2019-04-06: A Little Light Heresy

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============================<* Luca - Port District *>============================

Luca is the largest port and second-largest city in Spira, located the southern tip of the archipelago's largest island. Its location as the central port for Spira's surrounding islands has turned Luca into a thriving economic hub; Besaid, Kilika, and a dozen smaller islands all send their goods to Luca for sale, and even the Al Bhed are known to trade here from time to time.

The port district is an immense, bustling area. The largest port in Luca brings in ships from across Spira -- from small fishing ships from Besaid to Al Bhed salvage ships to large sailing vessels from Bevelle -- and a massive market to match. A large seawall keeps the waters at bay, with piers extending out past the seawall into the water.

BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CIlRCYnZcg
===========================<* Fiend Assault on Luca *>============================
=======================<* CHALLENGE - An Animated Scene *>========================
|Type: Entry       |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
----------------------------< Challenge Information: >----------------------------
 It begins suddenly. The air about the people here is energized and excited.   
 The match between the Besaid Aurochs (astoundingly) and the Luca Goers is     
 underway, in the huge sphere of water that acts as the court. Barkers in the  
 stands offered shrimp tempura on sticks, while people supporting both teams   
 cheer loudly.                                                                 
                                                                               
 At first, one might not notice when the fiends appear. The first shriek of a  
 bird blends into the crowds... until a swirl of pyreflies coalesces into a    
 huge, swooping fiend. A Garuda -- a bird with massive wings and a terrible    
 maw, rather than a beak -- swoops down from the sky. It crashes into the      
 crowd a distance away, and people fly: both literally, as some ejected into   
 the air come crashing down at you, and figuratively as they begin running     
 away. The bird-like fiend lifts off, before a gout of flame from the other    
 side of the stadium's stands blasts it apart. However, raining debris,        
 fleeing people, and a few unfortunate people falling down for the tops fo     
 your head makes it necessary to get out of the stadium's stands as quickly    
 as possible.                                                                  
=Dungeon Conditions: Slow, Injure, Tire=======================================
DG: Cyre H. Lorentz has drawn a new Challenge.
=========================<* Fiend Assault on Luca *>==========================
============<* CHALLENGE - When Chocobo Knights Need Direction *>=============
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 As you turn down the next street, escaping the fiends behind you, you find    
 yourself face-to-face with local cavalry. A trio of armored knights (though   
 their mail may be made of shell, rather than steel) comes riding up on the    
 famous, gold-feathered bird mounts of Spira: chocobos.                        
                                                                               
 The trio of Chocobo Knights stop before you. The woman in the lead looks      
 down. "Hail! I am Lucil, and we are the Chocobo Knights of the Crusaders! We  
 ride to Luca's aid." She frowns, for a moment, glancing back, and then a      
 nervous young knight rides forward on his mount.                              
                                                                               
 "I, um, I'm Clasko," the round-faced young man says. "At the next junction,   
 should we go left or right? We're trying to tke the fight to the fiends."     
=Dungeon Conditions: Reckless, Hesitate, Tire=================================
<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

Perhaps, just perhaps, fighting the optional boss before the appointed time is not the best idea. Not when it's made of deadly fangs and talons and all kinds of awful things (like the spirits of the damned). Cyre snarls and meets claw with claw, his hand momentarily coming unspooled and transforming into a deadly extension of distant Fengalon. There's a brief clash of power before the Garuda abruptly EXPLODES when a fireball smashes into it from halfway across the arena.

Unfortunately, (being mid-melee with a terrible zombie-ghost monster) Cyre is a bit too close when the beast bursts into flames and is sent hurtling through the air. His parachute bloats with a sudden gust, arresting his fall moments before bouncing hard off the arena floor and straight into--

                                  *FLOOF*
                                  "WARK!?"

Cyre flails as he tries to make his way out of the fluffy, warm embrace of a confused and momentarily distressed chocobo. "Uh," he says, staring up at the blinking bird and its... rider? "Uhhh, sir," the round-faced young man astride the chocobo scratches at his head, "Sir, if you're... If you're okay, can you please extricate yourself from Petunia? She enjoys affection, but maybe not so suddenly?"

"Oh, uh," Cyre coughs, plucking himself at last from the great big chocobo hug. "Yeah. Sorry. What... What are you guys doing with all that... armor?"

"We ride to Luca's aid!" The lead knight declares confidently. "But we... seem to be a bit lost. I am Lucil! The brave knight whose Chocobo you so passionately greeted is Clasko. Would you be so kind as to point us in the direction of the nearest collection of Fiends?"

"I mean," Cyre says, glancing over his shoulder, hopefully as the rest of the party catches up to him with news of Fiends. "They're... probably that way?"

DG: Cyre H. Lorentz has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward his party's challenge, When Chocobo Knights Need
Direction.
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Catenna manages to keep ahead of the debris. She's pretty quick--

    *WARK*

"Oh dear," Catenna murmurs, stepping back and folding her arms as she gazes upon the huge yellow birds with the armed men on the back - and the Cyre tangled up in one of them. Her eyebrows come up sharply.

Once Cyre's free, she moves up to begin plucking a few stray feathers meticulously out of his hair. She doesn't answer the question right away.

Someone else does, though. Hopping up from Catenna's shoulder, the Owlet bobs her head meaningfully to the right.

DG: Catenna has used her Tool Saarda-Shanta toward her party's challenge, When Chocobo Knights Need Direction.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline sees Cyre being launched off into the distance from the fireball that took out the Garuda. ...Well, it's better that than letting it actually get to him. She sighs, shakes her head and keeps doing, waving as many people along as she can.

She diverts her path toward where he's flying, eventually reuniting with him, and his three friends.

"Jacqueline Barber. We're with the Caravan Kinship." Jacqueline greets, offering the three chocobo knights a polite bow. The Owlet points to the right, and Jacqueline nods.

"She probably knows the way better than any of us, so I'd follow her suggestion - head to the right." She comments, then rummages through her bags. "Here, you might want to bring some medicine with you, just in case. Don't worry about payment, it's on the house - I just ask that you use some of it to treat any wounded you come across!"

With that said, Jacqueline will offload some potions onto whichever of the three seems most receptive to it.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, When Chocobo Knights Need
Direction.
<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

    It is thanks to Jay's catch that Ethius' arrest of momentum is less 'high chance of fracture or worse' and 'an uncomfortable landing,' even accounting for his own momentum-arresting means. If he gives any thanks, it's silent, as there's a few indistinct but easily-understood gestures of 'let's hurry along.'
     There is also, at one point, the sound of a youthful, arrogant voice having a distinctively annoying laugh as they try to egg someone on, but that's neither here nor there.
     Ethius follows along with the rest after Cyre's flight path towards some incoming chocobos, and Ethius turns around while pleasantries are being made. He gets out the eyeglass he uses to check for connected devices and mechanisms that is not exactly a relevant or interesting thing at this juncture while pleasantries are made, directions are given, and useful supplies are handed out.
     "I'm certain they'll find their way," Ethius remarks as he completes the electrical spell needed to activate it. Well, there's at least the guarantee that he's watching their six and that it's unlikely he'll let any Fiends or other surprises jump at them, so that means more time to make pleasantries, give directions, and hand out useful supplies no matter the implication of his words!

DG: Ethius Hesiod has used his Tool Spectral Lens toward his party's challenge, When Chocobo Knights Need Direction.
<Pose Tracker> Arleph Ardan has posed.

      It is, as always, a team effort that people comes out of NOT getting smashed down by a giant bird's explosion. It turns out that if you just take time to, paradoxally, help people, people don't DIE! Imagine that.
 
      Arleph makes his way out of his current problem, stumbling on the path with catching up with the others. Conjuring a bubble like he used to help people down helps on that matter.
 
      Thus it is seated on a small rectangular bubble that Arleph stumbles on the rest of the party, giving a blink at the Chocobo Knight, looking on and thrusting a thumb in the direction. "Yes, yes. it's that way, Arleph Ardan, Caravan Kinship of Lady Barber." Arleph says, quietly, since the last two years, never mentioning how his glasses works and already scanned part of the area since they CAME here. "Here, sirs, have an enchantment on my behalf. No pay.
 
      Arleph snaps his fingers, stepping off his bubble to fling some water on the Knight. It sticks, hardens and fizz a bit into foam. "Ablative armor. Thanks you for your protection!"

DG: Arleph Ardan has used his Tool Optics toward his party's challenge, When Chocobo Knights Need Direction.
=========================<* Fiend Assault on Luca *>==========================
============<* CHALLENGE - When Chocobo Knights Need Direction *>=============
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 As you turn down the next street, escaping the fiends behind you, you find    
 yourself face-to-face with local cavalry. A trio of armored knights (though   
 their mail may be made of shell, rather than steel) comes riding up on the    
 famous, gold-feathered bird mounts of Spira: chocobos.                        
                                                                               
 The trio of Chocobo Knights stop before you. The woman in the lead looks      
 down. "Hail! I am Lucil, and we are the Chocobo Knights of the Crusaders! We  
 ride to Luca's aid." She frowns, for a moment, glancing back, and then a      
 nervous young knight rides forward on his mount.                              
                                                                               
 "I, um, I'm Clasko," the round-faced young man says. "At the next junction,   
 should we go left or right? We're trying to tke the fight to the fiends."     
=Dungeon Conditions: Reckless, Hesitate, Tire=================================
====================<* Fiend Assault on Luca - Round 2 *>=====================
==============< Results - When Chocobo Knights Need Direction >===============
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Barber                   0 --(5)--> 5                   Fail
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Catenna                             0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Saarda-Shanta                       1   Wits    Effects: Cleanse              
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ethius Hesiod                       0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Spectral Lens                       2   Wits    Effects: Enlighten            
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Arleph Ardan                        0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Optics                              2   Wits    Effects: Resilient            
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cyre H. Lorentz                     5 --(5)--> 10                  Fail
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC                
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Jacqueline Barber           20 --(20)--> 40                Pass
Conditions: Hesitate(2)|Reckless(2)|Tire(2)
Effects: Cleanse|Enlighten(1)|Resilient(1)
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: The party led by Jacqueline Barber has passed this challenge! The party gained 20 exploration! If anyone needs to
use party management commands, do so now. Otherwise, the next round's GM may begin the next round with +dungeon/draw.
<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

"Oh?" Lucil brightens, almost sparkling with ~good cheer~ as supplies, magical buffs and directions are provided far in excess to what was ever requested! The third knight, whose face is inconspicuously hidden behind a shelled helmet (but who is certainly an Important Person With A Name And A Story) gratefully receives Jay's generous provisions.

"Caravan Kinship, is it?" The lead knight beams, "Hohoh! Merchants, are you? Wonderful! Worry not, good traders, your donations of time and materiel will not go to waste! Thank you for your continuing support of our noble quest to wipe these creatures from our beautiful land! With your help, we shall restore peace and order and good commerce! Come, friends! WE RIIIIDE!"

"Thank you for your help," Clasko bobs his head and ushers Petunia onward. Cyre looks blankly on as the chocobo flutters its wings in his general direction. A goodbye wave!? Cyre blinks, Catenna plucks a great big yellow feather from a curl of his hair. "Well," he sighs, then turns and wraps Catenna and her owlet in a great big hug, "I'm glad to see you're all alright, but we should probably keep moving. This is giving me familiar Adlehyde vibes. Let's figure out if there's some... source or something and deal with it before this all gets worse."

DG: Ethius Hesiod has drawn a new Challenge.
==============================================<* Fiend Assault on Luca *>===============================================
========================================<* CHALLENGE - To Quell the Panicked *>=========================================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
-----------------------------------------------< Challenge Information: >-----------------------------------------------
 The people of Luca are panicking in the streets. While the Warrior Monks and  
 Crusaders are helping where they can, they cannot be everywhere. As you run   
 into this next street, you find that people have amassed around a gate        
 ahead. It has been closed, and they shout and call out to each other -- and   
 generally look quite agitated.                                                
                                                                               
 "We're trapped in here!"                                                      
 "We need to make for the port!"                                               
 "No, you fool! For the Highroad!"                                             
                                                                               
 Perhaps some diplomacy -- or maybe some quick thinking -- can either get you  
 around the crowd blocking the way, or get the crowd to move along.            
=Dungeon Conditions: Stupify, Tire, Weaken====================================
<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

    It does carry some Adlehyde vibes, doesn't it? A peaceful city, thought almost unassailable by the posted Warrior Monks and Crusaders - the latter of whom are famed for never allowing Sin the time of day to so much as look at the Blitzball Stadium in this modern era of Sin attacks - now under assault by Fiends that materialize out of the air by coalescing prismatic lights.
     "It appears they already have a name for the creatures in question, Mister Cyre," Ethius remarks far too calmly, "assuming it is not simply the vernacular for an unexplainable threaten--"
     "WE'RE TRAPPED IN HERE!" A heavy-set man shouts above it all as he bangs his hands up against a closed gate. That gate is definitely shut closed.
     "We... we need to make for the port!" A young woman says, holding her child close to herself.
     "No, you fool!" A Guado visitor, an older man who is a bit overdressed for the weather (but the Guado generally are). "For the Highroad!"
     The crowd gathered here is increasingly unruly and desperate and there's an unearthly (...unlunarly?) roar not far off, out of sight, so that is just agitating everyone further. A Ronso is already trying to take matters in their own hands and bring their great fists up against the gates.
     Too loud to think, too many bodies to breathe, and against all sense more people are crowding around everyone.
     Is there some way to convince them all to calm down? Does anyone have a plan of action? It could be that previous Adlehyde experiences may serve everyone, this far removed from that tragedy, a template for salvation. They'd better paint those numbers in quick, though.
     ...And do something other than try to stand around and peer at things through an eyeglass like Ethius is...

DG: Ethius Hesiod has used his Tool Spectral Lens toward his party's challenge, To Quell the Panicked.
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Catenna widens her eyes and gasps as she's hugged, but manages to be graceful enough to give Cyre a soft kiss on the cheek.

"I'm alright, yes," she assures, her smile small and fond.

The moment of fondness must pass, though. They're rushing onward - and someone is crying out.

A sealed gate, with a huge crowd around it, fighting with one another. Pressing her lips together, the Moon Shaman looks on at the crowd for a moment, then brushes a hand past her cheek to chase a lock of hair back.

"Cyre, I am about to tell a lie. Please back me up here," she recommends.

Stepping forward, Catenna bounds up on a crate and raises a hand to her mouth.

"Everyone!" she shouts over the noise, throwing her voice to be heard. "Please, put your belief in us! We will do everything we can to protect you!"

She inhales.

"--That is my vow, as Catenna the Summoner!"

<Oh dear,> Saarda-Shanta sighs from Catenna's shoulder. <I've become an Aeon.>

DG: Catenna has used her Tool Saarda-Shanta toward her party's challenge, To Quell the Panicked.
<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

Sorry Ethius. The facade was bound to fall apart someday. It just... It's just that today happens to be the day. Why so soon after arriving on Spira? Why not wait for some other more opportune time to do hilariously ill-advised things and maybe not start their adventure potentially committing some kind of triple-crime that'll get them all chucked into moon prison?

Because.

Because Catenna is a very pretty lady and Cyre is extremely weak to her charms.

Perhaps she wasn't expecting Cyre to go all in on this charade, but she should have known better when she asked him to back her up on Moon Heresy. But there, in the air, there's a strange vibration. A flash of silvery light gives way to a torrent of emerald power as the Nahual of Fengalon assumes his true shape and roars out a devastating, air-trembling shockwave right into the locked gate.

Truly, Cyre... has a sense for the dramatic.

DG: Cyre H. Lorentz has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward his party's challenge, To Quell the Panicked.
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

<Did anyone ask what the penalty for heresy is in Spira,> Saarda-Shanta asks mildly.

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

"Good thinking, Arleph." Jacqueline comments with a nod, as the good doctor offers the Chocobo Knights an echantment. It should help them deal with the fiends, while they move to get the civilians out of there.

"Adlehyde...yes, it's true." Jacqueline comments with a frown. Before, the mention of Adlehyde would've probably made her go quiet, but now...she'd come to terms with what happened on that day. "But I don't feel an intelligence guiding the Fiends' actions. Whatever put them here, it doesn't seem to be directing them to do more than attack people."

That's the way it seems, at least. They move forward, and suddenly, they come across a group of people at a locked gate. Panic is starting to rise, and...Catenna moves forward, proclaiming herself as Catenna the Summoner and promising they'll do everything they can to protect them.

Jacqueline frowns slightly, but...it isn't a lie, really. Everything she said was true, even if some of it was only from a certain point of view. ...But there'd probably be consequences for this later. But, well...it was too late to ask them not to, especially as Cyre takes on the form of the Nahual.

"Everything will be okay. Please, follow us - we'll see all of you in safety." Jacqueline says, stepping forward with a smile and resting a hand over her heart.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, To Quell the Panicked.
<Pose Tracker> Arleph Ardan has posed.

Arleph is pretty sure this is some HEFTY HERESY going on right now and he just as hell hope that this is not going to get them in the Church Lockers Prisons.
 
 The Symbologist is, fortunately, not much of an heretic, except if you ignore the fact of the hyperadvanced machina glasses he have that look like very normal ones, the hyperadvanced alien minicomputer he has hidden and his chemistry decomposer/reconstructor that he keeps hidden in his pockets--
 
 Yeah, alright, he's a huge Heretic too if people were to know about it.
 
 Still, he's 'using'(read: following the instruction on his opaque HUD and scanning tools as he looks around, frowning. The Summoners taking forms of supernatural beasts is still something interesting TO THIS DAY.
 
 "Yes, please follow us! Come on along, one behind the other: we're going into that direction, then right after. Please do keep calm, everything will be fine!"

DG: Arleph Ardan has used his Tool Optics toward his party's challenge, To Quell the Panicked.
==============================================<* Fiend Assault on Luca *>===============================================
========================================<* CHALLENGE - To Quell the Panicked *>=========================================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
-----------------------------------------------< Challenge Information: >-----------------------------------------------
 The people of Luca are panicking in the streets. While the Warrior Monks and  
 Crusaders are helping where they can, they cannot be everywhere. As you run   
 into this next street, you find that people have amassed around a gate        
 ahead. It has been closed, and they shout and call out to each other -- and   
 generally look quite agitated.                                                
                                                                               
 "We're trapped in here!"                                                      
 "We need to make for the port!"                                               
 "No, you fool! For the Highroad!"                                             
                                                                               
 Perhaps some diplomacy -- or maybe some quick thinking -- can either get you  
 around the crowd blocking the way, or get the crowd to move along.            
=Dungeon Conditions: Stupify, Tire, Weaken====================================
=========================================<* Fiend Assault on Luca - Round 3 *>==========================================
==========================================< Results - To Quell the Panicked >===========================================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Barber                   5 --(0)--> 5                   Pass
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Catenna                             0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Saarda-Shanta                       1   Wits    Effects: Cleanse              
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ethius Hesiod                       0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Spectral Lens                       2   Wits    Effects: Enlighten            
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Arleph Ardan                        0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Optics                              2   Wits    Effects: Resilient            
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cyre H. Lorentz                     10 --(5)--> 15                 Fail
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC                
-------------------------------------------------------< Party >--------------------------------------------------------
Leader: Jacqueline Barber           40 --(20)--> 60                Pass
Conditions: Hesitate(1)|Reckless(1)|Stupify(2)|Tire(2)|Weaken(2)
Effects: Cleanse|Enlighten(1)|Resilient(1)
===================================================< Dream Chasers >====================================================
DG: The party led by Jacqueline Barber has passed this challenge! The party gained 20 exploration! If anyone needs to
use party management commands, do so now. Otherwise, the next round's GM may begin the next round with +dungeon/draw.
<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

    '--That is my vow, as Catenna the Summoner!'
     Catenna's practice in performance arts pays off something fierce. She carries a quiet, serene grace that the masses would culturally think of a summoner, and her confidence in making this declaration pays off in spades in getting people to turn heads and stop screaming. This is good. They believe in her words enough...
     ...as more crowd around, with pleas to 'save them!'
     Jay takes advantage of the gap in silence in which to help give useful directions as Catenna goes ALL IN on the whole Summoner thing. A Summoner and her Guardians, they all whisper amongst one another, truly they are blessed by Yevon, while Arleph seems to take charge in following through on Jay's specific directions.
     And then... Catenna 'summons' her 'Aeon,' and there is a huge white windy tiger that coalesces forth out of the fresh breeze of razor-sharp wind, a wash of clean air whipping out over everyone with green streaks of energy. Almost everyone gasps in surprise, as if taken aback by this - they've never seen or heard of this Aeon, but when they are all desperate for a savior to fight off Fiends...
     ...There is one complication.
     The previously panicking Guado among them just kind of stands there in disbelief, but just as much dumbfounded. Their nostrils flare, their gaze disapproving. He knows there's something wrong with this. He doesn't follow the rest, as Catenna's quick thinking appears otherwise poised to save more than a few lives.
     ...
     Ethius shows up following the rest a moment later, quietly. The Guado doesn't. Hmm. Well, maybe that's not important right now, but he does have a hand on his forehead as he walks.

DG: Catenna has drawn a new Challenge.
===========================<* Fiend Assault on Luca *>============================
=========================<* CHALLENGE - Sahuagin Swarm *>=========================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
----------------------------< Challenge Information: >----------------------------
 The fish-like, scaled humanoid fiends known as Sahuagin are not individually  
 dangerous. Their claws are sharp and fangs capable of biting; they can also   
 summon water spells at a whim, crashing down gouts of water on someone's      
 head. The danger, really, is in the numbers.                                  
                                                                               
 As you run through Luca's streets, whether to escape or help, there are       
 several gutteral screeches -- and then no less than a dozen Sahuagin leap     
 down into your midst, slashing with claws and screeching all the while!       
=Dungeon Conditions: Weaken, Fright, Tire=====================================
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

<This will create a great deal of complication. I doubt anyone will believe Cyre is an Aeon for very long,> Saarda-Shanta points out mercilessly as the group bustles along.

Catenna keeps her voice low, tense. "They would never have listened to us if we were merely some outworlders. We will deal with the consequences later."

<Probably by being drawn and quartered, I would assume.>

"Oh, bother." The Moon Shaman sets her jaw and presses forward, trying not to think of why Ethius was so quiet.

As they dart down a street, a crowd buzzing behind them, the ambient noise is broken by a gurgling screech, then another, then another. "Wait," Catenna calls back to the townsfolk who have followed her along. "Something's coming--"

Shrieking and snarling, more than a dozen lanky, finny green shapes hurtle down into the streets. The sahagin hurl themselves at the group - the ostensible summoner and her guardians - in a blur of talons and teeth. Parrying a blow with her bow and dropping back, Catenna snaps her hand out, a surge of gravity hurling several of the sahagin back and slamming them into a wall.

"Cyre, do it!" Catenna calls out to him.

People are paying attention to her. She gestures imperiously and recites something, as if directing a summoned creature to do something for her.

Look, she's not quite sure how Yevonites do it, okay?!

DG: Catenna has used her Tool Celesdue Medium toward her party's challenge, Sahuagin Swarm.
<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

    Ethius catches up with the lot of them with a measured stride that keeps giving him an air of distance from the proceedings that are falling all over the place around him (and at one point, a plume of flame licking at him from a nearby explosion). A hand brushes at the fire that starts to hitch a ride on his shawl, and is given little more consideration than that. He sizes up the crowd that continues to follow everyone, only for his focus to be broken by the onset of Sahuagin swarm and surround. He looks back to the panicking crowds again even as one Sahuagin's sharp claws nip at his back.
     He decides it is best not to interfere directly and allow the ruse to go as it's going to as he tucks into a roll away while withdrawing one of the satchels at his belt. One Symbological spellcasting ritual later to activate its contents, he throws the dust bomb at his own feet rather than at the oncoming threats. He thinks better of trying to obscure everyone else's visibility.
     From there, he tries to follow Cyre's movements by the gouts of windy energy that might pierce through the veil of dust and ash as a visual guide, where he can discreetly attempt to cast some more offensive Symbological spells to help thin the crowd so much as the Sahuagin don't just yeet themselves into the dust cloud.

DG: Ethius Hesiod has used his Tool Powder Grenade toward his party's challenge, Sahuagin Swarm.
<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

Look, if Cyre was afraid of a little light heresy, he wouldn't have spent so many moonless nights burning stacks of unwanted Granasian bibles out in the wilderness and dancing naked before the swirling pyre. Nor would he have punched Mauri the Red Priestess, adorable and innocent younger sister to Leo the White Knight, in the face repeatedly for the crime of setting him on fire and threatening to blow up a vital lynchpin of the planetary defense network against horrible world-soul eating space parasites.

And thus, on Catenna's beck and call, the giant wind tiger/totally an aeon charges across the battlefield and viciously lays into the marauding fish-men. It may in fact turn out that, while wind is not necessarily a fair substitute for lightning in this neck of the woods, a giant tiger-monster may still be the natural predator for anything vaguely fish-looking.

Or at least, Cyre in Nahual form seems to be going at the task of clawing, biting, and otherwise ravaging evil fishmen with particularly great gusto. Tigers: Are they still super-effective against fish!?

DG: Cyre H. Lorentz has used his Tool Gale Claw toward his party's challenge, Sahuagin Swarm.
<Pose Tracker> Arleph Ardan has posed.

Arleph is not quite happy about the explanation or the excuse. Perhaps, later, they COULD'VE done the whole thing more convincingly... and the stare of that Guado is not a very heart warming one. There will be some repercussions for this one, he's sure about it. Hopefully not as big as it could be. He can hope.
 
 Ah well. If they're doing this, they might as well go ALL the way to make sure it keeps working, then.
 
 In the midst of the mist and the lights in the air, Arleph reach into his pockets to take out a small aqua-blue bead, scowling at the Sahagins. He can smell the fetid effects in the air, subtly crushing it and flinging the expanding mist in the air to mingle with the environment. It will make air breath easier, give a small boost of energy to people that breath in (and certainly not a fiend) and calm them down.
 
 Best to leave the 'Summoners' the 'honor' of demolishing the fiends, falling back to a support role.

DG: Arleph Ardan has used his Tool Ambrosia Protocol toward his party's challenge, Sahuagin Swarm.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline glances back as Ethius reunites with them. She briefly wonders what took him so long, but there's no time to think about it as she follows the others down a street.

Unfortunately, before long, a gurgling screech heralds the arrival of more Fiends.

"Everyone, stay close to us! Don't allow yourselves to be separated!" She calls out. She moves to step in front of crowd, taking the side opposite of Catenna and her 'Aeon' so that none of the Fiends can sneak up on them.

She draws out a certain book from within her belongings, flipping through the pages until she settles on the right one.

"These are Sahuagin - aquatic Fiends that are more at home in the water, but are dangerous on land, as well! Their claws and fangs are vicious, but they can use water-based Sorcery, as well! They're weak individually, but their coordination makes them dangerous in large numbers!" She explains. "And, as an aquatic creature, their primary weakness...is electricity!"

As if on cue Jacqueline gestures with her right hand, invoking a Crest from one of her gauntlets.

A static field erupts out from the center of a group of Sahuagin, electricity clinging to any of them caught in the field, hindering their movements, periodically zapping them, and spreading to any of their buddies they get too close to.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has used her Tool The Lifeweaver's Codex toward her party's challenge, Sahuagin Swarm.
===========================<* Fiend Assault on Luca *>============================
=========================<* CHALLENGE - Sahuagin Swarm *>=========================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
----------------------------< Challenge Information: >----------------------------
 The fish-like, scaled humanoid fiends known as Sahuagin are not individually  
 dangerous. Their claws are sharp and fangs capable of biting; they can also   
 summon water spells at a whim, crashing down gouts of water on someone's      
 head. The danger, really, is in the numbers.                                  
                                                                               
 As you run through Luca's streets, whether to escape or help, there are       
 several gutteral screeches -- and then no less than a dozen Sahuagin leap     
 down into your midst, slashing with claws and screeching all the while!       
=Dungeon Conditions: Weaken, Fright, Tire=====================================
======================<* Fiend Assault on Luca - Round 4 *>=======================
===========================< Results - Sahuagin Swarm >===========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Barber                   5 --(0)--> 5                   Pass
The Lifeweaver's Codex              2   Combat  Effects: Embolden             
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Catenna                             0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Celesdue Medium                     2   Combat  Effects: Embolden             
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ethius Hesiod                       0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Powder Grenade                      3   Combat  Effects: Fanfare              
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Arleph Ardan                        0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Ambrosia Protocol                   1   Combat  Effects: Cleanse              
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cyre H. Lorentz                     15 --(0)--> 15                 Pass
Gale Claw                           3   Combat  Effects: Fanfare              
------------------------------------< Party >-------------------------------------
Leader: Jacqueline Barber           60 --(20)--> 80                Pass
Conditions: Fright(2)|Tire(2)|Weaken(2)
Effects: Cleanse|Embolden(1)
================================< Dream Chasers >=================================
DG: The party led by Jacqueline Barber has passed this challenge! The party gained 20 exploration! If anyone needs to
use party management commands, do so now. Otherwise, the next round's GM may begin the next round with +dungeon/draw.
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

The Sahagin come in shrieking and slashing and gnawing and gurgling and ready to spill the blood of a lying fake Summoner and her lying fake Guardians and her lying fake Aeon.

The Sahagin come out mostly in chunks.

There is simply nothing they can do against the Nahual of Fengalon. Cyre lays into the Sahagin with brutal blows and bursts of wind, hurling fishmen about as he tears through more. A few villagers gasp in amazement at the sight of this strange Aeon that somehow manages to hang around for quite awhile, demolishing Sahagin blow by blow.

The power of gravity ensures that Cyre isn't ganged up on. Catenna keeps hurling Sahagin back to control the crowd for her so-called Aeon, while Arleph's mist boosts the combatants further. Jay's electrical field jolts through the fishman swarm, reducing several to cinders and toppling another.

By the time Ethius drops a couple of discreet spells to down the last one, the Sahagin have been thoroughly disposed of. Catenna lets her breath out and starts forward, giving Cyre's shoulder a little touch.

Townsfolk whisper to themselves. Perhaps they're beginning to think this Summoner and her Guardians are the real deal.

Catenna blushes a little. "...Let's get them to safety, Cyre."

DG: Jacqueline Barber has drawn a new Challenge.
=========================<* Fiend Assault on Luca *>==========================
=====================<* CHALLENGE - Nothing Is Sacred *>======================
|Type: Final       |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 3          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 You have finally arrived at safety: the Crusader chapterhouse. Crusaders are  
 gathered outside it -- and you manage to cross the perimeter, and a massive   
 statue of the recent High Summoner, Lord Braska. There, a young man with      
 black hair and a bandana greets you. "Hurry inside! We're tending to the      
 wounded there. Luzzu is out there, but--"                                     
                                                                               
 There is a deafening screech. A Garuda sweeps over your heads, but seems      
 intent on going for someone else... but it slams into the statue of Lord      
 Braska. It crashes over, slamming down before the entrance to the             
 chapterhouse. The citizens fleeing draw to a stop.                            
                                                                               
 And roars echo -- as a trio of the huge, armored things known as Vouivres     
 leap down, flame dancing over their mouths. The young Crusader steps          
 forward, along with several of his comrades. He looks to you.                 
                                                                               
 "I hate to say it... but break that statue of Lord Braska apart, and get      
 everyone inside!" he calls out, before running towards the lizards. "We'll    
 hold them off!"                                                               
=Dungeon Conditions: Weaken, Overzealous======================================
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

The Sahuagin are dealt with, so they're able to continue leading the crowd to safety. Soon enough, they find a building with armored soldiers stationed around it - the Crusaders. Outside it is a statue of an important looking man. Those who have done their research will recognize him as Lord Braska, the recent High Summoner.

One of the Crusaders runs up to meet them - a man with black hair and a bandana.

""Hurry inside! We're tending to the wounded there. Luzzu is out there, but--" He states. But before he can get further, another Garuda appears. With a screech it slams into the statue of Braska, causing it to teeter and crash into the doorway of the chapterhouse, blocking off the entrance. A cry rises from the crowd, and they start to panic.

"I-It's alright! Don't worry, we'll figure something out! We'll..." Jacqueline says. She looks around for an answer.

The young Crusader frowns, and looks hesitant for a moment. Before they can come up with a solution, three huge Fiends leap down from nearby, flames sputtering from their mouths. These are Vouivre - four-eyed beasts much resembling large lizards, possessing durable scales and fiery breath.

They have to make a decision, quickly, and the Crusader comes to one, though it's clear it pains him to do so.

"I hate to say it... but break that statue of Lord Braska apart, and get everyone inside!" he calls out, before running towards the lizards. "We'll hold them off!"

That said he gestures to his fellow Crusaders and they rush forward to intercept the Vouivres before they can pounce on the unsuspecting crowd.

Jacqueline nods, and looks to her gathered friends.

"...You heard the man. I'm going to tend to the civilians and make sure no one's injured. Deal with the statue, then lets get everyone inside." She says, then hurries to the crowd with curatives in hand.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has used her Tool Brewte Force toward her party's challenge, Nothing Is Sacred.
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Catenna is blushing fairly heavily at this point and going through a list of fake names she can give in case anyone asks for a reminder who she's supposed to be.

Before they can follow the young Crusader inside, something screams overhead. The Garuda comes swooping in again, and the statue tumbles to the ground.

Catenna presses her lips together intently. She gets the idea this'll involve even more heresy than they've already committed.

<I sense we are all going to be beheaded by the time this is all over,> Saarda-Shanta muses a touch dryly.

"Oh, go... wiggle your tailfeathers," Catenna huffs a bit more tartly than she intended.

Moving forward, Catenna kneels next to the statue of Braska. Nothing in her arsenal is really sufficient to break it. Crushing it might work - or just compress it into a cube.

She tries the opposite way. With a whisper and a resonant tremor of power, Catenna lets a spell free, the gravity of the statue beginning to reduce as she attempts to make it easier to move around.

DG: Catenna has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Nothing Is Sacred.
<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

    Just like that, another cultural touchstone stands to be eradicated in the flames of war - if this is indeed an act of war by a conscious power. There's too much up in the air beyond the understanding that something has gone very wrong, and Ethius more or less keeps pace with scarce little additional commentary on the matter. He goes through the usual motions to defend oneself, trying to keep as wide a berth as possible from the fire-breathing armored unknowns. No, it should say a lot more about Ethius that he's already working on casting some higher yield heat spells against the statue of the High Summoner Braska before he's even asked to. As his fingers flutter about while he chants the syllables under his breath, he starts to work on just trying to melt the damn thing down (which carries its own significant risks). He doesn't think twice about it - he knows how he appears. Even under a Crusader's direction, this is - to the eyes of the faithful - a painful thing to witness. The defacing of the statue of the most recent High Summoner to have brought about the Calm.
     The spell names in question are lost to shouts of fear and urgency, but Ethius continues to calmly go about the task of demolishing this most honored sculpture like it were natural. Someone does hurl some unkind words his way, dressed as he is. He is emotionally unmoved by those slurs that reach his ears.
     As far as he cares, this means his choice of wardrobe is doing the job it needs to.

DG: Ethius Hesiod has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Nothing Is Sacred.
<Pose Tracker> Arleph Ardan has posed.

 Hoooboy. As if it wasn't enough to be pretending to be summoners, the Heresy level around here is going to be a biiiiiiit higher than it should've been. Ah well! At this point...!
 
 Arleph takes on the sight of the fallen statue. A circular glance is given at the people around them, making sure nobody is stuck beneath. Second, the call of the Crusader and the confirmation from Jay to destroy the statue. "...Very well." Arleph replies, taking out a small cloth from his pocket, unfolding it.
 
 It hurts him to be destroying a clear cultural icon to theses people. He takes the small clay ball out of the cloth, the ball covered in it circumference with intricate runes and circles. Arleph steps over, his eyes squinting behind his spectacles as he very carefully trail his finger along, leaving a trail of lighted up runes in it's wake.
 
 He approaches the statue, taking a breath and tossing it at the statue.
 
 There's a flash of light, searing, devouring plasma cutting along a straight chunk of statue but not wide enough to hit people around them. Surgical, precise.

DG: Arleph Ardan has used his Tool Symbological Bomb toward his party's challenge, Nothing Is Sacred.
<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

Thus, the rightful domination of feline over piscine is duly enforced. Seeing that its work is done, the wind tiger releases one last roar before disincorporating into so many motes of emerald light that are certainly just pyreflies.

...Fortunately, it did so amidst a particularly chaotic set of overturned merchant stalls. Nobody thinks twice of the shirtless beastman that staggers out from a nearby connected alleyway. Surely he was just running from the Sahuagin too, and not actually some kind of super-heretical wind-monster.

He grins at Catenna as she approaches, "Not a bad job. Let's keep these people moving, eh?"

And so they do! They do until they reach what looks to be safe harbor. But even as many of the refugees surge into the relative safety of the Crusader hall, something... seems wrong. Cyre's ears twitch and turn attentively and the hair at the back of his neck rises moments before--

Garuda!

"Damnit, I knew this wouldn't be easy," Cyre grunts, rushing toward the collapsed statue, even as Ethius begins doing as Ethius does to things that are in his way. He plucks an inconspicuous looking glass bottle from his hip, a strange cloudy substance swirling around within, and carefully positions it in a nook under the Catenna-lightened monument.

...He takes several steps back, ordering several of the panicking civilians away before he tugs at a chain tied to the bottle's stopper.

It comes away with a pop.

And then all pandaemonium breaks loose.

Not literally, of course. When unstoppered, that little glass vial disgorges a literal tornado, unleashing the full force of those gale force winds upwards into the toppled statue.

...Hopefully nothing else gets caught up in the blast.

DG: Cyre H. Lorentz has used his Tool Bottled Tornado toward his party's challenge, Nothing Is Sacred.
=========================<* Fiend Assault on Luca *>==========================
=====================<* CHALLENGE - Nothing Is Sacred *>======================
|Type: Final       |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 3          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 You have finally arrived at safety: the Crusader chapterhouse. Crusaders are  
 gathered outside it -- and you manage to cross the perimeter, and a massive   
 statue of the recent High Summoner, Lord Braska. There, a young man with      
 black hair and a bandana greets you. "Hurry inside! We're tending to the      
 wounded there. Luzzu is out there, but--"                                     
                                                                               
 There is a deafening screech. A Garuda sweeps over your heads, but seems      
 intent on going for someone else... but it slams into the statue of Lord      
 Braska. It crashes over, slamming down before the entrance to the             
 chapterhouse. The citizens fleeing draw to a stop.                            
                                                                               
 And roars echo -- as a trio of the huge, armored things known as Vouivres     
 leap down, flame dancing over their mouths. The young Crusader steps          
 forward, along with several of his comrades. He looks to you.                 
                                                                               
 "I hate to say it... but break that statue of Lord Braska apart, and get      
 everyone inside!" he calls out, before running towards the lizards. "We'll    
 hold them off!"                                                               
=Dungeon Conditions: Weaken, Overzealous======================================
====================<* Fiend Assault on Luca - Round 5 *>=====================
=======================< Results - Nothing Is Sacred >========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Barber                   5 --(0)--> 5                   Pass
Brewte Force                        1   Brute   Effects: Fanfare and Strengthe
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Catenna                             0 --(5)--> 5                   Fail
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ethius Hesiod                       0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Arleph Ardan                        0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Symbological Bomb                   3   Brute   Effects: Rally                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cyre H. Lorentz                     15 --(5)--> 20                 Fail
Bottled Tornado                     3   Brute   Effects: Fanfare              
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Jacqueline Barber           80 --(35)--> 115               Pass
Conditions: Fright(1)|Overzealous(2)|Weaken(2)
Effects: Strengthen(1)
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: You have overcome the dungeon's trials! This run is a success!
DG: The party led by Jacqueline Barber has successfully explored Fiend Assault on Luca!
=========================<* Fiend Assault on Luca *>==========================
=============<* CHALLENGE - O'aka Donation - War Profiteering! *>=============
|Type: Discovery   |Dungeon Ability: Conclusion|Challenge Rating: 1          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 With the Garudas and the shattered statue of Lord Braska cleared, you are     
 ushered into the Crusaders' chapterhouse. There, you find a red-haired        
 merchant. He looks at you for a moment. "Need a potion? It's--" He starts to  
 say the standard price of 75 gil. And then, O'aka has a dawning realization,  
 and a slow, capitalistic smile spreads across his face. "...200 gil."         
                                                                               
 BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Hj3U18FHgQ                              
                                                                               
 Please visit the following wiki page and update the current... er...          
 donation...?                                                                  
  https://dreamchasers.space/O7aka_Support_Fund                                
=Dungeon Conditions: Bad Luck=================================================
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

It isn't easy, watching a statue of their hero get destroyed. Some of them say mean things. Some of them have to avert their eyes. But some of them...some of them understand. They know it has to be done - so they shut their eyes and whisper a prayer to Yevon. Others follow along and, soon enough, with everyone's teamwork, the way forward is clear.

"Everyone inside!" Jacqueline says. She ushers the civilians into the chapterhouse - some of them need to be helped through, either exhausted or unwilling to move. But in the end, they make it through, with zero casualties among their group.

As everyone is getting situated, one of the people in the room - red-haired merchant with a small hat and a large green pack jogs up to them.

"Need a potion? It's-" He starts, then comes to an abrupt realization. He considers the situation. And then, a slow, capitalistic smile spreads across his face. "...200 gil."

Jacqueline frooowns, her arms folded in front of her and an unimpressed look on her face.

"Thanks. We've got it covered." She replies.

For a moment, a powerful aura can be felt in the aura - the sensation of two rival merchants, clashing on the field of (mercantile) battle.

His smile falters.

"But," Jacqueline says. "If you can help me distribute some medical supplies to the civilians, then there might be some coin in it for you."

His smile returns, a bit less confident. Until she raises a hand.

"And Yevon help you if I catch you extorting any of them. Understand?"

        O'aka Donation Achieved!...
            ...K-Kind of...?

<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

    Ethius, on the way in, watches those who come in, his head moving every so often to better take in the various features of the chapterhouse shelter. He could take a moment to consider the miracle in which everyone* survives the trip largely intact, and already a brewing argument seems to happen between rival merchants. He stares from his place near one of the walls as Jay brings to bear her superior mercantile acumen with... well, he stares all the time so that probably doesn't mean anything.
 
 
* = about that...
 
     MEANWHILE, BACK NEAR THE GATES
 
     An older Guado man comes to. He is not trampled, impaled, burned, or anything of the sort. His oversized hands come to his throbbing head... the pain. The last thing he remembers seeing are cutting winds and a form he has never seen before, but more importantly...
     "We found one!" A Chocobo pulls up, its rider speaking aloud.
     "A way?" Another says, incredulously.
     "...White... tiger," the Guado stammers, "it isn't..."
     "What's wrong with you, sir?" A third rider asks, whatever her name was. "This way!"
     "...Y-You don't understand, there's a... a great white tiger, they're.... they're not..."
     The riders all look to one another, and say in unison -
     "Sin's toxin?"
          "Sin's toxin!"
               "Poor guy, we haven't even seen Sin..."
     The Guado continues to babble, difficulty saying his urgent pleads through a headache and the sheer disbelief of his would-be saviors.