4269/Island's Got Booty!

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Island's Got Booty!
Date of Scene: 01 July 2016
Location: Alfheim Online <ALO>
Synopsis: To lure the Ghost Ship, our players have learned they need a certain item found only in Raid-level islands. Their heart and skill is put to the test as they fight through some of the toughest content available in Cutlasses and Cannons Online.
Cast of Characters: Kirito, Tomoe, 162, 215, 675, 707, Yuuki Konno, 922
Tinyplot: CCO

Yuuki Konno has posed:
    The island is a sweltering jungle, with seemingly impassable walls of vegetation blocking most travel. Only game trails allow passage from one clearing to another. The game on this island, however, is a bit larger than most. As a result much of the time the party can advance with relative comfort and ease.

    When they're not facing the 'game', that is. The island is full of monstrous beasts, any one of which is an easy match for an endgame player. Fortunately the crew of the Windstar are a team, and have the skills and gear to take on several such beasts at once. Having run other endgame islands together, even the relatively small crew can take on a force with considerable more game-levels. Not that the crew's lacking in game levels by this point either. If no one's maxed out any of their skills, they've probably still managed to gain enough points in their primary abilities to use the best gear in the game, and to have similar skill in crafting and utility skills besides.

    Aside from giant cats and lizards that are more small dinosaurs than friendly reptiles, the island also hosts humanoid enemies. Half man half lizard, seemingly, these creatures have superficial scales like armor around brow, forearms, chest, legs and tail while their midriff, upper arms and thighs, and lower face and neck is vulnerable. It's not a combination evolution would ever favor, but the digital seas of the age of piracy bears little resemblance to a Darwinist origin.

    As the group finishes cutting the latest group of lizard-men to bits of glowing red pixels, Yuuki lifts her hat and wipes her brow. "Phew! That was fun!" she says cheerfully. Her health bar is yellow, the line somewhat below the halfway mark. Probably much the same as any other melee fighter's, since the party has to spend its healing resources wisely on the most-injured members in any given battle. Besides, she's reckless as long as she sees the enemy's health bars going down faster than her own.

    She's still geared much like she was originally, though her gear is rather ... pretty. She's long since left behind the threadbare outfits she joined the game with, having replaced them with richly-dyed and accessorized vest, blouse and pantaloons. Her cutlass bears a silvery gleam to it now, courtesy of Yuuki having spent some of her now-considerable game resources on light-element enchantments. She's prepared as well as she can, to face the undead that are sure to soon be an issue. "We've GOT to be getting close to the end of this dungeon right? It's been what, two hours now? Everyone doing good?" she asks. She downs a recovery flask (of ale) meant to boost her out-of combat regeneration, which would put her at full health and spirit in a minute or two. Standard fare for these sorts of fights. Healing up between battles isn't supposed to be a huge drag, right?

Tomoe has posed:
Eisen was here again hot pants, bandana and all she was grinning in a good mood and was certainly enjoying the look of her avatar but still there were other things to worry about. She's also seeming to get some more gear but she's got the very anime pirate ideal going on wiuth her current cosume a she moves to finish off the last of the mobs.

"Well tht was fun, what are we going to do now?"

she gets her own flask, all the fun of booze without getting hammered.

"At least this grog won't melt through the hull of a ship, right? Yuuki?"

Xiaomu (707) has posed:
"About that," Sunshower nods to Yuuki, rapping her knuckles on the side of the keg she's been toting around as a backpack - but which is now sitting on the ground near where Sunshower was slinging knives during the last battle. Of course she has to set it down when a fight breaks out, but that's why she's a support member instead of taking the front lines in the dungeon. "Running low ... might have enough for two more rounds for everyone. There's a fast way out from beating the boss, right?"

Once everyone who needs it has a recovery flask, Sunshower starts retrieving some of the knives she threw during that battle - and then double-takes at Eisen with a mostly-playful glare. "If it tastes THAT bad, you can let others drink your share! I take pride in my craft!"

Iria (215) has posed:
Iria's not big a drinker, whether in-game or out. Still, she feels that a little grog now and then won't kill her, so she fills a flask with it and sips it, then makes a face as if to say, "What did I just drink?" After recovering, she accepts the recovery flask gladly, putting it into a spare pouch. "We be needin' this if we run into any scurvy dogs!" She says, attempting to perfect her pirate's dialogue.

After her speech, Iria takes out her scimitar and admires it. It's a fairly new one she got recently after completing some quests in her spare time. She looks at the shininess of the blade, how easier it is to grip, and how powerful it is as well. "Got a good deal on this one, I did!" She comments to nobody in particular.

Weiss Schnee (922) has posed:
    Nobody splurges on flashy, elegant gear like good ol' Snowflake! Holstering her top-of-the-line rapier, upgraded with all sorts of enchantments to make it even -more stabbier-, she brushes the pixel gore off her clothes, giving them a look over. She wears a black pirate's hat with a huge feather arrangement sticking out of it, as well as a pocket-laden utility vest, both studded with gold. Four holsters across her chest hold four small flintlock pistols, each one with a different elemental polarity. Under that, she wears a white -combat skirt- rather akin to her own real-life style and a pair of leather boots, also dyed white. All of it is loaded with the best enchantments she could muster up, primarily augmenting her agility and speed as well as a bit of bonus defense.

    "Yar har or something," she simply says as she chugs down her own flask of grog. "Uh, great job on that, Sunshower," she offers. It's rather uncertain whether she means that or not. "This is where you find that gem thing, right?" she calls to Yuuki. "One of these creatures should drop it at some point. I need it for my, er... recipe," she explains with what sounds like an evil laugh.

Zephyr Windstar (162) has posed:
    Auralia has, for once, ventured away from her ship and has joined the group on land. "I'll consult the map." she says, pulling her menu open, then tapping an item, which forms a traditional parchment map. "It looks like, we're about two points away from the boss room." she says, tapping the map and pointing along the path along the right side of the area. "We should head down there, it's a lower level point than the more direct path, and it's only travel time, not rooms."

    She puts the map away, reloads her brace of pistols then looks around the group. "If we can wait for my Spirit to restore I'll focus more on healing than damage in the next encounter." she puts one pistol back in it's holster, then opens her menu again, and requips a cestus that wafts a dark purple smoke.

Cirra Constantine (675) has posed:
    Palmira's own gear has been upgraded, having progressed through a gamut of beiges, greys, patterns until finally it settled on a black overcoat with red vine-like embroderie on the silk inside and along the cuffs and shoulders. The coat has a squarish cut to the shoulders and the button flap, which she has opted to wear open. Underneath it her corset and shirt are equally High Quality gear of purple and black silk. Black leather long boots complete the outfit, with a silver cross amulet providing protection from undead. She has as much of it crafted by her teammates as possible.

    Her weapons have upgraded to a silver stenciled Estoc and hip holsters of obsidian throwing knives that cause extra Bleed damge. And lately she's been much better on the rigging.

    As the party pauses to advance to the next clearing she looks back at the others, almost disapointed to not see the rag-tag bunch from so many sessions ago. "Hopefully something comes from this. Not that gearing up is unwelcome, but a more solid lead would certinaly be helpfull."

Kirito has posed:
Given how Kirito came into the game with an avatar with many maxed skills... his main challenges have been getting good gear. now that he has some of that...

    Now that he has that, he's been doing circles around Lizard men. They were one of his biggest targets in Aincrad so long ago... and the ones here are apparently similar enough in execution that he can predict every move they're going to make and get them to repeatedly fall into traps and Swashbuckling Skill combos that light up the beach!

    His bar's also hit yellow - his familiarity with predicting the AI from years of experience grinding for his life is just an enormous advantage in this field.

    He's elaborately decked out in a captain'y black suit with long coattails buttoned down the middle, but ditched the hat in favor of just his hair. And his current blade's... predictably, black, and on the heavier side for a user of swashbuckler skills. Just as heavy as he can get away with.

    "Should be close!" He spouts airily, still full of energy... though a little bit winded physically. He's breathing hard, as cheerful as he sounds. "We've finally gotten this setup nice and tight. Think we can handle anything?"

Yuuki Konno has posed:
    The battles have been going pretty fast. The general power of the group makes that easy enough, even if the enemies tend to hit uncomfortably hard. That's all it is though, uncomfortable. Like Alfheim Online, the pain regulation in CCO is set to an easily bearable level.

    Yuuki grins at the paint remover reference. "She's just saying it's strong!" the former imp chirps. Part of this giddiness is natural, part the (extremely temporary) effects of game-drinks on her. "And yeah, once we beat the boss we can just teleport back to the ship." she notes. Not if, *when*. Yuuki's boundless confidence is matched only by her cheer.

    The loot from the encounter is nothing special. Each battle so far in a series of dungeon raids have dropped similar stuff. Rarely will weapons and armor drop, since the good ones usually drop from the Island Bosses. Plenty of doubloons worth of 'monster bits' though, and a good chunk of crafting ingredients besides. Gems, metals, leathers and brewing ingredients may be rare, but at the pace the party's churning through the PVE Islands the ingredients come at a steady enough rate.

    Yuuki peers over Auralia's shoulder. Actually more around her shoulder, given their heights. "Lower level means faster fights, and less recovery time. Suits me!" she agrees. It's the boss fight that has her full attention. Trash mobs are fun and give valuable experience and loot, but it's the boss fights she really lives for. And of course it's unlikely their ultimate goal lies in the hands of anything other than an Island Boss, much as Palmira observes. "Should have plenty of time to regain Spirit while we move!" she suggests, bouncing up and taking off in the direction indicated.

    The path winds a bit, rewarding those who move recklessly and take advantage of the parkour-like Swashbuckling Skills with a remarkably fast rate of travel. Not to mention those of the athletic persuasion in their real lives. Even so, the recovery drafts will have the time to put everyone's stats to full before they reach the next fight.

    Yuuki stops as she enters a clearing. Not because of mobs therein... there are none. Instead there's a set of lit tiki torches ahead framing a path formed of flat flagstones laid out in a regular pattern. It'd be a common enough sight now. The indicator that up ahead lies the boss 'room'. That pattern of stone, those torches, form a barrier. Once a group enters, no one can enter or leave until either the boss is dead or the raid fails. She pauses, takes a breath. Also, waiting for those who might not be quite so fast, enthusiastic or energetic. "We all ready for this?" she asks rhetorically, grinning. "This time we get a skull! Arr, I hope!"

Zephyr Windstar (162) has posed:
    Auralia grins a bit at Yuuki, ruffling the shorter girl fondly. She then follows after the group, using the Swashbuckler Skills she's trained aboard her ship, to keep up with the rest of the group.

    She comes up short as the Boss Door is found. "I guess the islands change a big between raids... that map was wrong." she mentions, but grins a bit. "I'm excited now though, lets get in there and grab us a Skull!"

Xiaomu (707) has posed:
"If we're not ready yet, it's a little late to find out!" Sunshower calls out cheerfully; one of her daggers is drawn from its (mostly hidden) sheath, and she licks one side of the blade before dribbling something from a different flask onto the streak of saliva - and a poof of purple fire flares up, surrounding the blade before thet 'aura' fades to near-imperceptibility.

Status effects really *are* an adventurer's best friend, and she's learned brews to confer advantageous statuses (stati?) on allies - as well as disadvantageous ones on enemies. If she manages to plant the prepared knife in an enemy's vital spot, the effect is MUCH stronger. The downside is that once she preps a knife, she only has a couple of minutes to land that hit, or the baneful brew is wasted. "Skullhunters of the Windstar, FORWARD! Drinks are on me once we get home with our prize!"

Iria (215) has posed:
Iria's one of the type who have done the Swashbuckling Skills, since it not only works better for her as a sword wielder, but knowing a lot about parkour in real life helps too. So the path is no problem for her really. In fact, she finds herself going a bit faster than the others, but she stops when they get to that spot with the torches and other notable bits. She knows what it means, and she's a little uneasy about it for some reason.

She pauses, then looks to the others. When Sunshower charges forth, Iria's with her. "Let's go! Let's show them who's in charge here!" She says with a huge grin.

Cirra Constantine (675) has posed:
    Palmira chooses to move at a more sedate pass then Yuuki. Slightly. Where Yuuki has enthusiasm, Palmira always checks for the position ahead to not be reckless, but still tends to move by wall running, or whatever is at hand. This clearing though, she pauses for a moment before walking into it.

    "I didn't realize the dungeons shifted." she hopes thats not an effect of the rogue AI. She waits outside the barrier for the others to catch up. There was an incident with a limited time event dungeon where one of the party got locked out, resulting them being burried under reminders to get mother's day gifts.

    Afterwards she steps through with the rest to bring up the reaar. High level dungeons like to drop groups in behind the players, and a secondary effect of her silver rosary is partial night vision.

Weiss Schnee (922) has posed:
    Snowflake grumbles inwardly as she finds nothing of much use on the bodies of the recently deceased enemies, but isn't shaken off her battle course by any means - chances are, she'll find this crafing ingredient in the Boss room! What was it called again? Something something of power, probably. Or maybe destiny. It's not important.

    She's a natural at parkour already, combining her real-life agility with in-game abilities and stats to navigate the rambling path with relative ease. By the time she arrives, her status bars are topped up to full, which she confirms as she rifles through her inventory one last time. "Buffs, check... emergency healing, check... lucky charms, check..." She has a lot of those. "Alright, I'm all good to go!" she calls as she draws her gleaming, jewel-encrusted rapier. "No holding back, yeah? I wanna see everyone pushing themselves to their peak!"

Tomoe has posed:
Tomoe is not having an issue with the enemies.

"Maybe so, but you can bend me into a prezek Yuuki if we were to fight again. Heh the grind is real what can I say."

Eisen seeme to be in good enough spirits as they make fo the clearing and she nods.

"Ready to not be the tank for once, so ya I'm all set to go."

She's got a cutlass in one hand and a pistol in another, nd she's been watching Weiss's own parkour antics with a good dela of respect.

"Weiss, Palmira you both ready and sometimes they do. Events and what not, right? Palmira?"

Kirito has posed:
"Here's hoping." Kirito agrees emphatically, pulling up alongside the Absolute Sword with an eager, almost cocky smile of his own to show. He's ready for this challenge, make No mistake about that...


Yuuki Konno has posed:
    "Yeaaaah!" Yuuki yells an excited cry of agreement, raising her arm and offering a flying high five to Snowflake. Which would look incredibly foolish and silly if Snowflake refused to return the gesture or was somehow unaware of it. But the sentiment does speak for her and probably for all of them. Everyone pushing themselves to their peak.

    The light flickers as the party passes the magical gate of the boss lair. Within, they can see the battle arena. It's a large clearing lined with the ubiquitous heavy vegetation. Within, a platform rises above three stone tiers. Between the party and the bottom tier stands four lizard men armed with long obsidian-chipped wooden blades. Each lizard man wears an alligator-head helm obscuring its features, and the lot of them loom huge and bulky with muscle. Atop the central platform stands six more lizard men, similarly bulky with similar outfits, carrying blowguns and darts in addition to large axes strapped to hips. Behind them is a final figure. His crocodile head isn't a mask. He's easily fifteen feet tall, his thighs bigger around than any PC's shoulders. His tail thrashes, and he reaches back with both hands to pull out a pair of blades. Long, vicious and jagged-looking things, either of them would be wielded two-handed by any mere mortal.

    The Island Boss, the Crocodile Lord, stands ready. His strongest minions stand ready. They await the party's rush, with darts being the first line of attack and with sword-bearing lizardmen ready to prevent the party from ascending the stairs to the shooters. That's not the only possible path, however. There's the 'steps' of the platform itself, not quite vertical, a good ten or twelve feet between each tier with three tiers to the top.

Zephyr Windstar (162) has posed:
    Auralia charges in with Yuuki, but pulls up to let the others assault in first. "God of the sea, hear my prayer, grant us your blessings of protection." she lets the cestus sway, the smoke billowing out, and a wave of energy pulses out from it, bathing the party in a protective sheath. It'll reduce ranged damage by a portion, but won't help against melee strikes.

    She then levels her pistol at one of the blow darters, firing off a Gunslinger Shot that splits into three explosive fireballs, trying to thin out the incoming damage.

Xiaomu (707) has posed:
The boss has *minions*. As if the mobs which the party has already confronted weren't enough.

Sunshower's not about to waste a perfectly good debuff-dagger just because her preferred target isn't quite close enough. So as Auralia invokes the protective charm from her cestus, Sunshower brings her arm up, then flings her dagger (Throwing Skill, yay!) towards another blow-dart wielder. She's hoping to sink it into the lizardman's mouth when the lizard opens its mouth to inhale - but she'll take pretty much whatever, and the debuff she's using should be enough to impair a mob's accuracy and attack strength even if she *doesn't* nail it in the eye or the mouth.

The second knife she throws is not thusly prepared; as such, she's less concerned with weakening a target than just wearing down their HP - preferably taking each mob out as quickly as possible, and not just spreading the DPS across targets. Six half-dead enemies can still dish out as much damage (barring debuffs) as six full-health enemies.

Tomoe has posed:
Tomoe looks at the lizardmen and gets a grin on her face as she makes ready with her weapons as the fight starts she looks at the olord and the other lizardmen for a moment smrirking but she's also going to keeps movcing firing her pistol at one of the Lizard men as she starts to parkur hr war toward the encounter and honestly she's going to deal witht he adds before she rven thinks about engaging the boss.

Cirra Constantine (675) has posed:
    Palmira looks to Tomoe "Of course I'm ready." She stops as the party comes out into the boss clearing and frowns. "Though /expecting/ a fifteen foot crocodile man, is another thing entirely."

    Palmira dives sideways as the blow darts rain down, grasping the obsidian throwing knives at her hips between each finger, flinging them through the air towards the sword bearing lizardmen to inflict bleeding damage. A *clickclickclick* reveals the knife holsters to actually be clockwork devices that reload the knives for a fresh volley very qui<span class=" bold_fg_m bg_n ++ kly.

    chm">Obsidian Assasin Holster Throwing Knives</span> were quiet expensive on the market. Rolling out of her dive, Palmira draws out her Estoc, and the embrodier on her clothes losses it's red hue, turning to purple as she switches from Infliction Stance to Direct Stance. The Status Enchantment on her Decorated Officer's Long Coat didn't cost much, but made it clear to her team mates what role she was taking on the field.

    Palmira launches herself at the steps of the dias, grasping hold of the larger ledges with one hand to pull herself up. Unless something attempts to stop, she'll be moving straight for those dart blowers.

Iria (215) has posed:
Minions? The more the merrier! Iria doesn't mind taking on multiple people at once. After all, she likes things more extreme, it makes things more interesting and enjoyable! "Come on, I'm ready for ya!" She calls out with a look of determination and a grin that shows no fear whatsoever as she narrows her eyes a little.

Iria takes on one of the minions directly, using her skills to try to avoid the minion attacks while trying to catch it off-guard and land a counter-attack at the most opportune moment.

Weiss Schnee (922) has posed:
    For once in her lifetime, Weiss decides to go along with it and return Yuuki's high five with gusto. Savor it! "Woo, let's do this!" As she charges into the portal with the rest of the party, she pulls a special buff potion she's been saving for this very moment out of her inventory. More lizardmen? Well, alright, who wants some?!

    She downs the mixture as she surveys the enemies at hand, significantly buffing her agility stats. Also targeting one of the ranged enemies, she rolls to the side and activates one of her combat skills, unleashing a flurry of bullets from each of her flintlock pistols. It'll take her a little while to ready those guns again, but it should deal a hefty chunk of damage, as well as bestow a number of status effects and DoTs from her various elemental enchantments.

Kirito has posed:
Into the boss domain they go... facing down LIZARD MEN wielding MACUAHUITLS. They're weapons Kirito's seen before - rare as they get in SAO and not at all frequent to appear in Alfheim Online, typically only showing up in the hands of some weird jungle enemies in a fwe floors of Aincrad...

    But they can inflict NASTY Bleeding Damage over time, so he's wary of them.

    BLOWGUNS though... they're trouble. He flinches, once again a bit frustrated that he doesn't have his wings here...

    "We'd better deal with the darts fast! I'll keep the guys with macuahuitls busy!"

    And that's not even counting the GREAT CROCODILE LORD further back...

    Kirito dashes in with great speed for the lizard men warriors, hoping to use his blade's superior weight to DESTROY the obsidian chips and use an old tactic of his: Arms Break.

    Because weapons aren't indestructible, even those wielded by enemies. Strike them just the right way and...

    Well, we'll see if this game works under that logic too.

Yuuki Konno has posed:
    Yuuki doesn't need much in the way of agility. She invests points into the stat, but mostly she relies on the superhuman reaction speed of a person who's lived within VR for years. Her eyes track the darts coming in towards the party and she charges forward with a high-pitched roar. It may sound more suited to a kitten than to a lion, but for Yuuki it's more the results that count.

    Taking a lesson from Kirito and from stories she's been told, she engages the blowgun fire heading for the core of the group. Her sword flashes repeatedly, light gleaming from the silver blade in near-blinding flashes as several darts simply explode in contact with the cage of steel she weaves before her. Others explode quite literally from Auralia's fireball rounds, which makes Yuuki's attack somewhat less suicidal. Leaping, twisting, spinning, she cuts a path through the surviving darts, her HP bar barely scratched. She's received poison damage though, and the DOT attack will add up before long.

    Kirito, Tomoe and Iria are going to have their hands full among the ground-level lizardmen, though it's not impossible odds by any means. The four combined aren't worse than a standard set of trash mobs, not even considering the risk of darts which diminish once the party closes to melee range. And the three fighters are, all considered, more than a match for just about anything in melee. It should in fact be relatively short work, especially with assistance from others in passing.

    Kirito will indeed find that his strength-based build can effectively damage the relatively-fragile obsidian weapons. Unfortunately chipped obsidian is every bit as nasty and damaging as unchipped obsidian but he might have an easier time destroying their weapons outright than cutting through their armored flesh while warding from blows and missiles.

    Palmira's throwing knives are effective, several striking home against the guardian forces. The DOT-inflicting weapons don't do much damage up-front, but they add up in damage quickly, softening things up for the frontline fighters while Palmira's otherwise heading up for a side-ascent.

    Yuuki, seeing this, changes her mind. Instead of continuing her headlong charge into melee she glances aside. Grinning, she dives to one side and follows Palmira instead of engaging in melee. The first ledge is a struggle, but she has an idea for the second "Launch me!" she cries to Palmira, trying to get a boost. If it works, she should be able to clear the next ledge in a jump and then reach a hand down to her friend so they can both climb more quickly. Then only one level left to the top... and a pair of dart-blowers who set down their blowguns to ready axes.

    Snowflake and Sunshower make their shots, the dagger weakening one ranged opponent to near-uselessness while Snowflake's shots make the defenders flinch even as they inflict solid damage. It should protect the group from further darts and, maybe, give Palmira and Yuuki just enough of a distraction to clear a path if they time it right!

Weiss Schnee (922) has posed:
    Snowflake takes a brief moment to make sure her attack landed and to recover from that roll, now focusing on dodging any incoming attacks. She should have a pretty decent time with her improved agility, a point she capitalizes on by drawing her rapier and dashing forwards. "You guys are covered, go for it!" she calls to the rest of the party, making her way towards the nearest melee lizardman. Time for a rather... impromptu tactic!

    Her first objective is to drive the butt of her rapier into the baddie's chest, trying to stagger him. Once she's accomplished that, she'd use his body as a kickstand, launching off of him onto the next tier and delivering a damaging sword swipe on the way. If that's successful, she ends up hanging from the edge, promptly hoisting herself up and preparing to strike the nearest ranger up close and personal.

Zephyr Windstar (162) has posed:
    Auralia tchs as her shots are largely intercepted by the blow darts. That wasn't her target, and now she's on cooldown for that skill. At least it made her friend's job a bit easier. She hangs back still, tossing out healing skills and generally playing the healer. She is the more support oriented of the group, at least in this game.

    She holsters the pistol, ready to draw it again for another burst shot as the blow-darts begin to thin out. "Get ready! Once the last minion goes down the Boss is going to go into attack mode!" she calls in warning, as she quickdraws, and fires another burst shot of fire-balls, aiming once again at the blow-dart enemies.

Iria (215) has posed:
It might not be easy, but Iria keeps a steady stance with her sword, watching the creatures carefully. At one point she gets caught off-guard and is hit lightly, but she remains steadfast and retains her scimitar. She spins around one of the other mobs and attempts to strike it from behind. "You picked the wrong girl to mess with!"

Xiaomu (707) has posed:
Sunshower flings a couple more knives, helping whittle down the minions; her first priority is to finish off the one she already disabled, and she's not above taking off the last chunk of HP from another of the blowdart-wielders - but she's going to leave the majority for her allies to get the Last Attacks in on.

She also wants to save some of her knives for later - and some of her attention *now* for matters more important than carving off chunks of the enemies' HP ... such as, for instance, the fact that one of her allies is losing HP independently of the attacks being unleashed by the enemy forces.

"Hoi, Yuuki!!" Sunshower calls out, pulling a small flask out of her vest. "Got a cure for what ails ya! Grab it and chug!"

Hopefully Yuuki can pull out of the front line long enough for Sunshower to toss the flask to her. Fortunately, it's leather rather than glass - a miss won't shatter it, but Yuuki'll have to scramble to retrieve it ... preferably BEFORE one of the wounded monsters can do so.

Cirra Constantine (675) has posed:
    Palmira turns as she hears Yuuki's call and nods in understanding. She slides the Estoc away and gets down on one knee, both hands out for the smaller girl to plant her foot on. With a heave from the fairly well strength attributed Palmira Yuuki is launched upwards to the next dias.

    "Hold on tight!" Palmira grabs Yuuki's hand and uses it to wall run sideways up to the next dias., releasing her hand as she reaches the top, flying through the air just enough to make her coat billow out as she draws her Estoc, and comes down on one of the axe weilding Lizardmen trying to get up behind Yuuki, slashing down with a ferrocious force.

    despite having avoided the poison darts from earlier, the next axe weilder hits ehr with a sideways tackle, that nearly sends her flying back off the dias. "Oof!" she grunts and turns back on him with a fist full of knives, but she simply punches the lizardman with them. A secondary attack for knife throws called Indominable Claw inspired by a ravenous creature that was thought to be industructable, a Wolverine.

Kirito has posed:
"Come on...! COME ON!" BREAK! Kirito wants to scream. He can easily cleave away at these weapons' durability and break off chunks of obsidian cosmetically, but it's weak points structurally he hunts for. He activates skill after skill... clashing and slashing, and a few grazes against his arm bite into his HP and inflict mild bleeding. But he ducks around and COUNTERS, perhaps simply cleaving through one of the monsters then turning around to start parrying the next.

    It's slow going with these unfamiliar skills, but he eventually figures out what angles to strike at that shatter the weapons and leave the monsters open to vicious counter-attacks!

Tomoe has posed:
Tomoe is just having one of those day dealing with the ground adds she move from one to another moving to take them dowen as qukckly as she can a and she's laughing as she goes. Tomoe is just laying down a good deal of pain on the lizardmen and then she puts he cutlass away and gets another pistol, did she pull it out of somewhere odd?who knows with this game but now she's twin weilding pistols and just shooting rapildy at any remaining trash.

Yuuki Konno has posed:
    It's unclear who's more surprised when tiny Snowflake knocks a massive lizard off-balance with the butt of her rapier. The lizardman, or the observers. But then, it's more about skill than strength and mass. She goes up and past the lizardman and has an easy sprint in to the blowgunners, who are beginning to ready themselves for the heroic pirates' attacks.

    Auralia's attacks blast into those targets, helping to soften them up. Palmira lands among them, slashing into them. They're perhaps slightly less dangerous in melee than the macahuitl wielders, if only because the axes are slightly slower though better at penetrating armor. This group isn't one to rely overmuch on armor though, so the axe-wielders are just slightly slower, weaker-defense opponents.

    Yuuki might have been able to deal with her attacker, but Palmira's help lets her avoid having to do anything heroically stupid like flinging herself over the edge to get out of the line of attack. She grins, helping Palmira out by carving several rapid bloody lines on a lizardman moving in to flank her. Then she glances down, hearing her name. Disengaging is easy, at least for her, and she bounds away while leaving a few more silver-glowing red lines in her wake. "Sankyuu!" she cries out happily, lunging after the thrown bag, catching it, chugging it. After a moment her health bar stabilizes. 80% or close to it. Not bad, not before they engage the boss himself. She might have time to chug a healing dose before the main event starts, which would be even better.

    Iria, Kirito make short work of the remaining ground-level foes. Kirito smashes through their weapons while Iria dances lightly around the foes. Both get easy openings, both get to see their foes disappear in a burst of red pixels. Tomoe, taking advantage of their melee dominance, steps away to assist against the ranged foes with her pistols, having no remaining ground-level targets. The melee group suffers some wounds, yes, and Iria will be suffering from the Bleeding status for a short time, but they're in a similar state to Yuuki. Wounded, but with plenty of fight remaining and probably some opportunity to recover before the Boss itself takes the field.

    The six ranged minions are easy meat at this point, what with Tomoe, Sunshower and Auralia attacking up at them and Iria, Palmira and Yuuki already up on their platform with Kirito close behind. It's easy work for the skilled pirate team. But then, this isn't even the main event. This is just a warm-up. As his last minions burst into red pixels, the Alligator Lord raises his two weapons and roars, the kind of roar one might hear from a Tyrannosaurus Rex. A primordial scream of bloodthirsty rage and hunger.

    "Keep light!" Yuuki suggests, probably unnecessarily. "Two weapons, probably that tail too. And jaws! If he focusses on you don't try to block it! Just get clear and let someone else take their turns on offense!" It's much like what she's said before, really. She may not quite have Kirito's experience with bosses but she's been a squad leader probably as much as he has. And besides, she learned from the best. At least, the best in her biased opinion... Asuna.

    With that advice, Yuuki begins the charge, aiming to circle the mighty beastlord and hoping to draw its attention so others might get to take a clean hack at it.

Zephyr Windstar (162) has posed:
    "So, you finally face us... good. I have a gift for you." says Auralia, as she lifts the cestus high. "King of the sea. Poseiden. I invoke your name. Lend me your trident and smite this foe!" Those keeping tabs would note that Auralia's Spirit meter is emptying out rapidly... and when it zeroes out, a STAB of golden light hurls down from above the Crocogator Thing, the outline of a great trident skewering the titan's form for the barest of moments, before it vanishes, taking with it a good chunk of the Boss's HP gauge.

    After the burst, Auralia staggers a little, putting the cestus away to quaff an Invigoration Draught to replenish her Spirit bar. Expensive things, but necessary for high level combat. "Five hour cooldown on that one... lets hope that swings the balance in our favour." she murmurs to herself, picking up the cestus again and invoking healing prayers to top off the others HP bars.

Iria (215) has posed:
"So you're finally here!" Iria says with a determined smile. "You may think you're tough, but we've got more than you think!" She does a slashing motion with her sword, which, if one were to look closely, would be the method of writing her name in katakana. Clever how she can do that with her sword, huh? "We're gonna cut you down to size! Now prepare to see some of my new tricks!" Iria carefully advances, waiting to show off one of her knew scimitar tricks to the boss.

Xiaomu (707) has posed:
Sunshower's keg-backpack is (finally) set down; she wanted to keep it on her person while the battlefield was still liable to force party-rearrangement without notice. But now that the enemies have been reduced to that single, solitary boss, she's willing to set down her keg and give full attention to the battle. (As if she hadn't been already.)

Another flask of baneful brew is readied and applied to a dagger; this time, the 'aura' of flame is a dark, bloody crimson - and Sunshower wastes no time in throwing it, aimed for the Alligator Lord's invitingly open mouth. Whether the blade sinks into the roof of the mouth, or the tongue, or actually gets *swallowed whole*, the effect is going to be much the same - the abrupt disappearance of a generous portion of the boss's HP meter. No status effects this time, just raw damage (which may hurt badly enough to create an unofficial status effect, such as [Agonized Rolling] or something to that effect - momentarily forcing a guard-drop due to extreme pain.

Of course, what constitutes a 'generous portion' is likely to vary wildly based on the boss's starting HP ... and Sunshower's going to keep throwing knives when she has the chance. Taking the boss's eyes out is always a good move if you can pull it off.

Kirito has posed:
With the Lizard-men down, Kirito grins. "That's the way to go..." The Black Swordsman's relieved to have THOSE guys down for now, and he disengages for the moment while the others exact their plan - whatever it is that requires a whole TWENTY SECONDS. The whole while his eye flashes to the party HUD section, checking health levels. His attention's split between that and Crocodile Lord. For just one exchange of blows he wants to try and read it, see if he can recognize anything noteworthy in the way it moves beyond the basics for humanoid bosses...

Cirra Constantine (675) has posed:
    As the trash mobs get cleared, Palmira looks up at the towering beastman. He's even bigger up close. She nods at Yuuki's assesment of the enemy and waits for the younger girl to start things. the Aliggator lord starts following Yuuki, and Palmira moves in, striking at the beastlord with her silver Estoc, motes of light sparking off the blade as it strikes.

    Real life doesnt have a Hate or Aggro mechanic, but in Galianda it's smart to let the big monsters sink into a state of tunnel-vision. So already, Palmira knows to keep her strikes light for the time being, letting the Boss's attention stay on Yuuki for a moment...

ntil she sees a casting bar. "Yuuki, switch off!" And draws her Estoc back and slams it forward three times with the point.

tStarlight Octant an attack that can pierce armor, which naturally increases DPS and Hate Generation.

Weiss Schnee (922) has posed:
    "Yeah, that's what I'm talking about! Keep at it, team!" Snowflake encourages as she recovers from the daring maneuver. Having exhausted herself quite a bit already, she decides to hang back and take potshots at the boss with her pistols, taking careful aim before loosing a fire pellet here and a lightning pellet there for some DoT and slowing effects.

    Between every shot, she dodges to the side, careful not to stay in one place for too long in an attempt to avoid taking damage as much as possible. "Charm Crafting, don't fail me now," she comments to herself, hoping that her numerous lucky trinkets will allow her a few critical hits.

Yuuki Konno has posed:
    The Alligator Lord is a menacing figure, powerful and robust. Either of his two swords are a deadly threat, and he uses them singly or in combination. When pressed by multiple foes, as he is when the group first presses forwards, he strikes at each with a heavy blade. Yuuki dodges her easily, already moving away as the Boss begins his swing. Palmira will get a similar swing during the testing-out phase, as will Kirito and Iria.

    Sunshower's baneful brew - among the ultimate of the brewmaster arts - is effective. Not outright lethal, certainly not on a boss of this caliber, but effective. Expensive, but she'll be able to recover the cost in materials gathered easily enough. It's no way to earn Doubloons in the game, but then the heroes aren't here for Doubloons. They're here for, well, boss loot.

    Auralia's own attack is tremendous, and has a similar cost. But yes, the cost is to be paid by those who want to raid with the big boys. You don't take on a raid-level boss, the equivalent of one of New Aincrad's floor bosses, without being willing to pay the price. Between the melee and ranged fighters, Poseidon's Trident and the Baneful Brew, the boss's health bar is quickly wiped out.

    Unfortunately, the Alligator Lord has four health bars. As the first health bar breaks, the great beast roars its terrifying roar and begins to spin, obsidian blades outstretched. The attack starts slow and would drive everyone quickly out of melee if they weren't already out because of Auralia's warning. The attack speeds up though, even though the heroes are out of range. Winds begin to whip up, pulling in towards the Boss, as his whirling deathblades begin to form a tornado funnel.

    This tornado attack isn't just a threat for melee-range foes. Anyone on the top level of the battle platform will feel it, and will be pulled towards the boss. Yuuki desperately lunges for the side of the arena as she realizes what's going on, latching on solidly with one hand to the stone edge, resisting the pull. She clings there, waiting, for the attack to end. She doesn't have to wait long however.

    The tornado quickly blows out, and the boss stops spinning. Raising its blades in challenge it heads towards the staircase and whoever uses that as their shelter from the winds. Yuuki releases her hold, charges in, and carves into the boss's backside with a dazzling series of cuts only to be knocked away screaming by a sweep of a tail as thick as a tree trunk.

Tomoe has posed:
Tomoe may indeed be laughing like pirate as she cuts through the remaining adds she's having a lot of fun, honestly at this point. She doesn't care if they wipe as it's a game and she's turned off her brain to be Damage Per Second here and she's going on full on huntard today but she's having dun and then comes the boss and well that isn't going to go well she does however back off a bit on her DPS


She is just going to use her shot skills on the guy and then comes the tornado and well she ends being pulled towards the boss.

Weiss Schnee (922) has posed:
    Snowflake doesn't give up her assault, trying to stay under the boss' radar as much as possible while she continues to lay on the steady pain. "Yeah, alright!" she cheers for Auralia and Sunshower's big attacks, grabbing a little something out of her inventory herself. It's a rather large grenade of her own craftsmanship, packed to the brim with tasty damaging shrapnel, appetizing poison and fire DoTs, and a hearty dose of stunning flashbang as well. It took -faaar- too much time and effort to gather all the ingredients, but it's now or never!

    "Fire in the-!" She stops as the boss shifts into phase 2, throwing her off balance with its whirlwind. Going into panic mode in an attempt not to drop the bomb, she leaps off the side of the platform with Yuuki, grabbing the edge with her free hand and barely hanging on. "Everyone, look away! FIRE IN THE HOLE!" Pulling herself up simultaneously, she lobs the bomb straight at the gator beast's face and covers her eyes, preparing to leap on the opportunity.

Xiaomu (707) has posed:
And this is the OTHER reason why Sunshower keeps her distance during boss fights: trying to stay out of AOE attack range. The downside to her chosen suite of specialties is that she doesn't have the HP to handle really big hits - and the tornado would probably throw her around by the everything. So when the wind starts moving in concert with the Alligator Lord's whirling blades, she hunkers down and backs off, trying to stay out of the whirlwind's clutches.

Of course, she can't throw any more knives through the whirlwind - they'd probably veer off-course, maybe even hit one of her allies. But as soon as the wind subsides, a pair of knives go flying - one for an eye, one for a sword hand - as fast and, thereby, as hard as Sunshower can send them on their way.

Cirra Constantine (675) has posed:
    Damnit, Palmira thinks. It didn't draw the boss' attention like she hopped. The tornado spin starts and Palmira jumps back as the swords nearly graze her, and the winds start to pull her in.

    "Yuuki, you're just to good at making him angry!" she drops to the ground and grasps on to the ledge as the winds whip around. She's slower to get up then Yuuki, but she's up in enough time to see the creature smash her away with his tail.

    "Hnn... Creatures like you..." She dashes forward with her Estoc, coming in on the same path Yuuki did, but leaps into the air. "...Really make me irritated!"

    The Obsidian Assasin Knives are pulled out of their clockwork loaders and flung down into ground around the Gator-Man.

    "Restrict!" THe daggers break apart on the ground, but the shards stop in mid air, a beam of purple light reflcting between them to draw a pentagram to slow the boss' attack speed. "Starlight-" more obsidian daggers are tossed into the air, breaking apart into twinkling lights. Constalattions flashing through the air. "-Zodiac!".

    Palmira has been grinding navigator for a while, much to everyone's curiosity...

    Because it's top level skill is to use the alingment of the stars to boost your stats!"

    Palmira comes crashing down, the Grand Silver Estoc is a weapon she took from a Conqestador spawn. And the silver filagrree lights up with the blessings it recieved from the church before it's owner sailed to Mexico from Spain.

    "EVOKING PIETY!" the high level mid-weight sword attack lets her drops on the Gator-Lorfdd like a ton of brick flung from a truck on the Interstate into a window factory.
    Palmira seems to slide left as she land, then right. The after image of a holy cross in the air.

    Envoking Piety. A top tier undead killing manuver.

    And boy dis she /stack/ her buffs for that.

Iria (215) has posed:
With the big boss here and now, Iria brings out the big attacks. She decides to show it a combination of several techniques she's learned during her past few runs through the game, and mixes them together in a manner so that she unleashes a literal flurry of attacks. "Here we go!" She calls out as she launches into a series of carefully choreographed strikes!

Kirito has posed:
Kirito chooses to clash against the test-swing, activating one of the offensive skills and slamming it against the slash. This doesn't offset the massive difference in weight and power, but it does mean that instead of getting blown through he just goes skidding stylishly back over the ground and only loses a sliver of HP from the clash.

    Having Parry <MASTERED> really helps against these bosses.

    He just as quickly leaps backwards in a HURRY when the obsidian blade whirlwind starts. "Oh... you're kidding!"

    Who came up with such a crazy attack?!

    ... And how come he can't do that?

    He makes like Yuuki, scrambling for something to hold onto until the spin stops. Seeing Yuuki be blown away though... kirito LEAPS HIGh and comes down hard with a slash for the creature's back!

Zephyr Windstar (162) has posed:
    Auralia draws her pistol, and, instead of firing a shot at the whirling dervish of a boss, fires at her feet, causing several vines and roots to lash out and anchor her in place. She weathers the storm like such, hosltering the pistol again to reload it, before she draws a cross in the air with her cestus. "Pieous light, grant us strength." Party heal, topping everyone off again.

    She then turns her eyes up onto the Boss, opening her menu, she swaps out the cestus for her second pistol, and activates her personal Gunslinger Skill. "Gates of Babylon!" leveling her pistols she fires... and doesn't /stop/ firing, each bullet taking a chromatic hue from the rainbow as it flies, each one a different element, from fire and water, to Holy and Darkness.

Yuuki Konno has posed:
    The group lances in and out, a nearly-choreographed dance. Yuuki grins at Palmira. "New sword!" she comments cheerfully. Her taking aggro isn't really that surprising or unwelcome. She's incredibly fast on defense, and so causing more aggro just balances that out somewhat. It's no great harm to her to be a target after all, and if she can't deliver top DPS then she can certainly help her friends do so.

    The attacks come in hard and fast. The boss responds in kind with devastatingly powerful blows of its own, great sweeping things that aren't easy to avoid mostly because of the great length and breadth of the weapons. With the group carefully trading off aggro however, none of the boss's blows land critically. It does the spinning tornado attack twice more as well, as each of its health bars crumble in turn. Blades, guns, knives and grenades; player attacks buffed by their crafting and their chosen skills; each chip away at the boss until, with a final groan, it collapses to its knees and dissolves into a burst of red pixels.

    This isn't the first raid boss to fall to this group. It probably won't be the last. The few moments it takes before the loot results are shown are likely to cause mingled hope and dismay. Dismay because the group has been here before, and each time the boss didn't drop the one thing the group truly sought. Hope... because this time it might.

    When the pop-up message finally appears however, there it is. Alongside several endgame arms and charms, treasures and crafting components, appears a singular and rather unimpressive-seeming item. A cage of red crystal columns, joined together and curved organically. A rib cage, in fact, of red crystal. Not a skull at all, but just as obviously a piece of a set.

Weiss Schnee (922) has posed:
    "Hah... hah... we beat it? It's over?" Snowflake pants, having used up numerous taxing Gunslinger Skills, along with a majority of her valuable consumables. "Come on, gimme gimme..." she chants to herself as she waits for the loot payout to appear, hoping for that one remaining key component for her ultimate work of craftsmanship.

    Searching through the ingredient section, sifting through a number of materials she already has too many copies of but still won't exactly turn down, she finds exactly what she's looking for: a huge, iridescent, downright radiant gem. "YES! Haha, I got it!"

    Slipping it into her inventory, she remembers that she has teammates who also want loot. "Er, I mean... we got it! Right?" She glances around nervously at that. "Hey, everything else is all yours," she assures the party in general. After grabbing her share of doubloons and a few more materials to replace the consumables she spent, of course.

Cirra Constantine (675) has posed:
    When the fight is finally over, through all of the health bars, the status effects and the near misses. Palmira stares at Yuuki's boundless enthusiasm for a long moment...

    Then pats her on the head. "You're impossible to be irritated at." and ruffles the girls hair.

    She then looks at Weiss, "Didn't we agree, crafting materials to crafters? Theres nothing to be emberassed about. To move fast we have to be self suffcient after all." she then looks at the loot table and rolls need or pass as approprite.

    "...Jungle Tribe Hairbeads?"

Yuuki Konno has posed:
    Yuuki stares at Snowflake in surprise. It's ... it's not really like her to be like this. She isn't like this at Beacon. But then, this is a game isn't it? It's about having fun. Sloooowly Yuuki begins to smile at Snowflake, the smile widening. The chant of 'one of us!' isn't done aloud, but savvy folks might well hear it echoing in Yuuki's head.

    When she receives a headpat, Yuuki's smile broadens into a rather goofy-looking toothy grin. Not caring if she looks goofy she holds up one hand, splaying two fingers in a Victory Pose. "Enjoy it!" she nods, agreeing. "We get to take on the ghost ship next time!" she says. She's not sure when that'll happen. Could be right away, could be within weeks. The timeframe isn't obvious, but sooner or later it'll come. "And get crafting! We need to be ready for what's going to happen. And I gues... we need a plan too!"

Tomoe has posed:
Tomoe is not doing so well b ut she's not died the party sh not wiped and there's a lot of loot here. She mutters about drops but pauses t the item that did.

"...well we got part of it. Such is the ways of armed bandits tht want to kill you."

She looks for a moment and tilts her head and looks at some of her own loot, she gets something that works for her she pauses at hte preview window and just stares.

"...who designed ... this armour? Still those stats.."

She grins at her compaions nd tilts her head at Weiss and Cirra.

"I'm glad both of you have joined up with us, things have been far more interesting with some fresh blood in the guild."