OOC: You're not off the hook that easily, Niici.
IC: Niici – Niici’s Home – Ko-Koro
The Toa of Ice stirred, and after a time, her eyes slowly drew open. Her vision was still blurry, and her mouth was uncomfortably dry. After taking a moment and analyzing what her senses were telling her, she realized that something was off about her orientation. She blinked.
She was lying down in her living room, in front of the fireplace.
What in the blazes happened last night? Niici wondered, her face now feeling like it had been punched several times. Her vision was still blurry as she pushed herself up from the wooden floor, drool still dripping from her mouth.
“No, please; finish”
Niici felt her face crash into the drool-soaked wooden floor, her arms giving out in shock. Her arm muscles twitched like they were electrically stunned and her eyes began to mist against her will.
Slowly, memories of the previous night returned to her, or at least, some of the memories.
After Joske and his friend had left, Niici relaxed on her sofa, too mentally exhausted to do anything at that moment. The Makuta-envoy’s visit was still bothering her.
“He wanted to 'take you for a ride' when this was over. Not even on my worst day and brashest moment would I had ever dared say that.”
Niici remembered how Joske’s reassurance had marginally calmed her down, but even this gentleman’s words did not take away what the dark Toa made her feel. Niici had dealt with creeps before; it comes with the beauty and fame. However, no one on this island had the power to… persuade like this Toa did. Instead of scoffing at the 'take her for a ride' remark, she felt a genuine sting of discomfort and fear that she had never felt before, not even back in her early years while she endured what had to be the worst schooling experience ever.
Niici needed a drink.
The Toa of Ice then remembered how she went and fetched the bottle of a wine similar to what we call Cabernet Sauvignon, and treated herself with the nicest wine glass she owned.
Things started to get a little looser after the bottle was ¾ empty. Niici remembered drinking some sort of bottle without a glass, but she was unsure if this was the wine or another bottle – this one containing 90-proof liquor.
Niici’s night became progressively less classy as it went on.
Niici winced as she remained on the wooden floor. Had she even remembered to ask Gaira for the Charm of Destiny?
The sense of urgency caused Niici to spring to her feet, and the sudden jolt caused the Toa’s world to spin. After willing herself to not get sick, she turned around and staggered to her desk.
Where’s Seba? Niici wondered, Why didn’t he stop me?!
Niici’s bout of blame externalization was ceased by another dark memory.
At some point during the night, she yelled at her butler for being sharp tongued and confrontational with her. Though now, Niici’s sober mind wondered if it was he who was being confrontation or if he was her.
Ugh, I hope I didn’t say anything I can’t take back, Niici thought regretfully. He was a good, loyal butler, and he knew about the Prime Stakeholder. Crossing him or otherwise casting him out was never a wise decision.
Finally, Niici approached her desk and gasped. It looked like a toddler had run through here. Scrolls and papers were torn or otherwise thrown everywhere. Stone tablets littered the floor, some of them broken or completely shattered. Then there was the puddle of vomit right next to the trash bin.
Despite the fact that no one was here, Niici couldn’t have felt more embarrassed. She could only pray that the outside world didn’t know what took place here last night – because she sure as heck didn’t!
Finally, Niici looked to the upper right corner of the table and noticed that some of the pieces of paper had some scribbles on it:
I eneed a ughe favrofrom you. U woodent belveeve what I just wnt threw!
Niici shamefully tossed the group of papers into the trash bin. At least Niici now knew that she tried to write a note to Gaira.
A high-pitched scream escaped from Niici’s mouth as she nearly jumped out of her skin. Her eyes watered again as she tried to steady her breathing. How did she become so twitchy?
Niici was able to control herself this time and she nervously walked towards the door. Looking through the peephole revealed it to be a Ko-Matoran courier, delivering some sort of package wrapped in boring brown paper, and with a beige-colored note tied to it. Niici slowly opened the door and nodded to the Ko-Matoran, accepting the package. The Ko-Matoran simply nodded back and left, and Niici let out a sigh of relief that the Ko-Matoran were not overly prone to conversation.
After Niici shut the door, and walked to the living room table and set the box upon it. She gingerly took the note and examined it.
I don’t know what happened to you last night, but I did send the charm to the address like you asked. However, I do feel that the amount of money you included was a bit much – it’s only a trinket after all. Please accept this well-maintained Matoro plushie, so that we may be truly even now. I pray that today will be much better for your spirits than yesterday.
Niici put her hand to her face. What had she told Madam Gaira?
Then, it seemed that the innocuous act of putting her hand to her face cracked the icy wall of her emotions. She lowered the hand, revealing a tear-stained visage coupled with stifled sobbing.
The Toa of Ice honestly didn’t know what to feel. Was this still about the encounter? How Joske later placed so much faith in her morally? How she apparently lost her marbles last night and might have risked compromising her plan?
Niici walked over to her kitchen table, big, frigid tears still streaming down her face. The normally bright-faced and mentally unreadable Toa of Ice sat down at the head of the table and buried her face in her hands, her shoulders heaving with each sob. Less than the turn of events, Niici did not like how she was taking this new responsibility.
“I know you got dragged into this unwittingly, but now you are involved…”
“…You can't claim ignorance anymore, and no matter what happens from here on out you have a tie in this venture. I hope I am not placing my trust and faith in the wrong place”
Niici pulled her hands away from her soaked face. In front of her laid half a bottle of the bourbon that she must have had last night.
“No, please; finish”
Niici finished the bottle right then and there.
IC: Wokapu, Wokiya & Lekori – Wokapu’s Mansion
Wokapu nodded in response to Darien’s suggestion.
“I think that would be good,” Wokapu whispered.
The next several minutes were locked in tense silence. The Sanctum Guard was fact-checking now, as it seemed all too convenient for an abandoned mention to be a safe-house. They guards also weren’t sure that Wokapu wasn’t the mastermind behind this assassination.
“So why are you here?” barked the sergeant.
Wokapu wasn’t sure what to say. Technically, he was still a criminal, not just for the crime that the Sanctum Guard was accusing him of. He couldn’t tell them that he was here to get Niici out of the Cultured Gentry before he exposed it as a Makuta-allied organization. The Toa of Air was honestly at a loss for words.
“This is my home – I live here, and I was gone because I feared that there was a plot against me,” Wokapu finally said, “Technically, and family, friends and I are still in danger. We were hoping to walk through here without arousing attention. Please, I know tensions are high, but it’s me – Wokapu! I haven’t changed since I left. I just want to save my friends before they suffer a similar fate as the Turaga”
“Similar fate… you mean Madam Niici?” the sergeant said with reserve, “Is she in danger as well?”
“Many of Ko-Koro’s most important people are – I fear,” Wokapu said. He really wasn’t sure if this was actually the case, but the more he thought about it, the more he feared that whoever betrayed Wokapu might be out to take out the village’s leadership as well.
All the more reason to get Niici out of dodge.
The Sanctum Guard had trouble holding up their case against Wokapu. He was a Ko-Koro native, and he vouched for the other beings in the living room.
Finally, after what felt like an eternity, the guardsmen lowered their disks.
“Alright…,” the sergeant said softly, “I suppose you’re right”
He then looked to his men, “We need to get into contact with Matoro, Niici, and the other icons in Ko-Koro, to make sure they’re safe”
“Yes,” the deputy replied, “Men, let’s move!”
Lekori, Wokiya, and Wokapu all let out a sigh of relief when the armed Ko-Matoran filed out of the house, trudging over the broken down door.
“I need to talk to Niici now,” Wokapu said to his friends, “Perhaps she’ll be at the funeral and I can talk to her then”
“Why wouldn’t she be there?” Lekori asked.
“She wasn’t all that devoted to the Turaga, or at least she didn’t act that way when I talked to her,” Wokapu said, shrugging his shoulders, “I don’t want to be judgmental though. Let’s head over there”
The group asked around and soon learned that the funeral was being held at the Sanctum – a fitting site, obviously. Once they got the directions, the four made their way to the large, ice structure, where they discreetly headed inside.
It seemed people were already giving their speeches.
IC: Matoro -- Sanctum
"Sir, can I ask you something?"
Matoro’s head, along with the heads of many of the front row dwellers, whirled around as the guard. Finally, the people relaxed, and most of the Ko-Matoran faced the speaker once again. Matoro simply nodded, beckoning the Anzaros to query the Ko-Matoran.
Out of the corner of his eye, Matoro glanced at the entry of a group of Toa, who also seemed to be looking at the new leader of Ko-Koro.