\ Haven:Mist and Shadow Logs/SR Caitlin Thwart 02
Logs

SR Caitlin Thwart 02

Haven2 - Tuesday, December 22, 2015, 3:10 PM


This log has been cleaned up of thinks and edited for congruency with the privates. It's additionally been removed of desires and attempts and the impressive use and removal of various props. Even rushed, the plot took around four hours, as some people had time constraints.

This was a dominance scheme thwart, from the Red Gold Society, with research available to those who requested it personally. They had previously attained some generic intel on what they were trying to do.

Gaebriel wants to try thwarting your scheme. Type scheme thwart accept to take on this scene, scheme thwart refer (person) to refer it to another SR. scheme thwart reject (message) to turn down the scheme thwart attempt with the option to include a message.

scheme thwart accept You become an SR.

In The Bridging Facility The lights are on. It has average decor.

  This large room holds a large elevated platform, atop which rests a giant

circular arch device, large enough for a group of three to pass through without issue. The platform has a small flight of stairs that leads up to it, and a control panel sits at the far side of the room. Above the circular arch sits a huge monitor, which displays a timer for when the device will activate and when it will deactivate.

A notice beside the arch reads "You must WEAR your shroud device to access the arch."

It is dusk, about 32F(0C) degrees, and the sky is covered by dark grey stormclouds. It's snowing outside. You can hear the sound of waves behind and to the right of you.

[ ] [ down ]

Gaebriel is standing here. Christopher is standing here. Tori is standing here. Sara is standing here.

"Yeah, but in case we need an easy way out, it'd be pretty handy," Christopher says, adjusting the strap of his rifle, as if not completely able to contain his excitement, or anxiety.

"Head to Gheorgheni if you get separated, we'll extract you from there ina day or so." Gaebriel explains before the machines start to warm up, "Here we go." He says, unshouldering his shotgun, flicking the safety off and stepping through the portal as it opens.

Sara nods to Gaebriel, hand moving to her pocket as she walks after him, quieting and looking around their surroundings.

Tori gives a light nod to Gaebriel, pulling her rifle off her shoulder and following him through with a quick glance to Sara and Christopher.

Christopher flicks his rifle's safety to the 'SINGLE' setting, following wordlessly after Gaebriel into the portal.

In In the Carpathian Mountains The lights are on. It has average decor.

  Entrenched in the northern section of Romania, the expanse of the

Carpathian Mountains extends through five different countries in an excess of over eight hundred miles. The mineral rich peaks, proliferous in their hardier firs and pine trees, are currently shrouded in nearly two and a half feet of snow, with the periodic wind only further exacerbating the wintery weather conditions.

It is dusk, about 32F(0C) degrees, and the sky is covered by dark grey stormclouds. It's snowing outside. You can hear the sound of waves behind and to the right of you.

[ ] [ down ]

Gaebriel is standing here. Christopher is standing here. Tori is standing here. Sara is standing here.

Passage through the bridge gate is disorienting, that feeling of weightless vulnerability culminating with a mild sense of lingering nausea and lightheadedness, only to thereafter be forcefully shoved into the frigid frontier the mountainous destination offered. Far above the more populated agricultural valleys of the Romanian landscape, a dense and obscuring mist hinders further vision beyond the tops of the indigenous evergreen trees and the craggy ridges which ominously loom above. Sparsely clouded, the moon provides what little illumination it can to aid in the trek, but shadows overwhelmingly reign. Occasionally, the lone, desolate howl of a wolf can be heard in the distance; the general area being known to be commonly populated by the fiercer wildlife.

Mostly previously untouched and pristine, the accumulated powdered snow proves to have been an obstacle in travelling and despite the natural barriers found at this elevation, the passing winds ruthlessly bite at any visible skin. The notion of a night time assault was less than ideal, but the intel suggests this as being a more opportune situation with the ongoing 'festivities' at the massive vampiric Court forcing a lighter guard of the area. But with Bucharest only a mere hundred and sixty miles to the south and with the preternatural abilities of pathing, the time limit for completion weighs heavily.

Private to Gaebriel: It won't take too long for you and your team to progress to the outskirts of the cave entrance containing the underwater passage. You merely have to lead them there.

Gaebriel curses when he comes through the portal. "Fuck it's cold." He complains as the icy wind whips the group, he peers around them and then checks the map on the outside of his left forearm. "This way." He claims, pointing up the mountain with the end of his shotgun and starting to set off, trudging through the snow towards the cave entrance, the icy wind whipping snow and ice into his hair and beard.

Tori pulls on a ski mask and a headlamp as she steadies herself against a burst of cold wind. Fiddling with the headlamp she manages to settle it over the mask, scanning the nearby area as she moves to step in behind Gaebriel. Despite the layers of clothing, her teeth chatter briefly, mostly ceasing once they begin moving.

Christopher straps his light on his helmet, flicking it on as he turns and stands in place for a moment, taking his measure of the area. He nods in reply to Gaebriel and adjusts his carrier's collar some more, as the wind bites into the seams of his clothing, the cold seeping through, though he does his best to clench his teeth and keep watch on their surroundings.

Sara shivers as she looks to her unguarded hands, and mutters under her breath, "...British bastard left me without gloves." Her hands dig into her robe pockets as she follows Gaebriel, closing around a couple items, but staying there while she is able.

The virgin snow is predominately white powder, about two and a half feet high, but a layer of ice encrusts the top of it as you trudge through it. It isn't pleasant. Any gaps visible within the clothing, sends wind chafing at skin and a gust gust of icy particles across your face. It doesn't take long for you to reach the outskirts of the tunnel, though it remains half-buried, just as the intel had suggested. It's only darkness and silence which greets you within.

"Through here!" Gaebriel calls back loudly into the wind to the group, gesturing them over towards the tunnel entrance, he shoulders his shotgun to push some of the snow aside and then clambers on through, regaining his feet once he's in the dark cave and out of the cold, he switches on a flashlight attached to the front of his shotgun and waves it through the tunnel, then checks the map again, eyes following a red line drawn through it as he points the light at one of the tunnels. "This way." He says, his voice no longer so loud out of the window but the caves making it echo strangely as he leads the way deeper into the mountain.

Christopher takes a knee by the tunnel's entrance, smacking his headlamp mounted on his helmet to turn it on and shine the powerful lamp inside the entrance. When Gaebriel takes the lead he follows without a complaint, checking any corners or intersections carefully, as well as doing occasional glances to the walls and ceiling as if searching for traps.

Tori lowers her head a bit, trying to shield her face from the bite of the icy wind as well as to keep track of the placement of the holes in the snow that Gaebriel has made, taking advantage of them as best she can. She quickly follows into the tunnel, flicking her headlamp on and scanning the walls of the cave. She gives a quick stomp of her feet and a shake of her body to free clinging snow before catching up to the others.

Sara climbs after Gaebriel, head lowered against her shoulder as she braces against the wind, and relying largely on Tori's light for visibility once the tunnel is entered.

Tumbles of snow had followed you inside after cleared by Gaebriel's efforts, muddied beneath boots and then left behind, but the enclosure offers reprieve from the harsher elements outside. The flanks of this dark tunnel reveal rough walls, sedimentary shale and limestone, and a considerable height upon the ceiling by which most common men, or monsters, could traverse without stooping issues. But it dramatically narrows after the first fifteen yards inside, occasionally forcing a single-file line to squeeze through, and at the widest points, it allows for two side by side. The echos of armor or weaponry can be heard from those who may be less stealthy, and the downward slope of the ground requires careful footing to not skid down. The deeper in that you go, the closer the discerning sound of running water can be heard.

The only lights available are the ones which come from your head, or the flashlights, rendering everything with only partial visibility. There doesn't seem to be anything out of the ordinary though, a distinct lack of guards. To an outsider, perhaps, the exterior design of the tunnel might not host much interest, not to mention some of the sheer clefts are impossible to scale to the common man. It seems rarely used, if ever.

Tori gives a simple headlamp to Sara.

Sara wears a simple headlamp.

Sara accepts the headlamp from Tori with a grateful nod, briefly retrieving her hands from her pockets to fasten it around her head, rubbing her hands together afterward, tightening the straps of carried items before wrapping her arms around her with hands in sleeves.

Sara switches on her simple headlamp.

Christopher looses his machete in its sheathe by habit, hoping that the cold and moisture have not left it difficult to draw from its hip sheath. And though his face is hidden, his posture takes on a certain measure of apprehension as the tunnel they trudge through narrows, watching straight ahead and upwards occasionally, the hands on his rifle shaking slightly, though it's uncertain whether it's from the temperature or unease in this confined, coverless space.

"Fuck!" Comes the not so stealthy echo bouncing off the cave walls as Gaebriel's boot slips from under him and he has to reach out to grab a hold of the wall. "Uhh." He clears his throat. "It's slippery there." He points out a little awkwardly before continuing on down through the tunnels, glancing up at the ceiling overhead occasionally nervously. He checks the map and leads the group left then right, then left and then left again at each junction as the water grows louder and louder, finally leading them to emerge into a cavern with a rushing stream running by it. "Right." He says, shouldering his shotgun. "Well if I got this right this is the stream that'll take us where we need to go, if I got it wrong well, I guess we'll drown." He admits. "Who wants to go in first?"

"I," Christopher volunteers himself when they arrive, fortunately not having slipped on the way down to the stream.

Sara asks Tori, tapping the headlamp, "Will this work underwater?"

Tori does her best to scan the area ahead as she follows behind Gaebriel and Christopher. A spare headlamp is passed to Sara with a brief smile before her attention fixes on her footing again, one gloved hand briefly reaching out to lay on the wall of the tunnel where it narrows. She carefully avoids the spot that nearly sent Gaebriel onto his ass. Arriving at the junction of the stream, Tori glances around the small group, slipping her rifle off her shoulder and into a waterproof kit bag. She gives a nod to Sara with her question though she does have a slightly skeptical look.

Downwards further and further the tunnel leads, but the progressive arrival herds you into that narrowed chamber, rocks descending from above to further crowd in the space. It isn't welcoming by any means. There's a current to the water ahead of you, which appears almost black due to the darkness, naturally bordered, though the sides show evidence of erosion. It's swiftly moving, but not necessarily dangerously so. You can't actually see the end to the tunnel itself, instead you've merely been informed that beneath the surface there's a further passage where the water leads, a daunting minute and a half deprived of oxygen, up to two minutes, until air will theoretically be able to be gathered again.

"Alright Chris, you go in first." Gaebriel instructs. "Just jump in, hold your breath and the current will carry you where you need to go. The Tori and Sara and I'll bring up the rear." He says. "If you die uhh, radio back to us." He offers helpfully before nodding at the water. "Whenever you're ready."

Tori takes a few moments to slow her breathing once they arrive by the stream and the order is given, drawing deeply of the chill air while she waits. Her outer layers are stripped off and shoved into a large satchel as she does this. There's a frown given to Gaebriel with his words though it twists to a faint wry smirk as she continues to focus on her breathing.

Christopher stuffs what he can of his non-waterproofs (or at least wool) into the waterproof compartment of his backpack, ensuring everything is secured tightly. With a sigh and a nod, he takes a look into the black water before slipping down to create no splash. Even with the gradual descent and clothing, he is surprised at the temperature, his teeth set to chattering. "Hell, that's cold," he mutters, beginning to make his way through.

Sara mutters, "Did not mean to bring quite ... does anyone have space for my robe, by chance?"

Tori opens waterproof brown leather satchel.

Sara gives a hooded black robe to Tori.

Tori puts a hooded black robe in a waterproof brown leather satchel.

Tori closes waterproof brown leather satchel.

Sara closes carrying case.

Sara says (to Tori), in a feminine, distinct Arabic accent, 'Thank you.'

Tori takes the robe and wordlessly deposits it into the satchel, zipping it closed again and giving a warm smile to Sara though her teeth chatter briefly.

Private to Chris: Even with your wetsuit, you can tell that it's freezing cold. It rushes around your legs, progressively deepening and then seeming to drop off towards the end. You can feel the current tugging you under, but you'd have to dive down beneath the surface to make it to the passage which you at least expect to be there, even if you can't visualize it.

Christopher's courageous tackling of the unknown waters leaves them rushing around his lower legs, progressively growing deeper the further he follows it along.

Sara feels a moderate desire to be warm again.

Christopher inhales, exhales as he trudges his way through, slowing as the water begins to impede his movement - the temperature does not help at all. Finally he's submerged almost to neck level, and he stops and stares towards the depths, the darkness not betraying much despite his waterproof light. He sighs, draws his goggles out of a side pouch and dons them, before taking the plunge.

Christopher inhales before that, of course.

A ripple of water appears at the surface, before dissolving in the general current and then Christopher is gone, unseen beneath the depths and not surfacing. It's up to the others to follow him.

Sara breathes slowly, deeply watching Christopher, shivering lessening slightly as she focuses on the task ahead.

"Alright." Gaebriel says after Christopher disappeared. "Tori you're up." He mentions, turning to play his light back over the way they came.

Looking fairly relaxed from her breathing exercise, Tori gives a simple nod to Gaebriel before pulling on some goggles and drawing a slow deep breath. There's a brief wink given to him and Sara though it may not be seen what with the goggles on her face and on. With that, she crouches down and slips into the water, wasting no time in getting horizontal and pushing off from the wall of the stream with her feet.

Sara opens carrying case.

Sara gets a scuba gear from carrying case.

Sara closes carrying case.

Sara wears a scuba gear.

Gaebriel nods at Sara. "Whenever you're ready."

In imitation of Tori, Sara searches through some gear for goggles, fastening them onto her face. She takes a look through some other items with faint puzzlement, picking what is obvious to use and tightening it, then drawing a deep breath and moving forward into the water.

For his part Gaebriel doesn't have nearly as much preparation as the others. Just a wetsuit under his clothing. He slings the shotgun sideways across his back. Rapidly hyperventilates a couple of times and then jumps feet first into the water to be carried along to the other side.

The churning water itself is bleakly cold, pulling you downwards into its darkened depths and periodically forcing you against rocks or other obstacles unseen in the process. And it feels like it continues on and on, the need to breathe beginning like a pressure in your lungs that establishes itself as a burning presence.

PRIVATE TO CHRIS: + You can't hear if others had bothered to follow you or not, and your light seems to do little to provide you with a clear cut understanding of where you're going. You're almost entirely within the hands of nature and that information.

PRIVATE TO SARA: + The advantage of your scuba gear keeps you from suffering from the lack of oxygen as some of the others do, but the current is so swiftly moving that it renders the lights hard to be manipulated. You can't see them, but you expect them to be there, with no branches within the tunnel for them to vanish otherwise.

Christopher (Subtly) does not panic as he crawls through the water with a well-paced swim, trained lungs able to hold his breath for at least two minutes, if he does not end up exerting too hard especially with the load he's carrying. Gazing around, unable to discern much of the walls, he reaches out to touch one side occasionally, pretty much going with the flow of the stream and letting it do more of the work to save him the oxygen.

(Subtly) Tori uses her hands in front of her to attempt to guide herself past rocks and keep away from the sides of the dark tunnel. A few bubbles are released into the water and her legs moving in a single concerted gentle sinuous motion rather than a flutter. She keeps her exertion to a minimum, allowing the current to carry her. While the water is frigid and the cold seeps in even through the insulation of her wetsuit, she seems to have a grip on how to swim underwater at least.

Gaebriel (Privately) squints through the dark water, curling up to try to keep any of his limbs from hitting the rock walls, one arm protecting his head as he just lets the current pull him along, blinking harder and harder as he runs lower on oxygen.

The walls are rough to the touch, of what you can feel beneath your gloves, ruggedly so. The deeper you go, the more the current appears to tug at you, carting you onwards into a small narrow space, tearing at your sides and occasionally roughly pressing in at your shoulders when you aren't able to latch onto a slowing grip.

Christopher (Subtly) presses his hands against his sides and angles his head vertically, adapting a more hydrodynamic shape, trusting in his helmet to protect against any blows to the noggin that might strike and his armor and clothing to ward against errant rocks or abrading against the walls, no longer resisting the current to allow himself to be dragged off to god knows where.

(Subtly) As she's dragged along through the water into the narrowing passage, Tori's jaw clenches, her cheeks puffing out slightly as air fills her mouth and is then drawn back in. Bumping into the sides of the tunnel here and there, a protusion rakes along her side, probably not enough to tear the wetsuit but definitely enough to make her tense up and twitch. She struggles to aim the headlamp in the murk, trying to catch sight of Christopher's feet or better yet the glisten that would indicate a surface to the water ahead.

(Subtly) Sara twists and pushes at rocks, working to keep herself from being dashed too hard against anything by the current. She doesn't aim for speed, just to keep moving forward. She looks for anyone lagging more than her, but in the dark turbulence of the river she can do little more than kick for the surface.

PRIVATE TO GAEBRIEL: + Your streamlined shape propels you along, but the darkness challenges the senses and that ability to be calm.

Up ahead, you might've thought you could see something flickering, if the currents would provide you with enough of a pause to allow it to take place. The darkness heralds your approach, leaving you tumbling against a wall before the surface appears overhead. It's only here that the current feels like it begins to slow, some of that constricting pressure easing off of your body and perhaps providing you of hope of fresh oxygen above. One by one, each of the members progressively is thrust into the underwater area, any lasting bubbles, aside from Sara who brought full scuba gear, nearing their end point. Depending on your mental state, you might be able to see some dark standing shapes near the side of the place offering you refuge.

Gaebriel's face bursts through the water a short while after the others, breathing in gasping, ragged breaths and blinking his eyes hard. Once he's recovered he starts to swim towards land, using breast stroke to try and not make too much noise as he approaches the shapes.

Christopher spreads his limbs out to slow himself down as he enters the area, holding his breath a while longer to cast glances up towards the surface, calm enough to take notice of the dark shapes - but it's too late, anyway, since when Gaebriel arrives he bursts through the water. He simply crawls at a slow pace under the water, one-handed, the other grasping at his rifle and prepared to use it.

A few more bubbles are released, probably her last few, before Tori's hands find a wall and her body is pressed into it. Her fingers seek for purchase as she goes towards the glisten of the surface, a gasping breath drawn in. The goggles are shifted away and emptied of any water that probably seeped into them as she struggles to catch her breath. It doesn't take her too long and as she spots figures on the opposite side she quickly flicks off her headlamp before following Gaebriel to the other side as quickly as possible.

The area where you'd surface seems to be compressed beneath an overhanging of rock, allowing a bit of concealment, luckily. But the gasping and spluttering makes some additional noise, which draws the attention of those gathered - who appeared to be high-strung as it was. It's hard to both gulp down air and remain covertly quiet. As the group of four begins to make their way cautiously and warily towards the edge, they're met with men cloaked entirely in black and looking rather ragged as a result. Another man is propped up against the far rocky wall, fresh blood dribbling down from a wound punctured in his chest everytime he tries to draw a spluttering breath. Those keen on the senses might notice a couple of piles of ash upon the rocks and the flickering appears to be a flashlight occasionally obscured by the passage of bodies.

A total of two automatic weapons get leveled upon the group, the grizzled, larger man saying something immediately in a gutteral voice, something that might fainly resemble something Slavic, with a greater pronunciation on the 't's and 'l' sounds than typically might be expected. But the expectation is semi-clear, it's a roughly spoken order, ending perhaps in a question. The second doesn't seem nearly as intune, and a flurry of gunshots quickly goes off, sending bullets in warning just above Christopher's head with a sprinkling of dust and pebbles falling into the water before him, and then it ceases as they wait.

Gaebriel pauses in his swimming and starts treading water. "We're friends." He calls out to them and glances back at the group. "Uhh, any of your guys speak Romanian?" He asks before trying again. "TAU. Uhhh, Viva la resistance?"

Christopher finally surfaces, being at the front, his attempt at being stealthy and still under the surface seeming to be unsuccessful. It probably doesn't help that he didn't immediately turn off his headlamp, though by this point it's off now. Treading water with some difficulty because of his load, he keeps his head low, not keen on getting any more fire drawn to him even if he is lucky and his helmet deflects a few poorly-angled rounds. The talking he leaves to Gaebriel, but under the surface his hands briefly adjust his rifle, clicking it to the 'AUTO' setting.

Sara shakes her head to Gaebriel, hesitantly speaking up to ask the man, "Do you speak French, or English?" (French)

Tori's gaze stops and fixes on the wounded man as she approaches the edge, her jaw clenching and her brow creased. The spray of bullets over their heads gets her attention back to the man who spoke though and she pauses, still in the water, her hands held up in plain view. She chews at her lower lip, her eyes shifting as if she's searching for something. Eventually she opens her mouth to try to say "Priete.. Priten.."

Sara removes a scuba gear and slips it into a pocket.

Sara removes the item from her mouth and tries again. "Do you speak French or English?" (French)

Tori gives a frustrated look as only her lips move and no sound comes out. She glances to Gaebriel and tries to mouth a word but unless he's good at reading lips he won't get it.

Gaebriel is definitely not that good at reading lips.

Sara feels a moderate desire to convey good intentions..

(Private Gaebriel) It would appear Tori is trying to say something like pretty or pre-teen or something like that but maybe he gets it and maybe he doesn't.

Tori grunts quietly, her gaze flicking to the wounded man again with a clear look of concern. She frowns and tries again, turning towards Sara now to try to mouth a word.

The men confer while the foursome is forced to remain, treading or keeping aloft the best they can within that cold, unwelcoming water. After a moment or two, they step backwards slowly, with an extra eye upon Sara and a more focused look towards Tori at the words. There doesn't seem to be any immediate regret towards Christopher's predicament. Eventually, they back away from the edge completely, words flitting, but among them clearly the notion of 'American' with impassivity prominent. The barrel of the rifle held by the large, grizzled man sweeps inwards, welcoming in part, shrewdly attentive on the other part, 'I speak English. English is fine,' the man finally confirms, heavy on the accent, but certainly clear enough to be understood. There's about twelve feet of standing room, at the widest width, the floor mostly sand.

The only other exit aside from the water itself appears to be a wooden door that looks to have previously been shattered to bits, hinges remaining with a few broken pieces. The astute might realize that among the piles of ash, is a massive shard of wood that likely came from the same piece, though the tunnel beyond that is once more cloaked in darkness. The wounded man to the side hasn't said a word, other than an identifiable groan.

(Private Sara) Maybe Sara is better at this or maybe not. Tori's lips mouth a word, repeated with exaggerated gestures as if she's trying to say pretty or pre-teen or something like that.

Tori doesn't hesitate when the words are offered and the sweep of the gun towards the sand is made. She pulls herself from the water, immediately moving in the direction of the wounded man and only stopping if one of the men there makes it clear she should. She clearly isn't much for speaking right now so leaves that to the others.

"Can we come out of the water?" Gaebriel asks, "It's freezing in here." He points out, his teeth chattering as he starts to swim towards the lip. "We're with the Allied Underground, the resistance. Here to fight the vampires." His eyes flick over the piles of ash. "Just like you I'd wager."

Sara looks between Tori and the wounded man, brow furrowing briefly. At the apparent invitation though she follows after Tori, moving towards the sand.

Christopher clicks his rifle back to the single position, breathing a sigh of relief as the grizzled man's rifle sweep appears to be an invitation. He begins to front crawl towards the edge, grasping at the edge once he arrives but waiting for permission, a reply to Gaebriel.

'Yes. Leave your hands off your weapons,' the large, grizzled man confirms, his dark eyes narrowing towards Gaebriel in the process, assessively. As Tori and Sara venture towards the wounded man, the leaner, severe-faced man steps in front, but he's stopped by the grizzled one, who informs them both gravely, '... It's too late.' Beside that statement of affirmation, he doesn't seem to impede their progress of inspection or aid, and instead turns his focus towards Gaebriel and Christopher instead, the barrel of his gun finally lowering, 'Here to help us?'

Gaebriel clambers out of the water, shivering a little as water runs off him and pools around his feet. "She has medical training." He says, nodding at Tori, "She might be able to help." He suggests and then nods. "We have our own missions against the vampires, a ritualist in particular we're here to take out. Seems like that puts us more or less on the same side though don't you think china?" He asks, seemingly trying to be charming but mostly failing due to presently looking like a shivering wet dog.

PRIVATE TO SARA/TORI: The man leaning against the edge appears to be in his early thirties, human by account of how he's breathing, which is ragged at most. He appears to have been inflicted by some form of puncture wound in the left side of his chest, which seems to be the majority of his current pains. But you see slash marks about his thighs and perhaps an odd animal bite mark in the process ripped into his calf. His black clothing obscures the darker stains, but he's bloody all over. His eyes are bleary, dilated and the suffering seems to be intense. He tries to shift away from you initially, but it's a fruitless effort, and eventually he remains in resignation.

"Thanks," Christopher crawls back onto (almost) solid ground, keeping his hands off his rifle now and showing his palms to be empty to the bunch of slavs in the area. He remains by Gaebriel's side and puffs out a breath, shrugging his pack to the side and pulling open the waterproof compartment. His breath is still a little heavy, shaky from the temperature, his teeth clenched to keep them from chattering.

Sara shakes water from herself, briefly, and particularly from her hands before unsealing the cross-marked box strapped to her. She tells Tori, "I only have basic supplies. Field supplies."

Sara opens first-aid kit.

Christopher gets a black long-sleeved wool top from full-body pack and harness.

Christopher wears a black long-sleeved wool top.

Christopher gets a Nomex hood and ballistic goggles from full-body pack and harness.

Tori holds her satchel so the zip is facing the man who stepped in front of her as she approaches. Unzipping it she allows him to look inside before she reaches in and pulls out some bandages and a substantial medic kit marked with a red cross. She watches the wounded man, noting his ragged breath and the amount of blood covering him, her gaze inspecting him from head to toe before she grabs a syringe from the kit. A large wad of gauze is pressed to the chest wound with one hand and she holds up the syringe, pulling the cap off with her teeth before sliding it into his upper arm. Most likely the man relaxes fairly quickly once the painkiller is injected.

Christopher shifts around in his gear, still keeping his hands away from his rifle so as to not arouse itchy trigger fingers, until he pulls the Nomex hood over his head and under the helm, leaving his goggles off, still, for the time being.

The guarded stance of the large grizzled one seems relatively appeased at Gaebriel's words, bags beneath his eyes indicative of a particular time-worn weariness. But the lean, severe-faced man remains in a hovering state near Tori and Sara keeping a frequent and watchful eye upon him. He too bears a few slash marks cut across his clothing, but he's certainly in better shape for his wounds. The large, grizzled man levels another look towards Gaebriel, but eventually nods his head, "... We're not going to stop you from fighting, but it isn't pretty in there. This is the farthest we've gotten in awhile. Vuk had a sister taken. He wanted to save her. But..." There's a slant of his dark eyes towards the wounded man, before he looks back to Gaebriel and Christopher "War. You'll have to fight your way past. We might be able to help with distraction... the main forces are at the front.'"

Tori attempts to at least alleviate the man's pain and maybe staunch the bleeding with medicine(3)

Sara watches Tori, alert for any aid obvious enough to provide without being requested. At the spoken words, though, her gaze flickers between the large, grizzled man and Gaebriel, consideringly.

"We'd appreciate any help you could provide." Gaebriel says, holding out his hand to the other man. "I'm Gabe. Can you point us in the right direction?"

And the wounded man does relax, a little, wincing and grimacing at the pain the syringe causes when it's first inserted, but it's a far cry from what he's currently experiencing. Eventually, his breaths slow down to a manageable level, but they continue to grow more and more shallow by the minute.

PRIVATE TO TORI + SARA WITH ALTERATIONS You seem to be able to alleviate the man's pain some, judging by the slowing of his breathing and the dangerously fast heart-rate. You can bandage some of his wounds, but the traumatic pneumothorax he's currently suffering from leaves that horrible sucking chest wound. His deathly pale features tell the tale of someone who's been sitting here for awhile and its estimated that he's lost a good deal of blood in the process.

"Do you have any idea how many there are?" Christopher asks the grizzled man once Gaebriel has offered him his hand, speaking before seeing if the hand is shaken. as he tugs on his armored collar to secure it, tucking the hood underneath for secure flame and bite resistance. "What can we expect from them - what are they armed with?"

Tori does what she can for the wounded man after shooting him up with painkillers, gesturing to Sara to apply pressure to the gauze pack over the chest wound as she tries to inspect the other wounds for any significant damage. She makes an unpleasant face as she considers the amount of blood he's sitting in though and when his breathing falls more shallow she gives a quiet grunt of frustration. Her attention shifts back to Gaebriel and Christopher as she listens to the conversation though she picks up the man's wrist, checking his pulse if she can find it.

"He needs a fucking hospital..." Tori mutters quietly, probably soundlessly.

Sara applies pressure at Tori's instruction, working carefully and steadily, but nearly as quietly as Tori.

Sara thinks; "He needs something we don't have."

'Krasi,' the large, grizzled man introduces towards Gaebriel shouldering his firearm and putting his meaty hand into the commander's own. He looks between Gaebriel and Christopher, before answering, '... Any ritualists would be deeper in. Farther along the tunnels. The main force hasn't gotten there yet, but most seemed to be distracted. We ran into a couple of vampires on the way. We dispatched them, but at a cost. We were hoping to go in the back, but we're missing men now. If we made too much noise, we can try to pull them to the hallway, but you're left dealing with the magic and... that won't be fun.' Somberly, he looks towards Christopher 'Vampires breed more vampires like parasites. There's always more. Most are gone though, which is why we judged this. But they're all deadly. You can expect pain and blood and hope that you can kill them before they kill you.'

'We were waiting for Vuk to...,' Krasi tells Gaebriel after a moment, but he doesn't finish the statement, a clouded look sent to his companion. And then he's moving towards the crashed open door, exposing more of a wider hallway, formed predominantly of Carpathian sandstone with the sparse lantern set into the side of the wall. '... The tunnels are pretty convoluted. It'd be hard to explain if you don't have a map. You have one?'

Gaebriel nods in agreement with the man and indicates the plastic wrapped map attached to his arm. "We're here right?" He questions, pointing to a place on the map and then glancing up curiously.

PRIVATE TO TORI: The pulse is thready. It's slowed considerably to what it was, but it's steadily declining.

PRIVATE TO TORI/SARA: This man isn't going to make it without modern intervention, and modern intervention is much too far to save him at this point. His bleary eyes, which you can see in the dim glow of the flashlight and your headlamp, are a muted blue-grey, oddly attentive and deeply pained despite the interventions provided. A violent cough leaves him buckling forward, a few dribbles of blood leaking from the seam of his chapped mouth.

At that, Christopher sneaks a glance towards the wounded man, then down at his plate carrier, its pockets well-laden with trauma plates. "I'll trust in my rifle," he replies with a somber nod as he gently pats on the G3A3's stock, glancing to its suppressor assessingly before deciding to leave it on. "Are they aware we're here?"

Tori swallows roughly as she settles the man's hand against his stomach, her eyes fixing on his with an apologetic look. She shakes her head slightly to Sara and gives her a questioning look as she lifts a hand to make the sign of the cross. Another syringe is pulled from the medic kit at this point and she turns towards the men speaking, waiting to try to catch their eyes if she can.

Krasi's booted feet crunch against the sand as he moves closer towards Gaebriel and the map which he presents. A gloved finger smears a tinge of blood onto the surface as it heavily drapes, affirming their location with a heavy nod, 'The tunnels go here-- following this path. The prisoners are said to be held here, which means any rituals... are probably close by. From what I've heard...' He points to a larger room, far larger, deeper underground, down a short flight of stairs and through the passageway, '... they will be in here. If you're going to make a final fight. You should move soon.' A dull rumble of something can be heard in the distance and it reverbrates through the room, sprinkling dust down from the ceiling overhead before it ceases. A fading smile of yellowed teeth greets Christopher, 'Oh aye. They know we're here. It's bloody out there.'

Krasi seems rather kept occupied by Gaebriel and Christopher both, but the lean, severe-faced man had been watching Tori and Sara hawkishly, so he steps in front of her searching look. 'What?'

Gaebriel nods his thanks to Krasi and looks back at the others. "Alright guys, we gotta move. Tori, Sara you've done what you can, there's a lot more people are going to be hurt if we don't get this done." He states with a frown, then unshoulders his shotgun, working the action a few times as water drips from the barrel. "I'm on point, you see anything dead you light it up." He instructs, starting to make his way into the tunnels to follow the path Krasi laid out for them.

PRIVATE TO CHRISTOPHER: Sara and Tori's expertise suggest that they're doing everything they can from the wounded man. But he's deathly pale and fading fast. He won't make it much more than five minutes at the most.

Sara seeks to hold the wounded man steady from her position, shifting so that the blood doesn't pain his breathing before she moves. She answers Tori, and the lean, severe-faced man, perhaps, "I am not a priest."

Tori tilts her head towards the wounded man, her mouth moving but her voice oddly silent as she tells him "He's not going to make it.. you can end his suffering or let him drain away.." There's a pained look in her eyes as she hands the syringe to the severe looking man before turning back to the wounded one. She gently brushes his forehead with her fingers and mouths a single word to him. "Sorry." With this she pushes up to her feet and nods to Gaebriel.

The man hasn't died yet, but he's fading fast. There's a struggle as he lifts his hand, perhaps in mimicry of Tori's own religious sign, but he doesn't seem able to do even that. Granting this man peace, of any sort, would likely take more time than you're able to provide, even with his extreme state of suffering. It's only a matter of leaving him behind, ending him, or staying with him at the risk of possibly forgoing the chance of responding to the ritual in time. But Gaebriel's own choice seems to be made and the shattered remains of the door would crunch beneath his footsteps, ominous shards of wood naturally cracking beneath his weight to lead them into the hallway beyond.

Sara opens carrying case.

"Ah, plenty of targets," Christopher says rather plainly, glancing over his shoulder towards Tori and Sara, and the wounded man. He gives his helmed head a shake, features covered as he moves after Gaebriel, keeping the goggles off to allow some vision in the darkness, shouldering his rifle without any worry because he's sure guns work perfectly fine with water in them.

Tori pulls a few things from her bags as she heads off after Gaebriel. Sara's robe is handed off and she unzips her rifle bag next, pulling that free and shouldering it. There's only a brief glance given to the men in the cave as she follows down the tunnel, flicking her headlamp back on.

Sara steps back from the man, giving him a sympathetic look as she reaches for her case, retrieving shoes and socks to don and weapons to strap to her. She nods to Tori, wrapping the robe about herself.

Christopher loosens one of the stakes in his pouches for good measure.

The lean, severe-faced man's accepts the syringe from Tori, the merciful demonstration ending up curled within a clenched fist and the knuckles blanching white, watching silently after their departure with a mixture of scorn and resigned anger upon his face. As they turn to leave, he crouched by the man, but the glass needle breaks within his fist and it's thrust aside to clatter against the sandy floor, abandoned and unused.

The hallway beyond is all beige sandstone, interspersed with the occasional dimly lit lantern. Signs of a fight only seem closer towards this doorway, as it stands, with bloodied footprints and bullet holes punctured in the walls and aligned towards the floor. There's even a few telltale ones found within the ceiling. And then they're setting off. Krasi seems to follow behind, after final words are spoken, leaving the other two to themselves by now, moving with the group swiftly ahead and then pointing at the first turn, 'Go this way, down the stairs. We'll head up front and try to starve off any further assault. But you won't have much time.' His hand moves to try to hit Christopher on the shoulder when he passes. 'Good luck.'

Sara walks after Gaebriel, wiping any dampness from her weaponry despite their warding with some cloth that perhaps managed to be drier.

Gaebriel follows Krasi's directions, waiting for the group to catch up before continuing on down the corridor, shotgun held up and ready.

"You too," Christopher answers Krasi with a grateful nod, watching him for a moment as he heads off to almost certain death. Then he promptly catches up to Gaebriel, smacking on the side of his helm to flick the headlamp on and illuminate their path.

Tori glances around at the sandstone tunnels, peering to try to get a look at the map on Gaebriel's arm. She pulls out a gadget from her bag and nudges Gaebriel with it, giving him a questioning look. She seems uncertain if it would make any difference but she flicks a switch on it regardless and begins looking for a place to put it that might protect it; an alcove or shelf within the rock if she can find one.

Tori gets an EMI signal jammer from waterproof brown leather satchel.

The tunnels wind downwards, boots heavy upon the stairwells, and some of that earlier cold dwindling away perhaps in return for the welcome state of adrenaline. You can occasionally hear the sign of muted gunfire, though it seems relatively far away at this point -- though it doesn't mean that it's entirely safe. Rumbles occasionally can still be heard leaving tremors within the floor or ceilings. Tori might be able to find a alcove, if she so desired to put the signal out, but the speed required in this situation would dictate haste more than anything. And then it hits you, an overwhelming smell of decay filtering down through the hallway as it splits into a wider corridor upon the final turn, great corinthian columns towering towards a ceiling high above. You arrive just in time to see someone ominously hunched departing too quickly through a set of double-doors which conceal anything beyond.

In contrast to Gaebriel, Sara chooses to hold the smallest of her guns ready as she peers down the tunnel. Her gaze flickers curiously, if without comprehension, to Tori's gadget. The sight of the figure has her raising her gun.

Gaebriel nods in agreement with Tori when she shows him the device and then keeps on moving forward. When he spots the figure he raises his fist, and then points silently at the doors before leading the group towards it.

Tori flicks at the dials on the jammer, shoving it into a likely looking alcove as they pass and giving a faint shrug. Her hands move back to her weapons now, pulling the rifle from over her shoulder and carefully pocketing the loaded tranq pistol in a pocket for easy access.

Tori puts an EMI signal jammer down.

Christopher takes aim but thankfully does not fire, lowering his gun at Gaebriel's hand-signal to stop, then following along, trying to be as quiet as possible - an unlikely task given what he is rucking. He moves to take one side of the door.

Sara falls back slightly as she follows Gaebriel, letting him keep ahead by some feet as she moves quietly after, gun lowering slightly - if not entirely - at the signal.

Your subconscious is hit by the strong desire for obedience and submitting, a desire to have pain embraced and acknowledged, even before you make it towards the doors.

The double doors are massive, inexplicably so, and there was a tell-tale creak upon the opening and closing when the last person went through. A slick of blood and sand was left upon the footsteps of whoever it was who just passed, and your own steps echo despite any attempts to be kept quiet. The room mapped out was shown to be incredibly large, however, a rounded chamber which resembled something similar to an arena. An ear-splitting scream of anguish can be heard through the entrance, but it dwindles away and then is cut off abruptly. It seems to be coming in far deeper though than just on the other side, providing more emphasis on how large this room likely is.

Gaebriel squeezes the grip on his shotgun tighter, painfully tighter in fact as he leads the group towards the doors. He pauses at the scream and frowns but then moves forward again at time and a half towards the sounds of the scream.

Christopher (Internally) grinds his teeth behind the mask, focusing on the mission.

Sara moves quicker when Gaebriel does, following a distance behind him and gripping her pistol, peering into the depths of the room.

Tori tightens her grip on her rifle, her jaw clenching and unclenching as she soundlessly mouths a few words. Her gaze shifts to Gaebriel with a pleading look, as if waiting for the next order to be given.

Christopher hesitates near the doorway, his grip on his rifle growing loose before he remembers himself, his armored fists clenching tightly around the grip of his rifle. Moving to lean against the wall next to the door, he prepares a breaching charge by habit. Still, he waits for Gaebriel's say.

You find yourself entering an enormous chamber, with columns set up, staggered and spaced around a stage area within the center. The floors appear to be stone, trailing into sand the deeper you might go, until it cloaks anything beneath it entirely. Tiers of stone seating are staggered about in circular arrangement, but only five rows thick, where two dark cloaked figures appear to be in the center, with view blocked to any others. Flickering torches are set up in archaic display about the center, where a stone slab serves as the bloody centerpiece for a trussed up naked female, each one of her limbs steadily siphoning her blood from where they remain tied down to in cross shape. You might've had the advantage of stealth, until the sign of shuffled feet coming around the sign brings a horde of five hunched and cloaked bodies, the first of which warbles out a shrill cry of 'Intruders' almost the instant that you had come inside. So much for that.

It takes a moment, but a bolt is loosed after the vocal alarm goes off, from somewhere up above, embedding in the door just above Sara's head.

Gaebriel sprints towards the nearest pillar and throws himself into a slide to try and get behind it and use it as cover. His hand going into his bandolier and coming up with a small bag which he throws around the pillar, spreading caltrops onto the ground just in front of him. "Down down!" He calls out to the group.

Training taking over as the fighting begins, Christopher dives straight for the nearest column for cover as well, taking aim at one of the figures as his thumb clicks the rifle to 'AUTO'. He braces himself against the pillar, and squeezes the trigger, peppering the nearest figure with high-powered battle rifle fire.

Sara ducks at the impact of the bolt, belatedly, and perhaps unnecessarily; but she keeps moving, raising her gun to take a quick shot at the figure who raised the alarm before darting for cover.

From where she's behind the men, Tori drops into a crouch by the door just inside the room, sheltering herself as much behind it as she can. Her rifle is aimed at the approaching group where the alarm was called though she doesn't have a chance to pull the trigger just yet.

The first hunched figure, the loud one, gets throttled back against the wall by the bullets shredding into its cloak, real blood sprouting out in return as it's thrown stunned against the wall and begins to slide down it. The other four split up, serpentining between the aisles interspaced by the rows, two of which seem to be moving at speeds far beyond that of the others. One of the faster moving ones tries to intercept Gaebriel, slowed initially by the caltrops spread upon the floor, and a thrown knife goes whizzing past near his head in the process. The other had attempted to muster an evasive movement to the side, concealing themselves behind a pillar not far from Christopher. A trio of three more bolts thwack against the wall above Sara, keeping her constantly moving if she's not to be hit, even when the return fire echos through the chamber.

The shrouded figures in the center have even been involved yet-- though they're clearly present, giving Slavic orders, as they keep to their task.

PRIVATE TO TORI: It seems that you're kept out of this situation for the time being, having stayed around the door. Though, how long that will last remains in question.

"Vampires!" Gaebriel calls out when he spots the shapes moving faster than normal. Then ducks and flinches as a knife whizzes overhead. Instead off going immediately for weapons fire he pulls a small object from his bandolier and whips it around his head a few times before hurling it at one who threw the knife. Only then does he raise the automatic shot gun and start squeezing the trigger over and over. Aiming shots at the undead creature's kneecaps.

Seeking the shadows behind the edge of the door, Tori fixes her sight on one of the two non-moving targets from her spot behind the door. She aims at the back of one of their heads, since their bodies are obscured by their seating. Trigger pulled, she draws herself back into the shadows, eyes quickly surveying the room and the positions of the others and any other cover she might get to.

Christopher allows the approaching figures little rest, taking aim before switching to his next target, the same one that had been stepping on caltrops, taking aim for its centre of mass to fill it with a burst of bullets that'd punch right out the other side - though on an unliving target that isn't so effective.

PRIVATE TO TORI: You likely realized that the ritualists were probably the more powerful of the group and currently not involved in the initial fray. Did you want to fire a shot at them anyways?

Sara spares a brief glance to the bolts, adjusting her path as she keeps moving to try to find cover from them - and the rest. She shoots at the figure trying to close with Gaebriel, again having to be rather quick about the aim.

(Internally) Quite likely Tori would spot a closer target and shift her aim if one was getting anywhere near her, maybe compromising the shot but perhaps buying her time to move to better cover near her colleagues.

The first of the vampires is taken down by Gaebriel's bola when it slings around it's ankles, the fledgling responding with a couple of thrown knives towards him, one of which sheers painfully against his shoulder, before it's crippled once more by the bullets, slowing its mounted attack considerably in the process and leaving it at a state of vulnerability. With Sara and Christopher also condensing their focus upon the same vampire, true blood begins to seep from the bullet wounds at the continued bit of fire and it tumbles before them, attempting a lethargic sort of crawl.

Although aiming initially for the powerful ritualists distracted at the center with draining the victims, when a third hunched figure creeps up to attempt to tackle down Christopher from behind, Tori switches her shot to land an impressive headshot there instead, splattering the collection of dark matter and bloodied bits of bones to paint the back of his helmet before it's able to make contact.

The person to which Sara had briefly been in contact with appears behind her in that instant, just as the shot was to get off, her position having been forced to separate off, strategically perhaps, from the others to properly evade the bolts being shot in her general direction. And it's from then, that she'd find herself grappled from behind, tripped with preternatural strength and a blow coming to the back of her head.

PRIVATE TO SARA: It isn't enough to knock you unconscious, but a horrible ringing fills your ears for a moment at the force in which it's done, leaving you temporarily unable to move.

This leaves the group faced with the crawling fledgling vampire, one hunched figure - a column-concealed fledgling, and a more powerful vampire on Sara, and the ritualists in the center.

Sara reaches for her sword if she can get to it, lashing out almost blindly behind her with sword, foot, or whatever she might be able to muster from her position sprawled on the floor, trying to kick away her assailant as if he were a rock in the river.

Gaebriel doesn't seem to notice Sara's problems behind him and puts down the shotgun to dive for the crawling vampire. Pulling out his foot long combat knife as he tries to pin the wounded thing to the ground and cut its head off.

After splattering the vampire that tried for Christopher and the rapid approach of the group Tori grabs for the tranquilizer pistol and seeks out the nearest next target, probably the one that has hold of Sara given the fact that the women were bringing up the rear. She pulls the trigger and immediately grabs for a stake from her belt.

Christopher doesn't even notice the vampire crumple to the ground behind him, lacking most of a head - that or he simply does not care, overtaken by instinct to engage in moving fire with the column-concealed figure, hosing the corner of their pillar with bullets in order to keep it suppressed and behind cover, and drawing his machete right as he closes in, his magazine nearly empty.

The vampire who has a firm hold of Sara has her tackled down onto the floor when Tori's dart smacks him in the thigh. It swiftly attempts to disarm her of her sword, grappling ahold of his weapon temporarily by yanking her hand and slamming it against the ground. The wooziness takes a few painful seconds to kick in, with Sara taking the brunt of its struggling chainmail clad form, owning up to several scrapes and a weakly plunged dagger slitting in against her abdomen. But it's enough for Sara to be able to scrabble away, and perhaps grab her weapon in the process, though the pain inflicted to her hand would prevent her from wielding it properly. The vampire remains temporarily prone while Tori watches from her position at the door.

The first fledgling is easily disposed of by Gaebriel, making it a few measly crawling steps, thrashing violently in those final moments before its head is promptly severed, rolling a few feet in discongruous form before his kneeling place leaves the body beneath him disintegrating into a cloud of ash.

The second fledgling dances around the column with Christopher, the bullets thrown in between the two, marking the rock and flitting up the stone, leaving shards and chunks flying between them. It too draws a sword, young though it may be, tumbling on the ground towards him in a whip of its cloak, metal hitting against metal in the process.

Meanwhile, the ritualists continue their current endeavors.

Gaebriel stands up in a crouch, resheathing his dagger as he heads back to his shotgun and finally notices Sara's situation, he slides across the ground to scoop up the shotgun and immediately starts firing at the vampire who had her, not taking much time to aim and so simply firing at center mass each shot.

Tori shifts back to the rifle, taking aim as the predator is hit by the tranquilizer. The moment his movements still she aims for his head if it is not occluding Sara's or his side if it is. As soon as the shot is fired though, she charges towards the pair, stake in hand.

The second fledgling's attack is met with Christopher' steel, and he twists his wrist to make the sword's edge glide down the edge of his machete past his body before lunging forward to catch the vampire in the head with a wild chop.

Sara grabs her sword, flinching at the pain and pushing it back into the scabbard instead of using it as she flees her assailant and towards the others. Reduced to one effective hand, the other fumbles for a canister of pepper spray once the sword is stowed, trying to get her fingers working to deal with it should the opportunity present itself. Her less injured hand goes again for her smaller gun.

The vampire is partially thrown back by the array of Gaebriel's gunshot wounds, each progressive one peppering its skin with an array of beaded bullets, with the final one sending it spinning to the side in a disoriented tumble when Tori's bullet lashes against the side of its head and it still manages to stand. It's charges forward, ruthlessly fast towards him in the process, leaving Sara temporarily forgotten, and although it takes the brunt of the damage, its knife lashes out in a convoluted effort to cut against his arms and chest, spinning beneath him in opposite of Tori in the process.

The fledgling takes the defensive side temporarily in @Christopher's attack, knocked down to the knee as the sword skims across it, severing the tip of its ear and leaving blood trailing down its neck.

'Enough,' a voice finally calls, a female one containing an aura of command. After strapping down yet another victim and leaving it, she steps in front, a hand rising from the cloak of her robes and leveling towards Christopher And it's then when the fledgling follows up, slashing out at Christopher several times with a heavier attack and then darting away in his disorientation.

Private to Christopher: And your vision goes red, blood-red, pain accompanying it when the vessels within your eyes burst open, leaving you disoriented when the slice of the vampire's sword takes temporary advantage, constantly moving to keep you guessing.

"Fuck!" Gaebriel manages to curse as the vampire charges at him, his gun clicks empty as the undead creature closes the gap, the first slash deflecting off his armor before the second sends a spray of blood from his arm and makes him grunt, he desperately backs up a few steps and then as the vampire comes in tries to drop down and throw it over his body and into the caltrops.

Sara takes advantage of the moment - admittedly brief - of not having attention on her, raising her pistol with her good hand and taking aim at the ritualist who steps into the fray, pulling the trigger when the shot seems lined up with her eyes.

Tori continues the charge towards the hopefully staggered vampire, heedless of the commanding voice initially. Her arm is outstretched and as the vampire spins she attempts to plant the stake into him if the spray of Gaebriel's fire has shredded any armor he is wearing enough for it to penetrate. She falls into the heap of Gaebriel and the vampire at this point, her voice straining to be heard as she cries out "Fuuuuck.. nooo!"

Loosing a scream of agony, Christopher stumbles around blindly, trying to angle his machete in order to defend himself - but fighting with almost no vision is beyond his ken, and two of those heavier strikes make it, one glancing off his heavy gauntlet but another scores a nasty gash in the gap between his right shoulder flaps and gauntlet, causing him to stumble backwards. Forced onto the defensive, he keeps his machete up defensively while struggling to raise his rifle and pop the last few rounds in the chamber towards the fledgling's lower body.

The agile form of the wounded vampire twists mid-air, but skids nevertheless against the caltrops, scattering them across the sandy floor, even as its back hunches to try to scrabble up to its feet, impaled by the mess of sharp things across the ground. It makes it difficult for Tori to scratch into the vampire's skin, enough for it to ash with a stake at least, but she manages a few impressive stabs of it which leave it shrieking with an unnatural sort of sound, even as she tumbles atop of Gaebriel becoming entangled with Gaebriel in the process. In a way, it also manages to save him, when a trio of daggers misses his head as a result. But the vampire flails as a result, a uncoordinated sway of its body erasing some of that predatory skill.

The younger fledgling had full incorporated the use of advantage, but its skill with a sword is not quite as honed as it perhaps could be. It leaves some of the attacks glancing off armor as it presses in. The first couple of rounds miss it entirely, but the last one embeds within its thigh and it teeters just as Christopher's vision begins to return to him.

One of the two ritualists, apparently the one in charge, gets shifted backwards from Sara's shots, an aura of darkness flaring up around them, but a few bullets sift through it regardless. The robes that she has on suggest very little armor beneath. A dark glare is affixed to Sara instead, as those small cuts which had been inflicted upon her double up on their bleeding, fresh blood pulling from the small stab wounds and scrapes. The second ritualist seems dreadfully focused on their task, but no more defensively enhanced than the other, and probably less so.

Gaebriel starts to try and reload his shotgun while the vampire is distracted with the caltrops, he goes down when Tori crashes into him. Fortunately so as it turns out and brings his gun up one handed, angling it up from the floor as he tries to empty the new clip into the same vampire from his position on the ground.

Christopher presses what advantage he has now that he can see right, the pain of the eyes and the gash opened in his arm forgotten as adrenaline courses through his veins. He opens up with a slash aimed right to split the fledgling's face right down the middle while barreling towards him, aiming to take him down to the ground and on his back while letting go of his rifle to draw the stake kept close at hand.

Tori flails a bit as she lands on Gaebriel, rolling away and grabbing at her rifle, the stake lost in the scrabbling mess. She lays on the floor, rifle aimed for the vampire's head as it teeters nearby. Again she struggles with her voice, attempting to call out "Kill the bitch!"

Tori does pull the trigger once she aims for its head.

Sara shrinks away from the ritualist's glare, starting to move for cover as her injured hand clenches up. Stumbling in a bit of dizziness, she attempts to stanch the enhanced bleeding before losing more blood than she can afford.

Sara gets a white bandage from first-aid kit.

The vampire had just managed to get back up onto its feet, beginning to charge at that horrifically fast speed towards Tori originally. But it's swaying, wounded, and Tori evades it deftly at the last moment, rolling aside when her and Gaebriel's shots combined begin to rip holes into its undead flesh, blood coming more freely at this point, draining down its form before it dissipates on those last few rounds of bullets into a cloud of dust, even without the advent of a stake.

And Christopher finds himself steadily working against the fledgling, eyes bloodied and reddened in the process. The angled slash of his sword cleaves against its face, splitting the nose and brow with a slash that peels its skin apart, it's newly formed self leaving it gruesomely bleeding just as anyone else would. They struggle for a moment, a few more slashes exchanged with the cross of their swords, sending them tumbling together in the sandy ground beneath their feet and bumping against the stone table. That's when Christopher is able to draw that stake. And while he is now in room of the ritualists themselves, he likely could finish off the fledgling before they could get to them.

The ritualist isn't finished yet though, after taking those bullets from Sara, and even unarmored, it staggers towards the victim, placing its hands upon it. An orb of dark magic spirals in the position of Tori, missing just by a mere hair, but shattering part of the steps beside her, sending a spray of rock and stone onto her and Gaebriel both.

Gaebriel blinks and shakes his head as the stone cascades down upon him. He clambers back up into a crouching position and tries to fire at the ritualist. Only to discover he's out of ammo again so he drops his shotgun to pull out his handgun. Firing off three quick shots at the ritualist with it.

Tori gives a harsh cough with the spray of rock and stone and dust at her head, struggling to a seated position and aiming her rifle at the center of the ritualist's torso with a flick to the back of the barrel just as the trigger is pulled.

Christopher gets a stake from his ripstop black fatigue pants pocket.

Christopher does not waste the opportunity. He twists to shove the end of his machete-sword straight through the fledgling's head, impaling it, while the stake he aims straight for the creatures heart, going on to attempt to slam it home with all his (remarkable) body weight.

Stuffing gauze into her wounds and finding herself still conscious, Sara looks towards the ritualist, though as Gaebriel fires his opening salvo Sara looks past her. She slips more ammo into her pistol, taking aim past Christopher at the ritualists at work.

When caught in a vulnerable, unarmored position, even the strongest can go down. The aura of darkness shielding the ritualist flares up with every bullet from the combined efforts of Tori, Gaebriel and Sara herself, but grows progressively weaker, flickering as the rounds shred its defenses. The secondary one had moved to intervene upon its mentor, but nothing that it can do aside from temporarily provide its body as a barrier can stop the open assault at this point. In time, both of them crumple to the ground with a lasting effort, falling upon each other-- clearly dead, but never ash.

With Christopher taking advantage of every moment, its hard to say whether or not it was the impalement of the head or the stake itself being thrust which killed the vampire, any evidence left dissolving entirely into ash beneath him, clouding up into plumes to choke him and leaving his weapon tilting over.

Silence once more floods the room again, with only the dim flickering of the torches surrounding the area and the occasional crackle of whatever fuel it is that they possess. With no ritualists to guard it, the channeling of dark magic seems to have stopped it. Victims had been chained up in the center, slowly siphoned of their blood, leaving it leaking into odd cylindrical containers at each end which powered some sort of energy. It almost resembles some freak experiment brought on in a mad scientists laboratory. Breaking those would likely finish off the job, just in case. A tremble effects the room once more, disturbing the sand, a small reminder of the war which currently continues at the front flanks and the time that they have in which to finish the job and hopefully flee.

Gaebriel is left breathing hard as the ritualists go down, as the dust starts to settle he calls out. "Plant some explosives on that alter and lets get the fuck out of here." He reholsters his pistol before taking the time to swap out the magazine on his shotgun.

Tori gasps for breath as the ritualists crumple, her voice straining again to be heard, "Blow up that fucking altar..." though she doesn't trust to this. Scrabbling to her feet she moves towards Christopher, gesturing to any bombs he might have and then to the altar, rather frantically.

Sara takes her remaining shots at the equipment for good measure, moving at Gaebriel's order to aid Christopher in rigging something up at the altar.

Sara slips a pistol into a pocket.

Christopher slips a stake into his ripstop black fatigue pants pocket.

Christopher puts a stake down.

Tori moves over towards Gaebriel as the other two head for the altar, her eyes casting over him for wounds. She tilts her head slightly and grunts, already heading for the doorway.

Christopher draws back from the ashes, coughing as some of it breezes past his mask, lowering his sword and the stake. Eventually he's calmed himself enough to sheathe the former and throw away the latter. He spends a couple of seconds reloading his rifle before he sets to work. He shrugs his pack to the side and begins to wire up bricks of C4, stringing them together around the altar, placing about fifteen pounds, more than enough to blast a truck to smithereens from below. Just in case. Then, placing in the detonator, he hand-signals to Sara and begins to head towards the door, taking pot-shots at the blood-filled containers for good measure.

Gaebriel is bleeding from the arm but isn't too badly wounded. After Christopher wires up the bombs he nods and makes for the door at a quick pace, aiming to lead the group back through the tunnels.

Sara follows Christopher's signals, moving for the door when he does and slipping more ammo into her gun a bit shakily as she moves.

Christopher fishes the detonator remote from his pouches, not depressing it until they've cleared the doorway.

Although fatigue might in part weight more heavily at this point, the blood-soaked altar is soon rigged with an adequate number of explosives to effectively destroy it, and perhaps part of the chamber in itself. Thankfully, the stray shots towards the containers don't seem to trip up any detonations in the process, glass shattering with an outpouring of blood flooding from the elevated things.

Walking back after a victorious combat situation isn't granted though. As you leave the chamber, after the explosion, you begin to notice the air distorting behind you, signalling the presence of new combatants -- and many of them. Fleeing back the way you came would expose you to combat which had trickled down the hallways, but knowing what was behind you would keep you running onwards. Perhaps you were able to dispatch a few more in the way, but it was likely that eventually their human assault was overwhelmed with no clear victor - both vampires and humans dead upon both sides. Enough that the ground was stained entirely a dark crimson and littered with ashes. Eventually being able to escape, it was only the frigid cold which greeted you once more, a miserable trek back towards the site of extraction until you were finally able to go home.

Thank you for participating. You may exit down when ready.

scheme thwart finish success You head back home. Type storyrunner to revert to your previous character. Syntax: Scheme thwart (number)/Accept/Reject/Refer/finish.