Princesses:Amazon Brigade/Chapter 10
<Capn_Ascii> As we join our heroines, we find them bear-ing down on Frank's location. Ursines point to him being in the nearby cave. Will they be able to save him from this paw-ful situation, or will he fall victim to a grizzly fate?
<Andrea> "Let's go find this cave."
- Jenny follows Andrea.
- Suyana tags along
- Andrea proceeds up towards the cave
<Capn_Ascii> You exit the shed and begin scouting around for the cave.
<Capn_Ascii> You produce the map and attempt to match terrain features on it to the local surroundings, in hopes of pinpointing the cave's location relative to your current position.
<Capn_Ascii> It looks like there's a small creek nearby. If you can find that, you should be able to find the cave.
<Andrea> "Maybe we should follow the creek," Andrea points out, then puts actions to words.
- Jenny follows Andrea.
- Suyana keeps tagging along
<Capn_Ascii> You follow the cliff face to the east. It's dark out here - you might be eaten by a bear.
<Capn_Ascii> Before long, you hear the sound of running water.
- Andrea heads towards the sound
<Capn_Ascii> Sure enough, you find the creek. It's a relatively small body of water that dribbles down the cliff face before running off into the woods to the south. There's a shoe lying here next to the water.
- Andrea takes a look at the shoe.
- Jenny looks at the cliff, trying to gauge how climb-able it is.
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: It's a shoe. Somewhere, there's a shoebox with a button under it missing its contents. The shoe isn't missing its contents, however - there's a (rather ripe) severed foot in there. From the looks of it, it belonged to a zombie until fairly recently.
<Andrea> Andrea tries to determine if she recognizes the shoe. Frank's? Chuck's?
<Suyana> "Severed body parts, eh? Looks like the game is afoot."
<Capn_Ascii> Jenny: The cliff is about 20 feet tall...sloped at about 70 degrees, and covered with old cracks and exposed tree roots. The latter will definitely make the climb easier.
- Jenny looks to see if there is a cave either on the cliff face or possibly at the top of the cliff.
<Capn_Ascii> Jenny: According to the map, the cave is a little bit to the east of here, at ground level.
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: This sneaker has 3/4 worn tread and a faded sports logo on the side - just like the shoes Frank was wearing earlier. Uh oh.
<Andrea> "I... think this is Frank's."
<Andrea> "He might be in trouble. Lara, do you think you could... hold onto that, for now?"
<Jenny> "Well, maybe someone can reattach it."
<Jenny> "I'll take it," Jenny volunteers. "I'm not squeamish." She puts it in her backpack.
<Capn_Ascii> "Yeah, sorry, I'm not touching Frank's feet. Made that promise long ago."
<Andrea> "Okay, now... for the cave," Andrea proceeds in what the direction of the cave seems to be.
<Capn_Ascii> Eastward, HO!
<Capn_Ascii> Sure enough, you soon come across a natural cave opening in the cliff face. There are vines hanging down from above, partially blocking the opening. Rather peculiarly, there's also a small manmade structure next to it - what looks like a wooden box sitting atop a post.
<Jenny> "Do...bears normally get mail?"
<Suyana> "Not in my experience."
<Selphie> "Well if there's any mail in there, we can at least determine what name lives at this address."
<Andrea> "Indeed." Andrea checks the mailbox.
<Capn_Ascii> You realize it's not a mailbox - it's a small wooden cabinet, with a padlocked door. Sitting on the side of the cabinet is a small key inside of an equally small, glass-front box, like the sort you'd normally see a fire axe inside or the like.
<Capn_Ascii> Lara pipes up. "Oh, these things are all over the forest. They store bear mace for the rangers and campers to use.
<Andrea> "Hmm. Okay. ...is it worth grabbing? I'm guessing not."
- Jenny peers into the cave.
<Capn_Ascii> "Well, it's bear mace...and we're probably about to venture into a bear cave, so...yeah, I'd think it would be worth it."
<Capn_Ascii> "If you don't want it, I'll take it. I don't have magical powers, after all."
<Jenny> "If we mace it, we might not have to kill it," Jenny points out.
<Andrea> "Good point," Andrea grabs the key and unlocks the cabinet.
- Jenny starts wondering if bears would even like the smell of zombie flesh, then discreetly tries to take a sniff and see if Lara has a noticeable smell.
<Selphie> "Strange place to put the bear mace box outside the cave when the bear is more likely inside the cave. Why didn't they just mount the mace in the cave to keep it safe from bears for rangers and campers?"
<Capn_Ascii> Jenny: You nonchalantly take a whiff, and immediately wish you hadn't. It's not *rotten*, exactly...more like that mildew growing under the sink. Definitely not pleasant, though.
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: You gently crack open the glass box, extract the key, and use it to unlock the cabinet. You reach inside and pull out a large, heavy metal shaft, the head covered with blunt spikes.
<Andrea> "...Oh. A *mace*."
<Jenny> "Well...so much for not killing the bear?"
<Andrea> "Anyone want this? I'd rather just stick to my gun, if I have to fight at all."
<Selphie> "Well, the glass-front box did look like the sort you'd normally see a fire axe inside or the like."
<Capn_Ascii> Lara takes the mace. "Now I'm loaded for bear." She grins.
<Suyana> "Who still makes maces like that?"
<Capn_Ascii> Lana looks at a small label on the haft. "...huh. Mattel, apparantly."
- Jenny waves her sparkling hand around in the cave, hoping to see into the interior.
- Andrea uses her phonelight for the same
<Capn_Ascii> It's dark in here. You might be--oh, wait, we did that already. Well, that doesn't make it any less dark, but you can see the dim outline of stone walls leading into the darkness. The cave seems to elad a good ways into the cliff face.
- Selphie looks at the ground in the cave entrance to see if there's any recent tracks.
- Andrea begins carefully walking into the cave, checking for signs of life as she goes.
- Jenny also walks forward, staying up with Andrea, but not getting ahead of her light.
<Capn_Ascii> Selphie: There's some scratch marks in the dirt, but it's hard to tell if they came from a bear, a one-footed zombie, or a hideous unspeakable Thing.
- Selphie points at them. "Are those important?"
- Andrea takes a look at them. "Maybe?"
- Jenny shrugs. "Does it matter? We're going to find what we're going to find."
<Suyana> "And possibly beat it up."
<Capn_Ascii> Lana swings the mace around. "Hells yeah. I wanna skin me a bear."
- Selphie listens into the cave.
<Capn_Ascii> You proceed farther into the cave, being careful to watch your footing. The cave slowly descends downward on a slope, until it eventually opens up into a large cavern. The floor gives way here to a wide chasm that cuts off passage to the north. Rather oddly, there's a couple of random objects sitting next to the gap - a long wooden plank, and...a unicycle?
<Jenny> "Think Frank or Chuck fell down there after trying to ride across?" Jenny speculates.
- Andrea checks to see if the plank can fit across the gap
<Andrea> "Possibly. I'd prefer to walk across, myself, if we can."
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: It looks like it will. Only one way to find out, though.
- Andrea tries it
- Selphie checks to see if the unicycle is tall enough to bridge the gap when laid across the chasm.
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: You lay the plank down and extend it across the gap. It's a long plank, and soon there's a roughly 20-foot-long bridge across the opening.
- Andrea carefully tests to see if she can go across
<Capn_Ascii> Selphie: You produce a measuring tape, do some calculations, and soon conclude that the unicycle is far too large to even fit into this cavern, much less bridge the gap. ...oh, wait, you forgot to carry the 2. No, it's entirely too small for the job.
<Selphie> "Well if this unicycle isn't intended to be a second track for your second foot as you cross the chasm, I can only conclude the resident of this cave had only one foot."
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: The plank seems sturdy enough to support you, but definitely not more than one person at a time.
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: The plank seems sturdy enough to support you, but definitely not more than two at a time.
<Andrea> "Okay. Two at a time at most... Jenny, you'd better be on your own. Suyana and me first, then Jenny, then Selphie and Lana, I think. Unless anyone has a better idea?"
<Jenny> "Anyone got rope?"
<Jenny> "We can use it as a safety line, if anyone does." Jenny looks around to see if there is anything she could brace herself against, if someone does come up with rope.
<Capn_Ascii> There are a number of stalagtites near the edge of the cliff that look sturdy enough. Or, was it stalagmites? Eh, big spiky rock things.
- Selphie` produces rope from her sports bag. Oh, no that's her skipping rope nunchaku. She gets the longer rope out and hands it to Andrea.
- Jenny takes the rope from Andrea and ties one end around Andrea's waist and one end around her own, then braces herself against the stalagmite. "Ok, go ahead. If you fall, hopefully this will catch you. But don't fall, because I don't want to test it."
<Suyana> "How long is that drop, anyway?"
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: You approach the edge and look down. You immediately wish you hadn't. You can't even see the bottom in this darkness.
<Selphie`> "Good job the plank was on /this/ size of the gap. Seems a bit far-fetched to suppose a bear might manage this, and since we're now in a /cave/ and not the woods, I'm unsure how likely we are to find TheThingInTheWoodsInACave."
<Jenny> "Nah, the Thing is behind us. It'll catch up, probably right when we're in the middle of fighting the bear that...ate?...Frank and/or Chuck."
<Jenny> "But I do wonder how the bear manages this chasm."
<Suyana> "Well, perhaps someone mailed the bear a helicopter or something."
<Selphie`> "Maybe Frank eats bear?"
- Jenny frowns thoughtfully. "Lana, what DO y'all eat?"
<Capn_Ascii> Lana shrugs. "Meat, mostly."
- Andrea sighs and sets up the rope as a safety line, then starts to proceed across.
<Capn_Ascii> She then licks her lips. "Speaking of which, you look delicious."
<Jenny> "Yeah? Well, don't eat us. We're trying to help your friends."
<Capn_Ascii> "Of course not. I'm just saying."
- Selphie` nudges Andrea, "Hey! You didn't tell /her/ that was rude!"
<Andrea> Andrea frowns at Selphie. "That went far beyond rude. I didn't reply because she should be well aware how dangerous actually trying something would be. For her."
- Selphie` thinks about that.
- Jenny tells Selphie not to stand on the plank at the same time as Andrea is crossing it. "Wait your turn. When Andrea is across, she can toss the rope back and you can go."
<Selphie`> "I'm just providing stability to this end of the plank to make sure it doesn't slip, wobble, or rotate."
<Andrea> "Right. But I did say to go in the last group."
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: You carefully make your way across the plank, until you're standing on the opposite side. A large, angry bear fails to immediately attack you. Whew.
<Jenny> "Untie the rope and I'll pull it back," Jenny calls out.
<Andrea> Andrea nods and unties herself.
- Andrea waits for people to make it across before she starts exploring
- Jenny pulls the rope back and ties the end around Suyana next.
<Jenny> "You're up."
<Suyana> "Here goes nothing," Suyana says and attempts to carefully walk the plank
<Selphie`> "Maybe if we have the rope tied to a stalacrock on this side and a stalacrock on the far side, we can all use it for stability while walking along the plank, and hang from it if we slip, and shimmy along it if the plank plummets?"
<Capn_Ascii> Suyana: Y'arr, ye manage to cross without difficulty.
<Jenny> After Suyana unties herself, Jenny pulls the rope back again and ties it to Selphie.
<Selphie`> "I also have another rope in here..."
- Selphie` prances across the plank.
<Jenny> "Save that one for later, maybe." Jenny turns to Lana. "You want the rope, too, right?"
<Capn_Ascii> Selphie: You cheerfully skip across the plank, absolutely heedless of the danger. Miraculously, you make it across without stumbling.
- Selphie` had her mind on other things.
<Capn_Ascii> "I guess. After spending all that time under a truck, I sure don't want to spend more time in a dark hole. Hopefully the ol' bod will hold up."
<Capn_Ascii> Lana shuffles across the plank without incident.
<Jenny> "Now tie that end of the rope to a stalactite over there so I can use it to balance. Unless y'all think you can hold up my weight."
<Capn_Ascii> "We'll do both."
<Capn_Ascii> Lana ties the rope to a nearby rock, then motions for the others to help her brace.
<Capn_Ascii> Jenny: You tiptoe across the beam, joining the others on the far side.
- Jenny high-fives everyone for not dying in the chasm.
<Suyana> "Yay for not falling to our deaths!"
<Selphie`> "Now, as long as we don't have to cross back in a hurry, we should be fine."
<Capn_Ascii> Somewhere, a GM laughs evilly.
- Selphie` is just gonna keep doing that.
- Jenny heads out into the darkness, staying within Andrea's phone's flashlight radius.
- Andrea carefully leads the way, looking around with her phonelight.
<Capn_Ascii> You progress farther into the cave. The passage twists and turns, but eventually opens up into a larger...well, 'lair' is probably the most appropriate term. It's clear that this is where the bear makes its nest - there's a number of random items scattered about, from old bones to bits of cloth to pieces of litter. There's a blanket in the corner covering a lumpy, human-sized object. <more>
<Capn_Ascii> You do notice that it's unusually bright in here for a cave. A quick look up reveals a good-sized hole in the ceiling, about fifteen feet up, through which you can see moonlight entering.
<Selphie`> "Well, doesn't look like there's much here." Selphie sighs with relief.
- Jenny looks for the bear.
- Andrea checks the "human-sized object".
- Selphie` stands in the moonlit spotlight.
<Capn_Ascii> Jenny: The bear, much like the doctor, is out. There's no sign of it here.
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: There's definitely someone under the blanket. You pull it off, and find Frank lying on his side, facing away from you, not moving.
- Andrea gently shakes Frank. "Frank? You okay?"
- Selphie` gently twinkles.
- Jenny looks to see if there is another exit around, one the bear may be using.
<Selphie`> "Hey Jenny, might be good to get that boot out of your bag we found at the stream. I mean, it might be his. And you know how the saying goes: 'If the shoe fits, wear it'."
<Capn_Ascii> Frank rolls over. Oh my god, he's dead! ...oh, right. He yawns and sits up, stretching. "Hmm? ...oh, hey guys!"
<Capn_Ascii> HE then looks over. "Hey, Lana! Where've you been?"
<Capn_Ascii> "Under a truck."
<Capn_Ascii> "Oh, cool."
<Jenny> "Oh, right, Selph." Jenny pulls the foot out. "Hey, Frank, we found your foot. Don't know if maybe you can sew it back on or something."
- Jenny hands the foot to Frank.
<Selphie`> "It looked like you maybe tried to cut a foot loose out there by the stream."
<Capn_Ascii> "Ooh!" He grins. "Great! Now maybe I can get out of here!" He looks at Selphie. "Yeah, I kinda...maybe sorta got kidnapped by a bear and dragged in here. I tried to get out, but I can't reach the hole up there and I wasn't about to try crossing a plank without a leg to stand on. Heh heh, get it?"
<Jenny> "Why would a bear kidnap a zombie?"
<Jenny> "Also, how did the bear get across the plank?"
<Capn_Ascii> "Didn't you see the unicycle? As for why, I have no idea. It seems to think I'm its cub or something - it didn't hurt me, but it wouldn't let me leave, either."
<Andrea> "Any idea where it went?"
<Suyana> "Or who taught it how to ride a unicycle?"
<Capn_Ascii> "It left a little while ago, so I guess it's out in the woods."
- Selphie` begins humming to herself, "If you go down in the woods today, you're sure of a big surprise. If you go down in the woods today, you'd better go in disguise."
<Jenny> "Know what happened to Chuck?"
<Capn_Ascii> "Not since I talked to you last."
<Andrea> "Want to head out with us and go looking for him?"
<Capn_Ascii> "I'd like to head out, period, now that I can leave. No offense to Mrs. Bear, but I really don't want to spend the rest of my life living in a cave." He pulls out his phone. "My cell reception is terrible in here."
<Andrea> "Can you reattach your foot?"
<Selphie`> "I have some Superglue, here." She hands it over. "It was initially invented for First Aid."
<Capn_Ascii> "S'ok, I've got it." He produces a can of Ghoul Glue(tm), the patented hybrid glue and preserving agent, and slathers it over both stumps before re-attaching them. He wriggles his foot to test it out. "Good to go!"
<Jenny> "Guess we're stuck re-crossing that plank."
<Capn_Ascii> "That, or we go up." Lana points at the roof. "We still have that rope."
- Andrea looks up carefully. "Enough rope to make that climb?"
<Selphie`> "Sure, if we can get it to hook securely to something at the top. I don't have a ladder in here."
<Andrea> "No grappling hook?"
<Andrea> "I am disappointed."
<Jenny> "Maybe if someone stands on my shoulders, we could get someone up there to tie the rope to something?"
<Andrea> "Not it."
<Suyana> "Not it."
<Capn_Ascii> Lana: "Not it."
<Selphie`> "I love climbing! Please oh please oh please pick me!"
- Selphie` jumps up and down in the moonlight spotlight hoping she'll be the one.
<Capn_Ascii> "Pick for what now?" Frank looks up from where he's been trying to check his e-mail on his phone. "Did I miss something?"
<Jenny> "K." Jenny squats low. "Put your feet up on my shoulders. Andrea, stand next to me and help Selphie balance."
<Andrea> "Can do." Andrea does so.
- Andrea checks the room to se if there are any objects that are sturdy enough to serve as a platform that could give us more height.
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: Aside from the blanket, there's nothing really here aside from bits of trash. Although...it occurs to you that the plank you used to cross could be useful here. An improvised ladder, or at the very least some added support.
- Selphie` is really looking forward to climbing, but if it doesn't work, she'll just send her drone up through the hole to let them know what's up there. It could even trail the rope, but without a hook there wouldn't be much point.
<Andrea> "I'm going to... go get the plank." Andrea heads back to grab the plank.
<Selphie`> "I'll come with you! In case there are lions and tigers and bears."
<Capn_Ascii> "Oh, dear."
<Andrea> "Good point," Andrea replies grimly.
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: You navigate back through the tunnel. Fortunately, it's not a particularly long trip--uh.
<Capn_Ascii> As you emerge into the chasm room, you notice that there's a rather large bear on the other side of the gap. It appears to be in the process of seating itself on the unicycle. It looks up at you, and there's a pregnant pause as the two of you stare at each other.
- Jenny tags along with Andrea for lack of anything better to do.
- Andrea attempts to quickly retract the plank in her direction.
- Selphie` gets her nunchaku ready to smash the plank into the abyss if the bear gets partway across it toward them.
<Capn_Ascii> The bear gets the same idea you do, albeit a fraction of a second too late. It dives off the unicycle seat and lunges for the board, but just in time you snatch it up and out of reach. The bear roars in anger.
<Selphie`> "Nice initiative, Andrea!"
- Selphie` sits down cross-legged and watches the bear handle the unicycle.
<Capn_Ascii> It handles it, alright - lacking any other means of reaching you, it snatches up the unicycle and chucks it violently at Andrea's head!
- Jenny steps in front of Andrea, trying to block it.
<Selphie`> "Ha! Now we have the plank *and* the unicycle!" Selphie brags.
<Capn_Ascii> Jenny does a two-handed sword catch, grabbing the wheel and stopping the projectile cold. The bear sees this, then roars even more furiously.
- Selphie` jumps up, "Maybe I can ride this thing now I've seen how the bear handled it"
<Andrea> "Not now. Let's use this plank to help us get out of here."
<Andrea> "We can use it as a sort of ladder."
<Selphie`> "Aww OK"
<Jenny> "So, Beary Bear. We're gonna leave your unicycle right here," Jenny says, keeping Selphie away from it at hands length and setting it gently on the ground. "You can have it back when you find another plank to get across. But since we don't want to tussle with you, we're gonna take this plank and use it to escape the other way, k?"
<Capn_Ascii> The bear turns around and lumbers out of the cave at a rather fast pace. You get the feeling escaping sooner would be better than later.
- Jenny carries the plank for Andrea, back to the lair.
<Capn_Ascii> You return to the Bear Lair. Frank looks concerned. "We heard it roaring! We need to get out of here before it gets to us!"
<Jenny> "Agreed." Jenny sets the plank vertical, seeing if it can lean against the opening.
<Andrea> "We pulled the plank. It's not coming right away. No need to panic. But, yes, we should exit with alacrity."
<Selphie`> "I think it knows another way to the cave. I think putting the plank across the chasm now and getting out the way we came in is probably the safest route."
<Selphie`> "It might know about the skylight for instance. But it might also be going to pick up its backup plank. Who knows?"
<Andrea> "Yes, but if it doesn't know how to get out through the light, it could also just camp at the chasm waiting for us."
<Andrea> "It seems really easy to get bottlenecked there. I'd rather go up through the roof."
<Capn_Ascii> The plank is more than long enough to extend up and out of the hole.
<Selphie> "True. But in that case, I bags not being the one to stick my head up through the skylight into the bear's waiting embrace."
<Andrea> Andrea sighs. "I'll do it."
- Jenny carefully angles the plank at as shallow of an angle as it will go and still have the top safely over the edge of the hole. She stands next to the plank and cups her hands, ready to boost someone up. "Who wants to go first? Zombie or Princess?"
- Andrea blinks at Jenny, wondering why the hands are needed. "We should be able to just... walk on it."
<Andrea> Andrea decides to go ahead and lead the procession upward anyway.
- Andrea erases her above lines
<Andrea> "I'll go first. Someone help boost me."
- Jenny boosts Andrea as far up the plank as she can.
<Andrea> Andrea scrambles the rest of the way upward.
<Selphie> "Is a procession of princesses a precession?"
<Jenny> "A princession."
<Selphie> Mmm... "nice"
<Selphie> As Andrea begins the ascent, Selphie begins humming to herself, "If you go down in the woods today," and then shuts up. Andrea's concentrating.
<Capn_Ascii> This time, though, her singing is entirely appropriate. Andrea does in fact get a big surprise - as her head creasts over the hole, she finds herself face to face with one very angry bear. "RAAAWR!" <more>
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea is so startled that she reflexively stumbles backward, falling off of the plank and landing atop Jenny. Jenny, in turn, falls over onto Selphie, losing her grip on the plank, which slips back down into the hole. Within moments, the entire party is collapsed into a heap. <more>
<Capn_Ascii> The bear, sensing its chance, leaps down into the hole as well, intent on pouncing onto you while you lay defenseless! ...unfortunately, it has utterly failed to notice that the plank is now wedged beneath you, the other end propped up in the air by a nearby stalagmite. The bear lands bodily on the plank and, not unlike a dangerous playground seesaw, the counterforce violently catapaults the entire party up and out of the hole in a spectacular yet highly improbably display of physics.
<Capn_Ascii> You all crash to the ground just beyond the edge of the hole, in considerable pain but otherwise intact. The bear, now completely trapped within its own lair, lets out a roar of impotent anguish.
<Andrea> Andrea moans incoherently.
<Jenny> "That was...something."
<Selphie> "Weeeee!" squees Selphie.
<Capn_Ascii> ---END SESSION---