Princesses:Amazon Brigade/Chapter 07
Chapter #7: Door #1
<Capn_Ascii> As we join our heroines, we find them talking with a priest about seeing dead people. Smells like a movie to me.
<Capn_Ascii> "For reasons nobody is quite certain of, the dead began to rise from their graves. Needless to say, things quickly became...awkward. They weren't hostile, as such, but the townspersons didn't stick around long enough to understand that - they took one look at the walking dead and ran away screaming. Can't say I blame them."
<Selphie> "But you didn't desert your mission field."
<Capn_Ascii> "No. At first, I considered it, but as I came to realize the zombies were friendly, I also came to realize that they needed my help. They couldn't stay hidden out here without someone 'on the inside' as it were to keep suspicion away. So I stayed, and continue to serve the community." He shakes his head. "Admittedly, their existence creates certain...personal conflicts I have yet to resolve, but I bear them no ill will."
<Jenny> "Have you encountered the ThingInTheWoods?"
<Selphie> "Are the number of zombies constant or are "fresh" ones being added to their number from the graves over time?"
<Capn_Ascii> "Not directly, though I have heard it raoming around at night. I make it a point to never leave the town boundaries after dark, and neither should you."
- Selphie admires the dude.
<Capn_Ascii> "No, there are just the initial ones. Everyone in the graveyard who was not yet too...erm, decomposed to move, rose up. I have not attempted to bury anyone else to see if the effects are ongoing, not that I have anyone to bury."
<Capn_Ascii> "Frankly, I'm still not sure what caused all this. I can only assume something in or around the graveyard is responsible."
<Selphie> "The ThingInWoods doesn't leave enough to be buried, then, I take it. When did it first appear? Around the same time the dead rose?"
<Suyana> "Oof. I hope the ones who ARE too decomposed to move aren't...awake."
<Capn_Ascii> "Yes. During the day, I've entered the woods and found traces of it. Whatever it is, it's big."
<Jenny> "So. Woods or graveyard first?" Jenny asks the group.
<Andrea> "I'm not sure what there is to find in the graveyard, but I suppose we should make sure of that and eliminate that first."
<Capn_Ascii> "You may wish to wait until morning. The woods will certainly be safter, and you will have daylight to search by."
<Selphie> "If we wait until morning though, TheThingInTheWoods will have evaporated again."
<Jenny> "What she said," Jenny says, hiking a thumb in Selphie's direction.
<Capn_Ascii> "Yes, that would be the idea. It would be unwise to perform geological surveys with a man-eating monster about."
<Andrea> "The Beast is almost certainly a relevant factor. These things don't just come out of nowhere."
<Suyana> "I bet we could take it!"
<Capn_Ascii> "Though I suppose now the question is, what will you do about my friends now that you know they exist?"
<Selphie> "They were friendly enough. Even gave us their contact details. Now they're OUR friends too!"
<Capn_Ascii> "I hardly see how the creature is relevant to ground tremors. Those only began recently."
- Selphie hopes he's OK sharing.
<Andrea> "We continue investigation as normal. They haven't hurt anything, that I can see. As long as that continues to be true, nothing."
- Jenny shrugs. "They're not causing problems that I can see. Live and let ... not live."
<Jenny> "Live and let living death?"
<Selphie> Selphie repeats for the old man, "When did TheThingInTheWoods first appear? Around the same time the dead rose?"
<Suyana> "Well, if there's any problem, then it'd probably be with the rest of the world that would fear and reject them."
<Andrea> "As it is, there are *no* leads for the tremors. Have to start somewhere. The Beast is as good as anything else."
<Selphie> "If it wasn't related somehow, it wouldn't exist."
- Selphie is uncertain about that logic, but it sounded better in her head.
<Jenny> "Anywho, shall we head to the graveyard? Which way was it again, padre?"
<Selphie> "Sure. It's closer. I think it's behind the chursh."
- Jenny starts walking that direction, waving at the pastor dude on her way out.
- Andrea follows Jenny
- Selphie hopes the priest realises we only want to get to the bottom of the seismics and have no ill-will toward the zombies.
- Suyana tags along
- Selphie heads out into the darkness and flips on the LED torch. "Watch your step."
<Capn_Ascii> Selphie suddenly feels an odd sensation, as if some great, unseen entity was death-glaring at her.
<Selphie> "I can feel TheThingInTheWoods watching me!" she squeaks.
<Andrea> Andrea frowns and turns on her flashlight app.
- Selphie hunkers down behind a gravestone.
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: There's nothing out there. Selphie must be seeing things.
- Jenny peers into the darkness, looking for any extra-dark shadows or other suspicious spots.
- Andrea still keeps her light on and starts looking around for anything suspicious
<Capn_Ascii> You step through a side door to the west that leads out into the graveyard area. It's rather nice, as far as graveyards go - big enough for about 30 plots, with a tall stone wall surrounding it that connects to the church building. There's an iron gate in the west wall, opposite where you entered. <more>
<Capn_Ascii> There are plenty of gravestones, of course, most of which have something carved on them. The plots in front of them look oddly undisturbed, given the zombies' account of their origins. There's also a small building against the north wall - it looks like a combination of a storage shed and a very small living space.
- Andrea frowns and heads for the shed/living space
- Jenny follows Andrea, then stops at a random grave and reads what's carved on it.
<Capn_Ascii> It looks like a toolshed that someone converted into a living space at some point. There's a small window next to the door, with faded curtains framing it from the inside. A small nameplate on the door says 'ANDRE'.
- Suyana starts to tag along. "Come out from behind there, Selphie. You've seen what we're capable of. We could take on anything around here!"
- Selphie is still shaken, not stirred, and watches unmoving for the moment.
- Andrea knocks
<Capn_Ascii> Jenny: "Here lies Jim Creighton. Does anyone recognize that name? He didn't have any money on him when he died, and somebody's got to pay for this tombstone. --Undertaker Morris"
<Jenny> "Some undertaker has too much time on their hands," Jenny mutters, and joins Andrea. "Is Andre the name of the priest?"
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: There's no answer. The wood looks old; perhaps it's abandoned?
- Andrea tries to open the door
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: The door is locked.
- Selphie scoots after Jenny and stays close.
- Andrea tries to pick the lock
<Selphie> "Maybe a weed-wacker will work wonders on TheThingInTheWoods?"
<Selphie> "Or maybe we could make a bomb from the garden fertiliser..." Selphie's mind begins plotting
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: The lock clicks open. Don't get too full of yourself, though - it was an old lock.
- Andrea heads inside and looks around
<Capn_Ascii> The inside of the shed is quite small - barely the size of a small bedroom. There's a single-person cot in one corner, an old rocking chair in the other (in front of the window), and a fireplace between the two of them. Next to the chair is an endtable that's piled high with a towering stack of old books. Everything in here is covered with dust.
- Andrea looks at the stack of books
<Jenny> "Should we go ask padre who Andre is?"
<Andrea> "With as dusty as it is in here, I don't think it's relevant."
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: They appear to be horror books. Poe, Lovecraft, King...all of the greats are here, most of the dog-eared and well worn. This Andre must have liked his scary stories.
<Jenny> "If he disappeared at the same time as the dead rose and the Thing appeared, then it could be relevant."
<Selphie> "It doesn't look like TheThingInTheWoods has (wanted to) break in here though."
<Jenny> "He could even BE the Thing."
- Selphie stops thinking.
<Andrea> "They seem to well predate the tremors... let's see if we can find something else... somewhere else."
- Andrea walks back out, resisting the temptation to swipe some of the books.
<Suyana> "Andre is the giant? Doesn't sound likely to me."
- Jenny follows Andrea, frowning.
- Selphie looks under the bed.
- Andrea continues looking around the graveyard.
<Andrea> "Biggest question right now: If the zombies came from the graveyard: Why aren't there holes?"
<Selphie> "Maybe there's a crypt under the church and its grounds."
<Andrea> "You think that would've been mentioned."
<Capn_Ascii> Selphie: There's little of interest beneath the cot - an old shoebox, a few more horror novels, and a moldy blanket.
<Andrea> "...I'm very tempted to dig one of these graves up and see if there's a body still there."
- Selphie looks in the shoebox.
<Selphie> "That would be most uncouth, as an official seismologist."
<Capn_Ascii> Selphie: Hey, there's an old button in here.
- Selphie presses it.
<Andrea> "Does anyone have a practical reason not to attempt this?"
<Capn_Ascii> Selphie: Someone cut a hole in the bottom of the box and used it to conceal the floor-mounted button. Sneaky. You give it a push, and hear something 'click' somewhere behind you in the room.
<Jenny> "The priest might not like it?"
<Andrea> "That... is a fair point," Andrea is distracted by the click and goes running back to Selphie.
- Jenny follows Andrea.
<Selphie> Keeping her finger on the button, she cranes her neck to look around the dusty room interior in the dim lighting.
<Capn_Ascii> Nothing immediately obvious has changed within the shack.
- Andrea carefully scans the room with her light, trying to see if anything has changed from her last inspection
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: What part of 'Nothing immediately obvious has changed within the shack' did you not understand? If anything is different, it's not visible to the naked eye.
- Selphie releases the button and listens for what direction a click might sound if the sound sounds again.
- Jenny pulls out her crowbar and begins tapping the wall with it, listening for hidden compartments or other odd sounds.
<Capn_Ascii> Selphie: Nothing happens.
<Capn_Ascii> Jenny: THUNK...THUNK...THONK... wait, 'thonk'? Hmm. The back wall near the fireplace sounds oddly hollow.
- Jenny begins pushing on the wall and feeling around edges with her fingertips to see if anything pops out.
<Capn_Ascii> Jenny: The back wall is made out of wood planks, just like the other walls of the shack. As you investigate the fireplace, you notice that the bricks actually extend *into* the wall instead of just stopping at it. Hmm...
- Jenny grabs a brick and yanks it.
- Selphie nudges whatever's in the fireplace with a toe.
<Capn_Ascii> Jenny: You tug on one of the fireplace bricks, and are not the least bit surpriused when it moves beneath your hand. Selphie, however, is surprised when the back wall of the empty fireplace swings up and smacks her in the shin.
- Selphie yelps and hops away, careening into the cot.
<Jenny> "Well, be careful!" Jenny says, scowling to cover a vague feeling of guilt.
<Capn_Ascii> There's now a small opening in the fireplace, barely big enough to crawl through.
- Selphie forgets about her smarting shin and coos an "ooo" in interest.
<Andrea> "Well done. I guess I got this one wrong."
<Suyana> "Would we all fit through there?"
- Andrea looks at Jenny. "I don't know about that."
<Suyana> "Well, I'm pretty sure I could fit," Suyana says and peers into the opening
<Andrea> "I'm right behind you, dear."
<Capn_Ascii> Suyana: There's a dark room on the other side, but it's hard to make out any details. Because it's...you know. Dark.
- Suyana breaks out the flashlight and shines it into the dark room
<Capn_Ascii> The room beyond the fireplace is even smaller than this one - barely a few feet square, with stone walls, apart from the one you're poking through. There are a couple of old barrels in the corner, but the main attraction is an iron ladder fastened to the back wall, disappearing down into a hole in the floor.
<Jenny> "Any monsters in there?" Jenny calls out, safe in the larger area.
<Andrea> "Doesn't look to be," Andrea comments, looking inside.
<Andrea> "But I think we should investigate further."
<Jenny> "Whatdaymean, further? How much further can there be in that tiny space?"
<Suyana> "There's a ladder going down in there."
<Suyana> "We should probably go one at at time. Space will be...at a premium."
<Jenny> "Aw, crap. I'm going to have to climb through that tiny space after all, aren't I?" Jenny kicks sullenly at the wall.
<Andrea> "Probably. But, you should go last. Just in case."
<Andrea> "Suyana, then me, then Selphie, then Jenny."
- Suyana makes her way to the ladder and peers down the hole with her flashlight
<Capn_Ascii> It's lovely, dark, and deep. Er, make that creepy, dark, and deep. You can't see the bottom.
<Suyana> "Huh. Can't see the bottom."
- Jenny hangs out by the fireplace until all the others have gone through.
- Selphie squirms along.
<Andrea> "Guess we'd better go down."
- Suyana makes her way down the ladder
- Andrea follows
- Jenny eventually squishes herself down as small as she can go and crawls after the others.
- Selphie is in ur basement, killin ur d00dz.
<Capn_Ascii> Jenny: You very nearly panic as your hips briefly get caught in the opening, but a bit of determined wiggling and pushing gets you through after all. Still, though, you can't say you cared for the close call.
- Jenny shudders and continues on.
<Capn_Ascii> The ladder leads down, down, down, for nearly 50 feet. Finally you reach the bottom - a stone brick floor at the end of a stone brick corridor. The flashlight is the only source of light at the moment, though you notice a number of unlit torches mounted on the walls as the corridor proceeds away from you and into the darkness.
<Andrea> "Are these legitimate torches? What is this, the 16th century?"
<Jenny> "I mean, if you're going to build underground crypt tunnels, you might as well decorate them in style."
<Capn_Ascii> Jenny: Around the time you say this, you reach a pair of hideous-looking gargoyle busts sticking out of the walls. Lovely.
- Jenny pokes one, gently, with a crowbar, to make sure the gargoyles haven't joined the zombies in coming to life.
<Capn_Ascii> "Ow!" It talked! ...oh, no, wait, that was you. You accidentally poked yourself in the forehead with the other end of the crowbar.
- Jenny points two fingers at her eyes, and then at the gargoyles, in an "I'm keeping my eyes on you" gesture, before continuing down the hallway, peeking over her shoulder now and then to make sure they still haven't moved.
<Capn_Ascii> The corridor proceeds for about 30 feet before opening up into a larger square room, mostly devoid of decoration. The dominant feature here is a huge metal double door, 15 feet in height and just as wide. The door is etched with complex markings, and there's a rather large keyhole set into a circular plate that holds both doors shut.
- Selphie has a look at the floor in this room, seeing if anything has disturbed the dust before the party's arrival.
<Capn_Ascii> Selphie: The dust on the floor is thick enough to have been here for some time. The dust on the door, however, is another story - there's hardly any at all.
<Selphie> "Hmm. No tracks in the dust. But no dust on the door."
- Andrea carefully examines the markings on the door
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: The markings appear to be ornamental in nature - lines raised in relief on the door's surface, spreading and swirling around with seemingly no pattern. It's hard to tell if there's any sort of meaning here, or if it was just someone's attempt to decorate the door.
- Andrea takes a picture of it, then opens up her computer and attempts a reverse image search on google, just to see if this has been found before and what it might relate to.
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: You can't seem to find anything. No records exist of a place like this beneath the graveyard, let alone the odd door. The markings might prove more useful eventually, but without something to cross-reference them with, you don't have much of a place to start looking for info.
<Andrea> "Guess it's time to get this thing open," Andrea comments, preparing her lockpicking tools.
- Jenny tries just opening the door first.
<Andrea> "I'd be shocked if a door like that was perfectly shut and not locked... but go for it."
<Capn_Ascii> Jenny: You push on the door, but it refuses to budge. Oh, well. If nothing else, you do feel smarter for having tried the obvious solution first.
<Andrea> Andrea nods and tries the lockpicks.
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: As you inspect the lock, you begin to realize just how complex this thing really is. The large keyhole reveals a multitude of seperate tumbler mechanisms all keyed to a single, multi-pronged key. This will be tricky at best...
<Capn_Ascii> You set to work, opening first one tumbler, then another. However, as you're halfway through the third, the first two suddenly snap back and lock into place again. Hmm...must be some sort of automatic timer.
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: You keep working, but it soon becomes evident that you simply can't open all of the locks faster than they close themselves. You get the feeling you're not getting through here without the key. On the bright side, your newfound understanding of the lock has given you insight into what you're looking for - an iron rod, about a foot long, with five prongs arranged around the end like spokes on a wagon wheel.
- Andrea grumbles and looks around for such a rod. She also describes the rod to her teammates.
- Andrea retraces her steps to look for this rod if necessary.
<Capn_Ascii> ---END SESSION---