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Fierach

Mapping the Depths

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Dan began walking with the others. After about 10 minutes, he began to get bored, and so he started looking around. While doing so, he noticed a few things. One, that Jon Maybe-Snow was riding his bear. While that was REALLY cool, why didn't he just ride his tiger? One, that would have been even cooler, and 2, the bear's walk was slow. Like, REALLY REALLY slow. And two... Dorian, who Dan will now dub The Dirt Doctor, was lagging a bit behind even the bear, and was staring at their footprints intently.
Dan was trained well and didn't need to leave footprints if he wanted not to, and briefly considered suddenly not leaving any to mess with him. On the flip side, if seeing the imprints of his toes helped him cope, then maybe he shouldn't be trying to drive him mental so early.
Ultimately, Dan decided to mess with him just a little, but if he started to freak out, he would leave prints again. So, he lightened his footsteps like any assassin would do. Or a thief who wanted to leave no trace. As soon as he did this, The Dirt Doctor started spouting weird stuff. Dan ignored it for the most part, until he heard one in particular.

4 hours ago, Off Topic said:

'Hey Barefoot, know what makes holy magic holy?'

Was he talking to him, or the bear? Or the bear and by extension Jon Maybe-Snow?
Of course he's talking to you. Didn't you read what he typed? B-A-R-E-F-O-O-T. As in us. Because we're barefoot.
Dan had no idea what He was talking about; reading what he typed. He spoke, he didn't type anything. Whatever, That Guy was a certified maniac, so Dan ignored that bit.

Dan instead, decided to act like an Athena boy. "Nothing. The idea that holy magic is considered 'holy' is because it is mainly used by clerics or other members of a church or religion that they have deemed 'holy'. They often claim that their magic is a gift from whatever god or gods they serve, and thus create a reason to call their magic 'holy'. And further, to call any magic that does not serve their god or gods as 'unholy' or 'blasphemy'. So, in a few words, the thing that makes holy magic holy is the people using it trying to make themselves seem better and more important than other people, and to maybe coerce people into swelling their numbers."

...Gods and Titans. He did that better than most people in that cabin. Dan was really impressed with himself.

4 hours ago, Off Topic said:

'They say there's a Class 5 Unnatural down here'

Dan also responded to this one. "Eh. I already killed 6 Rippers all at the same time in the King's Feast. Class IV if I'm not mistaken. So a Class V doesn't scare me that much."
He did not mention that he was flying for a good portion of that fight and that a large percentage of the reason he did it was the environment around him. If that little tidbit The Dirt Doctor said had begun to make people nervous, which Dan doubted, but if it did, then he wanted to help quell it as quickly as possible. Reaffirming that he was a monster hunter too, and a thumpin' good one at that, would undoubtedly ease people. 

Then, The Dirt Doctor stated what his real reason for going on this was. Apparently, he was from the Mushroom Kingdom, and had come to analyze the fungi here. Possibly to help his Princess to make a second kingdom. That invasive, pink wearing whore. Oh yes. Dan knew the truth. He knew all about her and her invasive Toad fungus attaching to the Goombas and any humans there and taking over their minds and bodies to make her dirty race more numerous just to-

Dan shook himself from his ADHD tangent. He was getting WAY too into that one. Eh, whatever. If he was asked, or if he felt like it, he would divulge what he was doing here, too.

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Jon slowed down his mount even further, pulling up next to Dorian.

“So you know, your sprouting of questions and answers to questions not asked is grating on my bear’s nerves,” he said quietly. “I mean no offense, but it would be safer for everyone if you didn’t fill every moment of silence with the sound of your voice.”

The bear grunted below him, swinging its head sideways to glare at the mad dirt professor with beady black eyes.

“Whoa there,” Jon said, stroking the bear’s neck – or rather, the fat rolls behind its half-swallowed ears. “He don’t mean nothing, Stubby. Probably just nervous like you are.” He turned back to Dorian with a sympathetic smile and said, “Sorry. I’ll get you to feed him later. He gets along much better with people who give him gifts of food.”

With that he stepped away, laterally, and took a deep breath. It might be the last time he could enjoy fresh air for a while. Maybe. Underground air tended to either be well filtered and pure or full of the stench of whatever lived below. He would miss the stars, though, but there were other pretty things underground. Glow worms or crystals. The glittering eyes of a serpent preparing to strike from the shadows. He put his hand on his pistol at his side. Almost as comforting as the weight of the sword on his back. On his left hip hung a small sack of moon rocks. They cast a feeble glow but had the benefit of never going out, and putting several into a lantern casing would be bright enough to traverse the rocks and ledges right in front of them.

Either way, he was already looking forward to getting above ground again, and getting paid. And he hadn’t even entered the depths yet.

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It wasn't difficult to gain Jinsoku's compliance. By now he had grown much accustomed to such, unless he was otherwise directed by James himself to take lead on a specific project. While the Slayer's Apprentice was certainly weary of this venture, having Master James himself along provided him what was seemingly becoming an security blanket that was two sizes too small. there numbers were nothing to scoff at either, and from the sounds of it, they were a lot of very capable people coming together to do a job. To survey the tunnel system beneath Yh'mi. As they walked towards their destination, Jinsoku remained quiet, reserved. He tried to place faces with names as well as remember any given features of each respective adventurer before they found themselves in such a such a situation where he might need to coach them into survival. He knew not if any of the new faces were actually capable, or ready rather. However, if Jinsoku would have it his way, then any potential available would be tapped into for the sake of all here. Likewise, Jinsoku had already considered an early contribution to the party. While he was limited in prowess by being a human first and a demonic host second, the Raiju within would be enough to allow Jinsoku to at least impart a trail for them to follow back to the entrance should they find themselves lost in the tunnels. This too would prove worthy of keeping them from venturing down traveled paths or walking in loops. That is, so long as there wasn't something else to prohibit him from doing such.

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.Selene Belfreid.


The guards of the gate-White Hand Paladins-seem amiable enough, though wary of the new guests traveling across their borders. It cannot be helped, and Selene deigns to disregard the burn of their gazes as their small group moves onward toward the town. Eerie, dark, desolate. Plagued by sunless streaks and made all the dreary because of it.

To say that places such as this had been witnessed before would be a terrible lie. Though there were less than delicate towns and lands that she had made passage through along the way, none of those held the foreboding sense that this one clings to.

An abominable warning caresses the nape of her neck. Though it does not change the fluid motion in which she clambers along behind the others.

Every once in a while as they bear themselves across the Broken Plains, she adjusts the saddle held against her shoulder. If only to free her arm of some burden or turn her head to get an empty view of the lackluster land now engulfing them in its shroud of peril. In the distance ahead, the black spot of a town looms like a haunting shadow against the backdrop of the plains. Much less welcoming than the gate from which they entered.

Despite the rise in her consideration of this quest, Selene is undoubtedly intrigued by what lies hidden beyond this land. Beneath it, in it. Tales of such that she had scrawled across the pages of her journal do not begin to even puncture the layers of this very bitter onion that is Yh’mi. But maybe, just maybe...her curiosity can prove fruitful in the end. Or… everyone knows the saying about the cat. But cats have nine lives. How many can Selene get away with endangering against her own existence?

Edited by -Lilium-

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Before long, the party would reach the entrance to the cave. The ground gave way to a large hole in the side of a cliff, and a preliminary check of it indicated that it seemed to descend rapidly. 

With nothing to it, James unwrapped one torch from his pack, the device springing to life with a warm, orange flame after he cupped the oil-soaked head, and held it forth to light the way. Kneeling down, the Daemonslayer examined the soil around the entrance to the cavern. There didn't seem to be much disturbance, and nothing in the way of human-looking tracks. Perhaps the cave was unused by humans since the last scouting force, or small army that had supposedly trampled through this way. 

The inside did show signs of past habitation though. The entrance chamber a dozen meters after entering was large, and there was rusted, discarded gear and debris about; wood, torn canvas, whetstone and blackened pits, the remnants of an abandoned war camp.

A foul smell assailed the party as well, coming from a narrow crevice far off to one side of the chamber, as if it were a cesspool gone stale. For his part, James wrinkled his nose and shied away from it, lighting more of the cavern instead. The walls were far too smooth and there was a steady-looking path that looked far too deliberate to have been crafted by natural means, no doubt carved out by mortal hands. It led around the edges of the cave, going higher, before seeming to drop off further into the depths. 

The place seemed abandoned enough. 

See the source image

 

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The cesspit smelled indifferent to Jon's tiger nose, disgusting to his human's and delightful to the senses of his bear. His owl could smell nothing.

Jon didn't bother with the magical stones in his belt. They would only provide enough light for his tiger and owl to see by anyway, except for looking at the ground beneath your feet perhaps.

The others all stopped near the slope on the way down. Jon pressed on, his bear stepping gingerly on the wooden board walks that acted as mini bridges on the path to the centre of the cavern. He flew his owl forward into the darkness, scouting ahead for dangers. "Come on, little chicks," he said over his shoulder to the rest of the group. The boards creaked dangerously under his bear's four feet.

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At first the only smell to assault Jin's senses with some robust aroma was the bear companion of Jon was it? Though the inevitable arrival and breach of the mouth of the caverns warranted a putrid smell that exceeded that of the bears three times over. Jinsoku shied away from it and held his breath, somewhat like his Master before him. Judging by the smell and it's potency, Jinsoku refrained from implementing the current plan in his mind simply because it wouldn't serve the intended purpose. Jin respectively stayed caught up with the few of them comfortable enough to lead the pack while the others began to straggle behind. Perhaps their feet were getting cold, and colder with each passing moment. Once they had found themselves growing deeper into the cave system, Jinsoku would begin to occasional palm a wall nearby, pushing a seed of his Raiju's Yoki into the rocky surface in order to mark their path of travel, in case he needed help finding his way back out. In case any of them needed help finding the way back out, or even being certain whether the area they traveled was one that had been traveled by them previously or not. After his experience in the Labyrinth beneath Himmelsfestung, Jinsoku had learned the value of path finding in it's many applications.

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Dan followed the others in. His inner compass was already marking everything, making sure he didn't get lost. While he loved exploring and didn't mind, in fact liked, closed spaces, he wasn't overly fond of caves. Caves didn't have windows for you to dive out of. They didn't have many areas where you could hide. Plenty of shadows to blend into, but not very useful if something could smell you.

Nevertheless, he kept going in. He wasn't about to be outshone by other people, that wasn't how a Hermes boy was.
Come to think of it, that wasn't how Apollo kids worked either. Or Athena. Or Ares. Or Nike. Or-
Dan decided to stop. Demigods generally weren't suited for second best, and that was where he was leaving that thought.

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The entirety of it is haunting. Looming in a thick cloud of unseen fog, is the denatured essence of despair clinging like dew to her seemingly calm facade.

Behind the mask there is an expression that belies the sturdy state in which her stature is currently framed. Lips press into a thin line, eyes widen and dilate in order to absorb the vast darkness of the cave entrance before them, a bead of sweat forms at her brow against the edge of her hair line...

One after another, members of their small group step across the threshold to be enveloped by the abysmal shadows of its gaping mouth. Footfalls echo outward toward her waiting ears as she watches them depart telling her she need move quickly if she wants to keep up.

But does she? An endeavor such as this, with so many unknown variables, will test every atomic portion that makes her...her. Although the prickling of hairs on the back of her neck sends a forewarning shiver down her spine, she dismounts the saddle pressing against her shoulder and leaves it for someone who might need it. There is no telling how long this quest, this odd adventure, will take them. Selene does know, however that once she enters there will be no turning back. At least not for her.

With that settled in the back of her mind, she forges onward to fall in behind the others.

 

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A low crooning sound came up from somewhere ahead of the party as they traveled through the cave, the sound of a startled animal. 

Leading the way, Jon would be the first to encounter the origin of the sound, a large beast almost twice the size of a man even at its haunches, much larger then even the bear the scout possessed as a companion.

Pawing the ground aggressively with its hooves, snorting and tossing its head about, the creature strode into what little light that was, revealing more of it. A massive stag-like creature, with great horns whose tips gleamed like dagger-points. Its fur was white, with azure spirals, and it seemed matted with red in certain places. 

"Easy" Jon would hear James caution the group, mostly him though. Should the beast choose to charge down the path, the scout and his animals would almost certainly be the first to be struck.

---

@Grapple Fiend

@Off Topic

@Cheezeegriff

@-Lilium-

@Twitterpated

@HollowCipher

 

Edited by Fierach

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Mentally, Jon eased the bear’s desire to rear up and challenge the massive creature. Intimidation had its place, but there were other things to try first. Instead he placed his hands palm out to the stag-like monster.

“Hello, pretty-boy,” he said, raising his hands a little higher. His bear he had step back slowly, hoping there was nobody behind him, and lower its head and eyes – a gesture of non-agression even animals could understand. “What are you living on down here, eh? Mushrooms, or intrepid adventurers?”

He spread his tiger and owl out, keeping well away from the creature but observing closely its body language, looking for the moment it would charge. He also inspected its red patches. Was that its own blood, or had it been rolling in the blood of its victims?

“Any suggestions?” he said over his shoulder.

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Jinsoku cautiously made his way closer to Jon and his animals leading the group. His charcoal eyes narrowed a brilliant, crackling flash of azure illuminated them for a brief moment. This was nothing more than evidence of him actively pooling his Yoki, preparing for inevitable contact sooner rather than later. There was no retreating, especially not so early on this quest. The only way to move was forward. Even if the beast didn't charge them outright, they would in fact have to cross it's path. As Jon asked for suggestions, Jinsoku's mind was hard at work weighing their options. On one hand, regardless of the finer details and attributes of the creature, he was certain that living in the cave system it must be detrimental to the beast's eye sight. Little to no light was most likely favorable, as to where bright lights were most likely capable of blinding the beast for however long. That is, if it even used eyes to see. The question was, did he attempt to blind it while it was docile and risk agitating it, or did he risk waiting for the charge, only to be in more danger if his plan would in fact fail. On the flip side, he could use his actual elemental affinity to stun the beast, assuming it wasn't resilient against electric shock.

"I can try producing a bright flash to temporarily blind the beast, or I can attempt to stun it with my electricity. Either way, the feat would be short lived. The real question is whether or not to engage, or to try and circumvent altercation with this beast."

Spoiler

+1 Prep Gained

 

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"Looks hurt" James offered helpfully. Perhaps it had been taking shelter in the cave?

His own body was coiled, ready to burst into action at a moment's notice, but he stepped back, giving a show of visibly relaxing to demonstrate that they were no threat to the wounded beast. "Shall we stand aside and let it pass?" The daemonslayer was not fond of killing animals, wounded or not, unless they attacked him, and they probably did not need to risk an early injury.  Some animals were highly territorial though, from the way it was looking increasingly frustrated and kept stamping its feet, a dangerous encounter might be unavoidable. 

James took a look back to ascertain the positioning of the party, and their feelings. The scout ahead of them seemed to be along the same thoughts as he was, while Jin was gearing up for a confrontation. He had no doubt that all of them were nimble enough to dodge a charge if it tried, except for the scientist. Not even he would be able to stop a full blown charge on a dime, so somebody would have to help get the squishies out of the way. 

Just then, the Saevion cut loose with an utterly tremendous cry, deafening all in the cavern and even appearing to shake it with its roar.

(Like that, but much louder)

---

@Grapple Fiend

 @Off Topic

@Cheezeegriff

@-Lilium-

 @Twitterpated

 @HollowCipher

  

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Dan was not entirely sure what was going on here. Why the hell was there a giant deer in the cave? And why was it so loud?
Dan actually would chalk that up to echoes in a cave. Duh.

On 5/21/2018 at 4:50 PM, Fierach said:

"Shall we stand aside and let it pass?"

Dan was all for this idea. "Yeah, that might be smart."

Andso he did. Dan moved against the wall and flattened himself to it. However, he had his hand on his sword hilt in case it decided to charge. It was big, but Dan had no doubt he was faster. He always was. The problem was that it was really big, and he was pretty sure the others werent as fast as him. But, they seemed competent enough. Except maybe for the dirt doctor.

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