Difference between revisions of "2020-06-30: Secrets, Slime, and Lost Lunches"

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Latest revision as of 23:31, 28 July 2020


=============================<* Kasutho Island *>=============================

One of the few lands even in Aquvy seemingly untouched by Filgaia's degradation, Kasutho Island is home to a number of farming communities. It might be possible that this would be the only thing of note about the island -- a peaceful and harmonious way of life is the norm here -- were it not for the two entities that claim ownership of the land. Kasutho Island is split between the nation of Sylvaland and none other than the Veruni -- indeed, the Veruni have established one of their control zones on this island. Sylvaland's authority and their use of an ancient teleporter in Claiborne used to keep the balance here from shifting, but with it now destroyed by Odessa, that may well change. 

DG: A party led by Tio is now entering Aubefort Mountain.
DG: Party formation is now over. An Entry Challenge will now be drawn and displayed to the party.
============================<* Aubefort Mountain *>=============================
=================<* CHALLENGE - The Way The Crystals Crumble *>=================
|Type: Entry       |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 Many stories persist in Kasutho about what lies in the caves of Aubefort      
 Mountain. Some say it's just stuffed with monsters. Shepherds in particular   
 like to tell of an ancient treasure. Others yet speak of rooms filled with    
 glittering crystals. Others suggest there might be something /else/           
 within...                                                                     
                                                                               
 There are many entrances to the tunnels in the mountain, but this one is the  
 one you have chosen. Not far through the tunnel network within which you      
 traverse, you encounter a problem:                                            
                                                                               
 The floor terminates in a gap that extends a long distance in the darkness    
 beneath the mountain. There is no obvious way across.                         
                                                                               
 Save, that is, for the luminous crystals that jut from the walls across the   
 span. But there's a complication: The crystals aren't very sturdy. They       
 break mere seconds after they've been stepped on, forcing a certain degree    
 of forward movement, lest one take a tumble.                                  
                                                                               
 Nevertheless, if you want to get across the gap...                            
                                                                               
=Dungeon Conditions: Hesitate, Tire===========================================
DG: Talise Gianfair has left your party.
DG: You have left Tio's party.
DG: Jacqueline Barber has left your party.
DG: A party led by Tio is now entering Aubefort Mountain.
DG: Party formation is now over. An Entry Challenge will now be drawn and displayed to the party.
============================<* Aubefort Mountain *>=============================
==================<* CHALLENGE - The Sheep-Eating Mountain *>===================
|Type: Entry       |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 The cave system of Aubefort Mountain is well-known to the herders of Kasutho  
 Island; it's said that every so often a sheep will wander into part of the    
 network of tunnels and force a rescue by their shepherd. And every so often,  
 or so the stories go, neither sheep nor shepherd are seen again.              
                                                                               
 Rumors abound to the reason: monsters, natural hazards, or, perhaps...        
 something /else/.                                                             
                                                                               
 This is without doubt one of the entrances into the tunnels within the        
 mountain, but recent weather has caused this entrance to become partially     
 blocked. You would need to be a sheep to fit through here comfortably.        
                                                                               
 And you are most certainly not a sheep.                                       
                                                                               
 The rock and rubble that has piled a short distance within the passage        
 (perhaps it suffered a partial collapse, recently) is substantial. You're     
 probably not fitting through here without some important adjustments to the   
 entrance first.                                                               
                                                                               
 BGM: https://christopherlarkin.bandcamp.com/track/crystal-peak                
=Dungeon Conditions: Overzealous, Exhaust=====================================
<Pose Tracker> Tio has posed.

        The caves of Aubefort Mountain are many, varied and storied. Most of the stories are 'there's monsters', 'there's treasure' and 'there's monsters and treasure', but there are many of them nonetheless. A tunnel has been seemingly chosen at random by a small blue woman and her group of fellow Drifters, and she has taken the lead in entering.

        Or she would, if it weren't fairly solidly blocked. She pauses at the entrance. "...I do not believe we could all fit through here." Tio comments. The automaton is short, light and thin, but it would be a stretch even for her. "Under the circumstances, I believe our best option is to make our own way through." She steps back from the entrance. "I will start."

        She reaches for the Soul Egg, and holds it aloft. "Light blue," comes her long verbose chant, and then a torrent of water burst from the Soul Egg, and heads straight for the pile of rubble, targted to hopefully overwhelm it.

DG: Tio has used her Tool Soul Egg toward her party's challenge, The Sheep-Eating Mountain.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

There were a lot of rumors surrounding Aubefort Mountain. There were rumors of treasure, of course, as there always were, but the most pressing one was the fact that sheep had a tendency to wander in and get lost. Jacqueline had seen this fact for herself and so, since she happens to be in the area, she decided it might be a good idea to swing by and check.

How fortuitous, then, that there were already others interested in checking it out for themselves! Teamwork makes things go much more smoothly.

Unfortunately... the tunnel they've chosen to start their exploration from is blocked rather well with rubble. Jacqueline frowns, observing it.

"...I think you're right." She concludes with a nod toward Tio. She reaches into her bags, eventually drawing out a bottle of red liquid. "Here, let me give you a hand there."

Through the Mystic power common amongst practicioners of Crest Sorcery, the liquid inside evaporates into a cloud of red sparkles that settle over the rest of the party, greatly improving their strength. It should make things easier!

DG: Jacqueline Barber has used her Tool Brewte Force toward her party's challenge, The Sheep-Eating Mountain.
<Pose Tracker> Talise Gianfair has posed.

A cave rumoured to be full of monsters, hazards and treasure? How could Talise not go along?

"Well, that looks like a tight fit for anyone who's not a woolly ungulate," the half-Beastwoman comments as she peers down the cramped passage ahead of them. Finally, she straightens up and looks over to Tio with a shrug.

"Actually, I have another option for you," she suggests as she tugs up the cuffs of her gloves. She weaves her fingers together, vigorously cracking her knuckles. Tio's already going ahead, mind, but Talise is right behind her.

She goes for the simple solution of slamming both fists into the rubble heap and heaving several large boulders out to widen the way.

DG: Talise Gianfair has used her Tool Reinforced Gauntlets toward her party's challenge, The Sheep-Eating Mountain.
<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        Ethius has been here before. If he returns to a place, he probably thinks he has a good reason to. He might not understand what 'a reason' is, sometimes, for how baffling and strange his interests and aggressions can be. Whatever his business is involving sheep that are compelled to visit these weird crystal caves in Kasutho, well. There won't be any business if they can't get inside.
        He keeps a respectful distance from the gathered, which is the nicest thing he can generally do other than 'not burn this or that, please.' But these behaviors of him are already well-documented and one can skip to the part where he is absolutely, positively, unambiguously... going to use his Symbology to try and just Melt Things once he is given the clearance to do so.

DG: Ethius Hesiod has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward his party's challenge, The Sheep-Eating Mountain.
<Pose Tracker> Ashley Winchester has posed.

And sometimes the treasures are the monsters. You don't know when you might have a run in with some kind of mimic chest. Or a mimic chet. Or even a mimic chest mimicing a mimic chet, for that matter. Ruins like these are dangerous enough for people as they are, but for sheeple it can only be worse...!

Or maybe because they're sheep, they're less vulnerable to mimic shenanigans??

Either way, doesn't matter! Tio wanted to go adventuring, and so Ashley decided to do some ~team bonding~ and go along with her! A little light romping through the bowels of a mysterious sheep-eating mountain is good for the soul, and also good to help put away those memories of horrible alien-based revelations.

"Hup," Ashley Winchester, the most powerful baker, grunts as he wedges the business end of his Bayonet under a boulder for leverage. He looks, to the untrained eye, like he could be some kind of evil universe twin of Janus Cascade, minus any visible goatee. "Those sheep are really making a lot of trouble for people, aren't they? I thought only goats liked climbing mountains?"

DG: Ashley Winchester has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward his party's challenge, The Sheep-Eating Mountain.
============================<* Aubefort Mountain *>=============================
==================<* CHALLENGE - The Sheep-Eating Mountain *>===================
|Type: Entry       |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 The cave system of Aubefort Mountain is well-known to the herders of Kasutho  
 Island; it's said that every so often a sheep will wander into part of the    
 network of tunnels and force a rescue by their shepherd. And every so often,  
 or so the stories go, neither sheep nor shepherd are seen again.              
                                                                               
 Rumors abound to the reason: monsters, natural hazards, or, perhaps...        
 something /else/.                                                             
                                                                               
 This is without doubt one of the entrances into the tunnels within the        
 mountain, but recent weather has caused this entrance to become partially     
 blocked. You would need to be a sheep to fit through here comfortably.        
                                                                               
 And you are most certainly not a sheep.                                       
                                                                               
 The rock and rubble that has piled a short distance within the passage        
 (perhaps it suffered a partial collapse, recently) is substantial. You're     
 probably not fitting through here without some important adjustments to the   
 entrance first.                                                               
                                                                               
 BGM: https://christopherlarkin.bandcamp.com/track/crystal-peak                
=Dungeon Conditions: Overzealous, Exhaust=====================================
=======================<* Aubefort Mountain - Round 1 *>========================
====================< Results - The Sheep-Eating Mountain >=====================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tio                                 0 --(8)--> 8                   Pass
Soul Egg                            2   Brute   Effects: Strengthen           
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Talise Gianfair                     0 --(8)--> 8                   Pass
Reinforced Gauntlets                1   Brute   Effects: Strengthen and Fanfar
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ethius Hesiod                       0 --(8)--> 8                   Pass
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Barber                   0 --(8)--> 8                   Pass
Brewte Force                        1   Brute   Effects: Fanfare and Strengthe
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ashley Winchester                   0 --(8)--> 8                   Pass
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
-----------------------------------< Party >------------------------------------
Leader: Tio                         0 --(20)--> 20                 Pass
Conditions: Exhaust(1)|Overzealous(2)
Effects: Strengthen(1)
===============================< Dream Chasers >================================
DG: The party led by Tio 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> Tio has posed.

        The rubble cannot stand the combined forces of no five drifters with attitude! Talise starts hauling boulders away and clearing the path, while Jay doles out potions to everyone who can drink them. Ashley starts using his bayonet for leverage, pulling rocks clear while Ethius and Tio turn to magic, and clear the rest out of the way and also generate a lot of steam so it sucks to be the hair of the people in close.

        Tio, however, does not take the potion offered toi her, but she tries to be polite. "I am sorry, but my body does not require food or drink. My energy stores are self replenishing." She may have misunderstood the point, and the effectiveness of alchemical concotions.

        "They way is clear. We may move forward." She says, with something resembling authority. There's a pause. "Why should sheep not climb mountains?" Tio asks of Ashley.

DG: Ethius Hesiod has drawn a new Challenge.
============================<* Aubefort Mountain *>=============================
=======================<* CHALLENGE - Shepherd's Lunch *>=======================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 Rounding a bend, you come across a room cooler temperature-wise than others   
 you have been in previously; a shallow pool -- no more than an inch or so in  
 depth -- rests among stalagmites.                                             
                                                                               
 It would otherwise be unremarkable, save for one thing: a wrapped wax-paper   
 package, looking as if it has been left here quite recently, nestled among a  
 particularly dense pocket of the stone spikes. They look rather sharp.        
                                                                               
 Reaching it will require negotiating the slippery surface of the stones and   
 the spikes themselves.                                                        
=Dungeon Conditions: Reckless, Treasure=======================================
<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        Once they get past the whole sheep-sized bottleneck, the cavern path they take is not terribly remarkable. It's not even wonderfully remarkable. It just is. Spacious, a bit damp, also some distant sheep bleating which is an excellent guide for where something of interest might be, as they start to pass a shallow pool...
        "Wait." Ethius remarks, looking over to his left - where there's a lot of sharp stalagmites just resting there, enjoying their years-long bath in cool mountain rainwater. There's nothing weird about them, though. They're made of rock, they're in the ground, and they're sharp and also partially submerged. (...by like an inch)
        "I believe there is a parcel there." Ethius says as he steps forward and nearly slips on the edge of the shallow pool. He isn't near the sharp rocks, but that in itself is a fair warning - it be slippery there. But there is a wrapped wax-paper package there. Left there by accident? It seems unlikely with how it is surrounded by spikes. No wonder it interests him.
        Ethius gets out the Spectral Lens once he recovers his balance and checks to make sure it's not connected to a trap, or something - they'll need to figure out some way to safely retrieve it.

DG: Ethius Hesiod has used his Tool Spectral Lens toward his party's challenge, Shepherd's Lunch.
<Pose Tracker> Talise Gianfair has posed.

Talise halts with a frown as Ethius urges them to stop. She rests a hand at her hip and looks on with a little frown. "What? Huh, a parcel?"

The tall woman moves her other hand to her hip and frowns thoughtfully. "Okay, so we're going to go over those rocks? That's...." She trails off, then moves to the edge of the water.

With a quick toss, Talise pulls a bottle of something out of her coat.

        Old Man Ettlesbury's Olde-Fashioned Schnapps

Humming casually, Talise sets the bottle down in the water and applies a little pressure. There's a muffled clink as the glass hits the bottom. "Well, shit," she laughs. "Why would we bother jumping over stones? Seems stupid."

The big swordswoman simply steps into the water. She takes a swig of her drink and sloshes through the veritable puddle until she reaches the tangle of rocks, at which point she grabs ahold of one of them, tests it, and begins snapping stalagmites off at the root.

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

"Oh, no, it's for improving one's strength! It's okay if you don't want it, but they can be quite helpful." Jacqueline explains to Tio. "I have a wide number of useful concoctions... they're equally effective no matter what you're made of!"

She offers everyone a welcoming smile. Before long, a way forward opens up! Jacqueline follows the others inside, but right as they pass by a shallow pool, Ethius bids them to stop.

"...Ah, what is it?" Jacqueline asks. She turns her attention toward the parcel that Ethius indicates. Jacqueline blinks, staring at it curiously.

"Oh! It looks fairly recent... did someone leave it here on purpose? Or did someone drop it?" She considers. Should they really mess with it...? Well, Ethius seems to think it's of some importance, and she usually trusted his judgment on these things.

"I agree - I think I can make this a little easier on us." She says, with a nod Talise's way. With a gesture of her left hand, Jacqueline tries to bring a pillar of earth up underneath the parcel, to raise it up and make it more easily accessible.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Shepherd's Lunch.
<Pose Tracker> Ashley Winchester has posed.

Finding a treasure hidden in shallow water seems like the perfect job for some kind of box that goes bing when there's hidden loot afoot. Some kind of treasure radar. Some kind of... booty... call...

...

Ashley does not use that handy little box dangling from his hip. Not this time! "Uhhh, is that giant lady just snapping rock spikes like they're twigs? I'm pretty sure miss Vuong would be upset if she knew we were out damaging ancient rock formations..."

Oh well. Venetia's not here. So it's fine!

IT'S FINE.

"Here, so you don't fall," he says, tossing the wading party a rope to grab on to. "Wouldn't want anyone to trip and impale themselves on a rock spike! Right?"

DG: Ashley Winchester has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Shepherd's Lunch.
<Pose Tracker> Tio has posed.

        "I see..." Tio sort of trails off. "Very well. I shall try one next time." When Ethius calls a stop, Tio obeys, stopping a few steps behind him. As the others start wading into the water, her sensor antennae light up.

        "Yes she is." Tio responds to Ashley. "It is most impressive." Tio has no cares for the importance of stalagmites But she does start scanning the water and the spikes around it. "Please be careful to your right." Tio calls out, deciding she is acting as spotter.

        She doesn't actually enter the water, but she's happy to help out!

DG: Tio has used her Tool Sensor Antennae toward her party's challenge, Shepherd's Lunch.
============================<* Aubefort Mountain *>=============================
=======================<* CHALLENGE - Shepherd's Lunch *>=======================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 Rounding a bend, you come across a room cooler temperature-wise than others   
 you have been in previously; a shallow pool -- no more than an inch or so in  
 depth -- rests among stalagmites.                                             
                                                                               
 It would otherwise be unremarkable, save for one thing: a wrapped wax-paper   
 package, looking as if it has been left here quite recently, nestled among a  
 particularly dense pocket of the stone spikes. They look rather sharp.        
                                                                               
 Reaching it will require negotiating the slippery surface of the stones and   
 the spikes themselves.                                                        
=Dungeon Conditions: Reckless, Treasure=======================================
=======================<* Aubefort Mountain - Round 2 *>========================
=========================< Results - Shepherd's Lunch >=========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tio                                 8 --(8)--> 16                  Pass
Sensor Antennae                     2   Wits    Effects: Enlighten            
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Talise Gianfair                     8 --(8)--> 16                  Pass
Old Man Ettlesbury's Olde-Fashioned 1   Wits    Effects: Cleanse              
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ethius Hesiod                       8 --(8)--> 16                  Pass
Spectral Lens                       2   Wits    Effects: Enlighten            
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Barber                   8 --(8)--> 16                  Pass
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC                
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ashley Winchester                   8 --(8)--> 16                  Pass
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC                
-----------------------------------< Party >------------------------------------
Leader: Tio                         20 --(25)--> 45                Pass
Conditions: Overzealous(1)|Reckless(2)|Treasure(1)
Effects: Cleanse|Enlighten(1)
===============================< Dream Chasers >================================
DG: The party led by Tio has passed this challenge! The party gained 25 exploration! If anyone needs to use party
management commands, do so now. Otherwise, the next round's GM may begin the next round with +dungeon/draw.
<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        It looks a lot like a trap. From a naturalist perspective, it is - these are sharp rocky spikes and the ground is so very slick! One tumble, and that's that... but they don't retract or anything. Tio's warning seems a little off, as there is no immediate danger to Talise's right... but over a ways to the right of the pool itself, though, there's a wandering random encounter monster. It is so trivially disposed of after the fact that it bears no further mention.)
        Talise proves that sometimes you just don't have to outsmart the situation, you just have to show it who's boss. With Ashley's provided rope and a bit of movement on jay's end to try and tip the parcel via Crest Sorcery on the ground itself, she'll be able to claim the wax paper-wrapped parcel for herself! What could this mysterious thing be? It's soft, squishy, and smells nice.
        It smells like something edible. Filgaia food is nowhere near as good as what can be found on Lunar, but this 'something edible' is above par by Filgaian fare. It is... likely someone's lost lunch, and it is nowhere near spoiled. That means someone must be nearby and need help, and that they aren't too late!
        Ethius stares at the package for a while but makes no obvious or even subtle ploy to take it.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has drawn a new Challenge.
===========================<* Aubefort Mountain *>============================
========================<* CHALLENGE - Crane Games *>=========================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 This place must have been in use once -- there stands here still in this      
 chamber of the caverns a clearly crane-like apparatus. The cabling is long    
 gone and the crane itself is covered in rust, and the control system is not   
 even functional, but...                                                       
                                                                               
 But you see above some sort of entryway, distinct from the one through which  
 you entered. If you could force the derelict crane to move towards it, it     
 might be possible to reach it and whatever lies beyond.                       
=Dungeon Conditions: Tire, Secret=============================================
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

"Talise is probably one of the strongest people I know - I can't think of anyone else who matches her in raw physical strength." Jacqueline says brightly. With help from everyone, they manage to tip the parcel on the ground to find...!

...Someone's lunch. Jacqueline blinks, momentarily surprised.

"Hmm, I'm not... quite sure what I expected. But if this is here, then the source of it must be nearby... Someone might need our help." Jacqueline says. "Let's hurry!"

She takes a quick look around the area to figure out their heading and hurries off in a direction.

There doesn't seem to be much here... except, on the far end of the chamber, close to the ceiling, there's an entryway. Below it, cracked crystals lie in pieces - it looks like, whoever went this way, they ascended in quite the hurry and broke the only way up.

"...That complicates thing." Jacqueline comments with a frown. She looks around the room and, with a gasp of realisation, hurries over to a set of controls. The astute will realise that they go to a nearby crane, but...

"...It's broken." Jacqueline observes with a sigh. "We're going to have to do this the hard way, then - if we can position this crane properly, we can use it to get a way up!"

Jacqueline, as always, isn't the most useful for physical labor. She does, however, once again provide strengthening potions for everyone.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has used her Tool Brewte Force toward her party's challenge, Crane Games.
<Pose Tracker> Talise Gianfair has posed.

Talise pushes a hand through her hair, throwing a wink and a grin to Ashley. It shows her slightly pointed canines. "That giant lady is definitely doing it. And hey, thanks, Jay," she adds for the alchemist, waving her hand easily. "I like to think I'm useful sometimes!"

On they go, soon enough discovering the crane apparatus. Once more Talise brings her hands together.

"This might be tough," she admits as she approaches the mechanism. "I've never been the best mechanic."

Perching on the crane, Talise shrugs out of her coat. The tank top beneath it was visible, but without the coat, the definition of her arms is more obvious. She's still obviously feminine, but her muscle development is hard to miss. Her gloved hands slide over the crane, moving to a hatch and flipping it open as she peers inside.

"Okay. I think I see the problem," she muses as she flips the hatch closed again.

Then she clenches a fist and backhands the side of the crane firmly. The entire machine shakes like it's just been hit by a speeding bus.

Talise whacks it a couple more times for the road.

DG: Talise Gianfair has used her Tool Reinforced Gauntlets toward her party's challenge, Crane Games.
<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        Ethius takes a look over at the crane as Jay points out the possibility (which is soon dashed) that it could be used to ascend towards an opening that looks to be of great interest - did someone go up that way recently? He has his own thoughts, and his own ideas, as he finds his way upon the crane itself without signaling such to anyone (this will be hilarious soon, more on that later).
        Once there, he quietly traces a finger in mid-air as if working something out in his mind. The crane is rusted, and it's something of a miracle and also creepy that his presence on it isn't making all sorts of scratchy squealy noises as some of the others take their crack at it.
        'Okay. I think I see the problem,' Talise says as Ethius is currently leaning over near the edge and delicately trying to remove something with his gloved hands. It's not clear looking from the outside in what it is, but he sure seems like he's in it to win it - dangling so dramatically like he is just this side of a Mission: Impossible movie.
        Then Talise hits it. It shakes, and he holds on for dear life.
        Then she hits it some more, and he is now dangling off a peeling, pliant piece of plating.
        The whole experience does help loosen some of the stiffness so that the ascending angle need not be so steep. He doesn't yell or call attention to it, as if pretending nobody saw his comical dear hanging on for life.

DG: Ethius Hesiod has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Crane Games.
<Pose Tracker> Ashley Winchester has posed.

Ashley knows better than almost anyone else just how important a decent meal is, especially when you're off spelunking in a mysterious cave system somewhere! Actually finding a bag full of miscellaneous and tasty foodstuffs all the way out here, though, is... Kind of weird? "You'd think that the food would have gone bad pretty quick, what with it being left in a damp pool in the middle of a cave and all... Unless whoever lost their lunch came by not long ago. Which means that there might be someone else in here other than us and the sheep."

Ashley looks contemplative, but...

What lies in wait for them isn't the kind of thing that can be solved by brains alone...!

Fortunately, Talise has brawn in spades. She could club someone over the head with those diamond-hard arms, and her biceps have probably stolen their fair share of hearts.

She's got a full deck, is what we're getting at. By comparison, Ashley's solution is positively mundane.

"You think maybe whacking it might just break it harder though? Maybe instead we can just... turn it along its axle. It looks like the base is a bit rusty, but it should still move if we can shake loose the grit."

DG: Ashley Winchester has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Crane Games.
<Pose Tracker> Tio has posed.

        Tio blinks at the package of a delicious lunch. "Why would it be left among so many spikes?" She asks, tilting her head as she often does. "It seems like it would be difficult to place here." It's a very strange placement.

        This time Tio drinks the potion, but how much effect it has may be hard to tell, because once again she's reaching for that Mana Egg. "Very well. I wll assist as best I can. Green." She takes the Mana Egg in her hands, and points it at the crane.

And then a tree grows out of the ground, after Talise's percussive maintenance, to further push the crane in the right direction, growing rapidly and at an odd angle. The tree will fade away once the spell is complete, but right now it provides leverage.

DG: Tio has used her Tool Soul Egg toward her party's challenge, Crane Games.
===========================<* Aubefort Mountain *>============================
========================<* CHALLENGE - Crane Games *>=========================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 This place must have been in use once -- there stands here still in this      
 chamber of the caverns a clearly crane-like apparatus. The cabling is long    
 gone and the crane itself is covered in rust, and the control system is not   
 even functional, but...                                                       
                                                                               
 But you see above some sort of entryway, distinct from the one through which  
 you entered. If you could force the derelict crane to move towards it, it     
 might be possible to reach it and whatever lies beyond.                       
=Dungeon Conditions: Tire, Secret=============================================
======================<* Aubefort Mountain - Round 3 *>=======================
==========================< Results - Crane Games >===========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tio                                 16 --(8)--> 24                 Pass
Soul Egg                            2   Brute   Effects: Strengthen           
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Talise Gianfair                     16 --(8)--> 24                 Pass
Reinforced Gauntlets                1   Brute   Effects: Strengthen and Fanfar
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ethius Hesiod                       16 --(8)--> 24                 Pass
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Barber                   16 --(8)--> 24                 Pass
Brewte Force                        1   Brute   Effects: Fanfare and Strengthe
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ashley Winchester                   16 --(8)--> 24                 Pass
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Tio                         45 --(20)--> 65                Pass
Conditions: Reckless(1)|Secret(2)|Tire(2)
Effects: Strengthen(1)
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: The party led by Tio has passed this challenge! The party gained 20 exploration! If anyone needs to use party
management commands, do so now. Otherwise, the next round's GM may begin the next round with +dungeon/draw.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

"I don't think it was left there purposely... I imagine they were fleeing something, though what I don't know..." Jacqueline says, as she considers the mystery of the Lost Lunch.

While she considers that, the others get to work on positioning the crane. Ethius slowly and carefully tries to remove something... and then, Talise just up and whacks the thing, several times. The effects are immediately obvious - the crane begins to move, even with Ethius in tow. Ashley provides a suggestion, though - to turn the machine along the axle. With Talise and Ethius both having loosened it up, this turns out to be a fairly easy task.

...But, it's still not up high enough. Fortunately they have a solution to that, too, as Tio causes a tree to sprout upward, pushing the crane up until it's at just the right angle.

"Good work, everyone!" Jacqueline praises. "That should do it - we should be able to follow them from here."

DG: Ashley Winchester has drawn a new Challenge.
===========================<* Aubefort Mountain *>============================
=======================<* CHALLENGE - Slime Surprise *>=======================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 The walls here are covered with a film -- water and all the things that       
 water brings with it, perhaps. That would be the logical assumption: many     
 caves can be rather damp places indeed.                                       
                                                                               
 Unfortunately, as you soon find out, this particular wet patch is actually    
 courtesy of a Slime... and its Slime friends.                                 
                                                                               
 Yeah. This is now your problem.                                               
=Dungeon Conditions: Tire, Bad Luck, Stupify==================================
<Pose Tracker> Ashley Winchester has posed.

With all the standing water around here, it's a wonder there aren't more aquatically-themed monsters flopping about. Though perhaps the 'standing' bit is part of the problem. Fish prefer lakes, oceans and rivers to puddles! This is more the kind of place you'd find exotic and strange wildlife-- an entire biome hidden within a mountain! Think of all the slime molds you might find!

Or maybe... the slime molds that will find... you...

Something goes *squish* under Ashley's boot-heel. It's easy not to think anything of it. You know, because this is a cave and there are puddles of water sitting around all over the place. It becomes somewhat more problematic when the ARMS operative suddenly topples over with a surprised 'whoop!' and just barely catches himself before he French kisses a small stalagmite. "What the heck--" Ashley starts, tugging and pulling at his stuck leg. But something is there, something that's slooowly wriggling up his ankle--

Something ooey. Something gooey. Something... brightly colored and distinctly slime-shaped.

"Augh!" Ashley whips a much smaller sidearm from his hip and fires a bright magnesium flare right into where the slime is rooted to the cave floor. The thing makes a series of distressed slime noises as it retreats, allowing Ashley to scramble back to his feet, but...

...His flare revealed a problem.

"G-guys," Ashley whimpers, as the corridor all around them glistens and wriggles in a gloopy tapestry of color, "I think... I think they might have us surrounded."

Slimes begin falling in from above! Seeping in from below! Slimes, slimes everywhere! You could make almost fill a small swimming pool with all these slimes!!

They don't seem to like fire though, at least...!?

DG: Ashley Winchester has used his Tool Flare Gun toward his party's challenge, Slime Surprise.
<Pose Tracker> Talise Gianfair has posed.

"Believe it or not, sometimes you just have to give it a smack," Talise points out with a wry smile, eyes darting towards Ashley. She picks up her coat and slings it over her shoulder. As much as she's handling it as if it's just cloth, it jingles like a mailshirt.

She doesn't put the coat back on yet. All the water is making the place a little humid, and cooling off seems like a good idea. Eventually she draws her sword, tossing it casually to her ight hand as she watches Ashley move.

"Step in a puddle?" she asks him - until something ooey and gooey emerges.

A lot of something gooey. The corridor is full of them. Talise withdraws a little with a widening of her eyes, clicking her teeth together sharply. "I'm not sure I can cut goo," she admits with a glance towards Jay.

She grunts and twirls Rastaban into both hands, dropping her coat. "So I guess it's time for Plan B."

Slimes begin to plummet around her. Talise snaps her blade through one before darting back, putting more and more Slimes in front of her. Blue lightning gathers along her sword blade, and she raises her voice to a sharp roar, slashing hard. A blue dragon's head bursts forth from the blade, a roaring blast of energy that screams into the mass of slimes to try and vapourize them utterly.

DG: Talise Gianfair has used her Tool Dragon Courage toward her party's challenge, Slime Surprise.
<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        MOMENTS BEFORE
 
        Ethius gets stuck in the sudden sorcerous tree that appears. This is further evidence that he may not be a human being, but a cat who accidentally was born with physical features completely identical to that of a human being. He has also almost certainly not learned his lesson about being open and honest when he is trying to sneak off and do shady things no matter how beneficial the intent. But the only definitive available in this situation is that he gets stuck in a tree.
 
        NOW
 
        "Yes. I believe we are," Ethius says as he is now nonchalantly walking across the length of the battlefield, quietly dumping the contents of one of the satchels he uses for smoke bombs across a number of gathering slimes in a stark contrast to the dramatic defenses being put up.

DG: Ethius Hesiod has used his Tool Powder Grenade toward his party's challenge, Slime Surprise.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline blinks as Ashley topples over!

"A-are you okay?" She asks, concerned. It looks like he's gotten caught on something slimy... and that something appears to be an actual slime. And it's brought friends!

"...True, amorphous monsters tend to only multiply when exposed to cutting implements..." Jacqueline considers with a frown. She notes Talise's plan B, though, as she sends a dragon head flying into the crowd! "M-my goodness, when did you learn that...? That's incredible."

But, she has a job here to do! Jacqueline does some quick spell work, forming a stone roof over her head to catch further dropping slimes, before drawing out the Codex and flipping through its pages.

"These are Aubefort Slimes... they're largely identical to normal slimes, but they come in a wider variety of colors than slime colonies in a single area tend to, and they prefer high places." Jacqueline explains. "Like most slimes, cutting them tends to cause them to multiply, so blunt force or Sorcery is the recommended solution. They're not particularly smart or even all that strong, but they can easily catch one by surprise and there are quite a few of them..."

With that explanation given, Jacqueline deposits the Codex into her bags once more before drawing out a potion she prepared specifically for this occasion. She sprinkles some of it out in front of her. It's a special concoction that causes slimes to dry out on contact - they tend to avoid it instinctively, so if she can make a trail of it, they might be able to make a safe path through the room.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has used her Tool The Lifeweaver's Codex toward her party's challenge, Slime Surprise.
<Pose Tracker> Tio has posed.

        Squish, it seems, is bad. The thing that went squish trying to eat you is worse. Being surrounded by things go squish, even worse. Tio's sensors light up to try and detect how many slimes there are, ut it's frankly more slime than she is designed to detect. "...Enemy numbers undetectable."

        In the time this has happened, her solid adventuring boots have been replaced with entirely dig inappropriate delicate glass slippers. How odd.

        And then Tio takes up her laser chakrams and starts moving. Her already fast reactrion speed goes through the roof, and she moves aross the battlefield like a dancer. Who kills people. Look, it's fine. Even if she may be at risk of making slimes multiply.

DG: Tio has used her Tool Glass Slippers toward her party's challenge, Slime Surprise.
===========================<* Aubefort Mountain *>============================
=======================<* CHALLENGE - Slime Surprise *>=======================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 The walls here are covered with a film -- water and all the things that       
 water brings with it, perhaps. That would be the logical assumption: many     
 caves can be rather damp places indeed.                                       
                                                                               
 Unfortunately, as you soon find out, this particular wet patch is actually    
 courtesy of a Slime... and its Slime friends.                                 
                                                                               
 Yeah. This is now your problem.                                               
=Dungeon Conditions: Tire, Bad Luck, Stupify==================================
======================<* Aubefort Mountain - Round 4 *>=======================
=========================< Results - Slime Surprise >=========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tio                                 24 --(8)--> 32                 Pass
Glass Slippers                      3   Combat  Effects: Rally                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Talise Gianfair                     24 --(8)--> 32                 Pass
Dragon Courage                      1   Combat  Effects: Embolden and Fanfare 
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ethius Hesiod                       24 --(8)--> 32                 Pass
Powder Grenade                      3   Combat  Effects: Fanfare              
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Barber                   24 --(8)--> 32                 Pass
The Lifeweaver's Codex              2   Combat  Effects: Embolden             
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ashley Winchester                   24 --(8)--> 32                 Pass
Flare Gun                           1   Combat  Effects: Cleanse              
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Tio                         65 --(30)--> 95                Pass
Conditions: Bad Luck(2)|Secret(1)|Stupify(2)|Tire(2)
Effects: Cleanse|Embolden(1)
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: The party led by Tio has passed this challenge! The party gained 30 exploration! If anyone needs to use party
management commands, do so now. Otherwise, the next round's GM may begin the next round with +dungeon/draw.
DG: Talise Gianfair has drawn a new Challenge.
=============================<* Aubefort Mountain *>==============================
======================<* CHALLENGE - Perilous Pod Patrol *>=======================
|Type: Final       |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
----------------------------< Challenge Information: >----------------------------
 Eventually the twists and turns within the mountain give way to what appears  
 to be a metal structure of some sort, wedged tightly within the stone. A      
 large round vault door -- currently closed -- rests in the structure,         
 probably permitting access within.                                            
                                                                               
 Access that might just be delayed.                                            
                                                                               
 From panels in the structure wall emerge a series of spheres about a foot in  
 diameter, each of them boasting a red-lit lens on the front. They hover down  
 to descend alongside you all, scanning in silence.                            
                                                                               
 Then, each one of them suddenly goes on the attack in unison, an assortment   
 of ARM-type weaponry inexplicably bristling from the defense drone pods!      
                                                                               
 If you want to investigate further (and possibly, not get shot too much)      
 you'll have to deal with these, first!                                        
                                                                               
 BGM: https://christopherlarkin.bandcamp.com/track/decisive-battle             
=Dungeon Conditions: Fright, Wound============================================
<Pose Tracker> Ashley Winchester has posed.

These poor slimes, they might have thought they would have had a nice and easy meal on their pseudopods. It's too bad that they ran into a band of brave heroes (plus one baker) instead of a tasty mutton snack! It starts out well enough, certainly. Tio and Talise carve several dozen slimes into halves and quarters, letting the creatures divide and multiply... but all that achieves is to multiply the CARNAGE. The devastation begins with a dragon-shaped explosion of lightning that ricochets through each slimey body and sends several dozen flash-boiling into clouds of steam and volatile organics that are probably not the best thing to be breathing.

Clouds of Ethius-sourced dust are on hand, however, to dampen any potential explosions of slime-gas. The dust particulate acts as nucleation sites, causing the poison vapors to condense and settle in inert pools before they can spread. The decimation of the slimes continues as Ashley loads and fires yet more flares, causing those dust-clouds to burst into flame! Between that and Jay's helpful anti-slime concoction, the remaining oozes decide collectively that it's better to run away to slime another day.

Not that the party isn't still a little... damper overall for their trouble.

Except for Tio, of course, because she's a dodgy little thing.

"Ugggh," Ashley groans, "Slimes... Can't even shoot slimes...!"

<Pose Tracker> Talise Gianfair has posed.

"Before we went to Spira," Talise says with a glance towards Jay. "You can thank the late Green Knight Fredo for teaching me that trick."

With the slimes cleared up, the group proceeds onward. Talise shrugs back into her coat somewhere along the way there. A few foes arise, but they're thwarted with ease before the group makes their way into a crack in the stone.

A crack conspicuously interrupted by metal bulkheads - and a round vault door. Talise blinks a couple of times before scratching her cheek with one nail. "Well, that's a surprise. Wonder what this is all a-"

Panels in the walls suddenly pop open. Talise starts as a series of foot-wide metal spheres emerge from the wall, each boasting an illuminated red lens. Scanning beams sweep across the group in unison.

"What's that about?" Talise begins.

The pods suddenly flip open hatches on their sides. Streamlined ARM barrels emerge and swivel to target. "Shit," Talise says.

Muzzle flares blaze blindingly as the sentry pods open fire all at once. They dart about, spraying down the crevice and everyone in it with bullets. Talise snarls with pain as a couple of rounds get past her mail and graze her cheek, drawing blood.

"I don't have time for this!" she roars before slashing Rastaban through the air again. With a screaming blue burst, that energy blast in the shape of a dragon's head blooms forth, trying to consume several of the probes at once.

DG: Talise Gianfair has used her Tool Dragon Courage toward her party's challenge, Perilous Pod Patrol.
<Pose Tracker> Ashley Winchester has posed.

Drones! Ashley can SHOOT drones! Thank Granas, it's not a gigantic mother-slime or something like that! It's something Ashley can fight without necessarily resorting to setting fire to the entire world.

That's a major perk, in his opinion...!

More importantly, his brief experience with this group gives him some ideas.

"Dust-guy!" Ashley calls Ethius-ward, "Set up more of those ash clouds if you please! You know, in grain mills, dust explosions are a real big problem. Flour settles everywhere. And if there's a spark and enough dust in the air, the entire place can go up like a bomb!"

And Ashley Winchester has just the kind of spark necessary to set off a dust explosion.

Magnesium flares. Also napalm.

"Miss Jay, you might want to set up some blast shields, too. Especially for that giant lady up there. Tio, uh... You do you! Sorry, I don't... really have any advice other than 'get in there when the explosion's done and kick some bot?'" Strategizing on the fly is just one of those things he does, apparently...!?

DG: Ashley Winchester has used his Tool Flare Gun toward his party's challenge, Perilous Pod Patrol.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

"I-It's okay... everyone has their off days..." Jacqueline says, trying to reassure Ashley. Talise then explains where she learned that technique of hers. Jacqueline nods.

"I see... I don't know who that is, but you seem to have learned it quite well!" Jacqueline says.

Without any further slime in their way, the path forward is clear. They move onward, and onward, until eventually they find their path halted by a suspicious metal structure.

"I think this might have been a military base once..." Jacqueline considers, thinking back. The drones with the angrily glowing eyes certainly give credence to the theory, especially once ARMs begin to emerge.

Thinking quickly, Jacqueline immediately moves to take cover behind Ethius as she moves to bring out the Codex.

"I've fought these drones before... their accuracy is high, and so is their rate of fire! While they're fairly durable, they're quite vulnerable to be knocked around... if you can give them a good smack, you can knock them off course!" Jacqueline explains. "That red lens isn't any more of a weak point than the rest of the machine, but if you can take it out, their accuracy will be hindered... If you can manage to destroy it, do so!"

With her information given, Jacqueline begins to do as Ashley requests. With several gestures of her left hand, Jacqueline begins to bring up pillars of stone the others can use as cover.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has used her Tool The Lifeweaver's Codex toward her party's challenge, Perilous Pod Patrol.
<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        "Wait." Ethius says way too late for any waiting, as he rounds that corner to the crack revealing metal bulkheads. He looks ready to move in the completely opposite direction moments before the panels in the walls open up (and then does so, when it starts scanning). This is typical Ethius behavior whenever approaching weird metal things with glowy bits and sweeping lights. He is promptly flattened against a wall beyond the corner when Ashley starts bringing together The Plan(tm).
        He doesn't waste much more time when the bullets start flying, hurling that second and last satchel with the prerequisite Symbological spell to activate its contents - too late to stop Talise from taking a few shots, but aiming to hamper their accuracy enough that they don't get many more chances to fill bullets into soft, squishy bodies (or those of less squishy bodily construction).
        Beyond the initial, too-late suggestion to 'wait,' he doesn't get too hands-on about how they approach it... which is not usually how things go when they are facing down something of that nature.

DG: Ethius Hesiod has used his Tool Powder Grenade toward his party's challenge, Perilous Pod Patrol.
<Pose Tracker> Tio has posed.

        As they move along, Tio can't resist her curiosity. "Who was the Green Knight Fredo?" She asks, taking note of of the 'was'. Sometimes she shows an interest in people,even if she doesn't have the best timing.

        Tio misses this instruction to wait, and she takes cover when Ashley starts laying about a battle plan. Tio listens, and nods as Ashley provides instructions for her. "Understood. Do not worry, I am a combat automaton." She gives a firm nod, her antennae waggling from the action. "This is what I was built for."

        And then the comnbat automaton joins the combat, dodging and weaving with her magical slippers. She raises her hand above her head, and three laser rings appear above it, while she tries to line up as many drones as possible. "Lotus Flower, Bloom!" And then she throws all three circling each other in a straight line, before grabbing her chakrams and rushing in.

DG: Tio has used her Tool Glass Slippers toward her party's challenge, Perilous Pod Patrol.
=============================<* Aubefort Mountain *>==============================
======================<* CHALLENGE - Perilous Pod Patrol *>=======================
|Type: Final       |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
----------------------------< Challenge Information: >----------------------------
 Eventually the twists and turns within the mountain give way to what appears  
 to be a metal structure of some sort, wedged tightly within the stone. A      
 large round vault door -- currently closed -- rests in the structure,         
 probably permitting access within.                                            
                                                                               
 Access that might just be delayed.                                            
                                                                               
 From panels in the structure wall emerge a series of spheres about a foot in  
 diameter, each of them boasting a red-lit lens on the front. They hover down  
 to descend alongside you all, scanning in silence.                            
                                                                               
 Then, each one of them suddenly goes on the attack in unison, an assortment   
 of ARM-type weaponry inexplicably bristling from the defense drone pods!      
                                                                               
 If you want to investigate further (and possibly, not get shot too much)      
 you'll have to deal with these, first!                                        
                                                                               
 BGM: https://christopherlarkin.bandcamp.com/track/decisive-battle             
=Dungeon Conditions: Fright, Wound============================================
========================<* Aubefort Mountain - Round 5 *>=========================
========================< Results - Perilous Pod Patrol >=========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tio                                 32 --(8)--> 40                 Pass
Glass Slippers                      3   Combat  Effects: Rally                
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Talise Gianfair                     32 --(8)--> 40                 Pass
Dragon Courage                      1   Combat  Effects: Embolden and Fanfare 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ethius Hesiod                       32 --(8)--> 40                 Pass
Powder Grenade                      3   Combat  Effects: Fanfare              
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Barber                   32 --(8)--> 40                 Pass
The Lifeweaver's Codex              2   Combat  Effects: Embolden             
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ashley Winchester                   32 --(8)--> 40                 Pass
Flare Gun                           1   Combat  Effects: Cleanse              
------------------------------------< Party >-------------------------------------
Leader: Tio                         95 --(25)--> 120               Pass
Conditions: Fright(2)|Wound(2)
Effects: Cleanse|Embolden(1)
================================< Dream Chasers >=================================
DG: You have overcome the dungeon's trials! This run is a success!
DG: The party led by Tio has successfully explored Aubefort Mountain!
=============================<* Aubefort Mountain *>==============================
=====================<* CHALLENGE - To Coordinates Unknown *>=====================
|Type: Discovery   |Dungeon Ability: Conclusion|Challenge Rating: 1          | 
----------------------------< Challenge Information: >----------------------------
 With the machine monstrocity dealt with, you are able to enter into the       
 walled-in space inside the mountain. The door slides open quite easily -- as  
 if the lock were already somehow broken by some thoughtful crew just ahead    
 of you.                                                                       
                                                                               
 It's cramped in here. And largely barren. Whoever got in here before you --   
 maybe everyone in here before you? -- must have picked the place more or      
 less clean. The shelves and cabinets hold only the dust of the ages.          
                                                                               
 You have somewhat more luck in the terminal room. In there, some of the       
 screens are still lit -- the bunker still draws power from somewhere.         
                                                                               
 Most of the content on the screens is garbage, a mix of letters and symbols   
 devoid of meaning. But on one terminal...                                     
                                                                               
 ...THE SITE LOCATION... COORDINATES AT...                                     
                                                                               
 A series of coordinates follow. By your estimation, this seems like it might  
 be somewhere in Southern Aquvy, assuming there hasn't been an untoward shift  
 in landmass in the last however-long.                                         
                                                                               
 The fragmented message goes on:                                               
                                                                               
 ...URGENT STATUS REPORT REQUESTED...                                          
 ...PLEASE RESPOND...                                                          
                                                                               
 (OOC: You should @mail Leon about this!)                                      
=Dungeon Conditions: Secret===================================================
<Pose Tracker> Talise Gianfair has posed.

Nobody can beat Jay Barber in a helpful-off. She is simply the best there is. Her advice gives the group exactly the edge they need: Knowledge of the drones' capabilities.

Also: Their lack of courage. Several drones go down as Talise blazes a courageous path through them, and the rest scatter, dividing their firepower and creating a gap for the team to exploit. They begin to fire again, but much of it is soaked up by Jay's shields.

It gives them their opening. Ashley wades in with flares and dust, leaving the drones dithering in confusion, before Ethius adds more dust and chaos. Tio comes darting through the haze, circling laser rings slashing through drones left and right. Between Talise and Tio's more straightforward attacks, the issue is dealt with quickly.

As the dust and light clear, what's left behind are several gutted drones and a largely unscathed group. Talise pauses to catch her breath.

She smiles wryly, then. "Ever heard of Lou, the first Dragonmaster? Fredo was one of his companions. He was my sword's original owner... I met his ghost, twice."

Onward she pushes. The vault door looms ahead.

There is a sickening squeal of ripping metal.

The vault door no longer looms ahead. Largely because Talise just tore it off its hinges. "Watch out," she advises as she chucks the door to the side with a grunt.

The room inside is cramped and barren - whoever came here before them picked the place over. But soon enough, they're able to find a terminal room.

        ... THE SITE LOCATION ... COORDINATES AT...
        ...URGENT STATUS REPORT REQUESTED...
        ...PLEASE RESPOND...

Talise scratches one cheek with her nail. "That looks like... southern Aquvy...?"

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

The drones don't really stand much of a chance against a well-coordinated party. Together, the lot of them are capable of making short work of the robotic sentinels. Jacqueline waits a moment to make sure more aren't coming before stepping out from behind Ethius with a sigh of relief.

"Good work, everyone!" She says brightly, then looks toward Talise as she gives an explanation.

"Lou, the first Dragonmaster... I think I recall hearing about him, yes." She replies consideringly. She listens as Talise explains, that the Green Knight Fredo was one of his companions. "That's amazing... He must've really seen something special in you."

And then, it's time to check out what they've found - thanks due in part to Talise making the door a non-issue. There isn't much left inside, though, except a terminal...

"...'Urgent status report requested'...?" Jacqueline reads off consideringly. "Are they asking for the report of the indicated location, or this particular facility...?"

She looks toward Talise, then, and nods.

"Yes, I believe so..." Jacqueline couldn't help but be a little curious.

<Pose Tracker> Tio has posed.

        Tio nods, as Talise provides the information she requested. "I see. I did not know you could learn things from ghosts." A new and important fact! She records this knowledge for later use.

        She looks a bit surprised by the discovery of a terminal room. "What sort of terminal is this?" She asks, look at it. Her sensor antennae activate, and Tio looks to concentrate but... "....I am unable to interface." She says, sounding a little disappointed in herself. Before looking to Talise's knowledge of the geography. "I see. Then we may be able to reach it ourselves."

<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        Ethius is thorough after the drones are disabled. It might unnerve to how meticulous he is as the last of the drones falls. For most people, it is enough that drones stop moving, flashing, and shooting. Ethius is not done with them until they stop being. The first one carved in twain by the path of courage cut through with Talise is rapidly disassembled, its component parts given a cursory examination whose results seem to come to him faster than 'I see it, I pick it apart' ought to do.
        Is he an ARMs Meister? If he is, he sure hasn't advertised that. One by one, the disabled drones are met with sorcerous electrical zaps. One in particular finds a sad fate being melted down.
        This would continue were it not for Talise tearing off a vault door by the hinges and having it collapse not far from him.
        When Jay talks aloud about an 'urgent status report requested,' Ethius takes off after them in a jog and tries to look past Talise's shoulder to get a better look at the screens.
        "I would not recommend interfacing," he says. It's not clear why, it's not like there's anything else dangerous in here. A hand goes to his forehead. "...Coordinates...?" He knows that Talise is one of the more naval-inclined individuals here. If she thinks it's in the southern reaches of the region, she might be right. "...I would like to be present when you embark."

<Pose Tracker> Ashley Winchester has posed.

Tio is a combat automaton! Of course she is. Ashley had complete faith in her ability to dominate the battlefield. After all... "Don't worry, I know just how strong you are. Go get 'em, Tio!"

They all get 'em. They get all of 'em.

And what's left is... Something... Ashley looks quite serious about. "Southern Aquvy...? Where's this? Somewhere near Guild Galad or Sylvaland, or somewhere else...?"

"Tio, do you have some kind of recording function? I want to make sure to collect as much of this information as possible. Maybe take some pictures or something?" Ashley shakes his head, "Whatever this is, it sounds like something ARMS needs to look into. This looks like a military installation, so wherever it's contacting is probably one too."

<Pose Tracker> Ashley Winchester has posed.

Beat.

"...What's a... Dragon... Master?" Ashley's eyes sparkle. "That kind of sounds cool..!"

<Pose Tracker> Talise Gianfair has posed.

Talise closes her eyes a moment, folding her arms. "I don't know what Fredo's spirit saw in me... but he entrusted me with his sword and his Arte, so that's something. Now if only I could figure out why a ghost from 4500 years ago trusted me but Althena seems to hate everything I hold dear."

She glances at Ethius, exhaling. "Yeah... yeah, we should definitely follow this up. Maybe there's something there worth digging up, even if it looks like someone's already been here."

At Ashley's question, Talise cants her head. "In the ancient period, the Dragonmaster was Althena's chosen champion. Ghaleon was the first one in a thousand years, though."