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No title.
(2013-10-02 - Now)
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Arthur Drover Smoke curls over the firepit where meals are served. A crude counter was knocked up from old crates nailed together with a few bits of scrap steel, and then it was polished to a sheen. You can eat off it. The cooks tend to insist on that. Supplies are limited - but have been improving. People make runs to town now and then, and there are a few vendors braving the wild offering alternatives to the community mess.

The camp is undergoing improvement in small ways. The walls are an easy design to repair, the traps have been radically reduced. Avira's traps, which work on game rather than monsters, predominate instead. With written warnings for humans.

But the wood walls are in slightly shoddier repair than usual. Their woodworkers are missing! Arthur Drover is standing at the site of the latest disappearance, inspecting a pair of footprints on the ground in the mud. They just /stop/ after a bit. This is at the edge of the camp, and it is with a sigh that he heads toward the benches in the rest area.

He hasn't been doing much smithing lately - the apprentices are up to that.

The area bustles with activity. There are hot segregated baths on the hill, a labour of love between Arthur and Maira to get the spells just right. People move to and fro from these, recouping some cash into general coffers. Gummi bumper cars serve a similar purpose.

It is about time for a status report and strategy meeting after earlier scouting. The camp is open - anyone can peek in - but the guards on the parapet are at just the right height to bonk someone suspicious on the head before they can yell "and now, infidels, your scalps will be mine".

The better ones (Avira) will get you before you finish saying "and now".
Maira Maira has been under the weather. Thus, she has been sleeping a good bit. Having dragged her butt out of bed due to hunger, she can be found sitting by the fire slowly eating while her dazed amber eyes stare off into nothing.

Slowly she lifts the fork, takes a bite, chews, then lowers it and just sits there, looking like she was possibly still asleep even with her eyes open.
Avira At last, something was looking up! At last, they had experienced some relief from the unending tide of ravenous undead! Half a dozen people nearly died in the process!

Now that they aren't being assaulted at every turn, the outer wall defenses could be...slacked off on just a little. But the slacking is less intentional and more a result of several missing craftsmen from the camp. Furthermore, the traps have changed quite a bit. Trap-making was a skill Avira developed entirely because of this very camp, mostly from mimicking Arthur at first. But their natures had changed out of necessity. Avira couldn't be everywhere and she couldn't tell every dangerous beast in this forest to turn around and leave.

Avira herself paces at the entrance, waiting for Arthur to get back from his investigation. She'd given the site a look later but not even her tracking skills could offer an explanation. Between that, she pops in to check in on Maira, knowing she's been feeling a little sick lately.

"Maira." she remarks, "How are you holding up?" She's eating! That's a good sign!
Maira Maira turns to look toward Avira, summoning a smile after a moment. "Avira. I'm okay I guess," she says, shrugging her shoulders a little. "I was really hungry, so I must be on the mend," she comments, smile growing some. She's clearly still kind of out of it, but she is something of a healer so she must know what she's talking about.

"I thought I was done with this whole thing. Thought I was getting healthier..." she shakes her head a little. "Oh well. So what's the story? We're having a meeting, right? Where's Arthur?"
Arthur Drover The smith makes his way to the two women, making his appearance just as Maira asks. "Naught I can discern, no chemicals, no traces. Nothing. We need a finer tracker. I blame myself. I went back to the shop to take care of some orders, so these new lads didn't get the combat part of our training. I've suspended all work beyond the camp, including resource gathering, and my apprentices are on guard duty until further notice except a couple on the forge. Grim news. I am worried about them."

The worry doesn't show so much as a kind of possessive anger flashing through his features, like a monster passing through, then a gentler less distant face. "Maira-girl, do you need a healer?"

Eyes dart, concerned, to Avira, then away. The smith is not carrying his bow - rare, since his hand healed.
Garland Sir Alder Bays hasn't been around the camp lately. There's good reason for that, as far as the people of the camp know; the older knight's been travelling, keeping a close eye on the roads, and protecting them from the dead.

The truth, of course, is a touch more complicated than that.

But for now, time and tide align, and Alder is actually present, if only for a fleeting moment. The older man just did some repairs on his armor and sword; the heavy greatsword is cooling off to the side as Alder arrives with the rest of the group.

Alder sits down on a bench, a gentle smile on his face. "My ladies, sir; how do you fare you this day?"
Avira "Hunger's usually a good sign. I'd know, I caught a lot of colds as a kid." Avira smiles, giving Maira a quick hug around the shoulders. But Maira is a healer so she should know all this stuff already! "Anyway, we're-"

Arthur makes his appearance. Avira looks thoughtful, "Maybe Hati or Skoll can help with that. Until then...might have to go tap back home and get some proper tracking devices. I'm pretty sure someone at the TDA can find someone with the right tech." What? No spells?! Arthur gets an odd look. Not because of his concern but because he's unarmed.

A familiar voice fills her ears and Avira looks away, spying VALKYRI's newest member: Sir Alder. She waves to him with a grin, "Sir Alder! I am happy to see you here. This is Maira, my best friend, and Arthur Drover, master craftsmith and partner in gummi engineering."
Maira Maira nods in agreement, smiling still, if a little weakly for the normally quite energetic and bubbly young woman. The food is doing her some good though, that is for sure. She feels a bit better already. Nothing like sleeping for days.

Maira tries to give Arthur an encouraging smile, though it fades quickly at his report. That's very worrying. "Oh no...we have to find them. Avira, maybe we could ask Skoll or Hati to help us track them?"

Maira's eyes widen slightly as Sir Alder appears, her smile growing. "Sir Alder! Finally I get a chance to meet you! Figures, I have been under the weather. It is good to meet you in person finally, though!" she says, extending her hand toward him for a shake. If she were more energetic it might be a hug. Maira's a hugger.
Arthur Drover Arthur gives a bow, he's used to greeting knights and nobles, and so he is at least respectful about proper gestures. "Sir, pleased to meet you. Welcome to The Cauldron." Arthur pauses to admire the armor, undoubtedly mentally making notes on it, and also with the blade. But he does pause to answer Avira's look:

"Mariel took it off my hands. She's the bowyer finer than I. She said it needed improvement. And I ran out of the Arrows of the Talon last time we pinned that giant. She said she managed to distill another couple drops of Elixir too. But they're off limits since she fears a difficult birth and she might need it for its other function."

His face goes a bit grim at that, he's been grim after checking in at home lately - even if that nice young swordsman had come by to have his weapon improved.

Maira bursts past to greet Alder, and the smith's attention then returns to the knight.

"An associate of Avira's through VALKYRI, yes? As to Hati or Skoll- someone with a nose like theirs might be the right tracker..."
Garland Sir Alder lowers his head in greetings; apparently, he doesn't believe in shaking hands. "A pleasure to meet you, my lady. I hope the day finds you in good health; the business here may be grim, but I have heard many times that a smile is the brightest lantern against such dark deeds."

Sir Alder's cooling blade, and his armor, are of the highest craftsmanship. If they are indeed self-maintained (as his work on the sword suggests), then the man's either one of the most gifted craftsmen to ever live, or one of the most well-practiced. Every inch of the sword and armor are kept in top condition, on top of their worksmanship, and the materials used in it are tempered against their weaknesses stunningly. On a once-over, the only weakness Arthur can find in the entire armor is that there has to be a person inside it.

"You have done an excellent job with the camp. I could scarce believe that all this was jungle were I not told so at the start. Your reputation as a craftsman precedes you, sir; it is my pleasure to meet you."

"I would not say that I am an associate; rather, I encountered the Lady at the Coliseum's..." His face twists a bit, disapprovingly, "So-called hero trials. I had been looking to see if even one among the bunch could be counted as someone I could join; fortunately, I was spared the excruciating experience of sitting through a hundred portly would-be swordsmen fail to smash barrels by good fortune. And so, here I sit."
Minerva Fighting, booze, it didn't keep much to keep Minerva happy all things considered but this job had been quite the undertaiking for everyone. She seems to be well in decent of enough spirits as she catches up with Arthur, Avira, Maira and Sir Bays. She's qute not quite sure just what's happening something clearly is amiss here.

"Dare I ask what might the problem be...? You have been a ... very fine employer sir. Some would't care about the fate of sell swords in a situation like this."
Avira Concern slowly gathers on her face as Arthur explains why he doesn't have its bow. It's less the lack of weapon and more the fact that a 'difficult birth' is impending. Avira knows full well in worlds like these that childbirth was actually a dangerous affair. It was something she had to pick up on quickly, long ago, when she was first flung into Ivalice from the relatively sterile world of Earth. "I wish her luck with that. We'll all have to be more careful around here...and hold off on test piloting things for a while."

Sir Alder pays a high compliment to the trappings of the camp and Avira grins, "It took quite a bit of time to get it this built up. As we were discussing earlier, it could very well become a permanent gummi research facility one day."

The meeting between her and Alder is described and Avira laughs sheepishly, "I went there with the intention on taking the challenge myself and getting the official hero title. In retrospect, I don't really think I need a satyr to validate my...hero-ness. Even if he is a famous one."
Maira Maira's smile grows. "Heh," she replies, letting her hand fall. She maybe should have gone for the curtsy. Oh well!

Her head turns to Avira, reaching over to put her arm through hers. "You bet you don't! You are a hero and no one who knows you would deny it," she informs.

Then Minerva appears and Maira smile, waving to her. "Hey Minerva."
Arthur Drover "Ha, too true girl. Just be glad the local folk have a midwife of her skill back home. Births with no help - no doctors like in Treno, no healers who understand the theory- are a terrifying affair. With luck she'll need it to mend someone after surgery. Lacking luck she'll need it to push someone the rest of the way over the veil. A medicine that sits on the ragged edge- no wonder they say the knowledge is a curse. I'm not happy that I have it too."

Arthur responds to Alder's comment then, meeting "eyes" with the knight. "Not all my work. Maira is a talented enchantress, Avira provides beasts of burden on scales you wouldn't believe, and she's stopped a few undead patrols with just that sword. Minerva here has been of great help with the heavy lifting." He greets the new arrival, adding as an afterthought: "And her brews do something for morale, and true. We wouldn't have the occasional treats of liquor-infused sauces without her dedication to bringing drinks above and beyond the norm."

He pauses to sit then on a bench, stretching. "But true it has been impressive. Still we heeded your advice, I have lads with chocobos dragging flat stones over the paths, smoothing out bumps. And we found one geomancer, though he made me promise to make him a ring of immunity to earth - which is not a thing easy to do." He smiles in consideration, "I think everyone here needed a project. It's been thereaupeutic for some." He gestures to the distant research tent, a thing covered in seals against evil and within a moat of holy water. "And informative for others. This could be a good site as a local outpost for the nearest settlements. They fear this jungle, and rightly so, but there is no system that can't be made tolerable and habitable with enough effort and the right mix of invention."

He pulls something out of his belt then and passes it to Avira. "I made the list of supplies. Some will be hard to get. Fox glove, rose hips, ragweed - simple. A white calf, the etched horn of a ram laid down for fifty years, an olive tree cut down under a full moon and cut to twigs under the new. You're going to have to negotiate. And my list is even worse."

This scene contained 14 poses. The players who were present were: Avira, Maira, Minerva, Garland, Arthur Drover