The little Nixie queen listens again, and she says. "Vineswingers, yes. They it is who keep the crustaceans at bay, our legends say. But I have never seen one."
Ruby and Merrisol hit the water and go under for a look-see.
Ailith nods. "What do your tales say these vine swingers looked like?" she asks the queen.
Siobhan watches quietly, mostly. But now, she asks a question of the queen. "Do the legends say what the vineswingers did to keep the crustaceans at bay?"
Maggie glides quietly forward to where those talking with the Queen are. Talk of vineswingers, crusteations and Raratoi whirl about in her head. Her first unhelpful thought is that someone wants a fine meal but that does not really jibe with where they are. Unless the Nixie Queen is hungry? For... wierd human food? Siobhan's question coupled with Ailith's sorts things for her a little.
Wulf listens rather intently. Off the ship, the sea-serpent keeps checking on the undersea, but even she is stuffed from crab-gorging and floats rather lazily.
Amy listens to everyone, as they speak. She rubs her belly, and then settles on the deck so she can rub her feet. Something about being stuck in those roots maybe.
The Nixie queen turns to Siobhan, her gaze looking at the Chantris for a long moment, before she says, "The vineswingers - did something. I am not sure. Legend says they could communicate with the Everlasting Petal, and spread the seeds of the plants so that more flowers grew." She then turns to look at Ailith. "They were - big toothed, with fur, and ran over the vines and branches as if they were on solid lilypads."Ailith notes to Siobhan, "*could* be squirrels. But I do not think squirrels eat crabs...possibly otters?"
Maggie blinks at the discription. After a moment she murmers, "Above the water or below? Sounds a bit like monkeys to me... But, maybe not. I don't know what the animals of this place are like, really. Just... I was too recently somewhere tropical. With monkey-spiders."
Siobhan thinks about that and is quiet for a time. "Maybe spreading the flowers helped to keep the crustaceans at bay?" She glances to Ailith and shrugs. "It sounds like squirrels. Otters don't run over vines and branches," she says. She nods to Maggie. "Could be monkeys, I suppose. But spreading seeds sounds a lot like squirrels to me. But vineswinger sounds more like monkeys."
Wulf listens to the descriptions and those suggestions offered with a narrowing of one eye and he lifts tired hands to the air, sending a shower of snowflakes up into the air, pulling them together and changing the colours of the flakes. With a bit of creative license and cartoony animation, he creates an image of a squirrel scampering, then transforms it to a beaver and an otter, then a strange otter-squirrel hybrid thing, looking quizzical. Eventually it looks quite a lot like a puzzled anthropomorphic water vole/rat and dissipates. "Nothing am knowing of fits the..." lightbulb! A muskrat takes shape, with its overlong teeth, large size and dense fur. Up and down, omnivore! - a brief attempt is made to try and make a monkey-spider or a spider-monkey but his imagination does odd things. Bananas! There ends up being a lot of bananas in a lot of monkeyhands and the image falls to pieces.
Amy is not the nature girl nope. But she listens, until her attention is distracted by Wulf's display. "Shiny," she murmurs softly. "Bet Chase can do that. Well, maybe. It looks cold though." She inches a bit away from Wulf.
The Nixie queen listens to the words, but they're so much babble, even once translated. She watches the little images of snowflakes that Wulf makes with a lot more interest. And moves closer to him, shivering a bit as she does so. "Not like that, not quite," she says. "I imagine them as -- " She goes on to describe something that looks rather like this... http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/scrat/images/8929102/title/scrat-wallpaper-wallpaper
Merrisol and Ruby have become more distant ripples on the ocean's surface, swimming out to the spot where the glassberg juts from the water. He delays diving until she either puts her gill tattoos to work or breaks down and accepts a Selkie Smooch.
Ruby splashes about and paws at the edge of the glassberg, which is probably not long for this realm. At least its composition at any rate. Her calloused palms make a brief ~squeeek~ sound as they smear off the 'berg and she does a little turning around in place. Like a dog trying to get comfortable upon its kennel bed. A lot of bobbing and thrashing and then she forces herself to go under, sharky gills at her neck wafting. She upends like a tea kettle, and keeps her legs together like one of those Undine to thrash her way towards the sea floor. No smoochies!
Amy rubs her head as she listens, perhaps tiring. But she's still listening. Just hasn't got anything to add in.
The Nixie queen shakes her head. "No, they just - are gone," she says simply, to Ailith. Siobhan gets a shrug, as the Queen doesn't quite follow that. She says, "But I would love to see one, once, before all is ended."
Ailith smiles. "I ask to be certain what it is I might be seeking. What was lost, can be found again."
Merrisol jacknifes less dramatically and follows Ruby out of sight.
Wulf can but shrug a little, letting the snowflakes dissipate. He has nothing to add here.
Siobhan nods to Ailith. Then glances to Wulf. "Wulf, can you make an image of what the queen described to make sure it is right for Ailith to find?"
Wulf nods and does so. Moooooaah coloured animated snowflakes. And a nut. Lookit.
Maggie lifts her gaze at the sound of the splashing. She focuses on the two over by the glassberg, watching as first one, then the other, head below the surface. A frown begins and is blinked away. Thus, she misses most of the original, beautiful snowflake display. Turning back, she catches sight of the new snowflake critter. Frowning at it, she waits, then looks over at the Nixie Queen to see if that is the thing in question. However, she does feel compelled to add, "Uh. I'm not sure that she has seen one...?" That is ended with a question aimed at the Queen. Maybe Maggie missed something. Again.
Amy sits up a bit, watching Wulf. She might have a bruise or two from that water landing and those roots holding her down. Viktor will not be pleased.
The Nixie Queen looks over to Maggie, and shakes her head as the translations come from the Chantris types. "No, I have never seen one," she admits. "They might look like that though. It is a very fine image." A nod to Wulf with that. "I hope you can find them - it would be good to have them here once more. We - are not complete. It always feels as though something is missing, my whole life. My mother used to tell me it was because of The Breaking. I do not know any more."
Ailith nods. "The crabs, they came after the vineswingers were gone?"
Siobhan is, of course, doing the Chantrisy thing of translating. Well, sharing such duties with Ailith. She gives a little shrug to Maggie. "She's the closest to an expert that we have to what these things might be."
Maggie nods thanks to the Nixie Queen and sort of stands straighter as she slides a glance over toward the glassberg again, "So... If I am hearing this correctly, the..." She frowns, seeking a word. "Uh. Ecology of the place has been thrown off because a species required to help maintain the balance is missing. Is that a good summary?"
Merrisol paces Ruby the several hundred feet it takes to reach that fissure in the obelisk where the magicked blockage provides a somewhat crystalized view of... more crabs. But, where from? Is it a tunnel within the black rock that they are marching up from, or another plane of existence where crabs are the shocktroops of a plant-despising lobster tyrant? Staring at the chipping critters through the glass, Merri raises his left hand, and the coral reef tattoo sprouts pale branches all down his hand and fingers, and begins to glow brightly, hopefully allowing him to catch a glimpse of what lies beyond the crabs. The missing chunk of obelisk lays there waiting to be remarked upon, but satisfying his intellectual curiosity apparently takes priority.
Ruby is discomforted by the salty composition of water. There's an adjustment period while she tries to deal. Her play-pretend needing a lot of suspension of belief and blessings via imagined kinship with certain undersea dwellers. Be a fishfemme. One arm extended before her like a feeler that will take the initial brunt of swimming into something. With water already innundating her earholes, the sounds of the crustaceans chipping at the glass draws her attention as she descends near Merri. Since Merrisol is being /clever/, she decides to follow suit, and completely forget to admit the idea of using the tattoo on her palm to provide some illumination as well: Glad she thought of it. She pans the light over the glassberg and surrounding area. Playing flashlight tag with Merri's.
The crabs are on the other side of the obelisk, sort of coming through a shadow crack ... or something of the sort. it might not be another shadow, but it's certain that if you go behind the obelisk, you won't see the crabs on the other side. Like magic, it almost seems they are coming from inside the obelisk.
The Nixie queen frowns a bit, thinking hard. "I think they came at the same time. It was a time of much turbulence, so that much has been lost. Too much, perhaps."
"I think time has that effect. Lots of years go by and many things are forgotten," Amy says softly. She frowns a bit. "How would we go about finding these vineswingers anyway? I mean - well, we could draw them and see if we could shadow shift to them maybe."
Wulf simply listens, lost in thought. "Could recreate, but that take time. Easier to find."
Maggie nods to the Nixie Queen, then to Amy, "We could, sure. Catch some out in Shadow and bring them back. But, it would be better if we could find a colony here, I think. We won't really know all of the characteristics of the creatures we seek if we go through Shadow and I've found that shifting without a pretty clear idea of what we're looking for is a waste of time." She frowns slowly again. Lots of that happening this trip. "Um. It was suggested a while back that there might be something held at the center of this mess. I know that the... What... Forever Petal? Something like that... is in the middle? Could the vineswingers be there? Or has it already been determined not to be the case?" She nods to Wulf, "That's a thought too, though."
Ailith notes, "The situation has changed, however. The new vineswingers must, ideally, also be able and willing to feed on the crabs. Nothing else here will."
Siobhan remians quiet now, having nothing to add for the moment.
"And that was a great summary, Maggie. Also, good points," Amy says, her own brow furrowing in a bit of a frown. "The Everlasting Petal, right? And there is something in there, but it's nasty and upset. Whatever it is."
Ailith smiles a bit. "Perhaps Siobhan and i should go and listen to it, and see what it is saying."
Merrisol tilts his head, perplexed by the juxtaposition of the crab dimension and the glass plug coming flush against one another yet still allowing one to do damage to the other. Then again, this portal stuff is not in his wheelhouse, so in the end he just turns away from the mystery, gesturing a shrug to Ruby with his hands. His first words undersea are distorted by the pressured depth, but carry more clearly that one would expect. "The critters have already taken chunks out of the structure of the glass; even if we pry the thing out intact, we can't cast a perfect mould from it.... hullo." He directs a frown to the sea floor, as the glow from Ruby's palm-eclipse passes over a large dark shard. "What's that.." It's the answer to your problems, blockhead!
The nixie queen nods to Amy's words. "Yes, the Everlasting petal," she says. "It - we keep the seed within happy, only since the Breaking, it doesn't work. But that is not the vineswingers. It has always been there, only the vineswingers would help it to be calm and happy."
Siobhan nods to Ailith. "My kinswoman is right. Maybe if we listen to it, we can figure out what it is saying."
Maggie pauses at that and she slides a glance toward Ailith, "Ah. So. Perhaps the crabs are from a different Shadow. I can't think of any echosystem where one thing is not the prey of at least something else. Maybe the ... What was it? The Breaking? Maybe two Shadows collided and the crabs spilled over into this one from somewhere else..." Nodding to Amy, she draws in a slow breath, "Not a bad idea, Ailith, but not alone. I will go with you in case you need firepower." Literally. Turning to the Nixie Queen, she parts her lips to add something, but stops. Weird squirel things keep a seed happy? Don't go there, Maggie. Just... don't.
Ruby properly levels out and lets her limbs hang, apart from her odd source of light. The unsettling way she can hear him is set aside as she starts scouring for the item of interest. If she were holding her breath, there'd be a small eruption of bubbles when she finds what Merrisol saw. She kicks her feet and approaches the piece. Hair moving around like an anenome, she pushes closer and comes down near the edge of the shard. Her gaze travelling the length of the thing to take in the dimensions. She pulls her knife from its sheath and pries it under part of the shard to see how much leverage might be needed to shift the thing.
Amy pauses for a moment, and then she says, "It knocked me out of the air, but it didn't come out of the flower bud. I'm not sure how you are going to get close enough? But if you want to go, you can. Just - how - ?"
The shard is heavy. seriously. But it's one piece, and it's bigger than the two of you - cause it's been essentially splintered out of the giant obelisk. It might need help to quickly remove the glass and put this piece in place...
Wulf frowns a little bit and gets up very carefully, moving over to the edge of the boat and reaching out empathically to Ormsvagr, reaching forth to scritch across the serpent's ridges and frills, a thing that makes her ululate softly. He attempts to project curiosity to the serpent and an inclination of skittery and furry, "See if you can find... pick up scent... if any are near." - He looks back to the chantris. "Can speak to Orsmvagr, tell her what we look for? She may help."
The nixie queen doesn't look so confused as Amy, not at all. "You can come through our tunnels, if you wish. At least to the center where the Everlasting Petal roots. To climb so high - you may not be able."
Siobhan listens to everyone in turn, and then looks to the nixie queen. "Will we be able to fit into your tunnels?"
"Your friend came out, did he not?" the Nixie queen says. Course, Merrisol is under water, and not able to comment on that. And he did come out ... missing his pants.
Ailith notes, "You might fit better than I." There's nearly half a foot of height's difference between them.
Maggie has no objection to Merrisol without pants unless it bothers him. She enjoys the view, personally. Ahem. Her attention is split between the Nixie Queen and Wulf's friend, "Ummm. The problem with the tunnels is that they are under water. Not many of us can breath down there."
Siobhan is a good bit smaller than Merrisol, though, far more slendar so it may work! She glances to the water where Merrisol and Ruby had disapeared, and then back to the Nixie queen. She has to shrug a little bit. "Well, if he fit, we should, I would think," she says, with a glance to Ailith for confirmation. "You're shorter than Merrisol too, and not as wide. Up to you. I think I would like to try." She looks to Maggie, her brow furrowing. "Well, that may be a problem. I cannot breathe underwater."
RPG: Ruby challenges a difficulty of 15. Ruby chooses Force and the gift BLD-OB. Ruby fails.
RPG: Merrisol challenges a difficulty of 15. Merrisol chooses Force and the gifts BLD-RE and PHY-ST. Merrisol fails.
The nixie queen waits to hear, and then she frowns. She speaks quickly to her guards, softly. And then she nods. "We might be able to create an air helmet for you, if it will - but it won't last long, we are not used to so big." She pauses, frowning. "still it might last long enough to get you through the underwater part."
Ailith nods. "I will take the risk alongside my kinswoman. Perhaps we will see what has become of our traveling companions."
Merrisol descends to the side of the giant shard opposite to where Ruby is working to budge it. He crouches, laying one hand flat on the broadside of the object, feeling its unnatural density and razor edges. As Ruby levers, he shifts over to help, but the only thing that moves is their feet through the rocky silt. After a round of heaving and grunting, Merrisol steps back, rubbing his biceps and flexing his joints. His hands sport a few bleeding slices, though the wounds are already starting to close up. "Damn thing needs a sturdy derrick to lift from its bed," he declares. "Though as time is of the essence, we could just call the other Oberkin down to help."
Siobhan nods to the nixie queen. "I am willing to try. We will just.. have to be quick, yes?" She nods to Ailith, and then looks to the others. "If there's a chance it will help."
Ruby has the knife jammed in underneath there good. And even with both hands and every muscle and tendon straining with all her might, she nearly risks an infarction. She open her mouth and offers a mangled underwater warble with the effort, her gills fanning angrily and completely 2-dimensional. She tries again. Even after Merrisol has already declared the obvious. Strands of watery blood creep away from her finger where she's been lacerated and she starts to get a bit of a tantrum building. She has to admit defeat and pull back, hands forming claw-like shapes. She fixes her good eye beadily at Merri and gives a swooshy nod. A hard lesson to swallow at the bottom of the sea.
Amy gets to her feet, with not too much difficulty. She says, "I'd kind of like to wait for Merrisol and Ruby to return, before we go off in different directions. They shouldn't be too long."
The nixie queen watches Amy for a moment, and then says, "Your friends - under the water. Perhaps they are eaten by the crustaceans."
Maggie pauses, "Uh. Hold on a sec." Turning to one side, she is apparently taken by a trump call. "Hello, All." A pause as she listens, then nods, "Of course. Come through when you are ready." Moving to a spot where there is room to bring people through, she extends her hand. Speaking a bit more loudly, "Kerf has something to share with us."
Ailith nods. "Then I will wait to hear it," she says simply.
Merrisol checks his belt salvaged from the previous trousers, for the clipped on pouch which carries his trump collection. Never leave home, or crazy hedge mazes, without it. "Wait here, I'll get the others on board and trump you to bring them over," he instructs Ruby. "Try not to break anything.." he can't resist adding, then turns his attention to Maggie's trump card.
Ruby quirks the corner of her mouth and regards Merrisol with 'resting-bitch-face' expression. She turns to regard the shard and casts about for something to act as a fulcrum for the help that will be returning. She gives her hip a pat to check for her own deck, just to be certain.
Amy turns to look at Maggie, her expression half startled and half bemused. Timing. That is something that Merrisol certainly has. In spades. "Well, at least he's not eaten," she says dryly.
The Nixie Queen laughs, sharply. She starts to move towards the railing of the ship, looking over. Her guards stay with her.
Wulf looks back from the Chantris who did not reply, back to the nixie queen and Ormsvagr, he frowns at her, leans to her and whispers in her ear. She turns her head away, ducks it underwater, but sticks close to the ship, apparently floating the surface idly and keeping an eye on those below. Wulf in the meantime, stares off like he's elsewhere.
Merrisol unfolds into three-dimensional space in front of Maggie, a thin layer of seawater coming with him to patter to the deck in displacement shock. He is... clothed, and already tucking the card away into a case within a belt pouch. "Thanks, Hotstuff," he smiles, keeping hold of Maggie's hand, and tossing his plastered hair out of his eyes as he looks around at the others. "We've located the piece that fell from the fissure in the obelisk during The Breaking," he reports. "It is very large and dense matter, but appears to be a whole object to be fitted back into the gap, once the glass has been lifted away. Both monumental feats, we've determined. Everyone who is physically able will be needed to get this job done. As well, there's the matter of the critters wanting to come through from the... other side of the break."
Siobhan had, perhaps, not heard Wulf's question in amidst everything else. Or she may not have consciously processed the question. Now, she turns to look at the giant and lifts a shoulder. "I do not know. Perhaps, yes? I would think so, if she has a language we can understand."
Rolls for next time:
RPG: Ruby challenges a difficulty of 10. Ruby chooses Force and the gift BLD-OB. Ruby almost succeeds.
RPG: Wulf challenges a difficulty of 10. Wulf chooses Force and the gift BLD-GT. Wulf succeeds.
RPG: Amethyst challenges a difficulty of 10. Amethyst chooses Grace and the gifts BLD-OB, BLD-PT, and DRG-BS. Amethyst succeeds.
RPG: Merrisol challenges a difficulty of 10. Merrisol chooses Resolve and the gifts BLD-RE, PAS-DE, and PHY-ST. Merrisol succeeds.
RPG: Amethyst challenges a difficulty of 10. Amethyst chooses Force and the gifts BLD-OB, BLD-PT, and DRG-BS. Amethyst succeeds.
RPG: Siobhan challenges a difficulty of 9. Siobhan chooses Grace and the gifts FGT-BT, STY-DF, and STY-UE. Siobhan succeeds.
RPG: Maggie challenges a difficulty of 10. Maggie chooses Resolve and the gift BLD-OB. Maggie succeeds.
RPG: Ailith challenges a difficulty of 9. Ailith chooses Grace and the gifts ICE-WM and SKL-MC. Ailith succeeds.