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Eyru

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Everything posted by Eyru

  1. @Emzee bring back Wokapu or we riot
  2. IC: Taja | Ko-Metru The city whizzed by as Taja flew through the chute, cradled by air. Outside the translucent green walls, Ko-Metru gleamed under a late afternoon sun. The knowledge towers caught the golden rays and flung them through the air in a dazzling cacophony of light. Though she travelled by chute, Taja still didn't have the luxury of ignoring Dume's speech. There were no Vahki looking over her shoulder, but the calm voice of her Turaga filled the chute, broadcast from speakers she couldn't see. Each word was half a second behind the movements she could see on the screens she passed over. She fiddled with her earpieces, closing them until Dume's voice was at a comfortable volume. So the terrorist still hadn't been found. She was surprised. The Dark Hunters weren't living up to their reputation as, well, hunters. That said, the target had yet to be apprehended by the Vahki either, and the robotic creatures were renowned for their tracking skills. Perhaps the suspect was simply better than their pursuers. That wasn't a comforting thought. As for the Archives... she dismissed the damage as inconsequential, as all scholars surely would. Onu-Metru was far too concerned with the past. They confused proximity for importance, and thus spent all their time on earthly matters. Hearts and minds heavy with Duty, they rarely lifted their eyes to behold anything resembling Destiny. The Archives symbolized that arrogance, in Taja's opinion. To think that cataloguing and recording was important just because it was a weighty task. The past could not be changed. It was dead. The stars, on the other hand, were alive. They spoke, daring Matoran to look to the future and imagine what could be. A gentle ding filled the chute, breaking the De-Matoran's train of thought. It was followed by an announcement for the upcoming stop. Please exit for Ketan, Maru, and Caerus Towers. She emerged into the cool air, taking a moment to orient herself to to solid ground again before walking at a brisk pace toward the doors. * * * "Mistake?" The Ko-Matoran sputtered, following her back to the elevator. "I'll have you know I've worked in this tower for seven years, and Caerus Tower for eight before that..." He continued, and Taja thanked the Great Spirit again that she had adjusted her earpieces early. Even reduced by 75%, the angry scholar's volume was going to give her a headache soon. She hadn't meant to offend him, but she needed to know the truth. If that meant ruffling a few feathers, well, then that's what had to be done. "...and furthermore, where's that Jaa? I've been meaning to give him a piece of my—" "Back in his office, in the western towers," Taja interrupted, her own voice rumbling through her head. She pressed the call button. "You're welcome to visit if you want, but it's a bit of a trip for this late in the day." "A trip that you made just so you could point fingers at my work—" "No pointing. Just asking. You've done a wonderful job, Aaj." He grumbled under his breath as the doors opened. Taja could hear the mumbled words just fine, but elected to ignore them. "It's the iStones," she said. "I thought they might have glitched. I know, I'm old-fashioned. But sometimes I worry if we're too reliant on technology." "I've thought that myself," Aaj conceded, slightly mollified. "Young scholars don't know the value of hard work. Do they even teach handwriting classes anymore? I swear, I'd have more luck reading Muaka tracks than the scribbles my scribes give me—" "Anyway," she interrupted again as she stepped into the elevator, cutting off the older scholar before he could get going. "Thank you for your time. I'll take your regards to Jaa?" "Regards?" He snorted. "You can take my—" The doors closed mercifully. Taja breathed a sigh of relief, and slumped against the wall of the lift. So it wasn't a mistake. Dume's Toa star really was gone again, continuing to blink on and off like flashing light. Aaj didn't know about it: she hadn't told him why she was asking. He might've been more pleasant had she voiced her concerns, but she had elected to keep them to herself. Spreading rumours would only bring punishment down on her. She needed solid proof. Proof of what exactly? She didn't know. Proof of something. Until the stars decided to elaborate, all she had were guesses. And all her guesses were that something bad was happening. Anxiety twisted in her belly and buzzed in her brain. She felt a cold sweat begin to break out on her forehead. She didn't like not knowing. Her brief meeting with the old scholar had produced some more information. Not only had she confirmed the veracity of the phenomenon concerning Dume's star, but she had confirmed the identities of the other missing star, as well as the names of the stars that had moved so far in only a few short weeks. That information was helpful, of course, but it didn't make her guesses much more informed. She was a long way from a theory. The stars had arranged themselves into a pattern of evidence, but she had yet to draw the constellation. She was running out of time. She didn't know where to go from here. What was going to happen? What could she do? Taja closed her eyes, focusing her willpower. She willed her stomach to settle, and commanded her mind to be at peace. She waited until her thoughts quieted, until her mind became calm like a still pond. The elevator doors opened, but she remained standing still, eyes closed, looking within herself. Peace would bring answers. Through peace, she would find her destiny. All she had to do was trust the stars. Start simple. What are the facts? Dume's star was flickering like a dying candle. The stars of Toa Lhikan and Toa Nidhiki were moving quickly across the sky, retreating into the darkness of the void. And Toa Tuyet's star was utterly gone.
  3. IC: Taja | Ko-Metru Knowledge Tower Aligning the maps by their edges, the movements of the stars were easier to see. Taja adjusted her eyepiece and reached for a ruler. The cold metal under her fingertips sent chills up her arm. She began to measure the distances between the new and old positions, carefully recording each disparity on the iStone at her elbow. The older star map was coloured in blue, and the new map in green. Some stars were motionless, or had moved so little that the two colours blended into turquoise. Others had moved so far that the scholar had to triple-check their identities to confirm they were indeed the same. This verification did nothing to quell the vague uneasiness that twisted softly in her stomach, a leftover emotion from Turaga's Dume's announcement earlier in the day. The stars did not usually speak so forcefully. These kinds of movements were usually observed over years, not weeks. Something was happening. Something important. Another measurement, another entry. Taja looked back to the maps, tapped her forefinger on a specific spot, and frowned. The blue mark showed through the paper, but there was no green mark on top. This star had existed two weeks ago; now it was nowhere to be seen. She noted the coordinates, pencilled carefully in her own hand, and consulted the iStone. She scrolled through the strings again, looking for a match, and found none. With the patience characteristic of a scholar, she searched again, triple-checking the omission. Again, nothing. The star was gone. Stars disappeared sometimes, but it was a rare enough occurrence that Taja considered making the trip to the eastern knowledge tower and confirming her coordinates with the astronomer who had provided the coordinates. But that could wait. She would finish her work first. Picking up the ruler, she went to measure the next star only to encounter the same situation. Another blue mark with no corresponding green mark. Another star vanished. Her apprehension grew as another triple-check came up empty. This coordinate seemed familiar, the shape of its letters and numbers lingering on her brain like the name of an old friend she hadn't seen in a long time. Perhaps she had made a note on this particular star before... Turning her chair back to the filing cabinet, she opened a different drawer. The folders rustled between her fingers—she was moving less carefully than usual. Across the room, Jaa raised his head at the noise, then looked back at his work as she pulled out a large folder. Within this folder were stored a dozen smaller folders, each neatly labelled. Another moment of searching through these smaller folders produced a piece of paper, which Taja withdrew and scanned once, then twice, then three times. Her sharp intake of breath drew Jaa's eyes again. He tapped his fingers twice on the desk to get her attention. What is it? he signed. She placed the paper down. Sorry, she signed back. It's nothing. Just an interesting movement. Might be a mistake. Jaa's face darkened. Scholars did not make mistakes. Mistakes happened when you didn't listen, or when you lost patience. That was unacceptable. Where did the files come from? One of the eastern towers. Tower... she consulted the iStone. Maru. Tower Maru. I'll go check with them. Tower Maru? Jaa signed as she gathered up her papers, rolled the maps up in their tubes, and slid them into her bag. I've had problems with them before. Taja shrugged. I'll be back soon. Her colleague nodded and returned to his work. The De-Matoran slipped out of the office and walked back to the elevator. Maybe the fast-moving stars were a mistake. Maybe the first missing star was a mistake. But the second missing star wasn't. She had observed it before, months ago, and thought it strange then. The star had vanished only to reappear, and now it had vanished again. She wasn't sure what to make of it: stars didn't tend to blink in and out of existence. There was no research concerning this phenomenon, and no one to ask who could clarify. The elevator doors opened. She walked in and selected the chute-serviced floor—the tower she needed to visit was on the eastern edge of the Metru. Too far to walk. As the lift began to descend, Taja's thoughts continued to swirl. In particular, they dwelt on the repeatedly disappearing star. Scholars had not conclusively proved its identity, but years of study had produced a generally accepted theory. Most astronomers accepted it as fact. But now she doubted that theory, because the star was gone but she had just seen the being it represented earlier that day. Either the star was false, or... She hated to even think about the alternative, because it was Dume's spirit star. Either the stars were lying, or her Turaga was.
  4. IC: Taja | Ko-Metru Knowledge Tower Silence. Taja liked it. It was easier to think when everything was quiet. Easier to focus. Her sensitive hearing made it difficult to find true silence: even here in this office, were she to completely disable her mask's silencers, she would be able to to count Jaa's heartbeats from across the room. So she worked with her earpieces half-closed, in her silent office, in this quiet tower, in the hushed stillness of the city's most tranquil Metru. This was where she found peace, or as close to peace as she had ever known. She propped the iStone up on her desk. Its screen glowed gently, displaying the coordinates of the latest star movements. The strings of numbers and letters would mean nothing to most Matoran; the average user would probably assume that their tablet was malfunctioning. But in the eyes of a skilled astronomer, these codes represented the slow movements of the heavenly spheres. These letters and numbers were secrets written in a mystical cipher. Given enough time and patience, that cipher could be cracked, and the future revealed. Patience was the key. The stars did not speak lightly, and so they did not speak to those who were not willing to listen. This is why the Ko-Matoran were trusted with their mysteries. It took years of training and meditation for scholars to develop the willpower necessary to study the stars. That willpower improved their focus, which in turn allowed them to spend long hours on their work, allowing the movements of the stars to speak to them in their own slow, quiet language. This language might take centuries to say a single sentence, but the benefit was that the stars said nothing that was not worth saying. Nothing that was not worth hearing, if one had the patience to sit and listen. Taja worked slowly but tirelessly, marking each new coordinate on a new map of Quadrant G, one of the many quadrants into which the sky was divided. When finished, she would compare this map to the one she had last completed. The sheets of paper were semi-transparent, so she could overlay them to more easily see and understand the movements of the stars. Focus came from willpower, which in turn was born from peace. A mind in turmoil could not develop the patience necessary to listen to the stars. A scholar had to learn to look inward and quiet her mind and heart until her whole being became tranquil, like a pond of still water. She had to tune out the distractions of the outside world, enduring the chaos of the earth while pursuing the peace of the skies. In the world, but not of it. And that was only possible by trusting in Destiny. Other Matoran pursued the Virtues of Unity or Duty, which were necessary in their own way. No scholar would dispute that. The Great Spirit had given them three Virtues, separate in substance yet equal in status. No one more or less important than the other. But Unity and Duty were concerned with mortal things, whereas Destiny turned a Matoran's eyes to the divine. Careful study and meditation on the virtue of Destiny taught a scholar to trust in the Great Spirit. That trust brought peace, knowing that Mata Nui's hand was in all things. That peace bore willpower, the ability to withstand any trial. And willpower bestowed focus, giving a Matoran the patience to be still and wait on the stars to speak. Another coordinate, another mark. The map was almost finished, which was the only sign of Taja's progress. There were no clocks in the room, and she was so immersed in her project that if someone were to ask how long she had been working, she would be unable to give an honest answer. The skies outside were darker than they had been earlier, but the lightstones in the office warded off the dimness of the late afternoon. Finished. The De-Matoran allowed herself a moment to relax. She leaned backwards in her chair and stretched, arching her back and pulling one wrist up and over her head. She deactivated her eyepiece, then rubbed her eyes. Time to compare maps. She turned her chair to face a filing cabinet, one of many crammed into this room and dozens of others throughout the tower. Pulling a drawer open (it was well-oiled, she was pleased to note, and made no noise), her experienced fingers rifled through the folders until she found the one she was looking for. She pulled out a slender tube, out of which she unfurled another star map. She double-checked its date, then laid it out flat on her desk and placed the new map on top. The recording was finished. Now the interpretation could begin.
  5. IC: Oreius | Beach Assault Oreius was all too happy to oblige, despite Skyra's choice of nickname. As the Toa of Air summoned a whirlwind that swirled sand into the air, the Toa of Fire too activated his powers. His sword glowed red-hot with elemental energy, then he raised his weapon and unleashed a howling blast of fire that tore through the air and into the storm. The fire superheated the sand as it billowed through the air, freezing it into a twisting shape of glass that would hopefully immobilize the cannon and its insectoid mount.
  6. IC: Taja | Ko-Metru The door slid open without a sound. Taja walked into the knowledge tower, nodding once to the secretary. He returned the gesture: Ko-Matoran weren't unfriendly, just distant. Other Matoran often mistook that distance for hostility, but she knew better. At worst, some of her colleagues were indifferent to her, but most were cordial or even amicable. They appreciated someone who understood the value of silence. The elevator doors slid closed, and Taja's stomach dropped as she ascended. She looked down at the iStone in her hands. It carried the latest astrological readings from one of the eastern towers, mapping the slow movements of the stars across months and even years. Here in the tower, it was her job to analyze those readings and translate them into something less arcane. Turn the heavenly dances into words that flesh and blood could understand. The lift came to a stop at the seventy-sixth floor. The De-Matoran walked into the hallway, a rug underfoot to muffle steps that might otherwise echo against the icy walls. She entered the second door on the left and nodded to her coworker, Jaa. They shared an office, a research project, and a code of movements that could be used in place of spoken language. Jaa used this to ask her if the new readings had come in. Yes, she signed back, sitting down at her desk. Quadrant G for the last two weeks. Quadrant J for the last seven months. And Quadrant B for the last three years. Two weeks? he signed, his face puzzled. They've changed that much already? She shrugged. It wasn't their job to record the stars, nor to decide when the movements were significant enough to study. It was their job only to study what they were given. And it was time to get to work.
  7. IC: Taja | Ko-Metru Ko-Metru was quiet. Taja liked that. Her breath steamed in the air as she navigated one of the walkways that ran between the knowledge towers. An iStone in hand, she moved carefully, each step designed to fall with as little sound as possible. The light dusting of snow helped, muffling each footfall. Reaching up, she idly adjusted her right earpiece, allowing a little more sound into her ears, just to make sure she was being as quiet as she thought. A screen hanging above her came suddenly to life. Turaga Dume's face gazed down from the wall of the knowledge tower, more somber than usual. And as he spoke, the reason for his appearance became clear. A Matoran was dead. The assassin was still at large. The Dark Hunters were Metru Nui's new allies. All grave news. Unlike the rest of the city, the screens in Ko-Metru displayed a near-muted broadcast and ran text underneath, so as to disturb the silence as little as possible. Perhaps that meant it was easier to ignore... but there were surely Keerakh poised unseen, making sure every Matoran was diligently watching. So Taja watched, carefully reading along and matching each word to the movements of Dume's mouth. The broadcast ended, but she remained standing still, risking the Vahki's discipline for the sake of a moment of quiet thought. The stars had not spoken of this. Granted, they rarely spoke, and the words they did speak required years of work to extract a meaning. But Taja didn't need the stars to tell her something was wrong. She felt it in her gut: the city was unstable, like a ship listing to one side. She had always trusted Dume. But his comforting words didn't assuage her nerves like they usually did. She began to walk again, a little less carefully this time, her thoughts far from the snowy streets and icy towers that surrounded her.
  8. Name: Taja Species: Matoran of Sonics Faction: Metru-Nui Description: Taja stands at average height for a Matoran, with a black body and dark gray armour. Her yellow eyes shine from behind a gray Huna, which has been modified with silencers that cover her ears and a lens over her left eye. She carries a Kanoka launcher strapped to her back. Background/Occupation: Taja lives in Ko-Metru, whose quiet streets and even quieter inhabitants suit her well, being sensitive to loud noise as all De-Matoran are. She works as a scholar in the Knowledge Towers, where she studies the stars and translates the work of other scholars. However, unlike many scholars, she enjoys more lighthearted pursuits in her spare time, such as disk surfing. Powers/Abilities: Taja's sensitivity to sound is both a weakness and strength. Her enhanced hearing allows her to listen over long distances and to hear sounds that would go undetected by other Matoran. She's a fair shot with a Kanoka but prefers disk surfing to sharpshooting. Riding a Kanoka disk, she's learned to surf at high speed through the chutes and canals of Metru Nui. Equipment: Taja wears a noble Huna whose power she cannot access: being a Matoran, she lacks the necessary focus. This mask has been modified to include silencers over her ears, which can be manually adjusted to allow more or less sound through. Her Huna also sports a custom lens over one eye that she can activate to enhance her vision, which aids in her work studying the stars. She carries a Kanoka launcher strapped to her back, as well as a small collection of various Kanoka disks. Flaws: Like all De-Matoran, Taja is sensitive to loud noises. To avoid noise, she tends to isolate herself, and speaks as little as possible. She's slow to trust others, preferring to keep her own counsel.
  9. IC: Oreius | Beach Assault The cannon fired. To his relief, Oreius found himself still intact. He fell through the air, his descent softened by the jets of fire that intermittently pulsed from his palms, and landed next to Rose. He drew his remaining sword and looked for something to fight. Right now, the cannon was looking like their primary target.
  10. IC: Oreius | Beach Assault The Toa of Fire was busy concentrating on keeping himself aloft, but the appearance of giant mechanical insectoid carrying a cannon was enough to catch his attention. The huge cannon swung slowly in his direction, the shaft beginning to shiver and hum as it built up another blast. If this was the weapon that had been firing on the airships... well, it was good and bad. Good because it was no longer firing on the airships. Bad because a single hit from that would reduce him to atoms. The weapon's tip was glowing now, seconds away from firing. His mind raced—how was it tracking him? Movement? Heat signature? Or was there a pilot at the controls? He had to think of something that could fool all three. Drawing upon his elemental power more deeply than before, Oreius closed his eyes, focused, and attempted to pull off multiple stunts simultaneously. The thermal blasts emanating from his palms suddenly pulsed, sending him rocketing up in an arc across the sky. At the same time, he conjured three facsimiles of himself, each constructed of flames, their deep red and orange tongues mimicking the colour of armour. These illusory Toa were also sent flying through the sky: while Oreius's flight path arced toward the treeline, each of his creations traveled in a slightly different direction. The plasma cannon was about to fire. Which target would it choose to follow?
  11. Wow, I'm a big fan of this! The pose and the style really lend a tangible sense of energy and movement. It almost looks like it could be the cover for an old Bionicle comic. ...and that is one thicc neck, if I may say so. Well done!
  12. IC: Oreius | Beach Assault The ground erupted, sending Oreius flying into the air for the second time in less than ten seconds. At this rate, he was going to be turned to scrap and mush on the beach long before he got within fighting range. He could throw blasts all day, but he was hopelessly outgunned at this distance. He had to close the gap. He'd tried this trick already with some success—here was hoping the second attempt would be a little more graceful. As he fell back towards the ground, he threw out both hands and produced twin thermal blasts that sent him rocketing upwards and sideways in a gentle arc. As he reached the top of his flight path, his stomach rising in a brief moment of weightlessness, he pointed one hand towards the ground and the other towards the ocean and fired again, blasting himself heedlessly through the air in the direction of the treeline.
  13. Hey everyone. I love seeing people get excited about the things they enjoy, like Bionicle and LEGO. It's that passionate spirit that makes BZPower such a great place to be. It's generated years of great discussion and creativity. However, it's all too easy to let our passion for the things we like (or even the things we don't like) get the better of us, especially in an online environment, and I think this topic is getting a little heated. With that said, let's all take a deep breath and keep BZPower's Rules and Guidelines in mind, particularly these two guidelines: First, when you post, please try to add something to the discussion. Posting things like "I hate ABC" or "XYZ is garbage" without giving any reasons doesn't contribute anything interesting to the conversation. It's fine to have opinions, but please do your best to share them in a constructive way that encourages thoughtful conversation. Second, when you post, please remember to respect your fellow members. Those usernames and avatars represent real people, and they deserve to treated with respect and dignity, regardless of whether you agree or disagree with their opinions. Calling someone "angry" or "stressed" because they disagree with you is not acceptable. Neither is being passive-aggressive or using a hostile tone. It's okay to be passionate about your opinions, but remember that you are talking to another human being. It's all too easy to misinterpret online posts because there's no body language or verbal cues to help make your point. So err on the side of caution and do your best to be polite. Let's continue to make BZPower a great place to be.
  14. IC: Oreius | Beach Assault A wall of sand rose before Oreius like a cresting wave, rocks falling from its surface like drops of water petrified. The last two shots from his palm burned harmlessly into the wall, vitrifying the sand but doing nothing to stop its advance. The Toa of Fire stumbled as the ground under his feet became less than solid, and then, in a shower of dust and rocks, the wave fell. Karz— A spark of panic lit itself in his belly; fueled by adrenaline, Oreius threw out his hand before he could think and recklessly conjured a thermal blast, high in intensity but short in duration. It functioned like an impromptu jetpack burst, blasting him twenty feet to the side through the falling debris and onto the sand. He rolled to a stop, then staggered to his feet, a little singed but not much worse for wear. Overhead, he heard Skyra begin to unload her blaster towards the treeline. Hoping she would provide him with enough cover to get within melee range, he continued up the beach.
  15. IC: Oreius | Assaulting League-Controlled Island The Toa of Fire fell through the air, the wind howling over his mask and in his ears. The island opened before him, a broad and sandy beach giving way to a thick treeline and a few rocky crags. The ground was rapidly approaching; Oreius counted down the seconds as he'd been told to do, then pulled the cord to activate his pack. His body suddenly felt lighter as the levitation Kanoka took effect, slowing his descent. Overhead, the airship veered to one side like a drunk, but it remained in flight. It wouldn't stay up there for long, though—not unless they could get to the cannons that continued to fire sporadic bolts of energy into the sky. The treeline stirred with movement as the League's defenses began to assemble, firing on the Metru Nui forces that had already landed on the beach. He landed with them, drawing one of his swords as the Ba-Toa pulled a wall from the beach to cover their advance. Elemental missiles and other projectiles sent bursts of sand into the air; Oreius responded with a few blasts of his own. Raising his free hand, he called upon the energy that ran beneath his skin and pulled it out through his fingertips into a crackling ball of white-hot fire. It hung in the air for a moment, then spent itself in several beams of blue-white fire that lanced across the beach. Some struck the sand, turning it instantly to glass; others burst against tree trunks and blossomed into flame; one glanced off the shoulder of an advancing Skakdi, who howled in pain as his pauldron turned to slag. The Toa of Fire began moving quickly towards the treeline, preparing to fire more blasts to cover their assault.
  16. IC: Oreius | Metru Nui Airship Oreius knew the owner of the new voice. The young Toa Skyra had already built up a reputation among Metru Nui's ranks for her impulsive nature and her tendency to spread havoc wherever she went. He could forgive that nature if it confined itself to the battlefield, but it did not. He had never known a Toa of Air who could. It was like holding back the sea with a broom. The Toa of Fire nodded once to Iona. "Try it. Or don't." Then he turned and walked away.
  17. IC: Oreius | The Silver Sea "Does it help? The meditation I mean. Anticipation is a Karz of a thing to deal with." Oreius opened his eyes. He had seen this Toa before, though he didn't know her name. Not surprising—he could probably count the names he knew on one hand. His allies were allies regardless of how close they were. All he needed to know was that they served the Great Spirit and were willing to fight. She stood a little taller than him, wearing bulky purple-black armour and a nervous expression that she was doing her best to hide. She was young. Inexperienced. "It can help," he replied. "And it can hinder. It's a tool, nothing more. It will amplify the thoughts you choose to focus on."
  18. IC: Oreius | The Silver Sea The airships hung over the water like dark clouds, their vast forms moving silently through the still morning air. Dawn had yet to break, but the sky was beginning to grow light, illuminating the shimmering waters that lapped far below. The silver sea extended unbroken in every direction to meet the horizon, save for the direction in which the airships flew. There, to the southeast, lay the silhouette of an island. Oreius lowered a pair of binoculars, revealing his typically grim expression. Their surprise assault would make the fighting no less brutal. If they were lucky, the enemy would break ranks and flee; the alternative was a drawn-out siege with no help from their airships. But a victory here could turn the tide of the war. It was a necessary risk. Closing his eyes, the Toa quieted his thoughts and focused on the battle to come, his silence almost like a prayer. OOC: Buffer post before the assault.
  19. IC: Oreius | Liberated Island in the Silver Sea The Toa of fire acknowledged Brutaka's presence with a nod, and the two walked in silence. Oreius maintained that silence for some time after Brutaka's question: the lone Toa was not much of a talker, and preferred to arrange his thoughts into as few sentences as possible before speaking. "They won't be expecting it," he said at last. "Metru Nui is slow to action unless the threat is at her gates. The League expects us to lick our wounds and prepare for the next assault. If we move now, we can catch them by surprise."
  20. IC: Oreius | An Unnamed Island in the Silver Sea The Toa of fire sat alone on a rock, cleaning his swords. The metal gleamed as his deft fingers drew a handful of flames up one side and down the other, carefully burning away all traces of blood and grime. This was one of the few things Oreius allowed himself to enjoy. He took simple pleasure in taking soiled steel and making it clean again. The task was a microcosm of his own greater purpose: to cleanse the Great Spirit's lands of corruption and filth. He had fulfilled that duty today. The scorched and bloody beach was evidence of his zeal. Each shattered blade was a testament, and each ashy corpse a witness. The League had fallen back before his fire, their weaknesses laid bare in the Spirit's light, and the island was free. For now. He stood to his feet and slid each blade back into its sheath. The war was far from over, and the League was far from broken. They would be back, their eyes ever set on Metru Nui. They would not stop until their spirit was broken or their ranks cut down to the last man. And if that was what it took, then he would oblige. Oreius began to walk along the beach, back towards camp. Brutaka would be waiting: there were plans to be made before the moon was high. The sand crunched softly underfoot and the waves whispered as they rolled up the shore. The sun hung low over the horizon, spilling orange and red and purple light across the sky and into the silver sea. OOC: Oreius open for interaction.
  21. Name: Oreius Species: Toa of Fire Faction: Metru-Nui Description: Oreius’s body is orange and black, and he wears armour of a deep scarlet, pitted and scarred by countless battles. He stands a little shorter than the average height for a Toa, but he would be taller if not for the odd hunch he carries over his right shoulder blade, which causes his neck and head to jut forward. This lends him a perpetually hunched appearance, and does nothing to improve the glower that rarely leaves his face. Usually, his golden eyes are knitted in a frown and his jaw is set, betraying little emotion and less friendliness. Background/Occupation: Oreius’s history is about as penetrable as his perpetual scowl. He has served for centuries as a protector of various islands in the Silver Sea, moving from place to place as need calls. His original homeland is lost to history, but some say it was destroyed by an ancient power, and he has spent his life on endless combat as a way of atoning for his failure to defend it. Regardless of what drives him, he only stays in one place long enough to defeat whatever threat it faces before moving on, refusing any thanks beyond provisions to get him to his next destination. Currently, he serves Turaga Dume as a military leader on the front lines of the war between Metru Nui and the League of Six Kingdoms. Powers/Abilities: As a Toa of Fire, Oreius can control fire and heat in all its forms, from heating or cooling an area to creating powerful blasts and beams. He can absorb or release fire at will, and can detect sources of heat. Having spent his life in battle, Oreius is a consummate warrior. He wields his swords with brutal grace, honing in on enemies’ weak points and finding cracks in their defences. His martial skill is formidable, as is his knowledge of tactics and strategy. Mask/Tools: Oreius wears the Mask of Pain, a rare Kanohi that allows him to detect flaws and weaknesses. The mask is always on at a low level, informing him of the most effective way to incapacitate anyone around him. Oreius can mentally focus to receive more detailed information, but otherwise, the mask will simply inform him of the most efficient way to inflict debilitating injury. Oreius also carries twin short swords, which he straps to his back when not in use. These blades are utilitarian in appearance, bearing more resemblance to butcher’s knives than the ornate weapons that other Toa often carry. Flaws: Oreius does not deal in subtleties or shades of gray. He sees the world in black and white, good and evil, and has made it his life’s purpose to root out anything that threatens the Matoran. As such, he will not stand down against anything he perceives as evil, and will fight until his last breath, never allowing thoughts of surrender or retreat.
  22. There are currently no plans for a fanfic exchange this year. But if there's significant interest, then that's something we can look into doing another time!
  23. I received Lewa Mata for Christmas in 2001; Gali and Kopaka followed shortly after. Everything's hazy after that...
  24. OOC For Josh. I hope I got his voice right. Suggested listening: IC (Cael – Ko-Wahi) He was buried facing east. She stood over the grave, and the sun cast her shadow over the little heap of rocks that served as a marker. Although it was long past dawn, the cold still bit at any exposed skin. This high up the mountain, there was only so much the sun could do to warm the air. Cael’s breath rose before her in great clouds of vapour that drifted until they were lost in the vastness of the blue sky. She pulled the scarf tighter around her neck to ward off the chill, but it did nothing to ease the ache deep in her chest. Joske was gone. The truth tasted bitter in her mouth, like medicine. She wanted to vomit it up, to empty her body and mind of the knowledge so she could return to blissful ignorance. It would be better to remain in Ga-Koro and tend to her people and miss him terribly, but still hold out hope that one day she would hear his knock on the door and open it to see his face, smiling down at her like the sun. Instead, she stood here in the snow, watching over a grave, and felt the enormity of her loss settle over her like a suffocating cloud. It hurt in a way she’d never known. She knew broken bones and burned fingers and scraped knees, but this loss hurt differently. She could feel it roosting in her chest behind her heartlight, a slow, steady, unbearable ache poised to tear her heart in two. It felt like her chest might cave in at any moment, her ribs giving away to her anguish like twigs before a hurricane. It threatened to engulf her like the ocean, to sweep her away like an undertow. She had mourned for Gali, and for Nokama. She had borne the weight of a thousand years of loss. But she had never known grief like this. “You said once that love is suffering,” she said aloud, her steam-clothed words breaking the stillness at last. “So I guess this means I still love you. Because it hurts.” Her voice cracked on the last word. Her shoulders buckled once, twice, but no sound came out. The tears came silently, the way the stars appear at dusk. “It hurts, Joske,” she managed to say, squeezing each word through a voice thick with emotion. “It hurts so much. I just… I can’t…” She clenched her eyes shut and bowed her head, pressing her palms to her temples. Each inhalation hissed through gritted teeth, and each ragged exhalation carried a whimpered sob with it. It was an ugly sound, had anyone been close enough to hear it. The sound of a wound too deep to heal. “It’s… not… fair,” she said, sniffling back whatever tears hadn’t yet escaped. She lowered her hands, then wrapped her arms around her shoulders and hugged herself tightly, staring down at that little pile of rocks that symbolized him. The topmost rock was blueish grey speckled with white chips; it was such an unfitting grave; it was nothing like him. His armour had been red and his mask had been gold, but more than that, he’d always been so warm and alive. His every movement was full of energy. He never stopped moving, never stopped thinking, never stood still for a moment and it drove her crazy and it made her love him all the more because they were so different but he still loved her. For a moment, she imagined that her arms were his and he was holding her tight against the cold, but her shivering gave it away. He was gone. “It’s not fair,” she repeated, but the rocks gave no reply. *** They ate breakfast together. The fruit was fresh, the bread was warm, and the milk was cold and sweet. Cael apologized over the lack of coffee (she said she didn’t like it) but Joske waved it off. He was an athlete, he said, and preferred not to trust his performance to chemicals anyway. It was a bit of a grandiose thing to say, but the way he said it made it funny instead of pompous. She laughed and reminded him not to eat too quickly. He’d just woken up as a Toa yesterday, after all, and he was still getting accustomed to his new body. Joske accepted the advice and did his best not to wolf down everything in sight. As they ate, he asked how long she’d lived in Ga-Koro. “As long as I can remember,” she said, spreading jam on a piece of bread. “It’s where I grew up, and I’ve never found a reason to leave.” “I can see why,” the Toa of fire replied through a mouthful of fruit. “You’ve got it all here. Sun, beach, water, beautiful women—” He caught himself and smiled sheepishly. “—I mean waves. Beautiful waves. For surfing. You ever done it?” Usually, Joske would’ve already tossed out a half-dozen lines far more risqué than that. The Kohlii star was known for his cranked-to-eleven charm, and he had the marks on his bedpost to prove it. But he’d decided not to hit on Cael. Sure, he’d retain his trademark sarcasm, wit, suave, maybe throw in a flirt or two… but nothing past that. What’s this? A conscience? “I haven’t,” the healer replied, breaking his train of thought. “I guess it’s not my style.” “And what is your style?” His eyes crinkled mischievously. “Knitting by the fire?” “Try saving daredevils who get out of their depth,” she shot back. Joske clapped a hand to his chest in mock agony. “Karz! She heals with one hand and kills with the other!” They laughed. “Seriously though,” he continued, pouring himself another glass of milk. “You’ve lived in Ga-Koro your whole life and never once got the urge to pack up and see the world? There’s a lot of island out there.” “I’ve left once or twice,” she admitted. “I’ve been to Onu-Koro before, and Ta-Koro a couple times. But you’ve seen a lot more than that, I’m guessing.” He nodded. “Yeah. I mean, away games are half the fun of Kolhii. As much as I love playing home games, hearing the Ta-Koro crowd chant my name…” he drifted off, a lazy smile playing on his lips. “Well, it feels just as good to shut down another team on their home turf. Did you ever hear about the time I beat Hewkii six to one in Po-Koro?” She shook her head. “I don’t keep up with Kolhii much, to be honest. But tell me.” “Well, it’s kind of hard to do that game justice,” he said with a laugh. “I’m an athlete, not a poet. But let’s just say it was legendary…” *** “It’s not fair,” she said again. Her fingernails dug into her shoulders as she hugged herself tighter, but the pain seemed to be coming from far away. Everything was far away now, everything that mattered and everything that she loved, and she couldn’t get it back. She choked back another sob and let her arms fall and hang limply at her sides. The rocks remained unmoved by her grief, and their insolence turned her sorrow to sudden anger. “It’s! Not! Fair!” she screamed, and the sound scraped her throat raw as it passed. She stepped forward and kicked the pile of stones, scattering them to the snow. Her foot blossomed with pain, but it only fueled her fury. Fists clenched, she emptied her lungs again and the scream tore itself from her chest to echo across the unforgiving mountain. She kicked again and again with all the grace of a drunk, lashing out against the lifeless rocks that dared remind her that he was gone, and she didn’t stop until no two of them stood together. The rocks lay strewn across the snow like drops of paint on a canvas. The painter stood over them, breathing hard, her shoulders rising and falling and her eyes glassy with tears. She shuddered. What crime had she committed to deserve this? Surely she had done some awful thing and this was penance, to stand alone in the cold and never again feel his warmth. To never again see the light in his eyes or the way he smiled. His smile was effortless, she remembered, it came to his lips like it was meant to be there, like he’d been born smiling. She desperately tried to fix it in her memory, to memorize the line of his jaw and curve of his mouth before time stole it away. That was the cruelest punishment of all: to know that one day she was doomed to forget the blue of his eyes (like ice on the ocean, like the sky after a storm, like the sea under the sun) and the sound of his laugh (like water over rocks, like birds’ wings, like the wind in the trees) and the way he held her like she might break (like she was made of glass, or spiders’ silk, or light). Time was the enemy now. She felt tears trickle down her cheeks as she stared down at the scattered rocks, stark against the snow. Time had taken Joske from her, and she was still here, a blue figure standing over dark stones. *** They sat and talked together. Night hung over the island, a vast black sheet studded with constellations of twinkling stars. The trees of Ga-Wahi swayed under the sky as a gentle breeze made their leaves rustle and their boughs creak. These sounds mingled with the soft noises of the jungle: wild Rahi stalked through the undergrowth, and insects chirruped and clicked as they flitted from place to place. In the midst of this, two Toa sat on a rocky outcropping overlooking a river, silhouetted against the canvas of the sky. Joske had come here to be alone—to sort out his thoughts and figure out what to do next and how to keep his team together while they did it. It was hard enough being a new Toa, and harder still having the fate of the island resting on your shoulders. The Toa of fire would’ve liked nothing better than to hang up his quest and return to an easy life of Kolhii games and adoring fans, but that wasn’t an option. He had a job to do and a destiny to meet, and nothing would stand in his way. So he had come here to be alone. And yet—for some reason, he didn’t mind that he wasn’t. He leaned back against the rock and ran a hand along its surface, feeling the grooves and bumps under his fingertips. The two of them had talked for awhile about a lot of things: the Toa Code, their quest, the weather… regardless of the subject, talking with Cael was helpful. She straightened his thoughts out, untangling his quandaries with a practiced hand. They were a good team: her practical outlook balanced his outbursts of passion. But more than that, they enjoyed talking with each other. It was easy, even natural. “So there I was, leaning backwards over the table,” he said. “I thought for sure I was gonna drop the cue. Or snap my wrists. You know, one of the two.” She laughed. “Par for the course with you.” “Har har. But I had a hundred widgets on the line, not to mention my pride. So there was no way I couldn’t at least try to make the shot. “Naturally.” “I remembered my training—‘my training’ being that one time I watched Dorian Shaddix make the same shot. I took a deep breath. Easy in, easy out, and boom. Sunk it.” “Fascinating,” she said playfully. “So, when do we get to the part of the story where you actually meet this Dorian? I thought’s that what you were telling me.” “I’m getting there! Karz, woman, you’ve got no patience.” “Sorry. You know me, impatient as always. Can never wait for anything.” He chuckled and squeezed her hand. “Lucky you’ve got me around. You know, to teach you all those virtues, like patience, caution, common sense…” He trailed off and winked, and they both laughed. There was a sense of timelessness there, under the night sky. Like evening was a dream and morning was a myth and neither might actually exist. But if this was all there was, Cael would be satisfied. It would be enough. “Cael,” Joske said, his smile fading. “I need to tell you something. Not about pool, or Kolhii, or anything like that. She nodded. He took a deep breath and looked her in the eyes. “Look, I don’t know how all this is going to end. Tomorrow we’re going to go to Ga-Koro, find the last Crystal, and then I'll be off to find the Wanderer's Company and the Keeping Place... before fighting Heuani. I still have many questions left unanswered, and I don't know if I'll find answers for them all in time, let alone feel confident in my abilities. There are so many things I am unsure of right now, but I do have one immovable constant: you." He swallowed hard but didn’t break her gaze. "Cael, I love you. I love you so much. So much so that when this is all over, I want to spend the rest of my life with you. But I’m not going to ask for that. Not yet. Will you just stay here with me tonight, and just gaze at the stars? I don't want to go back right away, back to the pressures and choices and destiny... just us. The calm before the storm, I guess. And maybe a kiss that I don't have to steal?" She leaned into him, her heart beating so loud she swore it seemed to reverberate through the air. She had never anticipated something so much and felt so nervous at the same time. And yet, somehow, it felt right. Something she'd been waiting on for a long time. She opened her mouth to reply, but found herself, for once in her life, with nothing at all to say. Joske had said it all. Instead, she kissed him under the sky. No one was around to see, except for the stars. Those glittering points of light bore sole witness to the promise: whatever happened after this, neither of them would be alone. *** She was still here. Alone on the mountain, standing over a grave. This was her curse, to carry on in presence and absence. Long after others were allowed to move on, she remained, steadfast and lonely as a lighthouse. She persisted, even in the face of what now lay before her: an impossible expanse of empty time. She was no legendary hero. Those mythical men and women in the Turaga’s stories—they rose to a grand occasion, a climactic clash of good and evil that left the world forever changed. They lived and died for that decisive event, then laid their burdens down when it was done, and the curtain fell on their stories. But she was the epilogue. She rose from her seat and left the theatre to brave the outside world. She was allowed to partake of the great stories, to follow along from the first chapter until the last, but she was not allowed to rest when they came to an end. No—long after the book closed, she was doomed to persist. The immeasurable burden of time weighed heavy on her shoulders. It was an immensity of time, a colossal expanse of mundane hours and long days. No chronicler would bother with that time—it would never be tallied on the Wall or studied in the Sanctum. That time, like her, existed in the spaces between the great stories, enduring between lines and long past final sentences. She wiped her eyes, but the tears were gone now. What she found instead was a weary emptiness. The wind whistled gently over the snow, but its chill couldn’t touch her anymore. “I can’t do it, Joske,” she said softly. “I’m so tired. I thought I could. I promised I could. I know I said I’d wait for you, but I can’t.” Her voice broke again, and she covered her mouth with a hand. “I can’t,” she repeated, as if this confession was the secret phrase that would finally convince someone, anyone to listen and take this burden away. “I can’t.” No one was listening, but she pressed desperately on. “I can’t wait for you. Not for this long; it’s too much. You should’ve known that. I never would’ve asked this of you.” She breathed in—a long, shaky breath that filled her lungs to bursting and made her chest ache. Her throat hurt. The sky was too bright: the endless blue was vivid and cold and it bore down on her like the weight of all the time that lay before her, vast and utterly empty. *** They lay quiet together. The sun hung heavy over the horizon like a nodding head, like it was blinking back sleep and couldn’t wait to set. Its golden light pierced the frosty windows and fell soft over the room, illuminating a couch facing a smoldering fireplace. Two Toa sat there, covered in a thick blanket. One awake, one asleep. Joske had nodded off awhile ago, exhausted after a day of training. Each day was a new whirlwind of activity where he desperately pushed himself to be better, to move faster and hit harder. He woke before dawn every day to practice his swordplay, followed that with a morning of meditation and studies, then spent the afternoon training and sparring with anyone he could find. This handful of evening hours was his only free time, but he was often too tired to enjoy it. Cael didn’t seem to mind. She rested her head on his shoulder and watched the flames flicker. It was enough to be together, she thought, just to lean on his body and feel his warmth. To know that he was there. She envied him, though. She couldn’t remember the last time she had slept through the night. Closing her eyes brought no comfort anymore: the darkness reminded her of the cold shadows beneath the island, the ones that had taken her and swallowed her whole. So she stayed awake until she was too weary to fight her own weariness, and then she would sleep for a few blissful hours, only to awake in a cold sweat, heart pounding. Antrim said the nightmares would pass in time, but for now, she sat and watched the fire. “Morning,” Joske’s sleepy voice drew her from her thoughts. “What time is it?” “Nearly sundown,” she replied with a tired smile. “You’ve only been sleeping for half an hour.” He rubbed his eyes. “Sorry. I guess I passed out.” “That means you’re tired. Your body needs the rest.” “I can think of something else it needs more,” he teased, planting a kiss on the side of her head. “Like… a snack.” “There’s fruit on the table.” “Boring.” “Bread in the cupboard?” “Nah.” “There might still be some leftovers in the icebox.?” “I was thinking… maybe I’ll just eat you,” he said playfully, and mimed taking a bite out of her shoulder. “There’s gotta be a reason I call you honey. Or sweetie. It’s cause you’re just too…” He trailed off, noticing that she wasn’t laughing with him like she usually did. His smile faded. “You’re thinking about him again.” She nodded, suddenly afraid to speak. He sat up and looked for her eyes. “It’s okay. You’re here, with me.” Silence. “Say it, Cael.” “I’m here,” came the soft reply. “With you.” “I love you.” “You love me.” “I won’t let anything happen to you.” “You won’t let anything happen to me.” “I promise.” “You promise.” “I promise,” he repeated, and placed a kiss on her forehead. He hugged her tightly as the sun finally sank below the snow-covered hills, leaving a twilight canvas that stretched from earth to heaven. She breathed in his scent and closed her eyes. For this brief moment, the darkness was comforting, because she was with him. She was home. *** The sun still shone down, but now the healer’s shadow lay behind her, stretched across the snow. Time passed, as was its nature, and she was doomed to move with it while Joske was left farther and farther behind. She had chosen this, hadn’t she? This was her place: not in the great stories, but before them, and after. For by their very nature, healers must exist in the aftermath. Theirs is to deal with the fallout, to mend what was broken and rebuild what was ruined. Joske could never have survived in peacetime: he was restless, always aching for the next chance to prove his strength. He would’ve gone crazy. But her? Her place was here, in the space between stories. The years the history books sum up in single sentences. There was nothing for her in glorious battles, in dangerous quests, in climactic duels of shadow and light. No, hers was the aftermath. To pick up the pieces and do her best to carry on. She bent down and began to collect the stones. They were cold; each one numbed her fingers as she gently lifted it from the snow. Silently, the tears came again, running down her face and falling to the snow like drops of rain. Hers were the patient hours and sleepless nights. Hers were the broken wrists and sprained ankles and the detritus of ordinary life. Hers were the survivors, like herself: the ones who were blessed and cursed to live in the vast shadow of what they had lost. One by one, she placed the rocks back where she had found them. The pile grew slowly but steadily until it resembled again that marker she had destroyed. It no longer seemed an affront to her, but a tender reminder of the one she had loved, and who had loved her in return. It was no sprint they ran, these survivors, but a marathon. They would set a steady plodding pace across the innumerable years, through hills and valleys, neither to break into a sprint nor to stop and rest. Like all the others, she would run bearing precious cargo: the memories of a man she could never forget. She would carry his legacy in gentle hands across the vast face of implacable time. She would remember Joske Nimil long after the stories ended. She would carry their love until the end of all things.
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