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Mapping the Depths

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Quest: Mapping the Depths

 

 

Spoiler

 

Quest Description: The group of mercenaries that had tailed Remissio's army reported that they traveled through the underground paths underneath the Broken Plains, and that these paths contained portals which allowed the army to traverse the Plains in a much shorter time than overland. The paladins are awarding anyone who would venture into the dark caverns, and map its path and portals. However, prospectors are warned that this is an extremely dangerous expedition, since it is not certain what lies in wait beneath the ground.

Players are expected to map the area beneath the plains, which consists of separate tunnels connected by portals. There might also be deeper, open cavern areas. The task is to draw a map of the underground, and label where each portal leads to (as in literally draw a map of where your characters have traveled, whether it's hand-drawn or digital, it's fine). The underground paths may lead beyond the Broken Plains or not - it is up to you.

Quest Level: A+

Recommended group number: 4 to 7.

Minimum thread length: 70 posts.

Creature level (refer to Booklet 2 - The Tomes):  Level A. Plus, feel free to submit more creature entries to me, since the underground is a mostly unexplored area.

Storyteller: Recommended but not required. You can request for a storyteller here.

Reward: Players get to keep any items that they find that are not part of a discovery linked to Yh'm

 

 

 

Fierach

@Grapple Fiend

@Off Topic

@Cheezeegriff

@-Lilium-

@Twitterpated

@HollowCipher

@jaistlyn

 

 

Edited by Fierach

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Land of Yh'mi: Town of Inns'th

It was a most dour place. 

Gloom seemed perpetual here in the land of Yh'mi, and James Eredas was yet only at its gates. The golden embroidered sun on his travelling cloak was a singular ray of light, and those who answered that same call to action would easy to gravitate to him, so conspicuous was James, a fire in the darkness. 

As adventurers went however, James was no novice. Nor was he even of this world. He was a Master Knight of the Order of Force Majeure, one of the heads of an organization that spanned many realms, and who sought the the destruction of those that would harm the mortal realities. He was a rather august personage to be travelling so far and wide alone, but it was the duty of all Knights, no matter their rank, to seek and root out agents of the Old Ones, the Chaos Gods, and the Prime Evils, along with whatever other rabble they might encounter on their travels. 

Indeed, he at least looked the part. Despite his relative youth, appearing to be in his early 30s at most, perhaps late 20s, he wore rich armor, a masterfully forged set of greaves, vambraces, half-plate, an armored skirt, and shoulder pad, all crafted from worked dragonhide, enchanted steel, silk lining, and reinforced with carved dragonbone in ornate designs. A longsword lay sheathed and belted at his hip, alongside a strange, porcelain-looking half-mask and a chained tome, and there were no doubt many other useful implements and tools of war he carried on him, hidden from immediate view under his cloak. His eyes were hard, piercing brown things, and his figure was cut like a statue of a hero of old, lean and muscular.

In a pack slung over his shoulder, the veteran warrior carried rations and utility implements like cloth, rope, oil, torches, a few basic medical supplies like herbs, bandages, and antiseptics, waterskein and and compass. He came prepared, hopefully his fellow adventurers did so as well.

Edited by Fierach

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"I can't see anything." Dorian traces with his fingers in the air:

tn8tm3e.gif

"Ah! Now I can see everything." Coy but not actually true. The rune does manifest in real-time as he draws but it's only a luminary avatar, it'll float above his head and light the way for a short while but nothing more than that -- it does blink and the pupil even seems to focus on things, but it's completely non-sentient and mere aesthetic, an illusion of life: animate, but not anima. He's the first to step forward (for no one responds to him here), they've now officially crossed Black Ridge and will arrive at Inn'sth within the hour. The two accompanying him are local contacts for the ICWK and not much more than average citizens, they think him foolish for bearing no weapons in a land like this (and rightfully so) but now feel foolish themselves for their torches and lack of free hands.

Now that his face is clearly lit though, something's off about it. It looks common enough to blend in at first glance -- but *too* average for the perceptive, almost like the result of an algorithm instead of a womb (though this is not the case), it's rather uncanny and unconvincing to any natural gaze. Aristrocratic heirs are often in the habit of wearing polymorphic balms to conceal their identity during travel as a precaution, this is common practice ever since Last Chance became anything more than just caravans and carriages. It's even speculated that the namesake of Last Chance is due to the frequency of ransoming Ashville youth in earlier times; before years began ending with A.O.; but getting into all that right now is very off topic. So back to the matter at hands: Dorian (and his normal but not normal after scrupulous view and somewhat weird but altogether not too weird-looking face) is now pointing his hands about, talking of the environment with his escorts. They have the impression he must be some kind of an elitist farmer with a general disdain for anything that isn't a large city, and that he must not be as smart as he tries to come off if he's chosen a field of work always outside of one. It's all not completely without merit. His clothing is similar to a military officer's but without any regalia or noticeable markings and also more olive than standard green, and in all, is just an overcoat with light armor beneath and a large satchel strung over the shoulder. The bag clanks with every step -- inside are numerous vials with soils, dirts, small pebbles, powders, sands, now melted snow, ground leaves and some with intact but compressed ones, petrified woods, saltwaters, freshwaters, river and lake waters, a few corals and pearls and gemstones -- even more, for there are a ton of dials clanging around in there. Dorian is an agripothecary, and his satchel is not as well organized as it probably should be. The more common objects are in his utility pockets or sleeves, like the pearls he was holding while drawing earlier.

The rest of the trip was uneventful save for gossip of spires and complaints of Palgard's current state, and Dorian often interjects with way too many references to places or locations, trying to sound smart. The escorts leave him at the city gates because they're ferrymen of roads who don't like dark waters, but he doesn't mind this.

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Spoiler

"Hey, wanna see something?" A man standing nearby turns and closes distance, one-moment'ing with a finger while using his free hand to rummage through satchel. He retrieves a small novelty stone and extends it with an open palm:

0sZNoxw.png

"Eulogypsum, if you shake it (Dorian now demonstrates with free hand, like combining holding a phone and using a hammer) then you can hear some one's last words. You can have it if you want -- " The last sentence was rushed, a hint of desperation in the sales pitch, "uh I mean, so I do a lot of climbing and my bags and clothes will shake a lot, you know," he tugs at his garb to show how loosely fitting it is against a relatively thin frame, "And'uh..." His tone sobers from jovial as his eyes fixate on this stone, "...Keeping it on me it has become pretty creepy. I thought it'd make a nice souvenir, but -- " He whoopsie-shoulders and lifts the free hand to accent the I-Don't-Know, lightening tone of voice in admitting that mistakes have been made here. This tourist only wanted a souvenir from Haunted Glen, he never wanted to carry it with him. In conclusion, "I'm not so sure about that -- for me, at least."

 

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Dan arrived in Yh'mi, and immediately started judging the appearance.
Wow, this is like Hades' castle, but less lively.

One of his little birds had told him about there being a navigation issue here, and Dan thought that, since his dad was the God of Travelers and it was impossible for him to get lost, that he would help out a little. Mainly though, Dan just had the boyish love of exploration. Or was it just in his Traveler God's blood to flock to exploring the unexplored? Hell if he knew. He just liked exploring, whatever the reason.

He was aware that if there were any others, they would likely find it odd that he wanted to explore rocky caves barefoot, but eh. He hardly cared if they thought it was weird. If they kept on about it, he'd just nick their wallets when it was time to leave. Same if they remarked about him being 'just a kid'. He'd heard that one so many times it made his eye twitch.

His shuffled his backpack, full of potions for hunger, thirst, sleep and injuries. Along, of course, with food and drinks. Drinks beside just water, he WAS a teenager, after all. Fuck water.

Then he saw a guy who reminded him HEAVILY of Solaire. So he walked up to him, trying very hard to resist Praising the Sun.
"Hey. You here for the exploration too?"

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Jon rode towards the gates of Inns'th on the top of his enormous ice bear. He'd had a horse when he first started. Damn thing fell foul of a keg-sized kraith which had taken off the animal's front left hoof. He'd loved that horse, but in reality it had been a relief to feed the bear a decent meal. Stumpy (as he'd come to call him) had a voracious appetite acquired ever since that head injury, and even for a giant white bear he was massively fat. Jon had no saddle that fit the bear. Sitting across the animal's lardy neck was the closest thing to horseback he could manage. Thankfully his human form could sleep on its back while the bear walked. Unfortunately anything quicker than a slow waddle proved too much effort.

Beside him walked an ordinary-sized tiger, though most people still exclaimed over its size. Most people hadn't seen a tiger up close. Stripes was wearing a collar of bronze to distinguish him as a pet while in civilised lands. Well, as civilised as was possible around here. He didn't want anyone in Inns'th attacking him for his luxurious coat.

On his shoulder slept Talon, the owl. An eagle owl, to be precise. Jon himself was clad mostly in chainmail, with plate steel on his forearms, shins and chest. A large claymore sprouted over his left shoulder. His hair was cut close above his ears and longer at the top of his head, like a soldier. He sucked at the scar on his lips as he observed the people before him.

Guards at the gate, as well as three other travelers, by the wide-eyed looks on their faces. He rode to just outside the gate and had Stumpy sit down, a slow process that squeezed its enormous stomach out across the earth. Then he dismounted, keeping the tiger close to his side and moving the sleeping owl to his forearm, which he crooked to his side. Jon could already feel the bear's mounting hunger grumble deep in its distended belly. He would need to get some food for it soon.

"Greetings," he said to the three, putting on his best smile - the scar across his lips probably didn't help him look more civilised, but even a broken smile was better for making friends than none at all. "Am I lost already or is this the famous town of Inns'th?" Famous was probably a bit of a stretch, but they could take it as sarcasm or otherwise. He was relatively sure it was Inns'th, but hadn't noticed any signage on the way. It wouldn't hurt to ask. Probably.

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.Selene Belfreid.


                         
                         
                         
   

From whence she came is of little importance in comparison to the call which claims her. Even in utter darkness the glint of metal adorning her stout frame can be spotted as easily as a star in the bespeckled night sky. Despite the particular duty of being unseen, it is not currently necessitated under the current circumstances. At least not that she believes, due to the immense lack of light outside the reach of her lantern; which marks her as a small dot of illumination enveloped by a massive shadow.

What very little knowledge she posses of Terran culture is even further diminished for the land of Yh’mi. And those few sentences are scrawled here-say on a journal tucked neatly into a large wet weather bag. One such thing that hangs over a rounded metallic shoulder by a thick strap, where those words among many other very tightly and finely rolled and sealed packages, were proactively stored. All wares prepacked for the production of long-haul travel.

The amplitude of adrenaline brought forth in the face of unknown adventure, does not wane. But rather waxes against eyes caught in the deep adulation of such thoughts. Carefully, the mare beneath her carries onward, both sets of their eyes watchful of the flickering fires of Inns’th in the distance.

Some time later, however, upon closer inspection… that which remains hidden behind intricately carved features, twists sourly. Not too long ago she began to feel what now aches her as severe repulsion. Not out of the dire state of Inns’th’s grounds, but because of some inexplicable sense of gloom. The strength of which, battles against the white-lighted nature within her. Cajoled into hesitation, the knight takes pause where her nervously prancing horse does not. It becomes abundantly clear that the animal, much like herself, has reservations about getting any nearer to the border town than it already has.

Without regret, the knight dismounts, loosens, and unsaddles the creature, pulling the bit from her mouth with care. And for final measure, pats her shoulder. Freeing the animal from it's bonds so that it may traverse backwards in safety. The saddle and reins, though heavy and weighing her down, are held against the pack shoulder and carried. Leaving her other hand free to hold the lantern. In the short distance between herself and the gate, the knight takes notice of darkened figures and ambles towards them with great caution.

Thankfully, to her esteemed benefit, one mentions something regarding ‘exploration’ and another-clambered on top of a large bear-exclaims a question of the town's name. Two things less to ask in the coming moments as her thoughts recognize and relish in the readily provided information.

Selene Belfreid had arrived where expected. “Are we going to stand at the gate the entire time, or do you plan to venture forth?” Cautiously muffled tones are expelled with presumably polite intent.

   
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
     

 

 

                         

 

 

 

Edited by -Lilium-

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lightning_strike.gif

The gathering party for this expedition into a dangerous cavernous territory, littered with portals and potential products of the dark would find their attention briefly snatched by a random streak of lightning. What was peculiar about the act though was the lack of conditioning for such a strange occurrence to pass. With not a single cloud in range of the flash, it was a happening that could easily be dismissed. However, in it's wake was the silhouette of a somewhat average sized person standing erect over charred earthen crust. His eyes glowed with several streaks of electricity for a brief moment before the brilliant blues died out and left his eyes in their usual coloration, thus leaving them hidden beneath the shadow cast by the hood of his cloak. His narrowed, charcoal eyes looked down hill in the distance at his direct destinaton. The city of Inns'th. Among the gathering, Jinsoku only knew one person so far. That familiar being, being perhaps the person Jinsoku knew better than he did anyone else so far in his life away from home. His Master, James Eredas, The Daemon Phoenix Fist.

He lingered only as long as it took for the tingling sensation to leave his muscles. His new trick still had some getting used to before he could use the skill more frequently/freely. Still, it was a milestone compared to his limited proficiency all of some two years ago. Feeling around beneath his cloak, he ensure his armor and corresponding weaponry had survived the trip here. While armored, he wasn't in much likeliness to his Master before him. His armor featured some steel plating, but was a majority of leather in order to not sacrifice agility on a more heavily plated set. While no weapons were apparent on his form, his usual Microcomposite Spear was equipped about the lower back fully retracted, and in a horizontal fashion. While this was the only actual weapon he carried, it didn't mean that he would be helpless or defenseless without it. As of late he had began to expand his weapon forms, though this mission was too big of an unknown to warrant carrying a weapon he was ill experienced with. Not to mention, between his training beneath Master James, the Raiju, and even himself, Jinsoku was no more or less adequate unarmed than he was armed with his spear.

The mild jingling of his armor plates gave his location away as he inevitably walk to town and ultimately closed in on James himself, along with the others gathering in attendance. Compared to some of the more recent past appearances, James would be pleased to see that his Apprentice had been able to back away from the ledge of sanity without jumping off of it. Though he wasn't necessarily cured, his life was much more manageable, enjoyable. This became obvious with the removal of his hood, revealing his Caesar style haircut. If one looked close enough, they would easily note the random strands of grey and white that were mildly scattered in his mostly black hair. A smirk of boyish charm accented his face despite him pushing well into manhood by now. Stopping before James, Jinsoku gave the man a slight bow to him before speaking.

"Shazai itashimasu Sensei, I meant to be here sooner to survey a bit of the ground level before venturing beneath it, though it seems that finding a suitable babysitter for Kotori  is proving to be a bit more difficult than anticipated."

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It was going to be a typical assortment of adventurers then. Two of them didn't look like obvious fighters, but that was fine. He swept his gaze across the lot of them, his eyes holding steady with each one of them for moment before moving onto the next, taking a measure of them, and letting them know that they were being acknowledged. 

"Welcome all. I believe this is indeed, Inns'th. There are few other sorry-looking lots around this part of the realm and so I believe we're all here for the same thing" James greeted them all calmly. 

Are we going to stand at the gate the entire time, or do you plan to venture forth?”

He regarded the knight, had to be a female from her figure, nodding his head in polite deference.

"I am actually awaiting one more, it would be rude to leave without him" he would reply, as the sound of a light thunderbolt flashed through the air, and he turned his attention towards the figure getting its bearings.

"That would be him now... Jinsoku" he greeted simply. 

"Shazai itashimasu Sensei, I meant to be here sooner to survey a bit of the ground level before venturing beneath it, though it seems that finding a suitable babysitter for Kotori  is proving to be a bit more difficult than anticipated."

"Your charge, was it?" he referred to Kotori. "Predator's Keep is an valuable ally to us, you may consider our network of contacts and the outpost there for future needs". With the Order expanding to Valucre, it was the nearest thing to a home base they would have for the foreseeable future. After another moment's studying his apprentice, James added approvingly, "you look like you've been keeping up in your training"

Turning to the rest of the party, James would begin, somewhat formally, "Seeing that we will at least be spending a short amount of time together, allow me to introduce myself", he clasped both gauntleted hands before together before him at chest level, in the traditional martial salute of his archetype, the closed right fist symbolizing his dedication to the martial arts, embedded in the open, humble glove of peace of the left hand. 

baoquanli.jpg

"My name is James Eredas"

 

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Dorian's making small talk with a guard and offering the stone before saying extremely racist jokes about elves, he ends with something about how whatever they do with werewolves in their spare time well hey that's none of his business. The man laughs, probably as a coping mechanism (since his eyes were sunken enough to see a doctor for, and his brother is married to an elf so that'd be out of character), it comes off more an expression of distress than humor. It's as if no one ever talks of whimsical things around here and this was in relief of that. Dorian uses the moment for a request of quick action, the guard agrees to it and they hurry inside to the shrine now divided.

He's never seen fissure markings like this before and is perplexed by the shape and color. He'll take an alchemistry tool from his sleeve which looks like a sharpened piece of coral, kneel towards the cracked surface and slice a tongue-size chunk from dark lips. He's careful while putting sediment into a fresh vial to immediately plug and stash away, tossing the rest into the hole except for a pinch to roll in his fingers and observe. He'll inspect it, sniff it, go to lick but think twice, attempt to listen but ultimately crumble it with a tight press, he'll even try to read its mind but Dorian is not psionic and Gaia is just an allegory for the sun any way so nothing really happens then. He thought it might work because the place is so creepy. Before returning, he gazes into the abyss to imagine what other things people may've tried throwing into it; if any one has fallen inside or been grabbed and pulled under. His stomach tells him to move away and he becomes uneasy from both the sight and thought of this, so he does.

pbblXcq.png + Fissure Soil

They arrive at the gate around the same time the party assembles -- Dorian reacts strongly to all this, is noticeably offput by the presence of likely unregistered and too late to be cute but more likely to maul you into their post-puberty later-adolescence animals, doesn't mind the eagle owl though, but he doesn't trust people who don't wear shoes -- that's creepy and unsettling. A cause for alarm or in the least well-merited suspicion. When the leader looked towards Dorian he had to shield his eyes from the glare of his cloak, almost as if rejecting eye contact, then his companion comes in with an equally flashy entrance right as he put his hand down -- honestly -- and if there are any more of these people in waiting, he may develop a migraine from it. His other hand was readied at satchel for medication in defense of this. As for the last one he looks at, well, they had a weird (and though he's one to talk, it's altogether not too weird-looking) face.

He was silent as they each finish approaching but scoots closer to the guard in reaction to their closing of distance, and if we're honest, he was too busy judging them on the inside to listen to anything they said -- he nudges the guard to make another racist joke; probably as a coping mechanism and using humor to mask being uncomfortable; they both chuckle though it's unclear who this is directed at. As the first introduction was made, Dorian nods his head incredulously, as if in disbelief, snobnoxious -- the only scholar among knuckle-crack opportunists -- then barks out a nerdy retribution of choppy introductioning: "Dorian Albright -- Oakland, Ignatz -- International Collection, Tudor" but doesn't seem concerned if any one understands these things and immediately kneels down to start observing dirt. It should probably be noted that Oakland is the "upper-class" boroughs and is only worth mentioning as a mark of honor or condescension.

Edited by Off Topic

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Everyone arrived, it seemed. All for exploring. A few began introducing themselves, though he caught the look that the one calling himself Dorian gave him. One of mistrust. He didn't know why he mistrusted him. But, he could hardly be called wrong to. Trusting Dan before he trusted you was usually a big mistake.

Admittedly, Dan was not paying much attention to most of them at the moment. The guy with half a zoo with him took a lot of his attention. Gods that was cool and probably really expensive to feed. He had no idea how a menagerie like that would help them explore cave systems, but he was the one showing up in civilian clothes and barefoot to go cave exploring, so he couldn't really judge too hard. 

Then he noticed someone show up, and greet someone else like they knew each other. Then the guy he greeted did some Fire Nation salute bullshit that, while really cool, was entirely lost on Dan, as he had never so much as heard of something like that.

But, not to be outdone so easily, decided to introduce himself. He decided to go with a much more exaggerated and theatrical version of
Image result for bloodborne respect gesture gif.

Bending lower, his upper body nearly parallel with the ground, with his left hand lower on his chest.
"Dan Palmer. Potion Prodigy, Monster Hunter, and Master Thief. You want something stolen from a criminal, namely another thief, I'm your boy."
Shamelessly plugging himself. What a surprise.

Despite the theatrics, he was already getting bored of waiting. He wanted the cool explorey bits to start already. He didn't voice this however, as he doubted anyone present needed more confirmation that he was a kid.

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Jon observed the man scratching in the dirt with disdain. Something wasn’t right about that one. Most people in his profession weren’t entirely right in the head, but this one seemed entirely one step off the ledge of insanity. He hated working with loose canons. They tended to go off when pointed as you just as often as when pointed at the enemy.

“Thief, eh?” he said to the boy. “Where I come from a thief with no shoes must be a really terrible one. Guessing you’re not though.”

He turned to James in all his fine armour and fine manners and fine cloak. All that finery made him really want to hate the man, but he couldn’t, just yet. Might find a reason later. “I’m Jon,” he said. “Heard there was work here for a scout or a mercenary. These here’r the scouts.” He pointed a thumb at the bird and a pinky at the tiger. “These here’r the mercenaries,” he said, indicating himself and the bear. “Only been in caves a couple times, so I’ll probably need some orienting first.”

He looked back at the lightning man. “Nice trick. You gonna be able to do that from underground if we need someone to get help? Hope you don’t get the jitters and leave us when we need you most.” He gave the man a poignant look.

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.Selene Belfreid.


Static waves dissimilar yet familiar in their elemental nature fleck against her perception in a combined flash of light. One of which shines at the edge of her periphery. It is not until the man joins their merry band that she acknowledges his existence with an shadowy gaze. Their leader having made it clear that they were waiting for this person to arrive before they could proceed.

One by one, introductions are made. Each having as fitting a name to themselves as they do a personality. Their combined set of skills definitely worthy of notice. For one of them at a time, a courteous nod of genuine appreciation is given by her steadfast frame. Save for Dorian who takes to the ground and gathers a sampling of the dirt, for him  she gives a little bit lower a nod due to the lack of height he currently places himself at.

When it comes time for her to follow suit it is done with the slightest of bows, the saddle on her shoulder shifting as she does so.

I am Belfreid of Avylon, Renovatio.” Not feeling it necessary to state her class at the moment, it is left simple. It goes without saying that a stranger is a stranger, until they are a friend or a foe. Paranoia doesn’t strike the key, but caution hammers it. Belfreid takes to it and remains so until a time where the latter portions of that ideal are decided.

 

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"It's a pleasure to meet you all, my name is Jinsoku Hayabusa. I am Master James's Second, an Apprentice Knight of the Order of Force Majeure."

Jinsoku spoke naturally without displacement despite his mind multitasking between listening to the others and remembering the names that matched the respective new faces, and still keeping his guard up. The feeling of this environment gave Jin the impression of that something was not quite right. He didn't feel like he was in danger, but the essence of these lands felt foreign in comparison to it's neighbors. Hopefully this wouldn't prove to dampen his metaphysical prowess should the need arise to use them. There as no telling what lurked beneath the surface, within the unmapped tunnels said to have some sort of portals hidden deep in them. As for those before him, they mostly looked young. Jinsoku wasn't one whom could talk though, nor judge a book by it's cover. His height of 5'6" in tandem with his youthful charm and his lack of ability to grow facial hair was very misleading in itself. The Babyface of The East they used to call him in the underground circuits. Jinsoku looked like he was a young man in his late teens, when really he was in the latter of his early twenties. He looked age appropriate for his role, though his late start down this path was the ultimate culprit of him being an older than usual Squire

Out of all of the strangers in attendance, the most interesting of them all was the young woman from Avylon. Jinsoku had yet to visit Avylon, though during his time spent in Renovatio, he had surely heard of it's greatness as a nation. Avylon of Renovatio was said to breed the best warriors of the entire floating continent, rivaled only with their neighbors to the southeast in Oo'Xora. Certainly it was on his list of places to visit in his leisure, though at least this woman would give him a potential glimpse of just how tenacious and evolved their combat was. Looking back to Master James, Jinsoku crossed his arms over his chest for the moment. Certainly after some brief words, the party would embark on their journey into the unknown. Though the job's main objective was simple mapping, Jinsoku was still anticipating at least the threat of mild conflict. However, as he always was these days, he was prepared for hell itself to temper him with it's flames. Despite his youthful appearance, if one looked him in the eyes, they would see a man of some experience. Perhaps even a glimpse of the baggage he carried with him.

 

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James made a quick mental list of the group's apparent strengths and weaknesses. They had a tracker and scout, although James doubted the usefulness of the bird underground, fighters in abundance, and a rogue was always useful in dark places. 

And then there was Dorian Albright. The Daemonslayer eyed the scientist? Geologist? Crazy man? He seemed quite peculiar, but no doubt he could be helpful in his own way. 

"Very well, shall we get going then? Daylight's a burning, not that there will be any, where we are going" he motioned for the party to follow along as he turned and headed for the gates that lead to the rest of Yh'mi, beyond the Wall and into the Broken Plains. 

As the party traveled to the indomitable gate, James waved at the White Hand paladins maintaining a vigil over it. Clearly, he had informed the other Knightly Order beforehand, as they were expecting their little expeditionary jaunt. There would only be a slight pause for any questions, or last minute tasks before the group of adventurers would be through, heading for a likely entrance to the underground some two miles away, first marked by another mercenary party not too much unlike theirs.

From there, their journey into the underworld would begin in earnest.

Edited by Fierach

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Dorian resolves to not see the forest for the trees once they leave, it's too easy to notice hands and faces and demons in shadows because darkness makes for the best ink. It wasn't night-time yet but the canopy overhead could convince you otherwise, he'll keep his eyes low and pass time by studying footprints, most of which were pretty distinct: we have Barefoot, Bearfoot, Tiger Paw (there's no way he was going to have his back on those things so he follows behind), Dragon Armor, Big-Toe'd Knight and Little-Heel. It was compelling to differentiate between the impressions in soil. He couldn't see the treads of Jon's shoes but from this distance they look to resemble his own, he tries to make them out for quite a while and in the process becomes indignant because the waddling of the bear Jon rides is intolerable -- it was obnoxiously overweight and this pace was meandering -- he becomes anxious and feels that he could work instead of following, then Tortoise-and-Hare his way back with plenty of time. This is the part where he looks at the trees but not the forest, and not up and not too far. He was juggling options until a spark of curiosity makes the decision, he then shuffles off path and begins studying one of the trees.

Dorian mutters something about 'not natural' and 'odd' but doesn't break out the remaining inner dialogue; he sees a puzzle with truth held prisoner here, wonders of the door and begins speculative key turning. The sample of bark that he scrapes is promptly collected into vial and he hurries back before any noises or sudden movements may cause him to linger and fall further behind, or at least beyond the eyes and ears of others. Upon returning he'd instantly chastise another for stopping, "Hey now Mr. Atwater, don't go disappearin' on me," and though this reference probably wasn't understood he doesn't seem concerned and walks past while tapping their shoulder in a tease. This happens multiple times too, where he'd break moments of silence right as they peak (probably as a coping mechanism) to blurt out things like, 'Isn't it odd that the Order wouldn't send any one to oversee this?', 'Hey Barefoot, know what makes holy magic holy?', 'Why do people even live in places like this, you know?', 'I hear the Spires were a false-flag to push for heavier government oversight,' and 'They say there's a Class 5 Unnatural down here,' among too many others. It's very poetic that it needs not be said but this one's obviously not comfortable with silence, it was impressive how much he squeezes in given the relatively short trek.

He wonders how extreme the scary stories of Yh'mian children must need be, or if giving nightmares would be taboo given that they live in one. He was grateful for not seeing one yet because their presence alone might constitute a form of abuse.

"I should mention that my main assignment is only to compare strains of mycelium to samples from the Sud'dha Ksetrom," he pauses to drink from a vial that's clearly marked 'Southern Sea Saltwater' though he hadn't cared to check, "There's reason to believe that -- (cough) -- the caves would be connected and -- (holding back a gag reflex) -- if, so, then, I (voice is noticeably getting weaker) I pack my bags and head to Casper." He's not here for glory. There's a 5-star resort he'd stayed at last summer with a beachside view and cute elven receptionists and just so you know he could do his job much more efficiently with a small team of interns approaching the caves from the other direction is what he'd report to superiors.

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