Duty Session 414: A Dark and Stormy Night
During the Storm Festival, it is common for Adventurers to gather indoors at a local inn or tavern. Any place to get away from the heavy rains and piercing wind. However, on one such Dark and Stormy Night, a Lander has come inside from the storm, bringing with them an unusual quest. They are tasked to brave the storm and face wind elementals in order to gather some strange alchemical ingredient.
OOC: This quest is only available during the Storm Festival. This quest is largely 'Combat'-concept based, with some minor uses of other concept types.
Rec. Party: 3+
World Rewards: None
THE EVENT HAPPENS.
A gust of wind! A door that opens wide to reveal a hooded Spriggan. A concerned, worried Spriggan in need of assistance.
A prompt for each adventurer: A Dark and Storm Night. Accept Quest? Yes / No?
The white haired Artificer looks at the drink, the Spriggan, and the drink again. "Well," he accepts the plea, putting his mug down and heading over. "Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Also, he looks a little... worried." Maybe it is the Palace Landers again. Maybe his crops need to be interacted with ten times. Maybe its the rats again. Haru puts his money on ten rats.
Placing his tankard down, Gallant sighs. "I'm not being a grouch or anything, but you know how long it takes to dry when you're covered in fur?"
Nevertheless, the lion gets up from where he was nursing his drink and being glad that he was not out in the rain, to walk towards the quest giver.
"You have my sword."
He points to the scabbards on his back. "Because they're tw- nevermind. YES."
When the spriggan slams open the door, and the quest pops up, she grimaces, but will accept it. People need help, she's not going to refuse them. She could swear this has happened before, but it's always new to the Landers. Whatever happened to someone last year has happened to someone else this year. She smirks at Gallant's comment about fur drying. Score one for humans. "You should invent the full body hair dryer," she suggests.
She turns to Goldenblade, and comments, "Someone did it. It involved air and fire magic."
The Spriggan huddles closer to those that accept the quest. Anxiety gives way to hopeful eyes on a weathered face. "Yes," he gasps out, "come. Come here." Not creepy at all. The way he scuttles to a table one might think he is going to request that the Adventurers get the Precious. "Time is short," he exclaims, "I've... I've been tracking a group of air elementals." Perfectly normal hobby. "They're drawn to the storms this time of year! They're one of our only sources of wind shards, so I need your help." A patch of the Spriggan's dark, wet hair flops into his eyes. He brushes it away when he continues. "We need to," brush, "find them," brush again, "before the storm ends. Then dispatch them and gather as may shards as we can." A deep sigh. "I can lead you, but I can't fight them." Hair flop. The Spriggan struggles to fight his own hairstyle.
Acceptance rings true within the room and the Fellowship of the Flop makes their way out. The weather outside is frightful. And the thunder not delightful. But since you've someplace to go, tally ho tally ho tally ho. The wind buffet as the Spriggan Guide leads them onward.
Have you ever seen a wet lion? Once the magnificent mane just /sticks/ to the head and neck, and the fur is all flattened out? The majestic lion, king of the savanna, hunter of hunters, Dire lord of the beasts-
Looks like a wet rat.
Gallant shivers, trudging on ahead, musing that if the rain were thicker, he might actually be able to /swim/ through it instead of this. "... full body dryer, you said earlier?"
Having succeeded at utterly confusing herself, she continues, "You should really do something about that hair. You should look for-" Again, she frowns. "What concept does one need for fixing hairstyles? Is... is it Artisany? Etiquette?", she asks, and as she crosses the threshold towards the Great Outdoors, she navigates through her menu to check the character sheet once again, when-
Wind! Water! Thunderbolt and Lightning! Very very frightening- wait, no, that's Bohemian Rhapsody.
Uta crosses her arms in front of herself, and a miniature hurricane-ball crackling with lightning spins into existence! The timing is right! But the intensity is... lacking. Her own protective weatherball is devastated, and the Spriggan is sent flying across the street, slammed against a nearby wall and drenched by the rain!
Gallant's use of Water produces no real gains beyond being more soaking wet. Goldenblade's use of Air when atempting to make the path forward shows marginal progress in giving the group a edge against the strong gusts.
The Spriggan doesnt directy comment on Uta's ask on his profession. Possibly not in the quest event scripting or possibly because he doesn't know. Much like how a similar branch comes out to twack the Uta similar to it did Haru. The shielding is not strong today, not at all. Or maybe the trees just had more bite than bark tonight!
The group forces its way forward through a rocky start against the elements. The elements only increase in intensity once they reach past the edge of town. No lights are there to guide their path. The wind blows blasts of water as stronk as any Jet Spray. The Spriggan guide rattles his lantern, holding it out in ye olde guide fashion. "They are really putting up a fight!" he shouts against the howling winds to the Fellowship. Another gust of wind and the latern goes silent. Dark. Visibility turns to a chaotic abyss with sound rattling about them.
"Could really use some of that Adventurer magic right about now," the nervous laughter bellows against the whip of the winds. "That sort of stuff should be able to stand against this storm," he says with an accented pause of uncertainty, "right?"
She raises her staff, and begins to intone an aria to activate it. The intensity of light of the Gem grows, and-
* FLASH *
"WARGH! AUGH!", Uta exclaims, covering her face with both hands as the staff clatters to the ground, inert.
She falls to her knees and screams, "I CAN'T SEE A THING!" More rubbing, followed by "It's pitch dark! We're likely to be eaten by a... uh... I've no clue!"
"I've had a positively wonderful time traveling. But this wasn't it," Gallant says, splashing and squelching as he walks. Everything he owns is wet, and even concepts in his head are wet- that's how drenched everything is. However, they do say that it is always darkest before the dawn, and that it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
Goldenblade is a great example of this, as that sword flares like the dickens. Gallant is more of a 'column a and column b' kind of guy. Following her example, he raises his sword and summons his affinity with fire, letting it blaze brightly.
And he adds: "Curse you, you horrible weather!"
Goldenblade's power of Grayskull (TM, C&D Messages Pending, Power of Grayskull part of GB LLC licensed for the ETO region) provides both light and heat to the group. Synchronized swording becomes the symbol of the Fellowship of (Firey) Flop. Between the burning swords, which four out of five Prophs would recommend that you see a doctor about that, and the fire magic, the party has both light and warmth both.
Meanwhile in Utavilla, population 1 Uta, there is an issue with the power grid. Notably it is a case of being blinded by the light. "Go into the light, Uta-Anne. Wait. Don't go into the light," Haru muses to her, offering a hand and noodle arm to help guide until vision returns.
Party Party Burning Bright. What is the challenge they seek tonight? Why, its dodgeball, but with lightning holds. It is the Spriggan that soon speaks for the trees, or lack thereof, as they reach a deforested area. A nervous sort of laughter in that, "Wide, open areas are not good for..." KA-CRACK! Purple heat burns white as it scorches the ground near the Spriggan, "... lightning. Yeehaahahaha," he hops as his heart beats like a race Peko. "Ha," he catches his breath, "ha... that was close." Yes. Thunderbolts and Lightning are very very frightening. Oracle Uta has fortold such tales. They are not getting any less intense as the Fellowship of the Flop presses onward in their travels. These lightning plains will present a distinct risk to their collective health if not delt with through prowess or cunning.
Having taken on Goldenblade as an impromptu mentor figure, Gallant says "I can do that, too!" and...
No. No he can't.
For all of his speed and agility, sometimes there are things you just can't beat. Cause you cant stop the motion of the ocean or the sun in the sky, you can wonder if you wanna, but I never ask why- and you can't beat the lightning. Or, at least, Gallant can. Just as he rushes through and thinks he is home free, the world suddenly becomes bright, loud, and like John Travolta once found out, it's electrifying.
Gallant eventually makes it, with a greatly-decreased health bar, and every bit of fur that he has, from tail to mane, standing on end in such a way that it makes him look not like a Dire Lion Were Fang, but a Dire Dandelion.
" ------ this!" cruseth the dandy lion.
She lands at a safe distance, and her grasp on her (thankfully wooden) staff tightens. "Wait, no, I'm thinking of the weather forecasts. How do-" Another lightnign bolt, avoided with a leap with a backward flip. "-people do weather forecasts here?" Land. "Do they use Divinat-" A sideways jump with cartwheels in the air, nother devastating bolt avoided, "-wait, no. It's the Storm Festival. It's right there in the name. Duh. I think I need a snack. I say dumb things when I'm hungry."
Feeling safe after finding herself against a solid wall, she pullsout a small jar with a bit of the grease Merek offered her as part of her Shield training. Don't ask where the grease comes from.
(Ok, I'll tell you -- +card Goblin Champion Grease)
Thanks to her high affinity for Air, Uta perks up as she senses a tingle which announces an incoming discharge. Cornered with her back to a wall, she has no other choice but yelp "EEEP!" (yes -- no choice), swipe her hand in the air, then run her staff on the ground; ground which promptly collapses, and her with it, into the recently created depression, leaving the lightning to strike the wall behind her -- leaving a massive circular scorch mark, and a disintegrated small jar of Goblin Champion Substance.
Uta's head peeks out from the trench. She sniffs the air, her ears and wings stiff, tense.
"Ugh," she grimaces at the smell. "Greased lightning."
Holding a sword up in the air is a tried and true method of letting the elements know you mean business. And the busines is being awesome. Goldenblade does quickly realize that the business can come under audit via lightning strikes if its a metal object held high into the sky. But is world class swordhero poses dont work, the Ninja poses do. Ninja poses that dodge lightning as part of their ninja training in the darkness. The event rates it as 'Very Effective'.
Not as effective is Gallant's ninja version. It is like Goldenblade has spent the time to master the 10-point combination and Gallant is still figuring out which button is jump and which one is high kick. Lightning isn't one to strike a lion when he is down, but this lightning is rude and the fur pays for it.
Uta: Greased Lightning. Nuff said.
There is a heavy set of panting from the Spriggan guide. The lightning storm took a few years off of his life. "Just," he wheezes, "a little further." He is a tough Lander! Tough enough to stop in his tracks and respect the rising tension of the event. "I've seen this before," he says in event level omnious lore dropping, "They are inm there." He points to the flash of light from the sky and swirling up high into the sky with a wall of wind, water, and debris. The way forward may be difficult, seemingly impossible. "When enough of them group together like this," the guide explains, "they can create massive walls around the eye of the storm." He looks from the party to the wall before them. "There has to be a way through." Enter the Fellowship, where impossible is just another name for a vegitarian safe rat burger alternative.
And that is when a massive flying rock to the face cuts her attempt short.
"Earth moving? That I can do. I THINK!"
The lion doesn't look too confident. Aside from the fact that he looks like a hay bale in a windstorm, he hasn't had the absolute best performance streak here yet. But even a broken clock can be right twice a day if you have a very generous and lax standards for what a success is. He glances at the spots where Goldenflame points and, focusing, he holds out his hands and touches the wet ground.
Imbuing his energy into his thoughts, he reaches out and calls for the aid of the elements of Earth- and he hopes that the outcome is one that is actually useful instead of some out-of-control cataclysm.
One can only dream, right?
Musical Reference to Diamond Drillbeat: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIr4C5Ztlcg
What is beyond the Garden StormWall? The beasts, thats what. "They they are," the Spriggan guide says with glee and awe in equal measure. He points excitedly upwards. "There! I can't help you here, but," and its a big but, he will not lie, "I'm sure you can handle it." Thus a lifelong lesson in doing things for other people is imprinted on another generation of Adventurers. All part of the Lander's schemes to get those sweet elemental crystals.
The elementals, themselves, look as if they were made from the essence of wind magic. Their forms shift from rolling winds to crackling lightning. From a haze of cloud formation back to the crackling fury of a storm. It is a form of chaotic power that fuels invention and destruction both, made incarnate against the dark night. The forces are distracted by the storm itself like an open air concert where they have front row tickets. Unfortunately that makes the elementals more dangerous. It is hard to tell when they will notice their private concert has been intruded upon. One of them does, rolling out in their direction with all the lightning strike and fury that denotes, 'Tickets Please!' or else electrical eviction is in the cards. The fellow elementals move from the Thunder, Wind, and Lightning tour to neutralize the unjust party crashers.
There's a few problems with this, of course. One is that elementals don't have eyes, so hiding and sneaking kind of don't matter to them. They have magical senses or something. Otherwise, how could they attack anyone? And the other part of the problem is, they don't have any vital organs. Which part of whirling air is it's vital whirling bit? Who can say? So, when Goldenblade appears out of the darkness and skewers an elemental on two swords, it takes a bit of damage and goes on fighting. Well, to be fair, it /does/ take a pretty good chunk of damage, but nothing like what Goldenblade is accustomed to from the attack, and now she's got to fight like mad to put it down.
It's true, a Spriggan's wings, due to the Curse, are useless for flying or even gliding -- and it's even unclear how much they contribute to her being swept away (honestly, the wind is so powerful that -anyone- could be swept up...) but point is, with her dark wings spread, she launches into mid-air punches, rolls, roundhouse kicks, dives and soars that would make one not observant enough to notice that most of her propulsion is due to careful picking of air currents to be carried away by and recoil from her blows against the opponent, doubt that she's unable to fly.
Fighting Elementals with Elements is just Elementary, my dear Watso- er, whoever you are! While Utah does like Mary Poppins and does the Let's Go Fly A Kite song (with herself as the Kite) and Goldenflame goes for the sneaky sneaky stabby stabby approach, Gallant decides to do the least wise of approaches and fight the Rock-Paper-Scissors game: Icy rain too cool some jets, perhaps even to intercept some attacks with large enough chunks to spare him from being lion fricassee again? Impossible? My dear sir, nothing is impossible-- as long as you get the correct rolls, right?
It's not as flawless as he had hoped, (and that is bad, considering he wasn't hoping it would be flawless at all), but he does manage to get some effect- some elementals are slowed down or otherwise distracted, which allows him a chance to go blow for blow with his words. And get blows back, too, of course, but let's not talk about THAT.
The artificial darkness effect combines well with Goldenblade's strike. It may not be exactly darkness, but something that dulls the senses for a good ole chunk of damage that cleanly ends one of the elemental's facing against the group.
Uta gets to do what every race with wings wants to do: Fly and punch something in the face. Its hard to say what a face is on those things, but it is best to assumed it was rightly punched by Uta. Also kicked. Headbutted. Screamed at. Billed for mental trauma.
Gallant's attacks are as cold as ice. Willing to sacrifice their hit points. They never take advice. Some day they will pay the price. I know. Its happening right now it happens all the time.
The Spriggan guide is quick to take cover for the battle. No hero, this one, not since he took a lightning bolt to the knee last festival. He can't bear another. With might and magic at their disposal, the battle rages like the storm until only one group stands. The Fellowship of the Flop. "Aha," exclaims the Spriggan as the storm begins to quell around them, "You did it!" He is grinning ear to ear. Where the elementals had gallen there now are a series of shards. He gives them the 'Precious' eyes as he scampers to collect them. "These will be very useful to the Mage's Tower." It takes time but he gathers them all up, taking a moment to part with one each to the adventurers, "Thank you for all your help. I couldn't have done this without you." Now, it might be good to question /why/ he wants them, but the world will never know as he grins and scampers off. Out of their lives as quickly as he entered them. Until next time.