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Umbraline Yumiwa

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  1. I definitely thought this was the approval topic and I was about to give sass. This is a good idea tho.
  2. IC Stannis | Po-Koro He subconsciously cocked his head in trying to understand why Ra'lhen asked what he did. "The walk to Onu-Koro is almost half as to Ostia," Stannis said. "It's only made longer by the lack of a railroad's speed, but the traditional means are still just good enough to keep around and there's no need to tire your legs on the journey, friend—we can use an ussal taxi." To prepare for the trip ahead Stannis needed to collect a handful of things from his home, including his weapons and tools, so as he slipped his few smaller belongings into his rucksack he did not neglect to throw in his custom-made canister for his monthly Sulov Maru's Old Fashion Trail Mix & GORP subscription. Usually it was mailed to him, but if he was in town, then why not get the refill from the proprietor's warehouse in person? He looked forward to seeing his old friend again. "Was it my green buddy?" he asked as he shouldered his bag. "Also, ready if you are. I have rations for the both of us if needed." @Emzee
  3. IC A Datsue | Sado "Tsk, keep going, little old short legs," she cursed, urging herself to continue walking through the streets of the city. Exercise was never one of her pastimes and even as a menti she'd preferred drinking plum wine in the company of koi and mosses, the sort of languid pastimes an era of peace and prosperity had afforded her clan. When everything hit the fans later on she'd been drafted to fight for the crown as her clan raised their pennants for Yusanora then, but it was not long until she suffered an injury that ended her service early, and then she returned to the mist of manicured gardens and orchards she so loved. While her accident and subsequent discharge had been 'honorable' it was still regarded with some heavy cloaked disdain by others, so while her status had not been touched her reputation and honor were irreparably tarnished. Eventually, the lazy menti warrior had turned into the sour datsue, relying on her position as an elder to stave off the reproaches and continue doing the things she'd always done. But time had not been kind to her since then, and bitterness creeps in the heart like rot through apple trees, or like cirrhosis of the liver. Her clan had fared well until the latest series of conflicts, and the last battle left most of their menti either deceased or missing. The diaspora of her clan included some few who'd fled with the current rora, and a small cluster of families who remained on Odaiba in hiding. The rest were on Sado, huddling with their remaining resources and dwindling power, including the one datsue who lived separately from all the others and kept to herself. Nobody questioned her life choices and none looked for her either. How she survived the battle was anyone's guess, though there was little interest in wondering. She left her small apartment in The Wards occasionally so seeing her wander about the city wasn't out of the ordinary. In the wake of the battle she busied herself with visiting the Gardens' ruins and tending to the traumatized fish while also avoiding the healing encampments of injured menti and dashi, but rarely she'd also strike out in other directions as she did this day. She hated all the flights of stairs in the Palace complex and sometimes wondered if they made them specifically to spite lazy former farm girls like her, but she was on a mission this time. In the datsue's hand she clutched a cylindrical leathern case, and it was to be delivered to just one person. She'd impulsively said she'd do it when she was asked, and while she now doubted the life's choice she was stubborn enough to see it through. Her knees, however, had more loud protestations. Gears ground with pronounced decrepitness and servos strained from the movement, and she had to constantly override her impulse to rest her tired bones for a while. The guard numbers were far lower than they'd been when the Hogo clan kept the imperial family and their treasury and the new sentries who now were stationed allowed her passage only after some minor questioning. Datsue were given the privilege of movement about mostly out of respect of their elderly status and role as arbiters, and if anyone dragged her into protracted interviews she'd dazzle with long filibusters of old woman tales and archaic gardening regulations. Inevitably she was permitted to continue, which was how she finally navigated to what was once the old Umbraline section, the one that had few remaining residents with the whole clan's exodus from Sado. When she arrived thence she gleefully sat herself in the small meditation alcove on the promenade between the former imperial family apartments, and there she waited. For a while she sat muttering to herself, complaining about the pain in her joints and the weariness in her soul, but then she allowed herself to sink back in to her usual calming trance. She listened to the gentle babble of the water fountain, letting her mind wander in the murmuring of water trickling down the rough stone. The soft whisper of a breeze touched her face like her mother's hand, evoking memories of many an afternoon tending the flower beds that left earthy aromas of root and loam, further comforting her mind with images of a quiet past long since gone. The moss that graced all the rocks and crept up the wooden walls in a well-manicured sprawl fed her eyes with a vibrant feast of greenery, and she could easily see herself sitting at the far end of a meadow gazing up at the burgeoning slope of Mount Koshiki and its many foothills and the moss representing the forests on those hills. Not one to get too sucked into her mind's eyes, she noticed that people still passed by, sometimes with a busy gait and others with listless pace, as a kind reminder that this was still an occupied residential quarter, but none paid the tired looking elder woman any heed and neither did she bother looking up at them. Finally, her attention was caught by the heavy walk of the person she was waiting for. Lord Rayuke, the Umbraline First Son and [former?] Royal Executioner, walked around the corner and she instantly got to her feet to intercept him, muttering a grumble at the quick motion as she hobbled towards him. "Lord Rayuke," she said meekly with a slight bow of deeper respect. "I bear a message for you." She fumbled with her canister and pulled out a small scroll. It was a graphite grey piece of handmade parchment that bore a seal of black wax with the shape of a lily. The Umbraline son plucked it delicately from the datsue's fingers and carefully cracked the seal. As he unrolled it he noted the paper had been folded in half and inside were two poems written in bright red paint, one on each side; on one side it said; The scarred first son stands alone in the palace. Where are the Seconds? He asks; is first also last? The last one is not alone though he might wish it were so. And on the other side it read: When the moon's face swims under Koshiki's shadow, be where Spirit spoke and the empress did listen. You will see me awaiting. When Rayuke looked up from the poems his mind raced for questions, but the datsue had somehow vanished entirely without a sound. @Haman Karn: A Magical Girl
  4. "It's been a honor dying with you, D'artagnan." —The Lieutenant, probably
  5. IC Stannis’ magical coffee pot | Po-Koro, a table As the pitch black liquid poured out Vrill realized there was not much left and his satisfaction soured. It was the best coffee he’d ever had in his life, and now there was only scantly enough of it left for two sips. A precious resource of black gold, indeed.
  6. IC Yumiwa | Ga-Koro, the Yukanna Oh, it me! That's my cue! It's been a while since I've been announced, and the title felt somewhat hollow in the state of things, but as if this entrance was planned I strode up the gangplank with my head held high to match the dignity of the moment. I'd heard most of the conversation's most recent progress so far from the pier, since people had gotten quiet no doubt due to both the spectacle of the dragon (eeee!) and my presence in the crowd, so thankfully I was not walking into this blindly. It spoke of hopefulness and cooperation, virtues I'd personally come to believe in out of necessity in the wake of disaster, and so I believed perhaps there was indeed opportunity to make something out of this interaction. Speaking the matters of virtue, I instantly wondered what, if anything, this draconic being had to say or think of our Dasakan Virtues, and whether Power, Order, and Honor held any place in his own belief system. These things, and many others, would likely be discussed at some later point... I hoped. I came to a confident stop on the deck a full step in front of my cousin, easily subsuming the being's attention away from the commodore as I took center stage representing my culture to another. "I am the Empress Yumiwa," I said, my tone conveying the weight of my position alongside warmth of hospitality. "Just as it is the commodore's role to protect the Dasaka people it is my duty to represent them, and it is my honor to meet you." @Vezok's Friend @BULiK @Bjorkway
  7. IC Stannis | Po-Koro, Renaka's pad Stannis had been called many things by an equally diverse cast of people—from ally and friend to Guardsman Warrant Officer 1st Class and town camerlengo, and from Wanderer to prophet, to Toa Maru and guardian of Po-Koro—but never had been been called 'ambassador.' His jawline softened as a fissure of a smile grew on his face and the crows feet returned at the sides of his eyes. It was like seeing a villager who'd just won a toy Sentinels badge at the Naming Day fair and was ready to help arrest some Makuta followers as a ridealong. Honorary or not, any sort of designation such as this would have been utterly unheard of from Hewkii when he was akiri, and Stannis felt honored and humbled by the assignment of a temporary ambassadorship for the akiri. In his experience, seldom did his suggestions get heeded, even the earnest ones, although once pressed he would also admit that the reticence was somewhat warranted, so it was the akiri's boon of trust that he treasured most of the moment. "I hope I return with aid and good news," he said to Renaka. The joy of promotion soon faded, however, and his characteristic studious melancholy expression returned as the weight of the Dark Walk's persistent threat loomed overhead once again. It needed to be sealed in some fashion and at the moment he was responsible for the next stage of its fortification, so with his solemn pledge he downed the rest of his coffee, calmly set his mug down, and rose to his feet. He looked at the others present, at Ra'lhen and the akiri but also Muir and the stranger he'd brought. The lawyer's client, Muir had said. Renaka had asked for a name earlier, and while the question was spoken at Muir Stannis noticed that the question was not directed to Muir. Without a doubt, Renaka knew who Muir was—she was too much of an information hound for her not to know the of detective or his business—but the visitor? He was an unknown. Renaka did not like unknowns. No, Stannis was very certain she'd been trying to devise the guest's name from Muirtagh. "And what's your name?" he asked, hand outstretched for what would function as both greeting and farewell. "Vrill," Vrill lied with finesse after his mug lowered from his face. He swiftly passed the quartz container to his left hand to free up his right to complete the Maru's handshake. They exchanged grips according to the gesture. "Well met, Vrill. I knew a Cy-Matoran once, and I was was saved by a toa like you as well. They were both very honorable men, as I sense you are as well." "Thank you." Vrill nodded. "I can believe it. Crystal elementals tend to have a bit more... structure and order," he ironically mused. "Or so I've been told." "Indeed, the metaphor stacks well. We'll meet again, I'm sure of it." He looked back at Akiri Renaka once more and paused. He wanted to say more, to speak with the administrator at length and in privacy, to divulge to her what she wanted to know, needed to know, about the Maru's mission and the secrets of the island. He wished to explain to her what exactly Stannis Maru was capable of doing, had done, and quite possibly would do again. She needed to know how much power Stannis possessed and how he wielded that power with a mixture of cautious awe and stubborn precision, and... most importantly, that he was sorry. He needed to have that outlet of the grief and frustration the Wanderer had been keeping close to his heartlight all along. He could share this with his brothers and sister, but they were not representatives of the matoran collective any more than he was; that apology needed to be given to an akiri, his akiri. The earnestness made plain in his damnably grey eyes were not missed by the attentive matoran, of that he was sure. It dawned on the wizardly man just how much he liked this Renaka Lichtgeist. She'd do well whipping Po-Koro into shape and he wanted her to know that he would have her back every step of the way. But not now, not in company who had overtaken the meeting's agenda. This conversation would have to transpire upon his return. All the more reason for him to come back with a good report. He nodded once, dismissing himself from the meeting. "We should go." And he was out the door. @Goose @Emzee @BULiK @Silvan Haven
  8. IC Stannis | Po-Koro, Renaka's pad The Maru nodded. "I believe we're of the same mind, brother," he said. "Onu-Koro has been appealed to with promises of commerce all too heavily, but all too rarely beseeched to with sentiments of Unity and virtue. Sulov understands this the same way I do. He has no closeness with his akiri, but the Ussalry respects him greatly since he was one of their most beloved heroes. Now, I'm no diplomat, but in this situation I believe to be a rather effective envoy. Ra'lhen as well. "The financial benefits Onu-Koro's merchant class will reap should be a side incentive—the cherry on top, not... the whole cake." He paused and made a concerned face, suddenly unsure of himself. "Do they even have cake in Onu-Koro? Or do they feast on mud pies?"
  9. IC Stannis | Po-Koro, Renaka's pad Mechanizations, but also a girding of the matoran and their toa guardians as well, meant also importing more machines of war from Onu-Koro—trebuchets, automatons, boxors, disk cannons, the list went on. Stannis did not like enriching the industrialist magnate inventors of Onu- much, but it was a far better thing than sending soldiers in to stand guard and fight without modern supports. But if Onu-Koro's people were appealed to by ways other than widgets and shared an investment in the effectiveness of the machines sold to Po-Koro, as well as the continued protection of the Dark Walk, it might make things easier to handle. And help, as Renaka observed, would be required. "I can petition Toa Sulov to assist," he said. "His power, and the subterranean brilliance of the Ussalry, would be of paramount use in the endeavors of clearing the Walk and fortifying it." And, he pondered wistfully, it would give him a reason to see his dear friend again. It had been a while, to put it mildly. "And will you want watchtowers? or fortresses keeping guard in the tunnels?" he asked.
  10. IC Stannis | Po-Koro, Renaka's pad Satisfied that Renaka was comfortable for the other's presence, Stannis gently lifted the pot of coffee and poured it into Vrill's expectant cup. "I'm sure you'll find it the best cup of joe you've ever had," he said proudly. "I will turn that place into a death trap that drains the Maluta's forces to the very dregs," the akiri decreed. "Trying to match our resources against the Makuta's would also potentially drain our own in the effort," Stannis considered. "If that's what you wish, are you thinking of using automated defences or relying on matoranpower?"
  11. IC Yumiwa | Ga-Koro, docks My pace had quickened at the sight of the dragon from afar but I slowed my gait to pull Dihunai's attention wholly on me. I just knew she'd make these motions as soon as we were together again—it was, after all, her thing, and why she'd been doggedly seeking audience with me for quite some time—but it felt out of place in the grander scope of things, like she saw the lakes but not the myriad of streams that feed it. I paused my stride entirely and peeled my eyes off the Yukanna to address Dihunai directly. "I will focus on my duties as empress first," I said, stern but kind. This was no court-borne mannerism, it was a bit of Zafin's assertive helpfulness bleeding through me for a moment. "Once I am assured that my people—and your people—are safe, have a mat to sleep on, and a roof over their heads, then I will focus on improving as a menti, and will call upon your teaching."
  12. IC Stannis | Po-Koro, Renaka's pad The Maru's hand hovered over the coffee pot but he did not serve any or suggest procurement of a mug. The Akiri had not offered them to stay so with the contingent hospitality still not certain the beverage was withheld. There was a sense of deference that Stannis demonstrated towards Renaka that had been noticeably absent entirely for her predecessor. No, he held her with degrees of respect, that much was clear.
  13. IC Stannis | Po-Koro, Renaka's pad Stannis, looking for all the world like he's just argued with Reordin about the virtues of a thin crust pizza versus a deep dish pie, seemed to welcome Vrill's timely but intentional interjection. "The plan," he said simply, "was what we were talking about before you and yours showed up." He calmly poured more coffee into his cup and lifted the mug to his pursed lips. "Ask her," he said, nodding towards Akiri Renaka. "She's the chair of this committee. Ah—if you're staying, tea? coffee?"
  14. IC Stannis | Po-Koro, Renaka's pad “What was the lie I told the Matoran?” he asked of Muir. It was a simple enough question. "The lie," he answered. "The lie that every person in this room, every person on this island, felt proven false mere weeks ago. The lie that you and the Maru vanquished the Makuta." Once again, the Wanderer sighed long and wearily. Once again, he remembered the past as best he could, scoured his memories for a long moment to recall if he was misremembering things, then and refocused on Muir and his liege. "Is that what is is, the thought that we 'vanquished' the Makuta?" He shook his head. "'You cannot destroy Nothing, but Nothing can destroy you.' That's what the Makuta taunted us with when we fought him in the Mangaia. The Dark One said, 'You cannot destroy me, no more than you can destroy the sea, or the wind, or the void. I am Nothing. And out of Nothing, you came. And it is into Nothing that you will go. The people of the world are Builders, but look into their hearts and you will find that they also have the power to destroy.'" Stannis paused for a moment thence and winced as if merely remembering that instance physically pained him. Ra'lhen likely felt something similar as well, hearing his old master's silvery tongue so vividly brought back to life. "That's what he said. Ask any of the other Maru and they will vouch for me, even my fellows who like me the least—we all experienced it in the same fashion. Now... how can one hope to vanquish something so much a part of you? Something that exists in you and in everyone else you know? I would never have claimed to have vanquished... or destroyed... the Makuta. We defeated him. We put him into a place where he couldn't reach us so we could rest. But it wasn't a full vanquishing. Such a thing would have been impossible against something so powerful as Nothingness. "We put him away in safekeeping, but we didn't know where, or for how long he'd stay there. We didn't understand the whole of it, not even me, not until it was too late. We followed the Second Great Prophesy to its every letter, but none of us understood it, and the keepers of the Prophesy who did understand," he said, speaking of the Turaga, "were not around to tell us what we needed. So we told everyone what we understood: That 'Makuta was gone.' And he was, for a time, but none can claim that they didn't have evil thoughts even when Makuta was away. What was done is done, but it was not our intention to deceive any one of the Matoran." Finally, Stannis had had enough. Before Muir could interject, he held a finger up, calm but authoritative, and settled what he could. "Arguing with you does as much good as me lashing my own back for my mistakes. I am done being questioned by you and answering your questions here. But we, Ra'lhen and Renaka and I, were discussing an expedition into the Dark Walk to do battle with the rahkshi and form strategy against the shadows. You and I may not agree on much, Muirtagh Fenn, but we fight the same Darkness. I give you the option to come with us, and I would be deeply honored if you would fight alongside me against our enemies. And... should we encounter antidermis in the depths, you may even get yet more answers for your inquest on the Kalta."
  15. IC Stannis | Po-Koro, Renaka's pad "You want the truth?" Stannis said, his voice carrying an edge but still not simmering. He sounded cool and quiet as nighttime in the desert desert. "The truth is what keeps me awake every night and makes me guzzle café de olla by the litre in the morning. I can't rest because I'm haunted by the actions of people I can't prevent and the fates I don't know about. I am dogged every. waking. minute. by my feelings of regret, and by how I try to shed these coils of godliness but then someone comes around and tells me I'm held to a higher standard because of the Second Great Prophesy. I was Chosen, or so the legends say, but I did not choose to be chosen. "You want the truth? The truth is I wish I'd worked harder to know the things I do now, that I'd made conscious decisions to uncover what I know, but I did not. The truth was handed to me and I, in my mortality, fumbled the kolhii ball. I wouldn't have done so had I worked for what I knew, had I had some intention behind it. But no. "You want the truth? You can't handle it. You're not looking or the truth, you're asking for it on a platter for you to make what you will out of it." And then, finally, he added with a heavy sigh, "I cannot help you find what you are looking for."
  16. IC Stannis | Po-Koro, Renaka's pad Stone moved slowly in all facets, it was hard to budge, harder to stop while in motion, and hard to break down. Like the stone that called his heart, Stannis was slow to anger as he was easy to speak. Did Muirtagh think that vitriol and lambasting would garner him the specific answers he sought? the Wanderer wondered. He spoke with a sense of duty-given authority, and some of what he said was indeed true. More than true, it was how Stannis himself felt about himself. Yes, he was fallible. Yes, he'd withheld things from people before. Yes, he was a man like any other. So what did Muir hope to get from him here? "My utility to you seems to be what your perceptions make it to be, Muirtagh Fenn," he said with a sad look on his face. "You see through me but you don't see me, else you would know that I have never called myself divine. People have ascribed that descriptor to me, have given me a prophetic status they saw written in the skies, but I do not like these claims because, why, I know it's not true. "I believe in Mata Nui, I have faith, but there are so many things I don't understand."
  17. IC Stannis | Po-Koro, Renaka's pad "You said that you healed Skorm. Or, rather, that you… 'purged the evil inside him, and absolved him of his sins with a litany', as I recall. Care to elaborate? How does one purge the evil inside someone?" Muir asked. “With considerable effort... maybe with a little arcane wisdom,” Ra’lhen thought out loud. Stannis appreciated his friend's remark and let his mind hover over the words for a moment before directing his attention back to Muir. He pursed his lips thoughtfully, struggling to ebb his emotions to word. How does one begin to elaborate on magic? he wondered, for that's what the experience was. Sure, there were simple explanations of Kanohi and wound mending abilities, but that only answered a very literal question. The how Stannis healed Skorm was nothing short of religious melding of Skorm's need to be true to goodness and Stannis' implacable drive to bring fractured lives to fullness. It was a spark of divinity that belonged to neither being alone but to the moment they shared in united purpose. Putting that moment, and the power inside it, to an understandable explanation was not easy, and Stannis strove to be as helpful as he could responsibly be. "As I said, it was by prayer," Stannis said. "Do you believe in miracles, Muirtagh? I do. I believe in the power of Mata Nui in all of us and the divinity of His Virtues. I can't not believe in that. And yet that's exactly what healed Skorm and purged the darkness that gnawed at him. All I did was pray for him and command what was once impure to become pure." It was not a perfect summary, yet it was what he could muster from how he understood it. @Goose @BULiK
  18. IC Stannis | Po-Koro, Renaka's pad "Certainly."
  19. IC Yumiwa | Ga-Koro I walked across the pier towards the Yukanna at a clipped pace with Zafin easily at my heel. Most of the Hogo warriors had been dismissed to help their families and clan with their own duties, leaving me mostly with my companions for protection. Well, and me, I had to remind myself, having so easily forgotten that I'd killed in self protection by this point. "Dihunai of the Long, I just got your mindmail," I said as I passed by her. "Come along with me to see this 'dragon'—if that's what it truly is." @BULiK
  20. IC Stannis | Po-Koro, Renaka's pad Once again, Stannis sat in rumination for a quiet moment. He had no reason to doubt the investigator's integrity and wanted to provide as much assistance as he could to a worthwhile cause led by a reputable Po-Koro citizen, but there were limits to his ability to share what he knew with Muir. Knowledge had interesting properties when applied improperly, as Stannis had discovered since the Makuta's defeat, or, more accurately, placement in storage. Not telling his teammates and friends about Makuta's actual fate damaged their sense of Unity and threatened lives, but just so, oversharing information could be dangerous if it were misapplied by others. Conclusions based on here-say and well-meaning but misplaced intentions could be just as dangerous. Barring what Skorm had done in Ga-Koro while under the influence of antidermis, the Toa Kalta seemed to be honorable, albeit quirky, protectors of matoran who'd taken up shop in Ko-Koro with newly-elected expat Akiri Tarkahn's blessing. While Reordin didn't suffer them much, it didn't take a lot to get under Reo's greaves—all one needed to to was wax philosophical about 'glorious purpose' or wasted his time while in line at the deli—so his dislike of the Kalta was taken with a grain of salt as far as Stannis was concerned, at least until there was evidence of real wrongdoing. Could there be? Stannis wondered, then realized not. He'd have heard of it from less nebulous sources if that were the case. If there was some 'client' who'd hired Muirtagh then the detective was working on behalf of that person's interests, not simple common good. Still, Stannis wished to help despite being aware of his own fallibility. It took a lot of his willpower to keep himself from selflessly continuing the conversation down Muir's likely myriad of thoughts. If there was more to the Kalta inquest to beggar further inquisition, then Muir would need to elaborate. But stone was slow to move and harder still to change direction once rolling, and Stannis had made his mind up. "You'll have to forgive me, then, for not going further," Stannis admitted to the detective and his... companion. His perceptive eyes picked up a slight tensing as he sought to absolve himself from the situation, but he calmly continued to explain his reasoning. "You asked me about Kalta Skorm's stay in the hospital and my interaction with him, and I obliged with my side of the story in full, but I do not wish to mislead your investigation or your client with knowledge I cannot certify to be fact. As I said, I am not an expert on antidermis. If your clue directed you to study hospital notes then perhaps records made by the medical professionals would be better for your case. If you wish to consult with me again after gleaning what you can, then I'd be happy to fill whatever blanks you have." @Goose
  21. IC Stannis | Po-Koro, Renaka's pad The Wanderer bit his lip and considered what to say next, then cleared his threat affirmatively and said, "Just one moment. I have answered your questions in good faith so far but you have raised my concerns by focusing intently on this dark material, so before I go on I want you to tell us just what this is about."
  22. IC Stannis | Po-Koro, Renaka's pad "Not in person," Stannis corrected. "I've investigated the substance in the Dark Walks, seen the after-effects of its use, and heard stories about antidermis. It's my duty to understand the mysteries of this universe to combat the darkness' influence."
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