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No title.
(2013-08-13 - 2013-10-05)
No description.

The small rural community outside Lindblum is in an uproar. About a week ago, a prospecting miner fell right into the underground den of a family of Lamia. Aside from surprise on both parties, things were swiftly smoothed over; both local humans and snake-people alike were content to trade and otherwise stay out of each other's business. That is, until three days ago. First, it was a baker's son. Then the local priest's cousin. And finally, the mayor's grandson. All three dissappeared, with no explaination! Only shadowy figures and strange eyes in the darkness.

Faruja Senra and his companions from the Shard Seekers stand before the bald, short, hunched figure of an old human. Leaning on two canes, sitting back on a barrel, his beard very nearly touches the floor. What passes for local militia, two burly farmers with pitchforks, stands guard. The entire community seems keyed up, and eyes the strangers before them with suspicion.

Faruja inwardly sighs. For the last half hour, the old man has been lecturing the group about 'horrible, evil, man-eating snake women' coming from the darkness to eat their fellows. Finally, the rat's had enough.

"AHEM! Honored Mayor, 'tis all well and good, however let us get down to the point of the matter; where is their den, and how long ago did they dissappear?"

The old man huh's, and blinks. "Ehhh? Three days ago! To the north! Weren't you paying attention young man?" Whack! A cane swiftly swats the Burmecian's head. "And don't talk back to your elders!"
Skoll Ulfang "You heard the man. Don't talk back to 'yer elders." Skoll muses, standing right next to the rat with his arms crossed. He then pats the Burmecian's shoulder and smirks at him. "Come on, let's go." Skoll actually paid attention throughout the entire thing, which is in a ways amazing. But then, knowing who and what Skoll is, one has to have an enormous amount of patience one way or the other.

The werewolf quickly looks behind Faruja at the others who might also have gathered here. Sure they brought Chocobos for the ride? Assuming the Chocobos didn't /fall asleep/ while listening to the priest drone on and on... and on... and on...
Synestria If this sort of scene didn't call the attention of another of their number, who knows what would?

Synestria, as a result of this call, has joined Faruja's little band, whether she was part of the Shard Seekers or not. She stares at the mayor, but then pats Faruja on the shoulder. "Come on, Mousey. The sooner we find why their doing this, the sooner we can either convince them to stop, or stop them."
Shiki Number Two Shiki Misaki isn't quite sure what to make of all this. She remembers meeting Nagetta- so she knows for a fact that lamia aren't just like regular monsters. She's not quite sure what to make of this disappearence, and she's mostly coming along to make sure nobody gets hurt on either side. Or if the worst comes to the worst, well... snakes don't like cold.

She hopes it doesn't come to that.

However, because she's so unsure, she's been quite silent- hanging near the back of the group, following in a funk. She's certainly NOT been bored asleep by the priest.
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart intercepts the cane whipping suddenly, an open hand stopping it just an inch over Faruja's head. She gives a glare to the man, an invitation to never do that again to people that would be helping them.

She took the Shard Seeker's invitation to help out with the search, since she's been around the Chocobo Fields alot. Its close to home, to her bar, and to the ranch, and she's visited the area alot while training her chocobo.

The sound of a 'kweh' comes from behind, where the fire red chocobo is standing, ruffling his feathers a bit, trotting around the familiar area as well... as if it was already doing some searching on its own.

She shakes her head, leaving the old man be for now "So we should be starting the search up north hm?" She turns over to meet up with the chocobo, hopping up on its saddle.
Zia It's probably a good thing that Zia didn't come to this particular mission without her cloak. If the old man has this much of an issue with snake women, what would he think of a gargoyle? Better not to find out. "Crazy old bat." She mutters under her breath, making sure she's out of ear-shot and out of the reach of his cane.

The white gargoyle glances at Faruja, then the array of others, but since the poor Templar has already got supporters crowded around them, she sinks to the background, walking along with her cloak dangling near her feet, trying not to let the great taloned appendages be seen. Why must there still be worlds that look down on certain non-humans.

It just so happens she's standing near Shiki as they head out, and the gargoyle offers her a look from her cloak-covered eyes. "Good thing ye didnae show him yer cat-friend. He'd probably had us all chased wi' pitchforks."
Alma Hyral Alma needed something to take her mind off /things/. Angsty /things/ that don't need to be recounted here.

Fortunately the Shard Seekers appeared to be offering her an oppurtunity to do that. And while her first impression of them was horrible on the account of being made a scullery maid in Mullonde for a few days by Faruja after blessing him in the name of another deity when she couldn't pay the fine. Her second impression was even worse because of the incorrigible Ivo Galvan taking advantage of an amnesiac when she visited their headquarters.. she decided to give them another chance.

Third times a charm right? She hoped so.

Faruja gets whacked by a cane, and she winces, giggling just a little bit. I mean /what/!? He deserved it! Scullery maid! She was wearing her typical White Mage robes, even if a pair of denim jeans and boots peaked out from beneath the hem.

Once she stifled that giggle she states in a voice that's entirely too solemn, "You really should pay more attention, Faruja."

She gave some of the others gathered curious looks, she didn't know most of them, but introductions could come in time. Her gaze lingered on Zia for a moment, as she reminded her of the Gargoyle she'd seen with the TDA.
Shiki Number Two Oh hey, Alma's here. Shiki gives her a little wave.

I'm so sorry about Ivo! I'm so, so sorry! her eyes seem to say.

How could you maintain a low opinion of the Shard Seekers when Shiki's here? And Mr. Mew is here too! He pokes his head out from under Shiki's hat and just seems to give Zia this deadpan look.

How, we're not sure.
Deelel Deelel had met a few Lamias in her life notably one that was a dragoon, that was one of the most crazy sights she'd ever seen. Not in a bad way but for how amazing the world was. She knew still this could be a problem. Just what was going on with the Lamias? She'd kept quiet after all she wasn't human and well? Given the stare the people are in they don't need to know something that some would consider an unnatural creature was lurking about, actually helping them.

She looks over to Faruja she'd not been fond of Chocobos for ride, honestly. She preferred something that became an extension of herself like a lightcyle. Sigh she does not look too good as she hangs on to the Chocobo looking like it might explode at any moment.

"How do you all ride these things?!?"

The others words are not ignored but she's looking wigged out by the darn bird. The chocobo almost seems to be enjoying her discomfort.
Zeke Zeke shared Deelel's dislike of riding birds. "I dunno love but horses these things aint." He looked positivly green. As for Lamia... given who and what he had in his crew and said dragoon-lamia had an open invitation to join if she had need or inclination he was more than willing to give anything a chance. "Please," He sounded more tha na little despirate, "What's the secret of these ruddy feathered beasts?"
Eric Bartholomew Eric Bartholomew Mimsy III wasn't entirely sure why he was here. Maybe he'd wanted to get out of Lindblum from a busy day of catching up with business, or maybe he was actually interested in rescuing inhabitants of Lindblum... or maybe he'd just heard Faruja Senra was here. Really, any of those three could be it, but the last one was oddly poignant. Fortunately for his attention span, and unfortunately for his understanding of the situation, Eric happened to appear at the back of the group just in time to see the mayor bop Faruja on the head. He winced even as a chortle escaped him.

"Not entirely fair of thee to be bopping humble Churchmice on the head, now is it?" he called out from the back, waving at Faruja good-naturedly. He was pretty sure being called a mouse would grate on the fellow Burmecian's nerves... which was the entire point.

"Eric Bartholomew, at your service," he introduced himself (incompletely) with a flourished bow and a grin to anyone who didn't happen to already be acquainted with himself... and simultaneously unintentionally volunteered to help with the quest at hand.
Faruja Senra Synestria, is generally left unmolested, appearing human as she is. When they're away, Faruja responds to her. "Agreed. Mayhaps, M'Lady Syn, you shall be the key to such!" The rat doesn't necessarily explain /why/ that might be.

Saved by the barmaiden! Faruja casts a thankful glance to Tifa as she catches the cane, the Burmecian quick to get on with things. Skoll pats him on the back, and Faruja shakes his head. "Next it shall be the paddle or somesuch." Huff! He's not a badly behaving child!

"North, 'tis M'Lady Lockhart. Should be easy enough travel." Indeed, the Chocobo Plains are as flat as most plains tend to be!

"Heard that ya stoney lass!" Yells out the old man at Zia. It seems his ears are one thing that /isn't/ going.

Faruja grits his teeth as Alma speaks. Deep breath! And out. "A lesson I shall keep in mind Lady Hyral." Grump grump!

Ear-perk. A brow rises. "I AM NOT A MOUSE, SER BARTHOLOMEW!" FAruja's lungs still work.

The Templar may be cheating a bit, astride the wyvern Arista as she flies along lazily above the ground. The creature keeps occasionally looking at the birds (or their riders) hungrily. The pair of knight and mount occasionally argue in draconic, leading to a grumpy looking wyvern. "Simple, Lady Deel, good Captain! Treat the bird as thy friend, and hold on! Light pressure upon their neck to steer!" Comments the rat.

After some traveling, monsters generally leaving such a large group alone, the party comes across a gaping hole in the grand; or at least what may once have been such. A tent covers the entryway to the lamia's home, brown and large. A sign is hammered into the ground, stating; "Private lair! Tresspassers will be bitten and possibly eaten! Salesmen and Ajora's Witnesses /will/ be eaten!"

As the group nears, a figure slithers out from the tent. The human portion of the female looks no more than twenty, with short and messy blonde hair, and large green eyes. She wears a simple striped t-shirt and jacket covering a relatively slim frame that transitions to brown, dusty scales and a ten foot long tail. In her hands, she has a shotgun.

"HEY! You're on our land! You with those yokels near Lindblum?" Yells out the snakess. While she doesn't level her weapon, she looks quite peeved, and perhaps a bit scared.
Zeke Zeke glowered at the townsfolk but said nothing. He wasn't needed yet, they were just cowardly superstitious and upset. Grumble Grumble "Hey." He tried finding a comfortable position on his bird. "Look birdy I'm not much of a rider so mind going easy on the rolling lumpy gait?"

WARK! HOP! Zeke looked sick shut up and didn't open his mouth til he saw the 'trespassers will be bitten' sign and shook his head. "Can't say that's an entirely effective deterrant. i've known half a dozen or so people stupid and or drunk enough to roll around in something godsaweful just to see what the reaction may yet be." And then he lost his lunch.

Mighty man of the sea lain low by a common bird. He'll never hear the end of this.
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart smiles as some of the others ask for ways to control the birds "That's because you're thinking of them as objects. They are intelligent creatures, they sense your confusion or insecurity. Try to make friends with them, understand them instead, they communicate int heir own way. If you give it your trust they won't let you down either." She leans against the neck of her chcoobo, petting under its beak. Premium Heart 'kweh~' happily as a reply, as if it understood what was being said. It doesn't really, but it understands its about her at least.

She nods to Faruja, pulling up on the reins and following over the fields... until they come up with the Lamiass... Well at least they seem intelligent enough to talk, so dialog is possible... "I'm impressed that they 'slither' their 's' sound even when writing." She shrugs at that, but she slides off her chocobo, if only to show good intentions that she's not going to charge in atop of it at least.

Plus she fights better on foot if need is.
Zeke Zeke glowered at the townsfolk but said nothing. He wasn't needed yet, they were just cowardly superstitious and upset. Grumble Grumble "Hey." He tried finding a comfortable position on his bird. "Look birdy I'm not much of a rider so mind going easy on the rolling lumpy gait?"

WARK! HOP! Zeke looked sick shut up and didn't open his mouth til he saw the 'trespassers will be bitten' sign and shook his head. "Can't say that's an entirely effective deterrant. i've known half a dozen or so people stupid and or drunk enough to roll around in something godsaweful just to see what the reaction may yet be." And then he lost his lunch.

Mighty man of the sea lain low by a common bird. He'll never hear the end of this.

After regaining at least a little composure he looked over at Tifa. "Pardon lass but horses i know. Fish and whale aplenty I know." He patted the chocobo's neck. "This beast be a mystery to me. And it seems to like making me suffer for it."
Skoll Ulfang Red chocobo. Why did it have to be a red chocobo!? Skoll looks back at Tifa's Chocobo with a bit of a nervous gaze, before glancing towards Zia. She was right of course. The man was a crazy old bat. But if it hadn't been for crazy old bats - her crystal would still be broken right now. So you have to give the elderly some respect. Being near Lindblum, there's plenty of demihumans around, so it's very possible that the Gargoyle's attempts might just be for naught. Still, it matters little. They'll be leaving soon after all. "Aye. You heard the lady." Skoll agrees with Alma, while he continues to regard Faruja. Poor mouse. Then suddenly Faruja goes yelling at Bartholomew. Oh hey, another Burmecian!

"But you're fine with us calling you Mouse." Skoll comments to the Nezumi with bemusement.

Cut to Skoll helping Zia onto a proper /yellow/ Chocobo. Nice and safe. They ride off into the distance, and soon come upon the Snakessssssssss. Skoll notices immediately that they aren't really all that... scary looking. Other than the one with a shotgun. "Seriously? A Lamia with a shotgun? What'll be next?"
Zia It isn't the first time lately that Zia has been stared at, and the gargoyle nervously glances back, then tucks her cloak closer around herself. Among those who know her, she's hardly shy about her appearance, but with the village so close by, the last thing she needs is someone drawing more attention to it. Maybe the mouse could pass for something harmless, but a creature with great bat wings and talons is going to have a bit of a harder time explaining that they aren't the source of the problem, somehow.

Her gaze meets the deadpan expression of the cat. "Well, ye are a wee bit unusual, Sir cat." So long as he doesn't have a knife out, the gargoyle doesn't seem quite as nervous around the plushie. Most of these others she's seen before, so the gargoyle doesn't bother with introductions. The only one who does is Eric, to whom she inclines her head. "Good day te ye." She winces as the old man calls behind her. Oops.

As the others deal with their various troubles (or not) with their chocobos, Zia actually offers a hand out to the resident werewolf, pulling herself in behind him for the ride. Normally, she'd fly the distance, but... not right in front of the village. Luckily, it's a big bird.

When they arrive, she's quick to slide down, if only because riding doesn't come naturally to her. "Ah dinane think Ah'll ever get usedte burden beasts." The gargoyle rubs at her tail, and then finally draws back her hood, unclasping the cloak so she can toss the thing up across Skoll's saddle and not worry about it. Most of the people knew what she was, anyways. "Shakes wi' shotguns sounds like the sequel to Snakes on a Plane." She notes, absently.
Synestria Hopping up on a chocobo herself, Synestria sits side saddle the whole way to the cave.

Once there, she slid off the saddle and smirks at the sign once they get to the cave. "Well that's a wonderful welcome, isn't it?" She then walks her way forwards towards the Lamia and tilts her head. "Yes we're on your land, but we've come here with a few concerns, it seems." She then holds up her hand. "If you could lower the shotgun, please?" She then looks to Faruja. "Be civil, Faruja....please?"
Alma Hyral Alma offers Shiki something of a shy wave and a smile. She barely knew who Shiki was other than the person fixing up a custom Cactuar costume with the Shard Seeker's

To Faruja she just smiles quite sweetly. She'd forgiven, but she hadn't forgotten, and seeing a little bit of cosmic Karma coming his way was always a little comforting.

Alma rides on a yellow Chocobo, a rental that she'd literally named Trouble. She'd only fallen off.. twice. "You are causing me so much grief, bird." She mutters to it as she follows along, lagging behind the group only a little bit. It only replied in a sing-song waarkkwarkwarrkkk. Tifa's lesson didn't even need to be said. She was taking it to heart that they were indeed intelligent creatures. She just had a feeling that it was trolling her.

Alma asks to Skoll in genuine confusion when Faruja yells at Eric, "So wait, he doesn't want us calling him Mouse? Is that offensive to his people? What should we call him? He's not a rat is he?" Also because she was fixated on Skoll's ears which she finds pretty adorable.

When they arrive at the Lamia's lair, she looks at the sign, commenting, "Well that's more honest than Feige Abramson's /Not a Secret Lair/ sign from" When the Lamia comes out, she just observes it with curiosity, uncertain what exactly to say that would make this situation better.
Shiki Number Two "Let's bounce before he busts a blood vessel," Shiki suggests, cringing a little bit. She sucks it up and puts on her best smile- after all, she's surrounded by so many close friends, she can't help but do so when the pressure's off. She's got to make sure she doesn't look glum, or that's a lot of people she'll be making concerned!

Fortunately, she's experienced with Chobobos and riding thereof, or at least more experienced than some people around here. So she doesn't have much of a problem when they go riding. It's pretty relaxing, and she just sits back and lets her worries subside.

You could almost hum Ukelele de ChocoSHOTGUN?! Where did a lamia get a shotgun from?

Shiki gulps as they end up facing down a lamia almost immediately, and Mr. Mew hides again. He's made of fluff, shotguns are bad for him.

Still, Shiki can recognise the fear in the lady snake's expression. "Easy," she says, also dismounting. "We're just looking for some lost people."
Deelel Deelel is still clinging to her chocobo and looking most uncomfortable from the looks of her but she's going to make due, she's really going to make due with it. The comment of calling Faruja a mouse manage to get a bit of a laugh out of the basic. She knows it wasn't meant in any sense of unkindness, still how flustered Faurja got over it? Made it pretty priceless.

"All right, I'll try...?"

She sounds uncertain as she follows Faruja's suggestion about how to handle the bird hopefully it will work and she won't end up having a meteor dropped on her head for her trouble. No she has no idea which breeds can or can nod do that. She gives the Lamia's a surprised look, Lamia's with a shotgun? Okay that was new.


Yes keep it cool Deelel, nothing bad could happen right? Well if she stays civil something strange has to be going on here right? Then again perhaps Nagetta has given her a different outlook on the Lamia race than many would have.
Eric Bartholomew Eric grinned in satisfaction when Faru shouted at him - score!

"Generally Burmecians don't like being compared to rodents," Eric answered Alma's question, despite the query not being aimed at himself. "Rats and nezumi aren't even that closely related as species, and being called a rat is rather a bit of an insult even amongst our own kind."

The beginning of that last statement would be perplexing to anyone who knew Japanese, since nezumi actually translates literally as 'rat', but Eric didn't even know Japan existed. Oh, hey, Faru, Eric's making mild implications about evolution. Faru, go defend your religion!

Eric followed along on his rental Chocobo - he would have loved to own one himself but rather didn't like the idea of being too busy to visit it every day - and was rather good-natured right up until the Lamia with the shotgun. To this, he squeaked and shrunk to the back of the group, rather a bit intimidated since he'd dismounted his chocobo by this time. He still had hold of the reigns and was petting the chocobo in a soothing manner, but it seemed to do more for his own nerves than the chocobo's since the yellow bird gazed on in a stalwart manner. Lamia apparently did not frighten it.
Nagetta Nagetta's on tail herself, most Chocobos run away when they see the lamia. Of course this means she's a bit behind everyone else. At least until they're stopped with the lamia with the shotgun. There are other talking lamias besides her and Syn? She looks a bit surprised to hear that. Which why she's been remaining so quiet. "Hello...we're not going to hurt you. Could you please put the weapon down?" The snake girl moves to the front of the group, hoping her presence might calm things a bit.
Faruja Senra Faruja goes red in the ears, those two appendages folding back at Skoll's comment. "...'Tis a term of endearment." Mutters the rat, a bit squeakily and sheepishly. Then there's Alma. "...Nezumi or Burmecian, if 'tis pleasing, M'Lady Hyral." It seems no one has clued him in to the idea of what 'nezumi' means in japanese. The poor rat just sounds defeated at this point.

"Well said, Eric!" Faruja sounds more than a touch happy at the man picking up the explainations.

The lamia looks over the group, frowning as some members address her and others make gestures of being 'not threats'. Out of all of them, Shiki and especially Nagetta seems to get the woman's attention. "...That true?" Faruja gives a nod, and a flick of the tail to the pair of women. A thumbs-up, in nezumi!

"Yes, M'Lady. It seems as though the villagers blame thyselves for their missing...." starts the rat. Hisss! The lamia shakes her head.

"Wasn't us! I swear! Yeah, we've gone to the village a time or two, but it wasn't like that! Always during the day, too! Just a bunch of idiots blaming the first non-human thing they can spy!"

Faruja raises his hands plaintively. "We believe thee, M'Lady, truly!"

Before the rat can say anything else, the lamia sighs. "...Really? Well. I guess someone who's running around with one of us isn't about to lay the blame on us. Sorry. Just tell those idiots we're missing people two. My two daughters are missing, and so is Jane! Two days we saw some beady little yellow eyes in the darkness. Tried to get everybody inside, but...couldn't." Finally, she puts away the gun. "Come on in." She calls out. Faruja dismounts his own mount, and heads off behind! Should the rest of the group enter, they'll find themselves led down to a twisting set of tunnels, large enough for three to walk abreast. Down one forked passage, two lamia women stand guard, the way further blocked off by piled up boxes, and other assorted junk. The group halts there, the lamia woman nodding. "That's where they came from, those.../THINGS/! And ya know, the others were talking about hearing screams. Not lamia ones. Human ones."
Zeke Zeke slid off his chocobo and patted it's side. "Good bird. nice bird. Sorry I'm out of practice riding." He huffed and grumbled. Then got headbutted by ye olde bird. "I take that you like me then aye? Well be a good bird an when we get back I'll see about getting you something crunchy deal?"


And with that said Zeke slowly pulled his coat off, anyone in party or in the lamia community would see a few pistols rattling around, hear many other things. He kept slow as he draped it over the chocobo. "Jus' t'show I mean no 'arm.," He explained before approaching. "Ah only came along on request fer some extra eyes an I dunna kneh tha situation on account of bein land-sick on yonder bird but it seems people be missin. Noone here is assumin ye be th'cause or that yer intent be anythin other than self defense but we seek information. If ye wish t'help tha'd be right grand an we can all part ways on good terms. No harm done and maybe a little good in th'long run."

What? Zeke was a merchant, this was a possible customer market. Plus they could probably use a few friendly helpful faces about now. "Truely we mean no harm jus' a few questions an we be out o yer scales." This is Zeke's sincere Face.

This is also Zeke's Grateful Face when Nagetta slithered to the front of the crowd. He didn't say anything to her but he stood beside the lady snake and waited, hoping.
Shiki Number Two Shiki makes a disgruntled sigh. "I'm sorry. It's tough when people judge you by appearences." She sounds like she's talking from experience. She glances at Eric and Faruja, and then at Alma- and when she spots Nagetta, waves her over. "Long time no see!"

Unfortunately, she knows all too well what the description is when it's given- she's gotten very used to recognising yellow eyes in the darkness, and it tends to mean only one thing. Mr. Mew takes point with a flashlight when they head inside, although it's really only one of those tiny ones you use to read by. Still, if someone laughs, then that's a victory in his book.
Synestria Synestria smiles to the Lamia. "Two of you." She says before looking back to Nagetta and a friendly wave can be seen until she follows the Lamia down the tunnels. "Man this would be a tight fit if I was normal." Of course, she stayed with Nagetta as well. She not only considered Nagetta a friend, but an unofficial member of her clan, whether she realized it or not. However, at the end of the tunnel, she cracks her neck. "Issssss there another way around, or issssss thisssss the only way through.

Not, that's not a lisp she's sporting suddenly.....
Zia The white gargoyle's ears tip down a little at the prospect that she might have been speaking ill of her dear mouse friend for such a long time. "Ye have m'sincerest apologies. Ah didnae know it was offensive." Clearly, she's taken aback by it. "Ah'll try te be more careful in the future." She probably feels that much worse about it, since her lack of using names means that Zia has called Faruja a mouse... a lot. Oops.

Staying a step back, Zia ends up standing not far from Alma, meaning that the white mage can probably now see the gargoyle form that was hidden before. She allows Faruja to do the talking, feeling a bit chagrined about having made certain social mistakes, her tail idlely twitching behind her.

It isn't until the Lamia begin to lead them that she speaks up again, "Yellow eyes." She notes, "Tha sounds a wee bit familiar, aye?" Looking to the others, she hesitates. Afterall, almost everyone here has run into the Heartless from time to time. Clearly, that's her first guess as to the identity of the kidnappers. "Then again, Ah dinnae know if we'd even hear screams if it were Heartless."
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart is glad that they don't have to fight right out at least. "I'm sorry for the disturbance then. If we find your missing kindred we'll be sure to send them back your way." As for the villagers... well, humans are bad untrusting creatures, as sad as that makes her. Living with other races like Zia, Faruja and even duckpeople, she doesn't share that feeling anymore at least.

She slides back on top of Premium Heart "So black creatures with yellow eyes huh... sounds like heartless... but they usually don't capture, or so I thought." She makes sure she's not within hearing range too "I thought they pretty much just tore anyone's heart away, not put them in cages or something..."
Skoll Ulfang "Aye. Sounds like heartless." Skoll answers Zia, frowning deeply. He's letting the others do the talking for this whole mess. He does take his time to get off of his Chocobo upon arrival, and then offers a hand up towards Zia. Heh, calling Burmecians a mouse is an 'endearment'. He'll have to keep that in mind too. "Take my hand." Skoll whispers to Zia, in an attempt to help her down and then follow after the Lamia.
Alma Hyral She listens to explanations from both Eric and Faruja. Before finally deciding in a voice filled with consternation.. "I'll just.. go with Burmecian. Less ambiguous."

There is a moment when the Lamia mentions beady yellow eyes that Alma looks like she's been shot. Her expression wide with... fear? Before she closes her eyes, beginning to breathe quite rapidly. It takes some time for her to calm herself down, far more than by all rights, it ought to have, before finally stating to Zia, "M..more familiar than y-you know." However her fear was not of Heartless... after all. They weren't the apex predator with yellow eyes. Not anymore if mad SCIENCE had anything to say about it.

However she then falls into a sullen silence, as if she were trying to get over a shock that was seemed appalling traumatic to her.
Deelel Deelel is more focused on the Lamia issue than further comment on Faruja's nickname. She does give Shiki a look and a faintly smile before turning her attention back to the Lamia for a moment. Also speaking of Lamias she does notice Nagetta and hopes just by her presence that they might be able to talk this out. Discrimination is a problem but it is also known some Lamias did eat people. On the other hand nothing seems to give away that.

"Wait more people have gone missing?"

Was something targeting both the Lamias and the human settlement? It seemed to be very likely. She hops of her bid and gives it some greens, that seems to placate the bird which is still amused at this.

"I do not like the sounds of this, Zeke? you got any ideas on this?"

At the mention of yellow eyes she has to nod in agreement to Zia.

"Sounds like what I think it is, Zia."

Alma meanwhile gets a bit of a look too as she's also clicked, Deelel doesn't quite go for her disc yet? But the weapon has been unlocked should it be needed.

"Shiki keep with me also I have some pictures to show you later..."
Nagetta "Yes, it sounds like the heartless." Nagetta nods in agreement with the others. "They kidnapped a few other of the others...we have to find them!" The normally soft-spoken girl is louder than usual. There's no telling what they might do. It figures, she finally meets some more lamia and there's already trouble. Hopefully they weren't too late. "Oh yes, hello Shiki. I have something I need to ask you about later." The current matter was a bit more important.
Synestria Synestria chuckles a bit as she sees Nagetta get right to the heart of the matter, but she doesn't really mind. "At leasssst we're not hunting Lamia here." She says as her form shifts from the slight human she was before, into a lamia that's a bit larger than Nagetta, and perhaps the other Lamia that are there. "All right. Much better...."
Faruja Senra With so many polite efforts on the party of mixed non-humans and humans, the snake lady seems to relax a bit. Paranoia is replaced by open worry over the fate of her kin. Looking from face to face, she finally smiles lightly at Shiki.

"Heh,'re not so bad though. Uh. Sorry." That seems to be directed to the humans of the group. The woman peers at both Nagetta, and then Synestria. "Good to know we're not alone, though. Worried we were the only lamia around...but yeah, only way in, only way out. We stored all of our furniture there. Big room. Well, we did until all of /this/ started. Though, ya of the kids did say they heard something collapse back there. Little bit before the screams started. Never got a chance to investigate though."

Faruja doesn't seem too upset, merely shaking his head. "Worry naught, my friend." Smile! Alma gets a strange look, almost worried as he notes so much fear.

The party's in agreement, in general. "Quite. Heartless...most curious however..." Faruja echoes, before nodding to the guards.

"Well, at the least, we know where we must go. Sers, Dames? Shall we?" The two guards look to the lamia woman. "Let 'em through." Two snakey women begin to haul stuff out of the way. Faruja draws his spear, lighting up like some sort of candle. Though the way in has been lit by torches, the inner cavern is dark.

"Shall we?" Into the caverns we go!
Zeke Zeke hmmed as he followed the crowd. "Mayhap their tactics be changin' let us do their work for 'em an keep one from joining with another t'keep from gettin shredded." Thoughtful voice as he sought Deelel out. He felt naked with so few weapons, just a pistol and his sword, but a show of trust never hurt... except when it did. "I be thinkin these heartless be smarter an we've believed. Then 'gain it takes a mind t'figure on stratagy like this an all t heartless 've seen be little better than mindless maws." Let that sink in and stew for awhile as they walked.

"Mayhap a good idea t'send one of us back t'give th'villagers an update on th'situation t'head off any potential rabblerousers hopin t'start a fight."

The more he thought of that the less he liked it. Look around. He frowned and grumbled. "I be goin back t'give word about what's what an fetch m'crew t'aid in preperations. If this be a battle they be wantin' best have a place of safty ready." With that he bowed slightly before making his exit. This meant going back via chocobo which didn't do his stomach any favors, but as he put his coat back on and convinced the great yellow bird to let him back on he hmphed. "Personal discomfort be damned to th'pits. There be business afoot."
Shiki Number Two Shiki just gives a goofy laugh, 'cuz she can't think of any other way to respond.
Shiki... gives Deelel a glance, as if to say 'just a moment'.

She walks behind Alma and gently wraps her arms around her from behind as they walk, because she really looks like she could use a hug right now. Shiki's pretty good at this empathy thing lately. It is a hug that asks for no explanation and gives none of its own.

"Heartless are sly little things, even if they don't look like it. Those ones that can press flat into the shadows are really good at getting behind someone." Like the others, she's privately worried that they won't find anyone because the Heartless will have basically eaten them, but like the others she's hardly going to say this. If only there was a way to get those people back...
Alma Hyral Her voice is literally shaking with fear "Or E-Empties..." It wasn't rational fear. It wasn't the sort she could puzzle through and wonder why she was more afraid of them by far than Heartless that she'd seen literally cause the end of her world. It was the sort that clung to the deepest recesses of the subconscious even if the memories of the nightmare had long since faded.

And hers had been a long nightmare.

After a time, she swallows, and follows them into the caverns. Shiki gives her a hug, and she manages a faint smile, but it hardly puts her at ease. Hollow yellow eyes belonging to green-haired girls were all she saw in the back of her mind.
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart hops off of the chocobo once the group reaches the cavern. She notes Alma's fear and trembling voice, and offers her shoulder a reassuring squeeze with her gloved hand "Don't worry, we're all together, and we're stronger as a group than we could ever be alone, right?" She smiles, and moves on ahead toward the entrance, taking up the front line as she always does. She rather be hurt first than letting others stand in the line of fire when it comes to it.

She crosses her arms, looking at the opening "I never thought that heartless would really 'hide' anywhere either. It sounds like heartless, but the parts don't seem to fit perfectly... I wonder what's going on.
Faruja Senra ~~LAST TIME~~

Our noble heroes followed the trail of evidence to the lamia's den. Missing men, missing snakes, and beady-yellow-eyed devils in the darkness followed, with a curious mystery hanging in the air! The green-haired, shotgun toting lamia waved off the would-be heroes as they left to find the source of it all.

~~NOW~~ The group sets off into the sealed off portion of the den, holy light and other more mundane means peering into the unlit darkness. The cavern is in good shape still, given how recently it was abandoned, old torches still hanging in sconces nailed into the compacted soil. At first, everything is eerily silent. Five minutes pass, before a fork in the tunnels is reached. The leftmost cavern seems to head downwards, while the rightmost seems to remain mostly level.

Faruja frowns lightly, stopping. "...The Lady made no mention of another passageway."
Shiki Misaki Shiki's a fast-talkin' streetwise girl on the scene!
Mr. Mew's filled with polyester and he has a torch!

Together they are: DIG DUG! Wait, no, this whole idea is awful, can it. Do something else, anything else.

Shiki is still walking along that tunnel! It feels like we've been walking for hours. Days, even! Maybe even a whole week. But we gotta do it for the kids! The snake kids! And the other snake people. And the other people. And kids. There's no half measures.

"OK, first thing we do is /don't/ split up, horror movie 101."
Synestria Slithering down the tunnel herself, and probably taking up most of the tunnel herself, Synestria looks back towards the rest of the group, especially Faruja, and chuckles. "Perhapsssss she forgot. Anywayssssss, letssss ssssee if we can get their ssssscent." She says immedinately sticking her tongue out.

Cuz snakes have a more sensitive tongue to smell than their noses do. Strange, no?
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart nods to Shiki's statement "Strength in numbers... especially considering these." She left her chocobo behind as they got to the tunnels, so she strolls toward what catches her attention. She has a good visual acuity it seems, as she moves toward the side of the tunnel, tracing her fingers along the walls.

"These aren't natural. There's claw marks, as if it was dug straight out of the rock and dirt. I'm not sure that's a good thing for us... but it looks likely whatever waits us down there is what took away the lamias and humans alike..." She kneels to look at the ground around the entrance as well, tracing fingers over the marks, just trying to estimate their size compared to her hand.
Alma Hyral Alma flashes back to her Dungeoneering 101. The class on splitting the party specifically.

To sum up the class in a single word. 'Don't.'

The class clown made the addendum: ...unless you want make out time.

This causes her face to screw up a little bit with suppressed laughter, bringing her out of her foul mood. "Going to have to agree on the not splitting up thing."
Zia Underground tunnels have always felt a bit strange to Zia. There isn't enough room to move her wings, or to be able to walk without risk of bumping into someone. It might be that, or the fact that every time she's been in some underground place, it seems to lead to trouble.

Her eyes naturally adjust to the dark, though the colors wash out a bit as she walks along, taking care not to step on anyone's toes or snake-bits with her oversized feet. It isn't until Tifa points out the claw marks that she peeks over at them. "Ah dinnae know much other than Gargoyles 'n monsters tha can make clawmarks in stone."

As the others chime in their opinions on not splitting up, she nods along with it, "We sould probably spread out a wee bit, though. If there's a rock-slide down here, we dinnae want all of us endin up caught in it." The thought of being trapped down here sparks a hint of claustrophobia.
Deelel Deelel has been keeping with the group the talk of there being heartless in all likelihood behind the toruble sof both the Lamias and the humans? It makes a disturbing sort of sense to her. She's already got her disc out and armed. The powered edge also adding a bit of light on top of the light that Deelel herself normally generates.

She looks over at Shiki for a moment and seems amused

"Stick together is generally the best idea, Shiki."

Synestria seems to have an idea and some abilities she lacks such as powerful sense of smell. The nature of the tunnels is notably not natural something dug them with some sort of intent. As everyone else Tifa to Alma chime in that splitting up is a bad idea.

"Then we stick it out together and your right Tifa it is the most logical source of both settlements troubles."
Skoll Ulfang "I do." Skoll answers Zia, looking at his fingers for a moment, before glancing back at the Gargoyle. He's remained close to her this entire time. And it seems like everyone is getting rather dire about this whole situation. The wolf continues to follow along and then finally...


Skoll suddenly grabs Zia's tail and lifts it slightly, and wags his tail at whomever is behind him. "If it gets too dark, grab the nearest tail or whatever, so that we don't lose anyone. That's the best way to stick together." He declares as if this was the most obvious thing ever. This might end up with Faruja's tail being held by a nobleman... who knows.
Nagetta The lack of light isn't an issue for Nagetta. In fact she sees better in the dark. She feels almost at home here. "Yes, we should stick together." The other lamias in here might not be as as friendly as the ones they've met so far. There's also likely heartless down here as well.

"Madam, so long as I am not mistaken in his nature due to our short acquaintance, I do believe Ser Senra would have politely informed you of any discomfort to himself by now," Eric said to Zia, by way of assuring her the nickname was likely nothing. "Like many things spoken of in general terms, there are situational exceptions - I've heard some Burmecian mothers refer to their children as 'little mouselings' with nothing short of an overabundance of affection, and I've seen a Burmecian in Lindblum who was commonly called 'old rat' rather amicably at the bars he frequented."

Eric, way back when, had wanted to set the offending bar patrons on fire, but upon realizing they were clearly all old friends had settled for steaming at his table. He'd gradually grown accustomed to it over the years, and in fact was known for making self-deprecating humor about his own people (much to their chagrin).

As everyone went down into the tunnels, Eric hung back momentarily, gaze flicking between the descending party and the group of chocobos they would be leaving unattended with the lamia. Not that he /expected/ them to eat the chocobos, but well .. Okay, he totally expected to come back to find a chocobo barbeque - a thought that caused him more than a small amount of distress.

The chocobo he'd brought headbutted him practically facefirst into the ground, giving a loud and commanding 'WARK!' as he choco-punted Eric after the questing party. Rubbing his possibly bruised posterior, Eric called back, "/Fine!/ But if I come back to find naught but your bones left I'll be paying you a piece of my mind in the hereafter whatever that happens to be!"

Yeah, Eric wasn't religious - religion always gave him mental hives. And he bowed and muttered a short apology to the lamia present before darting off after the rest of the party. Trust the nobleman to be a stupid racist. And here he'd thought he'd surpassed his upbringing


Eric looked nervously down the two tunnels before them, silently agreeing that it would take a stupidly strong creature to make claw-marks in solid stone. Claws that could shred a poor Black Mage like so much tissue paper.

He was brought out of his fear by Skoll's suggestion of tail-grabbing, to which Eric flushed bright red from eartip to snout, grabbed his own tail and squeaked, "My tail is /not/ for grasping! And unhand the Lady's tail this instant - /have you no shame?!!!/"

Eric was finding this all most uncouth and was getting quite a bit flustered over this.
Faruja Senra One of Faruja's ear perks towards the tunnel as the others speak, the ratling too moving to feel a claw mark. As others approach, a very faint hissing sound can be heard off in the distance. "Mmm...I hear something. 'Tis...nay, it could not be. 'Tis like the airships of home!" The hissing may remind others of teapots, or perhaps, steam engines off in the distance.

Faruja nods to each individual. "Agreed, Shiki, Lady Hyral." Glancing to Zia, his tail flicks.

"More than enough room, certainly. The tunnel seems a touch more narrow. Not too far ahead, not too close Sers and dames."

Faruja peers at Skoll for a moment. "...'Tis...a sound plan." /Sigh/. The rat so happens to be in front of Eric. "Just do not pull /too/ hard!"

A sensitive lamia tongue would pick up the scent of snake-people, oil, and something best described as 'fuzzy'. It may make one want to hack up a hairball.

Faruja takes a deep breath. "Come now, Ser Eric, needs are as they are! Think naught of it. No doubt out lighting devices and magic shall make such an event utterly unneeded." The Burmecian waggles his tail, before starting off. "Behind me, Ser Eric. I shall protect thee."


After some time, the tunnel levels out. Faruja coughs, the sound of that hissing in the distance echoing. Roughly the length of two Syn's fully stretched out ahead, the tunnel crudely turns. Following the tunnel, seeing may just become problematic as Faruja's light gutters out. Dense fog fills the area.

"..Of all the Faram-damned places! 'Tis Mist! Pray thee careful with thy magicks, and with thy emotions." Pause. "...Start grabbing tails and sleeves everyone." Up ahead, in the fog, tiny yellow dots can occasionally be seen amidst the thick Mist. The hissing sound grows louder.
Synestria "Use my tail, everyone. Put your hand on my tail and leave it there, and I'll try and go ssssslowly." Synestria says before looking to Nagetta. "Stick with me, my friend, and be ready. I don't truly like mist." She hisses out as well, taking a deep breath before puffing out a bit of fire from her mouth. "Well that didn't work. Can't ssssem to burn it away."
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart doesn't have a tail to grab... and even less sleeve, but the leather flap of her shorts works though. If anyone reaches for her that's probably what they would grab. At least 'down there' its the most grabbable part.

She reaches over to grab the nearest person as well "I've been in mist before, unless you're exposed it to for a long time, as in days, it shouldn't affect us too bad... let's just no stay around here for long... and hope the ones kidnapped haven't been here for too long..."
Deelel Deelel says "My own information is lacking as well, there's far too many breeds of hostile predators in the world of ruin."

It's as wonder anyone survives at all honestly when she thinks about it. Still it's a testament to how hardy the locals really are, far as the program sees it. However Skoll may have a better idea thankfully.

"Right, I can provide a bit of light but not enough I'm afraid."

Enough light for herself and perhaps those near here.

"It often depends on the context and the delivery I'm finding, it's very not a binary sort of thing."

Users, always full of surprises really she's learns something new about them everyday.

"Why Eric you seem positively flustered humm? Or would you just prefer one of the fine ladies here be the one to grasp yours."

She looks back to Faruja she almost says something but she holds off now isn't the time for such teasing, this however is only a delay in what she has planned for Faruja. As the trip goes on and they encounter the mist she grimaces.


This could be a problem for Deelel given she really has no grab able sleeves given the form fitting nature of her clothes and she's got no tail, sense of say Zia, Eric or Faruja.
Alma Hyral Alma Hyral just stares at Skoll as he grabs Zia's tail and lifts it. She might have some anime style sweatdrops and a stark blush on her face as she looks away politely. This blush turns into anime style blue wavy lines once he explains, "Uh..yeahhh, I think I'd prefer we just um. Link hands, or maybe a hand on a shoulder... Something less..." She closes her eyes as she gropes around for a word, coming up on empty. "...less /that/?"

She might have been a little more critical but he does in fact look like a dog/wolf so that's easily attributed to that. She then made a mental note that if someone was to grab her 'tail' that she would definitely blast them. Anyhow she starts following Faruja, and is not tempted to grab the tail. She is definitely not tempted to grab it despite it waving around in a hypnotic manner, calling to her, beckoning to her... that it was cute was definitely not in her mind at all. Definitely... not.

In the end she resists the temptation to grab the adorable Burmecian tail. There were a few close calls.

Until the Mist rolls in, and hastily she gropes around for it, eventually settling on a hand on his side instead. ...more anime wavy blue lines as she continues to walk. "Mist. It makes me wonder where it all comes from..." She squints down the tunnels, unable to see much, "'d think there'd be large deposits of Magicite nearby."
Nagetta "Please be careful with my tail..." Pulling on it too hard could send Nagetta to the ground. She stays close to Synestria feeling a bit strange. She's already a monster technically so there's no telling what it might do to her. Sure there's lamias here, but not the ones from her world.
Zia The explination offered up by Bartholomew certainly does help in some ways to settle some of her uncertainty, and the white gargoyle offers him an understanding nod. "Ah dinnae wante cause any undue distress." She murmurs softly, keeping her voice down, because in the underground, all the sounds seem to carry. "M'kind just dinnae refer te others by name often, so it was meante be a kind way of callin a friend."

And then Skoll has to go grabbing her tail. "Wha are ye..." Okay, so he has an actual decent idea there, but she shyly tucks her loincloth down. No peeking, Sir Wolf. Uncertainly, she continues forward, feeling more than a little silly.

With Eric being put in step behind Faruja, Zia offers him an understanding sort of look, "Ah could just hold onte yer sleave if that would be more appropriate, good Nezumi?" She asks, offering out a talon.

Regardless of if the nobleman takes the offer or not, Zia continues along, up until the point where the lights go out. Her ears twist, listening for the sound nearby. Her eyes glow with slight alarm, but not enough to really see by.

"Keep yer wits about ye, lads 'n lassies." She suggests, eyes scanning the darkness, trying to spot any movement in the shadows.
Shiki Misaki Shiki is liking this almost unanimous agreement with her plan! 'Don't let's die.' It's the platform she built her campaign on. She doesn't have as much experience with tunnels, whether naturally formed ones or otherwise, than Tifa (although to be fair if they did a head to head comparison it's probably just 'mythril mine' for both of them), so she just nods.

The idea of a rockslide though makes her feel a little less confident in herself- she hadn't even considered that idea before Zia floated it. She immediately begins to wonder if she could hold rocks up with a piercing pillar if needs be.

She's brought right back to bemused amusement when the subject of tails is brought up. "This brings a whole new meaning to 'getting some tail'."

Don't ask her to explain the joke.

Another thing Shiki has no experience with is Mist! Hence why, when they come upon it, she's going to say "Cliff notes on why for the first-timers?", as she finds a piece of fabric to breathe through if necessary.
Skoll Ulfang It would appear that while his idea is in some ways accepted, his tail remains untaken. And he's fine with that - just as long as people are safe. "I hope we won't need it, of course." Skoll answers, even though he continues to hold Zia's tail. He tends to have a sense for these kind of things, and just ends up sticking his tongue out at Zia and continues looking up and forwards like a gentleman. No peeking.

Soon enough they come across the mist. But what's more, Faruja's light had gone dark. He's not as familiar with this kind of mist as the others are. So when it is brought up, the wolf lets out an odd sound. "Mist? Like from the world of Mist? Surely not."

Seems much like Shiki, he's going to need an explaination.
Eric Bartholomew To Faruja's words, Eric flashed all shades of irritable pinks and reds, folding his arms over his chest, but following Ser Senra just the same. Hopefully the Holy Dragoon's light wouldn't go out.


"DRAT!" Eric squeaked as Faru's light sputtered out, thankful for the darkness that concealed the way he was flushing crimson. He did, rather hesitantly, grab ahold of Faruja's tail - no sense getting lost somehow. To Zia's offer of grabbing his sleeve, Eric actually still remained mysteriously uncomfortable, which could be told as he said, "That... would be preferable - I'm afraid my tail is a wee bit grabby."

That sounded like an excuse, although admittedly it was true his tail practically had a mind of its own when met with a solid object, and he quietly hoped to himself that all Zia touched /was/ his sleeve.

"Yes, I pray we're not here too long..."
Deelel Deelel says "Hand Linking works very well to me."

Nagetta gets some notice from Deelel but she doesn't grab hold of it she's keeping with the group however she may offer a hand to those who'd take it as she puts the disc back on her back, so she does not like cut someone up by accident.

"I plan to Zia."

Shiki's joke however has Deelel laughing, it seems she's learned enough to get Shiki's joke. The nature of the mist does worry her but he's had no real encounters with it before. So she's at a bit of disadvantage compared to some of the others here who are aware of it. From how Eric is talking it could be very bad for their health even her own.
Eric Bartholomew Eric somewhat belatedly realized something and wrapped his tail around one of his own ankles - it wouldn't do to trip the poor lady if her leg were to brush agai- Aaaand he locked that thought down with a steel-door trap - /definitely/ not a gentlemanly thought.
Nagetta "Huh?" Nagetta doesn't get Shiki's joke and has no clue why Deelel is laughing. It seemed to be an odd time to be doing so. Of course she's worried about the other lamias to have much of a sense of humor right now. She would have to ask Shiki about it later.
Faruja Senra "The Mist oft interferes with spellcasting, heightens the emotions of those within it, and attracts monsters most vicious. Some even claim it led to the creation of my own people. Absolute nonsense of course, but it nevertheless causes odd behaviour in creatures. Particularly Viera." Shudder. Faruja remembers /that/ all too well.

He too is glad for the darkness, his face glowing red beneath the fur even as his tail flicks and sways as he concentrates. It's like some kind of Alma-hypnotizing device! The same one with a hand on his side. Could this trip get any more awkward?

The rat proceeds to get plenty of lamia tail, holding onto Syn's. "Lady Syn, if you would, use thy nose...erm, get us through this? Lead the way, M'Lady. Keep together everyone!" Pause. "Truly, Shiki, to 'acquire some tail' would be most beneficial for all tail-less sorts!" Clearly someone /doesn't/ get the joke.

Like a bad lightbulb, Faruj'as light flickers on. As Syn slithers on forward, the group would be led through twists, turns, and even a light bit of water underfoot. Yellow eyes always seem to be at the edge of each person's vision, yet nothing appears. After some time, the noise of hissing is joined by the sounds of mechanical chugging. The Mist slowly becomes lighter as the tunnel heads upwards. Yet, so too does it move, looking to be actively spat down the tunnel where the group just came from, settling upon the ankles in heavy streams before rising as any bit of steam tends to do.

The group finally exits. Before them lays a stone cavern, glowing mushrooms lighting up the area. Crates, and wood are scattered about, as well as clothes and curiously little bits of metal ore. The bulk of the cavern is taken up by a large wooden airship, it's propeller smashed and it's side similarly wounded from what may have been a crash landing. Mist spills from the wound in the ship, the sound of a Mist engine steadily chugging within.

Faruja peers at the ship. "...Still running? Amazing. Hmm?"

Atop the deck of the ship is a cage. Within, several people can be seen. Voices both snake-ish and human cry out. "Help! Hey! Get us out of here before they come back!" One of the eldest, a lamia looking to be about twelve shouts out.

That's when yellow eyes peer from the wound in the ship. They crawl out, and emit a horrible sound.

Slitted, beady, yellow feline-like eyes gaze at the group. Four clawed, spindley limbs scrabble about as purple wings flap. Dozens of creatures known as Gimme Cats stare at the group hungrily.

So too is there a hunched figure among them. A robed old woman walks forward slowly, glaring out. "Fah, so /that's/ what all this racket is! Blasted kids, get off my cavern! Just as bad as those snakes, or those bumpkins!"

Faruja glares. "...Just let thy captives go!" Demands the rat.

The old woman reaches down, petting one of the felines.

"No! They're mine! MINE! This cavern is mine, and these little ones are my new children! And you WON'T take my cats away! Pretties! Get rid of mommy's enemies!"

The Gimme Cats rush forward at the behest of the Insane Gimme Cat Lady, swarming at everyone!
Synestria When the gimme cats swarm in to attack, Synestria immediately coils herself up to protect herself and, perhaps others that are nearby. However, her attacks are less than protective. He extends her arms and fingers, casting lightning from her fingers into each of the non-grounded gimme cats.
Deelel Deelel makes note of how the mist messes with spell casting and emotions? The former didn't mean much to Deelel, the latter however? Ya that would likely effect her. Since magic already does she figures it is only logical that it would effect her in that regard as well.

"You could put it that way Faruja."

It strange when some user humour goes over a users heard and she gets it, she also just seems amused still at how Eric took her own joke towards him. Her circuit lines give some light, well enough to see where one's going at least but there's something a bit surprising to her as she notices the nature of the cavern with there being a old airship this could explain much of it.

"It does seem to be functional this could explain it.

She hears a voice and she narrows her eyes a bit.

"If you wish to go that way then we have no choice to use force."

Hopefully they can take this old lady alive, then again she may be effected by the Mist now that she thinks about it.

She runs several command while hanging back and letting the others get the cats attention. She'll be moving in shortly, she just needed time to prepare herself.
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart isn't sure if she's relieved or not that its heartless, but Gimme Cats. She likes cats, but those... are rather creepy with those big glowing eyes. Ugh. She wonders what's up with this scene though. Normally people hold cats as pets. Now its the pets wanting to keep the humans/lamias? Looks like its all in reverse. "They didn't ask for this! Just let them go!"

Looks like talkign won't work here, as the cats swarm all around her. She tries to swipe them out of the way, but that doesn't work very well, there's too many of them. They pile and scratch at her, before she grabs them and tosses them off with a screech as they left their marks on her exposed skin "Stay away!" What she wouldn't give for some sort of catnip trap to lure them off right now. But as the next wave of hopping cats approachs, she lashes out with her legs to knock them away.
Shiki Misaki Shiki sighs.

Human chains mean that she can't put anything over her mouth, and Mr. Mew's not going to attach himself to her face this time. He's also not going to hold anyone's hand, because he's much smaller than all of you. In fact, it's difficult as all get out to see where he IS in this mist, what with it being so low-hanging and all that. You can't even see the torch any more!

And so, on we go, jokes being hit and miss, mostly miss.

Shiki is... face...faulting... a little? "How did an airship get underground?!"

This doesn't make sense! We definitely went down a lot of tunnels!

But more important to Shiki than the airship is the...-

Flashback. Flashback to a mountain, filled with flowers. A mountain with a problem. A scraggly, yellow-eyed, winged, annoying, infuriating problem.

/Gimme Cat/.

"Don't give them any diamonds!" Shiki blurts out, seemingly for no reason. It was a bad time. Also, cat attack.

Several of them go leaping at her and she runs crazy through the mist, pausing only to pull out her mythril rod. If a cat gets near her, BASEBALL BAT TIME.

...where /did/ Mr. Mew go?
Zia The gargoyle does take hold of Eric's sleeve, but doesn't go further than that. She's properly polite, afterall. For all his protestations, she decides to keep her mouth shut. This is just an adventure, into a dark tunnel, with horrible monsters, and possibly gruesome death. "Maybe we should be a wee bit quieter." She notes to Eric, perhaps trying to get him to not exclaim quite so loudly.

She protects herself from the Mist with her scarf, pulling it up over her nose, which leaves her looking like some sort of gargoyle assassin. It's not a bad look, if not a bit strange.

As they finally come upon the source of the trouble, Zia ends up pulling her tail free from Skoll's hand, taking a step forward as her wings flare out behind her. The people in cages are enough to tell her that there is danger. And then, it's crazy cat-lady. At least she doesn't have a cat-zooka. "Ye better no' get beaten by cats, wolf-boy." She mutters, and then considers the fact that there's two mice here. Poor Nezumi.

Since there's more room in here, the gargoyle takes to the skies instead, or at least takes to the upper level of the room, her claws digging into stone as she hangs upside down like some giant bat. "Ah'll see if Ah can slow them down a wee bit for ye!" She calls out, weaving a spell that causes some water to roil up from the ground and dampen the felines, followed by cold to freeze their paws to the ground.
Nagetta Cats? Nagetta certainly wasn't expecting that. At least the lamia children seemed to be alright for the time. Still they would have to deal with the felines first. She wonders if the woman has spent too much time in the mist gauging her reaction to them. There isn't too much for her to think about that.

At least there was enough room for her to jump around in here. The dragoon coils up before springing into the air, bouncing from cat to cat.
Alma Hyral The Alma hypnotizing device continues to work her magic. At one point she gets swirly eyes and starts to reach it.

Fortunately lights, and the appearance of the Mist ship snap her out of it just in time. The appearance of people in /cages/ do that more than most. Alma's expression becomes rather flat at that moment, as she just stares at the Insane Old Woman. "Overpossessive much?"

A yellow corona springs over her at that point illuminating part of the area around her. The Gimme Cats rush forward, swarming her. She reflexively tries to dive out of the way, as a burst of streaking orbs of light which look much like stars are fired back at them. They miss, and she ends up with a very chagrined look. Oh well, it was mostly her pride that was wounded.

She then weaves a few enchantments upon herself to start working at those wounds, and the nearby figure of the Gargoyle who appears to be hanging from the ceiling(Which she found incredibly awesome by the way), as she begins to rise off the ground, taking some refuge near the cavern roof as well.
Skoll Ulfang The wolf continues to hang onto that tail, trusting in that they'll be led correctly. It's when they come out into the 'opening' that the wolf finally lets go. There's light after all. He is quick to move in front of Zia and gets ready for battle, getting into a pugalist's stance. "Heartless!?" He calls out. But no, they're not heartless. They're...

"Don't you worry. I am not about to get beaten by some mere cats." He growls, his tail poofing out. Some might notice that the wolf's teeth seem a little more pronounced than normal, and his hair is a bit more of a mess. In the darkness, it seems that the mist made the werewolf just a tad more werewolfy. Though it's likely to be nothing but a temporary effect. And it doesn't look like Skoll is particularly more aggressive.

"Please do." The wolf waits for the Gargoyle to cast her slowing magic, and then runs straight on in. Little claws might hit him here and there, but the wolf doesn't halt. Instead, he just keeps going, kicking and punching left and right, and then finishing it with a big 'wave' of a ice-made wolf being sent forwards into the group towards the ship itself. He'll break it - so they can't flee!
Eric Bartholomew "Eh, erm... yes..." Eric responded to Zia, and then coughed, pretending absolutely /no outbursts/ had occured on his part.

When they reached the airship, Eric was likewise impressed that it was still functional, but gave a nervous squeak as the eyes appeared from the deep crack in its size. Gimme Cats! The fiends! As someone who'd lived in Lindblum for two years, Eric had met these fiends before although never more than one at once, nevermind quite this many As the party and the 'owner' of the glare of Gimme Cats 'discussed' matters, Eric sincerely hoped the old woman would see reason, but as she didn't Eric said, "Now see he-EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERE!!!!"

He tried to dodge, having long since dropped Ser Senra's tail, but it was no use as the attack of the cats pummeled into him, sending him careening backwards!

"..... Owhowhow!" he squeaked, staggering back to a standing position. He whimpered, remaining seated uselessly upon his tail - he'd always run from these things, never fought them himself! Not entirely sure what exactly to do, he muttered a spell under his breath, summoning up a chill wind that would hopefully not harm those running straight into the fray. He also cast Toad on those Gimme Cats he could spot that weren't near anyone - no sense turning his allies into amphibians! Assuming he even /could/ turn anything into amphibians.
Faruja Senra The old woman spies Zia leaping to the skies. Gimme Cats whine as they get wet, causing the woman no end of rage. Shaking her staff, heat rises up, melting away the cold that would otherwise hurt her precious babies!

Everywhere that Skoll strikes, felines get swatted, followed by his creation of ice. This time, the heat can't stifle it! The blow causes the derelict ship to crack up the middle. Down goes the cage, as well!

Thud! The cage proves to be of inadequate construction, old iron bars shattering. The kids, though in a jumble of snake and human, seem to be relatively uninjured from first glance. Several eyes may look dazed though!

"MIIIIIINE! You whippersnappers don't know anything!" Yells out the Old Woman in response to Alma, as Nagetta's bouncing, Shiki's staff-wacking, and Syn's lighting leads to many of the group of kitties being on the floor. Tifa's efforts prove less useful, as some of the more agile winged felines fly upwards, one sent spinning but unharmed.

Faruja casts spells upon some of his closest companions, before leaping into the air. He lands before the dazed kids, swiping and generally defending the children from attack by evil felines. His spear's butt lands solid whacks against many of them.



She raises her staff, and plumes of fire surround Faruja, Shiki, and Skoll. Screams of terror erupt from the Burmecian as a Flare spell lights him up, the ratling flailing about as he burns, rolling on the ground.
Alma Hyral Alma winces, visibly. Flare spell.

On her world that was a forbidden art, not even known to most Black Mages. Most whispered it was one of the most extreme examples of Chaos Magic. And while she knew better now... it made it no less painful to watch it being brought to bear against Faruja. Which is why she began to pour all of her healing magic into him, at once.

An infusion of holy light which began to work at healing the most horrific of his burns, and correct the internal problems caused by the sudden heat blast wave. She lowered herself down to her work, sweat beading on her forehead as she continued to focus on healing the remainder of his injuries.
Zia Even as her first spell is cast, Zia can feel the strange magic already working it's way through her. She glances down, realizing that Alma is the source of it. "Thank ye, lass!" She calls, which probably isn't the best of ideas, since it's a good way to attract the enemy to her position. Meep!

She manages to keep ahead of them by moving across the ceiling, looking more like spider-goyle than anything else. There's not enough room for real flight. Then, of course, there is shouting, and fire. Shouting and fire can only mean one thing... Burmecian barbeque.

At the last moment, Zia pulls the wave from the cats over to cover the Nezumi, hoping to at least put out the flames as she focuses the rest of her magic on trying to keep the little cat-things away from the others.

A heavy wind blows through, hopefully launching cats into the air all over the chamber, only to have a rain of lightning throw them back down again into the ground below, possibly puffed up from static electricity.
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart doesn't seem to have luck with these creatures, that's for sure. She heard Shiki talk about diamonds, maybe she can bait them away from the rest for a moment using one? She has a crystal that looks like a crystal, its face but she got it as a bonus for buying bottles at a shop. Shop owner insisted too, she had forgotten about it in her pocket until now, butits worth a try.

She picks up the ring, which has an exagerated crystal size atop of it, quickly breaking the ring part of it to keep the crystal in her hand, and holding it up "Hey kitties, I heard you like this?" And then she runs off with it. She's trying to get some heat off the others at least, limiting numbers while they take down the ones left, classic 'kiting' strategy here... Well its worth a try! Meanwhile she casts some spells to help the others at the task too.
Nagetta Nagetta cringes as she hears the woman's voice, it was hurting her ears a bit. It would be easier to fight if she didn't have to listen to it. She also decides to keep her in place to keep her from giving orders to the cats. That should make it easier for the others to deal with. The lamia casts a few spells hoping the mist wouldn't cause problems with them.
Synestria Synestria shakes her head at the old lady bringing down more gimme cats at them. She doesn't bother with words, except the arcane version where she throws out more lightning for the flying cat heads to deal with.
Eric Bartholomew Eric had to chuckle momentarily at Faruja's verbal condemnation of the Gimme Cats, but that was all the time it took for the old woman to turn the tables on the Templar and his friends.

"FARU!!!" the scream practically tore from the bottom of his soul as he watched the Burmecian collapse and writhe in a great plume of fire!

He ran forwards, but there were already others helping the fallen Templar, so Eric summoned a wave of water to wash over anyone else who had been lit ablaze - it was all he could do with his mind coated in rage.


And then the old woman would be finding herself and her cats contending with fire of their own, as Eric practically screamed the chant for Firaga.
Deelel Deelel has avoided the cat swarms wrath for the moment, others like Faruja are not so lucky. She hears her friend yelling about how he hates Gimme Cats. She also wonders what Shiki meant about not giving them diamonds she'll have to ask later if she thinks of it.

"It could be possible the mist has warped the woman's mind."

Flare is not a spell to mess about with, oh it's totally not one to mess with lightly just from the destruction it could cause. Such as what it did to poor Faruja. Ya it's time to get into the mix now with disc in hand she lunges into the cat swarm launching a fairly furious barrage of disc strikes while always bouncing, weaving another wise trying to make way through the swarm.
Shiki Misaki Sneak sneak sneak.


Sneak sneak sneak...

Mr. Mew's still got that knife. And he's sneaking up on the crazy cat lady. With a knife. Sneak, sneak. Slowly. Closing in on the lady. With his knife.

Sneak sneak... almost... in range... just about... THERE!

Mr. Mew throws the knife to her left, because it's a distraction! This is a Disney game, what did you think I was going to do? After that, he totally jumps on her face.

Shiki is having a rougher time of it! There might not be much mist left after this, assuming the flare spells vaporise it (or does it work that way? We are talking about tortured, pureed gaian souls here rather than water vapour. Oh, I made myself sad again). She's got to concentrate entirely on dodging, because there are a lot of pillars and she's /really/ not in any condition to take even one. Faruja and Skoll being on the worst end of the flames as well, plus Alma chipping in to heal him just as quickly, pass by in a blur as she moves back and forth trying not to get fried.

She doesn't know if the mist would affect her Pins- she realises vaugely that she hasn't even made a Pact this time- so she'll have to just suck it and see. So she's going to be using safe stuff- no giant ice pillars, just putting the cats in deep freeze and whacking them with her Nikkari-Rod combo.
Skoll Ulfang When fire comes, Skoll is the heck out of there - leaving Faruja to be 'baked' by the power of Flare. He obviously has his own problems to deal with though. As Zia brings the cats into the air near him, they continues to lash out. And the wolf needs every bit of his skill to stay out of their greedy little claws. Not to mention, with every single swipe, he has to protect his keychains. His precious precious keychains. No way he'll let some dirty /cat/ have his chains.

The werewolf growls at the beasts and ends up ducking underneath another swipe before he starts running straight towards the crazy and batty ol' lady. But instead of assaulting her, he suddenly jumps into the air in a method that... well... normally is reserved to people who put all their points into JUMP - like a Dragoon. And he's quick to access the boat itself and starts breaking locks!
Faruja Senra The holy power that flows over him, as well as the wind-magic blowing against him both help quell the flames eating at Faruja, the ratling lightly sizzling. He's curled up on the ground now, shivering, muttering words quietly. He's alive, but still severely burnt even with the pair's magicks.

Phobia Gained: Crazy Cat Mages

Thanks to Zia's magic, kitties go flying, not able to make a meal of the downed Burmecian. Lightning rains down, several twitching and making a horrid racket. As Tifa runs away, a few others start to follow her, each yelling 'Gimme!'.

Nagetta's and Syn's spells too reduce the cats' numbers. Deel's Disc goes flying, hitting several, the swarm swiftly being reduced. Then, as the old woman is raising her hands to cast again, there is a kitty. A Mr. Mew, right on her face. She starts yelling.

"Noooo my pretty! Get off of mommy! No treats! Bad! BAAAAAD!"

Shiki's freeing and rodding has blocks of Gimme Cats being tossed about too. One pings off of the airship. Thwack!

Skoll runs through the airship! Locks break! Soon enough, he may just find the Mist Engine itself, chugging away. From how corroded it looks one swift swat to a particularly bad looking lugnut would send the entire thing to a grinding halt.

The Insane Gimme Cat Lady is not amused. Screaming, she raises her arm for one more spell as she witnesses Eric's Firaga spell burn many of her felines to ash as she thrashes around beneath Mr. Mew. "STOP HURTING MY PRETTIES!"

She incants, powerful magic filling the air. Time Magic. The world seems to spin as everyone, cat, lamia, human, nezumi, and old lady are sucked up. Seems she's a little batty though, as it takes some time, leaving just enough time for preperations.

Nor does everyone get spat out at the same place.

~~~ At the entrance to the Lamia's Den~~~ The green haired Lamia and her guards glare at the Old Village Elder and his cohorts. Guards, human and lamia alike, look nervous. Accusations fly! It all stops as a portal opens up. Heroes rain down between the two groups, swiftly followed by lamia and human children. Finally, the old lady hits the dirt, unconscious.

Human and Lamia alike rush forward, hugging their missing kin. Faruja is still curled up in a ball.

~~~ Back at the Human Village~~~ A farmer looks up. Yellow eyes appear! Everywhere, unconscious Gimme Cats rain from the sky, punching holes in rooftops.
Shiki Misaki Shiki Misaki lands in a haystack! BUT WHERE IS HER HAT?!

She will have to journey across the peril-packed universe, boldly facing the flesh-rending dangers that await her, to retrieve that hat, where it has been adopted as the symbol of a bizarre religion by a group of Gremlins! Thrills and spills await her as- oh wait it's just on top of Mr. Mew.
Alma Hyral Alma pours some more healing magic into the singed Nezumi for good measure. And then she heard the incantation of time magic.

Her recent lessons made her pay extreme attention to what the crazy old lady was doing. This was... interesting. She didn't recognize /that/ spell. Oh crap, that's because on her world it was Black Magic. This was...


The warp portal magic sucks her up into it, along with the rest, as she's deposited unceremoniously on the ground. For a while she definitely has the wind knocked out of her, laying there stunned upon the ground. /Ow/ "Note to self: See if he can teach me that one."

She groaned, then began to get up and triage the rest of the children for injuries. The Old Lady could wait until last. She didn't particularly want to heal the wounds Mister Mew had inflicted at the behest of Shiki, aka Princess Stabbity, yet.
Skoll Ulfang Indeed, with a loud CLUNK that mist-engine goes grinding to a halt. Of course, not moments later some magic sweeps the area, and poor Faruja is swept into it much like everyone else.

FLOOMP. Skoll lands on his butt in the most undignified way. He blinks a few times. "Man, that was a soft landing." He comments, looking around a little. He seems to be a little higher than ground level. It appears he might have landed /on top/ of someone. But he's not yet quite realized this and is just remaining seated on the poor victim.
Zia Zia's mouth opens to cast another spell towards the ranting cat-lady and her minions, but whatever latin incantation she would have actually been murmuring is cut off and twisted into a shout of surprise as they all seem to get sucked up and shot through the nyan-cat warp tunnel of doom. It's kind of like that one level in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Except there's no coins to collect for bashing flying pigs.

The gargoyle is spat out and without her wings to catch her fall, she ends up slamming into Skoll, who is ontop of someone else, and possibly sending the wolf tumbling in the process. Let's hope he gets ran into with the soft bits and not, you know, gangly gargoyle knee spines or something.
Tifa Lockhart Tifa Lockhart was a bit away from the group when the warp spell was used. So for a moment there's no signs of the barmaid. Until there's a cry from the nearby tree. Apparently that's where she got tossed out, after being chased by the Gimme Cats all over the cave, and now she's hanging from that tail-part of her shorts. That's a good sign of how resistant her clothes are, not ripping at the seams even with her entire weight on them.

"Hey... anyone can help me down?" -.-
Deelel Deelel would retort that the lady was the one that wanted to make use of violence in the first place. She's then caught in the wind she just lets out a cry as she's sent flying she might end up landing somewhere very comically. This is certainly a very much a oh <Goosehonk> sort of situation as she comes in in one of the villages? Deelel can't tell as part of her clothes are hooked from a tree and she just kinda hanging there dazed and very confused as she says.

"It's not supposed to work that way."

She could really use a hand getting down from this, she really could ha hand.

"A little help here...anyone?"
Faruja Senra "...Lord help me" Mutters poor, frightened Faruja as he's squished by first a werewolf, followed by a Gargoyle atop said werewolf. Luckily Alma's there with healing. The Burmecian grabs the nearest thing huggable: Skoll's tail. Hug. Cue cuddling wolf tails for comfort.

It doesn't take long as the children relate the story, the two sides soon shifting their focus to the old woman, and their heroes. The old lady is taken away, even as the others are tended to by snake and human healer alike. Even poor Tifa and Deelel are both helped out of a tree.

~~~Shard Seekers and Allies: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED~~~
Skoll Ulfang Skoll has the /weirdest/ look on his face, as the Gargoyle ends up landing into his lap with her squishy butt, and then those eyes go wide as Faruja grabs hold of his tail. "Ehhh..." The wolf looks down at the rat, and then up at the Gargoyle. In the end... he ends up just shrugging and remains seated.
Eric Bartholomew "WELL DON'T KIDNAP PEOPLE OR SET MY FRIENDS ON FIRE AND WE WON'T HAVE TO HURT YOUR <GOOSEHONK> PRETTIES YOU CRAZY <GOOSEHONK>!" shouted Eric, about a moment before he noticed the Time Magic being cast, and then they were all pulled elsewhere.

Eric landed in an undignified heap, much like everyone else did, but fortunately a few paces away from Ser Senra.

"Faru?" he squeaked, a study of concern crossing his face. He rose to go over (and tell off a werewolf and gargess for landing on him, as little fault as there was on their part), but he paused. These were Ser Senra's friends - they could take care of the stricken Burmecian much better than he could. So he remained distant, letting the collective efforts of the real heroes and the healers take care of the noble Templar. Eric could just slip away quietly, once no one was paying attention to a beat-up noblemouse.

This scene contained 92 poses. The players who were present were: Zeke, Faruja Senra, Skoll Ulfang, Tifa Lockhart, Shiki Misaki, Zia, Nagetta, Deelel, Synestria, Evja, Alma Hyral, Shiki Number Two, Eric Bartholomew