There aren’t really that many good reasons to go to Richmond. In general the folks there are either making trouble, looking for someone who is making trouble or hoping to avoid trouble elsewhere. So the news that an allegedly seven hundred year old elf possibly named Kurile (an alias perhaps?) had been sighted disembarking from a Horune ship a couple days back is… interesting.
It’s also damn inconvenient for those who have been charged to look for her. Richmond is largely empty but quite dangerous for all that between demons, beasts and bandits. The few relatively safe havens within the city are small and even there folks are well advised to keep their weapons to hand.
The first problem picking up Kurile’s trail will be getting to where the trail starts. To that end Hunter Greymane has put out a local call for experienced mercenary types who might be interested in splitting the finders fee, waited for a day or so and then set off with whomever answered.
At present, the grey furred wolfen – sans robot today – is making use of a tumbled down bit of wall to keep the noon sun off him as he consults an electronic pad uploaded with the latest recon map of the area from Vesper’s security services. He does not look impressed by whatever he’s seeing.
“Well a sighting is something…” Ardul says as she uses the same piece of wall to keep the sun off her. She’s in her armour today, gleaming silver and if it’s a little more battered than when she came through the portal it’s still in //very// good conditioned. Clearly, she values and cares for it. She looks at the Wolfen and her eyes narrow “What is it that has you looking so unimpressed?”
Her great grey wings are folded on her back, but there’s no mistaking that they’re there.
To be fair, Elpida is not a warrior by inclination or nature. It shows in how she struggled wih the armor… and good luck with getting her into a helmet. That is so not happening. The snakes complained. /Loudly/. Still, here she is a dented up and blaster-singed borrowd set of armor that was found to fit her, and more importantly, can do the damn job of protecting her vitals. A simple pistol is holstered at the Gorgon’s hip an she’s moving right along with the others, keeping her eyes peeled. Danger abounds, after all, and she’s inexperienced enough to be more than a little jumpy. Just in case.
Aurana Darkmoon is in Richmond, mostly because there is a part of it she calls home, also there is the fact that most of here work is here. She was looking for good contracts and then heard rumors that someone was looking for assistance. She showed up and looks almost a little out of place. She doesn’t carry any weapons really, and is just in her outfit and a long coat. But she doesn’t seem that bothered. She dips her head, “So suggestions for where to look?The wolfen looks up to watch the gorgon for a moment before glancing back down at his scanner. He’s speaking loud enough that she and Aurana will most certainly be able to hear him. “We’re here. The edge of the town center – which is where we should probably start – is here.”
“We can’t take the main road up. Last overflight indicated someone with a lot of guns had moved in so it’s too risky. Going around will take us four or five miles out of our way and we might pass through an area watched by some other armed camp. Our other option is to try the sewer network. There’s an entrence not far from here. But there’s no gaurentee that the tunnel network is intact. Parts of it might have collapsed…”
He looks up to get the imput of the others. “What do people think?”
“How you holding up, Elpida?” Ardul asks the Gorgon as she settles near them. Aurana gets a quick once over from the winged warrior – the look a commander might give their squad. Which makes sense, given Arduls background.
“Mmmm, I would have said I could fly in, but if there’s that sort of armament, then … no.” she says to Hunter, looking back at his scanner and considering. “I don’t mind the march of the extra distance but if it’s watched, that’s a problem.” She wrinkles her nose just a little at the next thought “Sewers … they seem like the best bet. They might have collapsed, but they might not have too. And if we have to backtrack, then so be it.” She looks between Aurana and Elpida then, seeking they’re thoughts.
“I’ll manage,” says Elpida to Ardul.
“We should check the tunnel. My inexperienced with this place gut says that it’s probably dangerous and maybe collapsed, but that being exposed out here is just waiting for trouble to find us before we get anywhere near what you want. And if it’s collapsed, we can always come back and go around.” She gnaws on her lower lip.
Aurana Darkmoon nods her head, “Well we can try either, I can run really fast or lift a lot if we need to clear something, or use a new trick and pass through any rubble, see how thick.” she looks back and forth for a moment. “Anything is good for me really. I am not that picky and not used to working that often with others, so will defer to those that are more skilled with unit tactics.”“Tunnel it is. This way.”
As promised the tunnel was not far away. A simple prying off of the round cover – few people call them ‘manhole covers’ these days – lets them drop in. They’re dry for the most part, these tunnels and the parts that aren’t aren’t filled with sewage generally. Just dirty water. There’s been three hundred years of weather to clean these out.
Hunter leads in silence, making pretty decent time and occasionally stopping to check his scanner. For about twenty minutes it seems like there might just be a straight shot up toward the center of town.
And then they come to a cave in. Not the end of the world. As Aurana said, she can move things. Provided the cave in isn’t too extensive.
“Well… I guess we had to find at least o- did anyone else hear something just now?”
It sounded kind of like ‘hsssssssss’. And it came from behind.
Generally, Elpida had been bringing up the rear. She turns, slowly, in the direction that came from after her eyes rolled up towards her snakes. She had to be sure it wasn’t her.
“…yeah. I’m thinking so.”
Dropping into the tunnel behind Hunter, the winged warrior unhooks the cylinder at her hip and holds it in her hand, like a sword. There might have been three hundred years of weather to clear the old sewerage old, but dirty water and decay still stinks. Just not as bad. “It doesn’t smell as bad as I thought it would …” she says to the others, still wrinkling her nose.
As they make the cave in, she sighs softly and makes way for Aurana to get near but spins as she hears the ‘hssssss’. “Yes. Behind us.” The cylinder in her hand blazes to life. An energy blade that casts faint illumination on the walls around them.
Aurana Darkmoon uses her powers to deaden her sense of smell a bit and enhance her vision once they are down in the tunnel. She cocks her head to the side, “Hear?” she asks and alters her hearing a bit just as well to see if she can pick up better what is being talked about.Hssssssssss. There it is again and getting louder. After a few moments a snake comes into view. A big one. Big enough that it takes up about half the volume of the tunnel the group is in and is easily twenty or thirty feet long. It’s got irridescent scales and it’s tongue flicks in and out. It appears… agitated to those who can read such things but it doesn’t appear hostile. Indeed it’s hanging back, half in the shadows and out of easy reach or lunging range for both it and anyone else.
“Big snake…” Hunter mutters. “Aurana… might want to get working on that cave in. I don’t know what it wants…”
“Work quickly…” Ardul says to the others, moving so she can swing that energy sword if she needs to. “I’d rather not engage this in close quarters.” She does however, glance, at Elpida and the snakes on the head …
“Elpida, I hate to ask, but can your … snakes … keep it calm?” She really doesn’t know and doesn’t know if it’s impolite to ask. But really, getting eaten by a big snake is impolite as well.
“Uh… I’ll try,” says Elpida, after a moment. “Easy there, big fella. We’ll be out of your territory soon. You don’t wanna eat any of us. We’d go down hard and take forever to digest.” She holds her hands out in front of her. Many of the forward facing snakes on her head have locked eyes on it, a great number of the writhing serpents up and dancing back and forth upon her cown.
Aurana Darkmoon nods, “Got it, if it starts to get agressive let me know, I might be able to hold it off.” but she goes for the cave in first, and uses her new ability that she has developed to pass through the rocks, to check out if its safe to just shift the debris of the cavein.The cave in isn’t all that thick. But it’s thick enough. About ten feet through and the big trick will of course be making sure that moving things doesn’t cause another cave in. On the other side it’s clear and looks pretty empty. It’s doable and it shouldn’t take Aurana too long. Doing so with an angry snake breathing down her nick might be hard, so hopefully it doesn’t come to that.
The snake backs as Elpida starts to address it, tongue flicking out again. It peers at her, peers at the snakes on her head and then peers at the cave in.
As it shifts, the light catches its scales just right to show greenish ichor leaking from a big gash. This thing is hurt.
And for all that, kind of shockingly docile. Either it’s not an animal or it’s a very tame kind of one because wounded animals are not generally this sanguine when someone crowds their space.
“Where’s Tori when I need her?” mumbles Elpida at the sight of the leaking gash. “Something hurt this thing and pretty bad. Also, it’s not trying to eat us /already/, so there’s that at least. Kinda smart for a snake.” Her eyes roll up towards her own. “Shush, you.” Hiss hiss.
“You’re doing well, Elpida.” Ardul casts a look to Hunter who was watching Aurana. “How’s Aurana doing, Hunter?” She’s still holding her blade out, but not moving. As it moves, the glow from her sword catches the ichor “It’s hurt…” she says at the same as the Gorgon. “… I wonder … ” she says quietly, watching the thing for a moment “Can you communicate?” she asks the snake.
Maybe it’s a D-Bee or a shapeshifter… maybe it’s just a damn big, smart, snake…
They could try to the heal it. There’s a first aid pack in Arduls bag. But maybe Aurana will get this clear and they can move …
Aurana Darkmoon comes back out of the debris on the side everyone else is on and then takes a deep breath, “I should be able to do this, want me to wait till you help the snake?” she did hear about it being injured.” she looks, “If not I am ready to try this.”
“I don’t know anything about patching up snakes,” admits Elpida, “but I can try to keep it calm if someone wants to help it out. I mean, it’s just an animal. RighT?” A big one. A very big snake. Nervous laughter, though she does keep her own not dissimilar eyes focused on it.“Go for it Aurana. It isn’t attacking and I’d rather have a bolthole if push came to shove…” Hunter murmurs. He hasn’t moved much. “Ardul, maybe you can help her. I don’t think we need two of us to watch the snake.” And if it attacks, it’s not like they all won’t know.
Hunter digs into Ardul’s pack and produces an RMK – robotic medical kit. “Use this. It’s automated just place it near the wound and hit the big button. I don’t know how well it’ll do for something that big. It was designed for something more my size but…”
He tosses the kit to Elpida. If she’s willing to get that close, she’s more than welcome to try it out.
The kit is caught by Elpida after some wrangling and she does begin to approach the snake. “Easy there, big fella. Eh? I don’t wanna get eaten by you. Sooooo, let me do this the easy way, eh? Eh?” Shemoves cloer to the wound and raises the kit, trying her best to keep things slow and unthreatening.
“Of course, Hunter…” Ardul extinguishes her blade as Elpida moves closer to the snake and turns to the rockfall and Aurana.
“Let’s do this …” she says as she starts to move the debris, letting the druid direct her movements. It might be surprising just how much the tall blonde can lift and carry. Certainly far more than a normal human.
Aurana Darkmoon nods her head, “Alright, careful of debris.” she says and she takes a deep breath and focuses on her telekinesis. She is quite skilled with it and she put forth her full power. She is more in touch with her power than she has ever been as the rocks and debris seem to start moving all on their own, stacking and forming walls on either side of the tunnel, as if the debris itself is moving to form structural supports. Aurana is fully focused on it as she makes sure to keep it from collapsing.Ardul is hardy, strong and durable. Aurana is on a roll though. Between the two of them they not only clear the passage, but Aurana’s new supports will make a future cave in much, much less likely.
Well done indeed. Hunter certainly looks impressed.
The RMK doesn’t close the wound. It doesn’t have enough supplies. It does reduce it from a nasty gash to a relatively small scratch though. Well, relative to a thirty foot snake.
“Alright. Good work everyone. Let’s keep going. Hopefully…”
As the RMK finishes it’s work the snake ducks it’s head to Elpida and slithers forward, moving carefully past Hunter, Ardul and Aurana and taking a side passage up ahead and to the left.
The wolfen breathes a sigh of relief.
“Right. On we go then…”
Following up on Rousseau's request, Hunter and Ardul along with Aurana and Elpida head to Old Richmond ... and find a Snake.
January 25, 2410