OOC: Sorry for the delays.
IC: Riaril (Nuju-Marion Research Hospital, Ko-Wahi)
“If you need time to pay off what’s left,” Riaril responded dryly, “I’m happy to let you make an up front payment and then monthly installments with ten percent interest until you’re debt’s filled. Of course, I can also use manual labor around the hospital. Some choose scraping the ice off the windows for a week with their tongue, others enjoy scrubbing the hallways with their kanohi. I had this one patient a while back, boy was he a ruffian… Ended up trashing my office with crystal. Needless to say he basically became my slave.”
The doctor paused long enough to light a cigarette, lost in thought. Her comment about Tarex brushed against the closed doors of her past, and unbidden memories surged forward. The martial artist had stopped her going berserk but damaged her office in the process. As a way to pay for the damages, the toa of crystal became the bag-boy, the handy-man, and the courier for almost a month. Back then things had been different, filled with quirks to be sure, but overall far less macabre in nature. Now, in the cold of Ko-Wahi, Riaril felt like a corpse, devoid of any real purpose. After a sigh she continued. “Why am I even saying these things to you? The point is, you’re welcome to work here to pay off a portion of your bill. I’ll leave you to rest for now.”
Rising, Riaril left the ward, taking the winch-powered elevator to her office in the central tower. The curtains pulled aside to reveal a snowy landscape. It felt like a cage.
“Ah, it’s not like I have anything better to do anyways…” She shook her head and stepped away from the window. Her office was octagonal, with a Murphy bed taking up the northern wall. It was still out, the sheets unmade from another night of tossing and turning. Riaril collapsed on the spring mattress, feeling even more alone as she slowly crawled under the sheets.
“Hurry up slowpokes. I swear, a dermis turtle’d make you all eat dust.” Riaril griped as they raced through the jungle. Takimoc, the jester of the group, remained discomfortingly silent as he splashed through the marsh alongside her. The four matoran saved their replies for later, sucking in great gasps of air as they struggled to keep up. Riaril turned back to look where she was going and performed a speed vault over an exposed root, her toes pointing like arrows as her hands tacked off the mossy wood. With a splash she landed back in the marsh. “I just hope we make it in time.”
“Aye,” Moriika said between wheezing breaths, and several paces behind. “Certainly didn’t get much in the way of a warning.”
“Are you sure it’s not just rahi The le-matoran were saying the infected rahi were getting more aggressive.” Nakumiir asked, breaking even with the onu-matoran.
Riaril gritted her teeth. “I don’t know, but if it is rahi then that’s all the more reason to hurry. Anything we can do to stall The Makuta helps. In any case I’m tired of burying bodies.”
Takimoc nodded and they all fell silent save for their labored breathing. Faerulo stumbled on a hidden rock, but the journalist pulled him back up before he could fall. The trees began to thin, and through the growing spaces between their trunks a wide flat-land could be seen. Riaril burst into the open first with her sai in hand, feet sliding on the ground after the morning’s rainfall. Her head whipped around in time to see a pair of skakdi locked in fierce combat with the buzzing drone of a nui-rama swarm hovering above them. They were back to back, a rare sight of teamwork as they worked their elements to try and stave off the inevitable. Takimoc came to a stop alongside Riaril, his jaw tight and fire already burning from his clenched fists.
“This - This is crazy!” Faerulo shouted over the din. “How did we not hear them? We can’t do this on our own.”
“Look! They’re protecting someone.” Nakumiir pointed to the unmoving body of a toa, nearly hidden in the grass.
“Takimoc, try and get the swarms attention. Faerulo and Moriika, you two help with that. Lead as many as you can into the jungle for the time being. Nakumiir, stay close to me - we’re gonna’ try and get to that toa.”
Riaril stalled for a moment, her golden eyes staring at the po-matoran with the orange stripe down his left side. He was the peculiar one of the group, only there for his expose on the growing unrest under Makuta’s reign. “You stay out of the way and do your job for the Daily. Right, okay. Team Kanohi Dragon, move out!”
Riaril blinked. The exposed beams of her ceiling hovered out of reach of her extended hand. With a groan she rose up on an elbow. “Stupid dreams.”
IC: Catarix (Mata-Nui Daily Office, Ko-Koro)
The words echoed in the record’s room for Ko-Koro’s branch office of the Mata-Nui Daily. A crackling hearth worked its magic in the main room, alone save for the empty mug sitting on a newspaper, congealed butter fat resting at the bottom of the ceramic. Catarix entered, faded paper tucked under his shoulder, shaking his head all the while.
“The karz was he up to, leaving us in the dark all those years?” He paused long enough to stare at the illustration depicting a different Ishi standing on a bar stool, head height with his two similarly adopted siblings. “You wanted to show the world it’s shadows, and then you became one.”
Under the illustration was the obituary.
Ishi Polzin, third adopted son of the Polzin family and shipping empire, fell during a battle in Le-Wahi with a swarm of infected Nui-Rama. He was traveling with Team Kanohi Dragon, the famed medical squad, as part of his work. Although the po-matoran left no family behind, he will be remembered by his colleagues at the Mata-Nui Daily. Although his body has not been recovered, a memorial service for the brave journalist will be held at the Polzin Manor in Ga-Koro…
IC: Ishi Polzin, The Hapaka (Akiri’s Office, Ko-Koro)
Ambages’ smooth deduction echoed like thunder after a lightning strike from the vaulted ceiling. The speed of calculation, the ease in which he spoke. Everything Ambages endeavored was sure in its footing, sound in its logic, and true to reason; he was a viper slowly coiling around his prey. A green informant would have balked and, like a startled bird, broken cover only to fall into the waiting trap. Someone with more practice might have attempted to keep the ruse going, but eventually a lack of prefabricated lies would expose them. A gambler might have revealed the cards and produced leverage as a weapon. Ishi was neither the green novice who would sprint for the door, nor was he the journeyman reaching for metaphorical straws, and the one thing Ishi never revealed was his playing hand. Ishi Polzin was… Different. If Ishi hadn’t been in character he might’ve hugged Ambages on the spot.
“Lying?” Ishi repeated as he pulled his bag closed and slung it back over his shoulder, his burdens of truth weighing almost nothing. “That’s a rather harsh assessment of someone just trying to pay off their hospital bills, sir. But your deduction skills are superb. I can see why you were chosen as Hand to Akiri Matoro, may he rest in peace. You must enjoy riddles, yes? I’ve taken up the hobby myself. It’s always good for clearing away the mental cobwebs, I guess I could say.”
He paused to let the thought simmer, rocking from toe to heel as his hands clasped behind his back. “Would you like to hear a riddle?”