The Great Egg Caper!

Xanadu Weyr - Old Forest Sinkhole

A wide maw has opened in the forest here, sending earth and trees tumbling into the abyss. Vines and shrubs cling to the sides of the dark hole, the bottom of which is far below. The pungent scent of earth and splintered wood rises moistly out of the cavernous pit. Huge, squared boulders that once both lined walls and formed arch supports lie tumbled upon a stone floor and there seems to be a tunnel that heads both north and south. Even in daylight though, these can be barely discerned due to the dimness. Only closer inspection will reveal that while the northern tunnel is clear, the southern pass has had a door installed with a notice posted on it (+view notice).
The entire area has been cordoned off with ropes and warning signs not to get too close to the unstable edges. Constructed of wood with railing on either side is a temporary stairway, more resembling a ladder than staircase, affixed to the side and floor below providing the way down to the bottom. However, off to one side, someone has obviously tread a 'sandy' pathway so many times that its become worn and visible to the naked eye.
Will you head into the 'north tunnel'? View the notice? Or will you take the sandy shortcut off to the left?

<OOC> Esiae says, "Welcome! As you know, or may have guessed by the bbposts and room descs, tonight's roleplay is loosely based around a choose-your-own-adventure game. You will be split up into two teams, and will then enter the ruins through the direction of your choice. Your goal is to find the missing vat of firelizard eggs - unfortunately, there's nothing pointing in the right direction, and no one way is easier than the other, so choose wisely! While you are technically allowed to go in any direction, to keep with the competitive spirit, you're encouraged to try to go different paths to cultivate different logs and experiences. There are two new rooms, and unique challenges at almost every turn, so be sure to keep track of your group's progress. Half of the fun is in your reactions!
While ICly, your characters may be spurred on by the challenge of making it to the eggs first, OOCly this is not a race to the finish - anyone who RSVP'd is guaranteed an egg, and if there are any leftovers, they will be given away if you decide you'd like one in the end. :) If you have any questions, feel free to PM them to me at any time. Otherwise, start your logs, prepare to depart, and may the odds be ever in your favor! ;D"

It's afternoon, and the sun is high in a clear, crystal blue sky. Unfortunately, the firelizard rescue group that has gathered outside the ruins will hardly be able to enjoy it. Instead, they're outfitted for exploration, armed with glowbaskets, long-burning torches, and the occasional techcraft flashlight. Tools and medical supplies are carried by some, especially a master miner that is tagging along for safety reasons in the rather unpredictable ruins, but otherwise it's bring-your-own-effects. Esiae has clad herself in a very patchwork outfit, not risking the wraths of her mothers by ruining good clothes. In one hand she bears an aforementioned torch, the other crumpled awkwardly into her pocket. Nervous? Esiae? Yeah, just a tad. The last time she went on a major, dangerous adventure, she got lost for two months though, so it happens. Brown eyes flick constantly towards the weyr, then to their group, waiting for everyone to arrive and for the miner to give them their directions.

Jeniosa can't stay away from this adventure any more than a feline can't help curiously testing the world around it, and so the candidate shows up in full adventure garb; her camouflaged heavy pants and long-sleeved shirt(not that the jungle camo will help her here, but it was all she had handy other than her lavendar and lilac everyday clothes), backpack made of the same material as her pants, and a flashlight that she borrowed from one of her Eastern techie friends. When she arrives at the meeting place, she hangs around towards the back of the pack, just regarding everyone, she may be overdressed or maybe even look silly in her getup, but it's better to be safe than sorry, right? Afterall, the beastcrafter was am experienced adventurer back home.

Looking certainly as though she's dressed for caving, Kinzie is wearing every piece of work worn clothing she could find, maybe a few too many layers but what's the harm in being over prepared? On her back is a worn tan hide knapsack where she's packed a few supplies, food mostly and the odd change of clothes in case the caves are as wet as she thinks they could be. Last time she adventured to deep in to a cave she got soaked to the bone and ended up colder than between, it took her quite a while to warm herself up after that excursion. The ex stablehand shudders as she looks about the large sinkhole, some have already started to congregate preparing for the mission that lies ahead, getting the borrowed flashlight from her pack she wanders towards the group, looking about curiously to see who's decided to join in the hunt.

Adventure? Did someone stay adventure? Yes, yes they did. Soriana attached herself to one of the groups heading out and just plain tagged along to see for herself. She's more or less in her usual clothes otherwise, though she's got a shuttered glow-basket, a coil of rope attached to her belt opposite her usual ferret-pouch, and a length of lighter-weight cord tied around the belt, then looped a few times before disappearing into the pouch. Why? Because there's Inkfoot peeking out, the cord going to a little leather harness put around his middle. He'll be useful for scaring off the tunnelsnakes that doubtless infest these ruins, but she's really rather he didn't actually run off down a hole.

Dressed for adventure is Alzanbri — in purposefully heavy clothes that might not do him much good out in the heat, but well, he doesn't look too concerned. He's got any number of tools clipped to his belt, and looks fairly calm, all things considered. "Somebody call for rescuers?" The boy jokes with a faint smile, sidling along through the gathering group until he reaches his destination: Esiae. Really, it's probably not much of a surprise, though he does go out of his way to put on his very /best/ polite smile for everybody else. Briefly, the lad scans them with narrowed eyes, lips twisting into a faintly wary look. O', raggedy band of rescuers! "This'll be /fun/." He mutters to his companion, somehow managing to not drop the smile as he wiggles his fingers Soriana-wards; likely, she's the most familiar face he can find just yet, and who ever said Zan wasn't personable?

Esiae shifts from foot to foot, gaze eventually moving towards the familiar faces of Jeniosa and Kinzie. Their attire is taken in with a slight smile - Es was, after all, faring no better in the fashion department. Better than ruining nice things, however! "Hey Kinzie, Jeniosa," she greets, hand lifting in a hesitant wave. "Nice day to have to spend inside the dark ruins, eh?" She gives a 'what can you do' shrug before her gaze switches to Soriana and the girl's rather interesting cord contraption. "Oh! That was a smart idea…" she says approvingly, giving a nod. And then comes trouble. "You're here. Of course it will be fun," Esi returns with an equally saccharine smile, tilting a sarcastic look at the boy before shaking her head. Male-types. Seriously. Her eyes roll and then go back to roving, eventually settling on the worrisome door notice, and the sandy path she hadn't seen before. Curiouser and curiouser…

Jeniosa strokes her ever-present blue scarf, and Azurite rouses, curling his tail protectively a little tighter about her neck. "Hey, not that tight, Azurite." Blue's tailgrip loosens, a little. "Hey Esiae, been meaning to come down here and do some exploring anyway, figure I may as well join." Silver-blue eyes scan the crowd as Kinzie and Soriana get brief smiles and fingerwiggles in greeting. The beastcraft candidate seems to be looking for someone else as well, but he's not here yet, aww.

Kinzie works her way over towards where Esiae and the others are stood, smiling in agreement to the nice day comment "Nothing like being in a cold damp hole" she says, nose wrinkled slightly at the damp earthy smell that keeps filling her nostrils and she shudders again "People choose the best places to hide stuff, they never hide things in nice warm and inviting places" she grins at her fellow explorers before grabbing a redfruit from her bag and peeling it with her pocket-knife, offering slices to those around her. When Esiae points out Inkfoots harness Kinzie can't help but take a closer look, smiling at the little tunnelcat "Well he'll certainly be helpful in her, keeping the snakes and creepies at bay" she says in way of a greeting to Soriana.

For the most part, Soriana's busy looking around this way and that around the crowd. It's nearly as interesting as the ruins, particularly all the various tools the other weyrfolk (and that master miner) are carrying. What does that one with the double hook even _do_? Zan's arrival gets her attention and a bright grin and wave in return… and on her attention flits, from this to that to the other. She smiles to Kinzie and Jeniosa in turn, waving to them, and then nods to Esiae. "It almost didn't fit anymore," she says, and then nods to Kinzie. "Yup!"

"Alright!," the miner finally calls in a crisp, clear voice, cutting through the chatter. "You'll all be divided into teams. You lot-" she points at Kinzie, Soriana and Esiae, "-will be a group. You two are another." There's a point between Alzanbri and Jeniosa. "Stay. With. Your team member-slash-members. I can't emphasize that enough. Also, be alert. The ruins have gotten tricky since the initial activity died down here - you never know what'll be around the corner. Somewhere in here though are the eggs that drudge nicked out of the caverns. Find 'em, and you can keep 'em. If nothing else, I bet you can give 'em back to the man at a fair reward price." She shrugs, clearly just postulating. "Either way, nothing like a bit of a challenge to start off your afternoon, eh?" She seems way too excited, honestly. "Have a member from your team come get a med pack and then be on your way. Time's ticking!" She gestures at her feet, where a small backpack for each group has been prepared with the very basics in bandages, salves, a whistle to call for help, and water - all and all just enough to keep a person going until help can arrive.

Alzanbri's lips tighten in vague apprehension when he eyes the door, but no! He's brave. So he just kind of grins at the group at large, absently petting the beltknife at his side. Paranoid? No way! "You bet your arse." He beams innocently at the girl, then squints at the miner as she speaks, lips immediately quirking into a scowl. "Oi, what do you —" A beat, and he remembers himself, wincing. Briefly, he freezes, before turning to his teammate with an appropriately bright grin. Never mind the eyetic? "Hi there," He extends his hand. "I'm Alzanbri. You got any use for medical supplies or should I get them?"

Jeniosa is pointed at, along with the male-type person she doesn't know. A brief thoughtful look, and then she's moving to meet up with him. "Uh, hi. I'll get the medkit." And she's off and away to retrieve the kit for her adventure partner with a thoughtful chewing of her lip. The med-kit is slipped into her backpack as she eyes the miner. "Are you sure he's..stable?" She asks the miner quietly. Not that she's known for being completely stable herself, but yeeeeeah, he's worse cause he's a male. Then before the miner can answer, the beastcraft candidate is headed back towards Alzanbri. "Name's Jeniosa, pleasure to meet you." The words aren't exactly warm, ut at least they're not completely cold.

Esi's mouth is wide open, likely to deliver a series of amused responses, but alas for that miner and her interruption. Cue nervous eye-twitch. As if she weren't worried enough, now there were all of these cautions and rules added in. The candidate nods when they're divided, face set in a determined expression as she takes in the pair she's grouped with, but it's a wary glance that she gives for the medpacks. "Uhm… anyone wanna go grab that?" Arms cross over her chest, the girl backing up a step or two before she recalls Jeniosa's earlier words. Right. She /had/ intended to come here long ago. Why was she so worried now? "Anyways, yeah, I wanted to come here right after Soriana's mother mentioned the ruins. They sounded fascinating. Little scarier close up though," she admits, peering down into the sinkhole towards that door again. Eesh. "Especially that."

With a look to Esiae and then Soriana the stablehand nods as the miner speaks looking sensible, responsible and aware yup that's Kinzie that attention and seriousness may be spurred on by the fact that she has no intention of getting lost in here. As she moves closer to listen she continues to strip slices from the redfruit she's eating, needs to keep her strength up right. Looking towards the backpack she shrugs "I can carry it, my little bag should fit inside and I'm used to the weight" she shrugs, after all she carried everything she owned round for a few turns, what's a small backpack? Moving over towards the small pack, fitting her own inside it before lifting it to her shoulders looking round as if taking their options in for the first time.

Soriana stands up on her toes to listen to the miner, flashing a grin to Esiae and Kinzie as the groups are named. So that's how it'll be? Okay then! There's a brief frown as he keeps talking, as a little nagging thought reminds her of what her mother said. No going to the ruins without someone more experienced… who had a firelizard in case of trouble. But surely it'll be okay; here's the master miner saying so, and while technically nobody in her group seems to have a flutterywinged thing (yet), there _are_ those with firelizards around. It should be okay, right? Quick glance around, confirming no actual mother or known maternal spies… yeah, it should be okay. She'll just be extra-certain not to get lost or hurt, and nobody has to know! Plan: flawless. She glances up at Esiae's question, then nods as Kinzie takes the pack. "Doesn't look so bad t'me. Look, there's a little path there… out of the way. Bet that's what the drudge did, to try and make it secret."

Alzanbri seems just fine with the distant greeting, eyes flicking over Jeniosa with detached curiosity, assessing, but not leering. "Well met, then." He offers, nodding shortly. "You got much experience with this sort of thing, Jeniosa?" Briefly, he squints at her, but then his eyes are back to wandering, taking in the room they're in and then the ways out. The door is glares at, his hands itch towards the hilt of that knife (What? He could totally knife it down), but then he grumbles something and taps a foot. "Just keep your head and we'll be fine." Whether that's to his teammate or Esiae isn't clear, since he's still scanning their area, but eventually he settles back on Jeniosa with a faint smile. "Ready?"

Esiae gives Kinzie an appreciative nod. "Thanks. My luck, I'd catch it on fire." Well, it's a weak joke, but she makes it anyways, as she wedges the torch between her knees and pulls a flint and stone out of her pocket to light it. That accomplished, Esi glances up catches Soriana's mother-seeking glances. She smirks, but doesn't comment, instead clearing her throat with a half-shrug. "Not too bad. Scary. It's all relative, right?" She does turn to follow the girl's point down the sandy pathway, nodding because it makes sense. "Sure, sounds logical to me. Kinzie?" Her head tilts, asking the other candidate's opinion, but totally along for the ride at this point. Whatever way the wind blows!

Kinzie shifts the pack from one shoulder to the other, the pack is not particularly heavy it's more a nervous thing as her eyes flick from the doorway then to the secret sandy pathway that both would lead the merry band further in to the sink hole. Her name being called drags her from her worried stare and she turns to smile as confidently as possible to her new team "sounds like a plan to me, I think if I were hiding something the path" and she gestures towards where Soriana pointed "would definitely be the way to go" she says that lke she really has any clue, but hey what's the worst that can happen right? and she discards her redfruit core and flips her pocket knife back into it's belt pouch before stepping gingerly closer to the pathway to take a closer look.

Jeniosa eyes the strange person she got stuck with, and mumbles something under her breath. The big blue scarf regards the boy as well, and maybe even growls a little as he feels his person's tenseness. "Ain't never been in caves before, mostly in the jungle canopy back home." Okay, so she's nervous and wary and…perhaps considering making her way back the way she came, but no, the call of adventure is too promising. She glances at each exit, her eyes lingering on the sandy path a moment, she isn't too sure she likes the look of that direction, hmm. "Ready when you are, I guess." She motions him to take the lead because, well, she's not too sure she wants her back to some fidgety guy with a knife.

Soriana nods to Esiae, and then looks over to Kinzie to see… her agreeing as well! The girl grins, and heads over to the path to take a look. Inkfoot squirms in his pouch, and she reaches a hand down to hold at the ferret, the other one out to touch a tree for balance as she peers down the path. And the other group doesn't seem to be headed this way, so bonus! "C'mon. Let's find out!" With that, she puts foot on the path, testing for stability and then slowly walking down along the trodden sands.

Esiae puffs out a breath and relaxes just a tad, as though the first decision having been made puts the rest of it into motion for better or worse. "Right, secret path no one ever saw before. Definitely points towards hiding," she agrees, setting off after Kinzie with a much more bounce in her step. Alzanbri gets a rather petulant eyeroll for that 'you'll be fine' comment, but if there's a secondary worried glance aimed his way, well… Her head shakes, past adventures thrown out of her mind to focus on this one. "Right, let's go." Catching on Soriana's enthusiasm, Esi strikes out after them, fully determined to enjoy herself or die trying judging by her expression.

Xanadu Weyr - Mezzanine
This room opens up to a low, wide balcony. Not far below, in the dim reaches of the cavernous room, a curved platform built of stone has been built to form a large stage. Wings are free-standing stone walls from which dark corridors lead into smaller rooms, likely meant for dressing, costume and prop storage.
To the front of the mezzanine, a short flight of stairs leads to the stage itself, while to the back there is access to the dim reaches of the place where audiences once sat, rising above and opposite the stage in steep tiers of stone. Ranks of seats, interspersed with landings and stairways meld into the echoing and shadowy space. Your journey thus far has been quiet… perhaps too quiet, as though the end or something dreadful draws near. Will you visit the 'stage'? Explore the 'ampitheatre'? Or is it perhaps time to escape up the 'stairs'?

Watching Jeniosa warily as she explores the stage without really putting any weight on it, Alzanbri frowns, glancing back towards the massive cavern they left. "Do you hear something?" He wonders warily, grip on that knife not faultering as he moves slowly towards his partner. After a moment, he shrugs, then glances around again. "Maybe the cavern settling." Like that's a comforting thought? "Uh…I guess up here's as good as any. Be careful, eh?" So maybe his cool is being eaten away at just a little. A little! The lad doesn't quite mount the last stair, yet, taking his vantage point to stare into the shadowed nooks and crannies again like it might help him.

Jeniosa freezes, and listens, and just frowns at the comment about the cavern settling. That's even worse than a predator, perhaps. "Wait! I do hear something…" She's heading up after her partner, treading lightly, or at least she hopes it's lightly, she really doesn't want to break her neck or anything else today. "Man..I think I'd much rather be up in my trees." Okay, so the brave beastcrafter is growing a tad bit freaked out or someting.

Esiae skids to a stop just once, reaching back with one hand to help brace Soriana for one of those flailing trips down the stairs, and with the other to whip her torch back into the face of the feline that has pursued them out of the dark. In the light of the mezzanine, it is a vicious beast, one that has gone beyond mere ugliness to full-on rabid ferociousness. The flame barely seems to bother it, perhaps only halting its charge to whip the flames off singed whiskers. It's deadly quiet, however, after that first wild growl - what Alzanbri and Jeni hear is mostly Esi from that point on. "Go go go! Find somewhere to hide!" Fleet feet draw near to the stage and the actual ampitheatre, brown eyes widening in horror when she recognizes Jeniosa and Alzanbri. "Get out of here!" There's only so much running that one can do before a feline's innate superior skills outmatch human adrenaline however, and soon, it's more than caught up. Fight or die, no highway option.

Down, down, down the stairs! Soriana's feet come pounding along, stumbling and pulling herself to her feet again with Esiae's help and pushing herself off the stairs. Inkfoot is hissing mightily as he glares back up the stairs at… the very big and rather crazy-looking cat. The girl looks from side to side, searching for someplace to… run? Hide? She glances at Jeni and Zan, and her eyes widen. "Shells and stars and…" Now she's /using/ those swear-words she's picked up from crotch-kicked guards and angry headwomen. Impressive, really. She spins off to the side, trying to figure out what to do next!

See! See! She told him so! Jeniosa's silver-eyes go wide as the two girls run in, followed by the large frighteningly ugly feline. Oh, she so wants to say it, but now's not the time. She scurries up the stairs, whipping out her hunting if it'll do much good against a cat that size. "Shards!" Yes, well, the beastcrafter's usually quiet and doesn't tend to use such words, but, that's a friggin feral feline! And it doesn't look like a very healthy one, at that. "Don't let it bite you!" She hollars. "You never know what kind of disease it has!"

Alzanbri still isn't particularly peturbed at the idea of the cavern doing what it does — but when Jeniosa speaks up again, he /does/ pause, eyes narrowing. "Maybe you're right." The lad mutters, warily, at right about the time that the other teammates come bolting into the mezzanine level. Esiae's noted with wide eyes, but then Zan's looking to his partner and Esi's younger friend, cursing under his breath. "Think I see doors back there. G'wan, go!" He half-shouts, gesturing sharply up at the stage and ignoring the call for running. Instead, the lad takes a few steps forward, staring at the disgusting feline warily in the moment it chooses to pause. Of course, he doesn't quite look back at his partner for her hollering, but he does huff and flail an arm in exasperation, darting a few steps forward to do his best to put himself between cat and other egg-hunters, knife extended warily in front of him. Smart? Definitely not.

Esiae is probably putting the other girls to shame, with her eleven turns' worth of experience with sailors on a boat, but it's not like she realizes it. In fact, in the way that others meditate before a fight, it seems to calm her a bit, lending a dose of rationale and clarity. Squint. "No, the seats!," she shouts out, overriding Zan and pointing to where a flickering source of light is shining up there. "Might be another torch!" Hers has definitely seen better days, but she'll still bring it about to aim a right proper smack at the feline. Defensive postures? Not for this girl. A proper weapon would sure as shells be nice, but one wasn't gonna drop from the sky, so she wasn't gonna cry about it. "I keep busy, you stab." Or at least, that's how it was gonna work in theory. Let's see about practice.

Wild Feline growls but makes no further movement.

Where to go, where to go? Soriana looks around. Doors, seats… Inkfoot decides he's had enough of this, and with the crazy courage of tunnelcats that sends them to face poisonous tunnelsnakes… leaps down from the pouch and runs toward the feline with a hiss. Soriana curses again. "Inkfoot, no!" She tries to catch his cord to pull him back… which promptly snaps as he lunges sidewise, taunting the feline.

Jeniosa is on the stage, and being directed up the stairs to the seating area…the only problem with that plan? Yeah, there's a big snarling ugly feline between here and there. Okay, it's a feline, she deals with felines all the time she tries to tell herself, of course normally these felines are on the ground and she's in the trees, but there are no trees here and she frowns. Finally the beastcrafter decides to make a break for it, armed with hunting knife and flashlight. The movement of the petite young woman gets the feline's attention and she frowns. Finally she aims to smack the feline's head with the butt of her flashlight while slashing out with the knife.

Wild Feline tries to attack back but misses.

Alzanbri isn't about to disagree with Esi, instead glancing towards the seats just briefly before focusing back on the feline. However, when the directive is ignored he makes a vague growl of frustration amongst his curses (which rival his compatriot's; he /was/ on that boat too), flailing his free arm again at the loose tunnelcat and females. "Esi!" He shouts, cautionary, as she swings at the cat with her torch, automatically darting forward to do as she says. He ain't about to go against his orders, oh no! He does mutter something about shardin' stubborn females, but it's mostly caught in a grunt as he follows suit with a hop and…probably the worst battle yell ever. At least he seems to take his stab at the feline seriously, as he goes.

Wild Feline attacks back and inflicts a small scratch.

Esiae stills for the feline's growl, but then she's throwing it back in its face, lips parting in an impressive snarl so she can scream right back. Is insanity airborne and contagious within seconds…? Ahem. Luckily, between the lot of them, the beast has an awful lot to keep up with. A pair of bleeding knife wounds, a singed pelt, and an equally ferocious Inkfoot to provide just enough distraction to make it misstep… it all has to add up eventually, right? Or, you know, make the creature even more insane. Whatever comes first. "Come on!" That smack to the head has, for the moment at least, knocked something loose. It's not backing away, but after the immediate reactionary attack that got Zan, it's certainly looking a little dazed around the edges. Perfect moment to retreat up into the ampitheatre. "Get us the high ground!," she adds walking backwards into the stands as quickly as she can to keep the fire between the beast and them. It's only a momentary reprieve, but hopefully it will be enough.

Xanadu Weyr - Ruins Ampitheatre
To describe this cavernous place as huge, would be an understatement. A semi-circle has been cut out of solid rock to form rows and rows of curved, continuous seating. Even the railings set every four rows has been meticulously carved and most remain intact. There is rubble scattered about here, where portions of the ceiling has chipped or fallen away due to lack of maintenance and age. What once must have been boxed seating, has crumbled and fallen away, only the skeletal remains of windows and walkways between. Large shards of shattered rock lies along the walls of the stage area below, some of it still showing the detail that once had been etched into the accents here. In the days this place was new, it would have been a sight to behold, but now it is a monument of disuse.
Or is it? In a far corner is a spark of light, further inspection revealing a large fire that has been well-stoked with logs. It banishes the shadows from around it, rendering even the distant threat of the stage. Cheery. That's the word. The fire is /cheery/ - and for good reason! Nestled in its center is a large metal vat, much akin to the ash vats kept next to the hearth back at the weyr proper. Into it has been nestled a whole clutch of firelizard eggs, maybe even two! So that's where the drudge spirited the eggs off to. There's no firelizard guarding them, and the trader did say he'd give the eggs away to anyone that found them, so it's safe to say one can reach in and claim one for onesself ('examine egg vat').

Soriana takes a few steps after her pet, but she's not so crazy as to go running into wild feline range. She glares, hesitating for a moment, and then reaches down to pick up a loose stone and hurl it hard at the feline. Hard… but not very accurate. The stone goes wild, smacking against the wall behind with a loud thunk just as Inkfoot leaps up at the feline from behind, grabbing that raggedy tail and biting down hard! Sharp little claws, sharp little teeth, both being used very much in earnest. Hisssrawr! Fierceferret! Soriana hesitates, not wanting to leave her pet behind, buuuut… not wanting to be left behind with him and the feline, either! She scrambles back, running toward the ampitheater with many backward glances that make her lag behind.

Wild Feline was apparently close to its demise, as the hit causes it to keen and fall over dead.

Jeniosa flees up the stairs after the others, tripping as the feline falls down dead, smacking into the stairs with hands and knees, Ow. But..the feline is dead? The feline id dead? She scrabbles up the stairs on hands and knees just to be sure as she shoots silver-blue gaze towards it. "Everyone alright?" She asks, breathing quickly with the adrenaline pumping through her veins. She's on her feet and heading towards the other egg-hunters, then, to check on her ellow explorers.

Alzanbri almost misses the action, being as how he's running up the stairs backwards, clutching his hand to himself and cursing. Loudly. You know, running up stairs takes focus as it is, and backwards? Yipes! His defensive dash is put to rest by a tunnelcat, though — the bravest of them all! "Shells." The lad blinks, dazed, at the sight of the very-dead cat. Assuring himself of that, though, he stalks back down and carefully sinks that knife in through a few strategic spots. Hey, no sense being uncautious, right? "M'fine." He grunts back up the incline, eyeing the fearless mustelid with mild amusement, before trudging back up the stairs. "You guys okay? Need the kits?"

At first, the sight of Inkfoot's daring move and the feline's subsequent death just… doesn't register with Esiae. She's still got her firebrand extended, protectively hovering in front of her as she crawls up the seats, feeling her way as she goes. It catches up to her slowly, mouth working like a fish before she just plain utters a, "What just /happened/." Not that she's not happy - in fact, when Alzanbri knifes the creature, she visibly sags with relief - but seriously. "That… was amazing. Can I like… borrow him," Esi asks, a huge grin on her face when she points from Soriana to the ferret and back. "Cause I know a few people that could use a lethal biting." Beat. "Sorry. Bad sense of humor under adrenaline. Whew." Still rather stunned, the girl drops onto her butt on one of the stone seats, staring down at the scene before her while her heart returns to a somewhat normal beat. "Amazing."Esi shakes her head at the notion of med kits, however, peering over at Zan. "You need it more than I do," she says before aiming a look up at Jeniosa. "I am, are you?"

Fiercest ferret! Inkfoot uses the time-honored mustelid strategy of 'bite it until it stops moving' - and, hey, it actually works! Awesome! The tunnelcat gives a few extra bites, juuuuust for good measure… see, like Zan is doing, it's good strategy. Then he dooks with satisfaction, and hops off the carcass to strut off… right into the waiting arms of Soriana, who's dashing forward to scoop him up and nuzzle into his fur despite the fact that he kinda stinks of diseased feline. He probably has fleas now, too. She does not care. After a moment, she glances up. "'m fine," she mumbles, and then laughs to Esiae before leaning in to kiss the hero of the day!

Jeniosa makes it to the others, turning to watch her partner make sure the creature is dead. Good and dead. "Shards and shells, what was it doing down here?" She unshoulders her backpack, reaching for the medi-kit inside. "Alzanbri, you got hit. We need to clean it up just in case that thing was diseased." And beastcrafter is now in mother-mode, digging through the medi-kit to look for antiseptic and bandages. "C'mere." She calls to her partner. "You ladies didn't get scratched or bit, right? How's Inkfoot, no damage?" Yes, well, now that her adrenaline rush is wearing off a bit, she takes over as the clear-headed quiet beastcraft candidate she usually is.

"That tunnelcat killed it!" Like that isn't obvious, Zan explains to Esi all the same, gesticulating wildly with one hand before wiping his knife on his pants and re-sheathing it; but not redoing the safety catch. "Give that fella a whole mess of treats when we get back, eh?" He grins, adrenaline fueled and amused. "And don't kiss 'im too much until ya clean him. Never know what might be on that thing." The lad glares back at the cat, then turns a little smile Esi-wards, shaking his head. The hand is flapped absently; yeah, the grazing cut is bleeding pretty good, but he's not concerned. He's seen worse! "More than you? You okay?" His eyes narrow, and he scowls, pointing Jeniosa-wards — just in time to get mothered. The lad blinks, then narrows his eyes again, almost looking like he might make a run for it, before grumbling and marching forward. "Dunno what it was doin', but I'm fine. Blood goin'll clean it out just fine." For all that he grumbles, though, he does at least present his hand; reluctantly.

Esiae can only chuckle when Inkfoot assures his kill is dead and then runs back to Sori, head shaking to and fro. Still unbelievable, still amazing. "I know /that/, Zan, but shells. I don't even—" She's cut short when the boy goes into lecture mode, eyes a'rolling. "You just wiped your blade on your pants, wild boy. We're all due for a very thorough washing at the hot springs, I think." There /is/ an agreeing nod at Soriana for the idea of giving the tunnelcat a ton of treats, however. "He totally deserves them after that." A small smirk plays about her mouth when Zan gets mothered, but she doesn't say anything smart, for once. Instead, she finally seems to remember the whole reason they had come here in the first place, turning and heading towards the flickering light to see if her hunch was correct, or perhaps reignite her dwindling torch. "… Ah ha." There is, after all, a big ol' vat still sitting there.

Soriana nods firmly to Zan. "All the treats… …and a bath," she says, because now that she's over the first squeal of delight… shards does he smell. She lowers him a bit, keeping him cuddled against her with both arms as he squirms about happily and dooks to her. "I'm okay… and he seems okay," she says after a bit of inspection as Inkfoot wriggles, and then looks over to Zan as Jeni fusses over him. "Are…" Well, at least he's claiming to be okay! And he's standing up while saying it, so she'll believe him. When Esiae goes 'ah-ha'! She looks around. "Huh? Wha - ohhhhhh…."

Alzanbri sends a little grin Soriana-wards, still a little on the euphoric high of being quite alive and well. "Uhuh." Is agreed, before he's shooting Esi a very mature raspberry, glancing down at his pants without much shame. "Uh, yeah, /that's/ the worst thing on 'em." He fiddles with a hole near the top and snickers. "Bath sounds good." The old longing-look is back, and he swings his head 'round to stare in the direction they came briefly. It's kind of sidetracked when it becomes obvious that they've found their quarry; but he doesn't get a chance to focus on that for long, in face of Jeniosa's healer-ing. At least he mans up in face of the bandaging, not really flinching as his hand is wrapped. "Hey, thanks." He even manages a grin for the candidate. Even if he's not admitting that she was right! Only when she's done does he turn back to eye the fire and ash pot, eyebrows lifting. "Well?"

Esiae grins when Soriana declares that her ferret needs a bath. "I can only imagine," she says in a wry tone, but the candidate looks genuinely pleased when the girl declares that both she and Inkfoot are okay. "Good," she breathes. "If Zan's little scratch and a few bruises on us are all we managed, it's been a successful day." The sounds of egg-vat realization bring a bubble of laughter from Esi, the girl taking Zan's 'well?' as a cue. She bounces up the rest of the stairs, waving the others after her. "Well, considering we're the first ones here, and we fought the hardest, I vote we get first pick," she declares none-too-humbly, because if anything, they definitely deserve a few eggs out of a lost vat. Now that she's looking at all of them, though, she can't really bring herself to decide. Dilemma. "Uhm. You guys first." Yeah, that's it! Narrow the choices…

"I guess we did it, huh?" says Soriana in a wondering tone, stepping up to the vat and peering inside. "They're pretty," she says, and Inkfoot dooks as he takes a look himself. "All of them, just… differently. Huh." Seems she's going to have a hard time deciding as well… She untangles one hand from her ferret, reaching out to trail her fingers along them… though they seem to linger longest on the shiny and beetle-y ones as she considers.

Alzanbri snorts through his nose at mention of fighting hardest, throwing a wary glance down the stairs once more at the fetid, very-dead feline. "I'll say." He grumps without much feeling, eyeing the bandage with curiosity. Well, at least it seems to have stopped most of the bleeding. "Ah, Nyesi's gone glowy, I've got her eggs to worry 'bout already. You ladies pick first." The lad smirks Esi-wards, then tilts his head to glance between Jeni and Soriana. "Well-trained critters, both of yas. Esi just irks 'em." He beams beatifically at the girl, striding a few steps more up and nudging her with an elbow before glancing into the vat. "Nice. All this work for that?"

Jeniosa gets Zan fixed up, and takes a moment to check her knees where she crashed, but nothing major there. Then the rest are heading up to the egg vat and she's following. "Guess this is the treasure, huh?" She asks, looking at the eggs. She takes in each one, silver-blues lingering on the shiny silver one, but she shrugs. "I got Azur..I think Sori should pick first since it was Inkfoot that saved us."

"Yeah… in the most roundabout way possible," Esiae says towards Soriana, laughing at the progress of their misadventures that led them here. "They are pretty though, yeah." Her momentary whimsy is rather ruined by Alzanbri, upon whom she lowers a glare that's probably becoming only too familiar lately. "Stuff it, you. Some have the ability to charm animals. Some can sew, and sing, and compose music," she says, implying the young man is more or less incapable of all three in her esteem. Her eyes roll for his bright smile, but she doesn't budge when he walks up and nudges her, just makes a noncommittal noise under her breath and bumps him back with one elbow. "You heard the warnings same as we did. Coulda gone home." She snickers, though, when both Alzanbri and Jeniosa decline first choice, brown eyes fastening on Sori. "The conclave has spoken! Lady's choice," Esi says. Though personally, I think you should take this one. Bright and cheery just like you," she adds, tilting the bright blue egg with her fingers juuuust enough to reveal the plague of kite-like splotches on the other side. Browraise. "Or on second thought, maybe not…" What a weird clutch, for being pretty at first glance, seriously…

Oh, sure, put it all on Soriana. She looks up to Jeniosa, and around at Zan and Esiae… then back down at the eggs. "I… uh… yeah." So what is she going to do? She stares down at the eggs, looking over them each in turn. Inkfoot peers himself over the edge, peeking at the eggs before tucking himself against Soriana. Tunnelcats don't need firelizard eggs. So he's no help! She stares at them for a long moment, and then shifts her pet up to her shoulder, biting her lip before reaching out and taking the Quit Bugging Me Egg carefully in both hands. After all, it's creepy and crawly enough that… it might not otherwise get enough love. "I'll take this one," she says, and then steps back from the eggs to let the others decide.

Quit Bugging Me Egg
Eek! It's a good thing this egg is so large, or one could totally mistake it for a beetle. Its hard shell is warped and sectioned like a carapace, painted a dark and iridescent blue that always seems to change. Little striations of green and pale red can be picked up in direct sunlight, while darker glimmers of silver and black are best seen after dark. It would be pretty, if it didn't look like it'd sprout legs and feelers and go running under your bed roach-style when someone suddenly turns on a light.

Alzanbri is immune to glares, and just grins back, shrugging amiably. "S'what I got you for, right?" He asks innocently, leaning over to eye those little roundish almost-critters with something between amusement and wariness. There's a grunt for having gone home, a glance thrown between dead-cat and friend and narrowed eyes; yeah, she's lucky if he doesn't sleep outside the barracks with his knife, or something equally creepy. Soriana getting first choice has the lad grinning again, eyebrows waggling as he eyes the younger girl. "Aye, you first, then!" And he waits for her choice, grinning when she makes it and eyeing her egg with an assessing look. "Good'un, I say. Your turn." That, to either Jeni or Esi, one, as he takes a step back and /beams/. So sweet, this one!

Jeniosa watches as Sori claims her 'prize'. She glances to Esiae. "You go next." Because, y'know, the beastcraft candidate still can't decide between a few of the eggs, silver-blue gaze shifts between the black and white egg and the shiny silver one, hmm. Azurite make some sort of noise, maybe he's telling her he's not gonna share her neck.

"Yeah, yeah. I bring couth to your otherwise unrefined lifestyle," Esi teases, lofting a look that would be affectionate if her tongue weren't sticking out. Ah, maturity. She catches that 'I'ma-sleep-outside-the-barracks-tonight-like-a-creep' look, and shakes her head, instead focusing on Soriana when the girl finally makes her choice. "Excellent. I hope it's a proper adventurer, so your mum doesn't have to worry anymore," she says in a pleasant tone, contemplating this herself before suddenly, she's the focus of the spotlight. "Oh, you're all incorrigible. Come on and choose or I'll pack 'em up from under your noses. Gotta take the rest back to the weyr anyhow, so I'll decide then," she says, reaching to empty one of the abandoned medipacks for the leftover shells.

Soriana smiles at Zan's approval - he knows what he's doing, right? Right! - and then nods to Esiae. "I hope so… and that Inkfoot gets along…." She looks between egg and shoulder-ferret, considering for a moment, and then carefully tucks the gleaming-beetle-egg into Inkfoot's pouch. It's nicely padded, and he can share. He can stay on her shoulder or in her arms. It's all good. That makes him peer down curiously and dook, and she picks him off her shoulder to hold him to her chest and pet him to distract him from doing too much egg-vestigation.

Alzanbri is still beaming beatifically — and he certainly doesn't dispute Esi. What's the fun in that? Eheh. Instead, he snickers quietly, not so entirely mature himself. "I'm sure it will be. Look what happened while it was in its' most sensitive stages!" The lad brings out his most knowledgeable voice, catching Sori's smile and returning it brightly. Esi's bustling about gets a fond smirk, and shake of his head, before he's inclining it to Jeni and glancing into the vat. "Gonna pick? Nice options, there, bet they're nice." He mutters, squinting — obviously trying to resist, for all that his fingers start inching down the rim of the container. Yeah, no, he's not so good with impulse control, this one.

Jeniosa hesitates another moment, then she finally reaches for the shiny rocket-like egg. "I've always been a sucker for shiny things. Azur's egg was shiny too." She chuckles softly, curling a hand around the egg to hold it close for examination. "You gonna pick one Alzanbri?" Yep, his turn apparently. "They're all so different. Interesting clutch."

Got A Rocket In Your Pocket Egg
Oh my. For whatever this egg lacks in fancy designs, it certainly makes up for in shiny-ness. A burnished silver all over, it seems especially prone to picking up shafts of sunlight and reflecting it across the room with eye-blinding quality. If lobbed in the air, it's safe to say people would see it sparkle clear across the bowl! Its very tip has been daubbed in racer-red, however, a startling but no less pleasant color combined with the silver. Indeed, the egg's bottom is much more alarming - it's as if flames were captured alive and impressed upon the shell's surface, ready to rocket the egg and its contents into the sky!

"Ah, yeah. That would be horrible if they didn't get along," Esi says, glancing between the egg Soriana's stashing in the pouch and Inkfoot. "Maybe if he's around the flit from when it's a baby though, they'll like each other? I dunno. Not much of an animal specialist, as you've heard," she says with a chuckle and a shrug. She looks pleased, though, when at least two of her companions have made a choice. Cause, yanno, two out of three ain't bad. "Well-chosen, Jeni. It sort of… suits you," she says, finishing that with a snicker when the other candidate reveals that Azurite's egg was also shiny. It's the third person that she huffs at for the slow shift of his fingers. "Fine, you pack 'em up yourself. I'm going to go find that miner and get her to call in help with removing this feline. It's gonna turn into a health hazard real fast," she says, dropping the emptied bag at Zan's feet. There. His problem. She's just going to take her torch and jog for the mezzanine and the weyr beyond, though hopefully, she'll bump into the woman on the way instead of having to traverse Pern's half-acre.

Alzanbri grins brightly for Jeni's choosing and as soon as she's grabbed her egg, he leans over the vat to squint at it thoughtfully. Finally, a grin flicks across his face and he plucks up the black-white-stripey egg and brandishes Esiae-wards — only to find her not there. "It's a piano!" He instead offers to thin air, eyeing the bag at his feet with a huff of laughter. "Aye, aye, cap'n, right away." The lad snickers, grinning back at the other two. "We probably oughta follow her soon."

Tickling the Ivories Egg
What's black, white and striped all over? Naw, not a zebra - this egg! A pristine ivory at base, this ovoid is large and rather precariously balanced, as though it could snap and fall over at any second. Thin silvery bands stripe across the shell, sometimes long and lean before twitching off at a ninety degree angle, as though deliniating keys on a piano. In fact, that would make a bit of sense, considering the squat rectangles that seem randomly splattered across the egg at first glance. With some logic, it's easy to see that it makes up classy ebony sharps and flats amidst the other notes on the scale.

Soriana nods to Esiae about her current pet and (oooooh) new firelizard. "And make sure he thinks the egg's a happy thing…" she says, and along those lines, gives the ferret more petting. See? Happytimes! Egg good, baby flit will be good too! She laughs at Zan's presentation. "Def'nitely a harper-egg," she agrees, and then reaches down one-handed to pick up the bag. "Maybe use some of the bandages to pad them?" she suggests. Broken eggs would be /tragic/. "But yeah… we should."

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