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BZPRPG - Ko-Wahi


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#601 Offline Shadowhawk

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Posted Mar 05 2014 - 03:09 PM

IC: [ Rhea / Nero ] - Ko-Wahi / Drifts

Rhea watched Ferron's dark greyish bulk fade and vanish downwards into the whirling snow, then turned abruptly away from the brink and met Nero's level gaze. The Le-Toa barbarian was standing, ruggedly-muscled arms folded across his broad chest, powerful legs planted solidly in the drifts, a thin crystal film of glaze ice coating his armor and Kanohi.
 
His gaze was flat, withdrawn, strangely gentle as he watched her, and Rhea watched him in turn, and for a long moment their eyes held and the silence stretched between them and both understood all that went unspoken.


Slowly then, wearily, her bodyguard stepped away from the brink of the cliffside, heavy jaw clenched, watching the swirling haze shriek harsh against the crags at their feet. His voice rumbled in the tense twisted stillness, hard and clear, but with no accusation. "He's all man, Rhea. I don't blame you."

Her heart clenched at the careful words, at the brutal honesty and the naked pain, and for a lucid panicked instant the Su-Toa thought she might just break down and weep right there, in the core of the Drifts at the wild's savage edge.

Stop... stop... Mata Nui, why. Why?

"Nero... I don't--"


He shook his head once, unfolding his arms and letting his fists fall empty to his sides. "You do. He's more than I am... more, in the end, than I reckon I could ever be. You trail with him. I've walked alone; when this hunt's over, I reckon I can walk alone again."

"But, Nero... I don't want--"

Her voice faded off into a choking sob, and she dropped her gaze. Wind lashed at her cloak, driving ice against her chain-mailed body, but for once she did not feel its frigid sting. Darkness was falling, and vaguely, disinterestedly, she realized she was dead on her feet and tired.

Numbly then, but with the levelheaded driving purpose that had ever kept her steady, she walked to the beckoning strand of snow-kissed rope and swung herself carefully over and down, following Ferron into the depths of white and the maw of winter. She descended swiftly, skillfully, hand over hand with an automaton's practiced ease, her mind a blank and her heart running hot on empty.


Behind her, alone, Nero the Axe watched his world swing cold about him, and his half-closed eyes glittered wolf-like in the shadows.


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#602 Offline Kughii

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Posted Mar 05 2014 - 03:57 PM

IC: Riaril

 

By the time I'd walked to the south ward my steps were confident.  The scar on the back of my neck from treating Crispy was hidden by the buttoned collar of my coat. I'd finished half of the tea in my mug and the caffeine was beginning to kick in with a welcome surge of energy.  It was no surprise, then, when seeing the toa of magnetism gently stretching in the aisle next to his cot I approached.  

 

"Greisk."  I got his attention with the first name.  His eyes, somewhat reserved, stared back from behind what was either an akaku or an arthron.  "I see you're doing better.  Perhaps it's time you paid off the debt to my hospital?"


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#603 Offline Rucks

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Posted Mar 05 2014 - 05:30 PM

IC: Ferron (Drifts)

 

The crisp, crunchy groan of the snow being mashed under his boots told Ferron that he’d reached the bottom of the hillside. Around him was the white void that clung to him with harsh fingers, dragging and pulling at his weary muscles, above him was a dark gray slate, swallowing up the rope in its vast expanse.

 

If Rhea was the open flame being slowly put out by the cold, then Ferron was the sturdy structure being slowly torn apart by the sheer power of the elements themselves. No being who did not swear to the power of cold could handle these conditions indefinitely.

 

The lower half of Ferron’s face had disappeared under his cloak, and over his whole body there were trails of frost creeping across his frame like a visual of his slowly eroding strength and will.

 

Ferron jabbed at the void with his gaze, failing utterly to penetrate the cloak that obscured his sight.

 

Until he suddenly, unmistakably saw a presence fade out from the void, and approach him noiselessly.

 

“Nero, that you?” he called, his rugged, tough voice being swatted away by the winds like a Dust Darter.

 

The stranger did not respond, however, he only came closer.

 

“Afraid not, brother”

 

Ferron’s eyes widened, and he felt his blood forcefully start circulating again, filling him with strength he never knew he had, his uneven hands clenching on reflex as he stared at the figure with a mix of anger and shock boiling in his eyes. Even when he realized where his power came from, he did not fret or try to calm himself, he let his sorrow and anger flow until he was brimming with the desire to just break down right there and cry like he’d never cried before.

 

“You” he said accusingly, voice shaky, prompting the figure to merely nod.

 

“Yes, it’s me” he said simply.

 

The figure seemed… not there, his visibility blurring with the strong winds that seemed to pass right through him. He was unaffected by worldly toils and concerns, for he had already left the world long ago.

 

He was Deccon, the Toa Marok of Sonics, and now it was his turn to drag Ferron’s past kicking and screaming into the light

 

“I had a feeling you’d show up eventually” Ferron said, his voice only a mere whisper despite the howling winds.

 

Deccon nodded.

 

“Yes, I agree, it makes sense that you’d hallucinate all of your teammates sooner or later” he said, voice flat and unexpressive.

 

“Always the realist” Ferron grunted, unable to keep a little hint of a smile from tugging at the corners of his mouth.

 

Deccon nodded again, as had always been his custom.

 

“It’s what I do” he said.

 

“So why don’t you get to why you’re here?” Ferron urged.

 

You’re the reason I’m here, Ferron, even if you don’t know it yourself yet” Deccon replied, his Matatu furrowing as he looked at him.

 

“Then why don’t you tell me?” Ferron demanded.

 

“Why do I see you, why do you all keep coming back like this, what’s happening to me, am I going insane?” he almost yelled at Deccon, but the De-Toa didn’t flinch.

 

“Why can’t I forget the pain, why can’t I just remember and cherish the things I loved, why do you haunt me?” Ferron wailed, his open hands waving in frustration because he couldn’t physically touch Deccon.

 

“We’re still here, Ferron, because you’re still having doubts about that day” Deccon stated flatly.

 

The statement hit Ferron like a sledgehammer to his mind, his heart skipping a beat as he searched Deccon fruitlessly for a smile or a twitch… something to indicate he wasn’t being completely, utterly serious.

 

“I have no doubts about that day,” Ferron finally responded, his voice shaky and harsh, “I know exactly what happened. The Makuta singled us out to serve as an example, he wanted to see us dead, and he went through with it. And he succeeded because you hesitated.”

 

Ferron’s metallic finger was pointed right at Deccon in accusation, the Fe-Toa no longer appearing bothered by the snow as he continued.

“We had a plan; all you needed to do was act on my signal, but you didn’t, and because of that you all died, and I watched it happen”

 

Deccon just shook his head, meeting Ferron’s steel gray eyes with his own icy blue; cold, distant.

 

“Whoever’s fault it actually was, that’s not what you believe deep down, Ferron, and you will never have peace until you accept the fact that you don’t just blame me for our deaths…”

 

He paused, a glint in his eyes flaring shortly before fading away again.

 

“You also blame yourself”

 

“Liar” Ferron roared, beaming at Deccon with newfound fervor as he sheltered himself in a newfound well of hatred and anger.

 

You failed to stick to the plan, you hesitated, they’re dead because of you, their blood is on your hands” Ferron roared.

 

Tarika’s blood is on your hands”

 

For the first time, Deccon’s face showed signs of emotion, a frown furrowing his mask and his mouth a thin, almost indiscernible line, his eyes focused and disappointed.

 

“You can’t keep lying to yourself, Ferron, this will only go away once you’re ready to be honest with yourself”

 

“I am being honest with myself”

 

“No, you’re feeding a lie. You blame yourself for our deaths just as much as you do me. Tarika’s death was your fault, too.”

 

“Shut up”

 

“This quest of yours will bring nothing but more pain, more blood; you cannot find what you’re looking for here”

 

“Vengeance is forever”

 

“Don’t put other people’s words in your mouth, Ferron, it doesn’t suit you”

 

“SHUT UP”

 

“You will never find closure in vengeance, don’t listen to Rhea, go home, let it go, you have nothing to accomplish here”

 

“Shut Up”

 

Ferron’s clenched fist, swung through Deccon’s phantom, dispersing it with the winds. His own forceful momentum made him lose his balance, and he fell into the snow, for several seconds refusing to move.

 

He got up on his knees and feet, saying and doing nothing but just remain there, crouched.

 

Two tears trailed down his mask to be swept away by the winds. Ferron the warrior, Ferron the smith, had been peeled away to expose Ferron the lonely, confused soul with scars that went deeper than could perhaps be healed.

 

He bawled without tears.


Edited by Geardirector, Mar 06 2014 - 06:26 AM.

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#604 Offline Shadowhawk

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Posted Mar 06 2014 - 04:02 PM

IC: [ Rhea ] - Ko-Wahi / Drifts

Cold wind in the canyons, sharp ice falling.

The female Toa of Plasma was ten feet down from the brink and descending fast, every lithe muscle moving in a honed coordination of deliberate skill, legs bracing, sliding, bracing again against the rugged granite cliff-face. Her white-armored hands, slim but strong, deft and sure, clenched and flashed, spinning the rope around and between her fingers as she kicked off from the stone and let gravity reel her downwards in a gliding plunge.

Frosted rope, biting chill.

Her heart was bewildered and confused; her mind a whirling bittersweet blur. Was this, then, all it took? Was this, then, all that was needed to explode the focus, unleash the flame? She was falling, she was breaking; she was riding the chaos on cynical blazing pride. She was dying; she was alive. She was soaring in the blackness and her wings beat true on the eddying heat.

Empty haze, lashing wind.

Nero's words, the orders of the Axe, burned cold in her mind. He loved her, loved her with the clear primal passion of the wild's feral son. He loved her... and because he did, he was stepping back, and he was leaving her alone at a crossroads to choose her purpose as she would. He loved her... and brutal he was, but he knew freedom, and it was the one thing on earth he could stand aside and grant his lady. The one thing he had that he could give to her, and with it went his heart.

Infinite grey, unyielding stone.

She had always known. They had hunted together, moving as one in the streets and the forests of a thousand dangers, and always, she had known deep within. When the prey fell hard with unsheathed claws, he had been there, striking fast from the shadows at her side; when the storms broke harsh and the ocean's wrath thundered at the shore, he had watched her back and had been there, always. Always. Always.

Gusts in the shadows, eternity in flux.

There was nothing till now that had ever passed between them, no word, no action, that would have spoken to anyone of any sort of lurking romance. He had been her bodyguard, her right-hand man, her deputy in strife... no more, no less. But somewhere within, she supposed now, she had always seen the truth. It was the only thing that could have held him to her presence, the only binding chain he would have ever willingly closed and locked upon his soul.

Harsh caress of whirling snow, blinding white.

Hand over hand, falling in the black, the bounty hunter moved on down. Her face behind the mask was taut and pale, her quick green eyes wide and burning in the fathomless haze. Her jaw was set, her shoulders squared, and with militaristic precision she rappelled into the maw.

He was Nero the Axe, and he loved her, and she knew with sudden grim certainty that wheresoever this hunt led, whatever the endgame brought, it would be played and won to a tense new beat.

She hit bottom, supple leather boots landing nimbly on the frozen earth, and stepped away from the rope and turned to face the snarling labyrinth that loomed before her in the shredding wastes. Ferron was out there, somewhere, and Nero was out there, somewhere, and both of them would no doubt fight and die for her sake at an instant's notice, for both were strong and exciting and utterly, hopelessly masculine. For better or worse, she had sent her talons deep and such marks were not easily removed.

She knew. She smiled, eyes glittering emerald, and then she threw her head back and laughed, fists clenched at her sides, full into the face of the driving wind and the sound was clear and easy and exultant.

She was Rhea Heartsflame, the brimstone princess, and it was good to be alive.


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#605 Offline Rucks

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Posted Mar 06 2014 - 04:48 PM

IC: Ferron (Drifts)

 

A rock a little aways from Rhea suddenly crumbled to dust, exposing Ferron hunched over, looming from the void like an enigmatic titan.

 

His mace was drawn and the brutal fire was now ablaze in his eyes again, overpowering the secure, metallic glow from before.

 

"Wha...? When?" Ferron asked himself as he regained conscious thought.

 

He didn't know when he'd stopped howling like a wounded animal, but it must have been some time ago, the shattered rock before him and the mace clutched in his hands by shaking, tired fingers was all the evidence he needed.

 

He remembered sorrow, and then rage, so much rage, like a beast had sprung to life within him threatening to devour his very being with its power.

 

When he moved his muscles, straightening his pose, he could feel flakes of ice dust off of him. How long had he spent kneeling in the snow?

 

He felt sick, sick and disgusted, like Deccon had infected him with something, like he had left his mark on his very soul and left him to rot here, on the frozen frontier, at the edge of all things he had experienced and endured, he had left him to confront this question that rung in his mind.

 

Did he blame himself?

 

Ferron's instincts told him no, and for better or worse, they had served him well in his life, for they had kept him alive till now. But his heart, his heart throbbed in his chest till it hurt to breathe, as he felt old feelings stir with new. Ferron had gone on this trip to avenge Zuriana, but here, and now, he had a strong feeling that he was getting much more than he bargained for. Where would it end?

 

He didn’t know the answer to that, but he know one thing:

 

He was back where he started.

 

The possibility of what Deccon had said being true, had left Ferron feeling confused and lost, two feelings he’d so desperately hoped never to feel again. Until now his mission had been clear (with a certain Su-Toa providing a notable distraction); find Kuhrin, kill him, the end.


But now… now he didn’t know what to do anymore. He knew he still wanted to end Kuhrin, that much didn’t change, but it was a fleeting grasp at disappearing straws.

 

Vengeance could not help him now, but it was all he had to cling to.

 

And in that lay the inescapable truth; all his progress, all his many steps towards a better existence, that fateful day in Onu-Wahi when he’d met Zuriana and Krell for the first time, the life he’d built, the friends he’d made, all of it…

 

Gone, null and void, insignificant like the snowflakes he crushed beneath his boots.

 

He finally allowed himself to look at Rhea, and it was clear to anyone who saw the Toa of Iron’s face in that instant that he had changed again, or rather, reverted.

 

He was no longer the straight and sure smith from Onu-Koro. Now he was once again the wreck of turmoil and scars that had barely managed to cling to life in the wake of the Makuta’s attack.

 

A broken warrior, desperate for purpose, desperate for something to bring him comfort.

 

“You were right” he said harshly, “it did hurt”


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#606 Offline Shadowhawk

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Posted Mar 09 2014 - 09:59 PM

IC: [ Rhea ] - Ko-Wahi / Drifts

Snow swirled about her boots, feathered coldly against her unhooded cheek as she locked eyes with the Toa of Iron; his gaze, broken and desperate but still, still somehow wearily defiant; hers, yet burning hot with a ruthless, untamed, merciless passion. "Yes, Ferron. Yes. And what of it?"

She stood straight and still, waiting for the answer, watching him with an odd expectant half-smile on her lips... a smile that flamed straight from the broiling crimson embers of the realms beneath, from the raging hellfire, from the infernal birthplace of blood and brimstone and fallen angels.

 

And in that instant, as her words hung clear in the ice-locked wind, the last feeble rays of the sun faded into darkness behind the rugged bulk of Mount Ihu, and shadows plunged thick and black across the empty land.


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#607 Offline Rucks

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Posted Mar 10 2014 - 01:54 AM

IC: Ferron (Drifts)

 

In Rhea's gaze, there was a challenge, a call for Ferron to prove who he really was. Was he a weakling who buckled in the face of adversity, are was he going to man up and take charge of his life once more?

 

Ferron sighed, and reattached his mace to his belt, before he held up his uneven hands before his face, one of them weathered and scratched, but still brimming with the power of life, the other strong and unbreakable, but cold, lifeless, like the snow whirling around them. And the slightest hint of a smile stretched across his lips.

 

"I've gotten used to it," he mumbled,  dryly, with a hint of dark amusement in his voice.

 

"In your most dire straits, hope is something you give yourself, that's the meaning of inner strength"

 

Ferron remembered Marinna's words, felt his will of iron, and he turned to look once again out into the void, his stance once again growing sure and steadfast.

 

He was lost and broken, but he was alive, and for the longest time, that simple fact had been enough to see him through, hopefully it would do so again.

 

He looked back at Rhea, and nodded calmly.

 

"I figure I can take it"


Edited by Geardirector, Mar 10 2014 - 02:27 AM.

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#608 Offline Shadowhawk

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Posted Mar 10 2014 - 10:33 AM

IC: [ Rhea ] - Ko-Wahi / Drifts

She laughed softly, green eyes flashing. "I thought so. 'Can't go on' is a paltry excuse used only by the slothful and cowardly, is it not? The strong keep fighting, no matter the odds, no matter the heartbreak. They die in the struggle, sometimes... but they die with their own dark shade of honor to mark their passing, and their graves command respect."

Turning, she retrieved her climbing rope... it lay fallen, sprawled in limp coils upon the frozen earth. Plainly, Nero the Axe had loosed it from its grapple point once the abrupt ease of tension on the line had told him she was safely down.

Nero...

He would be following them, in his own way, in his own time. Of that she was certain, and she was certain, also, that from here to the end the track would not require his experienced gaze and tracker's intuition. The winds and the snow were not so dangerous, not so obscuring, within the maze of sheer stone walls and ice-sheathed rubble that loomed before them, beckoning... and deep within, she felt, she knew, that somewhere within the maze their quarry lurked. Her own quick eyes, her own trained skill, would be enough.

Coiling the rope with deft movements of her hands, the Su-Toa bounty hunter slipped it into her pack, tossed her hood up to shroud her features from the frozen night, and moved towards a nearby rock cleft, where faint, half-filled footprints in the drifts marked Kuhrin's passage. "This is not a place of stopping, Ferron... farther in, there will be shelter 'till the morn. You see the marks of the one you follow? Let us go."


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#609 Offline Rucks

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Posted Mar 10 2014 - 12:00 PM

IC: Ferron (Drifts)

 

Ferron nodded gravely, surveying the tracks with what skill he had. The tracks were like those of a beast, not of a man, and deep within this maze, that beast was lurking, waiting for Ferron to come and find him.

 

“So close…” he mumbled, instinctually reaching out with spread fingers, clenching his fist at the white haze, his prosthetics giving of a small shine in the moonlight.

 

They went in, not long after discovering one of the hazards they’d have to cross during their foray into the maze; a large boulder was blocking their path, the produce of an avalanche of the kind Mount Ihu so liked to have now and then.

 

“Stand back” Ferron cautioned Rhea and took a step forward. His eyes narrowed as he considered how to move the boulder. Was he still in possession of his Pakari, this would have been an easy feat, but now… he’d have to think a little.

 

Not too much, though.

 

Ferron assumed his stance; legs a little apart, facing his target head-on, giving way for his physical prominence to show itself, evidently relying in part on intimidation.

 

He took one deliberate step forward, stomping his foot into the snow. He had to pour a surprising amount of willpower into the movement, in order to reach into the ground through the snow with his power, and then have it force its way back up.

 

A metal pillar shot up from the ground beneath the boulder at an angle, wedging into one of its many crevices and tipping it over the stone wall.

 

It was a move executed with swiftness and precision. Up until now Ferron had only shown his tough, powerful side, but he knew just as well as Rhea that finesse too was a skill not to be overlooked, and in him it was evident with his fine control over the metal he worked with every day.

 

Ferron absorbed the pillar, regaining some of his lost strength, before stepping aside.

 

“Ladies first” he offered.


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#610 Offline Shadowhawk

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Posted Mar 10 2014 - 12:35 PM

IC: [ Rhea ] - Ko-Wahi / Drifts

"Most gentlemanly of you, I'm sure." returned the Su-Toa graciously, but with a slight, almost-imperceptible undertone of roguish mirth. She smiled briefly up at the Toa of Iron through the dimness, letting her emerald gaze linger an instant on his, then brushed lightly past him into the canyon beyond.

In her heart, she laughed once more. He was falling... she could feel it. It had taken longer to reach this point than she'd anticipated, but then, he was a strong, very self-possessed sort of man. And she hadn't exactly had perfect circumstances to work with... although, on the other hand, a few days of shared harshness and trial did have a certain inexplicable way of hastening certain emotions. Not a bad way to start, not bad at all.

As she walked, she began humming quietly under her breath, soft and melodious, so absorbed in her own meditations that she was entirely unaware of the sound.


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#611 Offline Doctor J. Wotzon

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Posted Mar 10 2014 - 04:17 PM

IC: Desuka

 

blind rage

 

The snow, the ice, cold, can't feel my- can't see anything, just white, red.

 

kuhrin's panicked face - "...are nearby, they're coming-" they're going to hurt me "-they're coming for you, Desuka!" THEY'RE COMING FOR ME

 

Must defend home, must defend-

 

kill

 

-myself. Kill before they kill me.

 

silhouettes

 

There. People. I see them. Shapes in the mist. Coming closer.

 

coming to hurt you

 

They're coming to hurt me.

 

coming to kill you

 

They're coming to kill me.

 

have to kill them

 

...Before they kill me.

 

...

 

The snow in this part of the mountain was fine, and formed a sort of fog and mist that prevented Rhea and Ferron from seeing more than a few meters ahead in any direction. The tracks they were following acted as a rope to cling to, to make sure they stayed on the right path.

 

Or, at least, it would, had they ever been on the right path.

 

Up ahead, a towering shape began to become visible. A hulking mass of bicep and torso with normally sized legs that looked stumpy in relation to the rest of the being. The snow crunched and condensed beneath its feet. As more and more of the creature became visible, Ferron noted that its feet matched the tracks exactly. They weren't just like that of a beast - they belonged to one.

 

It looked as if the creatures spine had burst from its back and grown into bladed spikes. Its face was like that of a Toa that had been split open into a mess of teeth and yellowed skin. Its fists were clenched, spiked claws embedding themselves in the palm of its hand. It was hideous.

 

Suddenly, its pitch black eyes caught them in its glare, and the beast opened its face to let out a blood curdling roar.


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#612 Offline Rucks

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Posted Mar 10 2014 - 05:20 PM

IC: Ferron (Drifts)

 

In the moonlight, Rhea's eyes blinked like brilliant gems, sending an unexpected rush through the Toa of Iron as his gaze lingered longer than he cared to admit before he began to follow.

 

He thought about it, realizing how much Rhea seemed to conform to him. She'd told him she knew his pain, and meant it, although possibly not at the same magnitude. Nevertheless she understood far more than most people ever would, which Ferron wouldn't really want to change anyway. What he'd seen and endured, he wouldn't wish that upon anyone but his worst enemy.

 

But she was here, and she wasn't leaving anytime soon, and deep down, Ferron was glad to know that.

 

She was humming, a sweet, melodious tone that rung beautifully in his ears. After the relentless howl of the wind, and all the straight-talk, such a sound was... heartwarming, irresistible.

 

"It can possibly be love," he told himself, "but something it definitely is."

 

And that was where his train of thought was cut short, for a blood-curdling, wicked roar tore apart his focus, drawing his attention to the abomination before them and he knew, he knew that this was Kuhrin's doing.

 

His shield and mace flew to his hands, and his eyes narrowed. This... thing was a living weapon, it had no conscience, no will.

 

It could not be reasoned with.


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#613 Offline Queen Anora Mac Tir

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Posted Mar 11 2014 - 05:22 AM

Ic: It wasn't until several minutes after Sukot had vanished under the Sanctum that Ambages stirred from his position. Those minutes were spent in silence and thought as the architect visualized success. He closed his eyes in stillness.

 

It had been so long since the erudite schemer delved into his mindscape and designed. This was his happy place, his Shangri La; it was a world littered with art.

 

Many designs and renditions of Ambages work were placed in his study in his apartment, sketches upon sketches stored in books and hundreds of these volumes were placed on the shelves. Current projects were still being drafted on the tables and desks, a never-ending process for the designer who's profession was as close to spirituality as it could be.

 

Therein resided the great hypocrisy: Ambages was surrounded by, and at that time even led, the godly and the pious, the savant and the sanctified who looked at language long since entombed in ice and looked for answers and meaning within the carved prophesies; they looked at art to become closer to God. And yet, despite all this, Ambages derived no holiness from his company and in truth wished for nothing less than their complete and utter destruction. He admired art he created and he created art to distance himself from God. He was beyond a prodigal, he was an antithesis to the holy, a demon in sheep form who stalked among the flocks with narrowed eyes, deeming even the enlightened philosophers and prophets to be nothing more than delusional puppets to a being who long forgot his people. Ambages did not admire art to see truth in its form, he created art to deliver the truth.

 

Ambages was his own god, a deity in physical form, and in his vision all men would see themselves in similar light or die frivolously casting their soul to the sacrificial fires of their worshiped. They would be martyrs, but saints were a dime a dozen and were nothing to a god. No life was worth giving to another being who neglected to even acknowledge his faithful. Mata Nui was such a god, a being none had seen, none had heard, only believed and blindly held on to like a prized picture of a long-gone beloved. They were fools for holding on so long without waking to the truth than there was no god worth living for save their selves. They were strong. They were great. They were worthy of themselves.

 

Every morning was beautiful to Ambages, proving that even the truly evil were not required to forget that beauty existed. Every second of every minute of every hour of very day was precious to Ambages, representing that life was worth living and making the fullest of because Ambages lived for himself. This meticulous attention to greatness was what made him so devoutly artistic -- it made him enraptured by detail and enamored by brilliance. Constantly striving to improve not only himself but what he created he sailed ever skywards in terms of wealth, power and intellect. In a manner of speaking, the fact that Ambages saw beauty was what made him dangerous without making him egotistic or enfeebled by delusions. Every stroke of the brush, every angle on his blueprints, every degree in the protractor contributed to his path and vision of beauty -- it all served a purpose in the masterpieces.

 

And those masterpieces that were too secret to be stored in his study or even spirited at the Academy were held in his mindscape. Massive statues and impressive citadels loomed large in his world in life sized dimensions with even the most infinitesimally miniscule details added and recalled with the precision of a seer, pictures and drawing hung on mansion walls wherein he could step into them and mentally experience the emotions and power impressed on the proverbial paper itself, people he made use of inhabited villages like in reality but moved to his whims like chess pieces on a massive board the size of Mata Nui so he could study them from the safety of his own mind. Ambages' inner monologues could only be explained as powered by the everlasting precision of the most advanced clockwork; nothing was impossible in the mind of the architect.

 

Mata Nui had power, too: Legends stated that he created the universe and everything in it -- Ambages included, which only served to further the irony. But Mata Nui had a brother named Makuta, a being of shadow who was seen as everything of Mata Nui's equal, and yet Makuta defeated Mata Nui and Makuta was in turn defeated by a mere man or team of men who were men just the same. None were truly safe from harm, none were powerful enough to save themselves from harm, none who entrusted their might in the faith of another. Those were the faults of the cosmic beings who quarreled in the dreamworld, faults Ambages could not make because he was a man who took none's faith and cursed any who worshipped him save himself.
The reverence others placed in those they believed in was why he looked at titles and formality beyond practicality with scorn; it all hailed too closely to faith on higher powers. Ambages could not abide by such rules.

 

But faithfulness and obedience were two very different things, each with its own set of intricacies. While faithfulness was blindly squandered to a higher power in search of blessing, obedience was ripped to another power in hopes of mercy. Sometimes they were together, as the case was with a beatified believer who offered humility to his god to be rewarded for his loyalty despite not seeking restitution, though often that union of faithfulness and obedience were diluted. After all, could a humble pilgrim truly search for mercy from a god he believed was already supremely giving and merciful? The answer was no. He believed mercy was already granted; his obedience was not part of a deal. As such, Ambages sought to receive the complete and utter obedience of those he controlled, both because they were prey to his evil mandibles but also because he was not a merciful god. His state of mind rewarded beauty, beauty gave him ability, ability granted him power and power only gave him more power.

 

And so Ambages ended his meditation after what seemed like a mere second but truly had been over a fourth of an hour. He got up from his desk, pulled several tablets and papers from the drawers and moved to Jaa's office.

 

The wiry scribe was delighted to have the Hand visit him and was eager to get to business. Much had to be done, both in administrating the city and its technologies but also to determine the legal infrastructure and future of Ko-Koro itself. Jaa and Ambages spent a long time together, taking notes and comparing notes, reading back logs taken in Matoro's court, before the things on the Hand's to-do-list were finished and a huge stack of work was completed and sorted out. Finally, with the immediate duties out of the way, Ambages moved on to another matter, one that would directly impact Ko-Koro and the island as a whole. He went to the one person he showed his power to, a sellsword he would require obedience from.

 

It was afternoon when Ambages descended into the dungeon once again, though time meant nothing in the depths of the Citadel, and he passed by the checkpoints like air through a keyhole. The guards stationed down there saluted him formally before obeying the Hand's command. At his behest, the cell holding Sukot was lowered through the floor like an elevator box...

 

... down into an empty chamber wherein Ambages waited, sitting on a chair with an empty one across from him. Korzaa's box thudded on the floor and then the door swung out to release its prisoner into the loving arms of nothing. A single, stark white lightstone shone down on the chairs and, patially, the cell box, though the sides of the room were invisible in the darkness. In the room Sukot suddenly was allowed to there was literally nothing certain save the chairs.

 

"Hello, Sukot," Ambages said gleefully as though Sukot were a bloody ball of yarn to be batted about by a predatory, demonic cat. "Come on, sit with me."


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#614 Offline Shadowhawk

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Posted Mar 11 2014 - 11:29 AM

IC: [ Rhea ] - Ko-Wahi / Drifts

The humming cut off abruptly, punctuated by the soft shicckk of leather on steel. Rhea's twin blades materialized in her hands, gleaming darkly through the snow-splotched haze.

"Looks like your friend has some friends of his own." observed the Toa of Plasma dryly. "Careful; this one's melee-oriented all the way. Forgemaster, we need handcuffs. Chains. Some sort of restraint."

Eyes narrowed, glittering, she dropped into a lithe half-crouch and began moving, slowly, easily, towards the feral monstrosity. Moving with all the trained military precision of the warrior she was, aggressive but wary, one deliberate step at a time.

Fifteen feet to range... thirteen... ten...

"I'll buy you some time. Stay back. Do your thing; this is mine."


Edited by Shadowhawk, Mar 11 2014 - 11:30 AM.

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#615 Offline Rucks

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Posted Mar 11 2014 - 11:53 AM

IC: Ferron (Drifts)

 

"Right," Ferron responded with a nod, and after a moment's hesitation adding, "just be careful"

 

He tucked his mace away, but his protosteel shield was instead mounted to a notch on his arm, in case he would need it. His tempered gaze studied Desuka warily, trying to assess the wicked creature. The claws, long and sharp and cruelly shaped, were more than likely its most dangerous weapons, they would need something to restrain its hands. Handcuffs.

 

Ferron was every bit the craftsman his profession demanded of him, but even with his elemental powers he would need a little time to craft a tool with a mechanism, like handcuffs.

 

He was, however, fully confident in Rhea's ability to buy him that time.


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#616 Offline Mr. House

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Posted Mar 11 2014 - 04:23 PM

IC: (Sukot urn Voyuk)

 

Sukot didn't have much trust in dank, dark chambers. From experience, they were most often torture chambers, or other such places of horror. He had been sent here to cooperate, or else be garroted and left to rot in the dark. Ambages likely had guards in the corners, so he couldn't just kill him. All that was left was negotiation, if he could. To make this unfortunate business meeting work out.

 

Walking forward, he took a seat. Something was unnerving about the Architect's tone of voice, something intimidating. Anyone with that amount of glee in regards to interrogation (What else would this be?) had something wrong with them. He'd known that type before, back home. But instead of politically focused new money, they were soft-spoken nobles with a taste for blood. All in all, bad news.

 

"Have I anything else to do?" he said, hiding his nervousness.


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#617 Offline Queen Anora Mac Tir

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Posted Mar 11 2014 - 04:47 PM

Ic: "You really doooon't but I'm not above asking first," Ambages said with a small shrug. "You could have elected to stand and I wouldn't be offended."

 

He pulled a citrus out of his jacket and began tearing strips of its peel off slowly and casting them to the ground. "I'd apologize for the sudden treatment I gave you before but, as you probably guessed, it was by design so I don't feel sorry about that. Sorry for not being sorry, though!" he said as he tilted his head slightly and craned his neck towards Sukot as if taking an evil sort of pity on the toa. "In any case, I'd like to continue our conversation from before.

 

"Do you remember what my last parting words with you were?" He ripped the peeled grapefruit in two and reached out to offer a half to Sukot.


Edited by EmperorWhenua, Mar 11 2014 - 04:48 PM.

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#618 Offline Mr. House

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Posted Mar 11 2014 - 09:14 PM

IC: (Sukot urn Voyuk)

 

"If I'm correct, it was 'Money does not mean knowledge, happiness or power. Only power can mean power.' followed shortly by 'I don't deal with mercenaries," Sukot said, taking a grapefruit half. In the guise of smelling its aroma, he made sure it hadn't any off smells.

 

"I do not believe in the first part, truth be told. The second is, however, very reasonable."

 

He took a bite.


Edited by Rhaegar Targaryen, Mar 11 2014 - 09:15 PM.

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#619 Offline Queen Anora Mac Tir

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Posted Mar 11 2014 - 10:15 PM

Ic: "Very good," Ambages mused as he tore off a slice of the fruit and nibbled on it like a bat. Sukot was apprehensive at the offered fruit, and perhaps he was within his rights to be, but Ambages feigned a hurt expression. "It's not poisoned. You're no good to me dead." Tearing off another slice he repeated the process. "I had to delay the rest of our conversation until we had the utmost privacy down here. But now: We shall continue.

 

"To be clear, I have zero interest in you as a mercenary -- but I do want to utilize you. There will be no contract, no agreement, no pact, only an understanding that you must obey me and that obedience will be rewarded. You can refuse right now just as you could have refused that chair or this fruit, but doing so would mean you can never become a truly wealthy man.

 

"I want you to serve me as you serve yourself. The only way you can acheive your dreams is if you play for the winning side." He ate another slice and his eyes gave a knowing glint. "And I'm not losing."


Edited by EmperorWhenua, Mar 11 2014 - 10:16 PM.

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#620 Offline Mr. House

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Posted Mar 12 2014 - 12:02 PM

IC: (Sukot urn Voyuk)

 

"I'll admit, the terms you give are quite familiar. Very few I give my service too ask for such," Sukot said, taking another bite. "Those kinds of activities have been varied in terms of payment in past. And all mostly come from individuals of ambiguity."

 

By now, he was certain Ambages was not a part of the so-called side of heroes and light. No, this Matoran was something completely different. But as long as he paid, Sukot didn't give a karz whether he was a simply a corrupt politician or the reincarnation of Makuta. The terms seemed to him to be sound, and he could follow them with ease. Obedience was a part of his job, a part he could very much do.

 

And though something seemed off about it all, though something vaguely bugged him, his desire for wealth overcame these feelings.

 

"I will take upon your offer, sir. Let me say that I will only ask the vital questions, but refuse not an order."


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#621 Offline Doctor J. Wotzon

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Posted Mar 12 2014 - 04:22 PM

IC: Desuka

 

The beast drew closer to the ground too, slowly easing into a four-legged run. Faster and fast it moved, ploughing through the snow like it was water. Nothing could come between this unstoppable force and its prey. There was silence in the air, save its heavy breath and the snow being brushed aside. Within seconds, it was in range. Its size was to be marvelled; its sheer strength radiated from its powerful armoured body. With an almighty pound on the earth, the wolf launched itself into the air, pouncing directly towards Rhea.


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#622 Offline Queen Anora Mac Tir

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Posted Mar 12 2014 - 05:47 PM

Ic: "Good." Ambages had been looking carefully at Sukot's face, discerning the expressions as they came and went, and as their negotiation (if it was that) was winding to a close he was satisfied. Sukot beamed of an ecstasy of gold and lust for greed, and with such primal, basal sins tugging at his strings like oxen on a leash he would never deviate from the linear path to achieve greatness, as unfounded as his concept of 'greatness' was. Everyone had a weakness others could exploit and Ambages had found Sukot's with ease. And yet despite it all there were no strings to attach himself to the soldier of fortune, none that mattered.

 

"You'll resume your duties as a guardsman -- the short stint you served in that cell means nothing. Since you're more or less serving as a freelancer in the Guard, well, nobody really keeps track of you, especially when you're on your off shift. There's also been no record of you even being here, so you effectively haven't.

 

"I'm planning on leaving the city soon," Ambages said. "In my absence Korzaa will command the city and its domestic affairs. She will want to become akiri, and as far as I will seem I will want that to be the case. Your job for me will have one defining end: If Korzaa becomes akiri through an election by adoration you will have failed. Block her, confuse her, make her succumb to mania, kill those who oppose you, do what you must to prevail because her victory is your failure. But -- by no means are you to lay a finger on the captain herself."


Edited by EmperorWhenua, Mar 12 2014 - 05:53 PM.

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#623 Offline Mr. House

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Posted Mar 13 2014 - 08:48 PM

IC: (Sukot urn Voyuk)

 

"Certainly, sir. I'm not the most skilled at election manipulation, but I will get it done," he said. "Such a convoluted system this is. I wouldn't be surprised if others rig these elections."


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#624 Offline Queen Anora Mac Tir

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Posted Mar 13 2014 - 09:01 PM

Ic: "I hope there are," Ambages said. "It would make our job all the easier, though they'd have to be dealt with before someone else wins. Buuuuuut I don't have to explain everything to you. I think that leaves you with enough information to work on so we're done here." The Hand got up and stepped casually away to a side of the room and hid partially shrouded in shadows before bidding Sukot adieu.

 

"The door is right here, by the way. You can leave whenever you want." He gestured as though tipping an invisible hat before he turned the knob and left the door ajar, revealing a sliver of light to guide Sukot on his way out.

 

****

 

OOC: Jam with Visaru.

IC: The Hand stepped up to Korzaa's office with purposeful steps. He knocked on the door quickly twice and paused to hear Korzaa's invite, barring her absence.

Korzaa did not raise her head from the mess of ice tablets she had been sorting through. The death of an Akiri was a lot of paperwork, and she had been working hard to redouble the patrols and increase Koro security on top of that. The responsibility of Matoro's death was her's, and she couldn't let it happen again. Not to mention the fact that the killer had still not been found- they still didn't know how Matoro had died.

She scratched another signature signature onto the tablet and slid it away as she bid Ambages to come in.


"'Afternoon," Ambages said as he entered and closed the door behind him and looked broadly at Korzaa's work. "I see you have just as much documenting as I do. You truly are diligent, captain. Thank you for your hard work," he commended. The distinction between inflating flattery or heartful acknowledgment  was, for better or worse,  imperceptible -- Ambages was being honest and did admire Korzaa's dedication to work. As far as duty went Korzaa was deserving of respect.

He unbuttoned his overcoat and sat down across from her desk to get comfortable.

"Thank you." Korzaa said simply, lifting her eyes from her work to meet his unreadable ones. "What business do you have with me?" she was not trying to be rude, but she did not wish to bandy about pleasantries when there was so much to do.

"I feel I should inform you of my actions and next steps," Ambages explained and expressively waved his hands. "We agreed to work together on this after all.”

"I hope this isn't a bad time for this conversation?”

Korzaa shook her head sharply. "Not at all. We must decide upon these things as soon as possible. Although calm, our Koro is still in crisis, and I do not wish to postpone these conversations further than they already have been.”

"Good." Ambages was glad Korzaa was this willing -- he needed that eagerness to spin something else later on in the conversation. For now, though, he remained focused on he past and spoke of what he had managed to do for the investigation.

"A certain matoran named Ishi, the scion of the Polzin family, came by earlier today delivering the coronary report Gabel performed on the late akiri," he began and placed he report on Korzaa's desk as a sort of evidence. "This would typically be not noteworthy, but Ishi is known to be a very intelligent and capable investigator, so I seized the opportunity to, well, 'hire' him to look into the matter. He already had interest in the case and performed his own fact-finding, going so far as looking at a few bodies sent to the hospital's morgue and where they were found. Indeed, Ishi even had a suspect nailed -- ahhh," he said and leaned forward, craned his neck and scanned some of the documents on Korzaa's desk, then, spotting a dossier on the side, he reached and laid his finger on it. "Him. I'm sure you've gotten word of that already, though if not I'd be happy to explain what Ishi found."

Ambages sat back down and cocked his head with genuine interest before pausing to see if Korzaa knew the report on the suspected assassin or not.

Korzaa had indeed given the report a cursory glance, but given her analytical and skeptical viewpoint, she was not convinced enough to draw conclusions from it.

"Ishi, sadly, was not here to explain how he pieced together the details to find the dead man guilty of Matoro's death." she said.


The Hand noted that the report was remarkably thorough -- Ishi's work as a journalist mandated that his reports were as complete as possible to remove any doubt as to its veracity -- and concluded that if Korzaa was not able to gather the details she must not have read it very carefully or completely. Either way the details were within Korzaa's reach already and a full debrief was not in order.

"I was skeptical at first myself, but I do believe it is as correct as we're going to get. However, it's hardly the end of the matter as the question of who was behind the assassin remains at large. And so Ishi Polzin will continue to work and do research on the murder, and will submit reports as he finds information to help.

"Personally -- and not at all a matter of tooting my horn, mind you -- I have a large reach thanks to my chairmanship of the Cultured Gentry and diverse client base, so this gives me plenty insight on the machinations of people of power and wealth. Based on my observations and learned conjecture, I think we're looking at someone who wants to disrupt the chain of power on the island and targeted the most wealthy and influential city of the six," he said. It was there that he began to spin his own tale. "There are only a few people who can do this, none of whom are akiri and only some of which belong to my guild. For that reason I bring myself to the second matter I wish to bring to your table: My next actions.”

Korzaa raised an eyebrow. A single person seemed too small of a force for such an important thing. She would have to reread the report and assemble some sort of task force to assist Ishi, or if necessary, work against him. She hated politics.

"Go on." she prompted, letting Ambages continue with what he obviously wanted to discuss.


Ambages sighed sanguinely before he obliged. There were so many things he had to attend to, all outside the city, but before he could do them he needed Korzaa to effectively allow his leave. He could make her job hellish if he was refused, which wouldn't bode well for anyone, so the more easy and direct path was to convince Korzaa that he was more useful out of city administration. So he concocted a proposal.

"As we know, my job as Hand makes me leader in the absence of an akiri, but the other villages have been expecting word from our walls and open dialogue which we have not made yet since we have no formal envoy to them. I feel I have done as much as I can to this city in my current capacity, filing papers with Jaa, enlisting investigators even in addition to Ishi, working with your office to ensure safety in this time of crisis -- but we need to move on now or risk going asunder within our own snows."

Here it went.... "It's time the city chooses its new akiri, and Korzaa, I believe that leader should be /you/." ... Boom. "Because I do not want to interfere in domestic policies or compete in the election, I feel it best that I withdraw from the city and meet with the other village leaders to repair any diplomatic damages done. This would also ensure you do not inherit a mess of politics when you ascend.

"So, what do you say?" he asked and eagerly awaited the captain's reply.

Korzaa took a deep breath, and looked straight in Ambages' eyes.

"No."

She paused for a moment, collecting her thoughts. "I am not the person for this job." she said truthfully. "I fight battles, and I wish for no more. I am a military commander, not a political one." There must have been some sort of underhanded political reason for this, but Korzaa could not for the life of her see why Ambages wanted her as the leader of the koro.


"But you are the one the people must choose," Ambages stated plainly. "You have served the city diligently, you've sacrificed so much for it and cannot be held at fault for shirking on your duty. You've been under both Turaga Nuju and Akiri Matoro and have a selfless record. All anyone will ever see me as is a patrician-turned-politician and a usurping claimant, just as I know you and viewed me when I last was in this office with the Seal and the Cloak. The koro deserves a strong, dedicated leader that can be adored and respected, and for that reason I firmly believe you should become the nest akiri. None other can touch you in this regard." Ambages was being honest with that statement; as far as he could tell nobody else came close to Korzaa's tenure and accomplishments, not even himself. He was only on board as Matoro's advisor for a relatively short period when compared to Korzaa's work under both akiri and turaga. "Captain Jaller, a man of similar duty and responsibility, became an akiri of his own and rules well -- why bar yourself from that possibility?”

"I have no desire to perform this duty," She said, a bit forcefully. She paused and took a breath, "but I will if I must. However, Ambages, you are not the sole voice in this decision. The people of this Koro, the Maru, the gentry members- they all have their own desires and candidates. If you can prove to me that I am the only woman for the job and that I have the support of the people and those in power, I will grudgingly take the throne, but not until then.”

"You're right," Ambages conceded softly, feeling the gentle wind of victory. "The koro must decide; let their voices be the proof you want. I should still leave the city, though -- I can be of better service administrating abroad than here. So unless you object, I will visit the other villages and restore this koro's dignity.”

"Yes," Korzaa said simply, "I have no objection to your political visits- they are what our village needs.”

"Then we are in accord," the Hand said gladly. Korzaa's terse attitude was predictably linear in the context of the conversation, a fact Ambages was able to exploit. He knew Korzaa wouldn't want to take the mantle of leadership, but an alternative where Ambages was crowned instead was too dangerous for her. By extricating himself from the city in the guise of helping put Korzaa on a pedestal, he not only dodged an inquisition of his loyalty to the city but also enabled himself to move with diplomatic liberty for his own purposes.

"In light of the current status of affairs and my leave, I would suggest opening the gates of the city once again. It should be safe now.”

"We should open the gates when we know the village is safe. When I have properly looked over Ishi's report and drawn my conclusions about the city's security and the murderer's location, then we will allow travel again.”

The barbs Korzaa exuded with her staunch position on the gates assured Ambages that she was neither softened or budged from determination. It proved to him hat this efforts harvested genuine fruit, and that Korzaa could indeed be manipulated despite her posture. Like a wall she was immobile but depending on which side of he wall one stood she could be used like a shield or seen as an obstacle; either way, Korzaa was still a wall, unknowing of her true purpose due to her stoic nature. Her lack of affinity to politics was hailed as a virtue and a break away from the diplomats and administrators who reigned until then, but in all reality it was a weakness Ambages feigned a blind eye to while plunging a sword into it in secret.

"Of course, in your own time," the Hand modestly said, fully knowing he could not press the Sanctum Guard to do anything it didn't wish to do. "As I said, it's a suggestion -- from the office of the akiri." He got up and buttoned his coat with one hand. "I look forward to hearing of your election in due time and will come back when the election bells ring. Mata Nui be with you, captain.”

"And you, Lord Hand" she said with a nod. She went back to her work quickly, opening Ishi's report and beginning to thoroughly scan through every word.

 

Ambages rose and bowed respectfully before leaving the office. The smile he wore upon his exit was brief but very, very broad.


Edited by EmperorWhenua, Mar 13 2014 - 09:28 PM.

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#625 Offline Shadowhawk

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Posted Mar 14 2014 - 11:37 AM

IC: [ Rhea ] - Ko-Wahi / Drifts

The green-eyed bounty hunter didn't slow, didn't hesitate. She'd made her living in the heat of the Great War, earned her officer's stripes in one of the most lethal fighting units on the face of the island, operating under some of the most extreme combat conditions in history. For decades, her life had revolved around the campaign against Makuta's infected legions, against some of the most brutal, bestial creatures that had ever stalked the wild's heart.

Against ruthless, feral predators just like this one.

The hideous mutant was swinging into a four-legged lunging gait, the killing charge of a bloodied Muaka. Snowbanks smashed before it, spinning ice hazing the night in a whirling maelstrom of muscle and fury. Very dramatic, very theatrical. To any small prey animal, the height of nightmare.

Rhea waited, balancing lightly on her feet. The whole focus of a predator's killing charge was based on one of two outcomes. Made against a weaker entity, the charge would almost always result in said entity turning to run, then being overwhelmed and brought down by the sheer weight and speed of the hunter. Made against an entity of equal strength, the charge would result in a brutal impact as the two combatants locked in mortal combat, neither ready to give way.

There was one exploitable weakness. One offensive countering maneuver that only a trained professional, only someone with phenomenal coordination and the smaller, slimmer physical frame of a humanoid female, could count on pulling off successfully.

The mutant bore down, eyes flaming wildly as its hind legs coiled and launched it into a panther's spring. Rhea waited, shoulders relaxed, every neuron of her mind focusing in merciless pinprick concentration. Four feet... three... two... one.

She dropped and rolled, sliding underneath the charge with lithe agility and cobra speed. Her left-hand blade flashed, raking viciously across vulnerable underbelly tissues only inches from her face and then she was springing on her right hand, her momentum tumbling her back onto her feet in a duelist's crouch. Their positions were reversed; having integrated a mid-roll turn, she was facing the predator again.
 
To be more precise, his rear. Smiling slightly, she flicked her wrist and lobbed a fist-sized halo of searing plasmatic energy onto his hulk of a body, not bothering to aim. Wherever it hit, it'd hurt. The important thing was to keep him distracted, keep him off-balance long enough for Ferron to conjure up some sort of cold binding steel around his joints.


OOC:

Just so y'all know, everyone involved in this battle is currently communicating via group PM. So, don't start pointing out borderline autohits and such; we can work that out on our own. Just sit back and enjoy one of the first real bits of PC-vs.-PC bloodshed this season. :P


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#626 Offline Doctor J. Wotzon

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Posted Mar 16 2014 - 09:21 AM

IC: Desuka

 

As it shot through the air over Rhea, the creature gritted its teeth and braved the streak of searing pain that had materialised down its underbelly. Before it had even hit the ground, the pain had been nudged aside by the fury unlocked by its prey's insult.

 

Skidding to a halt in the snow, the beast used its momentum to whirl around 180 degrees to face its opponent. Just in time, it threw itself to the ground as the swirling mass of heat turned the ice and rock behind it into a pool of steaming liquid. Not only had this being dared to scar its torso, but it was now throwing balls of plasma as well. The projectile might as well have struck, as the creature was ablaze with its fury.

 

Using its anger to power its movements, the savage grabbed a part of the rock that jutted out from the rest, and pulled. The ice had made it brittle, and with the monster's extreme strength, a huge boulder about the size of Rhea was torn free from the mountain. The beast turned and lobbed the rock into the air towards its foe, then chased it as it sailed through the air, and then dropped suddenly down. Rhea was directly underneath the boulder, while the creature was rapidly approaching on the ground.


Edited by Alex Turner, Mar 16 2014 - 09:21 AM.

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#627 Offline Rucks

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Posted Mar 16 2014 - 09:49 AM

IC: Ferron (Drifts)

 

Desuka lounging from the front, rock descending from above, Rhea was in trouble, while he had still gone unnoticed. A plan was formed by his tempered mind in a millisecond, and he scrambled to act on it before it was too late.

 

Ferron concentrated, clutching his newly made cuffs in his hands. In an instant, they shifted again, the metal coiling like silvery vines under his power, taking on new shapes as the mass melded to his wrists, before stretching, coiling, snaking unnaturally, in a way that metal could never do its own.

 

"Rhea, watch the rock" Ferron called to her as he lashed forward with the metal whips, directing them to wrap around Desuka's hind legs.


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#628 Offline Ghosthands

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Posted Mar 16 2014 - 03:32 PM

IC (Zadron)

 

From the window of Braen's mansion, a figure slowly came into view out of the snow, black armour peeking out from beneath a white cloak that rippled in the midday wind.

 

Zadron pulled the cloak a little tighter as he looked up at the grand house. His was a wary gaze, despite the comforting glow of lightstones from within the many windows. His contact had assured him this guy was a good customer, but the oligarchical appearance of the mansion only served to remind him of his last employers and their apparent assets. Worn stone walls, tall roof of expensive-looking wood...inherited not built, by the looks of it.

 

He ascended the snow-covered steps. The door had a knocker of brass, cast in the shape of a Muaka's head gripping a smooth ring. He gave it three knocks. The metal-on-metal impacts were satisfyingly sharp, and the echoes from beyond the door spoke of a large entrance hall. No surprise there.


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#629 Offline Hanako Herupa

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Posted Mar 16 2014 - 03:53 PM

IC: (Braen)

 

Braen smiled, he had been expecting this traveler for quite a bit. Turning to his companion, Lana, he smiled. "Would you get the door for our guest? We have much to talk about, and it's been a long while since we have had guests. I'll go gather the refreshments from the kitchen while you do. The Tall Vortixx walked to his kitchen, grabbing the plate of meats, cheeses, fruits and vegetables, as well as a bottle of Sanctum Brandy and three wine glasses. Braen saw himself as a hospitable host, even though he lived in the most inhospitable part of Mata Nui.


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#630 Offline Skitty

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Posted Mar 16 2014 - 04:06 PM

IC: Lana

 

"Of course my love!" She gave Braen a quick squeeze before breaking the hug and heading toward the door. Her happy demeanor slowly changed as she got farther away from Braen. She knew that this guest was important to Braen and to their work, but she still didn't like their alone time being interrupted so soon. 

 

She was quick to hide any sign of displeasure on her face as she opened the door, she didn't want to appear hostile to their guest. Before her was a Vortixx who appeared to be of considerable strength. He was lean and yet looked to be in the peak physical condition for his race. The scope on her Kanohi Akaku seemed to stare right through him. 

 

"Come in." She said politely, moving to let the mercenary inside. "Braen is right this way." 


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#631 Offline Queen Anora Mac Tir

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Posted Mar 16 2014 - 06:27 PM

Ic: Who knew what the Toa Maru were doing? Not Ambages, and that uncertainty did not settle well with him. The liberty afforded the so-called "heroes of Mata Nui" and the vast powers they supposedly possessed posed a potential threat to the architect. What's more, he recognized that the Maru were by no means fools, and if Leah's face was any indication they were on to something. Their unchecked snooping was only part of why Ambages needed to leave, and while some flags may be raised when the Maru realize he departed he left a solid smokescreen behind him and the confidence of Captain Korzaa. Brows may be raised but suspicion would be null.

 

The other reasons for his leave were more personal. Somewhere, someone or some people were plotting, either against him or outside of his rules. It had been a long time since Ambages entered the field with specific intentions to kill but he felt the need to do so then. Ambages had been aware of pockets of insurgency, individuals who knew a little bit about him or maybe even a lot and tried to thwart him, and the time had come to settle those affairs and tie up the loose ends. And not just the failed experiment of Bad Company but others as well, some just as powerful as Brykon Shaddix. Unlike the last time Ambages did his own dirty laundry, though, he had a new secret weapon at his disposal.

 

But truly, how far had things gone that the architect himself had to smash the structures in the way of his sprawling development? It wasn't as though Ambages couldn't have sent out operatives to dispatch his enemies like the many times he had before, but rather he wished to do it this way by then. The times were tight, the game was carefully watched, and the only person he trusted to not mess up and give himself away was himself. After being the shadowy puppetmaster for so long he was finally going to come out of the woodwork and handle things on his own terms, not place his faith in sellswords he bought loyalty of to toss away a moment later or loosely affiliated servants he held loose control over. The "traveller" came to mind, a man he found in his own apartment who professed a life debt, almost exactly as Ambages wanted but wasn't able to make use of it yet.

 

For now, the Hand of the Akiri slung a rucksack containing his luggage over his shoulder and walked down the streets to the gate of the city, the first few steps of a journey that would put him abroad until however long Korzaa succumbed to political weaknesses. When the gate's massive arch was almost within touching distance a squad of rushing footsteps swarmed from behind him. For an instant, Ambages feared that the Maru had uncovered a lie, or that Korzaa had been wiser than anticipated or that some force was about to overwhelm and arrest him. He wouldn't have blamed them.

 

But there was no barking of orders or grappling. Instead, Jaa stood with two Sanctum Guards next to him and a bundle in hand. "Ambages," he greeted with a raspy voice as he recovered from the run. Years and years sitting in an office had done no good for the scribe's physical abilities. "I'm glad I caught you. You almost left without your escort!" An expression of genuine concern was all over Jaa's face.

 

Ambages suddenly found himself in a secondary predicament he tried to avoid. He didn't want to have company on his journeys, especially not guards who report to Korzaa, but there was every reason for them to go with him. He was going to act as a traveling head of state and diplomat, and with the recent chain of dead leaders Ko-Koro was in no mood to lose another dignitary to assassination. It was entirely possible that the escort was also meant to ensure Ambages wasn't up to any political dirty work outside of the city. He straightened as he looked the two guards over. He couldn't refuse them; he didn't even have authority over the Sanctum Guard. Taking it in stride, Ambages nodded simply. "I usually travel alone and independent, but I welcome added safety."

 

"We know of your competencies," one guard said. "Jaa already lauded you to us, but -- Korzaa's orders."

 

"Then I can't refuse," Ambages shrugged. "Do keep up."

 

"Oh! And!" Jaa said, offering the bundle. "Don't forget this, Lord Hand."

 

One good look and Amages caught the hint of what was inside: The Seal of Kopaka. He frowned. "I don't need it for the trip, Jaa."

 

"You're the only one with the rights to carry it, and you'll need its authority in your dealings with the other koro," Jaa advised.

 

He hesitated a moment but understood the scribe's point. It did no good in the citadel since Korzaa, despite acting as de facto leader of the city, was not allowed to use it as per statute, but would only help Ambages represent Ko-Koro while abroad. He finally accepted the offered package and put it in his rucksack. "Thank you. I'll be back."

 

Jaa hoped so. He wasn't the happiest with Ambages' placement of Korzaa on a pedestal and much rather'd have Ambages remain in control and become akiri, especially with his distaste of Korzaa's policies and abilities in contrast with Ambages' alignment with Matoro's work. Meanwhile, the architect was relying on just that sort of emotional control. Jaa was, in fact, a centerpiece to the machine he was leaving in Ko-Koro to undermine Korzaa's leadership. Between Sukot's clandestine activities and Jaa's lack of faith in the captain, Korzaa's rise was doomed.

 

Finally, with two Sactum Guards at his back and a whole island ahead of him, Ambages left the city in the *cough* capable hands of the military.


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#632 Offline Shadowhawk

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Posted Mar 16 2014 - 08:13 PM

IC: [ Rhea ] - Ko-Wahi / Drifts

The female Su-Toa waited, eyes narrowed and calculating, tensing for a split-second defensive maneuver as the hulking mutant wrenched loose a quarter-ton slab of solid stone from the canyon wall, wheeled in place, hurled the immense projectile straight towards her in an attack as crude and clumsy as it was devastating.

Superb recovery time, high rage level. Surprisingly coordinated; acts with notable foresight--

She sprang nimbly away, landing neatly in a duelist's stance, weight shifted forward on her feet for quicker agility. Milliseconds later, the rock slammed home right where she'd been standing, vibrating in the frozen earth, ice chips spraying across Rhea's mask and cloak front. Face impassive, she gestured briefly with her right-hand blade, etching a defensive slash against the night; heat waves exploded in the blizzard-laced wind as a raw wall of roiling plasma erupted an instant later from the thin air between her and the onrushing brute.


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#633 Offline Mr. House

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Posted Mar 18 2014 - 11:43 AM

IC: (Sukot urn Voyuk)

 

The streets of Ko-Koro were eerie at dawn. The obscured sun cloaked it in hazy light, and barely a sound echoed through the ice. Curfew didn't end until seven, so all he had was the company of scattered guard patrols. He knew the patrols paths, and knew that most were tired from enforcing martial law through the city. Sukot took his own path, a little used path. It was in a newer district of Ko-Koro, fairly affluent, quiet, and most importantly, not made of ice. No one thought an assassin could be here, no.

 

Arson in the village of ice was one way to sap confidence. One or two houses burning down, people unfortunately dying. It would make the rich of the city, with their lavish campaign funds, and their faith in the system, grow mistrustful. He had to do it with the utmost quiet, and the utmost tact. He didn't want them to trace him, but also wanted it to be obviously intentional. He had in his haversack a small jar of tar, and a small jar of rubbing alcohol. It could be explained, if questioned, that he was taking supplies to and fro, and thus was excellent to keep up his ruse.

 

He had to find a house with the least amount of people.


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#634 Offline Tenth Norik

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Posted Mar 19 2014 - 01:43 AM

IC: Riaril
 
By the time I'd walked to the south ward my steps were confident.  The scar on the back of my neck from treating Crispy was hidden by the buttoned collar of my coat. I'd finished half of the tea in my mug and the caffeine was beginning to kick in with a welcome surge of energy.  It was no surprise, then, when seeing the toa of magnetism gently stretching in the aisle next to his cot I approached.  
 
"Greisk."  I got his attention with the first name.  His eyes, somewhat reserved, stared back from behind what was either an akaku or an arthron.  "I see you're doing better.  Perhaps it's time you paid off the debt to my hospital?"


OOC: Oh boy, good to be back for a few days.

IC: [Greisk]-[Nuju-Marion-Research Hospital]-[One of the wards]

Greisk looked up at the frowning doctors with one eye who smelled of coffee and smoke. Coffee good. Smoke bad.

"As a matter of fact, yes. I would hate to take up space in this hospital for no reason," he said. He sat up and swung his legs over to the side of the bed.

"When do we start?"

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#635 Offline Kughii

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Posted Mar 19 2014 - 11:06 AM

OOC:  She'll be smelling of tea since she doesn't drink coffee. :P  Good to have you back.

 

IC: Riaril

 

When do we start?  I had this feeling that if I told him to down and give me twenty he'd comply.  It might reopen a wound though, so I decided on another way of turning his sweat into widgets.  

 

"We live in Ko-Wahi," I said while turning on my heel and leading him back through the ward toward the core of the hospital, "and Ko-Wahi has an unfortunate problem for running a hospital: snow.  Now, snow is great for preserving corpses in a morgue, or for giving a wonderful aesthetic from the window, but for a wounded or sick being to reach the front door in a drift can be very challenging."  We had reached the main desk and I reached behind, producing a long object.  A shovel.  

 

"I want you to shovel the snow from the courtyard to start," I said while handing him the tool for an impossible task.


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#636 Offline Ghosthands

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Posted Mar 19 2014 - 05:59 PM

IC: Lana

 

"Of course my love!" She gave Braen a quick squeeze before breaking the hug and heading toward the door. Her happy demeanor slowly changed as she got farther away from Braen. She knew that this guest was important to Braen and to their work, but she still didn't like their alone time being interrupted so soon. 

 

She was quick to hide any sign of displeasure on her face as she opened the door, she didn't want to appear hostile to their guest. Before her was a Vortixx who appeared to be of considerable strength. He was lean and yet looked to be in the peak physical condition for his race. The scope on her Kanohi Akaku seemed to stare right through him. 

 

"Come in." She said politely, moving to let the mercenary inside. "Braen is right this way." 

 

IC (Zadron)

 

The Vortixx looked up from the foot of the door to the Toa of Stone, orange eyes set in sharp features just visible in the shadows of his hood. The assassin's gaze was grim.

 

So he's called 'Braen'. At least I have a name now, even if it's not one I know.

 

He gave the Toa no more than a nod as he passed her, crossing the mansion's threshold. Warmth washed over him instantly, a not unwelcome sensation. Having hung his white cloak on a nearby coat-stand, he followed Lana through the house. The interior cemented the suggestions of the exterior; this 'Braen' was a wealthy man. It wasn't surprising, really; in Zadron's experience, wealthy men made for regular customers.


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#637 Offline Vezok's Friend

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Posted Mar 19 2014 - 07:04 PM

OOC: Okay,let's get this moving again. I'll keep it short for now, RL does not leave me with much RPing time right now unfortunately.

 

IC:

 

"I am sorry, Toa Reordin, but the Vizier left the city several hours ago." the Ko Matoran guard said. The Toa Maru of ice frowned. He did not like the reply. Nor did his companions, for that matter. Korero and Leah exchanged a serious look with each other. Behind them stood, towering over the group, Toa Sulov, his face an impassive and hard like granite. With the Toa's question answered, the Matoran guardsman gave a brief, respectful nod, before walking away, resuming his patrol. Reordin waited until he was out of earshot, before he said: "Why does it always have to be avalanches..."

 

Leah let out a sigh as well. She shared in the frustration as well. They had planned to get a track on Ambages with the help of Sulov, but just as they had been waiting for an audience, the Sanctum Guard had contacted them, asking for their help with a patrol that was reported missing after an avalanche had come down onto one of the passes along one of the more dangerous paths through the mountains. And when it came to helping, well, the Matoran had to come first. They had found them quickly thanks to Korero's mask, injured, but alive and brought them back to the village. 

 

And now Ambages was gone. Leah had a bad feeling in her gut. She remembered the look he'd given her when they had spoken to Jaa, the scribe, down in the Ko-Koro holding cells. She had not been able to read the vizier with her mask, which gave the Toa Maru more than enough cause to be worried. The only other being to ever completely evade her mask's power so far had been the Makuta. And there were reports that implied the architect was not as benevolent and virtuous as he tried to appear. The implications were...problematic. Being the smart man that he was, Leah suspected Ambages must have noticed that something was off as well and would probably put preventative measures in effect. The question was: What was he going to do now?

 

She looked from Korero, to Reordin and then to Sulov. "So, what's out next move? Follow Ambages right now, or investigate further, find out what he's up to behind the facade?"


Edited by Smaug the Terrible, Mar 29 2014 - 05:44 AM.

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#638 Offline Carson Chambliss

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Posted Mar 19 2014 - 08:41 PM

IC: I consider. Rise with Leah's words, uncurling from thinking position to look at all and bring my weight to bear. Pondering investigation as last.

 

Conditions stable? Yes. Ergo, there is reason to argue for that previous thought.

 

"Get the others. Then decide."


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#639 Offline Tenth Norik

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Posted Mar 20 2014 - 09:26 AM

OOC: Oh, didn't see that sentence in your earlier post. :P
IC: [Greisk/Cyrena]- [The NMRH]- [Inside half of the entrance]

Greisk looked out at the puffy mountains of vengeful cold just outside the hospital.

Greisk fished out one of very few still-dry smokes from his bag and stuck it into a corner of his mouth. He laid his belongings, all tied up in a bag at the end of a wooden mast, onto the floor. He took out his hat and put it on.

"Time to get to work," he said to himself and picked up the shovel.

Any ideas how I can use my elemental powers to help?

No, sorry, I'm not a Toa.[color=#657085] Cyrena helplessly said.

Greisk tucked his cloak(which had been returned to him on discharge) around him and started to work. He started by clearing snow nearest to the edges if the courtyard.

---

It was soon becoming apparent that it would be extremely difficult, if not wholly impossible, to clear everything. Greisk was starting to feel numb but he bit down on the unlit cigarette and pushed on. Cyrena helped a little by helping to detect certain snow areas that were easier to shovel.

A few times Greisk wanted to give up, but he didn't want to stop until he was satisfied with his work. There was also the matter of "the scary doctor woman", in Cyrena's own words, whom he did not want to disappoint.

Greisk very soon decided tp use his magnetism powers and made the shovel clear more ground per push than normal. Eventually he decided that, in the context of a snowing mountain, the path was reasonably clear, including the fact that he was out of breath and sweating in the cold. He stumbled back into the hospital and saw the doctor looking on.

"I hope you weren't swinging for me research past few hours," the Toa of Magnetism said as he tucked the unlit cigarette into the corner of his mouth. He didn't know why but that gave him a sense of familiarity.


Edited by Just Norik, Mar 24 2014 - 05:23 AM.

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#640 Offline Ghosthands

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Posted Mar 20 2014 - 11:49 AM

IC (Korero)

 

It would have been a lie to say that Korero was not frustrated by this setback - Ambages' sudden drop off the radar was exactly what he'd hoped to prevent - but he accepted that there had been no better alternative. The immediate safety of innocents was their priority, to be sure; he doubted his conscience would have allowed him to pursue the Architect himself, for example, when there were Matoran in danger.

 

The best option for the present, as Sulov rightly said, was to convene the entire team. With their Kanohi, that would take no time at all, so in theory it should still be relatively simple work to locate Ambages and at least attempt to tag him with the Kimi.

 

But in theory, the Toa of Air reminded himself, does not always equal in practice.

 

He nodded in support of Sulov's proposal.

 

"Let's not waste any time about it, then," he said briskly. "I'll Jump them here now. Have you got locations for me, Sulov?"


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