stone towards that dream, isn't it?

    Ashiya shows off her map, though, and Riesenlied is enamored for a moment. "... I promised Lydia and Kaguya both that we would see space together. I still mean to keep that promise!" It's something of a dream of hers as well, after all; to see the worlds beyond together... that'd be fun, wouldn't it?

    Avril asks how she managed to do it, and Riesenlied quietly nods. "I would only be most happy to help, given I know you have strong callings through the world as well." Having a stronger sense of self... it starts there, and she only has one thanks to Noeline, Kaguya, Lydia and the rest of her friends and family.

    Before long, however, they've come upon a rather ominous final chamber. Riesenlied makes a face first at the Beasts, but... more horrifyingly, the suspended corpses of the same blonde-haired woman--

    "T-this is not... 'his' work, is it?" Riesenlied finds her voice quavering a little. "No, calm down..."

    She focuses on Lydia's own worries over her own. "... you are you. And you are with us, no matter how far apart we may be," Riesenlied tries to offer comfort.

    The five pillars of light, and crystals... Riesenlied doesn't take long to sense that they need to be infused simultaneously. But if they're infused for too long, they'll overload and explode, brittle is the crystal's nature.

    "This is my specialty," Riesenlied says with confidence. "I will offer to become a conduit through the Tear to channel equal energy to the crystals... that may be the safest course of action."

    And with that, Riesenlied closes her eyes and focuses to do what she does best -- channel the Ley through her very body, to regulate the flow of power through the crystals. ... hopefully she can act as an conduit before Lydia's power comes through!

DG: You risk with your Tool Heritor's Regalia against your party's Challenge, Pillars of Light to Darkened Truths!
DG: Riesenlied has risked with her Tool Heritor's Regalia toward her party's challenge, Pillars of Light to Darkened Truths. Rally!

<Pose Tracker> Noeline has posed.

    Slowly, Noeline lets out a breath as she listens to Rachiel's words, looking over to where Lydia is happily nattering to Ashiya about space and the many, many topics she's interested in related to it. "... whatever other concerns I might have about our daughter's past and the situation she currently finds herself in, the fact remains that she is here and safe, and looking as happy as can be. ... compared to what else could have happened to her, I think that counts for a great deal. I will simply have to put my trust in the rest," she tilts her head in a quiet nod that is something like respect.

    Ashe addresses her with a question, and despite her words to Rachiel just now, she still finishes them off with a light grin. "They are--" she's about to say something vague and catty, but stops herself when she realises the Fellpool has been dramatically open with them, and instead sighs. "They are a group of people who live on a giant flying ship that orbits the earth, and fancy themselves masters over everyone on the surface. They dislike us particularly because we have an airship and they prefer air superiority."

    "... please could you not give a dramatic, fatalistic speech shortly after you have pressed that button--" is all she can add before the rumbling gets too much to ignore - and sure enough, blips her way out of physical existence for just long enough to avoid the arm that blasts through the floor, taking Riesenlied with her as she hops back out of the shadows at the edge of the lift. She has enough time to sag out a sigh before the lift activates, rumbling upwards.

    Her attention is immediately captured by the identical copies of a dead woman in a research tube; she blinks, and it doesn't take a particularly fanciful mind to picture the sort of monomania that might be behind this. Even if it were a matter of engineering soldiers or people, you'd still make them look a little different - unless...

    She shakes the thought away quickly. "Your experiences are what matter more than anything else. You are the sum total of everything you have done and everywhere you have been," she notes to Lydia alongside Riesenlied's encouragement, her mouth pressed together in a tight line for a few moments longer before she can bring herself to look away from the-- experiments.

    "I fear I can do very little to directly help you here," Noeline notes of the final danger that lies in her way, with a deep-set frown on her face. She brings the hand with the ring to her chest, focusing on it; she rests her other hand at Riesenlied's shoulder to reaffirm her presence. "I will help as best I can with finetuning, but I'll need you to tell me how much power to aim for."
DG: Noeline has contributed a risky Wits Action toward her party's challenge, Pillars of Light to Darkened Truths.

<Pose Tracker> Avril Vent Fleur has posed.

    "Yes, I would appreciate it."

    Though the solution Riesenlied has found might be a little trickier for Avril, all considering...

    They rise up from below and immediately find themselves within a particular laboratory.

    "Why are there--!"

    Avril is unsubtle with her reaction to the dead bodies hanging in the capsules within this place, one hand half-raised as if to cover her mouth. "These monsters... that woman..."

    This is someone's laboratory, that much is certain. And worse: it was until-recently in use. When did that woman...?

    No, Avril realizes moments later. It's rather more complicated and ultimately disturbing than that. "..."

    She turns away, surveying other parts of the lab, then points at one of the crystals. "Look!"

    Surely, those are the key to passing through here and leaving... all of this behind?

    But those crystals look to be fragile. "If they were overloaded..." Avril begins. Frowning, she takes her mirror into hand and gazes into its depths as a curling mist seeps from its surface. What is the best length of time to hold them in light?

    (She haswill knownknow this.)
DG: Avril Vent Fleur has used her Tool Mirror of De Soto toward her party's challenge, Pillars of Light to Darkened Truths. Cleanse! All negative effects will be cleared at the end of the round!

<Pose Tracker> Kaguya has posed.

"You definitely should've have just said it like that," Kaguya assures Ashe. "But it's cool. We're cool." Pause. "There's totally kidnappers. If you meet any other 'Veruni', you should definitely go the other way. But not too fast, because they'll want to chase you more. Just normal fast." But the golem is... very helpful. It's nice. It's strange. It's weird.

And as they head out, Kaguya looks to the final chamber, and her expression goes stony. She recognizes the sort of chamber this is. The things in the tanks--the woman, the Beasts...

And five crystals.

"You are who you are, Lydia," says Kaguya, as she pulls a small device from her bag, and steps towards the monitors--looking around them, until she finds the terminals to which they go.

"My sister. Remember that. ...I wouldn't be satisfied with some fake thing, right? So you can't be that. You're Lydia. You scared me with a skeleton back when you had an asteroid for a head. Back when I was scared of stuff..."

"And we're going to get through this."

Kaguya kneels down--and starts trying to get data. It shouldn't take long to finish the data handshake.

"And I..."

"Am gonna make sure they can never pull this off again."

Succeed or fail--she's going to start unplugging tubes if she can.
DG: Kaguya has used her Tool Absurd Inventory toward her party's challenge, Pillars of Light to Darkened Truths. Stalwart! Party shielded from some Exhaustion this round!

<Pose Tracker> Ashiya Khaimova has posed.

Noeline's quick summary of Solaris nets the following analysis from Ashiya: "They *suck*! If they try to get control-freak-y with me, I'll knock their blocks off." she pouts with irritation. The gall of some people! Just straight up bad guys!

This burst of colourful behaviour and noise is soon washed over with grey, as the group move into the final chamber at the end of the path. The colour drains from the Fellpool adventurer's face as she starts glancing between the sealed glass tubes on either side. "H--holy she~eesh..." she mumbles, steering herself away from using profanity because she's a good girl. "I uh, used to work for a shady research group, and this takes the cake. Never seen anything like this outside of movies 'n games."

Ashiya takes a moment to suck in a steadying breath and instantly still her trepidations. Focus!

She watches the others moving around the chamber, and seems to be thinking something similar to Avril's line of enquiry. I would definitely give Avril's foresightfuture sightaccess to the morphogenetic field an edge here over consumer electronics, but it's all Ashiya's got, so she slides the cover off the camera lens aperture and measures the passage of light through said crystals.

"Uh, these are the key, right? Sooner we get outta here, the better..."

Beep. She taps something on the touchscreen and, like all consumer-grade pocket computer smartphones in the spacefaring age ought to, the screen soon shows a complicated lighting-contour map of the room with all the crystals measured as the gang mess with them.

The lookup database's mascot, a cartoony rodent, advises in one corner of the screen. >> WARNING: DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY INTO THE MEASUREMENT LASER


Thank you. No worries.

Ashiya gulps uneasily, waits for the right time, and then beams an X-Ray laser from her phone into one of the crystals. Very simple.
DG: Ashiya Khaimova has risked with her Tool LookUp Function Fact of The Day toward her party's challenge, Pillars of Light to Darkened Truths. Enlighten! Party Wits boosted!

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia unleashes her power!! And it probably would've caused a fair amount of problems if it wasn't for the efforts of the others. Riesenlied works on regulating the flow of Lydia's powers and is able to prevent Lydia from exploding everything. Noeline provides emotional support. For Lydia, at least, it IS super effective. She smiles a little and says, "Y-yeah, I know, it's just---It just took me by surprise." She's had this conversation before. It's a tough thing to shake even if she understands the truths behind it.

Rachiel meanwhile gets some understanding which, well, she is continuously impressed by Riesenlied and, as a natural consequence, always feels like she can do a little bit more. For MOM.

Er Lydia's mom. Rachiel, you have your own mom!! Just because she exudes mom vibes...!!

Avril helps further by discerning the amount of time to actually hold the light--it's not just about modulation it's also about length after all. Somehow she just...

Knows the answer.
Ashiya provides some more light of her own--which Riesenlied also helps modulate--

--and the pillars are charged until...

Avril says that's enough. She just KNOWS. Known. Will known.

Kaguya gathers datas and, then, unplugs tubes. They're all dead already but at the very least maybe these beasts and...people?...can be given a decent burial somewhere, be shown respect rather than simply...discarded.

Lydia looks to Kaguya. She wouldn't be satisfied by a fake thing.

"Y..yeah, Haha. I was really such a brat."


Regardless, the door to the heart of Yggdrasill opens, more monitors turn on. Indeed, Kaguya is going to get some DATAS.

Most pertinently perhaps? Land that isn't a desert, large tracks of it, desertification? Reduced.

"The Council of Seven hoped to rejuvenate Filgaia. We thought... that our collective knowledge and expertise, from the study of Hyadean technology and pilfered Veruni information, could reverse the damage done to the world. The key was mastering the Ley. To funnel it, into one place."

"We werem istaken."

"What we did, instead, was hasten the slow decline of our world since 500 years ago. The draining of hte world through the Elw's blade... we didn't reverse it so much as draw so much of Filgaia's life force into this one place. Leehalt and the others thought this may be acceptable--it is not. Even now, they will use our research to continue this course, draining Filgaia of all its life until they can gather it here, then release it."

"The fuccccck," Lydia says at this point.

"What is confounding -- and concerning --- is the collective amnesia. Leehalt claims this is a boon, but I ask this: if everyone can be made to forget that, two years ago, Filgaia's desertification increased by sixty-eight percent, then should we not fear what made us forget? Should we not fear that we do not know what made us forget?"

"I would argue yes. From the journal of Werner Maxwell, 491 PC."

Lydia is quiet for a few moments.

And then a few more moments.

And then...


Lydia's mouth drops open as she considers the last name of her first crush.

"GINNY'S DAD???????"