Log:Hollow of Doooooom

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Hollow of Doooooom

Well, that sucked.


Annapurna and Matterhorn as STs. Duncan, Aaron, Czcibor, Adalbert, Uschi, Damion, Eden

12 April, 2018

The Custodians heard of a lost token out in the Hedge, but the Harvestmen they sent to find it discovered a hollow with, well, a LOT of traps. After one of them lost an arm for his troubles, they brought in the big guns: any volunteers too stupid to say no noble enough to participate in this valiant exploratory enterprise!


A hollow in the Hedge!

The trip is not without its dangers, but the group is large enough to remain unmolested by the smaller threats on their way into the Deep Hedge. Not the smallEST, however; bugs have been quite happy to feast on living flesh instead of rotting corpses, most especially so the farther along the rose-swathed trod they've come.

Their guide is a weathered old crag of a man who simply calls himself Dave, stony skin pitted and scarred. Notably, he is missing his right hand from mid-forearm down, flesh healed over, rocky stump uncovered, but he moves with a warrior's awareness for his surroundings, and throughout the hours of walking, he has guided the group with quiet confidence, explaining, for any who hadn't heard, that the Custodians had gotten wind of a possible token lost in the vicinity. He and his group were sent out to study the area, and, if possible, to locate the token.

The entry to the Hollow might not have been discovered at all by the doomed Harvestmen if it weren't for the gently writhing roots creeping out from within it. Red-brown and fleshy, gnarled, they have disturbingly animalistic joints, rootlets twisted into blindly grasping hands.

A small crack, a few chips of stone, and a trick of perspective hide the gap beyond, but once seen, it's all too obvious that there is a human-sized entryway there. Small, cramped, and enough to make anyone taller than five feet or broader than two, gear included, need to wriggle a bit to get through, the stone is rough.

Sharp, actually. Very sharp.

As Dave has warned, it will cut you to the bone if you aren't careful, and leather straps will be severely scored/weakened, if they aren't cut through entirely.

Still, it's the only way in.

"Well." Eden says as she comes up to the entrance with the others. "This'll be a tight fit, huh." She says, eyeing the entrance a bit, "I don't suppose anyone can make it bigger?" she asks, looking at the gathered.

Well that's a great start. Damion eyes the opening to the Hollow, frowning to himself. "Well, unless somebody has a big hammer or something...." He begins to remove his armor, one piece at a time. It'll take a bit longer than some since it's full body. It also requires him to remove his weapons harness. Underneath, he's wearing a simple white tee and blue jeans.

Czcibor's literally made of steel at the moment, thank you Contracts of Elements. He's also warned anyone against touching him without saying so first, because he's really sharp on contact. Really really sharp. He's also wearing, in defiance of gender stereotypes, a pair of Bedazzled glittering ballet slippers. Someone's a little Separated from reality and conserving Glamour. He turns his head to Eden and says, without his mouth moving -- a tinny echoing radio voice -- "We'll see if it likes touching me any more than I like touching it."

He sheathes his sword on his back and carries his satchel in front of him, then carefully gets down on his knees and begins to pilgrim-walk through the entrance.

What is Uschi? She's an Ogress, she's a Moon, she's very obviously disabled whit that dead left arm of hers, and she's for sure not a Fate's Harvest Freeholder -- yet she's conducted herself well, made a nice lil' Pledge with folk, and said... Pretty much nothing. Nothing. Maybe a grunt to Dave, who's stoney handlessness has been not acknowledged, no. When given the opportunity to hurt her terrible self in that terrible Hollow Enterance... She lets the others go first.

Who knows. Maybe Uschi thinks Czcibor's metallic bod will grind down any hard edges, make the passage easier -- or maybe she's just used to being last in line.

At the question, Aldabert shakes his head calmly. He's wearing a flak jacket, a pair of jeans and trekking boot. On his tight, a knife while a baton lies in his right hand. When Cz goes in, the Fairest of the Dawn court follows bending forward to fit in the tunnel.

Czcibor's kneeling pose will still require a bit of twisting, and everyone outside is treated to the TERRIBLE HORRIBLE SOUND of glass scraping over steel. It is a wailing chorus of high pitched squeals and scrapes which rivals an entire classroom of kindergarteners with nails on the chalkboard.

On the bright side, beyond some scratches on his armour, he gets through fine.

Duncan shows up for this party loaded for bear. Or monsters. Whichever. The storm-elemental is a good-size guy wearing armor crafted from opalescent hide from some giant sea serpent, a large chitinous shield, and a drift wood spear with a hooked tooth for a point. Top all that off with a backpack and a pistol and knife at his belt. He makes the journey in good spirits, and just gives a laugh when they see the opening they're going to have to navigate. "Tight fit, that." He shakes his head at Eden's question, then gives a nod for Czibor's plan. He'll wait and see how that goes.

Duncan shakes his head at the terrible sound Czibor's passage makes, then covers his ears to wait it out. People are squeezing through, but he decides to take another tack. The Airtouched concentrates, then evaporates, becoming one with the air around him. He goes through the opening like the wind, literally. Once inside he hangs around, keeping an eye out while the rest of the group makes their way inside.

Eden starts into the tunnel behind Adalbert, twisting and contorting a bit to make her way through without cutting herself or her gear up too bad as she creeps on behind the cautiously moving fellow ahead of her!

Damion slips into the opening, being very careful not to cut himself on the scalpels and holding his bundled together gear in one hand, manuvering it to avoid cutting it up either. Once he's inside, he'll step to the side and quickly begin to put his stuff back on, not wanting to be unarmored in this place.

Terrible noises? Terrible noises. Uschi rolls her asymmetrical shoulders, the tassels of the Moon's battered battle vest rustling gaudily as she gives the enterance the hollow the old dead-eyed blank stare of Ogrish indifference and... Well, for a woman that big she certainly moves like she's spent a whole lotta time getting into places she rightly shouldn't. Cuts and bruises? Nah mate. The Ogress follow through, those nocturnal eyes glimmering as she stays Vigilant to the surroundings.

Adalbert, the Fairest of them all, takes more time than anyone else to go through the tunnel. Maybe because he doesn't want to ruim his expensive looking clothes, neither cut his perfect skin, neither ruin his awesome hair. Or, MAYBE, he's just the more clumsy of them all and isn't capable of following the group's speed. The fact is he ends up being the last one in the line, glancing backwards here and there. Just in case. When the group arrives at the room with the tiles, he stops and waits for all the others to go first keeping himself at the rear of the group.

Once inside, as Dave's stump very graphically illustrates, he cautions the group to be careful about where they step. It LOOKS like a pinkish-grey geode with a stone-tiled floor and thin gaps between the tiles instead of grout. Those gaps are not safe. Blades, and big ones.

The room narrows toward the far end, crystals shrinking until they're little more than a glitter on the walls of a stone tunnel with a sharp corner.

The tiles themselves have a distinct pattern, grey pink white grey pink white grey pink white, across the room.

"Colour don't matter," Dave explains. "Just pick a diagonal and don't step off it. You do, and..." He lifts his stump.

"Quite the series of wards and traps whoever built this put in." Eden observes as she looks around the space, hmmning softly and eyeing the tiles themselves. "Does anyone thing they'll have trouble making there way across?" she asks once the explanation is offered.

Satchel at his side again, and sword once more drawn by the time everyone's in, Czcibor inclines his head slightly at Dave: a gesture of acknowledgement and unspoken respect. And then he starts walking a diagonal. "Did you get past this room?" his echo-chamber voice asks Dave as he steps carefully, lightly only thanks to Separation. Otherwise he totally sounds like a cyberman, ka-CHONK ka-CHONK, when he walks. NOT TODAY, SON.

Damion is sure to keep to the safe area until he's all reequipped. "So. We're not going to be leaving this place in a hurry, it seems." He draws his sword, resting it lightly on one shoulder and observing the patterns on the ground. Trying to spot whether there's any diagonals you can take that would lead you to a point you couldn't reach any more. Or anything else that might lead to missing limbs.

Duncan is there in the chamber, as visible and tangible as the rest of the air. "Right," he speaks up to make his presence more obvious. "I'm here, as air. Think I'll stay like this for now." And then he gives a rueful chuckle and identifies himself. "That's Duncan Morrow, in case you didn't guess." Well, at least someone thinks this is a fun outing. "And there's a tunnel ahead with a sharp bend. Feels like it ends in water."

The tiles are square, and, yes, if you don't start from pretty far to the right (the diagonals go right to left), you'll hit wall instead of safe tunnel floor.

Damion nods to himself as he studies the tiles. "Well. I guess I'll give this a shot." He steps onto a tile as far to the right as he can go, and begins to make his way across the floor to the safe area.

Dave shakes his head at Czcibor, lifting his stump again. "Tunnel ends in water, and that's as far as the guys and I got. I wasn't much use after this happened. Too busy trying not to bleed out." Speaking of which, he adds, "You folks are a big enough group, so I'll stay put as rearguard."

Damion makes it safely across! How very uneventful. All limbs remain intact.

What's this -- some kind of puzzle? HAH. Uschi turns, and waits, and... Damn, is the Ogress patient, or what? Is it a Farwalker thing? Because she's making no hasty moves; hunkered down in the initial safe zone, the Moon is merely observing her surroundings with the blank-faced glimmer-eyed vigilance of... Someone who is either taking in a lot of information, or thinking about absolutely nothing. Really. It's hard to say -what- Uschi the Unsettling is doing, besides staring and breathing heavily but... But... But eventually? After EVERYBODY else? Uschi will move.

Uschi will move, after giving Dave a look -- following along the safe tiles, slow and steady and... Persistent. No rush needed.

Adalbert, like all the others, goes as far to the right so he doesn't end hitting the wall in the far end of the room. To Dave, he just gives a brief glance before following the group ahead.

"See you later," Duncan bids a cheerful farewell to their guide. Air-form allows the Elemental to fly across, but he sticks to the path that Damion followed on the off chance there is more to this trap than /just/ slicing blades that take your limbs off. "I'm across," he informs the group once he's over, just so they know where he is. "Going to look ahead." And then he drifts forward a bit, exploring a few paces down the passage beyond to see if there's any immediate danger for them to deal with there.

True to Duncan's description, the path beyond the safe area is a steadily narrowing tunnel, curving off to the left, then taking a sharp hairpin turn back to the right and sloping suddenly down, down, down at an angle.

The water's surface is still and calm and dark. The tunnel ends, here. How good is everyone's swimming...?

Aaron is lagging behind the rest of the group. Either getting to the destination late, or contemplating how to get to the others the quickest way possible. The rock face presents a problem with the various items that are accompanied with the Darkling. His feline companion and his spectral twin seem to have little to no difficult at all. It doesn't take too long for Aaron to wiggle and writhe his form through the thin opening with scalple-edge stones, avoiding cutting himself on the stones. "Mental note," he says mostly to himself, "collect one of these for later projects..." he sees the others ahead, giving a nod to any that catch his arrival. He doesn't say anything to avoid causing anyone to be distracted near the slope.

Damion peers down into the water, then glances at the others. "Well, this should be fun." He considers some of the....slower seeming members of the group. "So. Anybody here a particularly slow swimmer?" He eyes the one-armed woman and Adalbert in particular.

"Well..." Eden says, letting that linger for a few moments as she comes up to the edge of the water, "Does anyone have any ability to talk with the water, ask it how long it goes, what's on the other side?" she asks, glancing at the others.

Confronted with water, air-Duncan lets out a huff. "God damn it. I /just/ did this." Since traveling underwater is going to be problematic as air, the Elemental is forced to re-materialize. A few seconds later and he's standing near the water's edge and chuckling to himself. Underground lake of unknown extent? No problem. "I can help people through if need be," he offers. Then he turns to Eden and nods, "Yeah, I can talk to it if you want."

Upon reaching the edge of the path, Adalbert glances at it and shakes his head."No me." He murmurs to no one in particular as his bright blue eyes keep focused on the water.

Aaron takes a few steps closer to look down without falling over (hopefully). "Swimming was never my thing," he addresses Damion, "so I couldn't tell you whether I'm a slower swimmer than the rest of the you."

"I'm a slow-everythinger," says Czcibor in his hollow voice. He sounds musing when he adds, "I wonder if separation will keep me from sinking. Last time I tried to swim like this I ended up walking across the bottom of a lake, but it was years ago." Otherwise he just sort of stands there, eyeing it with mistrust. "If I waste glamour turning into aluminum and stop part way because I'm drowning, think anyone can tow me like an underwater Zodiac?"

Damion smiles a little and says to Czibor, "I'll take the rear. If anybody seems to be lagging behind, or drowning, I'll do what I can to help."

The water is very dark, with no visible light. It is as cold as one would expect of water in a cave.

And then, it's as bright as a noon on a summer's day around Eden as she calls upon the contracts of Summer, light illuminating brightly around her for probably as far as the eye can see, given they're in a tight little tunnel!

By the time Uschi has lumbered down through the Wyrd Disco Floor of Glittery Doom and down, down, down to the water's edge, she is looking... Well very much the same as before: stonefaced. It's only when she notes Aaron's arrival - oh, a Darkling with a cat! Slowly, oh so slowly, the Ogress turns and peers at his feline companion. Then she turns. Uschi turns, and she stares out at the water in silent, unsmiling consideration.

Nothing really changes, and yet something does: Uschi seems denser, somehow? More-so? Swol? Well, Ogress' might just be -like- that, when faced with a challenge like taking a dip in some unfamiliar pool. As Eden brings the warmth and light of summer, the shadows of Uschi's Moon mantle intensify -- but only in contrast. The Ogress does not make an immediate attempt to do -anything-, save... Stare out at the water. Ugh. Does she even know how to speak? Say hello? Show any civility at all?!

"Thanks," the tin soldier says to the very large dragon guy, tone incredibly wry. "At least I'm hollow."

And at least he keeps everything in his satchel in ziploc bags because of that one time there was a torrential downpour mudslide into yet another lake in the hedge. So many nifty things needing replaced, so sad. But! Czcibor sort of stoically tries to go into the water, and his ballet slippers literally won't let him. So he takes a moment, grumbling in Polish, to take them off and put them in a ziploc bag in his satchel, too. If not even that will let him go in the water, he regretfully lets go of Separation entirely-- but either way, after that moment, he's walking in.

Aaron's eyes are use to darker surroundings. Dimly lit places are his. Then the bright light of the summer noonday appear around Eden, and Aaron on reflex is remenicent of Count Orlock. He raises his hand to the level of his eyes to keep from them fully catching the blazing light. "Sweet Christmas," he hisses.

"If not one is going first, I do." Adalbert says and jumps into the water without any special preparation or whatever.

"What?" Eden asks at the reaction to the light, "We need to see where we're going, and if there are any knives or anything down there." She says before she steps forward to follow into the watery tunnel that lays ahead of them.

Duncan waits a moment to see who might need or want assistance, giving a laugh when Adalbert simply jumps into the water. "Or not." The storm-elemental shrugs and follows the Fairest into the water, still wearing and carrying all his gear. If it's filled with pirhanas they'll know in a second.

The water itself is quite dark for Czcibor, given that Eden isn't yet IN the water, and angles mean light isn't hitting too far down the slope. Adalbert, too, meets largely darkness, until the shining chef joins them in getting soggy. Then? Dark stone, stalactites. Also, byebye floor.

Aaron is either last or nearly last to follow. He waits until the blue blurs of someone who stared directly (near directly) into the sun, have disappeared in his vision. "Well, onward to adventure," he mummurs and takes to following everyone else.

Damion waits for the rest to get in the water then slips in himself. He's wearing armor. But it's actually armor that makes him slightly faster, so that's alright. He begins to follow at the back of the party, peering ahead with his molten eyes to see who's lagging. It seems like the one that's going slowest is Adelbert, so he waits for him to drop back to his spot then grabs his arm and surges forward, helping him keep up with the rest. Hopefully. At the least, slowing their seperation from the rest.

Czcibor, originating from a landlocked country unless you use Windows 95 and then it's a sea, starts doggy-paddling as soon as he's underwater and holding his breath. This is going to be amazing.

From Uschi's perch at the edge of the water, staring into the depths, there is a sound. It's rather like a small number of boulders falling off a bluff: chaka-chaka-cha... Oh. Oh. Uschi is chuckling? Her shoulders are bouncing a bit, sure. Well, one of them is - the left one is jerking, her very dead arm swinging erratically at her side, while the fingers of her ruddy right hand snap and point out at the water. What's so funny? Oh damnit, didn't she agree to align with these Freeholder assh--- fellows.

"Wassa you call them things, what they eat in Grek," That's right, Grek. Uschi sniffs in and starts making a 'bash bash bash' motion with her working arm. "Grek joints, what them who right get their black liquid from -- you know, with the beak and the worm arms, like eels but it ain't an eel, s'like... S'like... They squeeze, and sucker in suckers... Whadda you =CALL= that?" Uschi barks, like she expects answers and pronto.

Fuck. No wonder Uschi doesn't normally talk.

Eden does her swimming a bit more gracefully then a dog paddling, of course, she's a flaming kitten, which makes it even wierder to see her going into the water so readily. She takes a moment to catch sight of the lead changeling before she'll start to swim along after, whichever way the pack is going.

Adalbert does his best, but again, he becomes the omega in the pack and stays behind. Or was about to before the dragon comes to his aid and gives him a huge help going forward so he's still surrounded by the pack. To the huge man, the Dawn courtier just gives a slow nodding of his head.

Aaron does his best as well to keep afloat. It also doesn't help that his cat is perched on his head. "Dammit, Manx! You mangy, snarky ball of skin and bones! Get off!" The cat cranes his neck like a swans to look down at him. "Less talking, more getting us to dry and solid ground!" Aaron kicks his feet to remain in motion, looking for a direction to go.

It's a good thing that Eden decided to become a glow worm, because once people are actually under the water, and opening their eyes (opening eyes under water feels sooo weeeeird! Mental Note: Next time bring goggles.) they will see that along with stalag-mites and tites, there are other things, various underwater flora and fauna, most of it harmless (was those a brine shrimp?) there are also what appear to be octo- no, no these are sea anemones. Sea anemones that look like they could swallow a 4-wheeler with pale tentacular appendages that sway almost peacefully in this underwater tunn- chasa-- maze? Yes to all three. The stalags form no simple path through, but none too complicated that it would take much thought, nature simply seems to abhor straight lines.

Duncan can swim like a fish, or would be able to without all the gear. He still manages to make a respectable speed and shows zero concern for going completely under the surface. They have a light, so he sticks near to that, assuming the others will do the same. And while he might be able to outpace some of the slower swimmers, the storm-elemental holds back to keep an eye on them instead.

Aaron does his best as well to keep from sinking amongst his attire. His cat finds some way to manage to cling onto his head while Aaron turns this way and that, following the others. Much as the last time nearly blinded his Darkling eyes, it's in his best interest to swim towards the light.

For the most part, the terrible tentacular titans are easy to avoid, I mean Eden is suuuuper glowy so it's hard to miss the white writhing water wraiths. Luck however, does not hold, and as they swim deeper into the aqueous area, they find themselves in trouble as opening up below them is a large and hungry maw of malfeasance... and goddamn that thing moves fast, as tentacles lash out at the clumped group, like whips unfolding with deceptive speed.

Damion has time to see the white tentacle coming at him in the water, but not enough to get away. He tries pushing Adelbert away from him before it wraps around him, grunting in the water and grabbing the hilt of his sword, kicking powerfully to stay roughly level. Sliding the blade free, a muted glow of heat wraps around, not quite catching flame in the water. Then he swings it with all his might at the appendage and slashes through in one cut, a cloud of intensely bright white liquid blossoming from the severed ends and filling the area around him. He immedietly scans to see who else has been caught.

Aaron sees one of the pale tendrils reach for him. He doesn't take out his knife, but just stares at it. The mantle of Autumn writhes and wraps around him, and the tentacle reaching for him is caught by a force before it has a chance of reaching him. It quickly begins to age and its muscle and meat atrophy and wither away. Once it's been nothing but a withered husk, he does a quick glance around him to see if others also need assistance.

Spoke too late about the Grek Beak Worm Arms in the Deep, eh Uschi? The Moon pulls a face - but with nobody around to see it, does it even happen? With her exceptional insight to the depths of that pool, the dense Ogress takes a few steps forward and... Fortune does favour the bold, right? Wrong: Fortune favours no man, beast, nor Ogress. Fortune's kinda a heartless jerk. With the benefit that the dip in the dark waters of doom may wick some of the stench away from her filthrags, the Moon safely tucks her Very Dead Left Arm against strap of her pack, takes in a very deep lungful of breath, and slinks silently into the water.

Which is really dumb thing to do, isn't it?

But Uschi is neither bright, nor towards the centre of the group - she is far, back at the edges, in the gloom of the doom, enveloped in the shadowy Mantle of Moon. Maybe she just came down here to watch the show? Because as she swims through the water with moderate one-armed difficulty, breath held tight as she observes from the watery shadows -- presumably plotting her next move, waiting to be a reinforcement or... She... She is gonna help, right? Eventually?

Then, Eden just sorta drains the will to fight from Everyone. Literally everyone, in the area anyway. Noone can bring themselves to fight, and it's hard to feel any wrath or anything. Eden will gesture furiously, pointing the way they were going and hoping the others will get the idea as she starts to swim away from the giant gropey tentacle monster.

The tentacles are coming to do... things! Slippery slithering and somehow schlorping things, the color of pearls but now starting to go bright pink in their centers! But the brave good hearted adventurers and mercenary ogre too quick, and before long one tentacle is hewn asunder, while the next one recoils, half withering, the fastest tentacle takes a swipe at Adelebart but misses by an inch! It gathers itself up, more tentacles starting to move when suddenly... suddenly it's all gooood man! The tentacles just sort of slow and just writhe a little with the current.

Adalbert is catch unprepared and all the, rather quickly, combat leaves him with almost no breath and with that, he just ignores Eden's gestures to move ahead and turns around to swim back to the point where they started ignoring everything and everyone, including the tentacle that misses him for a bit. A few meters aways, he starts swimming faster as panic comes into play.

Damion starts to follow after the others, then glances to see Adalbert showing signs of distress. Blinking, the dragon turns and swims after him, again grabbing him and helping pull him along if possible, trying to speed his time to reach air again. He supposes they'll have to catch up to the others.

Duncan sees the tentacles snaking up at the group and grins to himself -- finally something to skewer! The Elemental sets his sights on the white appendage heading his way, draws back his arm and ... suddenly feels so very mellow. Which is so not his usual thing. For anyone close enough to see, his face betrays an instant of confusion, and then a sense of deep disappointment. Recovering to an annoyed pout, Duncan looks around to note that the create has stopped attacking, and so has everyone else. Weird. Oh, and that Fairest looks like he's about to drown. That he can do something about! With a quick lunge the Elemental swims over towards Aldabert and reaches out a hand to touch the struggling man.

Aaron Is about to head towards the way they all came, but also sees Adalbert in distress. He makes to follow behind Damion to help Adalbert if needed. Should the have things under control, he then makes to follow the others back to more stable and dry-er ground.

It literally all happens too fast for Czcibor-- a tentacle goes to grab him, and doesn't even make contact before all the fight's drained out of, well, everyone. Well~! That's fine then~! There's a moment of mild observation of Adalbert swimming away, but the concern leaves him as he sees Damion going after him, and he turns his attention back to the glowbug ahead of them, gesturing frantically. He starts using his sword as a paddle.

Eden will continue to swim forward, hoping the others will keep coming, not wanting to linger underwater any longer then she has to, ideally, shining the light on the way forward, literally!

Adalbert, first being pulled forward and then, suddenly, being able to breath underwater, stops swimming and glances to those that came to his aid to let them know he's alright and ready to go back into the action. A moment later and he's swimming, as fast as Duncan can, on Eden's direction to join the Summer courtier.

Go with the flow. If one were to observe Uschi, manipulating her gnarled Ogress body through the dark waters of the doom pool's breathless caverns, they would witness a profound sense of calm. No. Really -- it's not just the sweet relief of Eternal Summer wicking back the wrath, it's this sense of Uschi's own internal confidence just emanating around her like a dark pulse. S'like the Ogress believes that the world will take her where she needs to go.

Only it's not faith in the world, is it? Nah. A thoughtful observe might assume Uschi has faith that she's gonna be taken where she needs, 'cause she's sure no world's gonna wanna deal with her reaction if it don't.

Hard headed Ogress. She swims on -- joining the very rear edges of the group, yet motioning and interfering with no one as she moves forward, towards whatever fate needs to be bested.

For those of the group who did not go back, it takes nearly all of their remaining breath to reach the end, desperation beginning to take its toll on some members of the party.

For those who went back, the trip is longer, about two minutes or so of swimming for those of average speed, but they, too, eventually make their way through the maze-like formations of dark, submerged stalactites.

The toothy maw of sodden stone rises, giving the impression of a jaw slowly closing, before the water finally ends, and the air is a harsh and bitter slap to water-soaked skin, frigid, painfully cold. Before the party is a blank wall with many handholds, extending upward until even Eden's Summer-granted light finds it difficult to light the narrow cliff's top. There is perhaps a yard, two yards, of open space between a glass-smooth wall and the grip-slippery cliff. On the bright side, the hand holds ARE close together. On the less bright side, you know, they're covered in ice, and your everythings are soaking wet.

Duncan passes on the Waterborn blessing to Adalbert and then quickly turns, keeping an eye on Eden's light so he knows which way the rest of the group is heading. As soon as the others are in motion he too turns to follow. Might as well bring up the rear just in case there are more near drownings. Finally splashing out of the water and into the frigid cave, the Elemental looks up at those icy handholds, then back to the group to flash a grin. "This place is a riot," he notes. With no sign that he feels the cold air, Duncan proceeds to re-arrange his gear, now needing to strap weapon and shield to his back and /then/ reseat his pack. Climbing time!

Damion considers the icy handholds, then focuses some Glamour. The area around him becomes much more comfortable all of a sudden for everybody. The area of around a room. Then rubs his hands together before he starts to nimbly climb up the wall, quickly scaling up a good number of feet. He glances down at the others below, seeing how they're progressing.

Eden isn't able to get any purchase on the wall, it's too slippery appearently, so she tries to wipe her hands off on her wet clothes and looks up, watching the people climbing with a little hrm.

Adalbert doesn't manage to get himself up either and, after a few tries, decides to give up and waits for some help from above. In the mean time, he looks around, to check on things, just in case the tentacles decide come back for round 2.

Czcibor starts trying to climb, and even though the cold doesn't bother him, he's... really... not having a great time. It's slippery and he has approximately zero friction providing any kind of traction. Grumbling again, he rifles through the ziploc bags in his satchel and finds one containing a wilted salad of bitter hate and another carrying some dried blushberries. He also picks his sword back up and turns around, doing something which apparently hurts, and then jams the entire salad in his mouth like he's that Chinese girl with the cotton candy, then follows it up with the blushberry to fix the cut. THEN, he sighs and dissipates, turning into air. His voice whispers to Eden, "When I get up top, if no one else finds a rope, I'll try and put something together with the chains and piano wire I've got." Upward he breezes.

Duncan climbs forty feet up the cliff making careful, steady progress despite the icy grip. Right up until he puts his weight on a new handhold and the rock promptly retracts into the cliff face. He reacts in an instant, shifting both hands to the lower hold and pushing into the cliff face with his feet, and is able to catch himself so quickly it may even have gone unnoticed. "Right." He glares at the offending handhold. "Watch out," he warns the others, "Looks like some of the handholds go away." Recovering his balance, Duncan continues to climb. Eighty feet up and a second handhold goes away, and again he catches himself to avoid falling. "Oh for the love of ..." he delivers an incomplete curse at the rock face. "You think I'm falling for that?"

When Uschi emerges from the depths of that nasty pool and hits that cold air, the Ogress... Well the Ogress pauses; taking her time to crouch into a low, flat-footed squat and immediately observe the surroundings. Really. In terms of communication, the Ogress turns and looks around at those gathered, only many seem keen to charge the cliff face in front of them, or dine out on some Hedgefruit. This causes the Uschi to grunt, in a manner that's typical to her half-feral articulation. Ruddy right hand twitches, then the Moon turns to swing her pack off her back, unclasp the complicated twist, and start the laborious process of rummaging through there.

Hey, at least Uschi - Wyrd born Survivalist that she is - picked up a waterproof mountaineering bag! Probably helps the Moon avoid rain, piss, and whatever blood she /undoubably/ comes in contact with on the regular. Eventually a small, withered looking fruit is obtained. Moments later, she is chomping into its flesh -- and as Uschi lurks there, observing the cliff face in the gloom, those nocturnal eyes of her start to flicker. Flicker and glow. All around her, the shadow of her Mantle is joined by a soft, humid mist of steam condensing in the cold air around her.

...Uschi smells like wet dog.

Damion notes Adelbert is again having trouble keeping up. Hmmm! This seems to be becoming a thing. Ah well. He clambers back down, avoiding the others climbing, and settles onto the ground next to the smaller man. He eyes him thoughtfully, then finally turns and offers his back to him. "Climb on up. Careful of the scabbard."

Eden starts up the wall, having watched it for a few moments, and up she goes, flying along like it was the easiest thing in the world. Even the retracting grip doesn't stop her, she's able to push off like a feather and grasp another handhold with ease! Or, at least that's how it looks.

Adalbert gets frustrated upon seeing that he was the last one to not climb the wall and shakes his head. Upon seeing that Damion is coming down and, worst, offering him help, he arches a brow."Thanks, but no." He says to the huge man."I'll find a way to go up on my own. You can go." He says and turns around and jumping back into the water. A second later, there is light coming from him as he swims away back to the starting point.

Like a fiesty cat, climbing an ice wall, Eden is just flying up, paying no need to the vanishing hand grips, just doing crazy extensions and daring moves on account of her flighty, light nature, and a heavy dose of contracts and effort!

Once he's at the top, Czcibor turns back into an ordinary tin soldier, not even turning back into metal yet: he fishes for more ziplocs and starts jamming seed pods in his mouth and knotting piano wires together, then weaving the ends of the doubled-up wire into the ends of the chains: each is 20 feet long, so altogether, there's sixty feet. But it'll take him a little while. So, with his mouth full, he calls, "If you give me a minute I've got about sixty feet of... something very like rope..."

Well, maybe Eden misjudged that last little move she did a bit too much, her grip isn't quite right as she starts to push off again, having to extend a little too much, and then her foot slips, "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!" Is what she says as she starts to fall, scrabbling for handholds and anything to help arrest her fall.

Damion keeps on climbing up the wall, focusing on his handholds. He hears Eden crying out from above him, raising his molten eyes in time to see her about to pass him. "Shit!" He snatches out at the falling catgirl, catching her wrist and arresting her fall, tightening his own grip to keep from being pulled off himself. "Careful, kitten! Even you could get hurt falling from this height." He lifts her up to where she can find another handhold, then once she's secure lets her go. "After you."

Czcibor calls down again, "It's also REALLY SMALL up here, only room for like three people to stand? And there's some nerd's bedroom door. I dig the Triforce sticker. Not sure how I feel about the Decepticons though." He finishes weaving the wire into the chain and starts sliding it carefully over the edge. "First person who gets up here want to anchor this? And I'll go be the idiot that opens the door."

While others are working on their way up the wall, or preveniting from plummeting to their doom. Aaron assesses how high he has to travel. It takes little time at all for him to go from a physical form into swarm of bats more native to the New England region. They circle around his solid form until there is nothing left, then uuuuup they go in a spiralling formation. They pass the others as they make it to the top. Once there, they all converge together back into the Darkling. He makes a few motions to ensure he's all there. He looks down to assess where everyone else is, then looks to Czcibor, then the door, then back.

"..." Down below, STILL OBSERVING like some kind of creep, is Uschi. She's there for backup, right? Healing, if somebody falls? That's why she has a rucksack full of fruit and two knives, right? For helping? The Ogress tilts her head, eyes flickering in the gloom as Czcibor's words echo through the chamber. What big ears Uschi has, eh? There is a few beats of silence, then she calls out: "Make room."

Does Uschi go for the wall /now/, to go and join the others? No. She just rummages around in her bag - like she might have something in there to help her climb.

Not that Uschi's /said/ anything about that.

Duncan keeps right on climbing, largely oblivious to how the others are doing. But he can't miss Eden's cry as she falls, and that prompts the Elemental to look down. By then Damion has already made the catch, so Duncan gives the big man a grin and a quick thumbs up. "Nice catch!" Then it's back to climbing, to where he eventually hoists himself up onto the small perch. He nods to Czibor and Aaron. It's a little close up there. Then Duncan holds out his hand for the chain-wire-junk. "I'll help them up if you want to do the honors with the door."

As more of the group reaches the top of the cliff, they can see that the platform, while relatively smooth, is only large enough for three humanoid adults to stand, with a simple wooden bedroom door painted white, plain and ordinary. It has some nerdy stickers on it: radioactivity symbol, Stormtroopers, the Triforce, etc.

There is nothing on the walls which would serve as any useful hand hold; they are as cold as ice and smooooooth as glass beyond the wood of the doorframe.

Like Colossus armoring up, Czcibor and everything he's wearing turns silvery steel again, and he nods cheerfully to Duncan. "Cool," he says, which is creepy because his face is that unchanging mask of pleasant nothing again, not at all going with his tone of voice. He hands over the not-a-rope to Duncan and then edges toward the door, and calls down to Uschi, "WORKING ON IT!" echo echo echo echo. Then he knocks politely on the door. "Hey, jlplv blplv'a'," he says with the gutteral spit-talking that only someone who grew up with Michael Okuda's Klingon Dictionary and lots of videotapes can manage. Or someone choking on haggis.

The door does not reply. Maybe it only speaks Romulan.

Damion looks up at those there, and then down at Uschi. He says aloud, "Man. I wish somebody had thought to bring rope with them."

Eden will make it basically to the top, having switched to the rope which is totally easier to climb, only to find it crowded by a bunch of big ol' Lings. "Don't hurry on my account or anything.. I'll just, ya know, hang in there, like that poster..."

"Hey, guys." Eden pipes up, her distracting voice no doubt making it hard for people to focus on things, and she points a little, "Like, right there. Literally right there." She says to them, "About halfway up, on this side, two little cracks, maybe a button."

Far, far, far below... Uschi just grunts in reply to Czicbor's beautifully accented echo. Is she concerned that the volume may have alerted foes? Nah. Uschi's slowly - so slowly, so fucking slowly - gathering up some items from her mountaineering bag. Oh. Oh looksee there: a compact zig-zag of paracord with a tiny spiked grapple -- you know, the kind that can wedge itself in cracks or get thrown up above - has been produced, the carabiner clipped to her belt before she refastens her bag and goes through the laborious process of putting her rucksack back on.

...Did she not hear Damion? Maybe Uschi's problems extend beyond the one very dead arm? That's tucked up close, again, into the strap of her bag - as the Ogress starts to snuffle. Yes, snuffle -- with flickering eyes, a haze of condensation, infuriatingly slow movements, and the confidence of a woman who's possibly not bright enough to worry, the Ogress starts snuffling around the base of the cliff, kicking over some loose rock, rummaging around like some kind of scavenger.

It pays off. Eventually, Uschi finds something down there in the dirt: a single grimy glove. With the help of her teeth, the Ogress gets it on her singularly working arm. Looks like she's ready to start climbing.

"You make space?!" Uschi barks up there.

Czcibor glances behind him. He doesn't know Romulan, so he tries the knob and says, in order, "Open sesame," and "Annon Edhellen, edro hi ammen!"

Duncan takes one look at the door and its nerdy stickers and laughs. "Looks flimsy." He leaves the door to the others and gets busy trying to anchor the metal cable for those climbing up. He hangs it off his right shoulder and, once people have grabbed hold, leans back to counteract their weight. He's a good-sized guy wearing a load of gear, so there's that. But the slippery surface keeps things interesting. He gives Eden a smirk for her remark, and looks over the edge. "Right. I'll just climb back down so you can fit shall I?"

The knob turns easily in Czcibor's hand. Too easily. Czcibor has a brief glimpse of a particularly colourful set of tiles on the floor, symbols on all of them, before AN INFERNO OF FLAAAAAMES washes out through the doorway, covering the entire platform and lapping over the edge.

The door will not close.

Damion curses at the sudden flames washing down. What's that Eden said about a button? He looks to where she said, and clambers quickly over to there, pushing it. Click. He looks up. Yep, flames still seem to be going. Well dammit. "Get down already!"

Duncan looks midly annoyed at the initial wash of flames. But when it keeps coming it quickly gets too hot for him to ignore and the Elemental is forced to take some action. "Get off the cable! I need to MOOOOOOVE!" he bellows.

The scents of scorched flesh, hot metal and burning hair fill the cave.

All around, there is the scent of flames and the sound of... Bellowing.

Far, far, far below, at the base of the cliff, stands Uschi -- pausing midway through moving; little grappling hook swinging from her belt, scrounged glove covering her hand. It seems that her slow-moving idea to scale the cliff face has been benched. On account of the flames, the flames and the screaming.

This requires some serious thought.

Uschi may remain at the base of the cliff for quite a while -- stepping back, as if to get a better vantage point of the activity far, far, far above.

In the gloom, those flickering eyes glow as Uschi observes the surroundings.

Callous fucking Ogress.

There's a really livid-sounding Polish curse from the doorframe, where Czcibor grabbed the sides and started to step through, only to have his foot immediately impaled by a spike. The litany of curses goes on and he looks wildly around as he starts trying to pull his foot back off the spike. Finally he gets one out in English. "MotherFUCKER! The floor's a fucking puzzle! The key's gotta be here somewhere!"

Aaron is doing his damndest not to be consumed by all this heat and fire. On the top of the doorframe he notices something. He tries to get Duncan's attention. "Oi!" He points at it to signal Duncan to see if he sees the same thing. "On Three!"

Duncan, standing in the flame geyser while Eden shifts off the wire line, begins to steam. This is accompanied by the hiss of too little water trying to dowse too much fire. As soon as she's safely on a hand hold he drops the cable and is about to make his move. Only his lunge for the edge is brought up short by Aaron's calls. The storm-elemental puts up an arm, struggling to see through the roaring inferno, and then lunges toward the nearest of the two buttons on the doorframe.

When Aaron and Duncan press the buttons, the inferno disappears as if it had never been, the hungry roar of flame echoing briefly, then lapsing into sudden silence.

Floor Plan

The room beyond the door is narrow, with space for one person to move forward at a time. Each square has a small hole in the middle, surrounded by a pattern: flame, water, sun, star. The walls on either side are polished marble, with two half-columns dividing them into three sections. A colourful frieze along the top of each wall is red nearest the bedroom door, orange over the first column, yellow over the second wall section, green over the second column, and blue over the third section of wall. There is another door at the end of the room, along with a seemingly safe patch of polished wooden parquet flooring. The door is lattice-work, lovely, with a view of a pleasant sunny garden.

Down at the base of the cliff, Uschi has sequestered herself closer to the water - but not /too/ close, lest some tenticruel pops up to give her the ol' what for. Nah. She's just far enough back, that Uschi can try to see what's going on far, far, far overhead.

Trouble, looks like.

But the Ogress... Well nobody is around to witness her expression, or see her as she balances her weight evenly and squats down -- doing her best impression of a easily overlookable boulder that nobody should bother trying to maim or set aflame.

Even when the sound of FIRE stops, the Ogress... Merely observes. Mustn't be hasty, now. She's got all the time needed - and it's not like reinforcements are being called in. In the dark, Uschi licks a crooked cuspid.

Eden clambors up onto the ledge when the flames go away, enough room having been made for it it turns out, and not having taken nearly the amount of scorching that the others took. She does however reach down for her satchel, pulling out a bottle of Dream-a-Drupe 'juice' and she'll slurp it on down. as she watches the big guys ahead forge ahead.

Damion looks up at the colors, then down at the tiles. Hmmm. He steps on the red flame. Okay. That's good. No spike. The next color in ordr is oran- FUCK. He gets a hole in his foot. Cursing, he pulls his foot off. Okay. Lets see. Maybe... he leans that injured foot over to the red wave?

CHRIST. Okay, that wasn't it either. He steps back onto the safe area, wincing, and sighs. "I don't get it."

Aaron is still by the door frame, examining the floor. He looks to what everyone's stepped on, and what's impaled them in return..

"Try stepping Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue. In that pattern, maybe?" Eden offers as she comes up close enough to look into the room, peering in around the big ones impaled on the floor a bit, hmmning softly.

Foot off the square, Czcibor tries to take up as little space as possible, and his voice echoes out, "Who's worst off and hasn't any goblin fruit? I'll heal you."

Damion waggles his foot a few times, droplets of what looks like liquid gold falling to the floor. He glances over at Eden. "I tried that. Red flame, orange sun. Still got poked."

Aaron looks down to his own feet. "Well, am I the only one that's got two good feet left?" He checks, then looks back to the floor. "Red, orange, yellow, green, blue? That's what you're saying," addressing Eden. Which did everyone else start with. He looks to Damion. "Did anyone try the star on the floor first?"

"I have fruits to spare too, some that'll help you get your resolve back if you need it as well, and some Glamour, or whatever." Eden says, "And hmn. Red fire worked, maybe just go fire fire fire fire, or whatever?" She suggests.,

Damion glances over at Aaron. "Well, the red flame didn't stab me. The orange sun and the red wave did."

"There are three five tile sections, separated by a column." Eden adds.

Eden says, "Column is orange, column's fire is orange, fire in first section didn't trigger."

Damion looks at the healers. "Sooo. I am in kind of a lot of pain. Could I maybe get a little healing? Then, Duncan, I want to borrow your spear."

"I just offered," says Czcibor a little crankily, but his mantle's already moving, cranky green kudzu curling up around the platform away from him and toward Damion. The vines curl up the dragon-man's legs a little, and a big chunk of the pain lessens considerably. "I can keep going, but first, everyone's in rotten shape-- who's next? I'll get back to you, Damion."

"Dave. Fruit." Uschi bellows from below. Wait. Has she been listening to whatever pained whispers have been carried forth on the wind? Ugh. Creepy, right? Like who just -listens- to folk who've been burnt up and shot through with spikes, and doesn't do anything immediate to help? Well, she maybe -is- going for help, or at least saying words like 'Dave' and 'Help'... Only there's a pause. A laborious pause. Rustling. Scent of something that isn't burning hair and synthetic textiles that've melted into flesh: it's the gentle tangy-sweet pang of Catseye Clover, being left on the ground underneath the cliff face.

Like a little bouquet. An offering. A memorial.

One step, two step, three step -- gone. Literally gone. Uschi melts into the rock beneath her feet, and departs to spaces unknown.

"Damion, you need some fruit still?" Eden asks, she goes to root around in her satchel again, eyeing him, "How bad are you?" she asks, "And, I have some Coupnettle and Catseye Clover if anyone needs some as well."

Aaron approaches, and gently steps on the blue flame. Bottom of the second row. He waits and after not feeling something drive through his foot, gives Eden a thumbs-up sign. "Looks good."

Damion shifts around. "Well, my foot still has a hole in it. So I wouldn't say no to some fruit." He rubs at where the burns seem more like bruising and channels some Glamour through his hand, and they fade entirely.

Eden will pull out a bottle of Dream-A-Juice, and a ziplock with a few Blushberry Tarts in them, she'll pull out one of the tarts and hand it over to Damion, along with the bottle of juice. "I'd like the bottle back though!"

Damion munches the blushberry tart, then washes it down with the juice. "Thanks, kitten." Then hands the bottle back to her, and considers. Actually, he doesn't need the spear. He unstraps his scabbard, rests his foot on the one he knows is safe, then starts to prod at other tiles seeing which ones DON'T sprout spikes when he does so.

Eden flashes a grin, hopping a little as she watches the progress, "Okay, Once you get to the column.. try the Stars!" she calls out to Damion.

Duncan needed a moment to put out his burning equipment after the flames are stopped, and is no real hurry to rush into the puzzle room. The storm-elemental frowns at the tiled floor and leaves that investigation to people who know things. Or who already have a hole in their foot. "Let me know if you need help in there," he offers with a chuckle. Then he proceeds to spend a few minutes sorted out the still-useable things from his backpack and tossing away what was too burned, and then making sure his armor and weapons are still functional.

"Okay, keep on the suns until you get to the column, then step on the green star." Eden calls out to Damion. "After the Column, step on the blue wave and all the waves!"

Nobody's answering, but Czcibor squints at Aaron, who looks pretty awful. "Hey man, hold still a minute, let me fix that," he says, still leaning against the wall. There's another profusion of green, going over to the Darkling, and then Spring takes his damage away. Then the tin man takes a deep breath and turns Spring's blessings on himself, even healing the disturbing hole through his hollow foot. Finally, he pushes himself off the wall and looks over everyone's shoulders to see ahead into the room and look at the progress.

Damion nods his head as he says, "Alright. Step on the red flame, then follow the flames to the first collumn. Then step on the yellow sun, and follow the suns to the second collumn. Then I think you step on the blue wave, and follow those across."

Even knowing the right path.. Eden is going to do something most in line with one of her Kiths. She steps out onto C1, wondering if it is infact weight triggered and her separation will keep her save, with a little tensing as she waits for her foot to be speared, just in case!

Aaron is about to move. Perhaps fidgit given the fire and burns earlier. Just grit teeth through the pain. He hears Czcibor call out to him, then keeps still. Keeping still is what Darklings are good at. He awaits the medical care of Spring. He then hears Eden's suggestion and moves to follow the recommended pattern.

Czcibor observes, "This is literally the meanest hollow ever," then starts following across, munching on crispy-fried goblin fruits just to reap the glamour. Again. He's under ten. It's quite uncomfortable. "I'll probably take you up on that glamour fruit in a bit, Eden," he calls ahead.

Damion continues along the pattern as he said, and assuming he didn't get it wrong, crosses to the other side of the hall and turns to watch the others to make sure they're doing alright.

Once Damion reaches the end, a quiet *ding* sounds, like the bell of a concierge. The spikes will still stab feet, but the door clicks, unlocked.

Eden's eyes had totally squeezed shut as she steps out onto the floor, one eye will slowly open as she realizes she's not stabbed, then starts strolling out down the hall, "Okay! I don't have a lot, I just picked some fresh before I left, but you can have it. Or you can come by my Kitchen and get some more if ya want."

Duncan gives a thumbs up for the instructions. "That wasn't so hard," says the guy who's been waiting outside. He's still smoldering a bit but but is not sporting massive third degree burns, courtesy of his elemental nature. And now that the room's secret is out, the storm-elemental moves to cross the tiled floor. Red flame, then follow the flames to the orange one at the column. Yellow sun, then follow the suns. Green star. Blue wave, then follow the waves.

Aaron smirks at the observation. "I'm going to have to recall this. I might make this part of my home, or future hollow." He tries to assess where everyone is currently. Once the patter is provided, he follows accordingly once he gets pass the remaining flames. Yellow sun, then the remaining suns; until green star, then the waves. "Why do I feel like having a bowl of Lucky Charms all of a sudden..." he mutters mostly to himself.

The next room! It's a garden! Well, it /was/ a garden, a large circular chamber with artificial yet nourishing sunlight. Plants from both the human world and the hedge, growing into what were once separate patches and now mix together...

And the moment the door opens, something moves! SOmething huge and hulking the grinding of metal gears, the shaking of the earth as something made of metal and gears and glowing lights and OMG ARE THOSE HANDS MADE OF GIANT CIRCULAR SAWS?! IT'S COMING RIGHT FOR YO--


It suddenly goes inert, gleaming red lightbulb eyes grow dim and it falls to the ground, inert.

Beyond the fallen titan(mech), a door can be distantly seen through the greenery.

"Careful with the plants." Eden says shortly after the mech crashes to the ground, eyeing around the room, "They're all poisonous. Prooobably fine if you brush up against them.. but maybe not, given where we are."

"What the fuck," says Czcibor flatly. "Nobody oil it." He glances to Eden and shakes his head. "Nah, but thank you! I thought you had a bunch, I can get more once we're out."

Damion glances around at the plants, then considers the giant mecha thing. "I hope we don't run into any of those that work." Wait. He shouldn't have said that where the Wyrd could hear. Dammit. Now he's definetly going to run into some of those that work. He shakes his head, then moves forward towards the distant door. Taking the lead if possible, in case anything attacks.

Across the hopscotch board of doom and into the garden goes Duncan. That mechanical titan looks like a challenge, so singed and sporting damaged gear, he still steps forward to raise his shield and level his spear. And then the chance for a good fight dies as the thing crashes to the ground, and Duncan sighs mightily. There's a nod for Eden's warning about the plants, and a chuckle for Czibor's jest. He won't fight Damion for the point, but he's close behind the other Summer. Onward, without running through a bunch of poisonous plants, if possible.

"Mostly healing fruits." Eden replies to Czibor, "I've got two bunches of Clover, but it's literally ruined if you preserve it, best served in a salad, with a nice vinaigrette made from the nectar of the flowers for a nice down and dirty Hedge Salad. Like I said, you can have what I brought though, by all means."

The door, once the group is closer, is a heavy metal door which wouldn't look out of place on a bank vault, or perhaps a bunker belonging to a paranoid hyper rich conspiracy theorist hiding out from The Man. Or the little green men. Or maybe grey ones.

It is also open.

Aaron pauses when he sees the giant mech and blinks. "Really?" Is all he can say about the things he's seen and done this night. He notes Eden's recommendation to keep from coming into contact with any of the plants. Just keep moving forward without getting spiked or worse.

"Does the vinaigrette make it less crazy bitter? Because wow it's worse than chewing on espresso beans dipped in angostura bitters otherwise," the metal man asks Eden curiously as they go, his giant sword leaning against his shoulder. "It's okay, though, I mean-- okay, if the door leads into an acid pit, I'll definitely want it, but otherwise you go ahead. I get plenty of glamour being a cocktease in bars."

"Bitter?" Eden asks, hmmning, "Did you mean you needed Coupnettle instead? No, that's traditionally brewed as a tea, since that mellows the bitter a bit, but I like it as a garnish to add a bit of minty flavor to it." Eden says to Czcibor with a shake of her head, "I have some Coupnettle in here, though, you'd have to eat it raw, I didn't have enough time to brew something up before I left."

Beyond the door is .. a really, really small room. It looks like a university dormitory for a single person, except it has been stocked by a survival nut with Mad Inventor tendencies, with giant containers everywhere and very little walking space, or ceiling space, seeing as it's taken up by odd contraptions in varying stages of construction.

It also has a corpse.

From the degree of rot, he has been dead at least a week, and .. well, he's starting to smell, quite a bit, rancid oils and rusting metal from his faerie flesh corroding as he oxidises into mush.

Still, he's recognisably male, and a former changeling. A fallen pen is by the swollen, nasty fingers of one hand, half covering a messily scrawled note ( Messy Note ). The paper is stained by ..

.. well.

Okay, nobody really wants to think about just what that paper is stained by, except maybe Uschi, and she isn't here.

His other hand is holding an old-fashioned can opener as if it were a weapon.

Duncan eyes the huge metal vault door. "I wonder if it's a trap," he says dryly. Still he plods gamely forward to peer inside. Forewarned by the odor, he's not surprised to find the corpse. After spending a moment to shoulder the door open all the way, he steps back to make way for the more investigative-minded members. "This what we were looking for?" he asks.

"No, maybe it's just me? Like how cilantro just tastes like soap to some people..." Czcibor starts, then trails off, staring. "I'm out," he says after a moment. "I just came along to help make sure nobody else died. I'll keep doing that until we're outside, but man, this is above my pay grade."

Damion blinks a few times as he considers the corpse in the room. Well, that's gross. He moves closer to the corpse along with Duncan and shrugs, "Maybe?" He looks at the can opener in his hand, eyes narrowing. Reaching out, he plucks it up, shaking any stray bits of melting metalflesh off of it. "This seems kind of out of place."

As Damion shakes the can opener, its wheel does a little spin and //ANYONE// wearing metal armor in the vicinity is suddenly... not wearing that metal armor anymore, as it's fastenings unfasten and it falls to the ground.

Aaron looks between around and sees the note, can-opener, and corpse. He's quiet for a long moment. Something about the dead makes Aaron contemplative. When someone inquires if this is the final stop. He puts a finger up a moment to halt anyone from moving. "A second..." makes a gesture under his eyes like a hex of some sort. Reality is that he's closely examines each of the objects in front of him to pick out which one's magic calls out to him.

Eden grimaces a little at the smell, and she remains near the door herself, not going inside to the gross room, letting the others do that. "Is that it?" she asks, of course Aaron just asked for a second. she continues to scrunch her nose like something's gross.

Duncan gives Czibor a nod when the metal man bows out, tosses a quizzical look toward the can opener that Daimon picks it up, and is about to go examine the corpse himself when Aaron asks for a moment. So the storm-elemental comes to a grudging halt and waits, studying the body from where he is. "He's been dead quite a while." Just in case that wasn't obvious.

Damion hands the can opener to Aaron as he does his thing, then starts to check the various containers in the room to see if any contains anything interesting.

The corpse WAS wearing decent survival gear, before he, you know, rotted all over it. The room has a fair amount of survival equipment, ropes, and parts to repair the mechanisms throughout the many traps. It also has a map, with scribbled notes and suggestions for better versions of traps. The monsters in the water were .. well, they were just the second step.

Aaron takes the offered can opener fro Damion to study it. "Wonder how long he's been in here," he asks curiously. He looks up a moment to examine the other stuff around. "Everything else look like it's gone to seed..." he then looks back at the can opener in again. "Bingo. This is it.!"

Damion collects what he wants, and heads out.

Eden will wrap her flaming scarf around her face and go in to collect a few things. Also the map. The map with the notes about the traps, and maybe ways to bypass them on it too.