OOC: You poor thing.
Around Torvoth, the air shook with malcontent. His laugh died away into the darkness with a whimper; the pitched, high sound was nothing like the boisterous guffaw he could have sworn he had let loose at Komisk. It didn't sound anything like any laugh he'd ever made; if Komisk's roughshod group didn't know better, maybe they could have sworn that some remnant of Makuta was laughing back at them. A few of the fighters on the team reached for their weapons and thumbed the grips, hoping for a vestige of comfort. The Onu-Matoran at their head, an old hat who had been instrumental in catching Turaga Whenua's assassin and a veteran of Makuta's wrath at the Rama Hive, kept a watchful eye on what surroundings he could make out. Stralix's fingers danced nervously, as the fingers of inventors tend to do; he was borderline fidgeting.
"You're a moron," the Dark Walk seethed back, in the voice of Komisk Runion. "You're going to die down here."
Somewhere, a drop of liquid fell to the craggy rock of the tunnel surface. Ploop.
A foot fell, and then another. Tentative grips became drawn weapons; Torvoth, running point, stopped laughing and unlimbered his chainblade with the ferocity and lack of grace of a Xa-Koro survivor. His eyes narrowed and peered out through the walk, searching for an enemy - and found only a Matoran, lame-legged and pale, blood streaking from gashes in chest and face, but dragging himself towards the group with all he had. Lux took several instinctive steps forward to greet him and then recoiled; when the Po-Matoran Sentinel looked up his eyes were feverish, and were a sickly translucent pink from tears. His breath was labored and harsh; he looked on death's door. Torvoth and Dorgath bent down to help assist him, while Stralix and Melna each surveyed the area keenly. There was something in the air here...it gripped their very chests, even those who had not known fear in years, and it made each inhale feel like some unforgivable crime, and each exhale felt like a Sisyphean task, tougher than the one before.
"What happened to you, tholdier?" Komisk asked, not unkindly but still wary. "Whereth your thquad thationed at?"
The soldier was too weak or too out of it to notice the lisp; he looked up with pleading, wide eyes at Dorgath.
"Did...did they follow me?"
The air grew still, and the small army that had marched into the mouth of oblivion exchanged uneasy glances. "Followmefollowmefollowme," the Dark Walk echoed. The voice was different this time; its motions were the bellies of serpents on rocks, hissing, enough to make every nerve stand on edge. Dorgath backed up, holding the Matoran gently by the arm, to the rest of the group, checking what looked like the walls and ceilings. Torvoth stepped forward, scouting out the area again. Stralix's hand twitched, like he'd just thrown one of his famous powdered grenades to his own feet, and his throwing arm was waiting for the boom. Though the voice had died, the slithering stuck; Komisk's mouth tightened in his ruin of a face and he drew his saperka with typical Ussalry valiance.
"O-oh, Spirit," the Matoran whispered into Dorgath's ear. "They followed me."
The hiss was suffocating, now, shrill and awful; the dark siren took comfort in its security on whatever rock it laid upon and amplified her wail, to the point where its screech was enough to pop Sirius' ears temporarily. He howled in pain, and Torvoth looked back to snap a brutal quip at his 'teammate's misfortune. A dozen of them may have sprung to mind, but he never got the chance to unleash one. The Toa named Day shouted out in warning and Torvoth spun on his feet.
The ivory Rahkshi, face inches from the Vortixx's own, hissed in derision.
Torvoth was quick on the uptake, and had pulled the Judge out to fire two shots at the Rahkshi, center mass; the feral Son of Makuta grabbed the weapon before he could so much as make for the trigger, and flung the flippant point man into the wall of the Dark Walk. The gun had flown out of his grip when he landed, and as the Rahkshi withdrew its staff with far more grace than the Vortixx had managed earlier, it stepped on the launcher and broke it with a crack; when he heard the weapon give way Torvoth felt a surge of pure spite, anger beyond anything he'd felt in years. The Rahkshi hissed.
"We're all going to die here," murmured the straggling Po-Matoran.
Lux cried out in fright, and even battle-hardened Komisk and Dorgath overcame a mild shudder when they realized that another pair of Rahkshi had flanked them - scarlet and sickly yellow, they screeched at the group of questers as they slowly formed a tight circle, shoulder to shoulder, weapons drawn, to defend the survivor. The vomit-colored Rahkshi reared back its head and sighed; instead of a piercing shriek of wind or a howl of bloodlust, only the words "Dieheredieheredieherediehere" echoed through the cavern. Stralix, at this point, had popped out a container of photothermic powder and made to fling it at the Rahkshi advancing towards Torvoth. In mid-motion, his elbow popped and slowed, like the air he breathed had suddenly become sweet, stolid molasses. From the path its white compatriot had blazed, a Rahkshi with swirls of yellow against fine blue metal flicked its staff casually and the bomb, motion irreparably disrupted, went flying towards its compatriot. The creature's armor, streaked with fine silver, caught little light there was as it expertly weaved to the right, against the wall, and the bomb went flying over its shoulder. It exploded out of sight.
In the center of the group, a sixth creature slowly shimmered into stark, ugly life; it shed the visage of the doomed Sentinel as effortlessly as a Toa would change a mask, and Dorgath caught the creature by chance - just in time for the blunt end of it's staff head to catch him in the chin. He tasted blood, and with the coppery taste came a strong curse of regret - they had let the enemy into the midst of their circle, so ironclad seconds before.
The six Rahkshi howled as one.
OOC: For the record, Rahkshi powers here are Anger, Fear, Sonics, Slow, Dodge, and Illusion.
Meanwhile, the official Sentinel response team captained by Tera and Korru had avoided the trouble of their louder, brasher counterparts; following the trail left by the intrepid Dikapi sent out by the unfortunate Tar Lee, they had made their way into the enclave in the Dark Walk where word was last received from. Any barricade had been muscled down, as though something massive had thrown awful, brute force into it until it simply gave way. One body lay by the table, a grizzled corpse with rough-hewn features and a flask in its hand. Scrapped tablets and messages were strewn across the tables, along with reports from other guard outposts. They looked to the Sentinel officials of the team, wondering where to start looking in this mess - they were, after all, the soldiers; if there were bodies to be stashed (alive or dead) or intel that was hidden, they would certainly know where to find it.