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Dragon Sign [IC/PG-16/Not Accepting]

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Marshall would continue to watch the Drengr as he ran off into the distance. It was clear that it had no sign of looking the proverbial gift horse in the mouth, or tempting its less proverbial but still abstract in concept fate, and simply continued to sprint at full speed away. It wasn't quite clear if it had a specific destination in mind or if it was just looking for somewhere that was decidedly "not here" but it kept running until the view of its figure was obscured by the myriad of hills that decorated this plain. 

Abby would find that, as she may have posited from before, she could in fact begin healing the bear and "make the hurt go away." The bear was very reluctant and seemed very uncomfortable to let a tiny hairless stranger use equally strange magic on it, but by some miracle or other it had seemed to understand the non-hostile intent of the group. Similarly, while the references and nuance of what Marshall had been saying to the bear was likely entirely lost on it, it let out a short grunt towards her when she finished speaking

The overall healing process was incredibly simple; the healer simply point their hand at the target, channel the magic and voila the body began to heal. The rate at which it healed was slow and the sequence in which the spots that were healed seemed to have no rhyme or reason to it; she could have her hand to the bears side and its back would begin healing, for instance. And while Abby was no spectacular mage, not that the woman had any frame of reference to derive this knowledge and could only truly know on a meta level currently, and she had practically no experience in healing magic before she couldn't help but feel still that something was off about this. Like there was something getting in the way of her healing and the bear's full recovery. It wasn't as though the bear was resisting, it just felt like a natural consequence of something. Or several somethings that simply complicated the process much more then it needed to.

Though, eventually, after some six to seven minutes the bear's body was restored. The process, though not using Focus in the traditional sense, would leave some degree of mental exhaustion to the girl. It wasn't as though there was a lot of brain work involved in healing, or at least conscious involvement of it, so much as it was though she were stretching an entirely new and underused muscle that had no actual comparison to the regular human body, and the mind was just the closest approximation and reference point to it. 

Throughout the whole process the bear did not seem to be discomforted by the healing, and once it was done it walked around seemingly unhindered by its previous wound. There was a trace of confusion in the bear's expression as it truly did not understand what had happened, only that the group here was responsible for its continued living. As a result, it wasn't the least bit hostile towards them, but also seemed to not care too much to stick around much longer. The bear looked to all of them and let out a grunt, which the gang could somehow discern as it giving its thanks, before bending down and picking up one of the more muscular looking Drengr that had fought it with its mouth. Letting out another grunt, one that seemed to herald its departure, the bear walked off with the Drengr corpse in its mouth to a nearby hill, walking over and down it and out of the group's current visual range. 

With that done, all that was left was some Dregnr corpses on the road but no other obstructions in their way. The road would continue to lead to a stone door that was built into the side of a hill, as they had seen before. The door itself seemed to be old, having been weathered by the constant storms of the area, with the only discernable feature on it being what appeared to be the image of a wolf's face carved into the center. 

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"O-Out of curiosity, why did you let that one go?"

Sabrina tensed up as the man approached her. The question he asked startled her. "What do you mean, it had given up. W-what was I going to do kill it anyway?" She took a step back away from him as he stammered something else out. She had felt a bit bad at the comparison she made the other night but she was starting to feel it was more on point than she had realized.

She never failed to be surprised at the kinds of people that were sent here to save this world. She'd just have to make up for his bloodthirstiness to make sure this world knew what a true hero, one with whose blood surely flowed with the power of dragons, was like.

Abby, at least, seemed to understand. She was starting to grow more fond of the girl, of course the cuteness of the small woman helped, and was relieved that there was at least one person here who might have the same heroic spark as her.

Sabrina wasn't sure what to feel about Marshall's response. In a way it was similar to Gene's but she was much more low-key and had wandered off so fast that Sabrina didn't have time to be taken aback.

She kept near Abby, and thus the bear as well, as the girl healed the animal. When the healing was done the bear went off, she decided to ignore that it had grabbed a body on its way, she waved it goodbye. "Farewell, guardian of the plains! Your, uh, strength and...virtue will not be forgotten!"

Once they reached the hill, blocked by a stone door, Sabrina found herself stumped. She wasn't actually sure what they were supposed to do. Having had just been following along as they went she only just thought about how little she knew about their actual goal. "Do we....knock?" She asked the others.

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"I think it's a good thing. Real heroic-like. Plus, just because we have magical powers and all doesn't mean we're allowed to become a bunch of sociopaths with no regard for life. Case in point."
“...While I will voice that I’m unsure if that was the smartest course of action, considering how hungrily the Drengr attacked the village just a day ago ...I will also concede, that we have more important matters to attend to; and it would be prudent if we remained on schedule. Ergo, we cannot go chasing down every rat that escapes onto the subway tracks,”
"What do you mean, it had given up. W-what was I going to do kill it anyway?"

Gene looked at them and immediately looked away. He said something stupid again...didn't he? He suddenly went quiet, almost shrinking into himself...well, he would if he could. That seemed to be two things in just today that he ended up saying that seemed to be wrong or just simply stupid. Was anything truly changing for him now aside from him having this power? Apparently not.

...but...aren't they evil though? We're supposed to stop them...right? he wanted to say this, rather than internalize it, but he bit his tongue. Gene didn't want anything else stupid being said on his watch like this. "...f-forget I said anything..." he muttered quietly. Maybe this wouldn't be like his dreams after all...maybe he would've been better being the same old reclusive young man. Gene simply watched as the bear left, only to follow after the others and being forced to stop at the stone door.

"Do we....knock?"

Gene looked at the very weathered door. The face of a wolf was the only discerning feature it had going for it. He stared at it for a bit, rubbing his arm a bit with a sigh. He glanced at everyone for a moment, before looking away. "...p-p-probably wouldn't hurt..."

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Ahead of the group lay a door. An old door, probably a shining example of masterful craftsmanship back in its prime. It was still a lot nicer than most things Abby had seen back in her world, as far as artistry in architecture went, but she wasn't an architect, and this was ultimately still just a door. Carved into its center was the face of a wolf, providing further proof for her original suspicions that this world was largely pagan if she'd still believed such a thing. Which she didn't.

"Do we....knock?"

"...p-p-probably wouldn't hurt..."

Well, if nobody else was going to...

"Don't mind if I do," Abby said, taking the initiative ahead of the rest of the group. The womanlet stepped up to the door, and gave it two simple knocks. Being a mere door of stone and not a living being, however, the door did not respond. Nor did a voice come from within, which was what Abby was expecting in the first place. With nothing in the way of an answer, and no doorknobs, indicating that this door was to be pushed open, Abby gave a shrug.

"Guess we're going right in."

And so, Abby set her hands on the doors, and pushed them open. Greeting her on the other side was a staircase leading down. The interior - much like the doors - was made from stone, and it looked like a decent bit of a walk down. "Alright, I'm a tough girl, so try to stay behind me," Abby said, calling forth her trusty hammer in one hand then starting down the stairs. "Who wants to bet we'll find some sort of cool treasure down here?"

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Ever Drifting Between Real and Surreal

As the group fully entered the shrine proper, the door creaked closed behind them, leaving them in total darkness, if only for a moment. Inexplicably, a current of electricity could be scene running along the walls on either side of them, arcing down in accordance with the path the stairs laid out for them. And then, a familiar faint bluish glow emanated from the walls and ceilings. Though they had only seen it once, it had been just a day earlier that they experienced this light; that of the church they had awoken in. The walls themselves still seemed to be made of the same kind of gray stone that the outside door had been made of, but as they traveled down the stairs they would notice that the floor had changed to something else. Soon the stone steps gave way to the same kind of multicolored agate that lined the walls of the church, caked with patches of moss here and there, and smoothed to a straight hallway. 

Once they stepped onto this hallway of a landing they would be able to see carvings across either wall. The one to their left had what were discernably human shaped figures and to the right were ones shaped like various land animals. Curiously, the humanoid figures seemed to be just that, which is to say their depictions had nothing in way of animal like features across them. 

After a bit more walking, the group would eventually find themselves at a split path; to continue straight or to go off to the right down yet another hallway. To the front their path was blocked by, yet another, door. This one seemed to be made of a dark wood with some kind of gold trimming across the sides of it. It bore similarities to the other as well as there was yet another wolf head on this door, similarly gilded in whatever golden material lined the doors. Carved above it, however, was the image of a serpent coiled around an orb, similar to the one in the church as well though lacking any color.

Once the group had laid eyes on the door, they would also notice to the side a collection of water was gathering. Soon, the water coalesced and gained more details and colors to it before creating the form of the familiar draconic emissary, River. The antlered girl smiled, saying, "welcome, Exalted, to the Shrine of Storm."  

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Luckily for her; the watch was little more than a formality, it seemed, as nothing dared chase them by. The bear had even left them by soon enough; allowing them to progress easily, for the most part. Of course, Marshall couldn’t discount the discussion she heard in the distance before the Bear wandered off; as Gene and Sabrina had discussed the Drengr… That’s right. Marshall closed her eyes, tucking her left arm behind herself as she let her mind wander, the fleeing Drengr no longer in view. Not everyone is going to be capable of looking at this purely objectively. She frowned, bringing her right up to adjust her cap as she turned back to rejoin the group. I’ll have to keep that in mind; so as to not jeopardize our status as a functioning staff.

It wasn’t until they had reached the door, however, or until Sabrina, Gene, and Abby had all decided to knock, that Marshall found her attention fully present again; instead of being spent pacing the halls of dialogue in her mind, searching for the right words. She hadn’t even had time to agree with them, before the doors had been pushed ajar, and they were to begin entering. “...Be on your guard,” Marshall murmured as a reminder, following close behind Abby, as the small girl took the lead. “...There’s no telling just what kind of surprises await us here,” she’d explain, glancing around.

…Though, to say anything was truly all that surprising, would have been a bit of a lie. In fact, everything so far had been tantamount to a culmination of what they had encountered thus far. The current of electricity was, of course, a bit off putting; but the blue glow of the room was more than familiar, given where she had spent most of her waking undeath up until this point. “...This appears to be similar to the station we woke up in,” she’d remark plainly, bringing a gloved hand to her chin as she glanced around the party. There were more questions posed by this revelation than answers, of course: for example, did this shrine also, once have heroes wake up in it, like they did? Or was it simply held in tact by the same power which held the church aloft? Did it serve the same purpose?

We'll find out soon, Marshall reasoned as she shook her head, keeping an eye out in the meantime; anything could yet happen, given how much they had to see still. Of course, the hallway within which they continued their journey, did little to answer any of her questions, in fact, giving way to many more, as carvings on either way showed both clear depictions of humans… And clear depiction of Animals, with nothing in between so far as she could see. That meant then, that there was then nothing like what they had seen from life in this world so far... Raising even more questions in the process, such as whether this shrine was constructed before even the Drengr and the people of the village existed, or if there was some other reason for the complete erasure of the animal-like figures they had seen so for…

But, well, that would be a question for a later juncture.

Now, Marshall had more confounding, though interesting, surprises to contend with as she glanced over the features of the split path, and saw… Water. Not just any water, of course; this was a shrine that would do with such, and the rain would have likely led to at least a bit of leakage down here, given the stairwell they had traveled down from. But for the water to coalesce into a familiar face… Now that, was a bit of a surprise. “Greetings, Dispatcher,” Marshall would relax, even if just for a moment, as she brought her right hand up to tighten her hat. “We have much to report after our morning shift,” she’d pause for a moment. “...That is, if you haven’t been observing us already.”

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"Alright, I'm a tough girl, so try to stay behind me,"

Sabrina felt herself relax at the words. She wasn't looking forward to going into the unknown underground that awaited them. At first she set out to silently followed along behind but then suddenly, as if only just remembering something, she blurted out "Don't have to worry! We're all tough...right? I'm sure whatever is in there is no match for my special powers anyway!"

As they entered Sabrina was about to quicken her pace to pass Abigail up to "prove" that she wasn't nervous at all.

Then the door closed and it was dark and she stuttered to a halt. The glow didn't help her to regain the shaky confidence so she kept her mouth shut and just continued along the path.

Sabrina soon became distracted however by the scenery they found themselves in. There was something about it that made her feel like they were about to enter a boss room of sorts and, despite the worrisome implications of that, she found herself growing excited to see what might be beyond the door.

Before that, though, they had another encounter with their mysterious guide. Sabrina hadn't really considered the fact that River had just appeared here until Marshal made a statement.

“...That is, if you haven’t been observing us already.”

River's interest was piqued as Marshall mentioned a report, but then nodded at her statement. "I have indeed been watching closely all that the Exalted have been doing since last we spoke, yes."

"O-oh you have? So..." Multiple scenes flashed in Sabrina's mind, trudging through the mud, hesitating against the drengr, and essentially every potential embarrassing moment. "Did anything....stand out?" She asked, failing to sound cool and composed about asking it.

Putting a finger to her chin, thinking back on the past day's events, the girl smiled and nodded. "Oh, yes in fact! If there was one thing that stood out to me most it would be a term that I am quite unfamiliar with. What is a Pokemon?"

Of all the things she could say that may have been the one that Sabrina expected the least. "Ah! It's a video game and anim...well, a video game is, uh." Sabrina found herself at an impasse where she was uncertain just how much she'd need to explain. "Pokemon are...imaginary monsters from a uh...game. That you catch and...have fight other monsters. U-um...."

Sabrina was caught between panic and excitement at suddenly having to explain something she liked to not only a girl from another world but, perhaps more frightening, a cute girl from another world.

"Oooh," genuine curiosity and interest on River's face as she continued, "what a fascinating game." The girl then looked at the others, and then over to herself, her tail briefly swinging in front of her before asking, "would I be considered a Pokemon?"

"C-Cute!" Sabrina could no longer handle the situation. River's response overloaded the teenager's senses and she found herself unable to respond. The cute girl was interested in what Sabrina was saying! And her question just made her even cuter! Overwhelmed by all this Sabrina was suddenly kneeling down as her legs gave out. "I....not...quite?" she managed to stammer out.

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“...Be on your guard. ...There’s no telling just what kind of surprises await us here.”

As the group entered through the door, the first surprise showed itself. The door had shut itself behind the party! Although they were left in total darkness, it didn't last long, before currents of electricity began running across the walls. It had a very sci-fi vibe to it in Abby's opinion, stone walls aside. Further down, the minerals this place was carved out of had changed, from simple stone to agate of various colors. Abby wouldn't have minded taking some for herself, but this place seemed pretty important, and it would probably be a whole process getting some of this stuff out of the walls & floor. Carved into the walls were depictions of humans - regular humans, without the animal features those of this world had - and various animals on the opposite wall. Further down, there was a fork in the hall, another wolf door being down one path. Before the party had much time to think about which way to go, they were greeted by a familiar face from just yesterday.

"Welcome, Exalted, to the Shrine of Storm."

Once again met with River, a conversation about Pokémon of all things ensued. What are they, and did River count as one? Sabrina seemed to be having trouble with the conversation - rightly so, since it was really cute and came out of nowhere - so Abby reasoned it probably would be best to change the subject before River said something that would kill Sabrina outright. Being down a member this early in the adventure sounded like something to avoid.

"Not quite a Pokémon, no," Abby agreed with a shake of her head. "Although, this Shrine of Storm also seems like something you might see in one of our world's games. Or at least, you definitely wouldn't find anything like it in our world itself. What sort of place is this anyway?"

River, who had been looking at Sabrina curiously, shifted focus over to Abby. “Oh this is, as the name suggests, a place to worship and venerate the god of thunder and lightning, the Aeon Storm. It is, as well, meant to serve as a trial for the Exalted to overcome in order to gain power in their quest.” Pausing and then back tracking the dragon girl said, “oh but technically this is a shrine to worship both Ocean and Storm and as such it’s full title would be the Shrine of Storm and Ocean. However my lady has told me that extraneous details are often excluded in common conversation, and as every shrine is meant to worship Ocean that part of the name was deemed extraneous. If you would prefer I refer to them by their full titles though I could correct myself for future encounters.”

"Uh, no, you don't need to include the extra details like that, but thanks." A trial to gain power, huh? Sabrina - slightly misguided though she may have been at times - seemed to have a pretty good handle on this world's workings so far, so this was probably her forte. "Anything we should know about the trial going in?"

“The trial will be divided into two parts. Firstly you must unlock this door,” she pointed to the door behind her before gesturing to the hallway to the side, “and to do so you must first find the two levers that do so. A word of note is that they must both be pulled simultaneously for it to work. The second part of the trail will involve combat against my Lady’s servant to see if you are able to wield the power bestowed here.” In the same somewhat chipper expository tone she added, “oh but they will try to mercilessly kill you so do be cognizant of that.”

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This was what he had expected from the name "Shrine of Storm". It was ornate, beautiful...breathtaking. There was definitely a difference in seeing a temple and shrine like this in many of his fantasy games and shows...but seeing it in person, it was a totally different experience for sure. Same time, while it had a fantasy style to it...there seemed to be...trace elements of science fiction? The way the electricity ran along the walls...yes, no mistaking it...it had that vibe as well.

...so...a mixture of fantasy and sci-fi? he thought, taking in the various colors and architecture that was surrounding him and his allies. ...then maybe some of this world is just that right out of a science fantasy? If so, then that would have some major implications for everything... Gene, however, kept that to himself for now. He honestly didn't need to be looked at strangely again. But then again, he was basically outnumbered...one to three. Drake and Percy, honestly he wasn't too sure where those two went...but they were the only other guys in the group...now...it was only him. He could try and frame it in the mindset that most men would kill to be in a situation like he was currently in: sent to a fantasy world with a party consisting of three women? Unfortunately, Gene wasn't thinking in that mindset...nor did he even feel like entertaining it.

"Welcome, Exalted, to the Shrine of Storm."

Eventually, he was snapped from his thoughts to see River standing beside a gilded gold door with a serpent and a orb carved overhead. He stood in silence as Marshall and Sabrina spoke to River...to which he was even surprised by the young dragon girl's question of her being like a 'Pokémon'. Then Abby spoke...and then there was some meat to this conversation...

“Oh this is, as the name suggests, a place to worship and venerate the god of thunder and lightning, the Aeon Storm. It is, as well, meant to serve as a trial for the Exalted to overcome in order to gain power in their quest. Oh but technically this is a shrine to worship both Ocean and Storm and as such it’s full title would be the Shrine of Storm and Ocean. However my lady has told me that extraneous details are often excluded in common conversation, and as every shrine is meant to worship Ocean that part of the name was deemed extraneous. If you would prefer I refer to them by their full titles though I could correct myself for future encounters.”

"...trials?" he muttered, putting a hand to his chin. It wasn't too farfetched in the grand scheme of things, considering the things he watched and played when he was in his own world. Eventually there would be trials that chosen people would have to face in order to gain and unlock new powers to utilize in their mission. Perhaps coming to the shrine was the best course of action after all.

"Anything we should know about the trial going in?"
“The trial will be divided into two parts. Firstly you must unlock this door, and to do so you must first find the two levers that do so. A word of note is that they must both be pulled simultaneously for it to work. The second part of the trail will involve combat against my Lady’s servant to see if you are able to wield the power bestowed here. Oh but they will try to mercilessly kill you so do be cognizant of that.”

Gene swallowed hard, his gulp being heard no doubt. So not only did they have to possibly split up to find the levers and pull them at the same time, but they also had to combat whatever servant that lay in waiting...oh and said servant was going to try and mercilessly kill them. Why was he suddenly getting cold feet now? Just yesterday he felt like a real chosen warrior in that fight...and yet today...he felt like he was nothing but a screw up.

He looked at River and spoke up after hearing this. "...s-so what are we supposed to do...?" Gene asked, trying to really avoid eye contact with her and even the other women in the group. "...and honestly...what are we supposed to do in general? Like...y-you said we're Exalted...basically heroes...we're supposed to defeat the Drengr...we're supposed to do all this stuff...but...how?" he paused, letting out a heavy sigh. "...I thought I knew how to do things here...i-it's a world of fantasy...well...to us anyway. A type of dungeons and dragons scenario...we come in, save the day, beat the bad guy. But...n-nothings black and white...nothings clear...and if I say or do something that normally would seem fine in a situation like that...I...I'm the odd one..." His voice began to waver at the end, his tone becoming more and more quieter as he finally went silent. Gene eventually looked at River again, his voice wavering still. "...are you sure you or your Lady didn't make a mistake...?"

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Free of pretention and obfuscation this in fact the dungeon BGM

River tilted her head in curiosity as Gene went to ask his question. After all, she had just answered what they were supposed to do. Though as the true nature of his question revealed itself River's confusion did not fade. "You are the Exalted. That I am here is proof enough of that so I do not believe it possible for me to make that sort of mistake and I know it is the Exalted who will deliver this world from its suffering. However, I am not privy to the decision making process of my Lady nor the criteria she searches for and so I cannot, definitively, answer whether she has made one or not. However, as she is my Lady I am inclined to believe that her judgement is sound and that you are all capable of fulfilling your mission. I had believed the means to accomplish your task were rather apparent, though if I have made an error in my explanation then I apologize and will endeavor to work harder in the future to ensure no further misunderstandings happen."

River gave a brief bow before continuing her explanation. "To clarify, the Drengr, or most creatures you will encounter, serve no greater purpose in whether or not you are able to save the world other than to aid and empower you. The only thing you must truly defeat is the Accursed and subsequently the Lord of Curses. That is how the world will be saved. The means by which you do so will more than likely be through combat, which is the purpose of the existence behind these shrines, your spirit weapons and the rune grafts bestowed to you. I suppose there is also the matter of the Aeons as well, who will be a means of gaining a greater power, as well as defeating foes of greater strength then yourself which will also allow you to gain even more power to accomplish your task." Giving a pause, River then gave a smile and pumped her arms up as if to emphasize the next part saying, "but of course your greatest weapon shall be your strength of spirit, so do work to never lose heart."  Another pause as River went back to a neutral state saying, "I hope my answer has proved sufficient enough." 

With Gene's question answered, the group was then directed down the hall, free to talk with River as she hadn't seemed to disappear as quickly as she did last time. River, though having legs, did not seem to walk and instead floated above the ground akin to how one might expect a ghost to. The hall itself wasn't particularly different from the rest of the shrine so far, save for the carvings on the wall being different. It had depicted the same animals and humans as it had before, animals on one side and humans on the other. However, they would notice rather than walking or standing still, these carvings seemed to depict them running away or on the ground. Once they had passed the halfway mark, a different type of creature seemed to join these carvings, somewhat humanoid in physiology but larger, more gangly, alien and having something protruding out of their strange arms, as they seemed to be marching towards both the humans and animals. This sight then gave way to another as they reached the end of the hall. 

The new room was starkly different in regards to the last one they were in. While the hall's ceiling seemed to stretch only seven feet high, this one was far far greater in height. And width as well. They would find themselves on a stone bridge that lead to another exit out of the room. On either side of the bridge was blue shimmering water, stretching out to the far ends of the room. Similarly on either side of the room at the opposite end of the entrance they would be able to see two different sets of platforms coming out from the walls. The platform on the left seemed to be incredibly high up, while the platform on the right seemed to be closer to three platforms forming an incredibly steep staircase. On the highest of the right side and on the left side platform they would be able to see two other notable things. One that there seemed to be an entrance, or exit, to the room next to these platforms. Two, that they both had a golden lever on them. 



And here you go the first challenge of the RP that doesn't involve killing stuff. Or does it? Because that last paragraph is a block of text here's a map to hopefully illustrate what I was saying. As always feel free to ask for info or ask River for questions. Technically you don't even need to get to this room on your post I just wanted to expedite the process.


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"Aeon Storm..." Sabrina repeated under her breath. Slowly recovering from her earlier lapse. It sounded so cool! And this place was their temple? The temple of the Aeon Storm... They must be incredibly powerful if they had a name that amazing.

Sabrina nodded along to what River was saying their task was. For the girl the latter half didn't concern her nearly as much as the first. With a look of dread in her face she muttered, "oh no, a puzzle."

There was a reason most of her favorite games involved either no puzzles or simple ones. She would have to do what she could and hope that at very least she could avoid having to do one of those sliding puzzle things.

She was surprised at Gene's question. Something must have shaken him up but she had no idea where it might have come from. He continued to be a strange and unknowable being. Whatever the case River was quick to....give some sort of answer. With her head full of worry over the puzzle she wasn't sure what it was she was telling him except that they just had to beat the bad guys to win.

As they walked down the hall Sabrina's eye kept flicking over towards River. Finally she felt confident enough to ask what was on her mind. "So...why exactly do we need to unlock the door like this? Can't we, uh, skip to the thing trying to kill us part?"

River thought about it for a moment before saying, “I cannot speak for my Lady here and was not given such an explanation myself. However if I were to offer conjecture on it I would believe it is because the Accursed and the areas they are imprisoned in are not so straightforward and this is to help familiarize yourself more with your powers and how to utilize them beyond combat.” River pointed to the door on the opposite side of the room, “or become accustomed to taking the path of most resistance.”

"Oh. I see." Sabrina said, not understanding what River said. "Does that mean there will be more puzzles in the future?" Suddenly this hero thing had gotten much scarier.

“Forgive me for my use of conjecture once again, but I believe so.” The girl nodded.

"You're forgiven." Sabrina said, then looked away awkwardly as she thought that was a weird thing to say to someone.

The girl took a deep breath. She had to try. She had to figure out some way to help solve this. Because if she didn't then it might give them more reason to not keep her around. The worst outcome for her that she could think of was someone deciding that perhaps Sabrina was not meant to come here after all and trying to send her back.

So she examined the room as best she could. The gears in her brain turning as she attempted to take everything in and come to a solution.

Finally, she spoke out loud the one thought that came to her mind. "I can make the jump..."

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      And fly west.”
      Decided to host something of my own. I’ve been on this site long enough that it was bound to happen eventually. This is a fantasy journey RP with a hint of mystery to it. Part of a watchdog's duty, after all, is getting to the root of an area’s problem and flushing it out, and that requires some investigation. Or you could just call upon your patron to smite the place. After all, there can’t be a problem with the town if there’s no town to begin with.
      I was thinkinking three to five players, though I suppose that depends on the level of interest. Feel free to ask me any other questions you might have, and I hope you enjoy!
      The Story So Far
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    • By radio414

      OH Muse, I sing to thee a song most pure
      And hope the winds might play again to you
      Please carry, breeze, the tune I’ve writ: a cure
      For all your ails and let your soul renew
      --Song for the End of the World, lines 1-4
      Notes from Captain Helmsley’s Logbook
      I never got a clear answer from those dogs I picked up a few days back. “West” was all they told me. I think they trust that I’m going to get them to the right spot, but I’ll be damned if I know what that is. I never even found out how one of them got on this ship in the first place but he’s a watchdog too so he too got passage.
      I did have some cargo I needed to drop off that way, though. Got commissioned to take some fabrics out to Galatea. I know that’s not the farthest west you can get, but until I get some clearer answers, that’s about all I can give them.
      That’s not to imply Galatea is an awful place to be, of course. Once upon a time, before captaining this ship became what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, I thought for a bit about retiring there. I’d still probably like it, too. It’s not as big a trading hub as, say, Sindalium, but Sindalium has a load of other issues that Galatea just doesn’t have. I avoid Sindalium when I can.
      Galatea, though, what an island! If I had to pick one -- just one! -- feature that puts it above all the others this far west, what else can my answer be but the temple square?
      The temple square! Where every god and every goddess has a temple dedicated to them and no other. The architecture alone, every building is unique in its design, each one in exact specifications to the priests of that deity. It’s a marvel to look at. And not only that, the cobblestone area in the middle has each stone inscribed with a prayer. Some of them have faded over time, but the memories are still there. Speaking of memories, maybe I’ll stop by after handling my own business. It’s good to keep these old bones active.
      We’re set to arrive mid-morning tomorrow. I hope this is the place these dogs were meant to go. If it wasn’t, I hope they enjoy their stay.
      Amir’s Dream
      He dreams of a great bonfire. It crackles and roars and yet never seems to escape the confines set by its kindling. Surrounding it in concentric circles are an endless number of faceless beings, each staring at the fire. They seem to lean back and forth, gyrating, causing ripples of motion spreading back to where the fire’s light cannot reach.
      One of the beings, not from one of the closest rings, but maybe a ring or two back, steps forward. They are inches from the fire, now, and yet, they show no fear. Nor do they show any hesitation at all as they bend down and, in one swift motion, pull out a still-burning log from the fire.
      The fire continues to consume the wood, but the embers do not move onto their hand. Even as they hold the log aloft, even as they begin to hum a single, low note and begin to move again, back and forth, the fire only seems to burn the wood.
      The hum, like the movement of each individual form, seems to ripple back into the crowd. But each form hums a different tone, each one kind of matching the ones near it and yet never quite the same. It creates a cacophony, one that grows louder every moment as more and more join in.
      The ripples of movement move faster and faster. The sound drowns out the roar of the fire and continues to get louder and louder until, finally, the vision fades, and, eventually, so too does the hum.
      Emily Briar paced back and forth on the dock, watching the Swallow Tail lazily drift down into port. It was late, and yes, the difference between “mid-morning” and “mid-day” was only a few hours, and yes, it was actually rather impressive that zeppelins arrived on the same day as their charted predictions, no matter the actual time, but didn’t they know she had business with one of its passengers?
      Well, of course they didn’t know; Emily hadn’t actually told them yet. But she just had to get their attention. She had put on her best dress and everything, a deep green to compliment her orange-red hair. She couldn’t fail now. So if the Swallow Tail could just land already, if everyone could disembark…
      There was a crowd starting to gather. Emily wondered if every island had these sorts of gawkers, the kind of people who showed up just to catch a glimpse of the new arrivals. She tried to pay these people no mind. They were just things to get around, and it wasn’t like she wasn’t willing to jab a few elbows into stomachs if she needed to.
      One particular member of the crowd drew her attention, though, and realizing who it was caused Emily to curse under her breath. What was Levanna Marcus doing here? What business did she have that couldn’t happen when the dogs inevitably made it up to the temple square? Emily watched her wade through the masses. Of course, she could command such authority that people just naturally got out of the way for her. Not even a “Make way!” or anything, just a fluid motion, always forward towards the docking zeppelin.
      At last, the ropes had finally all been tied. Emily’s journey to the front of the crowd, as expected, was significantly rougher than Levanna’s, but she managed all the same. She wasn’t able to get to the dogs first, but Emily was close enough now she could hear everything Levanna was saying.
      “Welcome to Galatea!” Levanna said, leading, of course, with that classic empty phrase accompanied by its naturally empty tone. “Welcome to our humble island. I trust you had a pleasant trip?”
      As Levanna continued with her introduction, (“My name is Levanna Marcus blah blah blah… I’m part of the council that oversees the theocratic goings-on around here blah blah blah…”) Emily craned her neck as she moved forward, trying to get a better glimpse. There was one specific watchdog she needed. More, of course, could never hurt, but she needed to know which of them specifically she needed to aim for.
      Emily had forgotten that watchdogs could be so young. Two of them were hardly older than she was! But it was the youngest one, and the only girl among the four, that caught her eye specifically. Nuumu’s watchdog, that had to be her. And so she pressed on.
      Levanna had just finished saying, “Why don’t we retire to my office chambers and I can show you a little hospitality? This afternoon may be a little busy for one of you; one of our blacksmiths has been toiling away at something he would like to offer to Taros. I’m sure it would mean the world to them if you oversaw the ceremony,” when, in one final surge, Emily managed to make it to the part in the crowd. And when Levanna turned around to lead the watchdogs away, Emily took her chance.
      Her hand shot out, seizing the Nuumu watchdog by the wrist. Her grip was firmer than she’d intended, but she was more focused on what she had to say next anyway. “Excuse me, miss,” Emily said. “I was wondering if you could come with me? It will only take a moment, and then I can show you to wherever you intend to go.”
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