5811/The Blue Light Room

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The Blue Light Room
Date of Scene: 18 April 2018
Location: The Soft Expanse
Synopsis: Placeholder
Cast of Characters: 6316, Arthur Lowell, 1161, 1132, Sir Gawain, 6258, Staren, Kotone Yamakawa

Rurufon (6316) has posed:
    When the notice had said "ruin", they'd really meant ruin. In the middle of a highly typical, if someone sunnier and less heinously cramped and humid rainforest, there is an extremely conspicuous clearing with no real signs of deforestation, a good baseball diamond across, and host to nothing so complete as a foreboding temple or ancient ziggurat.

    There is stonework, and very large, very ornately designed stonework at that, but it looks like like a giant stone vase was dropped from a cosmic high shelf, where it shattered into scores of massive pieces on contact with the ground. What shape it was originally is impossible to discern. It only seems to serve the function of being the foundation of a collection of equally massive trees, their roots coiled around the broken stones and their trunks coiled around each other, forming rough, twisted helix that almost gives the impression of a single, gigantic tree from some completely different universe.

    The ambitious exploration team is well past their due report time, so it is now the hired backup team's job to move in and confirm what they're up to. Where they actually went in through is a little unclear. It takes a lot of picking through the broken shards of some unknown civilization's unidentifiable structure and the gargantuan roots that have claimed it. Eventually, A lamp and supply pack can be found on a pole staked outside of a narrow hole that seems to descend down a cramped flight of stone stairs, clearly for the adventurers to restock after coming back and filling their own packs with loot. The only thing that seems to be at the bottom of the stairs, however, is a long discarded and burnt out torch, and a dead body.

    More specifically, the body has been dead for a while. It's definitely much older than the team that went, though it hasn't really seemed to have decomposed. An ordinary man in a jungle hiker's jacket and boots lies slumped against a rough wall, dead from no visible injuries, but sitting next to a bush knife and a completely empty M1911, if anyone cares to check it. Someone seems to have shut his eyes on the way past.

    Further stairs lead past a procession of stone idols mounted into the walls, but every single one of them has been defaced, with its head removed and all identifying markings and text scratched out, leaving them so precariously wedged that one falls and crashes out of its socket when walked past. The usual signs of cave inhabitants all disappear after the first flock of bats goes by, and the passage opens up into an entire second level to the forest; an almost subterranean maze, though not so much underground as extremely heavily darkened and blocked off by the impenetrably dense and massive roots that serve as both ceiling and walls.

    Despite the total lack of sunlight, the ground is green with tall grass big enough for a proper savanna, and frequently pools with ice cold freshwater. Half-buried stone totems rise out of the ground at regular intervals, faintly glowing with some unidentifiable blue light that comes from large, polished spheres of bronze pushed into their faces. There are footprints all over the place --more than just one squad of explorers could manage, even in a winding maze like this, and concerning patches of extremely dense, sticky 'webbing' here and there, though nothing like a spider or related monster would build.

    It's cold, dark, and humid, and a trail will be difficult to find. At least there are no immediate signs of combat, but unnerving sounds of rustling in the surprisingly thick brush and splashes of water are constant companions, just out of sight.

Arthur Lowell has posed:
    Arthur's been hanging around the ruins a while now, idly playing something on a badly aged Nintendo DS while he pokes around for openings and entrances. It takes him a while to reach the proper opening, probably around when the others have. Heading down into it, he runs into the first problem: An aversion to corpses. Even ones without visible decay and without visible injuries provoke a little bit of sickened response, though it seems his game-reality effects have no trouble encompassing this. A little ammo counter shows up on the gun, byproduct of how his paradigm handles FPS content. "Yo, wow, looking like a SHITTY START on the ADVENTURING for this guy. He fall down the STAIRS or something? WATCH OUT, that shit's HELLA DANGEROUS." It's important to issue a warning about stairs-based danger whenever possible and whenever necessary, and the old habit keeps Arthur's mind of the actual corpse as he maneuvers past it.

    "MAN," Arthur says, regarding the idols on the way in. "Looks like someone really didn't like the OLD CIVILZATION up in this. What's the DEAL? Looks ORGANIZED. Maybe some kinda COUNTER-CULTURE shit?" He stops long enough to examine one that it's the one that falls and crashes near him. "SHIT!" He declares, before hurriedly deciding to cram it directly into his Sylladex for no other reason than a sort of half-panic response.

    "How's all this LIFE gettin' by DOWN HERE?" He wonders aloud, stepping weightlessly into the air and beginning to drift. He shifts up towards the top of the chamber they're finding themselves in, deciding to look from above for any patterns in the growth, the flow of the water, and other clues; his assumption is that if there are any unusual phenomenons, then the plant life might react to it and be something that could point the way.

Ryu (1161) has posed:
    Ryu had shown up out of a concern that a jaunt into an ancient ruin would definitely get some unsuspecting idiots killed, and he could be there to help minimize the collateral damage a little bit. Silly when it comes from him, but there it is. He shows up in draconic form, flitting down from the sky on wings of iridescent light, with his satchel rattling when he lands. He progresses along after sniffing around a little to find anything approaching the scent of adventurers... until he finds his way down to a corpse that seems recent enough that the bugs aren't gobbling it up like a gore buffet.

    He steps right up to the corpse and crouches in front of it to inspect it. The lack of visible wounds is concerning for the dragon, who checks the body with a close inspection without actually touching the body just yet. He breathes a sigh through his nose when he determines that it might not be undeath, and then reaches up to rest his hand on the corpse's face with one hand, cupping the dead one's cheek in a strangely tender manner.

    Ryu tries to revive the dead fellow before he bothers following the others. White light washes over him, and into the body. The equivilant of a positive energy bonfire glows in that space for a while. It's quite possible it won't work, but he can't help but try anyways.

    "What happened to you?" he wonders aloud.

Kyoko Takada (1132) has posed:
    Kyoko Takada is not so much averse to corpses as she is allergic to danger entirely, but she did some research before accepting this job. On the site itself, she couldn't find as much as desired, the discovery being on the "recent" side of things, but a partial list of other interested parties isn't a hard thing for her to come by. It was enough for her to determine that certain tanky or otherwise knightly individuals were going to show up for her to spend the time arriving at the initial rendezvous, and from there to place herself in the relatively safe centerward location within the party as they descend. Being near the back or front is how you get picked off.
    Categorical caution-to-a-fault aside, she's not averse to doing the job she was hired for. Investigation is a go. Even before they begin the descent, she has her holographic displays surrounding her, beginning to feed her data on the surrounding terrain. Biological details are hard for her to manage, but the inanimate tree surfaces are easy enough to map, along with the ground, the water and stone content, and the presence of an unloaded gun. She doesn't have to touch it to check the ammunition level, a moment of focused scanning and invisible pulsing of her magic doing the job just as well. Her displays shift red as the path darkens, better for preserving one's night vision, though she voices, "Anyone going to deal with lighting the way?" anyhow, preferring spooking whatever's down here over the increased possibility of ambush.
    Checking patterns is *always* a good idea in her book, and she does try scanning the labyrinthine structure for anything that stands out as nonrandom, or as a boundary between areas of different structure.

Sir Gawain has posed:
The report on the Syndicate board was interesting. A ruin appearing out of nowhere? Adventuring was a sacred activity that Gawain supported, and the curiosity of this ruin and what happened to it, as well as helping assist the adventurers who are being rightfully cautious, bring the knight to the ruin. He's dressed in khaki, a wide-brimmed hat over his head, much like a stereotypical safari explorer. If he needs his armor, he could summon it in a flash, but right now, it'd be far too out of style and fashion, not to mention a bit hot.

Due to the exploration team not reporting in, Gawain's ready to go in, and has a flashlight at his side. The massive trees get Gawain wide-eyed briefly, though he lends his superhuman strength to picking through the shards and pushing a path forward, and when the group finds the lamp and supply pack, there's brief excitement. The team has to be alright!

And then they find a corpse. Luckily, not one of the team members they're supposed to be backup for. "He must have come in before our team. It had to have been one of them who closed his eyes." Gawain notices this because he himself would have moved to close them if they were still open. "Understood, Arthur! I'll watch out for stairs." He doesn't idle, heading down the stairs and passing the stone idols, moving to shield anyone or push them out of the way when one comes falling, hoping that if he does manage to get hit, his sun boost will assist him. Once through the tunnel, he moves to assist when Kyoko speaks up, pulling out his flashlight and using it to light up the way. While doing so, Gawain hears the rustling in the brush...

And moves over to it, calling out. "Hello! Anyone in there? Or anything?"

Lemeza Kosugi (6258) has posed:
The entrance to a ruins never has anything terribly interesting. That said, this mess is worse than Lemeza would have liked - any hint of historical importance seems to have been smashed to bits or worn away on purpose. There is, however, one practical use of this first area: getting used to just how the place works. Before working his way into the ruins proper, he pokes around the entire outer area, taking note of as many alternate points of entry as possible before taking the obvious stairs and heading inside.

The interior is as much a pain as the exterior. The idols are generic, the plant life is dense and difficult to manage... oh hey, dead bodies! Wouldn't be a proper exploration without those! But they're still very much intact... hm-m-m-m. First order of business, search the body. Rifle through pockets, loot anything that might be of use, maybe a diary, see if there's subtle signs of what killed him. Second order of business, spend time navigating the area, taking note of how the immediate passageways turn and gauging how many paths there might be moving forward.

Staren has posed:
    Staren is wearing the new armor again, repaired after the trouble at Cold House. Compared to his usual, it generally looks bulkier, like maybe there's another inch or two of armored plating in places -- although some of the thickness is probably more mechanical muscle as well. The upper legs and especially the chest look better protected, with a clearly-discernable extra layer of armor over the upper chest, back, and sides. There are short protrusions above the shoulders to protect the lower face from getting shot from the side, the helmet itself is actually full -- he must be using screens inside -- and the hands look more like thick gloves with armored plates wherever there's not a joint, instead of gauntlets. The shoulders are a little bit bigger too, although not to space marine extremes.

    When they find the body just lying there, he comments, "...Why is there a body here? Whatever killed it didn't eat him, or turn him into a zombie, or anything?"

    As Arthur comments on the idols, Staren adds, "Or they don't like whatever the idols depicted. or maybe they all contained traps... Or one did, so they were extra careful after."

    If noone else provides light, Staren will happily turn on lights on his helmet and armor. Underground grass is weird. Staren tries to get a clump of it, and whatever it's growing in, into a sample container. "Bet Bramble will want a look at this..."

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Getting out and exploring was always a good thing. After the rather shocking events with Pavo, had made her start to wonder? Had she been a means to some end for the Flotilla as a whole when they took her in, when they took all of them in? She needed to not focus on that and get to work on something else. So here she was with Gawain. She would move to check the rifle seeing the clip was empty.

Kotone has a flash light herself but it's not on at the moment.

"I agree, looks like he's been dead for a while sir."

as they progress there comes the rustling in the bushes and she turns her attention to it. She wonders if someone's there and calls out. "Hello is someone there?"

Rurufon (6316) has posed:
    Using the sylladex, Arthur captchalogues a NEWBIE INSTANT DEATH EVENT. When he flies up towards the 'roof', he finds that it is surprisingly close. A large vehicle wouldn't fit down here, even if it could get down the stairs, and it lends an extremely cramped and maze-like atmosphere to the place. Looking up close, it doesn't quite seem to be the dense collection of roots that it originally appeared to be, but almost more like a solid, organic wall of wood, with a shape that merely suggests layers of roots. Here and there, it's covered in thin carpets of faintly luminescent teal moss, but otherwise there seems to be no way sunlight could be getting in.

    Kyoko's structural scan reveals that this is pretty consistent for the /whole place/, or at least as far as her range goes. The structure of the root tunnels is almost entirely like that of a cavern, and there seem to be no breaks that would let in fresh air or rain. As far as either can tell, the pools are either frigid condensation, or welling up front underground. Clearly they're enough for grass to grow from, but how are they getting by without sunlight? Does the pale lumosity of the bronze orbs count somehow? Staren doesn't immediately see anything untoward about it, save that it starts growing back almost quickly enough to see. If he turns away for a minute and looks back, its progress is slightly measurable.

    Kyoko gets a pretty good map of the place at least, easy enough to navigate by. Many of the walls give weird readings, as if heavily degraded and porous, and there appears to be a very large hole in the ground not far away. There are also a number of lifesigns, whether someone can scan them or simply sniff them out (in which case they largely smell like decomposing moss and faintly burnt flesh).

    When Gawain flicks on his flashlight and Kotone yells out, they certainly agitate whoever or whatever it is. A large number of chittering squeaks go off, and the grass not far in the distance begins churning and rustling, as if something fairly large is hopping away from him, possibly recoiling from the light. As far as Lemeza can tell, the guy's pockets and pack aren't all that interesting. A lot of it is stuff he himself would carry, with the usual compass, canteen, utility knife, rope, etc. ensemble. There is however, a pretty trashy paper map in rough ink, and a drawing of some kind of spear? There are a pair of dog tags too, so this guy might have served a while ago, then turned mercenary explorer.

    Maybe strangest of all, when Ryu lays his hands on the dead explorer, the man startles to life as if he'd not at all experienced the period of his death, frantically groping and fumbling for his gun, before gasping out. "Oh right. Right. He took it. I gave it to him didn't I. All the bullets. He needed them more than me. Wait, where did he go? How long was I out for? Oh thank god I thought I'd die down here. But, wait, no! You shouldn't be here! Get out while you still can! I don't know whatever legend you heard, but it isn't worth it! You'll never escape from here!"

Ryu (1161) has posed:
    Ryu stares at the startled man as he gets his wits about him. The dragon tilts his head like a dog might do, and pulls his hand away to watch the poor fellow as he speaks. Then, wordlessly, the silvery dragon stands and turns to head further down into the ruins. He completely ignores what the man had said, figuring he would be alright to leave under his own power now if he can move. He progresses downward, following his nose, seeking out hapless adventurers that met a painful fate down here.

    His nose twitches as he follows the scent of burnt flesh. He seems to ignore the others for the time being, giving the other investigators the slightest glances. He seems like he's on auto-pilot... there's a certain unhealthy dullness to his eyes, like he's exhausted.

    Emotionally, maybe.

Kyoko Takada (1132) has posed:
    Kyoko can at least tell where living things are with her active scanning, usually. Whether or not this will work on any given danger tends to be rather up in the air, if a particular animate danger is oriented on stealth. She's going to try to not get ambushed by anything more angered than frightened of all the lights people are turning on, but her primary focus is on making some headway toward that possible path-slash-hole downward.
    Over radio, she responds to a few things, "I'm getting a map of the place--woah, I thought he was dead? Does HE know what's in here? In a non-panicked sense? 'Don't go in' and 'you'll never escape' are useful data points, I guess, but... oh, huh, there's no contact between the inside of this place and the outside through the ceiling, after all. That's less than plausibly natural." After a pause, "It looks like wood, but it's... you know, I have no idea. I do know there's a hole in the ground up ahead. Let's see where that goes. Also, just putting this out there, life down here is big enough to be dangerous."
    Mostly, she tries encouraging the group in that direction, so she doesn't have to go alone to check it out. Bushes can rustle all they want so long as big, uncivilized things don't leap out of them. It's a concern.

Sir Gawain has posed:
Huh. Must be some sort of creature. Gawain briefly considers following it, when he hears the results of the dead guy and what Kyoko says. "Hmm...let's stick together, then, if it's that dangerous! I'll cover you, so please, lead the way." He moves to join Kyoko and basically act as a living shield for her, as she doesn't appear to be much of a combatant, as they move towards the hole. "It's strange there's no sunlight down here. Wouldn't the plants need it to grow?"

There's a brief pause before Gawain speaks again. "Well! At the least, we know that there's others besides our team down here...so we may be able to assist them as well. Let's try and find them quickly."

Lemeza Kosugi (6258) has posed:
What did Lemeza expect? Search archaeologist pockets, find archaeologist stuff. The crude map and spear are kind of nifty, but there's nothing he can actually use for information. Blast. Looks like it's back to scouring walls, squinting and scrutinizing tablets in long-lost languages, neurotically piecing together the tiny shreds of information that the sands of time have seen fit to leave behi--

Oh! Ryu was able to bring the dead guy back to life! What luck!

The dead man whose pockets Lemeza had /just/ raided without incident started freaking out about stuff. Freaking out, and panicking like mad, but definitely clearly ALIVE. He's rambling about bullets, and death, and deadly things, and yet Lemeza's got a big grin across his face the whole time. After years of having to read the diaries of the deceased, he finally gets to interview a living record of the dangers within! He looks the panicked bloke square in the eyes, places a hand on his shoulder, and says, "Pal, you're gonna be fine. There's nothing I can't handle here by myself, and we have a whole team here. Look." He relaxes his smirk to the level of reassuring smile. "Breathe. Tell me. What attacked you and your party? And, while everyone else is continuing onward, do you have any information on that hole?"

Arthur Lowell has posed:
    Arthur drifts back to the ground and regards the maze-like area. He snaps and flicks a hand towards the staircase, popping a Gate into place. "Yo, LEMZ! Hit that up when you're GOOD TO GO, homie." He calls out, and then follows along with with Kyoko, who seems to have the most spoken-of way forward. He zips around in a kinetic, dynamic sort of way. "There's FOR SURE nothing natural about this kinda DUNGEON STUFF. Weird that the TREE would be BLOCKIN' shit, though." He scratches his head, and snaps again, pointing a finger at the ceiling, projecting up a series of layering, expanding spellcircles like the light of a flashlight. He's checking for Weird Magical Stuff about the barrier, using his Magely analysis abilities!

    He's also gonna head for the hole. May even jump down it right away if it looks friendly enough! "DUNGEON ECOSYSTEMS get kinda FUCKED UP, yeah. But when it comes to NEAR-SURFACE BIOMES you're not gonna see the threat you get off of DEEP LAYER biomes. Apparently. I for sure DON'T ACTUALLY KNOW WHAT'S UP there, because it was always one'a my FRIENDS who was IN CHARGE there."

Staren has posed:
    Staren doubletakes when the grass has started regrowing. The heck?? The Concord's botanists will no doubt find it /quite/ interesting. And... there's something here, but he only sees grass moving. "Is it invisible?" He throws a few portable lights in that direction, while cycling his sensors to infrared and ultraviolet and ultrasound to see if anything shows up suddenly.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Whatever was watchingf them don't come out, but she hears chittering, okay so it sounds like it was local wild life, if they spooked it off it's for the best likely. Shye turns to see the dead man is brought back to life andd she just stares in shock at Ryu's power. She had not expected something like tht and just is more than a bit gob smacked about it.

"Sir would you like to get far from here?"

Tomoe asks thge man she's thankful for the warning nd she looks to Ryu has wasted himself in this for lack of a better world a miracle. She once Lemeza is done explain the way out of here.

"Gawain, you make a good point we should get moving soon, given the clear danger here."

Rurufon (6316) has posed:
    "I . . . don't really remember." the man replies to Lemeza, suddenly looking extremely troubled. "I came down here with five friends. I know that. We had a lead that the legendary Spear King had his tomb here, and were all over that. Our guide tricked us and trapped us in here though. My friends, they-" he then looks even /more/ troubled, his eyes suddenly shifting back and forward and his hand trembling.

    "I don't remember their names. What the hell? They were right with me! I . . . something happened, and then some other guy came along. Maybe a day later? Tall guy. Black jacket. Maybe paramilitary? I gave him what I could and he went on ahead but . . . Christ, how long ago was that? I fell asleep and . . . shit I hope they're okay. This isn't the place it's supposed to be. I don't know how the hell we're going to get out" At the mention of a hole he just kind of shakes his head. "I'd suppose that's what leads into the tomb, but I didn't get that far. If the others did . . . well, they'd have dragged me out on the way back, I'm sure. Something happened. I know it." He begins staggering to his feet when Kotone suggests leaving, and asks only ". . . how?"

    Going on ahead, scanning the walls actually turns out to be fruitful. Lemeza finds a note scratched into the bark, though it is a little vague, stating: "I am leaving this here in hopes the others find it. Hopefully, it will be a lucky charm. I will scratch off one mark each time I see it again, to know if I am going in circles." but there are no scratch marks beneath it. Another is written in . . . something bright red, but it isn't blood. It's also written in a completely different language, being very loose, thick, and scribbly. It's no tongue Lemeza actually knows, though it is very similar to an ancient near-Mesopotamian dialect, and somehow it gets the point across anyways.

    "Even in death, there is no escape. All souls return to the nexus, and we begin this hell anew. We are weak, and so here we stay. I shudder to think of what lies further."

    Melodramatic, maybe. Arthur finds no barrier that would prevent their exit, except when he gets a feel for space outside the walls of the massive, unnaturally shaped tree, it . . . well it definitely /feels/ like there is nothing outside. Like, beyond those walls, the world no longer exists. What exactly would happen if he gated away from here?

    Throwing up lights everywhere and pushing through the tall and incredibly noisy grass results in more chasing after wet, squishy footsteps and uneven loping, as strange, chittering forms run away from the group, falling back towards the hall like skittish animals. The smell grows stronger as they are followed, but so does that of recent wood smoke, and of coppery blood --not scents one wants to pick up in these dark, twisting, and increasingly strange passages.

Rurufon (6316) has posed:
    Further in, they begin twisting in odd shapes and angles, all of them aiming downwards, and in places, the root-walls have warped and thinned in such a way as to serve as wicker windows into rooms beyond, where every so often a much older skeleton can be spotted. Just out of reach, behind one of those thick meshes, one member of the same expedition is accounted for, slumped with his top half dangling over a cliff edge. The rustling grows ever more insistent.

    Kyoko directing the group towards the hole means that the fleeing shapes end up retreating towards it, as a natural consequence of attempting to stay ahead of the group's path. After quite a while of bumbling around in the dark, occasionally dodging the faint light of featureless bronze totems and having to wade through thick, nasty white residue plastered over sections of the walls and floor (unnervingly enough, with the odd broken pod that might be an egg), they abruptly wind up in something of a clearing, around a much larger and deeper pool of icy water, surrounded by a circle of those same totems, though one has sputtered out and has a human skull clumsily jammed in the socket, as if someone hoped it'd change the light bulb.

    There is, loosely put, a campfire here. There are two human bodies around it, both bloody, but not excessively so, apparently stabbed by surprise. The things clustered around the warmth are not human. They are hunched, smooth-skinned things with the size and rough shape of an orangutan, walking on both wide feet and broad knuckles. Rather than being any kind of ape-like however, they are bright red in colouration, and have slick surfaces like that of a salamander, covered in hair-fine moss.

    They lack any sort of distinguishing features. Even their neckless heads are only host to a pair of dull orange eye-beads and a tiny puckered hole that might be a mouth or a nostil. They have huge, three-fingered hands, and are as tall as a man when hunched over. Most importantly, they are equipped with a number of crude spears, and what appear to be stolen man-made knives. They don't look like anything of this world, and make only unearthly chittering and whistling noises out of their face holes.

    A couple appear to be counting and trading flat little oblongs of greyish metal, but those that flee into the existing group draw full attention, where they snatch up their primitive weapons and circle around the group immediately, probably being twenty in number. They regard the Elites like spooked cavemen, wary and restless, ready to attack at a moment's notice. One very large creature pulls itself up out of a hole in the floor at the far end of the room, notable for its dark blue colouration instead. Its facial hole pulses and burbles, pushing out air which makes no sound within the human ear range, and so the words are almost psychic in their intuitive meaning.

    "DO NOT KILL. CAPTURE." It's an order to the others, which eagerly hop towards the Elites at the vanguard, loping in unnatural frog-gorilla motions, and jumping on them to try and wrestle them to the ground with spears and braided ropes. They're surprisingly heavy, and also very squishy, and don't appear to have any real skeletal structure once they start grappling.

Ryu (1161) has posed:
    Ryu moves with a slow, deliberate step. He frowns, insomuch as his muzzle can allow for that kind of expression. His eyes flick over the shapes around him as they are illuminated around him by the others. He proceeds slowly so that he doesn't get isolated in this maze of a ruin, filled with strange wooden caverns and spaces that smell like moss and death. He pauses only to seek out the nearby scent of a being through a mesh of wood. He extends his claws and takes a few vicious swipes, loudly gouging into the wood with speed and force that even solid steel might have a hard time repelling.

    If it cuts a hole through, he'll jump in and retrieve the body, and jump back out, then crouch and provide the same healing light to this corpse as the last one. He doesn't advance into the hole with the others, and likely doesn't get beset by cave beasties just yet. He does briefly acknowledge the sound of the scuffle ahead, though, lifting his head and twitching an ear.

Kyoko Takada (1132) has posed:
    Kyoko happily lets Gawain take point, being a far hardier form of existence than she, despite the whole being-made-of-magic thing Servants have going on. "Non-combatant" is about right for her, so she's got to contribute in other ways, like keeping that scan going. She's picking up "stuff moving away from them," but they're able to tell that, anyway, and she's not getting any real detail until they come into visual contact. She gets even less out of the obvious corpses, but Ryu is dealing with the ones they can reach.
    "Uh... hm..." Cave-people. What the hell are these things? She renews her determination to stay as centerward of the group as possible, but with that many enemies, it's entirely possible that there will be more than Gawain alone can protect her from, dependent mostly on what Gawain, and any others nearby, decide to do. It's a good thing they aren't planning on killing anyone, because she can survive being wrestled. Survive, but not be very happy about it, nor very successful, pitting her ordinary human female office worker turned investigative agent versus mutant orangutan monsters. If Lemeza is right about them being weak, maybe she has a chance of judo-tossing the first one to come after her, putting some self-defense classes to use.
    However this turns out, she will definitely make some involuntary noise.

Arthur Lowell has posed:
    "Hell... It's an isolated unspace. Like a pocket dimension. Something about this tree or this space or whatever it is is growing in a weird way off the plane of normal spacetime. I think we've already nudged a step or two sideways." Arthur sounds genuinely fascinated. "It's not that you can't get comms out the roof, it's that there's technically-speaking nothing past the actual roof."

    And then they come upon the corpses. Arthur recoils a little from them again, wincing and looking averse to the much more obvious injuries. He's dealing a little better with the hunched cavebeasts. He watches with rapt attention, caution, and then eager guardedness. "Yo! If you're here to get your FIGHTIN' ON, I'll give ya what you're LOOKIN' FOR! I'm not here to FUCK WITH NOTHIN', but I'm not 'bout to get FUCKED WITH! C'mon ya OVERGROWN DONUTS!"

    He draws and brandishes his battlebroom from his Strife Deck, holding it dramatically. "NO KILLS, huh? I'll do ya the SAME COURTESY!" He's true to his word, anything that doesn't attack him with intent to kill is still gonna get treated to a less-than-lethal beating if he can manage it. Troubling though, his first attack swipes for the vanguard, trying to crush a joint, and sadly, there's no joint to crush! "Wait-- Fuck!!" He shouts, crashing to the ground and grappling with the beast, suffering bruises and battering from the spear and the hold.

    When he goes down, he demonstrates a /surprising/ degree of ability to deal with the grappling. A combination of quick geometry calculations, creative use and abuse of changing gravity, and sheer personal strength, Arthur maneuvers until it's him on top of his foe and not the other way around. From there, his Strife Deck swaps his ammo to mostly-non-lethal FORCE BOLTS, which should be much more difficult to deal with for something without much skeletal structure! After reversing the gravity and eventually, hopefully, winding up pinning his attacker to the ceiling, the upside-down mage starts blasting other creatures with a machine-gun spray of the force bolts, trying to drive them back or knock them out of the fight with pain.

    As always, there's plenty of shitty trash-talking. "C'MON, you SPINELESS MOTHERFUCKERS! You wanna get a CAPTURE on me, you better bring that HEAT! HIT ME with that HEAVY RUSH or you BETTER NOT HIT ME at all! Go get your CAVE FRIENDS, dog! Where you at? What the hell's LIVING and CAPTURING down here, yo? You got a BATTLECRY for your TRIBE? YEAH!" Pew pew pew.

    Oh right, and if Lemeza pokes the portal, he'll wind up over in this chamber. Bad news is that, at the moment, he'll wind up upside down. Gravity!

Lemeza Kosugi (6258) has posed:
Aw man, the fighting's already started! He should probably join the others, but... just one thing. "Wanna help us find your friends?" Lemeza offers his revolver to the nameless man, showing his whip to demonstrate that he's not leaving himself unarmed. "Take this. You'll need it if you come with us. Don't worry too much, you're in good company, and--" he motions to the ancient writings, "--I suspect this 'Spear King' should be more afraid of us than us of it." He stands up, and offers a hand to his new buddy. "Name's Lemeza Kosugi, well-traveled archaeologist. I've dealt with places like this before no sweat. What do you go by?" He waits for a response, not tagging Arthur's gate quite yet since, well, face-checking the fight might not be such a good idea after all.

Sir Gawain has posed:
As the passages get odder, Gawain pays close attention to Arthur. "So this ruin doesn't follow normal physics. Perhaps that's why they couldn't get out? The way up didn't actually lead up?" It's a weird question that Gawain considers, as they see the massive orange cavebeasts. Gawain waves to them as they rise, trying to be friendly. "Hello! We mean you no harm!" He's making all sorts of gestures to do so, when the leader comes out and makes that telepathic noise, telling the creatures to capture them. Well, that's not good.

Gawain said he'd cover Kyoko, so he's immediately doing that, as one of them moves to grapple him. Gawain's superhumanly strong, and moves to push the creature off him or towards one of the ones in Kyoko's path, summoning his blade into his hand with a crack of his wrist. "Surrender now, or I'll be forced to use my blade on you!"

If the creatures do not surrender from trying to attack him and Kyoko, Gawain slashes, even as the things start to knock him to the ground and trip him up at times, making him miss entire blows. His primary goal is to keep them on him instead of Kyoko, or scare them away from him (and her by association) by being the biggest threat. The blade actually sparks fire, Gawain channeling a brief burst of it to try and intimidate them backwards, but not fully coating it. "Get back!"

Staren has posed:
    Staren doesn't chase the animals for more than a few seconds, wanting to get a look at them before he wonders if they might be a form of will-o-wisp.

    The red warning is... concerning. Perhaps Staren simply feels more cautious after recent events. He leaves a trail of lights and radio beacons, making sure to stay in continuous context with the root cavern near the entrance.

    And hey, there's a campfire with... locals? Or maybe other explorers. Staren would greet them, but the two bodies give him pause. Although... it could be that the bodies are those of bandits that attacked them. Staren decides to greet them. "Hello there!" He waves.

    They want... to capture us? "Hey. Hey!" Staren backs away, drawing his submachinegun to fire the shock rounds -- and indeed, activating the shock function on his armor if grabbed. "Listen, can't we talk about this?!"

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa thinks "The warp gate is someways out and if your out of ammo..." She seems lost in though for a second here she doesn't want to leave the guy hanging here. She can give him directions though if he needs it and if she has to pass off her side arm to him. She also seems concerned that he can't recall his comrade's names something's odd here, very odd. Though if it's the best he comes with them, then so be it she'll make sure to give him her pistol though if he wants it. She will look to the man.

"Keep here with Ryu and lend him a hand if you wish."

She'll get out her SMG out anbd reayd for trouble. Trouble they do find, some strange beasts they call out do not kill but capture? She doesn't like this she really doesn't like this at all. She will attempt to return the favour, she pulls a riot foam greand and chucks it at the slug men, hopfully the foam might restain a few of them if she's lucky.

Rurufon (6316) has posed:
    Oddly, when Ryu goes ham with his claws on a bunch of wickerwork that's maybe an inch thick, what happens is that they easily shred through a coating of bark, and then scrape against a kind of 'frame' inside. Where the bark peels away, or rather, where the bark 'ends', he gouges upon a sort of blue-green-grey stone material, which seems to be seamlessly melded into the wood, in place of a proper tree core. It completely resists his attempt to brute force it. It's as if the tree had started to petrify the inside. Or, perhaps it is as if a stone cavern is wearing the skin of a tree. Somehow.

    The man eagerly takes the offered revolver as if his life depended on it. He also looks pretty familiar with how to use it, so that's good. "No, the Spear King is long dead. You've never heard of him? It's a big legend around here. There used to be this ancient kingdom on this land, known for an invincible and all-knowing king, thanks to a legendary spear he stole from the gods. Eventually, his entire kingdom vanished underground in a single night, pulled into some giant chasm. Different theories exist as to what really happened to that kingdom, but we known from archeological evidence it was real, and there's more than enough text to suggest the spear was too. Even if it's not a divine relic, it'd be a priceless piece of history, and it'd sell for a fortune, right? That's why we came down here. Except . . ."

    ". . . let's go with Charlie." he says to Lemeza. If one were suspicious, they might conclude that he made that up, though he mostly just sounds rattled. "No thanks though. I-" but he stops to reconsider. "Actually, yeah. I don't want to be alone here, and maybe you guys can find a way out." he really hesitates on going through the gate that appears though. "That's . . . that's yours, right?"

    The fight, meanwhile, is eventful, but short lived. The creatures have no real skeletal structure, move oddly, and are strangely slow and ungainly. Solely Arthur would recognize the symptoms of beings used to a completely different, and probably much lower, level of /gravity/. They clearly don't belong here. Despite being aggressive and large, they aren't actually all that strong or coordinated. They seem to need both feet braced on the ground to do anything with their arms, and their physical strength is only moderately above human average.

Rurufon (6316) has posed:
    They aren't much of a match. The fluctuations of gravity and scrappy punk grappling have them off Arthur in moments. The force bolts send them flying and splatting against the terrain, immediately stunned from impact. The shock bullets work almost overly well, since they seem to be all muscle tissue and pretty wet, and even Kyoko's judo throw has roughly its desired effect, throwing the spear-wielding thing over her shoulder, as it seems completely unfamiliar with the idea of martial arts, though it gets a good smack at the side of her head with its meaty fist.

    Galatine is actually huge overkill. Fairly tame swings dismember them with ease, severing arms and legs with splatters of green-grey blood. A good hack with a combat knife could probably do the same. This doesn't seem to be immediately lethal though, as the stumps squeeze themselves shut immediately, preventing further blood loss, and the injured critters hobble away frantically. The large blue one manages to hold his ground for a little, and goes as far as to somehow expel a considerable blast of hot cobalt fire from his face hole, but it's aimed squarely for Gawain and Arthur, indicating zero grasp of real tactics, and a triple application of shock bullets and force bolts has it on its ass quickly.

    It wheezes through its bizarre facial aperture, crawling away from the hole, and warbling in weak, ultrasonic tones. "ENOUGH. I YIELD. THE EARTH REALM IS YOURS. WE WILL NOT PURSUE. THOSE ARE THE RULES." It makes no mention of what the rules are before huddling in a dark corner and passing out, leaving just a couple of bloody bodies and a pile of gunmetal grey rectangles, besides a jagged hole punched in the ground, which leads to a short drop on some rocky bank. The sound of water can be heard from beneath, and the smell of a cold beach mixes with that of faintly electric ozone.

Kyoko Takada (1132) has posed:
    Kyoko's elation at her judo throw working against a monstrous something-or-other without even a proper bone structure is cut short, even more swiftly than it began, by taking a smack to the head. She lets go immediately, reeling away from her tossed target, and reaching her hands up with reflexive gingerness to inspect the spot. "Gh, fff, ow, am I bleeding? Am I--khh, no, no, just bruised. Okay. I'm okay."
    Since the creatures have been subdued, she takes this time to tend to the wound, as non-life-threatening as it is, getting out a bit of gauze and a compression pack from her adventuring pack. If anyone can give her a hand with applying this to her own head, that'd help things along, but she can somehow awkwardly manage on her own, if not. It'll just mean less time to get back to work. The pack turns cold all on its own, registering faintly magical to any who can detect such things, as small devices of her world generally do.
    Once able to think about other things again, she doesn't waste much time looking at the defeated creatures, instead focusing in on the hole to... "...the earth realm? No, that'd be this place, right? So past that is some other realm. Or does it extend down there?" She's turning her scanning ability on full-blast to try to see what's ahead.

Ryu (1161) has posed:
    Ryu looks briefly perplexed by the unyielding stone(?) that hides beneath the wood. Its nature is inherently beyond what he understands as a normal material, and no manner of scratching or pulling can break the mesh and let him through. He puffs a breath through his nose, and decides to leave the corpse over there until he can find-- no he pauses to try his teeth first, and tries to yank the latticed structure out. His wings beat furiously and his feet plant on the wall. He's really testing the upper limits of this strange material's durability, willing to shatter his own teeth before he stops trying. He may very well do so, if he doesn't give it a rest.

Lemeza Kosugi (6258) has posed:
"That's... um, yeah, that's mine." Thinking quickly, Lemeza takes credit for Arthur's Get Back to the Main Group gate, figuring maybe it's best not to overwhelm this Charlie fellow. He's been through a lot, and he doesn't seem to be nearly as resilient as the accomplished professor. "It'll warp us safely to the rest of my exploration crew." There's not actually a leader, probably, but again. Don't induce unnecessary panic. "And, since they're telling me the path forward's been cleared out, let's go!" He then motions Charlie to follow suit as he VWORPS through Arthur's gate to the forward team.

After bracing for any stragglers that might've survived, and feeling satisfied that there are none, Lemeza relaxes and starts scanning the area for important features. Not much to look at though. The hole to the beach is the obvious way forward, so after cataolguing the various totems around the area... oh. The two bodies by the campfire look important. He motions to the bleeding corpses. "Charlie, do these guys look familiar to you by chance?"

Staren has posed:
    "Sorry! We were only defending ourselves!" Staren calls out, but he won't persue. It seems the beings aren't much for talk. He collects some of the alien coins, if only to give to folks like Lemeza, before sending a drone down the hole.

    "How big is this place?"

Sir Gawain has posed:
As the first limb is severed, Gawain frowns. He didn't mean to do that! But it seems it didn't kill them or too horribly maim the creatures, so he has a breath of relief...and then the blast of fire is spat out. The knight leaps in the way, armor suddenly covering him as he moves to tank the blast. His hat doesn't survive, scorched off of his head, and Gawain reels back with the burn, singed and in pain, but hopefully has defended Arthur from the blast. "You alright?"

And then, the creatures retreat. "Very well! We will not continue to harass you." And so, the only thing next to do is...head into the next hole, then. Continue to find the missing group, and the only way they could be is further down. Gawain will join Staren's drone, dematerializing his armor, even if his safari outfit looks slightly weird without a hat.

Arthur Lowell has posed:
    Arthur is thankfully shielded against the fire! Nice, fighter-wizard teamup remains successful. He moves in close behind Gawain and braces his broom-rifle on his shoulder, calling out, "HELL YEAH, s'all good!" After returning fire, and driving the foes off, he shouts, "YEAH, HOMIE! You better get that YIELDING! Won't do any PURSUING here either, you get your stuff SETTLED, bro." But... He notes something. Earth realm. They came from far lower gravity... A different 'realm'? Or a different /planet/? Is there some strange interplanetary thing going on here?

    He does a big overdramatic flex of victory while slightly more XP gains tally up in bars around him. It's a tutorial zone, after all. Then he heads over and sees if he can find any particular signs that this is, I dunno, a venusian or something. It's not that Arthur has any ability to detect anyone's planet of origin, obviously, he's just vaguely hopeful. Probably not, of course. So he snags some of those gunmetal grey rectangles -- are those the ones they were trading before? -- and peers down the hole. "Nowhere to check but DOWN, unless we wanna keep messin' with TREEMAZE. Yo, NUMBERS, you alright? Not SLEEPY or anything, are you? I don't actually know what concussion symptoms are, so, uh, you're ON YOUR OWN for THAT. I can, uh..." He heads over to Kyoko, and a weird yellow (Y) pops up over her while she's trying to get that medical stuff on. He seems to be helping her... Sssssomehow? While strange bars fill up over time.

    Well that was weird. Anyway, Arthur jumps down into the pit. The smell of ozone is the smell of Weird Energy Processes! Or so he hopes. Time to follow that!

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa is starting to wonder about this place the fight doens't last too long and she lowers her weapon as the thing seem to have given off, he says it's give up and it leaves. She does not know the rules but she'll let it go, she seems worried about this though.

"This is getting stranger all the time."

With Ryu's ntoe about teh wood is stone on the inside that really gets a wtf look on Kotone's face. She has no idea Ryu is putting occult things in his mouth, thankfully it's for the best.

"Earth Realm? The rules?"

She looks to keep over watch for more toruble not that she doubts the words of the alin things abotu leaving.

She'll follow Charlie and Lemeza over ot hte camp fire as the man geta a chance to get a look see for the moment.

Rurufon (6316) has posed:
    No matter how Ryu might grab on to the thickly set 'wires' of stone, no amount of chewing, clawing, yanking and twisting seems to do much of anything. The most that happens is that very fine, twisting seams in the stone seem to faintly glow the tiniest bit green, ironically once again giving the stone the texture of whorled wood heart.

    As far as Staren can tell, the metal rectangles actually are sort of coins. They actually look like very plain bits of metal, slightly threaded on the outside as if meant to stack or be plated together, and it's unclear what they're actually for. They have extremely faint serials barely indented into them, but the number system isn't Roman at least. It definitely looks as if they were /using/ them as currency though. The fact that they have very few probably means something, so not a lot to split with Arthur if he wants them for himself.

    There doesn't appear to be a lot else that could be construed as important here. The men's packs have been raided, but none of the food (MREs) has been eaten. It's quite probable the creatures just subsist off of water or photosynthesis or some energy field or the like. They each have their own handguns, though they're actually fully loaded (each has a number of empty magazines, however). They absolutely look as if they were stabbed by spears, and Charlie takes a second to crouch by them and mumble imperceptibly, sighing forlornly and taking their dog tags and ammo, like he's done it before.

    The creatures are just plain weird. The more Arthur checks them out, the more they don't really seem to fit into any established Earth biology. It's all but certain that they're not from Earth at all, though whether they're stranded Multiversals, from another planet, summoned critters from another plane via magic, or some other thing, it's really impossible to tell past that point.

    Staren sends his drone down the hole. Despite the fact that he can see the bottom, the minute he loses direct sight of it, its transmission cuts out. Kyoko scans down the hole, and gets absolutely no response, as if her magic had gone into infinite empty space, even though she can clearly hear and smell water. When people just hop right down it though, /they/ can see perfectly fine, and the instant at least one person enters the lower level, the drone's transmission picks back up, and a new map of the next area begins to resolve itself, like it needed to . . . load in or something? It's super weird.

Rurufon (6316) has posed:
    Going below, they wind up in a much more standard, rocky cave, filled with a long stretch of deep blue-green water more like a sea coast that a subterranean tunnel. The segment directly below the hole is only a small platform of chiseled rock, largely natural, but with some basic patterns on it. Parked right beside it is a boat --specifically, a gondola, like one would row down a canal. There is, in fact, even a rower, just . . . waiting around in the boat. By himself.

    He /also/ isn't human, but also isn't one of the wobbly faceless creatures from just above. Far taller, it is covered in mottled brown and grey scales of incredibly fine, pebble-like texture. It has broad, two-toed feet and two-fingered hands, with aquatic webbing stretched between them, and reverse jointed legs like that of a bird. Its body is slightly bloated and misshapen, with three obvious breathing slits on its chest and ribs. It appears to be solely wearing a heavy black cowl, almost middle-eastern in appearance, which slows only extremely narrow, pitch black eyes, and a skeletal nose hole, like some kind of undead frog.

    The drone had just landed on the little platform, but the oarman doesn't seem to pay any attention until actual people descend. It looks up and down the entering Elites quickly, and then makes a low, gurgling hiss of displeasure. "Humans again?" its voice is nothing but watery croaks rather than words, but easily understood anyways. "The Earth Realm is always too prolific. Ferrying you vile things is my task, as much as I loathe it, so get aboard. I don't expect you'll do any better than the last bunch, but the laws are the laws. All are entitled to challenge."

    Kyoko's scan won't map out much of interest for much of the tunnel, being completely linear with no branches and only a faint curve for what might be a mile or more. Beyond that though, she can pick up the faint residue of incredible magic power, like the kind of background radiation spike one picks up when starting to approach a nuclear reactor.

Sir Gawain has posed:
Gawain smiles as Arthur's fine, finishing up healing the burns as he pats the wound. "I'm glad!" As they proceed downwards, his sword is desummoned, and he moves through the cavern slowly. That water is interesting. The knight ducks down to scoop some up, smelling it to see if it's salt-water, before letting it drip out of his hand. And then, he moves up to the boat and the rower. The man is pretty horrifying looking, some sort of monstrous frogman, Gawain thinks, but doesn't allow that to affect his reaction, even if he's not very friendly. "Hello, sir. Sir Gawain, Warden of the Paladins, Knight of the Sun. Can you lead us to our allies so we can bring them out of this ruin? In fact, where are we, if you don't mind me asking?"

Even as he speaks, though, Gawain is moving to climb aboard the boat. The man's asking them to, after all, and it's the only way forward. "Lead on then, sir. What is your name?"

Arthur Lowell has posed:
    "YEP! AGAIN." Arthur says, delivering a double-fingergun gesture and a tooth-glinting wink grin. "Yeah, that's the USUAL TEMPLATE. What can ya do? EASIEST kind of WORLD to be MAKING. What, do we usually MAKE A MESS? Homie, you just SHOUT IT and I'll give ya the CHANGED UP APPROACH." He does a stylish jump and flip directly into the back of the gondola, where he slides into a well-practiced and stylish pose of relaxation. "Smelled some OZONE, you got some WEIRD ENERGIES up in this? Anything you wanna TELL to help us be a BETTER GROUP?"

Staren has posed:
    Staren's not particularly attached to the coins. He just figured they might interest others.

    "Gnh." He grunts in irritation when the drone's signal cuts out. "Wait, Arthur!" -- Oh. Now everything's back.


    "Guys, I think someone might need to stay up here to keep this section connected, if that makes any sense? Or maybe a rope would do, at least..." He does have a rope in his bag, so he dangles one down the hole in hopes of holding the 'door' open.

    <"Entitled to challenge what? What laws?"> he asks the ferryman through the drone.

Lemeza Kosugi (6258) has posed:
Hurrying along to catch up to the others, Lemeza keeps Charlie close as he hops down the hole. Soon as he catches up, and as soon as the others inform him that the lizardman mentioned a challenge, Lemeza virtually has one foot in the gondola ready to head out. (Not /literally/ of course, he has tact, but.) "What kind of challenge? Navigate a labyrinth? Walk hot coals? Fight your greatest champion to the death? I--oh COME ON Arthur, I call dibs!" As soon as Arthur does his acrobatic fucking pirouette into the gondola, Lemeza /actually/ sticks a foot in. The other foot hesitates, but only because of Charlie. "Um. The rest of us will do fine, but... I think a couple of us should stay back, yeah." Playing off of Staren's suggestion, he nods toward Charlie as a natural candidate.

Kyoko Takada (1132) has posed:
    Kyoko has absolutely no idea what Arthur just did to help her, but the help is appreciated to such an extent as his actions don't merely confuse her. Her first aid complete, the hole down is a more straight-forward befuddling bit, up until it opens up in some way and lets information flow upward, as well as letting people flow downward. She follows in with everyone else, certainly not wanting to wait up there, among the corpses and wounded, unspeaking aliens.
    The alien down here doesn't get any warmer of a reception from her, as the OL's quite willing to return his casual speciesism. Specism? The automatic assumption of ill given to the true-alien. "What laws are these, again? Could we go over the list?"
    She /also/ doesn't want to wait on the island. Really, she wants someone else to have brought a boat. That doesn't seem to be the case, so she'll quite reluctantly continue to follow along.
    To Staren, "It might be useful to keep the way back there open, but only if getting back there brings us any closer to the exit than where we are now. I'm a little unsure about all that." This would be very deeply concerning if she weren't in such company as to naturally assume that something will work out. There's even a space wizard.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
No matter how things are going Kotone is looking about keeping on watch for Charlie and Lemeza. She knows how jobs like this go, she's done such things before in the past. She checks her own internal HUD a few times as she's moving along to catch up with everyone else, for she'd kept behind with Charlie and Lemeza too.

"A challenge now? Better watch it with Arthur though he's pretty hardcore from what I know Mr. Kosugi."

Things are quickly worked out though on the comms thankfully. She nods to Lemzeza.

"I'll stay here with Charlie then."

Rurufon (6316) has posed:
    "I have no name" the creepy frog ferryman assures them. "We do not use them. They are irrelevant to our service, as we exist only to serve. I don't care about yours." he says, starting to paddle the old gondola, dark wood shod in obsidian. He waits quite a while when Charlie arrives, clearly extremely hesitant and out of his depth with this place, but eventually, he steps on, and they're off. The water appears to be entirely fresh, and tingles like battery acid on the tongue. It's not surprising that it does, with embers of aquamarine light starting to appear later on, dancing in the air and flickering out of existence, but becoming larger and more dense as the ride goes on.

    "Humans come here in great numbers. They are greedy, always seeking power, and always at the highest levels as well. Full of avarice and hubris, they learn nothing from the past, and then die. They have little power, but think they are fit to take it. There were some worthy in the distant past, but none have passed the key of sapphire in centuries. Very recently, they have been far better armed, but even less brave and skilled, and die pathetically." The ferryman has a very low opinion of humans, but even with his croaking non-words, he conveys old, bitter fatigue. If he's talking on the order of centuries, he is probably immortal or close to it, and apparently speaks from experience.

    The ferryman barely seems to tolerate the drone, and swats it away with the oar if it gets too close. "The Tower, imbecile. The Earth Realm's challenge is still the spear, last I knew. The four that came through not long ago were after it, and they only heard of it recently. Anyone that enters the Abyss is entitled to challenge the Tower, and claim the treasure of their Realm. Of course, the only thing they ever think about is power, and so all that arrive are the unworthy and the unclean." He sniffs. "Humans especially." he helpfully adds.

    "My kind only serve. We transport challengers to the base of the Tower and no further. We operate and regulate. That is it. What awaits you in the Chasm Nexus, we are not permitted to know. If you have any hope of succeeding: don't. Accept the hierarchy and serve instead. Serve and live, rather than covet and die. There. That's how you can do better than the last, and those that came before. Time does not pass above the Abyss." Charlie immediately speaks up "Did you see others? I mean, one of the groups, were they dressed like me?" The ferryman only croaks enigmatically, and says "You are very late."

    The boat begins pulling closer to the tremendous power source Kyoko is picking up. Yet again, she can scan for the absolute absence of anything beyond, though it is in the downward direction, and doesn't 'load in' either. She can map out a structure something like a giant ring, and a ceiling and walls around it, but no bottom of any kind. The massive magical signature is at the center of it, with a more condensed version of it partway along the ring. She can pick up levels of magic diffusing into the air as the boat cruises into transition of the tunnel, where the cave gives way to a flat, steep wall of white marble, and the passage through that becomes much lower and tighter. A symbol is carved into the face of the stone, as large as a small building, and glowing with that aquamarine energy deep in its channels: three inverted arcs radiating from a central spire that reaches all the way up to the cave ceiling, indeed much like a tower with multiple passages to the bottom.

Rurufon (6316) has posed:
    Eventually, the boat gently bumps ashore on another marble platform, this one with stairs leading up out of the water, and with a . . . door? of some kind of . . . material, up ahead. Something like bark and stone and bone and crystal, of white and grey and mottled glowing teal. It slides open automatically if someone approaches. Right next to it, a pair of ornately sculpted white pedestals bear glowing beacons of light atop them, one pale blue and the other blood red.

    The ferryman has only this parting advice regarding 'laws': "All are entitled to challenge. None are to leave the Tower once they enter the Nexus. Nothing may be brought from outside save what is brought with a challenger. None who serve the Tower may aid a challenger. None but the victorious may take their treasure. The treasure must be returned, never passed down. Only those fit to wield treasures may call themselves Lords. The Lords rule their own level, and those below. Heed the Lords. A defeated Lord is replaced by the victor. Those who swear allegiance to a Lord may never be challengers again. Lords may not invade the territory of another Lord. Maintain balance. Respect power. Only the Great Will is permitted to change the laws."

    Beyond the one and only door inwards, the path does indeed seem to float above absolutely nothing at all; an endless darkness stretches below them throughout the entirety of the perfectly round chamber, likely a mile or more across. Only narrow walkways of organic-seeming white stone, shot with veins of that same energy where the surface has been scratched or cracked, provide travel across it. Walkways from several other doors converge into a large, central ring, with multiple 'buildings' breaking them up.

    Other, purple-dressed frog men move around the ring and in and out of those pod-like constructions, apparently doing some kind of work, but without clear reason. The entire thing surrounds a single fixture in the ceiling, far above; some sort of gigantic, aquamarine 'eye' is embedded in a structure of metallic roots that spread off into the dark, gathering motes of energy from the air, depleting it of magic, and then an incredibly condensed, almost blindly powerful ray shoots up from the abyss below and into the glassy half-orb at regular intervals, which lets it through and focuses it like a lens. Some sort of power generator? Relay station? Messaging beacon? Transportation? Who knows. All that's obvious is that it's sucking up and firing as much power as a small city uses in a day with each burst.

Lemeza Kosugi (6258) has posed:
"Fantastic! You've prepared a challenge for us!" Lemeza's mood is /way/ too cheery for the setting. "Combat, right? It's been a while since I've gotten to flex my muscle. And, just so you know..." he looks eagerly at what must be the Tower, "...we bring our own power. The spear is really just a mark of conquest." Wait. Us... maybe... "Question, though. How many challengers may participate at one time?"

Staren has posed:
    <"Let's not add more variables."> Staren replies to Kyoko.

    <"Uhhhhh are you SURE this is a good idea?"> Staren asks people as they actually GET ON THE BOAT in these circumstances. And then it mentions that challengers CAN'T LEAVE THE TOWER. Not that Staren's one to submit to rules, but seriously, why make things harder on yourself at this stafe? <"Guys, don't you think we should leave and report on this? We JUST HAD a bunch of people kidnapped into a strange world, I don't want to go through that again already.">

Arthur Lowell has posed:
    "Damn homie, you got that CYNICISM. I actually mostly just came to save the FOUR DUDES. We're here to BACK 'EM UP, y'know? I actually can't use a spear, funny story, one'a my rules. You guys got any good BROOMS laying around? I can take THOSE." Arthur says, gesturing forward. "Sounds like the RESCUE STUFF is a NO GO on the LOCAL LAWS, though. Gonna need to get that FIGURED. We'll make sure not to do some CRIMES about it, though."

    He steps up. "Hey, know it's your JOB THING and all, but THANKS!" He says. "You got that DISGUST for me too bad for a HANDSHAKE, bro? Should I be TIPPING YOU some'a these METAL BITS?" Always treat the waiters well, that's Arthur's approach, so he's sort of brandishing the metal things out of his currency interface in a confused way. His "handshake", if accepted, is an absurdly elaborate series of pounds, daps, bumps, low-fives, and other suchlike, all of which dynamically make creative use of the hand webbing.

    "LATERS, HOMIE." He says, delivering the double fingerguns and the wink again as he steps towards the central area. He moves gradually into a slow drift, putting a hand to his chin and thinking more seriously about this. "Hmmm." He mutters. "Reminds me of... Yeah. Makes me think of the old Death Games. Wonder if I can get a line to..." Could he commune with this Great Will, like he could with the Noble Horrorterrors? Get things adapted to the way the Multiverse does things?

    Maybe if he can get Pauwel down here, he can put out a decree and the laws would work. He's at /least/ a good Will.

    He drifts off the bridges and up past the ring... His hands pop open and wide, brandishing built-up magical energy. Experimentally, he "offers" it into the... Uh... Beacon? He's attempting to see if he can link into its systems by offering it the energy it seems to want. "Hey there BIG GUY. You wanna CHAT?" He's keeping roughly near the group and he can probably land if they get into any business, but he's sort of gone off to do his own weird, obscure thing for a moment.

Sir Gawain has posed:
Well, it'd seem their guys had challenged this Tower. Once the boat comes to a stop, Gawain steps off, reaches into his pocket, and pulls some money out of his wallet, moving to put it on the boat. "I don't know if you have use for it, but ferrymen usually want a toll, so here!" He was kind of a jerk who didn't deserve a tip, but Charon always wants to be paid, doesn't he?

Stepping forward, Gawain turns to Staren. "We can't leave without knowing more about the whereabouts and fate of the adventurers we're here to protect. We should ask the workers," a hand towards the different frogmen, "if they know anything." The knight stares up at the massive eye, but instead, moves towards the friendliest looking frogman he can get, and moves to talk to him. "Hello! We're looking for a group of people, have you seen them?" He'd rattle off the description of the missing adventurers, though if it's clear the creatures don't want to talk to him, he'd leave to regroup back up with the others. No reason in talking when you're entirely going to be ignored, after all.

Rurufon (6316) has posed:
    "Almost certainly." the ferryman finishes with Lemeza. "Of course the Lords will kill you for challenging the keys. It doesn't matter how many. Leadership is a kind of power, and a type of worthiness." He actually begins croak cackling at Staren though. "The weakest heart I've seen in at least a century! Pathetic! If you are so scared, turn back before the Emerald Key, or your fate will be sealed!" The door doesn't appear to have anything emerald about it, so there's that. Hopefully. "Don't try to fool me." he says to Arthur. "Humans come here for no reason but a lust for power. I bet that you're hoping to take your predecessor's things after they inevitably die."

    Oddly, he waves away the metal bits, though he confirms they're currency. "My kind is not permitted to be paid in Cune for their service. It is the Will of the Tower that demands service. We have no use for it. You could not comprehend our world."

    Gawain starts flagging down workers. Most look kind of sour at him, but they don't actually avoid them. Most of them claim to have seen the adventurers, and point him towards one of the pod buildings at the far end of where they came through, which leads to a door fairly different from the other they had come through, looking fibrous steel, set with a spherical gem not totally unlike the eye above, pulsing green in colour, with a heavy locking mechanism set into it. Identical beacons to the one outside flank it, as well as one in violet and one in green.

    Going along the walkway and through the buildings leads him to interior spaces sort of like offices and hovels at the same time, both like caves and like tree hollows. What is actually noteworthy about them is that all of them contain large plinths and platforms, surrounded by floating tablets with hundreds of carved, glowing symbols constantly changing and shifting across their surface. More of the servant race work at them, much like computer terminals, and ignore any of his questions. It seems logical that they're operating the giant beam, or at least some other mechanism it connects to.

    When Arthur gets his space magic on. When he lets it out, it is immediately absorbed and sucked into the beam, and the computer frogs Gawain is surrounded by instantly start grumbling and complaining and working twice as fast, pitching a minor fit while trying to correct it. Arthur certainly gets someone on the line, but it isn't a big cthonic space monster.

    They pop up right in front of him as a glassy figure that quickly gains colour and definition. A woman who looks ostensibly human in every aspect, save a pair of forward swept horns crowning her head in vaguely satanic effigy, though nothing else that would mark her as 'demonic'. She's taller than he is, and pale in the sort of way that suggests she hasn't been in sunlight for a really really long time. It's pretty much impossible to guess at what place and time she's from due to the combination of elements and materials from modern, antiquity, and primeval eras she is wearing, with white cloth over black leathers and bronze chains and bangles. She looks distinctly unhappy with him, staring down her nose with one hand on her hip.

    "Would you mind? Interfering here won't gain you an advantage. Don't be pathetic. If you're here to prove your power like the other fools, do it beyond there." she points to what is quite probably definitely the 'Emerald' door. "Continue violating the laws of the Tower and you will be dealt with like the rest." It's probably worth mentioning that her magical signature is pretty much identical to the one being sucked up from the abyss.

Arthur Lowell has posed:
    "Huh? Yeah, FOR SURE homie." Arthur says, immediately cutting the flow of magic. "Not here to FUCK WITH no LAWS except in, like, the CHARMINGLY ROGUEISH way. You the GREAT WILL? I always thought that was a DUDE'S NAME." God damn it Arthur no, that's-- That's not what it was meant to be interpreted as. He sort of leans towards her face. "Name's ARTHUR LOWELL! Just you TRY not to care about that. Not here to PROVE nothin'. Just got HIRED to back up some DUDES that came through here. Ought to be a part of... Was it FOUR?" He looks back to check with the others. "FOUR, right?" Then he turns back to her, planting his hands on his hips and grinning.

    "I'm just here for some HEROISMS, yo. Then I'll hop the GATE right back outta here. Looks like you picked up a couple'a MULTIVERSALS who wanted some INSURANCE? How's this STUFF work?" He looks up and down the chamber in a way that's simultaneously authentically impressed and obnoxiously curious. "You the MANAGEMENT, lady? I honestly got NO IDEA how this kinda shit gotta get HANDLED, like when one'a your CHALLENGER DUDES gets INSURANCE. Is INSURANCE a policy compatible with the laws? Like, an ABSTRACTED THING they brought in? Or like, a POWER? HEALTH INSURANCE is basically a SUPERPOWER these days."

Sir Gawain has posed:
For a moment after the information was given, Gawain was planning on heading over to the pod they pointed at. However, when the creatures start working twice as fast, and the woman steps out, Gawain slowly (and carefully) pushes past them to walk over towards her and Arthur. "Ah, hello! Are you the one in charge here? I am Sir Gawain, Warden of the Paladins, Knight of the Sun." He makes a small bow, which is really silly due to the fact he's in a safari outfit.

As Arthur talks to her, Gawain nods along him. "Miss Great Will, we came as a backup party for a group of adventurers who travelled in there. I seek not to interfere with their challenge, not at all! Such would be dishonorable. However, I feel responsible for checking on their safety, and request to know how they are doing in there. Have they succeeded in their challenge? Surely they've done excellently!" Gawain barely knows the dudes but they're on his side so they should win. "I must ask, however, about the exit as well. Where can we leave through, as we have not partaken in the challenge yet?"

Staren has posed:
    Staren has soon so much shit, he can't be bothered to justify himself to some frog. Gawain's words have reminded him that they ARE here to find the group that disappeared... so as long as they don't go beyond this alleged point of no return, they should be fine.

    Well, fine-/ish/. They've already gone by two points of uncertain return. This mess really needs to be properly studied and mapped.

    Arthur doing space magic reminds him that maybethis time it would have been safer. Oh well.

    He'd have the drone talk to people, but Gawain and Arthur being confronted by the management(?) seems worth watching. Staren doesn't add anything, although on the other side of the ferry crossing he does facepalm when Gawain asserts that the one's they're looking for have surely done 'excellently' on the challenge.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Well now the crew is going forward and is keeping with Charlie as they get on their way the Ferryman has some serious things to say and she pauses for a moment and she tilts her head, no name? Does not want a name how alien to her way of thinking. She say snothing though as this thing is not a human and then coems the topic of humans. She cant' argue a lot of it but she does listen tyring to gather more. Though the way the Ferryman talks gets a bit of s scowl from Kotone.

She has to wonder what is drawing people in, what sort of power could lure so many people like moths to a flame here? That really worries Kotone, it worries her quite a bit. She glances over to STaren for a moment, as she sees the boat get closer to the power source, she looks at hte symbol for a moment and will make note to record this for later use, it likely is imporant to them all. Finally they reach teh shore and she moves to hop off it wuth everyone.

"Thank you for the information on the laws, thjat is very useful."

She notes to the Ferryman frog guy. With that she's off the boat and taking in everything about them.

"Staren? Gawain? I have never seen anyting quite like this."

"We came looking for persons who had gone missing that were set to explore this unknown place. Well unknwon to us. Thank you for the life and the information again."

She'll idly check for wireless signals even if she doubts she'll find a thing, but with how funky this place is? Who the heck knows what once might find here, but then she spots the woman for a moment. She hears the warning and she tilts her head. She takes a moment to size her up and think over the words she has said.

Arthur speaks and so goes Gawain.

"Yes we came seeking them as my superior said we came looking for them and didn't know what was going on at the time."

Kyoko Takada (1132) has posed:
    Kyoko types, rather than speaks, sending text and text-to-speech over the local, shared radio channel, "She has the same magic as whatever is below, feeding the eye. Def management."
    She's since largely ignored the rather obstinate and outspoken views of the ferryman regarding humans, but after Arthur introduces himself, she does say, "And I'm Hibiki. A pleasure. Believe it or not, we're not here for anything but finding what happened to the last group. Anything past that wasn't part of the job. If it's not possible to make contact because they went past and into your challenge, then that's a finish to it." She speaks matter-of-factly.

Rurufon (6316) has posed:
    The horned woman looks unconvinced, but like she can't be bothered to bust him on it. "I 'administrate' the Tower of Shadows, yes. The Tower does not require that I run it. Its expresses its will, and some are qualified to interpret it, myself most of all. Do you understand, then, what will happen to you if you continue meddling with its equilibrium?" She glances over at Hibiki when she introduces herself

    "Four from the Earth Realm. They decided they were too excited by what they found to turn back, and that they would quest for the spear. If you want the 'payment' they left, you can take it. I don't care if you're telling the truth or not --they don't need it anymore, and they clearly they couldn't be bothered to wait, if they really did leave it for hired help." Oddly, she just kinda points to the green beacon.

    She says to Gawain"As for their progress, I haven't been inclined to check. Humans are rarely in a position to cause trouble. This tower is a vault for all things with power enough to threaten the realms, and humans have only proven worthy to retrieve their own twice in all of their history. Whether any individual or group succeeds or fails is not my concern, only that nothing be taken from the Nexus by any who are unfit to use it."

    "You can't." she then abruptly says to the question of getting out. "You've left your realm behind. Nobody who enters the Tower of Shadows can leave but for reaching its summit, or by death, and even then, most wish to avoid the latter, and bind their souls to the blue beacons. You're here forever." After a few seconds to let that one sit, she finally cracks a grin of blatant schaudenfreude.

    "Or so I would say a year ago. You are /beyond/ fortunate, for humans who've wandered here by mistake. The first challenger to succeed in a very long time made a certain effort to change a law or two to be more merciful. This is the Room of Blue Light. Beyond the Emerald Key lies the Chasm Nexus. One submits to an eternity in the Tower of Shadows only after entering the Chasm Nexus and binding to the blue beacons. Soft. Too soft. But it is the order of things, and chaos is even worse."

    Pretty late, she starts rolling the unfamiliar words around, as if they're somehow intuitive in any sense. "No, you aren't actually from the Earth Realm, are you? How did you get here? Humans ceased to be able to use magic hundreds of years ago. And what are you doing." she demands, rather than asks, of Kyoko pointing at her radio. Apparently nobody saw fit to bring a walkie talkie here before.

    Charlie actually gets up his nerve and speaks here. "Hey ma'am, I'm from Earth and I'm fine with going back, so long as you can tell me where-" The horned woman abruptly cuts him off "You've been dead for fifteen years and so have they. Since you didn't even enter the Chasm Nexus, that is grounds enough for me to kick you out already." Charlie blinks a couple of times and shuts up. Nobody really . . . told him that. "So unless you're here for either the Spear, the One-Eyed Crown, or the Radiant Saga, get out of my sight."

Kyoko Takada (1132) has posed:
    Kyoko was still a bit worried about that "remember, you're here forever" bit, and then it turns out to be... a mean joke? Uhhh huhhh.
    "Me?" She looks over the array of screens that blink in and out of existence around her, most an incandescent orange, bits blinking to red or green. "Scanning, mostly. Running some data crunching. Recording everything you said. Cross-referencing it against a few libraries. Maintaining network contact. Using magic. I'm from a place that was part of a place called Earth, but not 'Earth Realm,' and we've had magic there for at least the past few thousand years. Here, my card."
    And she offers the woman her business card. It reads "HIBIKI" as opposed to any more legally accurate name, along with "Data Analytics" and "Investigation."
    "Why do you ask?"

Staren has posed:
    Staren is briefly worried when Rurufon says they're trapped. Morg damn it, he warned them!

    But, it's not the case, and... Aha! Miss know-it-all here has been caught unawares of something! The little quadrotor speaks again: "There are many worlds called Earth. You are no doubt about to see an upswing in challengers from other dimensions, with a setup like this. Hell, I know plenty of people from MY world would love to test themselves. I'm a bit more cautious, though. As you've surmised, we're not from the 'earth realm', and I'd prefer not to charge blindly into something like this."

    The drone tilts briefly to one side, then the other, sort of like a head gesture. "So. Since we don't know what everyone in the 'earth realm' knows, what's this place's /deal/ beyond some kind of artifact repository slash gladatorial arena?"

Arthur Lowell has posed:
    "Oh, RAD! I'mma keep my MEDDLING out of the EQUILIBRIUM, for sure." Arthur says. Then, still beaming, he says, "But I am FOR SURE still gonna MEDDLE." /Great/. "Alright, if they're OLLIES OUTIE and I can't QUEST AFTER 'EM without breaking some of HEAVEN'S RULES or whatever, I'll HOLD OFF. You tell me if there's any chances ever comin' up on yankin' their REMAINS for their NEXT OF KIN?" He strides forward and crosses his arms dramatically. "So, don't BIND on any BLUE BEACONS. I can dig it. I'll keep outta BINDINGS."

    Then he wanders back and grins widely. "Oh, yeah? NAH! We're from -- shit, homie, you been NOSE-DEEP in THIS BIZ -- this big MESS of REALM COMBOS that happened, uh... Sounds like it was probably REAL SHORT TIME AGO for you? But, like, couple dozen, couple hundred OBJECTIVE YEARS?" He then tilts his head towards Hibiki. "You're lookin' about RADIOS? Yo, check it. I'mma get you on PESTERCHUM, homie. You got some MAGIC STUFF around here? I'mma get my MERGE on it with a RADIO." He snaps suddenly, eyes glinting; chunks of a weird brushed white steel apparatus jut out of a suddenly-summoned series of portals, apparently bringing bits of his home Alchemiter into things, so that he can merge some stuff and get Rurufon some incredibly obtuse semi-magical hands-free communications equipment.

Rurufon (6316) has posed:
    Maybe a little unexpectedly, the horned woman actually takes the business card. She looks at it, ostensibly reads it, and then looks back to the screens. She seems familiar with the /idea/ of magic computing (after all, the frog worker things are doing it), but it seems like it's bothering her.

    "I ask because I haven't felt any other worlds connect. Normally, when the Nexus touches another realm, we immediately know. Earth is a newer realm, but I only know of one. You came through the Earth Realm root." Okay, it's /clearly/ bothering her.

    "The Tower of Shadows arose from the Abyss. The Abyss adjoins all realms. Space and time and meaningless in the Abyss, and all but meaningless here. Those things that embody a realm's highest powers and highest depravities find their way to the Abyss eventually, as time moves on and miracles of that kind fade away into history. If in great need, a realm has the right to challenge and take back one of its miraculous powers, for the lifespan of those who claimed it. Of course, the Earth Realm is notorious for almost solely doing it out of lust for power, and cause little but chaos and disaster. I abhor chaos."

    Finally she actually answers Arthur's previous obnoxiously enthusiastic introduction. "Rurufon. Of the Tower of Shadows. Obviously. I have some idea of time as it flows outside. I've been here at least ten thousand years. Humans have come here for less than four of those thousands."

    She then starts looking really concerned. "If you're not even from one of the Realms, I don't know what would even happen if you went inside. None of the Powers are yours. Could you take any of them? Could you have all of them? Could you even enter? Could you leave? This has never happened before."

    Evidently, she needs to check on something, and this involves going back out through the door the group had just come from. Rather than leading to the ferry dock however, the door opens up to present a much, much smaller general copy of the room they're in, where the central ring over the void is enough for maybe thirty people to hold hands around. In place of a blue glowy power eye, there's more of a blue glowy 'beam chute' that leads off into some infinite black distance. She inspects it for a minute, and frowns. "If this doesn't take you outside, you're on your own." Gee. Thanks.

Staren has posed:
    "Then it's the earth realm that we've connected to, rather than directly to the Nexus." Staren hypothesizes. The little drone follows her, then Staren's voice is surprised when the door goes somewhere else. "Aah! What'd you just-- well, I'm still connected... Wait, can't they take the ferry back and leave the way they came?"

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa record scratches at what is said about Charlies companions nad himself he'd been dead for over a deacade and a halfd she moves to set a suproitve hand on Charlies shoulder she's not sure what else she can do for the man. He's got a second chance, she doesn't want to see him. She will do what she cna to help him.

"If you wish is to leave in chat case..."

she looks to Gawain. She'll gesure for Charlie to come along if he needs work she cna think of a few places.

She looks to Sten for a moment nodding.

"Then we should respect things and leave now and I'd not try to. My Earth, has no magic I'm aware of." With that she'll make for the exit and hopes it works...she's got her mobility mods they should be fine. "Charlie hang on!"

Sir Gawain has posed:
Gawain has to take a few moments to let this all sink in, nodding along. Once he gets the picture, he replies. "Well met, Rurufon. Then it'd appear that the Multiverse is very strange for you, isn't it? I'd imagine all sorts can come here. Will they be allowed to partake in your challenges?" A nod to the bit about chaos. "I see, I see. So you defend these miraculous objects from the greedy. For ten thousand years. That is truly noble! I hope we have not interfered too much with your duties or caused too much chaos."

And then, Gawain paces ab out briefly, moving to glance at the passage they opened up, before moving back to Rurufon. "Ah! If you're that curious about all of this, why don't you travel into the Multiverse yourself? Perhaps that will help ease your confusion a bit. There's helpful pamphlets! Or if you can't leave, I could go and get some and bring them back. Or maybe pull them up on my phone..."

Gawain is considering, though he does glance to Charlie. "I apologize for your loss. What do you believe you'll do next? You've been given a second chance at life, so I'd urge you not to squander it. Perhaps you are a brave soul who will try and use the tools inside to bring back your companions, or perhaps you don't want to continue with this anymore. If you wish to leave, I can take you with us and provide you food and a place to stay until things can be sorted out. What say you, Charlie?"

Arthur Lowell has posed:
    "Yo, chill, it's ALL GOOD homie. I've been in the WEIRD SPACE BIZ for a LONG-ASS TIME. You and the TOWER OF SHADOWS are gonna get a WAY BETTER CLIENTELLE." Arthur says. "Look, HERE, DOG." He looks her over, trying to find something on her inventory of sorts to poke at and mess with. A thorough examination of Rurufon, and an eventual conclusion that yanking her ring off of her would be in bad taste, seems to make him finally decide to give up on that. "Bluuuuuh. HERE." He yanks a card out of his own inventory, then takes an obnoxious flashing photograph of Rurufon's face with an ancient, badly cracked captcharoid.


ITEM DESCRIPTION: A sort of an off-gold piece of hardware that's meant to slip around one of Rurufon's horns, providing hands-free digital communication for the on-the-go tower management demonic-esque manifestation.

    "RADIO, homie. Get up in PESTERCHUM." Arthur says, as some sort of weird laser process causes the generation in a bright white light of the fancy little thing. It pops into existence right out of one of the portals, and Arthur foists it at her before intending to join the others in leaving.

Rurufon (6316) has posed:
    Charlie mostly just seems pretty stunned by what's going on, and vaguely fearful that Rurufon might do something that closes the exit for good. "Y-yeah . . ." he eventually squeaks out to Kotone. He waits quite a while before talking to Gawain. "It's . . . it's alright. It's part of the job. We all knew what we were doing. I can't even feel survivor's guilt, y'know? I died too. Haha . . ." He rubs the back of his neck. "We just wanted to be rich. I'm . . . clearly not cut out for whatever this is. I'm not some kind of legendary hero. I uh . . . I really don't know how the hell I'm ever going to repay you guys, but . . . well I guess I'll talk to you later?" Without any further accosting, he'll hesitantly step into the light beam, and is immediately whisked away as if by (well, it is) gravity shifting.

    "Because the rofis race aren't bound to ferry anyone out, and so they absolutely won't." she then says pretty emphatically to Staren's drone. Oddly, she doesn't take a tone of frustration with him for asking, but a weary sort of cynicism and distant sort of frustration towards the subject of the frog people, giving the impression that, buried very very deep down, she may in fact be sick of some form or another of 'their shit'. "Without the ferry, the river won't lead you anywhere. I told you, space and time is meaningless here. Doors only connect where they should, when they should. As it so happens, I have absolute authority over that. Are you /actually/ complaining about me letting you go this easily? You can stay here forever if you like."

    "I . . . could." Rurufon seems to conclude towards Gawain's suggestion she leave, though it seems purely academically, or at least, so guardedly that only the academic conclusion is obvious. "Noble? Maybe. Never ending is more like it. This interruption has been . . . well, interesting. The only chaos I fear is what might come next. I would prefer that you not widely advertise this place beyond your immediate associates. Otherwise, masses of the weak might flood in to the slaughter, and the Lords will feed on their souls, breaking the balance I have worked hard to cultivate."

    Perhaps mostly out of sheer curiosity rather than- no, there's no way to mistake it. The way her eyes subtly light up makes it pretty clear that Rurufon is immediately interested in the new and weird thing from another world she hasn't seen yet. She takes the odd little gold ornament and slips it on without really paying attention to where Arthur himself is going. She immediately becomes engrossed in fiddling with it. For being a ten thousand (plus) year old person, she seems absolutely not at all tech illiterate.

Staren has posed:
    "No, I'm not complaining." The drone explains. "But this is a remote communications device, I'm actually back where they all got on the ferry, with a rope dangling through the hole above. I stayed behind because I thought there might be a problem like that, and now I'm wondering if I can get back out from here or if I have to come there."

Rurufon (6316) has posed:
    If anyone is still left behind when Staren says that, they're going to hear an explosive sigh from Rurufon, and see her disappear into the ether again. When she reappears, it'll be with Staren clutched by the helmet, dragged along a disorienting trip of utter blackness, and impatiently shoved towards the beam.

    Apparently admin means literally admin. As in, admin privileges. Haxx. At least here.

Staren has posed:
    Staren looks surprised when Rurufon just appears, and even moreso when she grabs him and hauls him -- over 600 pounds with the armor -- through blackness. "Aah! How did you-- hey!" He stumbles into the beam.