Chapter 3: Not in Kansas anymore

With Cygna appearing in the cave (roughly 10 by 20 paces, 2 to 5 paces high), you are once more complete.

Berenguer who has been looking down the three tunnels for a bend or two of your limestone cave reports his findings:

The first tunnel seems to lead into a labyrinth of tunnels and caves some glittering with strange stones. The entrance (with stalagtites and stalagmites) looks a bit like the mouth of a shark.

The second tunnel (only 5 ft high) soon becomes quite steep and leads downward (slippery slope).

The third tunnel (the largest) leads up towards a light source (daylight?).

ooc: At this point, I'm handing back control over Berenguer to Radagast.

With a heavy sigh, Viscaria drops her load of supplies off in a corner.

Viscaria begins pulls out the small glass wands she uses for Intellego and Vim, then thinks better of it. "Helena, you seem to be best at the Intellego Vim magics. Could you tell us what we're dealing with?"

She then tucks her wands back in and sets her truest magic to work -- her mind. She begins to speak as if reciting her lessons for a stern teacher. "What do we know and what have we learned? The mirror was most likely a variation of Hermes Portal, which should have led us through to another portal. Yet, it has not. Is this the trap we feared? Has there been some error with the Devices?"

She looks about for another portal, carefully examining the rock as only one who spent her childhood underground can. As the others report their findings and efforts, she repeats their news in the same At-The-Lectern voice. Peppered in this are her own observations. "Seems like a natural cave formation....does anyone see dust or tracks?....that labyrinth is probably a source of terram vis....I'll have to investigate that small tunnel on my own, I suppose, once we've assessed the rest as a group.....daylight? Are we sure? Shall we check that first?"

OOC: Int +3 + Magic Theory (enchantment) 6 + (Cynical +3 ?) + die roll = 4 => 13 or 16, maybe? to determine our Worst Case Scenarios and begin eliminating them.

Nodding to Viscara,

"I had some time to investigate before you all arrived" we are in a magic aura of at least the 5th magnitude (OOC: JM - thats right wasn't it?)
I believe you are right, we should head out of the cave networks, although it would have been against the code to harm us entering, if we are fool enough to go wandering the caverns unprepared the resident magi can hardly be held responsible for any dangers we encounter."

[size=200]"Philistines!"[/size] yells Serrano as he sprints towards the light , heedless of any danger.

Serrano sees the sun between strange-looking trees. The sun is high in the sky, and the weather is hot.

Viscaria stops her cynical contemplations when Helena speaks, and suddenly leaps toward Helena in a classic tackle-hug, screaming, "Helena! I worried all night about you!" She rubs her face into Helena's hip like she'd found a teddy bear she'd lost long ago, arms reaching up to enfold the waist of her long-lost sodales.

"What have you been up to all night? Were you scared? Oh, my amica! I was so worried about you."

She then repeats this assault on Berenguer and then Heims, in quick succession, possibly trying to drag them all into a group hug.

After greeting her wayward companions for just a few heartbeats longer than anybody else is really comfortable with, she returns to her deductions.

"I feel two distinct points of nausea that are likely the result of a strong magical effect. You too?! The first effect is probably some kind of Hermes Portal effect....only, I've never heard of these Portals causing such nausea before! Have you?

...Who is Phyllis Stein?"

This last comment is directed at Serrano's back.

Cygna's eye twitches.

Viscaria ceremonially sponts some InVi on herself, to determine the arts of magics recently used on herself.

OOC: Intellego 4 + Vim 4 + Sta 0 + Artes Liberales 1 + Philosophiae 4 + Aura 5 = 18 + stress die 7 = 25/2 with fatigue = 12.5, Personal, Momentary, Individual (?), +2 magnitudes to determine arts.

OoC: worksheet
Shedding his heavy woolen winter cloak and carefully placing it in his backpack
Touching one of the trees , Serrano attempts to learn if it is naturally or unnaturally strange.

Bowing and smiling to his would be bed-fellows, Cygna and Viscaria, Berenguer asks those of his sodales still in the chamber, “Would anyone care to have “Wizards Sidestep” cast upon them before we leave this place for the light above? I’m sure there exists no risk, for what could possibly go wrong emerging into such wonderful light? My parens made the learning of this spell a condition of passing my gauntlet. (To himself - sotto voce: A strange test, for how could I have need of such a trick? my skill with shield and blade, and my parma should be sufficient to any threat.) My parens must have had his reasons, and it would seem a waste to have the facility, and never to make use of it.”

OoC: Cast a stressless "Wizards Sidestep" (ReIm10) on anyone who requests it, and on himself.
Re: +10 Im: +0 Sta: +2 Aura: +5 = +17 + any NS d10 result = success

“Maga Cygna, Maga Viscaria, Maga Helena, I’d be pleased to escort you to the fair weather above.”

With thoughts of the glorious tales to be told of this adventure, Berenguer makes his way into the light.

Cygna looks around when she's deposited in the cavern, momentarily disoriented after the eerie fog. She looks around for any sign that the portal is still there (ooc – did she suddenly appear in the middle-ish of the cavern, or did she seem to pass through a wall?).

She continues to look around, examining the cavern in minute detail. As her gaze passes over her compatriots, she asks them how long they have been there. Things she's looking for: Is the floor smooth, or rough, or is it covered with loose stones and pebbles? Do the walls look natural or man-made? [color=red](Yes, Viscaria is probably better qualified to make these judgments...but she might still miss something...and besides, she doesn't appear to be quite in her right mind at the moment, judging by her childlike behavior)

If there are no suitable boulders or the like to rest on, she will sit on the floor (after sweeping away any stones if necessary) and sit tailor-fashion facing the others...and definitely not with her back to the shark-mouthed tunnel. That thing makes her feel a bit uneasy. (ooc – are the tunnel mouths on different walls, or are they side-by-side-by-side?). Plan is to rest until she gets her fatigue levels back.

“[color=red]I'm not that familiar with Hermes Portals, or how they work...particularly those crafted by Archmagus Cuniculus . It is possible that the Portal on this end is either part of the wall, or disguised in some fashion. Or that this may simply be a manifestation of his sigil (whatever that may be)...possibly mist or fog, or a puckish sense of humour.”

(when Viscaria mentions the labyrith). “[color=red]What labyrinth?” She puffs her breath in exasperation. “[color=red]How about those of us who have been here and had a chance to look around some, bring those of us who haven't up to speed. I feel like I've come in midway through the comedy.” The last is muttered under her breath.

Viscaria barely glances at Cygna as she continues setting up her various glass dewdaws, drawing mystic symbols in a circle around her, and continuing to prepare for the InVi spell on herself. She speaks in an oddly detached voice, telling a story that she has held inside her far too long.

"The Hermes Portal is a horrifically expensive and time consuming ancient ritual which connects two doors, no matter the distance between them. The Mercere magi, whose tiny numbers include Archmagus Cuniculus, have long held the secret of taking that barely understood Mercurian Rite and actually investing it permanently, saving the yearly toll of vis and letting them move the doors at will. We know it as the Mercere Portal. Norbert Gunthar Verditii covets that secret, but believes himself incapable of some essential element of their creation. He has thus spent the last score of years torturing and tutoring a creature until she was more attuned to the Terram arts (for the rite, if not the Device, is somewhat related to the realm of Terram)...more attuned to the Terram arts than any living creature ought to be. He has only now sent her scuttling off into the world after his prize, never pausing to wonder if, should she find it, I--that is, she will actually give it to him.

She gestures at each of the passageways out of the cave in turn.

"Thus came one actor to our little drama. To Stage Left we have stalagmites and stalactites, forming a sort of maw, which leads into some kinds of labryinth, littered with stones that bear further investigation. Stage Center, a small, slippery, steep slope which the midget earth-bastard will probably have to explore on her own, once I ascertain if I can modify the passage without ruining the mystical resonances of our little trap here. Finally, at Stage Right, we see Berenguer, Serrano, and a possibly a few of our other amici, heading up and into sunlight, casting spells upon themselves which will surely obfuscate the magical assault we just perpetrated upon ourselves....

The sweeping gestures she makes with her hands seem to give her additional notions about the spell she is attempting on herself. "And here sits Viscaria Lychnis Verditii, seeking to understand the mystic forces which sweep her even now....into the future.

Intellgo VIM!"

OOC: Just to re-iterate, her InVi spont total is 12.5 (do we round up or down?), details earlier in the thread.

“[color=red]Yes, I know what a Hermes Portal is. I don't know exactly how they work, or whether what happened to us is extraordinary. It sounds to me like no one outside House Mercere does either. As to whether this is a unique effect for Hermes Portals...” Cygna's voice trails off in an unasked question.

“[color=red]I don't know that I'd call this an 'assault' per se. We took every reasonable precaution we could think of to not endanger ourselves in our investigation, and it's through no fault of our own that we wound up...” Cygna's hand, still holding the piece of cloth, motions aimlessly to take in the expanse of the cavern. “[color=red]God alone knows where. If there is to be any blame for our misdirection, it seems to lay squarely at the feet of Archmagus Cuniculus.”

[ooc – Cygna is still hoping that her sodales will answer her initial question, namely: how long have they been here.
Also, knowing basically nothing about caves but being told that this is a “limestone cave,” I'm going to continue to assume that the floor and walls are rough, somewhat uneven, and dry; and that the cave floor is relatively free of rocks and stones unless corrected.]

Light flickers in various hues and shapes inside the glass of Viscaria's cermonial circle.

"I arrived a few moments before you did, Cygna. The Redcaps frequently use Mercere Portals, some walk through them two or three times a season, yes? It seems unlikely, then, that they would cause Warping. My pater believes them to be a Rego Terram design. Yet, the spells we just experienced were Rego Corpus, presumably to bring us here, and Perdo Vim...to prematurely end the Rego Corpus? To strip us of protective magics?

She blinks, and then rummages in her pack and cloak, checking to see if the ring and moon duration spells she had previously cast are still in effect.

"[color=red]Yet, I believe, you entered the Portal after I did. If you, for whatever reason, let go of the line and circled around the mirror," Cygna says thoughtfully, "[color=red]that might explain why you arrived before I did. Depending on when the others arrived, though, it is still possible that time moves differently here than it does where we came from."

"[color=red]What spells? The only spell that I'm aware of was our passing through the Hermes Portal to get here, and that is, as you said, Terram, which would not directly affect us."

"My hands were full with the supplies. I could not keep hold of the rope. Indeed, I think it fell out of my hand even before we entered the portal.

"Examine yourself and see what you find. I have, quite recently, been subjected to powerful Perdo Vim and Rego Corpus spells. Indeed, they have probably affected the very substance of my being. It is an experience I....have some familiarity with."

OOC: Not quite mechanically kosher, but the idea here is that the Warping sensation is familiar to her because of how she became Imbued With Spirit of Terram.

OOC2: I see we've both decided to stay in on a Saturday night.

Cygna rests as she conversates with Viscaria,waiting until the dozen minutes have passed to get her from Winded to Fresh before she tries to spontaneously casts any spells.

When she has, she will attempt an Intellego Vim effect. Even with the powerful Aura, and using bold voice and exaggerated gestures, she doubts that she can pull off a Level 10 ("Detect the traces of powerful magic"). So she is going to try a level 5 ("Detect any active magic"), with any miraculously high rolls going to try to determine Technique and Form. Range: Personal, Duration: Momentary, and Target: Individual (since she's casting the spell on herself) leave the target level unchanged, so the final Spell Level should be 5.

Soooo (drum roll please). In 6 + Vi 3 + Sta 0 + Aura 5 + (Loud Words +1) + (Bold Gestures +1) + 1d10=4 = 20/2 = 10.

Looks like she should be able to tell if there are any active magics on her, and possible the technique or form if I'm lucky.

[color=red]♪♫ Answer me truly, answer me well♫♪
♪♫Do I find myself under a spell?♫♪

Viscaria begins making adjustments to her ceremonial circle, this time to create an InVi spell to detect active magical devices (and possibly vis as well, if that can be the same spell).

OOC: In 4 + Vi 4 + Sta 0 + ArLi 1 + Philo 4 + Aura 5 + Loud and Bold 2 = 20 + die roll 0, no botch = 20/2 = 10.

Base 5 effect, rolling up for the rest...gives her a brief taste in her mouth.

She fumes. "When I get into a proper lab, the first thing I'm going to do is build myself some magic detection tools! This is ridiculous!"

She grabs her tools and shoves them hastily into her bag, and then heads over to Helena to begin peppering her with questions about the magical properties of the caves.

Hiems is still unconfortable with this.
As are the others, as it's like hugging a frozen corpse.

I felt it, too.

I never travelled through our order's portal, but it is my understanding that these connect 2 points in place, and don't place people under any strong magical effect. Should I hazard a guess, I'd say we were targeted by an effect similar to the Leap of Homecoming. That'd also explain the absence of exit. The other effect, though, is lost to me, and bothers me a lot more.

Intrigued, in a soft voice
How would you happen to know all this?
Anyway. As I was telling lady Helena and Berenguer before you arrived, we can't stay here, or we'll just starve to death. Since there are trees there (gestures towards the right passage), we should there. Trees means life. Water, plants, and probably animals. Once we've established a base camp and ensured our immediate survival, we'll explore the rest of these caves. But not before.

"Know? Ha! My dear Heims, I merely assume, based on the first tenant of my education as a magi: Always be prepared for ironic twists of fate. I do not actually know anything.

Base camp? Agreed. Always plan your exits before your entrances. I can fashion us a pretty little homestead, with a truly impressive economy of Vis, though I'd prefer to use at least some, and will need a bodyguard as I recuperate. Best place it somewhere unobtrusive, for my solution is probably a bit more permanent than we need. Is there ought else we might do to investigate how we arrived here?

I confess, my life has not suitably prepared me for a weekend or two in the woods, without so much as a sentinel guard. I can build and defend a suitable retreat, but someone else shall need to tell me the Where We Shall and the What We Need."