5834/Downward Spiral-1

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Downward Spiral-1
Date of Scene: 09 May 2018
Location: Eberron
Synopsis: Pending
Cast of Characters: 6320, Count Kord, 632, 6325, Captain Flint, Staren, Twilight Sparkle, 1157


Hemlock (6320) has posed:
On the continent of Khorvaire, relations to the Multiverse have only recently begun. Not long unified, diplomatic ties have yet to really have been built, and the various nations have moved on their own pace to make ties. The first to really make overtures was Karrnath, who invited diplomats from both a neutral nation and from the Concord aboard an airship cruise where they could dine, talk, and negotiate safely, with assistance and cooperation from the various Dragonmarked Houses, practically noble merchant guilds in another name.

Unfortunately, late last night, everything went awry as the airship crashed over a relatively rural area of Karrnath, not making its designated landing. Suspicions of foul play were all but spoken, and when a distress signal went out, forces were mobilized. However, the area has been reported to be full of beasts in the past, and the Multiversal nation involved has requested Elite involvement, clearly unhappy with what has happened to their diplomat, not to mention the Concord having one of their own diplomats involved likely leading to them wanting to mobilize as well.

The warpgate leads out to rolling plains and well-maintained paths, guarded by soldiers (a few who appear to actually be intelligent skeletons) carrying spears and swords, clearly their attempt at keeping border patrol, though if someone wanted to actually force their way through, it'd certainly be possible. Luckily, the Elites are expected (even if the non-humanoids are looked at really funny), and a caravan is present to lead them towards the site of the distress call, if any wish to take it.

The morning sun rises into the sky during the journey, as only a few hours in, it'll be clear. What appears to have once been the equivalent of a small cruise ship lies in wreckage across a plain, a massive hill not far from the wreckage lit up by the daylight. The radius isn't large, mostly kept together, but it's certainly broken apart from impact, primarly among what appears to be the front point of the airship. There's no signs of survivors near the ship, which luckily is facing topside, though the design might momentarily interest those investigating, with a massive prong coming out at each side, one broken off and part of the wreckage, clearly from underneath the airship based on how it landed.

The topdeck seems clear of any potential monsters, and easy enough to explore, though there's also a massive hole in the bottom side of the hull as well. Several corpses litter the area, likely from the topdeck. There is some strange rustling noises, especially closer to the hill you get, as well as directly underneath the ship...but they don't sound directly threatening. They couldn't be related to the warning of monsters, could they?

Count Kord has posed:
    Kord is furious.

    He stepped through the warp gate and only gave the most brief pause to ask what direction he had to go to find the ship. Once suitably informed, his humanoid form unfurled in a surge of red and black energy and crackling black electricity, turning into a dragon-like being that immediately took flight and rapidly approached the site of the crash from above. He skipped over the wilds at such a pace that it was clear he was motivated to find the diplomat. He came in for a violently rapid landing, crashing down with a loud BOOM on a clear spot that drove up underbrush and dust.

    A quick whip of his tail clears the dust, and his head cranes to examine the crash. The mythical creature, not THAT much bigger than a human being, slips into the hole in the hull, seeking survivors of the crash. His unnerving, pale blue eyes scan the dark corners inside. His claw-tipped wings act like flexible arms to shift debris out of the way, pushing it with an effortless strength. He abuses his intangible powers to shift obstacles he can't otherwise get good leverage on, passing his claws through the offending wedged spots.

    He ignores signs of nearby rustling unless it seems to directly impede him. He's too arrogant to focus on anything but his goal.

Septette Arcubielle (632) has posed:
     Septette gives the offered caravan a once-over look, then politely declines- it isn't likely to be able to carry her weight. Instead she runs alongside it with long, loping strides that rip clawmark divots out of the earth, matching its pace evenly. As a bonus, it makes her purple shawl flutter dramatically in the wind!

     Despite sprinting for the entire hours-long journey, she seems bright and perky on arrival. It only takes a moment for her to head over to the hole in the bottom deck and shine a light in, wordlessly following Kord- though she's more focused on the source of the peculiar noises. Either that's some really weird machinery, or it's a sign of life.

     A trio of small hovering drones (in cherry, lemon, and blueberry flavors) materialize near her and disperse, floating over each of the visible corpses in turn and scanning their faces. If any of them match known images of the Multiversal diplomats, it'll ping her with a notice... though not much can be done about the ones who are mangled beyond recognition.

ACT B3-114 (6325) has posed:
    114 had a much less flashy intro. She exited the portal much earlier than Kord, but walked instead, slowly trudging along the path to the ship. She glanced up at the dragon as it flew overhead toward the ship, but merely sighed and continued.

By the time she finally reached the ship, she eyes the corpses and frowns, but otherwise pays them no mind. Instead, she busies herself with circling the ship and taking in the damage done.

Captain Flint has posed:
     As the Elites approach the boat, the silence of the crash site is disturbed by gradual crackling, which steadily grows into the telltale roar of a fire. A column of smoke rises into the sky, easily visible by Kord in particular. Standing right next to the improvised fire are several figures, and a gentle susurrus of spoken words mingles with the steady crackling.

     "Quiet," hisses an authoritative, gravelly English baritone. As Kord flies overhead, he'll spot the owner of that voice--Captain Flint, standing with a flintlock pistol raised and his other hand on his sword. Standing near him are several beings of different races, with their only commonalities being their haggard, disheveled appearance and the relative similarity of their attire. It doesn't seem to match that of Flint's. "Stay close to each other," orders the captain. "If you want to stay alive, you'll do as I say. If you want to get picked off one by one, then run off in different directions. This thing is a scavenger. It only goes after easy prey."

     Then Septette's drone comes flying in--the blueberry hovers near the campire. "The gnome's distress call must've reached someone. Wait here." Flint looks the drone in its optic receptor.

     "I am called Flint. With me are survivors of an attempted sky pirate raid. There is hostile wildlife in the area, and our food stores will only last so long. If this message reaches you, your assistance would be greatly appreciated." His brow furrows, and after a pause, he makes an addendum. "And compensated... if necessary."

Staren has posed:
    Staren steps out of the warpgate and looks around. He's briefly surprised by the presence of undead, but since the soldiers are acting like it's normal it... must be normal.

    "Twilight!" He pulls her into a hug when he sees her, careful not to squeeze too hard with the power armor's muscle. "It's good to see you out in the Multiverse again!"

    He didn't bring a mode of transport, aside from his flying broom... which turns out not to matter, because Twilight can teleport! Not that he would have minded a long journey talking to her, but hey, there could be survivors who need their help, and every hour counts!

    Once actually at the ship, he checks the corpses for life, seeming surprised at the lack of signs of survivors, wondering aloud, "Is that normal, or are airship crashes usually survivable? I'm not sure what manner of safety measures they have..." He flies up to see the top deck, and seeing it's clear... hey, smoke! And Captain Flint! He flies over to land by the group, pulling an ecto from his bag for Flint to use as a radio. "A sky pirate raid? They'll pay... Do you need any immediate help, medical or the like, before we escort you out of here?"

Twilight Sparkle has posed:
     Twilight Sparkle is neither neutral or Concord, but people in need is a call she still answers. Even after all this time she is always a bit uncomfortable at the looks she gets when she goes through gates into primarily humanoid worlds. But, she's much better about not letting it get to her. Just an uncertain look and a bit of a quick step are the only responses she gives as she moves toward the caravan. But, as the others seem to be declining the caravan she also declines and instead uses her teleportation to get her to the site. It might take her a few jumps and she seems winded when she arrives on deck. During which she offers ACT a teleportation as well when she encounters 114 walking.

     She appears in a flash of purple-white and has to take a few moments to catch her breath a bit before looking around as the others all seem to be on edge. She has no probes or drones to send around, but her sudden appearance on deck no doubt catches attention from others. The little purple unicorn is greeted by the sight of a fire and the survivors standing there, and she raises a foreleg in greeting herself. She hears Flint's explanation and nods. "I am Twilight Sparkle, and I will assist if I can. I am not sure I can teleport all of you, but I could help with repairs to the ship."

     Kord flying around overhead is a bit unnerving, but as he does not attack she thinks it is safe to assume he is not the wildlife in question. And she tries not to look at any bodies that might be on deck.

     And of course she gives Staren a firm hug when she sees him. "It is good to see you, too! Although I am not sure this is the best place to encounter each other after so long."

Ezekiel Gravez (1157) has posed:
Due to lost post, gunna summarize:
     Ezekiel selects a comfortable and concealing wardrobe that is consistant with this planets version of traveler's gear. His ship's AI and computer systems allow him to blend in.. with such items as Wizard's Robe, Staff, and even a fake spell book! However, the tell-tale cowboy hat, and cyberpunk hand cannon are hidden inside the robe. A silver short blade rests in a sheath at his belt, and he packs a rucksack for trading goods in case he needed to bribe locals. He is then shot out of a transporter beam to the planet below. His ship stays in orbit for now, and communications are set to vibrate.
     Making an entrance was easy, manifesting on Eberron's surface in a cloud of nanobots meant for teleportation. He pulls his robes close and begins to make the trek a very short distance to the wreckage of the airship. Whistling a trail song, he pokes around and tries to piece together notions of what may have happened, all while looking for blood trails, bits of technology that shouldn't belong here, and anything that looks potentially dangerous.
     Which would have sounded much lovlier if his post hadn't been eaten.

Hemlock (6320) has posed:
The airship's a mess, but information is easy enough to gather. There doesn't seem to be any signs of real external damage besides that you'd get from a crash - no cannon damage, no burnmarks, it seems as if the ship came down when it crashed.

Climbing into the hull's a bit more fruitful. There's signs of several corpses, and also littered weapons - conflict happened down here, in what appears to be a storage hold, the lowest part of the ship. Corpses with sword wounds, as well as one with a strange half-faced mask, who appears to have been stowed away and killed in the conflict. A mixture of blood trails and some more masks on those with weapons makes it clear that there was some sort of setup attack, though some of those in masks are wearing wait uniforms or crew ship uniforms - as if they had been part of the crew and slipped on.

Investigating the hold will prove difficult, however, as it turns out a massive chunk of the wood has been slowly chewed through over the past few hours. Something's been trying to get up here, but seems to abandon its attempt as footsteps move over, the burrowing getting distant, almost circling as if it's attempting to scare potential prey. It's waiting for just the right moment to finish its digging and lunge, it seems. But at any point...

The various people near the cave are of all races, once people get there. Elves, dwarves, gnomes, but primarily humans. There's about two dozen in total, far less than the ship had, and they seem to be bickering as people approach, even if most of them are just relieved. The argument seems to be with a tall dark-haired man, who is gripping a half-face mask tightly, and appears to be getting accused for everything that's going on. "You threw Harkonnen to those monsters in the cave! They've probably killed him by now!" A woman shouts to him, as he just grunts back a reply. "That bastard had it coming! He's part of the problem with Karrnath currently, damn it!" Harkonnen would be known as the name of the local diplomat, which may prove an issue.

The monster continues to circle. The smell near its area is always bad, like rotting corpses, which atleast prove helpful in tracking it, and it seems close enough to the ground that strength could probably rip open its hideaway tunnels at this point.

ACT B3-114 (6325) has posed:
    114 abandons her fruitless circling of the massive airship and heads over toward the group outside the cave, though she slows as she approaches and holds her hands up defensively. "Uh, h-...hey, I'm, ah, part of the...rescue crew, I-I suppose. Could any of you...ah, tell me what...happened, maybe...?" She's completely lacking confidence, but at least it's abundantly clear she poses no threat...assuming they even care.

Ezekiel Gravez (1157) has posed:
     Ezekiel begins to cast several buffing nanoprograms upon himself, which seems to create visual layers of hexagonal shaped shields, and his entire aura flares with motes and mathematical symbols that coalesce back into his body. A pale azure glow surrounds him, and he steps within a threatening range of the beast, his staff tip slams into the ground threateningly.

Septette Arcubielle (632) has posed:
     The blue drone stares at Captain Flint for a second or two, its glassy lens betraying little. Then, abruptly, it dances back and forth in a fashion that could almost be construed as 'giddy'. It calms itself down enough to bounce up and down in a 'nod'. Then a voice crackles to life through its speakers, filtered like the audio on an old phonograph.

     "Captain Flint! Good to see you again. This is Septette. I'm- otherwise occupied examining the ship at the moment, but there's a full rescue party here now. Others will be along shortly to-" And then the others do arrive a moment later, rendering her point moot. She tactfully decides not to mention the irony of Flint, of all people, being hit by pirates, and continues: "Do you know the fate of the other diplomat?"

     Meanwhile, Septette busies herself exploring the lower floors of the ship. No survivors found so far- this is a safer place to fight the monster that lurks beneath. How do burrowing creatures navigate? Via sound, right? They can't exactly see or use a sense of smell.

     Septette finds a place where the monster nearly broke through to the hull, and raises her armblade itno the air- then slams it down, breaching the roof of the tunnel. At the instant of impact, she screams in unearthly words that carve themselves into the air in nauseating syllables of silence, blotting out all nearby sound and blanketing the area in a pall of unnatural quiet:

     STAND AND FIGHT ME, EATER OF THE DEAD.

Count Kord has posed:
    Kord takes stock of the dead. He notes their appearances, and the apparent way they fought with each other from within. He scoffs at this, his nose puffing an impressive gust. Then he exits the wreck with Septette, following her with agility a creature of his make isn't normally capable of. He takes a light step, using shadows to mask his movements as gentle cushions when he realizes what the skeletal automata is doing. He observes her, and intuitively seeks the likely point that the burrowing creature would strike from if it thinks she is prey.

    His maw cracks open. His body glows with terrible power. A point of red light accumulates, and his head slowly tilts as the eerily silent preparations begin. As soon as he can hear it approaching, he angles his head for a proper diagonal strike. And what happens is a potentially pre-emptive attack that will hit with tremendous force and, more importantly, burn right through the ground as if it weren't even there, kicking up an incredible amount of dust. A sound like an enormous cannon going off shakes the ground for hundreds of feet around Kord, and air blows from around him. Fire kicks up from sheer friction. It will compromise tunnel integrity, it will blow air into the tunnel with violent force, it can sheer flesh right from bone.

    People miles away would be able to see the red light.

Captain Flint has posed:
     "We've lost one," says the captain to Septette. "Harkonnen. The others are all fine, save a few bruises and scrapes." Flint will lead anyone who wants to continue the search towards the mouth of the cave. It seems he had the survivors work on making some sort of camp there--scavenged materials from the ship have been put to use as makeshift lodgings, and of particular notice are fortifications and crude traps. They seem to be aimed towards the mouth of the cave, rather than away from it, and there don't seem to be any furnishings inside it. At least, this seems to be the case just on what small bit of the cave is visible from the outside.

     The argument at the mouth of the cave is disrupted by the crack of gunfire. Flint's pistol, held aloft, issues forth a thin, billowy trail of smoke after the fact, having been discharged to bring an abrupt end to the argument rather than to end anyone's life. "If you're done scrabbling over the summit of the moral high ground, help has arrived," spits the captain with an annoyed scowl.

     "Unfortunately, we're not alone." He raises a hand to the remaining survivors, asking their silence for a moment later. "Some sort of burrowing predator is after us. My allies are working on it," he says with a nod towards Kord and Septette's displays behind him. "What I need from all of you is /composure./ We're almost out of this. Can you put aside your differences for a little longer?"

Staren has posed:
    Burrowing monster approaching. Staren's first thought is to fire anti-tank missiles at it... but Twilight speaks of escaping without killing it. He would hate to disappoint her, so he tries to come up with a plan. The soil around it must be loose. Could they soak it and stun it with electricity, kind of like electrofishing? It seems plausible, albeit there's some risk it might not work, or accidentally kill the creature, but at least he's trying. But where would they get the water? Maybe Twilight can magic some up?

    This is rendered moot when Kord blasts the ground with... what even IS that?

    Staren can only stand protectively in front of the survivors, watching for remaining signs of the monster, ready to act if it shows itself still alive.

Twilight Sparkle has posed:
     Usually Twilight would be over helping defend the survivors, but with so many strong people around she comes to the conclusion that she might be the most help by getting the airship moving again. She hurries about the ship, using her magic to quickly patch holes in the hull and get components working again. Her repair magic works quickly, but it might take her a while to get all the broken components working again.

     Not to mention she is trying to avoid contact with or even close proximity to the dead. She can see the action even from here thanks to Septette and Kord being so destructive, but she doesn't let that distract her from her work. The hardest part is getting the broken prong back in place thanks to the ship being somewhat buried in sand and resting on its belly to boot.

     Full repairs shouldn't take too long! At least, that is what Twilight is hoping, because maybe if she can get the ship repaired and running quickly they won't have to kill the creature!

Hemlock (6320) has posed:
The slamming of the staff from Ezekiel gets the creature's attention, though it doesn't stop its digging, instead moving to head into his directioh. However, as Septette slams through the ground, it caving underneath her, she doesn't quite hit something, but she does stop it, as the burrowing suddenly pauses. As she says those horrible words, a massive screech hisses out, the creature unable to navigate and therefore dazed. Kord uses this chance to blast down into the ground, moving to smash the tunnel and try and fry through the creature. It pulls back its head instinctively enough to not get entirely burnt through, but the tunnel is collapsed and from the high-pitched shriek, it's definitely injured.

Now revealed to those above, the monster is clear to identify. About the size of a small elephant, the creature is a spiky reptillian monster, some sort of landshark, with bits of bone and strips of rotting flesh and meat hanging from the spikes on its carapace, making it smell absolutely dreadful. Badly wounded and primarily relying on its tunnels over anything else, the blast has rendered it at a severe disadvantage, but it still tries to fight. Massive maws snap open, moving to try and bite into both Kord, Septette, and Ezekiel and drag them into the remnants of the tunnel if possible, where it holds the high ground. It's probably not the strongest threat, but the size makes it a clear issue.

Twilight is able to mostly repair the ship with some time as everything else goes on. The primary issue is actually the broken prong, which is highly magical and having issues properly connecting, but after a bit, it seems to work well. Looking at the ship, though, there doesn't seem to be engines or machines or much of any of that, just a pedestal at the wheel with a massive stone built in. However this thing runs, it's connected to those prongs, and the massive stone. It's probably not getting off the ground that easily.

Those at the cave have a different issue. There's signs of fighting, and for a moment it actually looks like it'll get physical, when the gunshot rings out. Everyone freezes, several cowering, and Torr scowling as he puts his hands up, showing that he's not going to continue arguing. "Fine, fine. Have it your way, outsider." He turns towards the traps to make sure they're still working, as the woman who was arguing with him turns to ACT B3-114. "The Order of the Emerald Claw's what happened! Those bastards hid among the crew and moved to hijack the ship, and when they were opposed, they decided to crash it instead! And now there's monsters inside the cave, and they have the Karrnathi diplomat, Harkonnen." The neutral diplomat, if asked, is among the group and safe, an older woman who was protected by one of the bodyguards who shielded himself. After some more arguing, an old dwarf male speaks up.

"Whatever those were, they weren't normal. It's only been a few hours, though, so he might still be alive. We can go back and get him, especially with their help." The other survivors don't seem too happy with the idea, but they don't get much time to react before there's a noise from the cave, as a trap sounds off. A small, about four feet tall black creature with extremely long limbs and webbed claws is stuck in a spike pit, and several more follow out of the cave, climbing over it and using their limbs to let them through. They're going to be immediately endangering the survivors if they get through, and a few already are...! Though there's one reassuring thing, in that as one lunges out, it's moving to try and grab and drag a survivor back to the cave, instead of immediately slash into it with those claws.

Staren has posed:
    Staren sighs. Even if disabling the creature somehow were an option with Kord and Septette fighting it, the fact that they ALSO have to mount a rescue mission into the cave, meaning they can't risk it sticking around. There's just no way, now.

    Before he can decide how to attack it though, a trap goes off behind him. Did the person checking on them get stuck in it? He turns around to see... "What are these things?!" he draws a phaser and starts firing stun shots at them, moving around the crowd of survivors to get between them and the cave-monsters.

Count Kord has posed:
    "Not killed in one! Good!"

    Kord is very enthusiastic about clashing with the enormous beast. It will find him extraordinarily difficult to get a full purchase on, though he can only avoid its maw enough to grasp it with his claws and hold it open so it doesn't shatter his body like glass. His tail whips out and digs into the ground to anchor him in place, and his eyes widen with a certain vicious glee. "Now you're mine!"

    The shadows surge up from the ground as Kord simply tries to push the Landshark up into the air with solid darkness, to nullify its strategy and try to bruise its underbelly with a pillar of billowing darkness. It has the side-effect of probably preventing the others from being dragged under as well.

ACT B3-114 (6325) has posed:
    114 yelped at the gunshot, but quickly recovered. "Erf...Do we...have any plans for getting him out? I could call the other Elites. I'm n-not...much of a fighter, re--" She was cut off by the sudden sound of growling, and the emergence of the creatures. She quickly jammed a button on her radio and called out, "We need backup at th-the cave! Diplomat's inside, ah, m-monsters coming out - four of them! I'm..." She paused, then, broke into a sprint and quickly tried to ram into the guy being grabbed to shove him out of the way of the incoming claw.

Septette Arcubielle (632) has posed:
     Septette tries to backpedal out of the monster's range, but the shifting dirt betrays her- unstable ground is, as ever, the enemy of the dense. It gets a solid chomp on her leg, but before it can pull her underground, Kord heaves the beast into the air and pries its jaws open. She grumbles something inaudible, probably along the lines of being able to take care of herself.

     Still, this isn't an opportunity she's going to waste. Septette drops to the ground in a three-point landing, seeming little worse for wear for the attack. The earth cracks as she leaps high into the air and lands on its back with an unpleasant crunch. The quills and spines would likely make such a maneuver suicidal for anyone squishier, but it affords a certain tactical advantage- namely by giving her an open view of the chinks in its backward-swept plates!

     One of Septette's scythelike armblades unfolds and glows red, distorting the air with heat. An instant later, she lunges, trying to wedge it between the plates and pierce the creature's spinal cord!

Captain Flint has posed:
     Flint's sword is drawn, probably a more familiar piece of technology to Torr and the others. The light of the sun illuminates the silver blade, revealing a delicate filigree masterfully carved into it. One hand behind him for balance, the pirate bends his knees and advances, thrusting outwards to try and impale the spider-like creature.

     His eyes narrow as he observes the motions of the claws--natural weapons like those could easily maim, so why simply grab? A flash of inspiration sparks across his weather-beaten visage, and he barks an order. "The cave is full of them," says Flint to Staren as the inventor falls in to assist. "I'd assumed they'd killed Harkonnen, but they seem more interested in capture."

     He's not really keen on going into the cave, either. But he's representing the Concord here, so... "Defend yourselves!" Any survivors who are too injured or, in the case of the dwarf, too old or frail, are ordered back to the airship. Hopefully Kord, Zeke and Septette can keep the monster occupied.

Ezekiel Gravez (1157) has posed:
     Noting the unease that 114 is enduring for this, Zeke points his completely fake Wizard's staff and encases 114 in ephemeral azure layers of defensive magic. Hexagonal shields link together and collapse around her form, giving her an Azure hue. Technological and Mathematical Time Space glyphs trail down her form, and suffer no intrusion at least for the next few minutes.
     After which, he fires multiple telekinetic beams aimed at the rocky outcroppings which are intended to collapse upon the creature.

Twilight Sparkle has posed:
     With the systems all apparently repaired and a bit of knowledge that an elemental is responsible for powering the ship, Twilight looks at the stone with curiousity. "Hmm..." She raises a hoof and knocks on the stone a few times before pressing her hoof to the stone. "Hello? Would you mind starting the ship up? It is all repaired now." she says, figuring that talking to it is worth a try.

     If that doesn't work she resorts to more drastic measures. Perhaps she can make a spell that will circulate the elemental's magical energy and give her control over the ship. It's worth a try, right? She thinks about how other spells work and what is needed for this, and finally she thinks she has something that is worth a try. Her horn glows and then a beam shines on the stone before a small shockwave of magic flows through the ship. How the spell works is hard to explain, but its purpose is quite clear. Get the elemental energy flowing and link the controls to Twilight's magic for a while. Since she sees no controls, she can only assume it is controlled through magical means or vocal commands. Once she thinks she has the engines going, Twilight raises a hoof to the wheel and looks for the altitude controls, then tries to raise the ship. "Come on...please work..." she says quietly.

Hemlock (6320) has posed:
The bulette's out of its comfort zone, especially as Count Kord pushes it up with darkness. It doesn't seem built to fight well off the ground, and its stomach is heavily bruised as it comes back down. Septette launches upwards and onto its back, making a horrible crunching sound, and Septette's durability allows her to move through the rotted spikes and stab it in the spine, causing it to squeal again, as it moves to try and shake her off before she can truly drive in the fatal blow.

Ezekiel blows up a rocky outcropping, however, dropping part of it onto the head of the bulette. This dazes it long enough to be open to finishers by Septette and Kord, and soon, it's dead. It seems to have been weak in general, rather sickly - which also means it's probably not good for meat, either.

As the chokers move to grab people, Staren and Flint move to fight them off. Torr is attacked up near the traps, but draws his own blade to fight them off (though not remotely with the skill of Flint), while the old and injured move to retreat to the airship Twilight is repairing. One is impaled through the chest by the blade, while another is taken out by the stunshots, knocked out. Another paces back until it's pinned against falling into the spike pit, so it stretches its arms out and tries to wrap them around Staren's neck and constrict him, the same with another and Flint. Luckily, none of the survivors are abducted, especially since 114 takes a claw blow for herself, scraping into her and causing some minor damage, mostly rebuffed by the shield, the rest easily tankable with her abilities.

Simply talking to the airship doesn't power it up, Twilight will find. Channeling it with magic, however, does a lot. Though the survivors will need help getting onto the ship, they'll have a ship, as a ring of fire manifests around the ship through the prongs, pulling it into the air. The magnificent ship is back in the air, floating close to the ground until controlled, unable to truly land again because of the bottom prong.

Back with the chokers, more monsters are coming. There's about sixof them, and they look like what happens if you smash two goblins into one goblin (with four arms to boot). They're holding clubs, and while three are taken out by a log slammiung forward and knocking them into a spike pit, the other three move to strike at Staren, Flint, and 114, joining the chokers in conflict and trying to slam them - they'll probably need some help. A pair of fleshy pink humanoids with weird tendrils can be seen further inside the cave, but they're not moving, yet. They're watching the fight.

Staren has posed:
    One of the chokers doesn't get stunned, and wraps its tentacle-arms around Staren's neck instead. Now, it will find that thanks to the armor, he's not as easy to choke as most targets. And Staren decides that he's not going to wait for the choker to Try Harder. First, he electrifies his armor. If that doesn't stun it and make it let go, he blasts it point-blank with the beam cannons. It probably can't survive that unless it lets go and dodges...

    This strategy is repeated with the double-goblins. Are those... clubs? Really? Staren's not a great melee combatant, but he's got armor giving him the might of a strongman and the ability to dispense electric shocks (and more lethal weapons, if needed) and sets to brawling with the goblins, trying to take them down before they get wise to his tricks and adapt.

ACT B3-114 (6325) has posed:
    114 lets out a cry of pain at the slash and stumbles back, but the wounds quickly heal back up. It's torn her shirt a bit, though, blood-stained flesh visible between the gaps. She brings a hand down to the shirt and gasps. "I-I just got this...!" A sigh escapes her lips, and she hefts up the sword in both hands. She's obviously struggling to hold it up, but...a girl can dream?

Captain Flint has posed:
     The crossguard of Flint's sword slams into a leaping choker with a wet, crunching sound. His hand pulls back and his foot rises, stomping into the creature to hold it down. In a fluid, practised motion, the sword is driven through the crawling thing's carapace. Flint scarcely has time to pull it out before another one is on him.

     At first, he tries to simply wrench the thing off, but its limbs prove too tough to tear off with brute force alone. His boots leave track marks in the dirt as the beast tries to drag him forward. Spikes, several of his own making, grow closer and closer as he struggles, until he lifts a leg to brace himself against the lip of the cave's entrance. With the choker's limb pulled taut, he pulls his sword fully free of the dead one and simply cuts straight through the strangling limb.

     His breath returns to him in a frantic rush, just in time for it to be knocked out of him by a mutant goblin's club. The pirate is sent sprawling backwards, landing on his back with a pained grunt. Gritting his teeth as his opponent looms over him, he reaches into the dirt and throws a handful of it into the two-headed goblin's two sets of eyes. Flint rolls onto his knees, gets to his feet, and charges toward the goblin, tackling it to the ground. His cutlass, held horizontally, is forced through the neck of the mutant, the captain's teeth bared like a rabid dog.

Septette Arcubielle (632) has posed:
     Septette runs a few hasty calculations as she drops to the ground with a crunch, followed a moment later by the dull thud of the collapsing bulette. Staren, Flint, and 114 are fighting the bizarre goblins; Ezekiel and Kord have clear line-of-sight. Her own ranged attacks are too imprecise to comfortably snipe out the monsters without hurting the civilians, and closing to melee range would take time. Given that...

     Septette raises one hand towards the (now properly airborne) airship. The ground between them frosts over, followed by spindly icicles rising up to form the skeleton of a bridge. The structural silhouette 'fills out' in rows like some kind of magical 3D printing, completing with a series of textured platforms ascending to the airship's deck- a staircase of arcane ice, set at a respectful distance from the ring of incandescent fire.

     She turns to the escaping sailors and waves them along, attempting to allay any mistrust of the peculiar construction by personally helping up anyone who seems to struggle with their footing.

Ezekiel Gravez (1157) has posed:
Having dealt with one set of attackers, it was time to face the second. With a strong stride, he retreated from the Bulette and moved to assist with the other survivors led by Flint. "Everyone down!" He cries out as he flings tendrils of darkness towards the oncoming goblin attackers. The black tentacles reach out for the eyes of the maligned devils, and start to find targets. Many of the attackers are gripped in a crippling blindness, which seems to burn like salt on open wounds.

Twilight Sparkle has posed:
     Twilight holds her breath as the magic starts to work on the ship, then lets it out with a happy little 'ha-hah!' as the airship starts to float off the ground. "It work!" she exclaims excitedly, then starts moving the ship toward the cave slowly and carefully. She's been on airships before but has only academic knowledge of how to fly one. As she moves toward the cave she starts looking for boarding ramp controls. If the ship has one, she deploys it even as the ship floats toward the cave. But seems she won't need one as Septette performs a dynamic feat of construction with her ice powers. Twilight brings the ship to a stop again, not wanting to undo Septette's work.

     Then, all Twilight can really do is wait, hoping the others can get everyone on board that can get on board before they go after Harkonnen. And of course secure the sky pirates so they can't cause any more trouble. "Let me know when everyone is aboard and I'll increase altitude to keep any other creatures from endangering the passengers and crew!" she radios to the others.

Hemlock (6320) has posed:
Septette's massive ice staircase stuns the survivors, but they slowly move to climb up, with her assistance. Those who aren't fighting all get on board, and there's not many fighting (mostly just Torr and clear warriors), so soon they'll be able to leave. Twilight can easily tell the ship to fly off, with the elemental still listening to her.

The hideous beasts coming from the cave actually appear to be more intelligent than the chokers, as they speak up instead of just fighting roughly. They move to communicate with the chokers, telling them to keep pressing, which the choker on Staren actually moves to respond...before it's stunned and knocked out by the electricity. The chokers don't sound very intelligent, though, the equivalent of cavemen, basically. The ones coming at Staren are also stunned, but only briefly, as they try to strike anyways. They're not actually that powerful, though, just smarter than the Chokers and able to better strategize, such as pulling back to try and slam from the side, or similar.

This however doesn't prove very effective, as Ezekiel blinds the creatures, and their misses start going wild, allowing them to be easily taken out by counterattacks.

This assists 114, who is struck at and is missed entirely, allowing her to try and counter with the blade or some other way if she so wishes.

Flint expertly slays both the choker and the mutant goblin he's fighting, his skill with the sword much better than the creature's with the club. The fleshy humanoids inside the cave watch this, and speak loud enough to be heard in a shared language to each other, with harsh tones, saying that they should "retreat to the prisoner, there's too many of them", roughly. They're having actual intelligent conversation, too, and sound as smart as a human, roughly.

It seems they'll need to be pursued, as they move to retreat into the cavern. If they're going to rescue Harkonnen, they'll probably only have a few hours to get everyone to safety before they'll have to return, going on how long it's been.