Duty Session 409: Spinner's Deep
After the efforts of many Adventurers to finally clear out the creatures from within the mines on the Isle of Beginnings, the Landers are finally able to return to their work. However, the first miners have reported an unusual room within the first levels of the mine.
The room seems to be the source of the previous infestation, but now shows a strange glowing arcane circle that refuses to allow them to pass. The Landers have reached out to the Hunter's Guild, seeking capable Adventurers to find out what lies beyond this strange device.
What is certain, is that the spiders in the mines now known as Spinner's End, had to have come from somewhere. Danger lies on the unknown path ahead. Are you brave enough to face it?
Rec. Party: 3+
World Rewards: None
Fuka's not stuck on the isle of beginnings, not exactly, but she's helping Prophylaxis and SEA construct a storage facility for food and medicine for the refugees. That doesn't occupy her full span of days however, and she's always willing to help out in cases of adventurers being needed to deal with things like a spider infestation in the mines. And THIS TIME they're not mechanical spiders, so she's expecting fire to work! Besides, her patron's said something about the spiders here, so Fuka's willing to kill multiple things with one axe, or something along those lines.
For many, the way down through Spinner's End is familiar. However, the mine is now clean and well lit, with supports shoring up the walls and ceilings. All evidence of the spider infestation has been cleared out. Landers pass by as they travel down into the mines, offering their thanks to those who had previously helped to clear the mines.
The sounds of hammers and picks on rock echo as they walk. Life has returned to the mines due to the efforts of the Adventurers. Occasionally, there is a bark of a guard dog and the scampering of feet as they run to join their newly returned masters.
The pathway has been cleared for them...
"It's nice to see the effects of people clearing out the upper dungeon. Can't recall that ever happening in the old-school RPGs." He laughs, seeming his happy-go-lucky self at the moment. "Then again, in the old days, I never had time to really get into those much."
The Pooka stretches out his shoulders, cracks his knuckles, and follows the others down into the caves.
Haru stops to take a look at part of the design, rolling his finger over his monocle and inspecting the structural support. You know, out of curiosity. "Can't say I've been down here before," he admits, turning and heading forward, "it was cleared prior? More spiderland and webland than it is now?"
Fuka shrugs. "I understand the mines were cleared out, but spiders have got to have come from somewhere right? We have to go deep, check it out, see if there's any spider nests, then burn them out." She nudges Schneider in the ribs, probably having to reach pretty high to do it. "Fortunately we got a specialist!" she grins. "And of course Haru can handle anything needing earth magic. Even if it's totally boring." she notes, smiling beatifically at the aforementioned fellow. "I'm training melee and Aiyaa there is probably going to scream a lot and draw attention, so she'll tank." the littler sylph suggests cheerfully.
It's no problem to travel deep into the mines, as of course they're completely cleared. The group reaches a final room which must once have been a boss chamber. Unlike other parts of the mine, the walls are finely hewn, with strange patterns etched into them. There is a large mural that looks to show a variety of different arachnid creatures. It almost looks as if there are figures bowing before them in worship.
At the center of the chamber there is a slightly raised dais, which a circular platform sits. Carved runes appear along the edge of the circle, though they do not seem to resemble any known language in Yamato. The same runes appear throughout the room in various fashions.
There might be clues to the runes in those words on the walls, but the teleporter seems to also respond to sound as well as magical energies being channeled into it.
To Fuka's comment about the Spiders, Haru flicks his blue eye over towards her past the white hair and muses, "So we have to go deep, eh?" Pause. He sliiiidddeessss away from that and goes on to his skillset, "Its true. I can handle Earth magic. Totally bore-ing magic." Mischief. Oh yes. He has plans now. Bore-ing plans.
The tall human's steps are light just like his armor. Haru stops near a set of runes and engages Enchanter mode, tracing a finger along the runes relating to 'transportation' in such a way that the magical energies light them up in a pale, blue light. "I also Enchant a fair amount. These respond well the vibrations and magical energy that is similar to crystal or mineral enchantment." Another rune goes aglow.
As they reach the strange room that was once the boss chamber, Rylen starts to look around. Since he isn't all that skilled with matters of puzzles, he decides to add a bit of magic to the equasion, channeling some earth magic into the runes along the wall.
"I wonder who built all of this..." The Pooka murmurs to himself.
Arriving at the odd chamber, and confronted by a dias that doesn't seem particularly flammable, he considers the runes, and scratches his head, then looks over at the runes on the walls. "A puzzler, indeed," he remarks. "But I've done some research with these runes, and ...." he smiles as he writes out a solution. "Like that."
Fuka seems pleased by Rylen's words, and downright smirks at Haru's. Ayame gets a sidelong look though. Like she's not sure if she was just insulted or the other Sylph just happened to use the word 'short' unintentionally. Fortunately Fuka's not actually sensitive about her height, so she takes it in stride. "Waku-waku's a big-hearted woman." she agrees. "And she appreciates others with big... hearts!" she adds with only the briefest pause. Just enough to draw attention really.
"Hmmmm..." she notes, examining things in the boss chamber with Haru. Like him, she nerds out somewhat about the detail, glossing over the nasty spider motif in favour of appreciating craftsmanship and magic. She's quick to note, literally, that music is involved, and manages to hum her way into getting a response from the teleporter. "Boss room. Heavy duty spider motif. And unless I miss my guess, a portal. Yeah, I think we know how the mines got infested!" she grins.
The group manages to activate the room's magic, combining magical talents, analysis of the runes and notes of the room itself, and music. "Well, here we go!" Fuka cries happily, raising her axe as the room activates, surrounding them in a blue glow.
They emerge in a dark chamber, lit only by a few sputtering torches that are held in sconces and encased in spider webs. A feeling of moisture hangs in the air, the sound of trickling water from somewhere further into the darkness.
Wandering further from the entryway, the tunnel continues until it seems to stop at a dead end. There, at the end of the hallway, is a strange statue. Carved into stone, a being that looks vaguely humanoid stands, although much of the features are covered by robes. Rather than a human face, it has long pincers, a series of glossy eyes, and monstrous plating.
A thin, clawed hand is extended from the statue, pointing towards an altar set before it. It appears, that to continue further, the Adventurers will have to offer up some sort of sacrifice.
"- mean by that?!" She asks, as the haze dies down to find them in a new place, huffing in annoyance, and stepping away, moving to poke around irritably for a little
"Just how bad was it?" Ayame asks Schneider with interest "I missed that whole thing, so I'm curious. I don't think I've seen any really bad infestations yet" She gives him a weak grin, and then looks to Rylen
"Do you mean in or out of game?" With just a touch of a sour note from the Silver Sword, shivering a little as her gossamer wings draw in tight
There are no options that are readily available to the Enchanter. He isn't about to sacrifice a goat and is quick to make sure people don't get the idea on the party itself. He rolls up the sleeves on his blue jacket. Its time to hit the gym. By that, Haru means that it is time to equip the low quality pickaxe and go to town on some stone. "Time to flex," he says. Thk. Noodle arms. That chipped off a pebble. Thk. It chimes in the room. "This needs a mining shanty," he begins to hum the sort of thing a bunch of dwarves might hum while mining. No, what it needs is the Summoner to have a summon do this work.
The Pooka's connection to the Earth makes such things easy to sense, though the exact location is a bit harder to discern. As they find themselves in front of the statue, however, he takes his time to press a hand to the ground. The others may just feel a small rumble in the ground beneath them as elemental energy snaps out into the surrounding area.
He tilts his head towards Ayame, his focus still on the spell. "I've seen enough of this world to think that not everything was carefully planned at the hands of developers, if that's what you're asking." He lifts an eyebrow. "For instance, this place changed from what Adventurers did."
Then, he slams his hand into the ground, pulling up what looks like some sort of monster-version of a mole. It immediately pixelates from the impact of the spell, leaving behind some meat which he tosses onto the altar. "That should do."
Fuka figures the teleporter has to be two-way, so she's not worried. After all the spiders got into the mine this way, they can reactivate it easily enough. So she spends her attention on looking for a way to proceed forwards, not worrying about the path back.
Fuka looks innocently up at Ayame, and that innocent look is probably how anyone can tell she's up to something. "I mean she's marrying Tae who is an absolutely wonderful woman. And she obviously adores me, so she likes generous and warm-hearted people!" she claims. Which is such BS on at least one, possibly two points, but it's not actually a lie if your claim is so outrageous no one could possibly believe you intended them to take it seriously.
"A balrog would be cool. Or ... would that be hot?" Fuka notes absently. "I think I'm going to look for a spider. Sacrificing a spider seems appropriate here don't you think?" she says, starting her hunt. Fortunately the group can fairly easy get something appropriate together. A small critter, some growing moss or fungus, a fancy stone. Equally fortunately, it's enough to get past whatever judgment stands for the activation of the altar, allowing the group to proceed.
The tunnels appear more roughly carved the further the Adventurers travel into the depths of the mine. There are long scratch marks in some places, as if something huge had scraped the stone as it passed through. Eventually, the way opens into a small chamber, which looks as if it has become a stopping point for Adventurers who are exploring the dungeon.
Sitting against one wall is a pale Adventurer. Their weapons and armor have been set next to them, head resting back against the wall. Upon seeing your arrival, their head lifts, "Oh! I was hoping someone would come along. My party was killed by the spiders. I've been bitten." There is pain written on their face.
"Our healer had the antidote potions, do you think you could lend a stranger a hand?" The Adventurer asks, eyes pleading.
"Groups tend to be best" She tells Schneider "I've had some success working in pairs, for simpler things - one to watch each other's back" She says with a little eagerness "It can be more effective than you think."
To Rylen, she shakes her head "That can be set up, as well. When X equals Y, do Z, you know?" She shrugs a little "Not that there's anything wrong with that. I think it's all somewhat delving in and collapsing on itself - compounding, you know? We'll see more as the different regions start to intermingle more, differences showing"
Then her face falls as they come across the group "Oh ..." A wince and a small nod "I'm sorry" With a heavy grimace, her bickering forgotten. She moves down to tend to the wounds, small healing passes chanted in to help tend to the wounds, keeping her shield up warily
The idea of having a fallen group sombers up Haru's attitude a deal. He is no Doc. Alchemy would be of use, but raw Herbalistic applications is not his forte. He inspects the Adventurer, adding an Appraisal through his monocle with a touch of their shoulder. "Fortune on our side," he notes, pulling out a green set of grass he had collected earlier. "These properties should help draw it out," he notes, echoing Schneider's statement. This was more luck than skill that Haru had anything on hand for it. He can't say the same for the ones that were already lost, deciding not to comment on that but the weight on his attitude is noticible.
What he doesn't expect, is to find another Adventurer on their way. That is a relatively rare occurance, especially as people normally travel in parties. The recent revelations about what happens to people upon death has him wincing at the knowledge that this poor Adventurer's friends are probably having a very, very bad day.
"Sorry to hear about your troubles." He chimes in, starting to look over the Adventurer's injuries. "I mostly know sports injuries, so you'll have to excuse me if my first aid is a little rough." He apologizes in advance, while ripping some strips off his shirt to form them into bandages. He's used to being shirtless, so why not utilize the extra fabric.
"Stay still, I'll see if I can bind these." As he starts to work, he offers a nod to Ayame. "It's quite possible that the devs are just far more advanced than I would expect, but... as I said, I've experienced enough things to suspect that isn't all that's at play here." He smirks slightly, "I can always introduce you to my sister if you want an example of what I mean. Just... not here." He shakes his head.
Fuka grins up at Ayame, clearly not in fear of her threat or taking the insult personally. It's banter, and there's no real heat to the woman's threat. Fuka does consider suggesting she find a really fun way to relax, but fortunately is distracted by other theories and matters.
"I've seen enough to wonder if this world might have been designed, but yeah... if it was, it's evolved since then." she throws in her own observations. "It responds. It's more than a static system. And... oh." she pauses, realizes abruptly that there's someone suffering in the tunnels before them. Someone poisoned and having lost their previous companions. As adventurers presumably they'll be fine, but... given what she now knows about returning to life, she wouldn't wish that on anyone but an enemy.
The others beat Fuka to treating the poor victim, so she shrugs. She'd have helped, but there's fortunately no need. She nudges Haru, gesturing to Ayame, then cupping both hands out before her chest in an obvious sort of pantomime. "See? She's got a really big heart!" Fuka observes, while her hands suggest something similarish.
Once the Adventurer is healed and sent back towards safety, the group carries on. The ground starts to become thicker with spider webbing the further the Adventurers delve into the depths of the dungeon. The way continues to descend downward to a set of spiral stairs which lets out into a truly horrifying sight.
A series of spiders with extremely long legs seem to be making this place their home. They click pincers together as they make delicate steps across an expanse that seems to be a field made of some kind of grass which doesn't require sunlight to grow.
There seems to be some intelligence to these monsters, as they seem to be keeping a herd of grunties as food. Just as the Adventurers make their way onto the fields, one descends onto a fat grunty, causing the creature to squeal and cry out as blood sprays. The spider lifts the kill, then chomps down on it, swallowing the still living grunty, whole.
Then, it turns eyes on the Adventurers.
With the injured now-solo investigator sent back toward the entrance with a bit more chance than he had before the party's arrival, Scheider follows the group onwards. As the ground gets webbier, he spends more time looking around, and up, and he ah-hahs as spiders are spotted overhead, grazing on the hapless grunties and such down here on the ground.
This is no big to Schneider, though, who has the perfect solution for this. "These spiders aren't particularly high level," he remarks, striking a dramatic pose and shouting, "GUNZENRO!" The gout of fire that erupts from his hand burns the spider badly, and accounts for a good chunk of HP. Looks like a good call using one of his lowest spells. Saves the bug stuff for when it's needed.
She nods to Rylen, uncomfortably leaving the wounded fellow behind as she moves along, her heels clicking on the hardened ground "It's possible" She agrees "I'd love to meet them sometime. I miss my sister, but we exchange messages a lot - she's well, just busy" She tells the Pooka.
"I used to think so" She tells Schneider "But even then, you can often manage. It'll be a nasty, dangerous run - and you might come away with a lot of bruises - but I've done them with Sprites and Uta both. It's good practice, as well - there aren't always enough of us around"
Then she frowns - starting at the skitter of little things. She dives forward - bringing up her shield, and a flicker of light extends around it before she begins to defend the group furiously. Something activated her protection instinct! The heels on her boots are put to good use as she digs them in, keeping her balance.
The spiders are making their appearance. Stare. Haru stares back, "Not quite a Balrog, but nothing saying we can't raise the heat," he says as his orb becomes a glowing red ember in his hand. "I'll do a wide clear," he says as he pulls out a fairly offensive spell. After the losses earlier, a little respectful vindication is in order. "Ignis. SPhere. Inimicos." The orb crackles and gains size to that of a volleyball, duely volleyed down towards the spiders to erupt in an inferno of 'quit staring at me, spider!' heat.
Rylen seems to quiet a bit on the topic of his sister, perhaps because it is a story that not many know or that he cares to share. Still, he does offer Ayame a nod.
Then, there is the prospect of giant, grunty-eating spiders and the horrific sight they provide. "Well, that was gruesome. Though, I suppose everyone has to eat." Rather than trying to utilize his natural gifts with the element of Earth, Rylen just uses his martial arts instead. He strikes out at long legs, knocking them out from under the enemy and moving onward.
"What can I say, big things get my attention!" Fuka notes cheerfully, not actually taking Ayame's suggestion to faceplant. Not really her style, though she's still prone to tease. "I mean you should see my best friend from before! VERY ... attention-getting!" she states with a highly suggestive leer. A misleading statement, but also perfectly accurate.
Fukaziroh sees the increased webbing, she raises her axe and sets it lightly on her shoulder, preparing for a fight. I mean it's pretty obvious they should expect something, and the mine provides a match to expectations. It's kind of disturbing and horrifying but then, it's also simple and straightforward. No morality choices, no doubts, no hesitation.
"Those are NOT OUR FRIENDS!" Fuka shouts, apparently as a battlecry, as she charges forward. She's faster than she has a right to be, probably because of the way she's channeling air, a sword arte she's rather good at when she's in a good position to use physical artes instead of supporting or using ranged spells.
The environment begins to grow more and more strange, the walls glowing faintly with an eerie green color. Drops of acid seem to hiss from the ceiling, falling on the unwary who dare to pass further into this tainted place. At first, it seems like they are heading for a dead end, but the wall lifts as if it senses their arrival.
It opens into a boss chamber which looks suspiciously like the one they had left in the mines above. However, the coloration of this room is more unearthly. The strange etchings on the wall all glow with that eerie, acid green. Standing in the center of the chamber is a massive spider which seems to be an unusual shade of white. Flickers of blue seem to move across the creature's entire body.
As soon as the fight is initiated, it /blinks/ out of existence only to reappear halfway across the chamber. Whatever this monster is, it has a very dangerous teleportation ability. The Adventurers had best be wary if they don't want to be caught unawares.
She nods to Rylen, as well, panting as she cleans off her shield and makes a face. It's a look of shared resignation.
To Haru, she gives a deliberately non-threatening threatening look "Don't YOU start" She huffs out "Honestly. Would you like to make any more comments?" It's lighthearted, but - well. Better that than focusing on the doom and gloom.
Then they come to Big Monster. Ayame hefts her shield - and snaps her head, watching it move and shift around. Her wings flick up, out, the Sylph sensing air currents - and then wheeling around to keep her shield between it and the party, letting it attack that hunk of rune-edged wood! Bad Spider!
On the other hand, this is a great honking magical spider in the room, that apparently teleports.
Hrm. He has a solution for that, though. Those who guessed it involves fire win a prize.
He chants, "Deep Doomsday. To the spirits of land and air, bound by the pact, fulfill your obligation now." He gestures, pointing, and shouts, "Megadeath!" The pointing seems like maybe it wasn't hugely needed, because basically the whole room erupts into flames, and there's not really any place the spider could be and not be affected by the firestorm as it rumbles and erupts before fading to smoke and dissipating.
The quick movements of the spider have him giving a curious: "Huh. That's an interesting evasive technique." It's almost as if he's taking notes. "Let's see how it holds up against mine."
Moving with a graceful martial artist stance, Rylen moves the very earth beneath him, causing it to slide him in different directions each time the enemy got too close. It's enough to draw the spider's attention and aggro, making it easier for the others to both find, and damage the enemy.
A foot taps onto the ground to get a beat going. Haru finds this Summon works better with a regular tempo. "Terra. Vocare. Terebro. Numerus. Terebrare. Hostis." The rocks themselves begin to vibrate to the sound of construction drills until the Big Daddy sized Earth Sprite appears with two whirling drill arms. "Terra, bring the terrah!" he points in Phoenix Wright style to the boss, which causes the rhythmic creature to engage with blows both earthen and sonic. After a few crashing blows, Haru slow turns his head to Fuka and grins.
Ref Music from Summon: https://youtu.be/gIr4C5Ztlcg
Fukaziroh flirts with any number of people, and she knows exactly what to do as followup. That is to say; nothing. Not even those she likes and teases the most can say she's ever gone from improper words to improper action, and if she ever does... well, it won't be due to an intent to merely tease.
It's a thought for another place and time, no doubt. Now, she's focussed on spiders. One particular spider anyways. "Oh hey!" she remarks as it vanishes, reappearing elsewhere. "I've seen people do that in duels. It's every bit as annoying as it looks!" she comments with a growl. She readies her axe, but to strike she has to first see where her target is, where it's going. Fortunately that's something she's pretty good at and, while she doesn't always anticipate the boss spider's every move, she reacts quickly to each shift and either anticipates the movement entirely or picks out the monster's motion swiftly enough to reengage in good time.
The boss goes down in short order, the group well-prepared and more than suitably skilled for the duty of exploring and seeing to the apparent source of the problem. Fuka sighs, setting her ichor-stained axe up back on her shoulder after first shaking the worst of the mess off it. "Well that was fun!" she states cheerfully. The fight, the banter, all of it. "And yes earth is bore-ing." she agrees with Haru. It's an old joke between them by now. She walks over to the summoned elemental. "Kind of adorable though!" she notes, patting it on the shoulder. Yeah, she's got a weird definition of adorable.
Still, success. And more than success, loot! And friends! Two of Fuka's favourite things! "Oh, and... Rylen, right? Been meaning to seek you out at some point. Can we talk later?" she asks the pooka.
As Fukaziroh draws his attention, the elfish looking man gives an elaborate bow, white hair flowing forward briefly. "That would be me, m'lady. Rylen Corvus. Beastmaster and spokesman for Crescent Moon." When he raises his head, there is a playful sort of grin on his features as he offers her a wink.
"Of course. Though I'm actually on my way to Ninetails after this. You're welcome to accompany me if you'd like? Otherwise, I don't mind a conversation on the way to the port." He raises his eyebrows, "Or you're welcome to add me as a friend and send me a chimlink any time."
Fuka shrugs at that. "I'd say we kicked butt!" she states with her usual reckless cheer. Interesting? Competent? "Someone needs to get more excited about their big ... words!" she notes with a playfully-wicked grin.
Now, Rylen's flirting is another matter. "It's as spokesman I need you, not beastmaster!" she notes with a return wink. She considers his offer, nods. With a few arcane gestures a friend request is on its way. "The port's not far, but it's a little out of the way. And it's just talk so this is fine." she says. So, apparently not following through on the flirting. Too bad huh?
She also observes Haru observing the crystal, and nods, putting her own hand on a crystal to delve it with air. "Definitely good for enchantments. And light. And getting the heck out of the way I think!" she says. "Not so much for shielding I think, but you might want to make a dodge talisman of some kind!" she adds enthusiastically.
At mention of Triffids, Fuka makes a face. "Tried that one once. Ran into a giant bun bun instead." she claims. "Maybe someday, sure. Not sure I'm up for it right now, a lot of my mana's sealed up in some research and other efforts. Soon though!" she grins.
There is a nod to Fukaziroh, "Reach out at your leisure then, m'lady. I will await your call." He leaves it at that, then raises a hand to the others. "I'm going to head back and see if I can't assist that Adventurer in getting out of here."
At that point, he drops from the party, offering a smile before heading back the way they had come.
To the ask to do more duties, he shakes his head, "A future day, for sure. Today, not so much. Healthy balance of spending time with important people, work, play, and the like." A smile and a nod, "we are a pretty rockin' party though." Have to sneak in a few more Earth puns. He raises a hand to wave back to Ayame depart, "Hate to watch you go," he drops half of the line.