Ch1 N2

Base camp, late at night. A lone elf is sitting beside a dying campfire, most of the expedition having already retired for the evening. She flips to another page from the book in her hand before fixing her gaze to the east with an expression of concern.
Lady Elizabeth looks up at Elbereth from the other side of the campfire, as she puts her testing kit back into its pouch now that she's figured out exactly how the orbs work and sent Alianor off to go store them somewhere.
Lady Elizabeth: "So I couldn't help but notice, on our way back from tha first site,"
Lady Elizabeth: "That the second one was open too."
Elbereth nods. "A good catch, Lady Mcgunnery. Mister Hayreddin had grown restless and given our… time limit I was certainly not going to refuse him entry."
Elbereth: "How long do you think until the fleet arrives?"
Lady Elizabeth sighs. "Not even a full day an' yer already ignorin' my request… not that I really suspected this would go any different." She rolls a shrug as she turns her gaze out to the lights in the far distance.
Lady Elizabeth: "'Nother two nights, likely."
Elbereth: "Do you intend to have vanished before they arrive? It would be a shame if they were to sieze your goods found."
Lady Elizabeth: "That is definitely the plan."
Elbereth: "Those treasures I saw on the ship looked lucrative at least. They caught my eye as Lady Wintervine dropped off the crystal statues that were found."
Lady Elizabeth: "Mmm, it's a decent start anyway."
Lady Elizabeth: "I can sense there's a LOT more further in though."
Elbereth: "I would remark that you have a rather strange talent, but it is remarkingly useful given our current… occupation. How did you learn to do that?"
Lady Elizabeth: "I 'uno, same way I learned how ta run and jump and climb and shoot. S'just instinct really, not sure how ta explain it."
Elbereth shakes her head before huddling a bit closer to the fire. Her hair is sopping wet. "Herald gave a better answer than that."
Lady Elizabeth: "Oh yeah? How'd that go, then?"
Elbereth: "He attributed it to dumb luck, amusingly enough. Although that luck brought us a lot more than just treasure."
Lady Elizabeth: "How is LUCK, a thing that ain't real outside of the bounds'a ancient dwarven culture, a better explaination than instinct?"
Lady Elizabeth: "Specially when we aren't even dwarves!"
Elbereth raises a hand to her mouth feigning shock. "Not so loud, Lady Mcgunnery. You may shatter your crews expectations."
Lady Elizabeth: "Oh, yean," She pointedly flicks an ear in Elbereth's direction, "They've definitely all under the impression I'm a dwarf and not a feline driftin."
Elbereth shakes her head. "In all seriousness however, I am glad to see you are well Lady Mcgunnery."
Lady Elizabeth: "Why wouldn't I be?"
Elbereth: "You are running with a crew that you are not accustomed to. Camaraderie is quite the boon to ventures such as this."
Lady Elizabeth: "Eh…"
Lady Elizabeth: "Maybe fer you scholastic types."
Lady Elizabeth: "My fightin' style's more opportunistic."
Lady Elizabeth: "Not that anything in there's really all that tough ta begin with."
Elbereth nods. "The environment was more hazardous than the foes, I agree. Most waves were crushed in a flash. Sir Pica is quite the capable fighter. He even went toe to toe with a large serpent with no armor to his name holding the front lines as we pelted it from behind."
Lady Elizabeth: "Well. Here's hopin' ya stay on his good side then."
Lady Elizabeth: "Not sure I'd even really describe the enviroment as hazard tho."
Elbereth: "No? Site B was full of murky water that turned any to stone that touched it. Sir Hayreddin lost a weapon experimenting and we even found some petrified humans. Given the lock on the Arcolith it's hard to say just how long they have been inside."
Lady Elizabeth: "See, now yer makin' me worry about you again."
Lady Elizabeth: "We didn't have anything like that."
Elbereth: "You need not worry, Lady Mcgunnery. I walked alone across the water to retrieve our treasures. I cannot fall in if the water is frozen beneath my feet."
Lady Elizabeth: "I mean, I guess we crushed one'a them big fuckers with the giant ass sword with a platform… but was more controlled chaos than hazardous."
Lady Elizabeth: "Psh, assumin' you know what to look for."
Lady Elizabeth: "Shit, yer still wet even now."
Lady Elizabeth: "Sure you ain't turnin' to stone under all those frills?"
Elbereth: "That was… an unforeseen complication. I had intended to send the dolls through the grating behind the waterfall. Unfortunately they completely power down if exposed to water. They seem heavily reliant on electricity."
Elbereth: "So I had to get down on all fours and crawl through the submerged space instead."
Lady Elizabeth: "They…"
Lady Elizabeth: "Wow, that sure is a design flaw if ever I heard one."
Elbereth: "In Miss Folis's defense… it was their first creation."
Elbereth: "One has to learn from their mistakes."
Lady Elizabeth: "Oh yeah I guess that's understandable,"
Lady Elizabeth: "What with,"
Lady Elizabeth: "Ya know,"
Lady Elizabeth: "Rain being a new phenomenon an' all."
Elbereth smiles. "I would not advise to Wait Out the Rain, no. You may not get what you desire for quite some time. Most circuitry does not do well submerged, however."
Lady Elizabeth shrugs. "Anyway. You jumpin' into water after talkin' about water turnin' people to stone ain't really fillin' me with a lotta confidence that ya should be in there, Beth."
Elbereth: "I have a firm understanding of how magic works. The sector was properly purified utilizing a water orb before I ventured in."
Lady Elizabeth: "Uh-huh."
Elbereth: "I plan to visit the room again in the morning. It seemed to be a growing facility of sorts with a wide variety of ancient fauna in test cylinders that even I did not recognize. I would have investigated further tonight but I was alone and lizardmen were just above me."
Lady Elizabeth shakes her head. "Suppose ya didn't take full leave'o yer senses then."
Elbereth: "Speaking of which, I need to borrow the largest container you have. I plan to store the doll in a large jar to get them through the waterfall."
Lady Elizabeth: "You'd know better'n I would what you pack fer supplies."
Lady Elizabeth: "Don't figure they'd fit inna pickle jar though."
Elbereth: "Not quite, unfortunately."
Elbereth: "I've been meaning to ask, though. What makes you so trusting of everyone here, Lady Mcgunnery?"
Lady Elizabeth: "Whadda ya mean?"
Elbereth: "Have you ever considered that one among us could sneak off with the acquired treasure while you were in the Arcolith?"
Lady Elizabeth: "Sneakin' off to… where, exactly?"
Lady Elizabeth: "Only one that seems like they could leave here without my ship is Pica-Y-Mata and, well." She rolls a shrug.
Lady Elizabeth: "That seems unlikely."
Lady Elizabeth: "Well, and the little caterpiller dude too but he also seemed wholely uninterested in tha loot."
Elbereth: "I don't recall interviewing that one."
Lady Elizabeth: "That's 'cause he was sleepin' inside the Arcolith."
Elbereth: "I suppose you should consider yourself fortunate that the ones you found were alive, then."
Elbereth: "Did they tell you anything of note?"
Lady Elizabeth: "Naw, only thing he really seemed to remember was his name."
Lady Elizabeth: "Kinda capricious, really."
Lady Elizabeth: "Was helpin' us fight some monsters and then just up'in vanished."
Elbereth: "Neither friend nor foe, I take it. So long as they are not obstructing us, I would be glad to work with them."
Lady Elizabeth: "Well, he was amicable enough. More friendly than our other If-ys companion, least."
Elbereth: "I cannot fault Sir Pica for how he feels. Centuries of imprisonment in solitude with nothing but resentment for your captor is bound to twist even the most sane of men."
Elbereth: "I will do my utmost best to ensure that their stay here is one of many pleasant memories they can now forge."
Lady Elizabeth: "Well, yeah. Just sayin'."
Lady Elizabeth: "All things considered he's a fair sight more restrained than I'd be in similar circumstances."
Elbereth: "Should the empire approach, I doubt he will stay as such."
Lady Elizabeth: "Ehehe…"
Lady Elizabeth: "Well, that's why yer butterin' up to him now, yeah?" Elizabeth smirks.
Elbereth shakes her head. "I treat all our guests with the same level of respect, Lady Mcgunnery. But I admit a desire burns within my heart to see our city saved. Should he wish to fight for his own reasons, I will gladly support him in any way I can."
Lady Elizabeth: "Psh."
Lady Elizabeth: "You sayin' I'm not more important than the rest of these smucks?"
Elbereth smiles. "As much as I wish I could say only due to your nativity, Lady Mcgunnery…"
Elbereth: "I owe Herald far too much."
Lady Elizabeth: "Mm."
Lady Elizabeth: "Not really sure how I'm suppose'ta feel 'bout your constant advances upon my person bein' because of gramps, Elbereth."
Elbereth: "You should be grateful that you have such a caring grandfather, of course. How else should you respond?"
Lady Elizabeth: "Yeah alright we'll go with that."
Elbereth: "Not to derail the conversation, but I wish to hear in detail what your plan is when the empire arrives."
Lady Elizabeth: "Who said I had a plan?"
Elbereth: "Your only motivation for venturing into the arcolith was to acquire treasure before others could claim it?"
Lady Elizabeth: "Having a big stock pile's gunna make layin' low a hellva lot easier, least."
Lady Elizabeth: "I don't know."
Lady Elizabeth: "It's not like them showin' up is even my main motivation for comin' here, really…"
Lady Elizabeth: "Or maybe it is…? I duno."
Lady Elizabeth: "But it's like…"
Lady Elizabeth: "If things are gunna go to shit soon,"
Lady Elizabeth: "This a great note to end things on. Gettin' out there, doin' one last proper treasure hunt in a place ain't no one set foot in in… shit, eons."
Elbereth: "Your plan is to gather as much treasure as you can and sail far far away, then?"
Lady Elizabeth sighs, while poking at the fire with a stick.
Lady Elizabeth: "I can't really see myself ever leavin' Leviathan for good."
Elbereth: "Do you even intend to return to Leviathan, Lady Mcgunnery?"
Lady Elizabeth looks back up, squinting at Elbereth. "…Yes? Of course I do."
Lady Elizabeth: "Have I been givin' off a vibe I wasn't gunna?"
Elbereth: "Given the nature of the empires past excursions, you were giving the impression that you planned to sail away with your tail between your legs. The empire sunk those refugee ships. They burned my nation to the ground. How would you expect to be 'set for life' when they are on their way to Leviathan as we speak?"
Lady Elizabeth: "Didn't say that. Said it'd make it easier to lay low. S'hell of a difference from bein' set for life."
Lady Elizabeth sighs after a minute, leaning backwards and looking up towards the stars.
Lady Elizabeth: "What do you want me ta say, though?"
Lady Elizabeth: "That I'm gunna turn my shitty little junky salvage ship into some kind of warboat and go out there, guns blazin', givin' them hell until they shoot us dead?"
Elbereth: "I think that we've lost any chance to save Leviathan as soon as we stop exploring this Arcolith, Lady Mcgunnery. I'm not sure what we'll find within, but if there's even the slightest chance that it can help us I intend to explore until the very last minute."
Lady Elizabeth: "Fuck. It ain't like I called off the expedition early. Still plannin' on goin back in tomorrow and the day after."
Elbereth bows her head slightly. "My apologies. I was out of line and have been unfairly critical of you."
Lady Elizabeth shakes her head, but still keeps her focus skyward.
Lady Elizabeth: "It's fine. You're on edge. I get that."
Lady Elizabeth: "I just…"
Elbereth: "As the leader of this expedition, part of me hoped that you had thought of something I had not."
Lady Elizabeth: "I don't know, sometimes when we talk it feels like you got really unrealistic expectations of what I oughtta be doin'."
Lady Elizabeth: "Like you're kinda hopin' I can… I don't even know. Just snap my fingers and magic away all yer regrets, somehow."
Lady Elizabeth: "Or something."
Lady Elizabeth: "And like…"
Lady Elizabeth: "I 'uno. You're basically family. I'd love to. But. I don't think I really got the power in me ta do that."
Lady Elizabeth: "Maybe gramps did? But not me."
Elbereth closes her eyes. "I apologize if the stories of Herald protecting a merchant fleet when we were outnumbered three to one have discouraged you. But if I may be so bold, I do not think you give yourself enough credit. I am not going to be going anywhere, Lady Mcgunnery. This is a problem that Leviathan needs to work on together."
Lady Elizabeth sighs again. "It's fine. … I know you didn't mean anything bad by it, least. We're prob'ly both projectin' a bit, anyway."
Elbereth: "Such talk should be saved for the final hours. There is much one can accomplish in two days."
Lady Elizabeth: "…Yeah."
Elbereth: "Do you have any further impressions on our new companions?"
Lady Elizabeth: "Folis is kind of a spaz, but well meanin' enough and a fair decent spellslinger. Santiago's still cute behind the mask. Alianor's gun stick is pretty cool in action and she seems like a nice girl. Understands the Acrolith glyphs a lot better'n I do. Echo don't talk much but he's tough a huge asset in combat. Fearless but cautious, nice to have around when exploring."
Lady Elizabeth: "Lobelia seems a lot more level headed than her first impression gave, too."
Elbereth nods in agreement. "Lady Wintervine has been quite the asset to our expedition. She's been mapping out the second site and offers much insight in terms of route planning and tactics."
Lady Elizabeth: "Huh. Well, suppose it stands to reason you don't survive as a mercenary fer years by bein' a complete doofus."
Elbereth: "I admit I felt bad for Sir Santiago however. He seemed rather excited to find an ancient sculpture as treasure. A petrified human is best laid to rest."
Lady Elizabeth leans back, stretching her arms over her head and tapping her feet against the ground.
Lady Elizabeth: "Could probably actually find a buyer fer that…"
Elbereth: "He did not realize the circumstances of the victim and assumed it was a sculpture proper."
Elbereth: "I do not think any among us intend to disturb them further."
Lady Elizabeth: "Just sayin'."
Elbereth: "Miss Folis seemed rather eager to help our group as well. We sent them flying up a tower full of jagged coral using wind magic and a make shift parachute. Had it caught on anything they would have taken quite the fatal tumble."
Lady Elizabeth: "Yeah she's very…"
Lady Elizabeth: "Excitable."
Elbereth: "The dolls are rather peciliar. They often have to rest and… I suppose recharge would be an apt term as they do not sleep. Quite a few times they've shut down in my apron pouch or Lobelia's backpack."
Elbereth: "Had I known, I would have brought some method to jolt them with energy when prepping the supplies."
Lady Elizabeth: "Eh, that seems like the kinda thing they'd prepare fer themselves, really."
Lady Elizabeth: "Might just not be used ta exertin' so much energy."
Elbereth: "I admit that Sir Pica and Lady Wintervine took quite the beating from the serpent which seemed to be the 'leader' of the creatures of that stratum. Their healing prowess has kept the group in prime shape."
Elbereth: "But they have expended most of their energy on more than one occasion already."
Lady Elizabeth: "Well I mean,"
Lady Elizabeth: "Don't imagine a pair'a dolls… which were pretendin' to be children's toys for the last couple months… are used to goin' all out in scuffles, yeah?"
Elbereth: "In all honesty, strong large creatures such as that serpent are much harder to deal with. Between my sorcery and Sir Pica we cleared out the normal creatures before they could do much of any damage."
Elbereth: "We both seem to be accustomed to taking out groups of enemies at once."
Lady Elizabeth: "Mm. We haven't really had any problems either way, on our end."
Elbereth: "That is good to hear. The serpent was forming lightning spires with each action it performed and as the battle dragged so did the number of bolts that flew our way."
Lady Elizabeth: "Suckers."
Elbereth: "To be honest, it was quite the thrill. It has been quite a while since I was able to do more than mere parlour tricks."
Lady Elizabeth: "What, ya don't throw the drunks outta the bar yerself?"
Elbereth gestures to the book in her hand. "Should you find any grimoires such as this, please inform me. I can transcribe forgotten magicks and use them as my own."
Lady Elizabeth: "Yeah yeah, I'm quite aware my witchy-witch."
Elbereth nods before flipping to another page in the book. "Did you want anything before you retired?"
Lady Elizabeth: "Kinna a lotta people around for that, aren't there?"
Elbereth smiles. "You'll know where I am should you change your mind."
Lady Elizabeth shakes her head, finally smiling a little.
Elbereth gets up before bowing slightly. "If you'll excuse me, I have to check on the rest of our guests tents should they need anything. Safe travels tomorrow, Lady Mcgunnery."
Lady Elizabeth: "You too."

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