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PRP: Missing In The Crownlands!

An Explorer expedition was sent out to review a series of ruins discovered in the northwestern section of the Crownlands, however itÂ’s been weeks since that expedition been heard from and they are long overdue to return. They know the general area the expedition party intended to explore, but now there's worry something bad might have happened. Can the Explorers find the team in time to mount a rescue, or will they only find disaster?

(OOC: This is a plot for 5-6 players, with preference given to members of the Society of Explorers. Signups are first come first serve; a waiting list will be maintained for those that cannot attend. Please @mail Lou with interest.)

Date

Sept. 7, 2019, 2 p.m.

Hosted By

Lou

GM'd By

Lou

Participants

Miranda Caspian Merek Lisebet Sparte Kaia

Organizations

Location

Outside Arx - Bastion - Castle Ruins

Largesse Level

Small

Comments and Log


The Society of Explorers has put out a call that there's a party missing. They were traveling to the northwestern areas, looking in a particular section near Bastion, for castle ruins. They'd had information, and maps, for awhile now, and Lou was finally able to manage to get a group together to go exploring on the behalf of the Society. It's been several weeks since they've heard from them, and they were due back approximately in that time. Worried, Lou put together a team of hearty people to go in search of them, some explorers - some not. It's been about a week of traveling, both via boat and horseback, until they finally get close to where the trail starts to be marked on the map the party was expected to take to find these ruins. Camp has been struck for the day, and everything is already packed up to begin the search in truth, with that same map in hand. It's go time!

Miranda is a fairly quiet traveler. Good natured, easy to talk to, but not one to strike up a conversation. She enjoys the travel, most especially on the boat, regardless of conditions. That's the thing. She's a happy person, even if the weather isn't so great or the horse's not so amiable. She spends much of her time looking into the woods or even the waters, though often looking a bit like she's staring off into space. Looking -through- things, rather than at them. Wherever her mind is during these times, she doesn't speak of it, but now that camp is set, she paces the area slowly, having that same look - as if staring through things, not at them.

It's been a while since Caspian was on the trail, and even longer since he was with The Explorers. He finishes unpacking his belongings, taking a deep breath of the fresh, non-city air as he puffs out his chest. "You smell that? Smells like adventure!" He tells the group, hands on his hips as the stands there like a mighty man.



Unlike Miranda, Caspian talks to everyone and anyone, all the time. He will strike up a conversation with anyone who will listen. He takes out a piece of jerky to take a bite of, chewing as he looks around to those present.

Merek does not look like he's too much into adventure, considering the nature of the mission. His black leathers are on with the knight helmet which he wears also. He looks to the others from it, while he takes that to place to his side, and shifts to look to the horizon also.

Lisebet isn't usually in such groups. She's one of those who is not with the Explorers, the scholar in her curious enough and gentle enough to want to help. She's come along to see if she can help, feeling the need of a bit of time away from home, and perhaps even away from her twins. She finds whoever has the map and takes a look, before they get moving. "Adventure is often a lot of fun, she says in reply to Caspian.

Sparte has a habit of resting with his staff beside him when they camp, within arms reach but allowed to touch soil instead of being carried around in some sling. "It isn't right to set me up for jokes like that." Sparte glances over from where he is sitting to Caspian with a lopsided grin. "Because I smell a lot of things after a few weeks without the city baths."

Meanwhile, Kaia would be found seated by a log nearby - fastening the cords of her boots. "Alright! That's done. ~" she'd say, before standing up and looking around. "So, who has the map again? Where is it we are meant to head off to, now that all is set?" she wonders, her eyes likely falling on Sparte. For some reason she assumed Sparte would likely know the answers.

Caspian offers a little grin to Sparte, lifting up his arm to sniff himself, then makes an exaggerated disgusted face. "Maybe we'll find a stream to wash up in. Though it's likely to be colder then a witch's tit." He turns to Miranda next, giving her a wave as he approaches. "So how have you been Miranda? It's been a while since we were doing something like this."

Sparte does have an inclination towards maps, so Kaia's suspicion isn't an unfair one. He is a society cartographer, after all. "Where indeed." Sparte stands up, pulling the map out from where he has it stashed in his waterproofed waxed pouch to carefully fold it out. "It has been a bit since we passed the last landmark I was able to recognize, so we're somewhat in guesswork territory."

Lisebet smiles at the joshing going on, amusement clear in her baby blue eyes. She heads over to stand next to Sparte, regardless of what any and all of them might smell like. "Guess work, well, that sounds like a job made just for you, Master Sparte. Certainly I know you are pretty good at riddling out answers."

Miranda glances to Caspian, her eyes refocusing on him and she smiles warmly. "It has. I've been well enough." She purses her lips, "I'm wondering though, how would you know how cold a witch's tit is?" She lifts a brow, her wicked sense of humor right there in her eyes. She nudges Caspian, "You still know how to use your sword, too, right?" More teasing. She moves over towards the group, but keeps a slow pace, watching their perimeter. She's pretty easy to predict. Get her where she need to go. Point her at people to attack or protect and watch her go. Map reading? She leaves it to Sparte.

"I have said before that good maps are just accidental riddles, and bad ones arn't accidents." Sparte considers the sky, holding up his sundial for a few seconds before nodding and refolding the map. "If we're in the right spot, there should be some boulders ahead, and a pair of crossed trees. To the northwest of here." He indicates the direction for anyone directionally impaired. "We should be close, so keep your eyes open for those things."

"I have a wide range of preferences, witches are not below me," says Caspian back to Miranda with a little snicker as he kicks some leaves at her. "I use knives, and yes, I'm still as skilled as ever. Best knife fighter in Arx." He heads over to where people are gathering, around Sparte, patting the man on the back in a friendly manner. "I trust you'll get us where we're going Sparte. If not, I vote we eat you first if we start starving to death." He says in a joking manner.

Miranda checked perception + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 13 higher.

Caspian checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 3 higher.

Sparte checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 15 higher.

Lisebet checked perception + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 10 lower.

@emit Just like some of the others, Kaia made her way closer to Sparte - to see or listen; And so, once instructions were given, and a direction pointed out, she'd give a nod of understanding, pick up her belongings and began her walk - making sure not to stray very far. All the while, keeping an eye out for those boulders and pair of crossed trees.

Kaia checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 24 higher.

Landmarks. Crossed trees and boulders. Right. Lisebet isn't quite sure what crossed trees are, to start with. Are they angry? She doesn't say anything, appears to be looking intently for anything to be seen. Oh, eww, what in Arvum is that bug? She makes a face at it, and edges nearer to whoever is closest to her. It's got claws!

Merek checked perception + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 3 higher.

Merek is content to ride with the others while he makes his way about upon the horse, for the moment he is listening to others while they speak as well as find anything, perhaps waiting to also confirm anything he notices about the place also.

Most people can see the landmarks looming in the distance, and somewhat hard to detect through the brush, which has grown wild and rampant through the forest. Once they are pointed out, they are much easier to detect, and as the party gets closer the others slowly start to see the landmarks as well. As they travel closer, Kaia also finds where the path starts near the landmarks, and indeed it does go in a northwesterly direction. However, it's more like a deer trail rather than any well traveled path. At one point, it may have been a road, but it's grossly overgrown now.

"Knives," Miranda scoffs. "Good for up close and personal fighting." She grins, teasing the man, but then continues to look about, watching for trouble while the others hover close to the map. She listens, looking for the landmarks suggested by Sparte. She lightly nudges Lisebet to look in the right direction, "There, my Lady." She points out the trees that are 'crossed' and some boulders...

Kaia says, "Over here! I think I found the beggining of a...is that a...hmm yeah I think it's a trail!"

Sparte picks up his staff before continuing along with the others. When Kaia points out the trail Sparte stops and pulls out a length of sturdy butcher's twine. He gives the nearby trails and the brush a considering look before going to loop one end around a nearby tree, then the other around a second. Just before the trail starts, where it can still be mostly hidden by the brush. A tripwire. "If we need to get out of whatever we're heading towards in a hurry, remember where to step high."

Is that bug following her? Lisebet's attention is caught by Miranda's nudge, finally looking over the right way, at long last. "Oh! Thank you," she says with a sheepish smile. She does flash a grin Miranda's way, thankful for the help. Kaia's call about a trail has her start that way, curiously. Sparte's actions get a sort of respectful nod. It's like an alien world to some degree for the young noble woman. "Pharamond is going to kill me," she murmurs after a moment.

Miranda is not about to let anyone get lost or fall behind. She smiles at Lisebet and nods, "Aye? Likely, he will kill me if he learns I was present and let his Duchess come to harm. Then I will have to face your Sword, whom I adore, in a battle of honor. Or, I will have to just -let- him win because I failed so miserably." She chuckles, "If there is a fight, my Lady, stay back, with Sir Merek." She eyes Kaia, "And you, what? no armor? Martino will have my head if I let his Betrothed come to harm." She sighs, dramatically, "Martino might do worse to me with his words." She sighs, then winks at both ladies.

Server Announcement: Server Message of the Day: Created Theme Questions board again, use the 'lore' command to ask theme questions and answers will be cross posted.

Merek shifts back to ride with Lisebet with Miranda's words, while he takes a moment to lift up his diamondplate bow which he strings with an arrow, then he waits to watch while they make their way about.

"Seems like there are an awful lot of people who'll mean you harm if people come to harm. Wonder who'll be after me if you get hurt." Sparte gives Miranda a grin as he straightens up from the simple tripwire trap and moves to rejoin the others forging forward. "Who'd have thought the most dangerous part of a life of adventure would be going home."

Miranda grins "Admiral Domonico... Prince Fecundo... Duchess Grazia..." She chuckles at Sparte, happily ticking off names for him, "Princess Reese..." She giggles. "Don't worry, it's Princess Isidora you should fear." She winks at him, too! "Don't worry, if I go home hurt, they will all take turns yelling at me and reminding me of how they worry. As long as I'm not dead, you're safe, Sparte."

Caspian lets out a little laugh at Sparte's quip, ridding along as he yawns and stretches, reaching upwards towards the sky before retaking the reins. "I could go after you Sparte if it'll flatter Miranda," says Caspian back to the two with a little chuckle.

With the trail found and pointed out, and Sparte being the expert explorer here, Kaia makes a pause allowing for him to do his thing before following behind - likely mimicking his steps. A glance given to Miranda when she's spoken to. "Oh, well...leather is not as strong as steel or plate, Lady Rubino, but it does work and allow for mobility. ~" she notes. She was most definitely, not in a dress. Then a grin is shown, "I'm sure Lord Malvici will be fine. He seemed somewhat excited at the notion of me wearing leathers." She pats her sword. "I'll be fine, my lady. No need to worry about me, I've done some training since that awful performance Master Sparte had to witness."

Lisebet smiles at Miranda, and glances to Merek. "I shall try not to make you all have to protect me," she says wryly. "But thank you for the offer." She has to laugh at Sparte's quip and Miranda's reply. As Caspian adds to the fun, she chuckles again. "You know, I have acquired a bow. I even promised Pharamond I'd learn to use it, but I fear it will be a futile exercise. Though so long as I do not learn from Duchess Clover, I should perhaps be okay." Lisebet does have armour, and given notice, she'd be wearing the blue and white leather armour that was made for her before she left house Farshaw. "But it is good to be out of the city for a bit. Babies are noisy."

Miranda grins at Caspian, "Depends on how you fare." She eyes Kaia, "Then I shall be sure to regale him with the story of how you fought brilliantly and saved the day." Despite her light-hearted manner, her attention remains on their surroundings as well, watching for dangers while following the trail with the party. Her eyes occassionally losing focus and then gaining it again. "Just don't shoot us, my Lady," she quips, then to Lisebet.

Sparte reaches a hand up to scratch at his exposed mess of hair beneath his hood. He hasn't said anything about why his helmet is missing, but people seem to have reminded him of that fact. A furtive glance across the underbrush punctuates his commentary. "Armor or no armor makes little difference if you're too worn from travel to fight or flee. We should cut down on the chatter though, we're moving into potentially more dangerous territory. Ears open."

After a bit of traveling down the path, the group comes to a fork. The fork is on the map, though it does not seem to matter which direction is taken, left or right, it should come back to the same place. It looks like the road turned deer parth is going around a pond in the middle of the forest, and though overgrown, even the animals seem to make ample use of going around everything to keep the trail at least somewhat clear on both sides. Water sources tend to do such a thing, attracting all sorts of animals.

Merek nods to the right, seeming to offer his opinion on which way to follow also.

Lisebet looks over at Sparte, and says not another word, concentrating on listening. She can hear her own breathing at least. And she's sure she can hear that ugly bug still following her. She pauses at the fork, glances left, glances right and shrugs.

Kaia would grin at Miranda's reply and then give a nod to Sparte's new instructions. Although, in a more hushed tone she would ask, "Which way will we go?"

Miranda grows quiet, but still manages to not seem to serious. Confident, yes, but not too serious. She is following where others lead, rather than leading. She seems ready, despite her easy manner. Ready for.. what? Anything, it seems.

Since Sparte has the map, Caspian doesn't know which way to go, or that it literally doesn't matter. So he just pauses and waits for further instruction, patting at his horse.

Sparte takes a moment once they're at the fork to close his eyes and tilt his head back. He takes a slow deep breath in through his nose, then slowly lets it out through his mouth. Opening his eyes he looks at both paths once more. "I smell blood. Old blood." With that said, he takes his staff into a combat ready stance before choosing his path. "We continue to walk against the wind, stay alert."

"That way it is then," Merek mentions, while he moves to follow Sparte, while he stands to guard for Lisebet, pulling his longcoat about those leathers which he wears also.

Lisebet's quiet for once has a purpose. She looks at Sparte, startled at his comment, and then she sniffs experimentally. Not really smelling anything, she shrugs, taking his word for it. Though as she listens, as instructed, a frown crosses her face. "Hey, I think I hear some growling up ahead of us," she starts. "Exactly the way we're going. Like an animal of some sort?"

Miranda hops off her horse and readies herself, as well, gently holding the reins of her horse while moving along. She is back to being quiet again, just keeping alert. Her sword is drawn, silently so that if there is some fighting to be done, she doesn't waste time pulling it.

Miranda wields Razz, a diamondplate scimitar.

Merek wields Torean Nightsong.

Merek shifts back his bow, while he pats the helmet of his attached to the saddle. He then unsheaths the sword of his while he settles upon the ground next to the horse so it will follow him also.

Caspian sniffs as well. Though he stops when Lisebet informs them about the growling. He makes like Miranda, hopping off his horse and takes the reins as he walks along side the horse, drawing his dagger as looks ahead of them for the source of the growling.

Merek checked perception + investigation at difficulty 25, rolling 11 higher.

Lisebet checked perception + investigation at difficulty 25, rolling 24 higher.

Caspian checked perception + survival at difficulty 25, rolling 62 higher. Caspian rolled a critical!

With that said, Kaia begins to follow Sparte and the others already moving torwards the left side of the fork. Bringing her own sword out from its sheathe just like the others.

Kaia checked perception + survival at difficulty 25, rolling 15 higher.

Sparte checked perception + survival at difficulty 25, rolling 45 higher.

Caspian wields Thrall's Fury, a diamondplate seax.

Kaia wields CHEPHIRAH, a double-edged short-sword.

Miranda checked perception + investigation at difficulty 25, rolling 7 higher.

Sparte wields Heartwood - Knothole Stave.

Once the growling is pointed out, others can hear it as well. Its some ways away, hard to discern at first before it becomes more apparent. There is indeed an animal somewhere out in the woods, and it's not happy about something. As they continue walking, the grow is met by a snarl. Then there are the sounds of fighting, like two animals going at it. Possibly two predators unhappy with the other invading their territory. They are otherwise occupied, leaving the travelers alone for now. They are loud enough that no one can really miss their altercation.

Caspian holds up his hand, motioning for everyone to stop. "There is a pit trap ahead," he says to the group, pointing towards a pile of leaves along the road. Might take a bit of thinking to notice why it is, but the rest of the road is clear of leaves.

Miranda looks to the ground as her ears finally hear the growling and snarling. Her honey-brown eyes sweep the path they are on and the grounds on either side. She glances to where Caspian points, but her eyes flicker back to the ground.

Merek walks up to the place the pit trap is at, then he begins to draw on the dirt so that people will know it is there, while he takes a few of the rocks about to place about it also. He then shifts back to defending Lisebet while they travel also.

Sparte stops at Caspian's indication, frowning to himself once he realizes why it stands out. A brief nod, and he then gestures towards his eyes before gesturing up at the trees with a quiet caution. "Not all dangers are beneath us, stay wary."

Lisebet comes to a stop as the group does, and she looks over at the leaves somewhat bemused. She might see that there are leaves in one place, but not the other, but that's about it.

Kaia eyes the wild mutts with caution from afar, making sure to stay close to the group. Making stops when instructed, and continuing well on her way when the green light is given.

The pit trap seems to be the source of the old blood; it is the sort used to hunt and trap more predatory animals, long out into the woods such as these. Once it is revealed, and marked off, it's easy to see how it was concealed and what dangers might have lurked below. Looking into the trap itself is a gruesome sight - but it is also the first evidence that maybe the exploration party went this way. Skewered upon a series of spikes is a the familiar dun horse of Harison Edridge, a younger explorer that newly joined the group only just recently. There's no sight of the explorer himself, which seems to serve quite lucky for him.

Merek checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 29 higher.

Merek looks to the pit proper, then he unlatches his rope while he moves far enough away from the sound of the animals, then he begins to work his way up to the top. When he's there he checks that rope with a shift to roll some more to the path floor, while he looks around a bit. Then he uses that rope so he can swing his way back with the party. "Castles thirty minutes away, amongst a field as well."

Caspian steps closer to the pit to take a look inside and finds the horse. Though he doesn't recognize the horse, considering they are following in the footsteps of the explorers it's not hard to deduce. "Shavs, I bet. They likely dug this pit to hunt or ward of trespassers and a horse their group fell in."

Merek is climbing the tree, not the pit, obviously.

Sparte glances over to Caspian. "No way to be sure." Sparte shakes hs head. "What we know is they covered the pit again once the horse was in it, and didn't take out the horse. Not meant to trap for food, so other traps are likely ahead. Stay alert."

"Someone covered it up after the horse fell in?" Lisebet says, eyeing the pit with a sort of fascinated look. "or someone covered it to bury the horse?" Could be .... either, right? Sparte beats her to it, and she nods her head. "That means our party of explorers could be in trouble." And then a glance to Merek and she tilts her head. "Wait, did you say castle?"

Kaia listens in to the conversation going around. "Could it be they were captured?" she wonders. "Is there a reason why they would cover up the pit, otherwise? Wouldn't make much sense..." her own thoughts seem to echo along with those of Lisebet and Sparte. Still, she on the move, following right alonside them - like Sparte said, alert.

Merek nods then to Lisebet, "Yes, a ruined castle."

Sparte quirks an eyebrow at Merek, slowly pulling out the map and unfolding it to check it again.

While Sparte is checking the man, Caspian checks their surroundings, since what else is he going to do? He is not holding the map. "Is it not suppose to be this close?" He wonders to Sparte.

Many theories could explain why the trap is here or why it's covered the way it is. As such, Miranda does not offer her own opinion. Instead, her eyes linger on the road and she offers, "There are some human footprints here." She points along where they are, down the path. "Looks like they've veered off there, into the rocky area there."

Lisebet at this point is quiet, just listening. She's not sure what to add, but she continues to listen and to look for anything that seems out of place or odd.

Sparte takes a little while to review the map before speaking up. "Merek is right. The map isn't detailed enough to tell me that it is a ruined castle, but there should be some sort of settlement over that way." Sparte refolds the map, tucking it away again. "And from the noises we're hearing, dangerous animals are commonplace here."

"Human footprints? We should follow them?" Caspian asks, peering over to where Miranda has motioned. "Or do we continue on the path to the castle?" He wonders to them with a tilt of his head. "I say we should follow the footprints, might lead to something."

Kaia says, "I agree with Caspian...we should probably check /that/ out before continuing on our way to the castle."

Sparte seems to concur with Kaia and Caspian, forging ahead in the direction of the footprints Miranda spotted. "Good information Merek, we'll likely head there after this. One way or another."

Miranda follows the prints, since she saw them, leading her horse along, avoiding the trap if necessary. She keeps her eyes open for other traps, tripwire (Thanks, Sparte) and so on. Her eyes do go up into the trees now and then, too.

Lisebet is willing to go along with the group, keeping a watch up, to the sides, and she even pauses to look back behind them as well. She hasn't drawn any weapons, not being the combat type. She moves along, thinking to see if there is a pattern or anything she can identify - something that might not be natural.

Merek checked perception + investigation at difficulty 40, rolling 11 lower.

Lisebet checked perception + investigation at difficulty 40, rolling 27 lower.

Sparte checked perception + survival at difficulty 40, rolling 4 lower.

Caspian checked perception + survival at difficulty 40, rolling 10 lower.

Kaia checked perception + survival at difficulty 40, rolling 10 higher.

Kaia seems to be following closely after Miranda, keeping an eye out as well for the spotted tracks.

Merek wraps material about a hand as well as the hilt of his longsword while he moves with the team to search. His work gloves are adjusted a bit as well.

Well, Caspian lost the tracks. He was just riding along, looking at them, and when they hit rocks? BAM! Can't find 'em. "Well, that didn't work out as well as I hoped."

Miranda checked perception + investigation at difficulty 40, rolling 4 lower.

The party follows the foot prints of those who came before them. They do lead around the pit and down the trail a bit before disappearing into a rocker terrain into the woods. Though the rocks seem to baffle most people, Kaia does manage to find their path once more. The path leads away from the castle ruins, heading more west, and then to the south. After they travel for a bit, there's signs of a clearing in the woods. There are signs that there was an encampment here. And, from the way they left things, it looks like a camp that's used rather often, over and over again. Whoever might have been here, it looks like they've been gone for some time. There is a trail that leads further away into the woods, but then there's that castle that's looming at the back of everyone's mind as well. The biggest question is - which way did the explorers go?

Caspian examines the encampment that the path has lead them too, feeling the ashes of the fire pit, eventually deciding, "Yeah, probably shavs." He says back to them, brushing off the ash on his boot. He stands up again, looking in the direction of the castle. "Though question is, why does it lead away from the castle? Do they not live there? Hope it's not because it's a Shardhaven or something."

"I would not say that so casually, but if it was we'd likely see other signs not far from the castle by this point, still it's possible," Merek offers, while he takes a moment to look at the camp. "Explorers probably went to look into the Castle in any case," he adds.

Miranda glances over to Caspian, somewhat alarmed at the mention of a Shardhaven. She ... stares a moment in horror. "Gods help us if it is." She sighs and exhales, "Was the party heading for the castle itself then? Perhaps we ought to head there. If they made it, we'll find them. If not, perhaps we will find clues. I fear we are chasing red herrings at this point."

Lisebet considers and then she glances at Sparte. "Do we know what they were looking for? Was it a castle?" She shrugs a bit, and then says, "It does seem possible that after losing a horse, assuming it was theirs, that they may have gone to the closest shelter - whatever that might be?"

"Hmm...should we go back to investigate that castle, then?" she asks, and then glances back to the trail. "Or, continue? I'm sure we can find our way back here if there's nothing there." she suggests.

"I think it's obvious that the explorers did not go this way," says Caspian back to Kaia and the rest with a shake of his head. "They were looking for ruins, and there is a ruins of a castle. Lets not follow some Shavs and head for the castle."

"Alright, alright. There isn't anything here that stands out." Sparte surveys the old camp. "If they lost their horse and someone was wounded, this would make sense. Good sign they've moved on. We can come back here and try again if the castle is unlucky, but that does seem the logical destination."

Miranda is still dealing with the notion of the castle being a Shardhaven. It's not like he said it was, but the idea has sent her to look a bit pale - which is something with her olive skin. She turns her horse, ready to head in the direction of the castle... whichever that is. She draws in a breath and murmurs something, a prayer to the gods perhaps. "If it is a Shardhaven, I'll know before we get there." Oh hell yea she'll know.

Kaia nods at Caspian's reply, and then glances over to Sparte for confirmation. The lead explorer's words carry a clear answer and so she begins to walk back torwards the castle. "Very well. Let's get a move on, time waits for no one.~"

Merek holds up a hand, "Wait."

Lisebet moves over to Miranda now, to offer whatever support she can. "Let us hope it is not. I've heard only bad things about those." She is about to start walking when Merek requests a stop.

Merek shifts forward to walk about the camp, while he looks to some things within the clearing, checking things that make no sense to check, then he stands up, while he looks to the others with a shift of his longcoat, "Alright. That makes sense. The people in this camp were shamanic, you can see the signs they performed rites," there is pointing to various things, the way it is all set up. "There's no indication this camp was doing anything that's 'dark'. It's probably just a shamanic enclave of Shavs if anything, if not, then it might be explorers if they were shamanic also," he says. "Alright, to the castle in that case."

At Merek's request she makes a pause and looks back with a raised brow and an expression that silently conveys the words 'what is it?'. "Is there something wrong, Merek?"

Merek order

Caspian looks over to Miranda curiously as he gets back on his horse, looking a little bit surprised at what the woman has revealed. Eventually, he has to asks, "How will you know before we get there?" He wonders to the woman with a tilt of his head.

Miranda looks to Lisebet, "Aye, my Lady." She slips back onto her horse and looks at Caspian. Her expression is ... rather serious. "I'll know. I'll feel it. You may feel it. They... have a weight about them. A darkness that tries to seep into your bones." She offers, "I have been through one once." As if it were a gauntlet of some kind. "I would not wish it upon anyone and the nightmares never truly go away."

It's decided. The group makes its way back to the castle. While it was only 30 minutes from the pit, it's now about an hour's journey to get there. There's no trouble on the way back. The animals generally stay away from the people - focusing on themselves. Once at the castle, the ruins loom before them. There's the signs of a small outpost, with a smithy, barracks, and sheds scattering the outer territory, and then the ruins of the castle itself. Some buildings are in better shape than others. Then there's the remnants of a grand garden that still exists - mostly overgrown.

"Well, I don't feel an exestential dread,

As they step in closer into the castle ruins, Kaia looks around in awe - particularly at the grand garden. "Woah...I bet this place used to be amazing.~" She comments casually, before continuing to look around for any signs that the previous group of explorers had been here.

Lisebet is quiet for the trip, though as they arrive and see the expanse of castle and grounds to explore, she comments lazily, "This would definitely seem to be a ruined settlement. I think the map might need an update, Master Sparte." She does look around, hoping to see footprints or signs of life.

Drawing in a deep breath, Miranda straightens in her saddle as they approach the castle. From nearly the moment they left the rocks until they arrived at the settlement, she seemed to be focused on breathing and looking around, but not... not at anything -here-. Her eyes lose focus and she seems to be staring off into space, almost fanatical about it. Paranoid? Just a bit. It's not until she has been settled in place for a few moments that she seems convinced, "It is not a Shardhaven." She seems pretty certain of that. And, finally, she seems to relax a bit as the realization of that calms her.

When no one actually offers a reply to what Merek says, he offers a lift of his shoulders to shrug while he follows, then when they are at the castle ruins he looks around a bit, taking it all in. He seems to take the news that it's not a Shardhaven as something he felt he knew already, while he waits.

"Well, I don't feel an existential dread approaching this place," says Caspian, who rides towards the castle, looking about it with a long whistle. "No signs of explorers that I see," he notes, riding up next to Miranda, giving her shoulder a pat. "That's good. I rather not have to fight through a horde of monsters," he informs her with a quick shake of his head. "Wonder how long this place has been abandoned."

Miranda smiles a little to Caspian, "Well, so far I feel nothing bad here at all, so hopefully we will find ourselves searching for a bunch of distracted and unharmed Explorers who were so enthralled with their find, they failed to send word home."

"I love the optimism, Lady Rubino--" says Kaia, from not too far away. "But, I fear that's quite unlikely, they should know better than to have the SoE worry like that." she continues, still looking around. "The dead horse of young Harison Edridge back there..." she makes a grimace. "Not exactly a good sign..."

"You know, of the many times we've went to find 'lost explorers' well... It often doesn't go well, but if it doesn't we should acquire what knowledge they found," Merek mentions, "We might find all of them still though," he adds.

Miranda shrugs to Kaia, and then to Merek, "Just because we haven't found such doesn't mean it can't happen." Positivity. That's the ticket.

Lisebet looks over at Merek and frowns a bit. "How do we decide where to start? Should we just start here and zig zag across the whole place? Start to the right and see what we find, making our way about?" She looks at the senior explorer types for advice on this, given she's really not an explorer.

"Your optimism is going to jinx us," says Caspian to Miranda with a little grin, then turns to Lisebet as he says. "I guess we explore the outer buildings, then go into the castle proper," he suggests to the group.

Merek looks over to some of the others, while he nods a bit, "Well, I think beginning from the outer edges is best," he muses, while he pulls his longcoat about him, then he takes a moment to place a cigarillo in his mouth, Black Mountain it looks like, while he lights the one he has with him. He doesn't look to share his thoughts as much as others, offering some advice when he can, mostly seeming withdrawn.

Miranda suggests a systemic search of the place based upon their locations to the buildings around them. A nod to Merek with his idea, much like her own.

Kaia considers the suggestions given by the group and nods. "That seems like a good idea. Let's do that."

Merek checked perception + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 8 higher.

Lisebet checked perception + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 21 higher.

Caspian checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 3 lower.

Kaia checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 26 higher.

Miranda checked perception + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 17 higher.

Sparte checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 18 higher.

Caspian checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 30, rolling 16 higher.

A systematic search of the outer buildings begins. Behind the smithy, there is evidence that horses had been tied up there in recent times; horse droppings and low cropped grass are the biggest examples of such evidence. There was once a fence there, that seems busted through now. There's hoof like skid marks in the dirt where the horses might have pulled back against the fence before it gave way. The horses are now long gone, but for the hoof prints in the dirt. There's no evidence of the explorers having come back for their animals. It looks like one of them may have been a pack animal, for as they continue their search around the property there's evidence of supplies which had maybe fallen off such an animal here or there, just laying there in the dirt. Some of those supplies seem to have been rifled through. All of this is easy to discern as the party goes around the outer buildings. As they start to approach the castle, they do find evidence that someone had been through the area more recently as well, outside of the evidence of horses. Bushes and overgrowth have been cut back, allowing entrance into the castle itself, where it seems to have been overgrown before. But, once inside, this is where things are a bit murky. Caspian has the misfortune of going through the door first, and as he does, he very nearly falls through some rotted flooring. The others follow behind not far after, and noticing his near fall through the wooden planks are able to manage their footing a bit better. They stand in a large, open hall generally used for greeting guests. There's additional evidence of others who were not so lucky making their way through the ruins of the castle, as there are other gaping holes in the floor as well. The splintering of the boards suggests the broken bits are more recent than not. There is only a partial ceiling to the room they are in, with half of it crumpled into the floor, with exposure to the sky above. Walls have crumbled down upon the corridor forward, making it impossible to pass, though there are corridors to the left or right that seem as though they are still well and goodly in tact.

Sparte takes the time to light his lantern and hook it on the end of his staff. A precaution against what might be in the darkness of the castle waiting for him. That time for precaution left him towards the rear of the group, so it takes him a little while to see what nearly happened to Caspian. "Well." He looks back outside thoughtfully. "I'll look for an anchor point to tie a rope off we can drop down one of those holes, just in case."

Caspian opts to go through the door first, and is punished by it when he nearly falls through the floor, leaping back as he feels the floor start to give under him. "Woah!" He calls out, taking a few steps back. "Uhhh...watch your step. Floor is wood instead of stone," he says back to them, shaking his head, then slowly follows inside after the others, not really ready to risk it again.

Reaching out to grab Caspian as he flails and stumbles, Mirand agrabs him by the collar and hauls him back. "Careful there, Sir Quick to Fall." Miranda eyes the room and frowns, "I have a bad feeling about this," said every nerf-herder out there and now Mirnada. "Hello!" she calls out. "Anyone alive out there?"

Merek peeks into the place where the floor also falls away, then he tosses a coin in the hole so he can listen to it, while he shifts his longcoat, "Hmm."

Lou GM Roll checked luck(4) at difficulty 15, rolling 2 lower.

As they go in, Kaia eyes the other 'fresh' holes on the wood floor with caution and whisper. "Oh please, please tell me they did not fall down there..."

There is no response when Miranda asks if anyone is alive. Other than birds flying from their roost, their rest disturbed.

Lisebet catches sight of Caspian's near miss, and reaches a hand as if to keep him from falling, though as he skitters backwards and Miranda helps, she ends up stepping forward with the others. "I bet this was beautiful," she says softly. With the call out, she listens carefully, quietly, to see if anything answers that call. There is a bit of a squeak as the birds take off, showing the tension that is suddenly within her.

Sparte takes a little while securing and testing one end of his trusty rope, before carrying the rest of the spool back over to the entrance of the castle. He tilts the staff in his off-hand forward to cast some light from the lantern on the end, then tosses the rest of the spool down a likely looking hole. "Let's hope we don't need it. Anyone see stairs?"

Caspian lets out a little snicker to Miranda, nudging her. "Hey, I'm quick on my feet. I'm fiiiine," he says, looking around a moment to see what is in here. Any stairs or doors or anything else that leads to other rooms.

Miranda continues her positive thinking. "Maybe they're just out cold." Rather than dead. She looks for a way down that is safe - other than the rope because that's the obvious way down. Who wants obvious? Stairs of stone? Or not rotted wood, at least.

No stairs. A rubble blocked corridor forward. One open corridor to the right, and one to the left. Or, you know, underneath the broken floorboards below.

Kaia says, "Hmm...seems we can only go that way." she points left. "Or that way." she points right. "Should we split to cover more ground?"

"Splitting up seems like a bad idea. I say we go left," says Caspian back to Kaia and the group as a whole, pointing to the left, to the left. Because he has that song stuck in his head now. "But lets go one at a time and hold the rope, so if we do fall we can at least catch ourselves."

Merek checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 30, rolling 1 higher.

Sparte doesn't seem inclined to try his luck walking through the room of unlucky flooring. Instead he carefully scoots towards the first of the holes, slipping the end of his staff carefully down through the hole. The ring that his lantern is hanging from tilts, but stays hooked onto the grooves of his staff. It would likely fall off if he wasn't careful about this.

Miranda checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 8 higher.

Merek checked strength at difficulty 15, rolling 1 lower.

Merek checked strength at difficulty 10, rolling 4 lower.

Miranda checked strength at difficulty 10, rolling 12 higher.

Merek gets Smith Hammer from a backpack, made of black leather.

Merek dances his way along the floor while he shimmies from left to right, with a clap of his hands. Why not, as he then takes a moment to begin to pull away some of that rubble, but notices that it might take a while. Once he's cleared a bit, he places his things to the side to withdraw his smith hammer with a spin of the forging tool.

Miranda mmms, "Before we go down, let's unblock that, see what's there.." She motions to the corridor ahead. Apparently, she and Merek are of the same mind of this. While Sparte is looking down, they can start clearing rubble, carefully of course. She darts across the floor, light on her feet, to help Merek with the clearing! She does not have a hammer so was using her hands, but hey... the man is prepared!

Sparte moves forward and gently thrusts his lantern through one of the holes made by either time or people before his approach. The staff lowers just enough to illuminate things below. There's definitely a lower floor, about 20 feet below. It looks like it could be a library of some sort, though its hard to say for certain. There's long stacks of shelves below, but it's hard to see what might be on the shelves, so it's a hazarded guess at best. It could just as well be a storage room too. However, in the meantime, Merek and Miranda very carefully walk across the floor, not to the open corridor on the left or the right, but the blocked passage before them. Together, they start uncovering the passage. Their work is slow and meticulous, and potentially dangerous with the unsteady, partially rotted flooring.

Lisebet checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 30, rolling 82 higher. Lisebet rolled a critical!

Merek shifts back the longcoat a bit, while he checks his belt, then he takes a moment to hand something to Miranda after a moment, "You axe, I will swing, we will do it together, it'll be fun, we just try to knock it AWAY from the floor, my Lady," he says. Where does he keep these things? Well, most on his belt, some in packs.

Merek gets A Nice Axe from a backpack, made of black leather.

Miranda wields A Nice Axe.

Merek wields Smith Hammer.

"The floor below us is a sizable drop, but maybe two dozen feet at most. Looks more solid than this one, shelves down there seem to have survived but I can't make out what is on them." Sparte carefully pulls his staff back up, nodding a bit to himself. He takes up the slack of the rope he had tossed through the hole and makes a loop, slipping one end of his staff through it. With both hands on his staff he walks that loop and the mild resistance with it over towards the hole and hops through. "See you below!"

Caspian looks over to what Sparte is doing, and when he realizes the man is going down, he winces, saying, "Well shit, I better get down there as well." He turns to Miranda and Merek, calling to them, "It looks like we're going down."

Miranda takes the axe and nods at Merek, smiling at him. "Let's do this." She straightens a bit, getting a firm grip on the axe and ready to time swings with Merek. "Later, I'm going to ask you about you carrying all these useful tools on your person and it not weighing you down, but for now, thank you." She winks and gets ready to swing... She nods to Caspian's words, "Careful. Don't make me come in and rescue you too."

Sparte checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 9 higher.

"It's all about the way you put it on you, most of them are latched, but I'm trained in it," Merek mentions, also he carries a pack with him, that assists. He lifts up that hammer while he begins to swing while working with Miranda if she also does. "When we clear this up, I will probably work on rope to anchor from here to where Sparte's rope is anchored so we can make our way to this cooridor easier."

Caspian turns to Kaia, looking her over a moment before he says, "Do you want to go down? I can lower you down on the rope," he says back to her, pointing to the rope, then flexing his arms. "You look light and I'm strong."

Kaia looks around with a worried face. EVERYTHING seems far too dangerous for her. "Um...yeah I don't feel confident enough on my athlethics or strength to go either way." she states. "I'll either need some help...or best stay put." she notes. "I'm worried I'll fall and die here."

Caspian gives Kaia a nod, "Stand over by the rope. Wrap it around your waist once Sparte is down. I'll lower you."

Kaia nods to Caspian. "Very well! Let's do this.~" she seems a bit scared, but also slightly excited about the whole thing.

Kaia checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 25, rolling 12 lower.

Caspian checked strength + athletics at difficulty 35, rolling 56 higher. Caspian rolled a critical!

Kaia checked luck at difficulty 10, rolling 2 lower.

Caspian walks to the door where there is solid surface and once Kaia has the rope tied around her he starts lowering her down, but not before blowing her a kiss. "Good luck down there," he says to her, and then using his impressive strength quiet easily and skillfully lowers her down at a comfortable click.

Lisebet checked willpower at difficulty 15, rolling 8 higher.

Sparte has uncoiled his staff from the rope and taken to shining his lantern around, so it isn't until he hears motion on the line he realizes someone is right behind him. A few steps are taken to one side to give Kaia room to reach the floor instead of standing on top of Sparte. "Hey Caspian, is the rope fraying at all? Please make sure the wood isn't cutting into it."

Miranda checked strength + medium wpn at difficulty 20, rolling 17 higher.

Merek checked strength + medium wpn at difficulty 20, rolling 16 higher.

Caspian also moves to climb down, but before he does, he checks the rope, making sure the wood is not cutting into it. "Moment," he calls down to Sparte.

Merek checked perception at difficulty 10, rolling 6 higher.

Miranda checked perception at difficulty 10, rolling 10 higher.

Lisebet looks at Sparte going down, and then gives a blink. She looks at Merek and Miranda, and smiles. They got that covered. She gives Kaia and Caspian a look. Hrm, seems they're going down to protect Sparte. And Caspian is there to help her out. Now Lisebet's torn - she glances around one more time. Four directions. Straight, down, left or right. And who knows where the right answer is? She takes a breath, looking at each direction. She doesn't want to get yelled at, and yet ... she really wants to check out those hallways that aren't blocked. "I - I know I shouldn't, but I really do want to check," she says. And silly duchess, she goes off to the right on her own.

The lowering Kaia down ordeal went pretty much smoothly thanks to Caspian's incredible and almost supernatural strength - of course when she touches the floor is nothing graceful, she slipped right at the end and so lands to the ground with a 'splat' sound. "Ow...I'm okay!" she says as loud as she can for the others to hear, before managing to bring herself back up - dusting her clothes and fixing her hair. A glance and a sheepish grin given to Sparte. "Oh, hello there Sparte.~" and then up. "Thanks Caspian!"

Sparte goes spelunking! He's able to make it down safely to the bottom of the room below the entrance floor. Following soon behind him are Kaia and Caspian. And then, no one else. His lantern does its best to light up the room. It is large and cavernous. There are shelves everywhere, and on some of those shelves are boxes or crates. Some are half rotted, while others seem solid and sturdy. There's a door that leads out of the room to the right, otherwise there's no other ingress or egress out of the room. That door is presently closed.



Meanwhile, Merek and Miranda are steadily working away at the rubble at the forward corridor, trying to get the path unblocked. They work steady and hard, and eventually there's a loud, thunderous crash below as rock and rubble falls away into a dark pit. As this happens, multitudes of bats, suddenly inundated with light, come spattering out of the dark space below where there was once a floor, but there is no longer. Wings flap and fling all over the place, and there's a loud screeching sound. They are able to notice the creatures, either by sight or sound, just before they get a face full of angry flying rodents.



Lisebet just misses all of this commotion as her curiosity gets the best of her. She makes her way to the right corridor, practically gliding over the floor as if it weren't a care in the world in spite of its state of disrepair. There, she finds a room wholly in tact, where the floors are neither rotted nor the walls falling down. It looks like a living quarters, and in the back corner there seems to be a stair case that goes up and down.

GM NOTE: THERE ARE NO BATS! REPEAT THERE ARE NO BATS.



Instead, Merek and Miranda are inundated with rats scurrying up the sides of the walls and out of the dark, racing and crawling over one another to get out of their nesting space that's now been disturbed.

Merek checked willpower at difficulty 15, rolling 3 higher.

Merek keeps swinging away in combination with Miranda, until they clear that rubble. Then he looks to the rats that come all along the walls. "Ahh, Lady Lisebet wait, we're supposed to stay together!" he then exclaims while he takes that as an excuse to get away from those rats while he waves to Miranda, if she follows.

Merek puts Smith Hammer in a backpack, made of black leather.

Miranda gives a startled cry as rats come at her and Merek. She makes a very girly like screach of shock, then kicks at the rats as they come at her. "Not on the boots you filthy things!" Anywhere but the boots! She spies Lisebet running off and then .. Merek. Bastard. "Well, shit." She darts off to follow him, kicking rats out of her way.

Once Caspian has confirmed the integrity of the rope, he just slides right on down in a quick ride to the bottom, landing on his feet flawlessly. He takes out a torch and lights it with a flint and steel, holding it up to help light up the path. He turns to Sparte, noticing the door, and says, "Well, looks like we split up despite by protests not too. Shall we go through the door?" He turns to Kaia next, asking, "So, do pretty girls like you go into half-caved castles often?"

Lisebet promptly heads back, peeking out to squeal at all kinds of movement that is rats of all sizes. "I found stairs," she calls to Merek and Miranda. And maybe the folks down in that room, oops. "And an intact room, looks like living quarters."

Merek is coming across Lisebet and stairs as he notices Miranda is following, "Hey, you alright? So many rats," then he looks to the stairs, then he looks back to the halls, then he just sighs while he takes a moment to throw up both hands to the air like he just does not care. "Why."

Sparte leans in to answer for Kaia, with a little curl of a finger through one of his hair's messy locks and uses a falsetto. "Oh Caspian, you say the sweetest things when we're surrounded by mold and rot. Take me now, over on that patch of moss that might not cause an infection." He shifts his staff to try to nudge Caspian with the butt of it before moving off to investigate one of the nearby boxes.

Kaia begins to look around the place, staying close to Sparte - because it's dark down here and he has a lantern. But then, Caspian just lit a torch and all seems a little bit brighter. The champion's flirtatious, and dare I mention kinda inapropiate, query brings Kaia to roll her eyes; but then, Sparte is answering for her and that brings her to a laugh. "You two are hilarious! Let's check out that door! Stop fooling around!"

Miranda nods, "Of course. The one who is sup.. Okay, so. Let's look here and see what's about. Stairs. Stairs are good, let's see what we have." She eyes Lisebet, "Just.. no diving into a fight first, okay?"

"Drop your pants, lets get too it," says Caspian back to Sparte as he unbuckles his own pants. But Kaia's plea to have them stop fooling around he buckles his pants back up and heads for the door and tries to open it.

Merek checked perception + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 3 higher.

Lisebet gives Miranda a totally innocent look and she's very good at those. "I don't quite know what you mean?" she says. She thankfully didn't hear Sparte and Caspian, so instead she brings Miranda and Merek back to the stairs. "Up and down. I bet if we go down we'll find Sparte, Caspian and Kaia," she offers.

Caspian is overheard praising Sparte: He is one funny mother fucker.

Merek makes his way about in the living space, then he finds a bed within, while he takes a moment to slide beneath it. There's shuffling while he takes a moment to wiggle his bony longcoat covered bottom as he frees himself from it with a small chest in hand, which he slings back into his pack. "We'll check that when we find all the other explorers," then he's making a way to the stairs.

Sparte tut-tuts at Caspian, utterly distracting himself trying to figure out what is on the shelf. "Yech, this one is just more mold." He backs off, moving to regroup. "Before we open anything, let's get some handkerchiefs on. Protect your nose and mouth, who knows what we'll end up taking a lungful of."

Miranda mmms, "Let's go up. THey've got the down covered for now, shall we?" She's ignoring the folks below.. if she can hear them, even. She motions up and says to Merek, "You want me to lead or you?"

Kaia takes A small frost-and-grey silk handkerchief from a canvas backpack with leather accent straps and large pockets.

Lisebet now waits for the two to decide, figuring she'll be between them, as they go whichever way. Up or down.

Merek looks between the other two, then he nods a bit, "I'll follow up first, I can check the floors to see if they're safe, I'm alright at that," he says, then he moves to walk up the stairs also.

Miranda nods and picks up the rear, the Duchess between them.

"That seems smart, lucky I brought this with me.~" replies Kaia to Sparte, after taking out a handkerchief from her backpack and using it to protect her face as she continues to look around the different crates.

Kaia checked perception + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 29 higher.

After some time looking around the crates, Kaia comes across a few sturdy chests. When poking around them a little more carefully, she manages to open one; and, inside she finds two lovely necklaces. One is set with lapis lazuli, and the other is set with a ruby. "Oh!~ These are gorgeous!" she shows her newly found treasure to the other two quite excitedly. "I have found treasure.~"

The party stays split! Sparte, Caspian, and Kaia start searching around below. Kaia seems to find a chest that reveals something. Meanwhile, someone is attempting to open the door. The door opens pretty easily, and there's another hallway. The hallway leads into another room with a set of stairs that goes up and a set of stairs that goes down, but between them and the stairs is a large gaping hole in the floor, where a piece of the ceiling fell through? No, that doesn't seem the case. Something else. It goes down, down, down about another 20 feet. The hole spans across the whole room, but the ceiling beams seem to be strong enough to support weight as a whole floor above seems to be in tact and sturdy. It's dark down that hole! (@check perception at 10 - if you are downstairs)



Meanwhile, Merek, Miranda, and Lisebet head upstairs. The upstairs seems to be touch and go, unlike the room they just came from. There are whole spots in the floor where one has to tread carefully. However, no one falls through anything. There are several rooms up here, and it looks like maybe one or two might have been in use at one point. Maybe even three. Is it possible the explorers used the upstairs while they were exploring? One of the rooms contains a pack that bears the SoE emblem on it, so very likely!

Caspian checked perception at difficulty 10, rolling 4 lower.

Kaia checked perception at difficulty 10, rolling 6 higher.

"Well, that's a suspicious looking hole if I've ever seen one," says Caspian to himself as he tries to peer down the hole, but his torch light doesn't reach to the bottom it seems. Since the others are searching the room, he spends a moment just looking, waiting for his eyes to adjust to the darkness. "Yeah, we'll have to climb down if we want to go further, or climb back up and meet with the other group."

Miranda eyes the delapidated floor and rooms, but notes the pack. She goes over to it, opening it to see who it might belong to. Does it hold any clues as to where they went? Or what they were doing?

"Hmm...just a minute. Hold my hand, Caspian." says Kaia, as she leans in carefuly to attempt to get a better look at whatever it was that lay below. Then, as she did, she heard something.



There's a faint rasping sound coming from below: Heee *cough* *cough* heelll *cough* *cough* Hellllp.



"I hear someone!" she shouts. "I think they fell down here!"

The pack they find seems to belong to Harison, the poor explorer who lost his horse! It's even got his name written on the inside of it. So, indeed, they were here!

Sparte checked perception at difficulty 10, rolling 8 lower.

Sparte looks at the hole, looks at the ceiling, looks at the hole again. "I didn't bring two coils of rope." Well, that seems to be the extent of his observations for their situation just this moment.

"Alright, we'll search here while the others search downwards, it is likely we'll find all of them here since the pack was here, we should check each place," Merek nods a bit to Miranda as well as Lisebet.

Lisebet nods her head. "Should we go tell them what we found?" she asks. She glances around. "And actually, maybe we should go see what is down?"

Merek puts A Nice Axe in a backpack, made of black leather.

"You got rope, right Lady Kaia?" Caspian wonders to Kaia as he looks to her. "I'll go down there, tie the rope to the person down there, then you and Sparte can pull them up, then me up," he makes the plan to the group.

Kaia nods to Caspian. "I do, yes. Just give me a momemt..." and then she's taking out a coil of rope - just like the one Sparte had - from her backpack. She hands it over to the men. "Here you go."

Merek looks over to Lisebet, "Let's collect all the gear, we can't leave it here, in any case," he offers, with a nod to her as well as Miranda.

Lisebet sticks with Merek and Miranda, as they check what's up there. They do find the explorers' packs, at least a couple of them. But there are no steps up further. She carries one of the packs, as at least they have this, if they can't find the explorers. And she'll carry what she can to help.

Assuming Sparte helps, Caspian finds a place to tie the rope to, then holds the rope himself, torch in one hand, legs wrapped around the rope as he starts his way down. "If I start screaming, gonna need you guys to pull up." And with that he starts to go down.

"Alright, I'll let you two to deal with this for a moment...I'm going to head back to shout at the others that we may have found someone down here. I'll be back shortly." and then, she's proceeds to make her way back to the previous room.

Merek eventually makes his way back to the stairs to downstairs with Lisebet when they have all the packs, so that they can find all the other members of the party as well.

Kaia shouts from nearby, "Anyone up there?! Hello?! We found someone!"

Sparte does his best to steady the rope for Caspian as he makes his way down. "Just toss the torch to the bottom so you have both hands. I didn't hear a splash when the rope fell, probably fine."

Kaia tries again, and again for a while. "Hello?! Anyone up there can hear me?! Guys! We found someone!"

Lisebet and Merek make their way down to where they found the staircase, and then further down to a door. Which they open, and find a big gaping hole, and on the other side, Sparte! "Hello there," Lisebet says.

Sparte gives a grin to Lisebet, lit by the light of the lantern he has nearby. He continues to steady Caspian's rope as he responds. "Hey there. Do you come here often? Because if we don't get a rope anchored on that side I'm going to be here all the time."

Tired of shouting and getting no response Kaia sighs, and chooses to return back to Sparte and Caspian. "I tried shouting but there was no answ--" oh there's Lisebet and the others by the other end of the corridor. "Oh, hello there.~" she smiles and adds. "It seems there's someone down there." she explains, as she closes in the distance to help Sparte with the rope.

Sparte checked strength + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 6 lower.

Merek checked strength + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 11 higher.

Kaia checked strength + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 4 higher.

Lisebet checked strength + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 2 higher.

As Caspian is lowered to the bottom of the big gaping hole, he can see that there's a number of people down here. Explorers, all. Some are in rough shape, and some. Well, they just didn't make it. It's not hard to discern what happened. A large portion of the floor gave way beneath the explorers, forming the gaping hole above. One of those that didn't make it was crushed beneath rock and bolder, and wood. The other.... he looks severely emaciated, though that wasn't what got him in the end from his paper thin skin. Dehydration. It's not often talked about when explorers get themselves into trouble - no one wants to think of the horrors of going exploring and never coming back. It's why, generally speaking, teams are usually hand picked. But, just sometimes, things go awry in unexpected ways. There are four explorers alive, but just barely. All are emaciated, and severely dehydrated. Look! There's Harison! For those who were not upstairs, there's also no gear with any of them. Nope. That all arrives with Merek, Lisebet, and Miranda. So, someone has some explaining to do, once people are rescued and safe and sound. Through team work - which involves at least one or two frayed ropes that Sparte seems to be working, the explorers are able to be brought up - and accounted for.



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