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EmperorWhenua

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  1. IC Stannis | Kumu "Unless this temple's god is less discerning than vampires," Stannis said absentmindedly, but nevertheless with intent as he ambled away from the monolith with its frescoes and instead moved his inspection to one of the dimly glowing domes.
  2. IC Stannis | Temple, Kumu “I did not,” Stannis said. “If the voices had something to say it seems they only had it for you to hear.” OOC | This is a puzzle. You already have the hints you need at this point.
  3. IC Leklo + Oreius | Airspace, Ambling Alp "Do as I must," Oreius caustically echoed under his breath. Years upon years of his life and liberty had been stripped from him, and all those days he had been left doing the bidding of others, of generals and kings, of seers and djinn, never able to single draw a breath for himself ever since he made a bargain with a devil. He had moved through the universe doing what he thought he wanted only for it to be pre-ordained and he fought in wars, shed his sweat and blood in accordance to his principles, and then discovered it was all according to someone else's plan. The beachhead of the N. Continent; the plains of Kahzanhi; the forests of Daxia; the streets of Metru Nui; all these and more were because of another's whims and he, a once-too Maru of honor and justice, had been succumbed to by his hubris and the one attachment of love he ever had. Inu still beat in his shoulder like some terrible parrot that chirped sweet pictures in his neural system, and the kraata his beloved had become had become a constant reminder of his folly. Hatred stirred in his heart that burned brighter than as his own flames and hotter than his love for Inu, an unabated anger that reviled both Stannis the "Once-brother" and himself for his own stupidity. He spent his time stewing, despising everything that reeked of the Wanderer and yet ever being in his patron's shadow. No matter where he went or what he did he could not snuff out his anger, regardless how much sand he poured on the embers or spit upon the ashes. He tried to put himself out of his misery more than once, early on, only to find the bullets ricochet off his chin like flicked stones; he threw himself against marauders more than once, hoping to be vanquished in honor one final time, but instead turned the tides of battle and shirked away from the spotlight of glory because of what it reminded him of. Do as I must, he thought to himself bitterly. And nothing more. Finally he found his ship, hovering in the air exactly where he left it, and realized immediately there was no chance of the airships docking to make the transfer easy. Unwilling to negotiate with the controls or be too careful with his fate he simply sidled the Ambling Alp several bio above the Lapyx, and opened the gangway to exit the ship. "Take the controls," he commanded to Leklo as he got up from the seat and moved to the ramp that funneled thundering air into the hull of the small research vessel. "I'm jumping." "What are you doing?" Leklo asked loudly over the roar of wind, a spur of disbelief and concern coming from his lips as he realized the dangerous stunt his fellow toa was about to attempt—and wished it was he who undertook it instead. "What I must!" "But what if you miss?" "Then I will dash my body on the rocks below... and I will curse their kind when I get up unscathed," he roared angrily and emphatically pointed an accusatory finger at Parnassus. Oreius jumped. What are his chances of success? Leklo calculated as he took the pilot's seat and turned the Alp south. OOC | Alp and guests to Kumu. @Toru Nui @Eyru
  4. IE Temple | Kumu Whisper had rationales that since this temple was made for and in honor of another Aspect of Makuta that the energies inside would respond to the influence of another. Her tendril of a hand touched the oily, black stone and she could feel it pulsing with some form of energy inside but could not discern the nature of it, and in a test of its nature she began to channel her Shadow elemental powers into the monument. The monolith did not react to the shadow abilities of the younger Aspect, but something else stirred. In a barrage, she felt the psychic currents in the air ripple around her mind like invisible lightning bolts, coursing through and then vanishing and leaving echoes of horror and chaos in their wakes. The sensation had muffled everything else in a torrent of white noise that turned everything else into a din, and in the sound-muffling chamber the outsiders were in the barrage felt thunderous in Whisper's mind. Barely discernible in the wash of energy were faint whispers speaking directly to... her. Ỳ̺͚̪̣ó̶̵̦͇ù̬͕͇͎̲͈̯͝?͙͖̺͚͕̫̫͞ ͏̟̱͈̺̞͉̤ ̨̹̭̤̘͕̮͍̼́̀N̶̢̢̗̭̳̠̟o̭̹͈̫̬͍͡—͎̺͓̝̦͈̰̮y͇̞̭̺̞̖͈ͅo̼̪̭̬̺̩u̦͈̙̺͚̮͜͞?̭̗̼͇̟͡ ̴̪̣̬̫̮̻̀͡ ̹͚͖H̨̫̳̀a͙v͖̮͢e҉̷̤̣̝͎̫̲͕͓̥́ ̤̬̖͝y̡҉̥̗̱o̻̭̗͠u̜͇̹͠͞ ̷̛̤̘̮͙̼̫̘͙̪c̛͙̼̻̀o̩͉͔̥̗̳͇͝ͅm̭̜̟͙̘̭͘͝e̬̫͕̰̫ ̖̦̰̫͠t̶͜҉͖͉o̥̮͔̙̭̺͜ ̡̺̜d҉̘͙̭̱͇͙e͕̞̻̯͖l̳̲̬̱͖̣̺͝ͅi̵̸̯͙̺̤͟v̝̬͍̩̻̞̰͡e͞͏̵̩͉̺̜̣͎̹ͅr̛̠̜̥͔͞ ̶͔͙̫̺̝͔̝u͇̤͈̥̩̩̼s̷̭̜̜̪̘͓̩?͕̘̯̻̯̱͘͟ ̤̩̭̱̙̱͘ ͏̷̖̖͍̦͡H̢̳a̢̮̳͕͕̼̮͕͍v̢̢͖͉̫̀e̥͝ ̛̦̖̟̣͇̤̮̪̕y̲̦̳̬̣̞̣̹ǫ̣̤̫̜̭͚̀ụ͇͟ ͏̴̧̩̤͙͎̳̠̬̳c̰̗̤̙̹o̶̘͚̬͉͝ḿ̡͎͈͉̜͚̘̥̭e̵̵̼̯ ̴͇͇t̸͙̥͔͍̩̤̘͘͟o̲̝̬̖͔̱ ̹̻c̠̮̥̖̗̜̳͠͞͡ͅh̡̠͚͙͠͝a̮͚̪̭̝̠̦͝n̶̯̥͇̰͎̭̳͍͢g̱̦̞̭̮̠̠e҉͓͎̮̯̦̹͇̗ ̵̹̮͍͕͎͙͇̞u̶̲̞̦̫s̜̣̣̗̤͖͇̰͢?̴̨̲͙̫ Stannis stood by idly, observing Whisper with a mixture of concern and astonishment. He, too, felt the ripples of energy but only the blank distortion—the spirits did not speak to any other save Whisper—and turned his attention from his fellow kindred to the obelisk and then again to the chamber they were in. "This is a place of arcane worship," he said once Whisper seemed to come to once more. "Look at the glyphs on the monument—they must indicate how prayer is conducted." Upon some closer inspection on the block of inky stone that rose up high he could just barely discern inscriptions of faith and destruction. In it, people could be seen praying to a god of some kind, and all manner of things were seen being sacrificed on overturned bowls to the god's honor. Blood splatters were all over the base of the monument like red lichen, percolating up the flat sides of the monolith in a bizarre gory camouflage pattern such that it was hard to tell where the floor ended and the monolith rose up from the floor. "Are you quite alright, Whisper?" @Crimson Jester @Unreliable Narrator
  5. IC Stannis | Temple, Kumu "No, I don't think so," the wizard said. His eyes caressed the carvings on the monolithic stone, peeling past the shadows and noticing the carvings that suggested an offering of sorts. "Its a religious artefact, it doesn't proffer answers like the door did." He shrugged noncommittally; "But hitting things is always a viable option." @Crimson Jester
  6. IC Stannis | Temple, Kumu "I am here, Grime," the Wanderer's bellowed, but despite the force in his voice there was no booming echo or reverberation within the chamber. Instantly, a chill sunk down his spine as he recalled the vivid experiences he had in the Far Shore and the battle fought in the bowels of his counterpart's fortress there. The floor was damp and soft to the foot, and while it was not mycelium like before but instead a carpet of mottled red and black it still produced the same effect. The similarities were all too poignant to ignore as this temple, too, was a fortress owned by another Aspect of Makuta--and, if the runes and histories were any indication, had indeed once very nearly achieved godhood in its own right. The scars from Great Spirit Caedast's duel were still fresh on his flesh, as were the lessons learned, and so Stannis trod carefully. "Meet at the obelisk!" he helpfully ordered to the others, unwittingly drawn subconsciously towards it and pulling the others along as well without realizing Korruhn was already there. @Gecko Greavesy @Crimson Jester
  7. IE Temple of ???? + Door to Temple of ??? + Stannis | Kumu Upon Whisper's asking of the door, two symbols that hadn't indicated anything before glowed. One moment, Whisper was outside the temple, and the next she was inside the antechamber. On the inside of the door's threshold was a chamber, dark and warm like the insides of a living rahi's chest. A low, dim glow of red radiated from strange half-spheres that dotted the chamber like igneous cysts, glowing the way old coal chunks do as they gave off the final throes of light and heat before finally expiring to entropy. Whisper found herself floating at some indiscernible point inside, and her eyes could not seem to see the farthest reaches of the chamber. Sound seemed to vanish relatively quickly within, as though it got snared by some dampeners far before birthing echoes, and she could tell that the floor that felt wet with oil. Korruhn was off at some other point in the vast chamber. The only other thing she could sense was a monolithic presence ... no, an absence on a far end that stood five times taller than it was wide, and it beckoned to him like a well of gravity pulling satellites around it. An answer expressed itself in her mind, a note left by the door. "Who Built You?" a poem. To say I'm 'made of dreams' is not quite right, but hands that Build put me here. I'm a door, nothing more, a welcome mat on the path to see the Dream. Another pair of sigils came to life on the door, and in response Grime was whisked away as well. He appeared in a different place in the antechamber, different still from the others, and a poem came into his mind as well, planted by the strange portal's power. "Sing me a song, you're the doorman" a poem. See me? Hark! Sing a see-saw synth, skylark! Sync up! Syncopate—in C sharp! I'm a door, not a Post-It, but I tell you what! I'll flip a Quarter. After Grime passed through, Stannis spied around the darkness of the labyrinthine city of temples. Seeing nothing that stood out to him as a reason for concern, he turned to face the portal's runes and asked his question, in turn. "I have journeyed a long time to come to this place. It's not a pilgrimage, mind you—it's something more. I hope what I need is inside, for if it is not... the world will be cursed to be the same again. Praytell, good door, what is your name?" "Say my name" a poem. My maker was not the most creative; what's this grey door's name except... 'Doorian?' No voice called back out to him, at least not immediately. The monolithic presence simply stood abjectly, looming ever bigger yet no more threatening than before; it was, it seemed, simply a monolith. Upon some closer inspection on the block of inky stone that rose up high he could just barely discern inscriptions of faith and destruction. In it, people could be seen praying to a god of some kind, and all manner of things were seen being sacrificed on overturned bowls to the god's honor. Blood splatters were all over the base of the monument like red lichen, percolating up the flat sides of the monolith in a bizarre gory camouflage pattern such that it was hard to tell where the floor ended and the monolith rose up from the floor. Just then, the companions appeared in dull flashes of red like flares bursting to flame and then instantly being smothered. First one, then another in quick order, and finally a third after a few seconds of pause, each at different places in the vast chamber. Their footsteps were barely audible thumps, their words garbled gibberish muffled by the air, and a palatable electric sense of tension rose around them all.
  8. IC Leklo | Airspace in Ambling Alp The former Alpinist wasn't buying it. "You showed me evidence of Stannis' place as an Aspect of Makuta and I believed, but you pose only conjecture of his bringing this creature about," he said, his tone low and critical. "That, I do not believe." He wasn't just an adventurer, of course--in his other life he was as much a scholar as any other Ko-Matoran, relying on facts of witnessed research and educated introspection. While not as set on scientific adherence as a Ga-Matoran was, his principles forbade him from assuming something simply by appearance alone. Facts needed to support a case, no matter how simple or farfetched they may be, and so Leklo, the poor, unfortunate man battered by unseen winds he could only feel by their flavors on his tongue, felt he could fully trust in one less hero then. In the absence of being able to place faith in anyone, he needed to believe in evidence. "Your theory is weak," he finally declared. "Oreius will find his airship--" "Found it." "--and then we will go to Kumu, but do not take this support as belief of your claims."
  9. IC Leklo | Airspace in the Ambling Alp "Your evidence makes your statement," Leklo said, not sure what to do with the knowledge he was being given. It had to be true, of course—he'd seen Stannis perform unfathomable dark magic in the grove around Kini-Koro like pulling Oreius from thin air like a bunny from a hat, and the old wizard always seemed larger than life and omnipresent at times, it was like he possessed some power begotten from beyond a veil. Before they all arrived to this land called Zakaz he was without the context of an Aspect of Makuta, no label befitting the Wanderer's strangeness, but now that they came to understand the spirits of this place the former Alpinist couldn't help but contextualize his knowledge of the wizard again. Stannis was no mere wizard, he grasped, he was a djinn. He was not the warlock, he was the patron. "But wait one sec here, what does Stannis have to do with the Zivon? Like, how did he unleash this beast? That makes no d— sense."
  10. IC Leklo | Airspace in the Ambling Alp The NUVA Proxima's eyes widened at the all-but-said implication. "Let me be ice-clear what I hear you telling me: You're telling me the you are an Aspect of Makuta and that the Wanderer, the Warmage, the champion of Faith, high priest of Mata Nui, paragon of the Matoran, Toa Stannis Maru is one also? Has this been the case always?" Oreius said nothing aloud but Parnassus could almost feel the reverberating chuckle in the firespitter's mind.
  11. IC Leklo + Oreius | Airspace in the Ambling Alp "I'm finding my airship first," Oreius said, punching controls. "Fine, you do that," Leklo said, looking for all the world like he was trying to stay in charge of... something, anything. He wasn't really sure what he was in command of anymore, but Stannis had entrusted him with Korruhn's airship so he would keep the act up. "But right now, I need answers, and I feel like you have a great deal to tell me." He winced, not quite relishing any connection he had to the Mantan as well. "And also tell Ostrox. "Stannis told me he was going to the Far Shore to look for Korruhn, and promised to mentor me and answer all my questions when he returned. Why is it, then, that you are so eager to go to the Kumu Peninsula? Why do you think you'll find Stannis there? And—this one's probably a real kicker—what is the Wanderer to you? Because between your sudden and unannounced presence in Kini-Koro and obsession with Stannis, and the weird #### I saw go down between Stannis and Whisper and Oreius Maru outside the village, I have some concerns." He exhaled, metering his breath again once he realized how amped he had gotten when he felt his fingers digging into his palms from his clenched fists. He was angry, determined more than ever to find answers, and disappointed with how much his hopes had been touched with promises of a future only to be phantasms in the night. Parnassus, whoever and whatever they were, had become an icon for him to latch his frustration on, and he was sure to learn something from the being. This was his desperation, the righteous fury of a Builder too long buffeted by winds of fate he had no knowledge of, and the agonized screams of someone who desperately wanted rest.
  12. IC Stannis + Door | Kumu The door did not respond to Whisper's second question; it was not interested in the mundane matters of the visitors and pilgrims who had once come in droves, and likewise it had no answers for their personal quests. "Why are we here," had the premise of a good question—why?—but as soon as Whisper made the question about her—we—the door turned its focus elsewhere. The fact that they were at the door—here—had nothing to do with the door itself and everything about the people without. This was an answer to be provided by a peer, not a portal, and if Whisper wished to gain admittance she would have to try a little harder to appeal to the door's peculiarities. Stannis, however, true to his tradition of answering when asked, provided context to Whisper and Grime. "Why, to get inside, of course." He waited a beat. There was no laughter. "Hrrm. Inside this temple lies the remains of history in a different sort of fashion. This edifice stands not in the honor of a spirit of records and history, but of conquest and absconding. Things are preserved not for to be used by many but appreciated by one. He is long since defeated and resides here in what is both his sanctum and prison. Will it be dangerous? Absolutely—unquestionably so—but we will be able to find what we seek and more." IE* Temple | Kumu As Korruhn gained his bearings in the great antechamber he was right to become anxious by the things he sensed. This was a holy place to some people, a temple rife with the sensations of ruinous bloodletting and the lingering echoes of screams eons ago, and those emotions and traumas persistently hung in the air like laundry hung out to dry but frozen in time, dangling until stirred again by a breeze. Korruhn's presence was that wind, his psyche rippling throughout the room like a rock tossed into a pond, and as those ripples returned to the point of origin, back to Korruhn, he could all but taste the anguish like iron on his tongue. He anchored himself with his gravity powers in an attempt to steady himself and avoid the strange attraction to the great monolith that pulled him ever is slightly, but he realized rather quickly that it was a moot point. The monolith did not truly pull him in a physical sense and he had remained stationary ever since he'd entered the chamber in the first place. His activated gravity powers pushed his feet further into the moist, peaty floor, but there was no other effect and it seemed the rules of physics still worked wherever he was. There was danger in the chamber, true enough, but there was nothing threatening him. He would have to investigate the place further to determine what was expected of him. As his senses calmed somewhat he realized the door had done its due. An answer to his question, momentarily obscured by the heightened anxiety and adrenaline from teleporting inside, blossomed in his mind. "Why is this one's door different?" a poem. I'm a forlorn soul much like you, but while you walk I can only stand. A door is just a door if it admits, and I admit this to you. * = In Environment
  13. IC Stannis | Kumu "Doors do not kill, Grime," the Wanderer said in reply, "doors admit. Sometimes they do so by physically revealing an ingress, sometimes not, but regardless they all open and this door swings on mystical hinges. It is not broken; I imagine this is a mere feature of this temple's system of prayer." He looked to the others with an intense curiosity. What would Whisper and the Builder ask to intrigue the Door of Answers?
  14. IC Stannis + Door | Kumu Korruhn, bedecked with the trappings of depression and loss, emblazoned with the sigils of obscurity and death, did not look like a scholar but he was a scholar regardless. He liked to recall a time when he was a Cartographer and adventurer, waxing yarns of maps drawn and quadrants scoured like like a weaver, but mapmaking was not the sum of his profession. Being a member of the Cartographer's Guild was never as narrowly defined as the name implied, it spoke to a diversity of skills, each of which were certainly impressive as singular traits, all culminating to a vocation fed ultimately by an insatiable desire to explore and learn, and in that vein Korruhn, like all the other former members of that august brotherhood, was every bit a student and professor of life and its history. He was a scholar, minted ultimately as a Chronicler, and it was in his scholastic sense of curiosity that he asked his question of the door. A simple question, not verbose or pretentious like some would expect from a former Ko-Matoran, just a small observation that hinted at some pattern in the fractal that reached across all the temples in Kumu. The keyhole was obvious upon the door, which waited with ominous patience for the right tool to be fed into its sinister runes which all screamed for something. Open us! they seemed to say. Ask us! they seemed to plead. Their answers were plastered on the panels like solutions to a quiz that was never handed out. It was a devious joke, in a way, the way a bill of currency on the ground will almost inevitably be picked up by someone. It doesn't matter if you're in Metru Nui or Karzahni, Hong Kong or Kathmandu, Billund, DN or Billings, MN, the money will be picked up even if its utterly useless in the country you're in—the value of the money is understood because it is currency, and while it may not be usable where you are, it is still, ultimately, usable. Money can be used for goods and services; answers can be used for entry and exit. The door offered answers to be given out and people would flock to it, egged by the mystery and the intrinsic value they expected of the door, and so they fed it keys for answers, because it was a door, and it did not matter what was behind it—doors always led to something, even when it was nothing. Let me know if I've lost you. The door, keen as a sphinx, took Korruhn's inquisitive inquiry and mulled it over for an instant like a child pondering an insecurity, and then it did what it did not do for Whisper: It reacted, rewarding the question that made it ponder inwardly by giving Korruhn what he wanted. Before Stannis could manage a reply to his question or make a dramatic gesture towards the portal a handful of runes among the many dimmed and then flashed back to brilliant life, followed by a low hum. One moment, Korruhn was there... and then he was not, swallowed by the door. "Who knows?" the Wanderer finally said in the wake of their companion's teleportation. "The door does." * * * * On the inside of the door's threshold was a chamber, dark and warm like the insides of a living rahi's chest. A low, dim glow of red radiated from strange half-spheres that dotted the chamber like igneous cysts, glowing the way old coal chunks do as they gave off the final throes of light and heat before finally expiring to entropy. Korruhn found himself standing at some indiscernible point inside, and his eyesight could not seem to reach the farthest reaches of the chamber. Sound seemed to vanish relatively quickly within, as though it got snared by some dampeners far before birthing echoes, and his footsteps sounded like dull thumps on the glistening floor that felt wet with oil. The only other thing he could sense was a monolithic presense... no, an absence on a far end that stood five times taller than it was wide, and it beckoned to him like a well of gravity pulling satellites around it.
  15. IC Yumiwak | Irnakk's Tooth I took great pleasure in tearing my enemies apart, it sparked joy to dominate my foes, and I thought that in overwhelming someone as powerful and resolute as Zataka with my consciousness and making her mine I would feel the same fireworks of endorphins, but I was wrong. It brought me no satisfaction, I realized, because Zataka—for all her independent power brought subservient, she was not my enemy—she was an ally. For some reason, my cruelty of betraying her struck differently than other mind-flays, and for some reason when she gave her fierce cry I felt the urge to mirror it as well, shouting unintelligibly after her, in her own pain. I would never forget her face right before she stepped off the ledge and into the caldera. I couldn't forget—it was emblazoned in my mind as though branded into my memory of her. Once she stepped off there was a calm, and I imagined the quiet came from Irnakk Himself taking particular care in remaking Zataka's magnificence. The volcano churned slower for a moment, and in that relative placidity I stepped forward and collected the pouch she'd dropped on purpose. Whether it was a keepsake for me or a precious artefact she had hoped to preserve for some other reason I was bound to find out soon enough, and I opened the small sack with great curiosity as soon as I moved away from the edge. But the look on her face... made me think this pouch's contents were not for me to keep, not for long. Some small prescience in the back of my mind made me think she was going to ask for this back, however she came back. IC Stannis | Kumu "She asks, 'what awaits us within!'" Stannis echoed animatedly and looked at the glowing sigils on the door like a Steve Harvey impersonator, only he was without the unbridled vigor of the game show host or the soul of the real Blue Cheese, but the door remained shut and showed no signs of changing. His silver eyes gleamed in expectant enthusiasm, either in pretense or reality, but they died to a dull pearlescent once they saw the stoic result. "It seems that was not the question."
  16. IC Stannis | Kumu Korruhn had not gestured generally or suggested any temple would do for his lust for action, and as Stannis' eyes followed the trajectory of the void-touched man's finger he raised an eyebrow inquisitively. It was not that a particularly dangerous shrine had been selected for their next foray, although the Aspect within knew that it was lethal and had built up his powers with the intention of needing them in the Kumu sanctums, to even that the temple Korruhn had chosen was in any aesthetic fashion more becoming of adventure than any other who's unholy portals dotted the region. Stannis' surprise, rather, was because it seemed that despite Miserix's presence and the lack of fate's strings pulling Korruhn forward, he once again showed that he was somehow intrinsically linked to the All-seeker. "That temple," Stannis stated with a sagacious nod of his weary head, "is why I have come here." Left unstated to the collective company was any suggestion that his powers alone were intended to be sufficient to overcome the challenges inside, a silence borne both from his taciturn withholding of knowledge and humble hesitation that he was powerful enough after all. The edifice itself was a palace of the night, rising in mist-enshrouded battlements of obsidian and gneiss that loomed like shadows of colossi constructed from bricks of black skulls and bones. [1] A sparse number of torches were scattered over the exterior, casting erratically placed illumination of unearthly-colored flames like a multitude of cat's eyes peering back at the poor souls who beheld their sinister perches, and their light showed glimmering glimpses of lifeless vines crawling over the temple. Their ichor-leeching tendrils had long since perishing from starvation, murdered by the very same merciless structure they had tried to overcome, and their withering corpses creaked gently from the heaving breaths of the Kumu's living foundations. It was not that the temples were all dead, but life in Kumu was hidden behind tenebrous veils; just as shadow's moral scale was neither good or evil, evidence of life was neither seen or heard but nevertheless it existed somehow beyond where minds fathomed. The warmage led the way to the temple's entrance, and his gleaming protosteel polearm clinked at ancient cobblestones in a slow metronome's scale as they approached the unwelcoming entranceway. Its portal threshold glowed dimly from the ruby-red sigils and runic inscriptions laden on its ebony door panels that spoke in the same language as the Builder's suvas and high places, but more harsh in tense, fraught with urges primal and abyssal that made the text alien in its brevity, and the jamb's stonework looked for all the world like the petrified effigies of lost souls fluxing either toward or away from the entrance with their ghastly visages either horrified by what they'd seen within or panicked in attempting too gain admittance, [2] yet regardless they all hung frozen in time and space and moved neither toward or against any definable objective. "The door's key is not an answer, but a question," he said, "the answer is the keyhole. It will not be the same for any two of us; only the answer is common." @Unreliable Narrator @Eyru @Crimson Jester @Gecko Greavesy
  17. IC Leklo | Ambling Alp "..." The former Ko-Matoran shrugged in his head and looked up the hall to the cockpit where Oreius held the stick. Oreius ominously simply pointed at the radio in the cockpit. "Yeah, the radio. It can reach the other airship." He looked more carefully out the windshield "Ships."
  18. IC Yumiwak | Irnakk's Tooth An overwhelming rush of empowerment came over me as I realized my mental hold on Zataka was pushing through into her. The warlord's powers seared back and prevented me from entirely annihilating her consciousness but I was not shocked by her defenses—I already knew she was a potent psychic, after all—but I pressed further, shoving an unrelenting wave of red into her mind, filling her vision with ruby tint, coloring her thoughts with red. 'Willhammer' is what the family tomes called it, the skill of conquering other people's minds until it was as good as your own, and I'd grown adept at it, to say the least. It was a last-resort of sorts, the ability I go to when I need to wipe all memories or turn a being into a shambling husk, or if I accidentally threatened something tantamount to a fate worse that death and the like. I liked my violence and massacring of my enemies, but something was just kind of neat about dominating another person from their inside and turning them into a puppet. I had no such visions of success with Zataka, however; she was always supposed to be something quite a bit more sentient. It was, ironically, that very same sentience that made things difficult for me now. I focused harder, galvanizing my assault against her, and worked all the more to shatter her will. Every thought strained against hers and I could all but feel the waves of psionic energy ripple through the air with a sizzling intensity. When I heard of someone who had toyed with a Mesi war party to pieces and clearly possessed the power to command and fight, I had to have her, but I was like a burnak chasing wagons until my perspective shifted towards an actual goal. Chaining Zataka up and making her feed me fruits would titillate my senses and sate my curiosities for a while, but those were just games. The stakes had changed, and so did my wants and needs. And what I wanted. What I needed. Was for Zataka. To become. My pet. (Was it getting hotter? Was the caldera coming to greater life, was my power frying the airwaves, or was my tight leather belt making me feel—-?) Zataka said, :I won’t forget this: {I hope that you don't.} Feeling there was no better time than the window of opportunity, I commanded Zataka to kneel and take my offering. She rejected the command at first, and then slowly, agonizingly, her legs buckled and she dropped to the ground as red still flushed her other thoughts away like a tide. She was still mine, I thought, with a great wicked grin over my face, still my pet. I handed her a lit torch, ordered her to take hold of it, and then gently caressed her mind with a final request that was not to be denied. {Light yourself aflame... and throw yourself in. And you'll be more powerful than you can imagine.} IC Stannis | Kumu "The Multiverse is exactly what it seems—a honeycomb of smaller dimensions in a greater hive, diverse and multifaceted as imagination extends. You were in Icarax's domain, a dimension set apart from the rest though still connected to this plane, and likely where the Chronicler has been hiding all this time." It worked exactly as his own small section of the universe was fashioned in the Hiripaki vault where he kept his most secret belongings, where only he and those he invited could enter. Not every Aspect had the skill or knowledge to find a portion of the multiverse for themselves, let alone the fortitude to claim it as their lair, but it was not an unheard of. These pocket dimensions were a thing made of Shadow, both present and yet impeccably hidden in the absences between realities, like a bottle floating at sea anchored in place by a bond. "Due to your uncanny link to it, you are the authority on the Far Shore, as I see it. What did Icarax's dungeon feel like to you in contrast to the upside down plane?" IC Leklo | Ambling Alp "Nah, man, hold up," Leklo protested. "You just arrived to Kini-Koro and now you want to leave it entirely? You and Stannis really are so very much alike, you know?" He looked out the stern viewing window at the shrinking, lumbering form of the tahtorak. This all wasn't going to be for nothing, not again, not after having waited his turn for so long only to be battered about like Fate's rag doll. He was determined to seize the opportunity now that it was presented to him, no matter the risks. If Parnassus wished to fight the Zivon creature as well and challenge its nightmarish might, it was possibly just the eldritch thing Leklo had been looking for to test his skills against. And perhaps it would be sufficient a thrill to awaken his powers at long last. "Okay, fine.You want to go away? Fine." The tall Nuva Proxima stood up to Parnassus evenly, eye to eye, and his icy eyes glistened with determination to venture over the horizon to whatever would happen next. "But I'm going with you." IC Hiripaki | Metru Nui Archives Sublevel Seven The computer did not like being moist. A small lizard scampered across the vault's foyer—how did it get there? Good question, but Hiripaki could not answer that riddle. The lizard was wet. The Vault's bulletproof casing would surely meet its end with the simple scientific law of osmosis, it seemed. Perhaps a Welcome one was out there? Hiripaki wondered. Perhaps... she would have to welcome one in herself. She did something she had never done before: She activated a beacon. * P I N G * It reverberated through the watery depths outside, an echo in a vast neural system. * P I N G * Maybe someone would hear it and come. Maybe it would be Oreius of the Maru, Leah of the Maru, or Okuo, or some other ally or would-be ally, and they would take her with them. * P I N G * If not, she would drown there. And all her knowledge would be lost. Stannis needed her. * P I N G *
  19. IC Stannis | Kumu "It has been few weeks since I told you to act as one of us in front of the Skakdi, Korruhn," the wizard said and chuckled low and mirthlessly. "The irony was intentional. I had hoped you would come here eventually—to be in our company. Miserix did right to bring you home." He gleefully took the pipe Korruhn passed to him and listened with rapt attention as he listened to its origin. He inhaled slow and steady, not too eager to burn the stuff too hotly or quickly but sipped it like a precious few drops of fine brandy from a snifter, just enough to indulge heartily without waste. True to Ga-Metruan make, it was sweet and herbal with notes of licorice, cinnamon, and black tea, intermingled with the mellow layers of walnut and freshly charred pinewood. The Ga-Metruan were understated masters of the tobacco arts, taking it with a scientific approach of innovation and careful experimentation than adhering to ancient recipes passed down through the eons. You never knew what you were going to get from a seller, what with their inventory as vast and ever-changing as the clouds in the sky, yet it was most assured to be of incredible quality and impeccable taste that brought to mind imagined setting as multifaceted as a fine-cut gemstone. The Wanderer's mind meandered to a scene cobbled together from the titillations to his senses, imagining a streetside cafe neighboring an antique bookseller on one side and a patisserie on the other, each exhibiting their odorous wares openly to intrigue passersby to partake and purchase. It was a calming pipe dream, one that he realized had long since turned to a sour pipe dream. He exhaled in a stream of thick white smoke that quickly vanished into the night as quick as the imagined memory was snuffed out. "I likely will not have it again," he murmured in gratitude for the briefest of escapes to a more placid time and place. The cycle had moved on from that place, and so he did, too. He passed the pipe back to Korruhn; it was the Void-touched's possession and his purview alone to share it with anyone else in their presence. "What do you two know of Icarax? Who is he in the hierarchy of Aspects?" "The Chronicler has always been. He must, if he is to fulfill his responsibility. His portfolio is a unique one, however—Dominatrix, was it? No, no... Dominican...?" His sinewy fingers snapped as the ancient mind struggled to think of the word at the tip of his tongue. "Dominion!" he said at last. "Like the name of the ballot-counting company that was caught in the crossfires of multiple conspiracy theories back when Dume was elected the last time before becoming Turaga-for-Life. Errrr. The djinn do not order ourselves in hierarchy of power, though there certainly is much of that, but by achievement and span of control. Some portfolios lend more to that than others, but no Wish is any less than the other by itself. Icarax has achieved much." It was enough of an answer as any, but it was unclear how much of it was true and how much was the old Wanderer's sieved lies; only Miserix and perhaps Grime could know the difference. "What does your patron tell you?" he asked, referring to Miserix. "By now she surely has told you to be wary of me."
  20. IC Stannis | Kumu "She certainly takes after her patron. It is not hard to see why she is so fond of Sorilax, or why she trusts him implicitly, but that is the danger," Stannis explained briefly. "I cannot sense Sorilax's destiny, but hers... The Life-seeker will not be untouched by his own hubris, and when he falls it will be at the detriment of all Le-Metru Nuva."
  21. IC Stannis | Kumu The wizard stirred again and perked his head up as he resumed normal posture. His focus had only been elsewhere for a few seconds but it was all the time he needed to help Parnassus through Oreius. "Ah, good," he breathed in relief as he confirmed Viltia had left. "Her quest is not ours."
  22. IC Stannis | Kumu "Then you should also know a Desecrated being is compelled to help their patron in their Grand Wish—whether they explicitly know the wish or not—and are bound by more strings than power. Perhaps Sorilax told you this, perhaps not, but in whatever the case was you hear it now from me. All knowledge is worth knowing so cling to everything you can learn. You never know when everything you hold dear will vanish as the Universe unravels to Void, or when your knowledge will be of use." Stannis looked saddened by what he saw in Viltia's eyes as he gave the cryptic warning. She could ask what he meant by it, but he doubted so; it was a test, in a sense, to see where her curiosity ended. Her soul was restless, traumatized to the core, and yet she was not being helped by the people she trusted most. She was being used—to what end, he did not know—and was none the wiser to the deceptions she was playing into. It was a shame her Fate would end so unjustly for her. "One moment," the wizard suddenly said and bowed his head. Instantly, he seemed to be asleep.
  23. IC Stannis | Kumu The Wanderer smiled thinly, a mere trace hidden in the cowl of his robe. "A desecrated person does not have to be in the presence of their patron to speak to them by their mental link," he said gently. Did she not even know about this? he wondered.
  24. IC Stannis | Kumu The Wanderer's attention shifted away from Korruhn and towards Grime when the diminutive bard spoke up again. He'd hoped the matoran shared something more about his past and identity when introducing himself earlier, all in some small hope that a memory of Grime would stir in Stannis' ancient mind, but nothing stirred. The quiet enigma around Grime intrigued the wizard, but while he somewhat yearned for some connection with him there was a stronger intuition to mind the bard carefully, particularly since Caedast had absolutely no problem believing Grime remained ever faithful to the Rebirther's agenda. Whatever kinship Grime and the old Stannis may have shared, once, melted away in the face of the antitheses their Aspect patrons portended. The wizard's gaze drifted again, this time to their cousin. The bond of desecration Caedast shared with Whisper made the wizard wish to further her mission first, though this was manifested primarily in devising ways they could both achieve their respective goals. They could take the next steps for their quests without interfering with the other easily enough, and there was an even split of people to help them as well. It was up to Viltia and Korruhn to decide who they would accompany, if anyone, but the identity of their company didn't matter in the scheme of things. "I shall head out when it is time to do so," Stannis said after Viltia prattled her peace. She seemed eager to move on, but it remained unclear what she intended to accomplish with the lore and power she was amassing under her vassal banner. The Wanderer wondered if she knew she was a pawn in her djinn friend's game, or if she could at all fathom the inherent duplicity in Sorilax's honesty. "However tell me, Viltia, what is it that you are trying to achieve in this life? And what role do you perform in Sorilax's grand opera?" As if sensing her hesitation to tell anything relating to her goals and Sorilax's motives, Caedast quickly added a comforting woo. "And if you doubt my magnanimous sincerity, you may ask Sorilax himself what his opinions are of me, of what senses the name Caedast evokes in him, and you will find your worries put aside."
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