Geometric Archipelago:Dragons on Semicircle Island/Chapter 11
Chapter #11: A Cat-alyst for Action
<mainstreet> ---BEGIN SESSION---
<mainstreet> A slender, white-haired drow in robes leans against the cavern wall, half asleep. As you teleport in, he suddenly wakes up. He brightens. "Well it's about time you got here." He looks again at your group and blinks. "Hey, where are the eggs? Did you fail the Mistress? And where are Adrienne and Charlotte?" he demands urgently.
<mainstreet> You look around the cavern and see what's largely an uninteresting cavern. Of note is the symbol of Tiamat carved into one wall, and a large empty wicker basket sitting on the floor nearby. You can see that in general it's very dark, the only light a small torch that is illuminating the aforementioned symbol. There are tunnels in two different directions. For the sake of argument, let's call them West and East.
- Nenni feels like he's in a maze of twisty passageways, all alike, and might be eaten by a Grue at any moment.
- FluffyRaven continues to quietly stalk, a skill he has displayed for some time. His wispy dark grey cloak making him appear no more then the shadows that lay home here.. unforanately he is but a mere morsel for any grue.
<mainstreet> Hans says something. The wizard grumbles a bit and starts shouting. "So you're telling me you got beat up by some punk bodyguards? You're the worst attack squad I've ever seen! Half your team gone, to not even accomplish anything... Are you *sure* you want to report back to the Mistress with this failure? Well, I'm going to have to tell her regardless, but you know, she'll probably get angry. At you."
<mainstreet> The wizard pulls out another teleport rope. "Your call, Carter."
<Ascii> 'Jason' grabs the rope, followed by the other party members.
<mainstreet> Fluffy *may* have been detectable this time around, but the drow's spot is not very good, and he "Activate"s the rope.
<mainstreet> You find yourselves in a much larger cavern. It's... vibrant. Most of the cave seems to be taken over by a vast altar, colored in white, blue, black, red, and green. You see a large metal throne atop the altar, and another smaller one at its base. A drow languishes on this lower throne, a contended look on her faces... which quickly drops when she recognizes your arrival sans eggs. In the middle of the cave is a small caldera in
<mainstreet> which you can see three dragon eggs floating in some sort of purple liquid. Four wild elves with swords stand at various places in the room.
<mainstreet> There are torches lining the cavern completely, giving you such a great vision of the room.
<mainstreet> Another beat, and you notice there is a single exit behind you, at which two of the wild elves are standing guard at.
<mainstreet> The Grand Mistress, for who else can she be, stands up and slowly walks towards you. You can tell she is enraged. "Where are Her Dark Majesty's eggs?"
<mainstreet> "Grand Mistress," one of the wild elves interrupts. "The number of cats in this cavern has suddenly tripled."
<mainstreet> The Grand Mistress blinks and looks around. She spots a cat lounging by the altar... then spots Fluffy. And Nenni.
- Hans drops to one knee, and in a most grovely voice, head bowed, declared, "Grand Mistress, we were thwarted by a ragtag group of adventurers who had apparently taken on the protection of the eggs. We were expecting no opposition, and were soundly defeated. How did you miss that the eggs would be protected?"
<mainstreet> The Grand Mistress glowers. "Fine. We shall proceed immediately with what we have. Three is better than none. Prepare for the hatching ritual."
- FluffyRaven has been spotted? Oh yowl.
<mainstreet> FluffyRaven: You see a bunch of strange symbols in a circle on the cavern floor surrounding the caldera.
- mainstreet scratches out the name ID and mentions it to everyone instead
<mainstreet> Ascii: You recognize that some of the text is in Infernal, you can't really understand what it's actually trying to do though. You also recognize some Elven symbols but they're completely incoherent to you.
<mainstreet> Nenni: You see some Draconic writing, and definitely notice the concept of "forced hatch" involved. You also recognize some symbols used in Sylvan (ie: Elvenscript) but don't understand them.
<mainstreet> Hans: You see some Draconic writing, and definitely notice the concept of "forced hatch" involved. You also see a reference to some kind of growth. You also recognize some symbols used in Elven but don't understand them.
- Nenni relays his insight to the others via telepathy.
<Hans> "Yes, of course, Mistress. Thank you, Mistress." He turned and said to the rest of the party, "Get ready for the ritual."
<Ascii> Ascii examines the symbols. Are they written with some sort of ink? Magic? Carved into the floor?
<mainstreet> Ascii: The symbols appear to be painted onto the cavern floor.
<Hans> After a moment, 'Jason' turned around. "Mistress... we are rather exhausted from the fight. May we have a brief respite before the strenuous ritual?"
- FluffyRaven realises there IS no where to hide and.. fluffs up like a cat in fear.. tapping in to the aethnet for the first time. .o0(The other feline is one of my kind, they are our ally here..)
<Ascii> (What, seriously? How many f**king talking cats are on theis damned island?")
<mainstreet> The Grand Mistress sighs. "I don't like to reward failure, but fine. Take the sisters out for a rest," she gestures out the cavern exit. "Report back in the morning. Sister Evangeline should be around as well by that time to assist."
<mainstreet> Vivi: You get a very clear picture of this ritual. The script flows through Draconic, Infernal, and Undercommon. It's designed to force a hatching, but not only that, it's designed to alter them. It will place them in a general mindset to live solely to support Tiamat's glory and make them susceptible to something referred to as "Hypergrow".
<Hans> "You are so very generous, Mistress." Hans turned on his heel and headed out.
<Ascii> Mork follows.
- Vivi follows in whichever disguise it was that she picked.
<mainstreet> "Of course I am. Idiot human," she grumbles to herself. She speaks up a bit, switching to Draconic, "Oh yeah, and take care of that failed merc scum for me, while you're at it, Carter," as you head out.
<mainstreet> The third cat wanders off in your general direction, following you out.
- Nenni trots along, glad for once to have escaped much attention.
<Ascii> (Does she mean me?)
<mainstreet> You soon find yourselves in another, smaller opening, some distance away. You can see the mouth from here. This would be a roughly secure spot to rest, assuming no one comes looking for you in here, as there were no other paths out.
- Vivi uses Aethnet to tell Ascii not to switch his disguise while the possibly-a-real-cat is still following them.
<FluffyRaven> .o0(We need to stop that ritual, do we have time to rest?)
<Ascii> (They're not starting until their clerics - us - are ready. Hans just talked her into giving us time to recover before tomorrow.)
<Ascii> Ascii leads the others outside, since nobody else seems to plan on doing it.
<mainstreet> You find yourself partway up a snowcapped peak. You see scattered trees and bushes. You have fairly good visibility, and can see several other peaks in either direction. Downhill the forest gets denser. You get an eerie feeling that this area is filled with dangers. You can tell you're in the mountains of Semicircle -- and for that matter in the first layer, because there are not more mountains in front of you -- but beyond that you can't really tell.
<mainstreet> Once you go outside... and are clearly out of sight of the cave mouth... the other cat... starts growing... changing shape!
- Vivi crosses her fingers, wishing for another dragon.
<mainstreet> A confident blonde woman, dressed in what appears to be silver dragonhide armor, appears before you. She looks quite familiar, but you can't place her immediately.
- Nenni greets her in Feline language.
<mainstreet> Hmmm, she looks a lot like that blonde lady you met in the YGP Inn. Not exactly the same though, so... her sister? Yep, you've found Lauren Michaels!
<mainstreet> Lauren frowns at Nenni. "I can only speak cat when wild shaped into cat form."
- Nenni commiserates in Feline. Such a shame!
<Vivi> "Did you or did you not get abducted by a dragon?" Vivi asks her in a tone vaguely reminiscent of a schoolmarm.
- Vivi also lets Aeth out of the pack and pulls out her notebook and pen, ready to transcribe Lauren's answer.
<Nenni> "Oh, it's you!" Nenni empaths to Lauren.
- FluffyRaven earflicks, knowingly smug. .oO(Unless your other companion speaks in words, you can be assured I'm the only /talking/ cat on this island.) Obviously his thoughts aimed at Ascii
<mainstreet> Lauren coughs. "I wasn't exactly prepared for the captain's... swiftness. There was no 'abduction'." She hesitates briefly. "My apologizes, allow me to clarify my identity. Lauren Michaels, Special Agent, Geometric Archipelagic Treaty Organization."
<Ascii> (Screw talking cats. I like cats that turn into attractive blondes.)
<Nenni> "No abduction? Were you a willing evacuee then?"
<Vivi> "What kind of treaty are you pursuing, exactly?"
<mainstreet> "I accepted the assignment from Captain Kerth, yes. I assume there is some sort of infiltration mission going on here? Since I recognized my fellow GATO agent here," Lauren gestures at Fluffy. "I realized this was an opportunity to actually make a move to stop Ravansell."
<Ascii> "Fellow agent? Wait, what?" He looks at Fluffy. "Do you turn into a human too?"
<Ascii> "And who the heck is Ravansell?"
<Vivi> "The Grand Mistress, most likely?"
- Vivi looks to Lauren for confirmation.
<mainstreet> Lauren turns to Vivi. "The treaty itself is public knowledge, more or less an agreement not to go to war with each other anymore, have free flowing trade, and so on. There's also an enforcement agency to make sure nothing threatens us all. I'm part of it. As is the cat here. And yes, Ravansell is the Grand Mistress of the terrorist organization Tiamat's Hand."
<mainstreet> Ascii: You hear a croak from your bag.
<Vivi> "The rest of us are not with Gato, of course. We were hired by your dad to find you, Jason, and Mayor Jones.
<Vivi> "But that led us quickly to this egg-napping business."
<Ascii> Ascii fishes out Beatrice from her pouch. "What is it, girl? did Timmy fall down the well?"
<mainstreet> Lauren blinks. "Wait... find me? Why do I need to be found? ...oh. I screamed and people panicked thinking I was kidnapped. Great." Lauren facepalms. "And now my cover's almost certainly blown, unless we can find a way for someone to have 'kidnapped' me that isn't one of the three dragons on the Island, because that either really destabilizes the power structure, or exposes the Captain."
<Ascii> "What's this about a captain?"
<Ascii> "Are you not alone out here?"
<Nenni> "We can certainly let those looking for you back in your hometown know that you weren't abducted, and that you're alive and well. That the screams must have been unrelated."
<Nenni> "We can do that in ten minutes, if you'd like to come up with some wording to be relayed."
- FluffyRaven coughs quietly as his fellow explains things. "I do not turn in to one of your kind, no."
<mainstreet> "Not exactly. I accepted this mission, to attempt to disrupt the operations of Tiamat's Hand, and specifically this ritual to corrupt Voranath's eggs, from Captain Kerth. If I had the ability to I would have returned the eggs to Her already. But, Ravansell is a *very* powerful cleric. I would have been slaughtered on my own."
<mainstreet> Lauren turns to Nenni. "I know my father. He's not going to accept anything but me, personally, back home."
<Hans> "What are the security arrangements ovenight, Lauren? A bunch of guards awake or just one?"
<Nenni> "So if we can return the eggs promptly to their rightful owner, you can return home directly?"
<mainstreet> Lauren blinks and turns back towards Vivi. "Wait, Jason? Aren't you Jason?" Lauren looks towards Hans. "I'm confused, Miss Winstara..." she turns back towards Vivi. "What, exactly, is happening here?"
- Vivi undoes her disguise. "The Winstaras and Jason are all working with Ravansell."
<Vivi> "Well, *were* working with Ravansell."
<mainstreet> "And that's... a hat of disguise," Lauren sighs. "All of you, I presume? They tend to be common around here. I have one, I just don't bother with it that often. Being a cat is generally better for surveillance."
- Nenni purrs in agreement.
<mainstreet> ---END SESSION---