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[Mount Ebbot, 201X, Monday, March 2X]

 

The Bus lands somewhere on a grassy, mountainous trail, thick with trees and humid forests in all directions. The sun has just started rising.

 

A sharp, acrid feeling fills the air, as, those who choose to exit the bus at this point spot a cavern in the distance, embedded into a cliff.

 

Those who remember the vision instantly recognize the mountain in question.

 

Someone with more humor might have put up a sign saying "here be monsters", but no such people have come here.

In fact, it seems almost like there's nothing alive here at all.

 

It's roughly around this moment that the more perceptive members of the party would start noticing right around now.

 

There aren't any birds singing.

 

 

 

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Jun did some light stretches as she stepped out of the bus, taking in a few deep breaths to get herself a little more used to whatever stench was pervading the air before she said, "Well, this place is a lot deader than I thought it would be...hope we're not too late to help though. I'll scout out ahead, see if I can't find any clues as to where everyone went," and turned on her cloak before she took some careful steps towards the cavern and look around it.

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Arminius shakes his head as he hops out with Iris in tow. Looking around and listening for a few moments he shakes his head. "Don't bother, if you can't even hear the birds and such something is very wrong. Could be just us landing but more likely it's something bigger, like a large predator, and army... we should head inside now before whatever it is notices us is the point." Arminius starts to head for the cave after taking a quick look around.

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Proditor

 

For the most part, the old Ethereal stood in silence, staring at the cavern as the rest of the party began to move. There was something wrong about the place, that was clear. It was also clear that this was their destination, shown to them in that prior vision.

 

With a barely audible sigh though, Proditor began to float forward, using his own psionic prowess to expand his senses, focusing them towards the cave itself to find anything the cave that... Well, stood out. Soon after though, Proditor paused, his psionics picking something up.

 

"Hold" Proditor commanded, his voice coming into the heads of the entire party, "I sense someone ahead" he explained, floating up to the rest of the party, the ones that had already gone ahead at least, "Shall I take the lead here?"

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Lucine walked out of the bus and stretched out - before immediately wrinkling her nose at the air around them. She was about to complain, and stopped with her mouth wide open before being stopped by the words of the rest of the group. Her mouth clapped shut (with a twinge of regret for the deeper breath she'd taken by mistake) as she moved forward slightly, putting herself closer to the center of the party. "Um, should I get ready for something?" Her voice quavered a bit with nervousness; shaky hands gripped her shotgun tightly to her chest. 

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Nader had already been in an unsettled state even before the bus had landed -- that vision had fucked him up. He didn't trust much but vision, after all, and if that were to be a regular thing then he wasn't sure how he could separate fact and fiction at all. Still, for now, in this situation, wariness was the answer either way. He clicked his Horsekiller onto one arm-rail, and his Sorraia machine gun onto the other, affixing the Gut Punch shotgun onto the machine gun's underside. "I agree, the lack of noise is pretty fucking ominous." He looked down at Lucine. "You probably should, yes, Lucine. I'm going to take the rear while that other person who's offering to scout takes point. Space alien, you should probably stay in the very middle. The rest of you should be between these various spots. This keeps the toughest of us on either end, and our especially fragile space alien friend from being shredded when whatever's coming shows up. We'll be prepared."

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Jun stopped to turn towards Proditor for a moment, fading into view for long enough to hear the alien out before she abruptly turned back around and activated her suit's wall climbing systems for additional grip as she set down the trail heading up to the cavern once more, and stated, "Well you can come with me if you'd like, could always use the backup if they're the one that caused all of this." She didn't raise an eyebrow at the kid's question, not like there was much of a point in worrying about potential child soldiers being part of their group when you consider the fact that there was a floating psychic alien with multiple sets of limbs standing right there, but she did still see fit to say "Not unless you need to get your walking stick out first kid, just put that boomstick away somewhere friendlier, and come with us alright? Don't get separated," in response.

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Calvera hops out of the bus, and looked around with a smile on her face. She takes a light spin on her heel to take in her surroundings. Her eyes widened at the view, and she let out a sigh of relief. "It's so pretty here! Look at all the trees!" It wasn't necessarily Calvera's place to notice the lack of birds chirping, until Arminius and the others spoke up about it. This prompted her to lessen the smile, and keep an eye out, subconsciously staying closer to Arminius. She looked around at the people she was with, and two things peeked her attention. The first, was the man in the giant suit of armor, and the second being the little girl holding a shotgun to her chest. She made a mental note to speak to either of them when the opportunity was there, but for now kept mostly silent, and shoved her thumbs in her jean pockets.

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Proditor

 

"Very well" Proditor replied, floating forward at a slightly slower pace. He'd simply move with the group then, continuing to focus himself on... Whatever he was sensing.

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Arminius for his part, decided to switch out Iris for Sindragosa while he had the chance. He liked Calvera, but someone who used lots and lots of fire in a forest wasn't a very safe option. 

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Lucine, for her part, elected to follow Nader's advice over Jun's, merely adjusting the grip on her weapon to be somewhat more practical for actually hitting a target. She had no plans of separating from the group, not when everyone else seemed to be so unnerved. They hadn't seemed this jumpy with an actual superpowered terrorist after them - it was really getting to her. The bright-haired girl mostly just stuck herself behind Nader's back, feeling marginally more safe sandwiched between the bulk of the group and the moving mass of alloy steel that was his armor. 

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Ignia stepped out of the bus with a noticeable clatter of armor, not quite as loud as Nader though.  She stepped out and looked around, trees, plants, no wildlife.  Strange.

 

Whatever it was it was going to good working with a team again, it seemed like all her time lately had been spent on solo missions and training work.

 

"I like this guy's plan."

 

She pointed towards the heavily armored one, Nader if she remembered correctly.  It would be best to layer more vulnerable team members in the middle of the group.

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"It'll be easier to set up a secure perimeter inside the cave," Sister Rachel observes, "Assuming that whatever is scaring the birds isn't inside the cave."  She draws her Nemesis Force Sword and rests it on her shoulder, "Better prepare for close quarters combat, people."  Rachel takes up a rear guard position, where she can keep an eye on the whole group for injuries, and nobody's in the line of fire if something behind the team needs to be torched with her flamer.

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The gang collectively storms the cave, carefully stalking their way up the mountain trail and into the cavernous depths.

 

In the cave, a few things are worth noting, vines and roots litter the ground, a small child is standing in the cave, facing away from the entrance, and near the back of the cave, a small dog is barking cheerfully as they shamble towards it slowly and curiously.

 

Oh, and also worth noting, is the gigantic open mouth of a bottomless pit between the child and the dog.

 

Upon hearing the gang's approach, the child turns, and, seeing them, some of the glaze and confusion drops off of their face as they back up slightly.

 

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Arminius stops walking forward at this point. Kid would probably get scared and panic if they kept advancing on him. And with that hole... It'd be best to avoid that kind of thing. "Hey kid, stop! You don't want to fall do you!?"

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Calvera had halted when the group did, staying silent. She wasn't much of a talker... especially when it came to delicate situations like the one they had found themselves upon.

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Jun slowly raises her hands up and stops in place as the child starts to back away towards the seemingly bottomless pit in an understandable attempt to put some distance between himself and the small squad of armed strangers, "Whoa there kid, look, we won't get any closer if you don't back away yeah? We're not here to hurt anyone, we just want to know where everyone else's gone."

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(1, 17)

 

They start to say something, but the dog from before yips again.  It looks ready to bolt, now that the gang is here.

 

ezgif-1-ecb60fb67885.gif.2693787d69dc8cafa5b127d5a5089950.gif

 

They instead say blandly, turning back to face the samoyed, and taking a sluggish step towards it.

 

(19, 17)

 

With luck sharp enough to cut, they step firmly over the root in front of them, avoiding what would have been a very unlucky trip, and putting them right at the edge of the abyss.

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Lucine pushed her way toward the front of the group, flicking the safety of her weapon back on and trying to hold it in as nonthreatening of a manner possible. "W-Wait, where are you going? We're just trying to figure out what's going on here." She hurried towards the strange child, possibly more hastily than was advisable, and reached for them, trying to grab their hand and pull them back from the precipice. 

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Jun stepped aside a little to let Lucine pass through before she cupped her hands around her mouth, and said in a slightly quieter tone, "....you want to get to your dog? Do you have a way to get across the pit on your own? Because we can help you get to him if you want, just...don't walk into the pit."

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Calvera held her own tongue, but focused. If this was to come to the child beginning to fall down the hole, she'd carefully prepare to put a Gravity Well by the edge, to prevent him from falling.

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(5, 13)

 

notdogfinish.gif.a42d5f422c857fdbf8aedadd7d3ae02e.gif

 

The child mutters, tone dripping with confusion as Lucine rushes over to grab them, and promptly trips over a root themselves.

 

Lucine plows into the kid and sends them both ass over teakettle into the abyss.

 

(9, 13)

 

Calvera erects a gravity well just in time to catch Lucine, who had been the last one to fall.

 

The dog itself seems to have disappeared in the confusion.

 

 

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"Oh phew! That was close... You okay!?" Calvera releases a sigh of relief, and smiles. There was one thing that she did without screwing up. And without fire. Well... besides her missing one. She blinked as she realized. Little late on the draw...

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Arminius let out a stream of language that shouldn't be used in polite company, let alone around children, as the two dropped. The reveal that Calvera caught one of them was good but... Not enough. "Sindragosa!" Arminius takes of running towards the hole, the dragon taking off behind him. He quickly takes a dive off the ledge into the hole, followed by the dragon who grabs him, diving along until forced to open her wings and slow their fall.

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Lucine shrieked as she tipped over into the abyss. . . and then suddenly found herself stuck near the edge instead of plummeting into the void. She screamed one more time for good measure before getting a grip on her exact situation - she didn't find herself falling to hear death any more, but she had just. . . pushed the other kid into the pit. "I-I'm sorry, I was just trying to- There has to be a way to save them, right!?" The girl wasn't exactly ready to deal with having killed another child, accidentally or no. Of course, the guy with the dragon girl was already on his way, but that didn't actually assuage her guilt. 

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