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Bzprpg - Kini-Nui


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#1561 Offline Friar Tuck

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Posted Feb 05 2013 - 12:40 AM

IC

 

[color=#800080;]"But enough of semantics, Toa Angelus. What is your wish? What do you want most?"[/color]

 

The silent laugh was, in fact, audible.

 

[color=#800000;]"Really? Seriously? A wish?" [/color]Whereas Agni has shown reservation, Angelus showed bemused skepticism. The mask, however, had been around for along while, and knew how to deal with mortals; he could change and adapt to whomever was sent to him, to better convince them of his intentions.

 

[color=#800080;]"I will reiterate; this is a place of opposites, where the contradicting can reside in unison, a place where the impossible becomes possible. A place... within your own mind. A place to converse in private." [/color]The mask was solid, immovable in appearance, yet Angelus sensed it smiled.[color=#800080;] "You happen to be at two places at once, a rare feat among your kind. I know you question, but the validity of my statement cannot be proven until you present your request," [/color][color=#000000;]continued the mask, as one with great patience and understanding,[/color][color=#800080;] "and thus as it stands you cannot make certain of my intentions. For the time being you must trust your instincts... and the fact that if this were a trap, it would have been sprung already. Something I know you are very well acquainted with."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"Soooo... you can grant me a wish? And its from this... mutual acquaintance?[/color]

 

Again, the Toa of Fire got the sense of a smile. [color=#800080;]"Indeed I can, noble Toa; the power I have is not for me to use, but only when requested on by others. I am but the servant, not the master. Therefore I grant you this boon not out of my own doing, but out of the desire of another. Another mortal such as yourself. A friend."[/color]

 

Angelus' stomach fluttered for a second, though he was a little more pragmatic about it. [color=#800000;]"A... friend? Such as?"[/color]

 

[color=#800080;]"That is something I cannot reveal!" [/color]the mask said with some slight force. His tone lessened, this time friendly. [color=#800080;]"But suffice to say you have a companion, someone who sees you as an equal, and while he may not share the same views you, he respects you enough to instead of keeping this new power for himself, is willing to share... and hopefully make up for some past words said."[/color]

 

The mask sensed there was no more doubt in Angelus after that statement. The infinite light here seemed to shimmer and wave as the mask began to weave and call upon its power. It glowed like a thousands suns, but it did not hurt the Ta-Toa's eyes, an orb of liquid lightning surrounding the two of them.

 

[color=#800080;]"Now pray tell, noble Toa, now that you are sure of my intentions, what is it that you wish for? What is the greatest desire of your heart?"[/color]

 

OOC: [color=#8b4513;]Tyler, I know what you want, but you never told me how Angelus would ask for it or his feelings surrounding this event... like VF did. Therefore you are going to need to make one more post with his request, in his own words. Sorry, but I don't want to put words in his mouth, not in this instance :P[/color]


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#1562 Offline Tyler Durden

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Posted Feb 05 2013 - 07:00 AM

[color=#800000;]IC:[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]The greatest desire of his heart? It's complicated.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Used to be, he didn't even really desire anything; with his upbringing, his sense of morality, he hadn't needed to. That was what made him different than Agni, or Cael, or even Joske; until recently, he hadn't known what desire was, and his life was all the better for it. He had been a far happier person when he didn't desire anything, when civilization was just as alien to him as he was to it, and then...[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Tuara.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]She'd come into his life purely by happenstance, given him a purpose, and most importantly, she'd given him something else he never had: a friend. A confidante, a companion, and then, happenstance struck again and they became something more. And now, thanks to his blindness - or, perhaps, his desire - she was so far gone that Angelus couldn't even see what direction she had wandered off to, and their relationship was in shambles. And then Joske was gone, and again Angelus couldn't see what direction he had gone into, all because of his desire for Joske to live.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]What did Angelus desire most? Not to feel desire.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Except no, that wasn't right, he realized after a second. That's not right at all.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"I want something that can protect me," he said, "while I protect the people I care about."[/color]

 

-Tyler


Edited by Marlon Brando, Feb 05 2013 - 07:00 AM.

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and again, pathetic confusion.

 

ghostie.jpg

 

dorian, you aint changed.


#1563 Offline Friar Tuck

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Posted Feb 05 2013 - 01:02 PM

IC

 

[color=#800000;]"I want something that can protect me," [/color]he said,[color=#800000;] "while I protect the people I care about."[/color]

 

[color=#800080;]"The wish of a Toa Protector, a noble defender,"[/color] began the mask, obviously pleased. [color=#800080;]"You wish to defend those under your care, while not sacrificing yourself in the process. A noble request, requesting to be Shield of others. This is, indeed, what many Toa-Heroes wish for, dream for, even long for, in their Duties as Protectors of the matoran. But that is not what you meant now... is it?"[/color]

 

The mask seemed to lean forward and grow slightly larger as Angelus was taken aback... taking a step back in the process. [color=#800080;]"While not purposely nor outwardly deceiving, there is another layer under that statement, a hidden meaning within your words. This is so because, in reality, you are not a Shield. That is to say you are not a reactive Toa. No, Angelus, you are not a Shield; you are a [/color][color=#800080;]Sword.[/color][color=#800080;]"[/color]

 

The mask's voice was no longer commanding, but understanding, as if peeling away the coatings of a fruit. [color=#800080;]"You may wish to protect, but you do not wait for wrongs to come to you; you have lived too long in the wild to know that if one waits, one dies. You are proactive, Toa Angelus, not reactive. In your mind the best defense is a good offense, and therefore you are willing to take the fight to them instead of waiting for it to come to you, right the wrongs by striking them before they can strike you, and if they do manage to strike you first, reply a thousand fold. An eye for an eye, a mask for a mask. A warrior in the truest of senses, your enemies fearing your name for the ferocity and equal justification you will rain upon them. You ask for a Shield, but what you are is a Sword. Step forward, Toa Angelus, and present your weapon."[/color]

 

Slowly Angelus stepped forward, pulling his Kukri out from its sheath and presenting it to the mask. It now that the orb of energy around them began to pulse, Angelus feeling waves of power and pleasure roll off the entity.

 

[color=#800080;]"You have offered your weapon willingly, a sign of trust, considering it's meaning and significance to you. While it may have served you well in the past, it will now serve a greater purpose, one bestowed upon it by your wish. It is with great pleasure and distinct honor that I grant you your desire. Behold![/color]"

 

That one word echoed across the void like a tsunami hitting land, almost blowing Angelus back, yet at the same time never in danger of falling over as the knife was pulled out of the Toa's hands, hovering between the two beings. Angelus watched as the orb of energy condensed and began to fuse itself into the Kukri, quickly transforming and molding the weapon into something new. The light and energy was intense, the distinct feel as if this mask was forging a new weapon before him with the abilities and power he could not even begin to comprehend. Yet he did not need to turn away as his knife was molded into something new, something pristine, something larger than it was before, imbued with a power beyond understanding. As the light dimmed he could finally see the fruit of the mask's labor, and it caused Angelus to draw his breath. It was no longer a Kurkri.

 

It was a Longsword.

 

[color=#800080;]"Take it," [/color]commanded the mask,[color=#800080;] "and see how it feels."[/color]

 

With a hesitant hand Angelus reached out and seized the weapon, instantly feeling a connection with it, a weapon forged for him. It was made out of the purest of protosteels, it's silver color reflecting his face perfectly, like a mirror. Despite it's size it was very lightweight and perfectly balance for his hands, very much like his original Kukri, to the point where he could wield it in one hand with relative ease. Engraved within the metal blade were runes of ancient matoran, written with an artist's touch, whispers of forgotten text and ancient power. The handle, while now larger, had the same leather grip as his knife, and at the bottom on the hilt ended a large, polished lapis lazuli.

 

[color=#800000;]"It's... perfect."[/color] Angelus stammered.

 

[color=#800080;]"Behold, Toa Angelus, the physical manifestation of your wish. This weapon will drive fear into the hearts of your opponents, individuals who would otherwise harm those under your protection fleeing before you. When this blade is struck with an elemental attack, a corresponding rune will glow, absorbing a small amount of that power and transforming it into the appropriate counter element. Should you strike your opponent while this energy is still retained, you will strike them with that opposite power. As long as your opponent uses their elemental abilities and that sword continues to come into contact with it, it will continue to function this way."[/color]

 

The look on Agnelus' face promoted a more detailed explanation. [color=#800080;]"Should you be fighting another Ta-Toa, and you block a blast with your weapon, it will become a blade coated in the coldest of ice; when struck, it will feel as if the very glaciers of Ko-Wahi have befallen them, found in the very remoteness part of the Wastes. Should you be fighting a Vo-Toa and you block their electrical blow, your blade will become one with the ocean, as cool and shimmering as water; when struck, it will feel as if the Naho Falls is doused upon them. And should you be fighting a Le-Toa, and deflect a blast of wind, it shall be as the stone beneath your feet; when struck, your opponent will feel as if the very mountain, Mt Ihu, had landed upon them, as the rocks defy even the mightiest of windstorms. This is the power of your gift."[/color]

 

Angelus stood there, stunned and marveled at this new weapon. The mask was not done, however. [color=#800080;]"Be forewarned, there are limitations to this sword. Physical strikes will not activate the blade; if no elemental attacks are sent directly against you, it will remain a normal blade. Merely putting your blade in a fire caused by a Ta-Toa will not activate it; it must be aimed at you and you must deflect it in some manner... even if that means taking a blow. Also, while blade may function as another element, this does NOT give you control over said element in any way, shape, or form; in fact, this blade cannot release it's energy in any way. Only upon physical strikes does it unleash its power, and only to that single opponent. Any attempt to use or control the power within the blade will result in a backlash upon yourself, ten times larger than what your enemies would feel. This I must stress: DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CONTROL THE ELEMENT WITHIN, lest you find yourself at the mercy of your own blade... mercy it does not have. It is a blade of retribution, a tool of just punishment; nothing more. It does not give you any power, only returns the power of your opponent against them. As long as you remember this, it will serve you well. In fact, I would suggest you name it, it is such a unique blade."[/color]

 

That last statement was made in slight humor, but it was lost in the rush of wind It was at this point the world around him began to swirl like a tornado, the floating mask in the center. Angelus began to feel his feet lift off the invisible surface he had been standing on, and the last image he saw was that mysterious mask... and these last words.

 

[color=#800080;]"You have been granted a great gift, warrior, one uniquely suited for your skills and abilities. Pray you do not abuse it, nor violate the trust of the one who has provided it to you."[/color]

 

His world went black.

 

*   *   *

 

When he opened his eyes, he was back in Kini-Nui, atop the atoll he had been previously standing on. The temple was there, Angi was there, everything was there just as he remembered it. Everything was as it was before he had had this vision.

 

Except, not quite. There was ONE difference.

 

He looked down, feeling something in his hands.

 

It was that sword.


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#1564 Online Vezok's Friend

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Posted Feb 06 2013 - 03:53 AM

[color=#800000;]IC:[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Agni's eyes shot open and he looked around. At first, he once again had trouble seeing, as the sudden change back from blinding wight to the deepest blue of night was jarring, to say the least. But as his eyes adjusted to the darkness again, he saw that he was still wight where he had been, standing at the bottom of the steps leading up to the Suva Kaita. He replayed what had just happened in his mind. Whoever the Kanohi in the light had spoken for, he had seemed benevolent enough. The Toa of fire not feel anything wrong with the encounter. What he did feel though was the weight of something in his hands then, which had had held the whole time since opening his eyes but hadn't realised was there yet. He looked down at the object and he drew in a surprised breath.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]It was the mask he had seen in his vision, the one that had formed out of the light...the physical manifestation of what he had wished for. [/color]

 

[color=#800000;]He held the mask up with his left and felt over the still-grey material with the fingers of his right, tracing the outlines of it with his fingers. The design was simple, yet elegant and just by touching the mask, Agni could tell it was his. He turned it over in his hands, studying the backside of the mask and looking down through the eyeholes of it. Instinctively, he started to raise it up to eye-level and then, tilting his head back slightly and looking up to the starlit sky, he placed it on his face.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Agni could feel his Kualsi disappear as it came into contact with the new Kanohi and then he felt a rush of unfamiliar energy as the mask of psychometry slid into place, the connector locking it to his face. It was a slightly tingling sensation running through him.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]I can feel the power of this mask allowing me to look into the past... he thought, then concentrated back on his Kanohi Kualsi. He could feel his new mask trade places with his old one, their shapes seemingly blending from one to the other.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]...yet the powers of the mask of quick-travel are still mine to use.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]He tilted his head back down, then looked to Angelus, who held a sword Agni had not seen before in his hands. So the other Toa had received a gift as well...but had he had the same vision?[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"That was..." Agni started to say to his friend, but unable to think of a fitting adjective, still amazed by the experience.[/color]


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#1565 Offline Nuju Metru

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Posted Feb 09 2013 - 01:00 PM

[color=#2f4f4f;]IC:Heuani had to admit to himself that Joske was quicker than when they last met, and quicker by far. It must have been the mask... But Heuani would not let his guard slip again; he'd gotten so used to fighting inferior opponents that he had never had to play at his best to win. This was going to need his best. It was clear Joske would be something Heuani hadn't had for a while, something he found himself, when faced with it, eager to begin: a challenge. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]The Toa of Shadow laughed aloud, both with the rediscovery of his almost forgotten lust for combat and in scorn of Joske's long-ranged fire-disk attack. Why the Toa of Fire had imagined launching a projectile over such a lengthy distance could be an effective assault, Heuani did not know... If Joske thought that he and his enemy were fighting in real time, then he was delusional. Heuani may not have had the same pure speed as Joske in motion, but his unrivaled battle reflexes could accelerate his actions above those of normal Toa. Heuani generally only needed to act as fast as he could once to incapacitate an enemy - if even once - but he could see that Joske's downfall would be exacted only through constant rapidity. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]The fireball was taken care of all too easily. In Heuani's mind it flew slower and slower, slowing to a stop just before a current of air in line with a leafy tree that hung over the ravine. The disk, in reality, was still somewhere before this intersection point. Heuani reached out through the network of nighttime to the tree and siphoned out its shade, forming a disk-sized orb of darkness. He sent the tree missile hurtling into the path of the disk and timed it perfectly - the black nebula caught the flaming projectile and, dark water, extinguished the flame as it tackled the disk away from its intended path. Joske's flying torch had been swatted.[/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]Heuani hadn't waited for his element to take care of the fireball - he knew it would - and he banked correctly on the assumption that Joske wouldn't know any better than to watch the spectacle. Heuani dissolved from view and reappeared behind Joske in the same moment, glittering sword raised. He slashed it in a precise diagonal, a lightning strike, that would cleave open Joske's back and dismember his heart. Joske was quick on the uptake when he saw Heuani gone from in front of him, though, and he leaped aside with all the speed he had. He was quick, but Heuani's sword had just as much speed when it got dancing. Its clever tip caught the Toa of Fire just before he could escape. Joske dodged the brunt of the cut, but emerged with a long, shallow slice on his upper back that made movement there extremely painful. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]Heuani smiled at the first blood and dissolved again to shade as Joske tried to retaliate with a quick swipe of his own weapon. It cut harmlessly through the dark air. Heuani flooded into the shadows and reassembled himself behind the tablet of clues. It was Heuani's turn to use his element for range, and he sent minimalistic rocketing spears of blackness like a dozen archers firing at will. The sharp missiles, deadly in their volume, dashed across the ravine with unerring straightness and indiscriminate aim towards where Joske was. Heuani hardly hoped to hit Joske this way, but he knew that it would force the Toa of Fire to move. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]The Toa of Shadow's tactic worked, and he watched from behind the the golden-red blur of Joske zoomed around the top of the ravine, towards his side of it. Heuani could tell that Joske intended to ram him with all the power of his speed. It would have worked if Heuani hadn't tacked off of the stone tablet in the ground and jumped as high as he could into the air, flipping backwards just as Joske rocketed through where he had stood. Heuani didn't land; he dove into the ground like it was a pool, and the shadows there absorbed him. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]Joske stopped short his motion almost immediately after he noticed he hadn't barreled down Heuani, but as he looked behind him and slowed, he missed the bar of solid shade that tripped him at the heels and sent him stumbling to land hands-first on the jungle ground. Heuani materialized out of the tree above Joske and jumped like a cat, sword pointed down for the killing blow. Joske spun over to his back and, hands outstretched, blasted Heuani with a wave of flame. Though the flame could not stop Heuani's motion, falling through it was enough to cause him to lose his precision and land just to the right of Joske, who rolled away. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]Heuani lashed out with a tentacle of shadow and grabbed Joske's ankle, pulling him back across the ground. Joske cried out as the cut in his lower back was stretched slightly. Another fireball, this time from closer quarters, hit Heuani full in the chest and exploded against the dark armor. Heuani was popped back by the flame and his shadow tendril sprung back towards its master, smothering the flame before any severe burning could happen. Heuani still felt a little feeling of rawness in his chest. Joske had managed to stand in this time, and faced Heuani in a position of exhaustion, but readiness. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]The Toa of Shadow waited, too, sword hanging loosely in one hand. Heuani was breathing a bit harder than he normally did, but he was hardly as tired as Joske. With grace and poise, Heuani also assumed his own ready position, sword perpendicular to the ground. Heuani was not as worn out as his opponent, and he knew that Joske's stamina would be his undoing. There was a momentary pause as both Toa tried to anticipate what the other would do next. It had only been a few seconds since Joske's fireball was put out. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]Then, as though they had mutually agreed on the instant, action resumed. [/color]


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#1566 Offline Friar Tuck

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Posted Feb 09 2013 - 03:22 PM

[color=#daa520;]IC[/color]

 

[Keeping Place; night]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Karz, he was fast.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]A lot had happened in the last few seconds, and very revealing at that. He was incredibly fast, just as strong, could form solid objects out of shadow... and of course jump between them. There was no good place to strike, no clearly open avenue or explicit weakness. And of course we were playing at night.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Bad guys always have home-field advantage.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Then again... I was faster. Not by much, but I didn't have to be. The sole advantage I had... until I could figure out a way to stop him.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Time to put my expertise in this department on display.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]By now our moment of rest was over, I could feel the aggression of the Shadow Toa charge at me; the flash of his transparent sword, the confident machoism, the cool suaveness that was Heuani, weapon dancing-[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I took a step back.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]From exterior point of view it appeared as though I had stood still and simply slid in reverse flat-tooted, the speed at which I moved distorting and deceiving how I actually moved. With a smile Heuani attacked again, this time melting into a vapor-[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I booked forward the same instant to began to vanish.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I don't know where he ended up appearing, I didn't care; I wasn't anywhere near there. I passed through his vapor cloud, diving down into the ravine and coming to a stop on a small ledge, out of sight. Discretion is the better part of valor, and as much as I hated running I needed to take care of a few things in the precious two seconds I had before he sought me out. First things first I forced my fire onto my backside, searing the wound on my back closed. It was hot, it was painful, took everything I had not to grunt, feeling the dirt that had managed to get in from my previous roll searing itself in as well, but just as quickly as it started it ended. It was now a dull pain instead of a sharp one, something I could handle, and no longer open... though the thought of a nice, large scar on my back wasn't pleasing.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Something told me I would have a few more before this night was out. With a heave I leapt off, charging back up the ravine, loading my launcher as I did. Not surprising, he was waiting for me.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Immediately I ducked and rolled, moving away from the dancing blade, feeling the cut of wind millimeters over my skin. I slid back, dodging another blow, twisted as I leaned back as he suddenly appeared at my side, only to jump as he seemed to melt into the background and rise up from a dark pool in an attempt to cut me in half from the bottom up. Every time he was close, but not quite there; I seemed to always be a fraction of a second faster. After another close call I slid away, heels dug in the the ground as I came to a stop, panting heavily. Heuani was breathing hard too, but not like me. He stood to his full height, stretching a bit as he arced his back.[/color]

 

"Running, are we?"

 

[color=#ff0000;]I gritted my teeth, not saying anything. Yes, I was. I was on the defensive, clear and cut. Trying to stay ahead of him while at the same time trying to plant a solid blow was a bit much for me to process at the moment. He was going all-out, actually trying, so it took everything I had just to stay ahead of his shadow-jumping. So far it was working. Much to his surprise.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Because I was absorbing heat.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]That's where my concentration was going.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Every since this battle started I had begun to assimilate the heat in and around this ravine, using that excess energy to fuel my movements. As tired as I had started off I didn't look much worse for wear despite the high-intensity action... all thanks to the energies around me. Yes, maybe this wasn't ideal, yes, it was dark and all shadows, but there was heat. A LOT of it. Plants had a decent amount. Air held more. Water contained a surprising amount of it. And the very earth below my feat churned with geothermal activity if you knew where to look. Granted, not a lot, but it was there. To someone like Heuani the change wasn't noticeable, but to a Ta-To, or even a Ko-Toa, it was dramatic. I was dropping the temperature slowly, carefully, planned, regulated. Really I was waiting. Buying time. Playing defensive. For that right moment. I was a man with a plan.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]One that took time to develop. One that required me to stay away from him and that blade of his for as long as possible. And those Shadow Bolts. And those tendrils...[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]As fast as Heuani was moving, my senses were going faster, getting used to the speed and delay. To my view the Shadow Toa was beginning to move in slow motion as my perception of the world changed, my reaction speed becoming faster the longer this fight wore on. The real issue was retaining my stamina.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Good thing Kohlii games would sometimes last for hours.[/color]


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#1567 Offline Nuju Metru

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Posted Feb 09 2013 - 05:18 PM

[color=#2f4f4f;]IC:[/color]

[color=#2f4f4f;]Heuani swiped at Joske again after appearing near the Toa of Fire, this time extending the edge of his sword with wisps of solid shade that wrapped serpentine around the transparent blade and increased its reach. They were writhing, dimensionless and sharp, and did all that they could to eat away at Joske. Joske evaded the sword even with its dangerous shadow-flames, though, so Heuani let the shadows there dissipate. He regrouped the darkness into a thick hand that tried to slap Joske out of running. The Toa of Fire swerved around the closing fingers and his gold-red blur rustled into the trees nearby, eventually stopping near one of the waterfalls on the opposite edge of the ravine. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]Joske continued to suck up heat around him as he ran, consuming the warmth created by the friction of his running as well as the ambient warmth of the Keeping Place's jungle location. He could tell that the temperature was far lower than when he'd began, though Heuani certainly wouldn't have been able to notice such a gradual change. Joske, a Toa of Fire, was after all hypersensitive to heat. He could tell where something - or someone - was by sensing their innate warmth. It was something he always felt at a low level, and it would serve him now. The only way he could differentiate Heuani enough from the temperate jungle surroundings, though, was to make those surroundings cooler; hence, his gradual absorption of the heat in the area. That was his plan, and the only way he could think of to gain an advantage; he needed to be able to anticipate Heuani's untraceable teleportation. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]Joske's plan, though he did not know it, would be ineffective. He had never recognized that Heuani's body gave off no heat. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]Heuani shadow-jumped out of Joske's vision, and immediately the Toa of Fire tried to locate his enemy's heat signature. No luck, no time; Joske wheeled around and scarcely ducked quickly enough to avoid a decapitation blow. Heuani saw Joske's launcher begin to glow and he darted to one side before Joske could nail him with a pointblank fireball to the chin. Heuani, whose gaze darted for the smallest moment to something on the ground, quickly recovered his focus on Joske and skipped nimbly away to avoid a lashing fire. Heuani killed the flame with a dense shadow and bit one of Joske's calves lightly with his flamberge, then jumped down into the ravine. Long before he had reached the bottom, though, he dissipated into liquid darkness again. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]Joske tried to track his foe once again by using heat, but he could not find where Heuani had emerged. Perhaps Heuani had not emerged... all that Joske could hear were the cries of the birds and the rushing of the water. Had the Toa of Shadow decided to escape? Doubtful. Joske spun as fast as he could, sensing an attack from behind. There was no one there... Perhaps he was alone. Joske kept up his guard, though. He still did not feel as though Heuani had left. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]Heuani, meanwhile, crouched soundlessly and motionlessly behind a fern that shaded him in friendly darkness. In the instant before he'd shadow-jumped again, Heuani had spotted something very odd on a piece of wet leaf near his feet, something that did not belong in a warm jungle and which had betrayed Joske's plan to him: a tiny drop of ice. The Toa of Shadow quickly guessed the cause of this ice and, grinning to himself at Joske's ignorance, decided to pursue a strategy that used Joske's plan - which would have been effective against any other foe - against him. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]Joske faced the ravine, peered at the opposite edge, searching for any signs that Heuani was there. He could not hear or otherwise sense a disturbance as Heuani silently slowly emerged out of the earth behind him; even Heuani's shadow was not projected into his line of sight. It was sheer luck that Joske survived; a gust of wind brushed the leaves on the ground, one of which scraped across Heuani's foot with a metallic scritching noise. Joske tried to run, cried out as Heuani's intended death stab caught the inside of his arm rather than his back. The Toa of Shadow exploited Joske's pain and, being too close to use his sword, opted instead to use fist and elbow to batter his foe. When Joske tried to turn and face Heuani, he was met with a flurry of powerful blows that caught him in the cheekbones and gut, and then a single-handed punch that sent him spiraling a few feet back to land rump-first in the dust.[/color]


Edited by Nuju Metru, Feb 09 2013 - 05:54 PM.

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#1568 Offline Friar Tuck

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Posted Feb 09 2013 - 11:17 PM

[color=#daa520;]IC[/color]

 

[Keeping Place; night]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I hit the ground, hard, cursing the day Heuani had been created. I cursed his maker, cursed the vile darkness, cursed the shadows and all they implied. I cursed my ignorance, and I cursed my inexperience despite the months of Agni training and the cram sessions with my team. It finally made sense. It was a rookie mistake, fair and square, I could hardly be blamed-[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Yet in this game of keeps any mistake was potentially life-ending.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I had heard the tales of his cold-hardheartedness. His lack of warmth or any type of positive emotion. When we first met in Ko-Wahi I had seen first-hand how the tracks he left in the snow remained unmelted in the presence of his body, how when he breathed I saw no fog, no tiny crystallization of warm water. I didn't see it then, despite how obvious it was in the freezing cold. Only now, as I sat on my butt in the dirt, the Toa of Shadows lording over me, flamberge in hand, did I see it, watching as my plan fell to shambles around me.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Heuani produced no heat.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Granted, the mere presence of moving bodies, friction, etc, produced heat, but as I looked at him with my thermal vision I could feel the icy cold that was the temperature around us grip my throat. His ambient heat signature was that of a rock, and inanimate object, basic radiation. For all practical purposes invisible against the backdrop of plantlife and earth. This is why I couldn't track him. Why he has disappeared from my field of view. Why he managed to surprise me from behind. I was doing him a favor by dropping the temp. He had no heat. He had no life. And only this close did I see the final detail: he had no heartlight. He had no heart... or if it did, it didn't beat. Nothing in him beat besides pride, hatred, and lust.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]He might as well be as devoid as an empty tomb.  [/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]So much for well-laid plans.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I watched in slow motion as he brought up his sword for the kill.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]Plan B.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I could see the cruel smirk on his face as he began the downward motion.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]Detonate.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]The visual effect was stunning.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Yes, I had been channeling that absorbed heat into my movements, my dodges, my energy, but for the most part it was the mask, something that did not require my services to operate, only my thoughts. So where did the rest go? Stored. Stored away into my reserves, behind a dam that was actually beginning to show signs of stress - that much heat was hard to contain, let alone control. Thus my split concentration. Why I wasn't maxed out in speed. Multitasking. Scheming. Planning. Screw that. So I let go. With a thought, a spark, a mere exhale of breath, the air and space between us exploded in an intense detonation of light and heat, a concussive blast of too much energy contained in a too small of a space as ALL the heat I had absorbed over the past two minutes was released in a fraction of a second.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]It was pretty to say the least. And effective too.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I slid several bios back on my rump, leaving a trail in the dirt as I deflected the blast away from me. Heuani was no where to be seen, and I expected as much - he shadow stepped out of the explosion, I was sure. But not without effect. He was committed to the swing, so he had to take some of that to the face and chest before he could react. And some was all I needed.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]There.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I turned just as he flew in behind me, scarred and scorched and mad as Karz for that stunt. I reached up and grabbed his hands, preventing that swords from cutting me clean in two, using my other to slow his decent. The result was a full-body slam onto my person, our bodies intertwining as we rolled across the ground, a grappling contest ensuing. I managed to speed out most of it, hitting him with another minor fire blast as his shadow tendrils played damage control, feeling his legs work themselves free and slamming into my chest. The two of us flew apart, and as I rebounded with a flying punch he appeared before me, arms outstretched, with a-[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]My shoulder exploded in pain as a shadow lance materialized out of nowhere, piercing all the way through my body and pinning me to ground when we landed. It took all my strength to fend off the pressure of his arm, Heuani trying to use his body weight to force his sword through my throat.[/color] [color=#ff0000;]We struggled on the ground for a moment as he tried to overcome my arm strength... and succeeding.[/color]

 

"You... took that last hit well." [color=#ff0000;]He sputtered, a suave yet exasperated grin on his face.[/color] "I... thought you would have simply ran away like usual instead of... accepting the blow. I must know why." [color=#ff0000;]he grunted out as his flamberge touched my throat. It was my turn to grin.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]"Because... you're still made of metal."[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]My mind flashed back to early in this contest when I landed my first element-based blow, right into the chest. Yes, it hadn't done as much damage as I had anticipated, but it DID have one side effect: I had unwittingly conducted a decent amount of heat to him and his armor. Which is why initially I was able to sense him, fueling my rookie inexperience; it was my own heat I had transferred to him that I was detecting, not his own-produced heat. Once that had dissipated to the air around him due to my absorption he returned to normal, becoming invisible to my thermal sense. It was further proof of my terrible ignorance... one that I had learned from and was about to turn around back into my favor.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]"And while you may produce any internal heat, makuta-spwan,"[/color] [color=#ff0000;]I spat out,[/color] [color=#daa520;]"metal is an extremely good conductor of it." [/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]His eyes grew wide, noting my red-hot hands searing into his arms, piecing together my hap-hazard plan. And that's when he heard the click. The click of the cocked disk launcher releasing its projectile that I had loaded earlier. This time at even closer range than before... because it was attached to my arm, the same arm that was holding back his arm that held the sword. In other words he could turn and lick the disk it was that close to his face.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Heuani wisely chose the action of shadow stepping away instead of having his skull crushed inwards, giving me a chance to get back up, the shadow lance melting away into an inky pool of blackness. I rolled up, feeling the intense pain in my shoulder, but I was so hopped up on adrenaline that I barely noticed. I was too focused on my target. A target that now stuck out like a sore thumb against the cold backdrop I had created. [/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]So when he reappeared, I was there.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I was there, waiting for him. I was there, arm arced back, as his body re-materialized, already in the swinging motion. I was there as his eyes finally caught up to the world around him, the only thing he could see was my fist barreling down into his face. I hit him with everything I had, throwing in momentum while I was at it. The hit was so hard that was he turned the metal-on-metal impact produced sparks. Sparks that wrapped around his face and with a fraction of my energy exploded them. Tiny points of light that blew up so fast it became for all practicable purposes a flashbang, right in front of his eyes.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]For the first time I had him on the run. Running hard.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Every time I hit him I made sure to transfer as much heat as I could through contact, making sure he remained hot at all times. Every time I could I produced sparks that I ignited, bathing the area in sudden, intense, bright light. And I made sure to crank up my own energies, causing my body to glow like dysfunctional lightstone. Light and heat, one-two punch. [/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]There was no where for him to go.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Every time he stumbled he stumbled away and shadow jumped, I tracked him. Tracked him to where he popped up next. Tracked him to the point I was always there, ready, waiting, with another blow, faster than he could step. To make matters worse, I began even preventing that power from working. When I saw where he was going I would ignite the area, blasting it with a ball of heat and flaming light. With his landing zone compromised he would pop back in not where he was expecting, my powers forcing him to appear in an area of my choosing, usually a place of intense light from a nearby fire, one that I would extinguish and absorb the moment he left to keep the ambient temperature down. I didn't hold back. I didn't play nice. For the second time in recent memory I uncorked everything I had, only this time I took Angelus' advice.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I didn't try to control it. I didn't fence it. I simply directed my flame, molding it into a weapon that I beat him over the head with... repeatedly. [/color][color=#daa520;]"How does it feel? HOW DOES IT FEEL?!"[/color] [color=#ff0000;]I screamed as I unloaded everything I had into him, hearing the crack of his own cheekbone as my fist connected with his face once again, sending him sprawling. [/color][color=#daa520;]"How does it feel to be on the receiving end of it, you filth.[/color] [color=#daa520;]Eat it, makuta-spwan; eat it!"[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]It was an all-out brawl as we continued our deadly dance.[/color]


Edited by Friar Tuck, Feb 09 2013 - 11:24 PM.

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#1569 Offline Nuju Metru

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Posted Feb 13 2013 - 02:51 AM

[color=#2f4f4f;]IC:[/color]

[color=#2f4f4f;]Joske battered Heuani with all he had. His attacks were hot - which didn't particularly bother Heuani, but did admittedly make him easier to track when he transported himself - and bright, which was more of a nuisance. The dark Toa felt his sensitive eyes seared and his reserves ebbed away by the bright intense flashes that weakened him inch by inch. Heuani was lucky that the nighttime was on his side, because whenever Joske was not blinding and chipping at him with light, the black air surged in, a familiar ally that recuperated Heuani. Heuani sustained burns and bruises, maybe even some broken ribs, from Joske's attacks, but suffered from nothing severer than the discomfort of those minor - albeit compounding - wounds. His beautiful face had trickles of blood running down it.[/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]Heuani didn't mind these injuries; his tolerance for pain was quite high, after all, and he much preferred to save rather than use the energy that could lessen it. Joske, on the other hand, seemed to have no understanding of the concept of restraint. Joske's speed and his strategy were to his credit, Heuani could concede, but his execution of those tactics - namely, no-holds-barred - was hugely unwise. The Toa of Fire lashed out without control, and it was clear from his shouts that he was allowing his emotion to fuel those batteries of flame. Joske was disregarding more sustainable technique in favor of brute force. Heuani nodded inwardly: his foe's style of fighting was all too familiar to him, stirred up old recollections. Joske was not just fighting with fire: he was becoming fire.[/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]But all fires must die, because all fires consume what they burn. Heuani knew Joske's fire was no different.[/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]He did not let his disdain for Joske's attacks be seen. The Toa of Shadow was as deceitful as darkness cloaking a staircase walked by too-certain feet. Heuani played the part of cornered dog, beaten-down foe; he took Joske's barrage and pretended he could not stop it. He wanted to extend his feint as far as he could, so he kept letting Joske bash him around even as he watched the Toa of Fire's attacks slow, and slow, and weaken, and Heuani could see Joske's shoulders slump. Heuani had known that Joske, whose reserves of power were nothing compared to his own, would soon run dry of energy; Joske would tire himself out if left to do so. The longer that Heuani let him believe his strategy was working, the more that Joske would push himself beyond the limits of his strength.[/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]And so the harder Joske fell when, finally, he was unable to cast another fireball. That was when Heuani tossed aside the act and started to smile again. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]The Toa of Shadow, licking some running blood from his face, strode casually over to Joske, who was about to keel over. The Toa of Fire, seeing his enemy walking so proudly, immediately realized Heuani's deception; the knowledge of his own mortal foolishness was evident in Joske's eyes, and all the more satisfying for Heuani to see. He lifted Joske up from the ground by the chest with both hands and, spinning in place, cast Joske's flailing body around in a circle, finally letting the inertia carry the Toa of Fire into a tree trunk. Joske collided with a fantastic crack, and Heuani was already there. The fingers of shadow cast by the tree's branches spun Joske around and held him in place like a spider's web. Joske, positioned as though he was being lashed, cried out when Heuani's alien sword drew long, elegant slashes into his back, reopening his previous wound there and giving it ample companions. The shadow-web tossed Joske backwards, letting him stumble to land in Heuani's waiting arms.[/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]Heuani caught Joske and folded him over so that his head touched his knees, letting the stretch pull open the wounds of his back. Joske, whose eyes were clouded with tears of agony, tried to kick at Heuani with an unrestrained sob, but the Toa of Shadow leaped easily to the side and avoided it. Heuani stood and, holding Joske's chin gently between thumb and forefinger, coaxed him to stand shakily as well. Heuani's other hand, graceful like a dancer's, traced the athletic muscles of Joske's chest then the hollows of his neck for a few moments; Joske noted the brilliant smile and shark-like eyes on the Toa of Shadow's suddenly close face, felt his heart accelerate unbidden at Heuani's intimate proximity. The loving hands, though, pulled away and quickly returned with meaner spirit; they knocked the unsteady Joske back to the earth with a series of cruelly-placed punches. Joske heard his nose crack, and he landed on his back, winded.[/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]The Toa of Shadow, though, was not done doling out his punishment. Heuani pinned Joske to the earth by straddling him - Joske was too weak by now to even roll the other body off of him - and, after giving Joske a confidential smile too gorgeous to be kind, Heuani braced against Joske's knee with one elbow and slammed against Joske's calf with the other in such a way that Joske's leg was fractured at the bone. The sound was like a wet gunshot, a sickening crack that, coupled with the pain it entailed, made Joske want to vomit. Heuani smashed his other shin this way, and then stood up, leaving Joske, choking on sobs, lying on the ground. Joske tried to stand up, but collapsed to kneel. [/color]

 

OOC: This post will be edited to be finished sometime in the near future. More is coming from Heuani, worry not.


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#1570 Offline Nuju Metru

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Posted Feb 17 2013 - 12:45 PM

OOC: I lied - I'd rather just make a new post. :P

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]IC:[/color]

[color=#2f4f4f;]Even in the dimness of starlight, Joske's beaten and kneeling form cast a dark spot that, meager though it may have looked, was quite clear to the Toa of Shadow who stood over him. If he had wished, Heuani could have easily reached out to this patient shade, inhabited it, and turned it into a weapon against its caster. One slick dimensionless cut, one suffocating tendril of darkness, one black hammer drawn in silhouette, and Joske would be ended. Heuani, for the umpteenth time in his life, had total power over an enemy, but this had not been any enemy; Joske had provided Heuani with the most worthy competition he had faced in too long. Heuani, slightly battered by his foe, felt more inclined to enjoy Joske's pain than to end it. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]Heuani had always found that to attack someone with their own shadow was one of the most rewarding ways he could destroy. But that shadow did not always have to be physical; in Joske's case, Heuani shied away from that route. It'd be too quick. He opted instead to wield Joske's darkest emotions against him. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]The enigmatic Toa of Shadow brushed ash from his armor as he looked down coolly at the broken body of the Toa of Fire. Near Heuani's feet was Joske's launcher, which had been forced from his grip sometime during Heuani's relentless battering of him. Heuani picked this up and, after spinning it around and examining it, tossed it laterally into the gorge. He and Joske were situated near the edge of the ravine, back near the stone tablet. The signs of its text, foreign lines and dots, were tiny caves of shadow in the nighttime. Heuani pulled the shadows on the text outwards from the tablet with his will, leaving them composed as he held them up against the sky. A small chuckle escaped his lips, and his face, handsome even under its latest blemishes, was statuesque. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]"How funny the games we play," he said, sparing a glance away from the text to look at Joske. "It feels like it was only yesterday that I was chasing down Takua's lackeys to try and obtain these clues. They have turned out to be for naught - they have not served me, nor you, nor anyone - and yet still, only a short while ago, all the island was mobilized to uncover the secrets kept by the sundered Company. I killed a number of them, felt elation when I snapped Kapura's neck after having drawn his clue from him. But my sole knowledge of that clue has done me no good."[/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]The Toa of Shadow let the lines of bird-speech dissipate. "Such is life. We are like dogs chasing our own tails, futile to escape destiny... until we do." Heuani looked Joske in his tired eyes, and Joske felt an uncontrollable desire to look away. Heuani's gaze usually pulled in; now it was too dark, unnatural, and made Joske feel queasier than he already did. "I broke... free," Heuani continued, not ceasing staring down his enemy until Joske had shuddered and turned his head. "I escaped the path that destiny carved for me, because I realized that destiny does not eliminate our ability to choose. I made a choice. It changed my life, and it changed the lives of those around me. Destiny was dead the moment I was made to remember my own free will."[/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]Heuani walked around to stand behind Joske. Joske could not turn to follow him on his broken legs. Heuani, from behind the Toa of Fire, drew a finger across Joske's back, spiraled it in the spaces between the wounds there pensively. "They thought we shared a destiny, you see. Before, I suppose I had agreed with them... We believed then that we had the Great Spirit at our backs and the island below our feet, and that our duty was just and our unity was flexible. These were all delusions. The deity we fought for was gone, or else asleep like a drooling incoherent. The only true power on the island was the one we foolishly set ourselves to fight against. You have set yourself in the same naive rut as I once walked, Joske. I can tell you it only ends one of two ways: you either die, or become me."[/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]Joske felt a stone drop into his gut. He realized what Heuani had once been. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]The dark, elegant Toa walked with feline surety away from Joske, leaving the Toa of Fire isolated, looking out at the dark roaring falls. "Sacrifice has never made sense to me. Why would anyone lessen their own stature to bend and aid another who is hunched? The oppressed are in their place because they have not the strength to break away from it; it disrupts the nature of nature to interfere. Those that emerge in power are the ones who have been able to disregard the silly societal ties that tell them to help one another. I only did this much; I only acted logically, in my own self-interest. To do anything else is irrational." The last word seemed to humor Heuani from his tone.[/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]Below Joske's gaze, the ground rippled silently, and Heuani emerged as though elevated out of a midnight pool. He cut a figure too fine before the Toa of Fire; he seemed immortal from his proud chest to his perfect teeth. All that seemed out of place was the dark eyes, suddenly unveiled in their casual malevolence. These were the eyes of a Toa who had lost whatever goodness had once been instilled in him, eyes without compassion or even interest in the victim reflected in them. The liquid gold in the irises simmered as the smile remained casual. "But for all its senselessness, the 'good' of the world still make sacrifices. Perhaps more often than you know, Joske." [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]Heuani drew an incoherent shape in the air with a little finger. The darkness around seemed pulled inwards towards that air doodle like water going down a drain. There was a nebulous of blackness and then, as quickly as it'd appeared, the nigh sky returned to normal, leaving something hanging off of Heuani's waiting finger. The sight of the object made Joske's soul shatter and his heart tear itself to pieces. It was too familiar to him, instantly recognizable, and it struck him with all the power of a dull iron spike to the sternum. Heuani saw whatever trace of fire had remained in Joske's body extinguish itself, and his smiled widened. He had brought forth Cael's Mask of Healing.[/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]"This little sparrow made a sacrifice for you," Heuani said. "A sacrifice that, as all sacrifices do, turned out to be in vain. She came to me, pretty thing, and said she would give herself to me if I swore not to harm you. She must have thought she cared for you quite deeply to have tossed her life away so completely... But I agreed to her terms, swore to her upon the darkness between the stars that you would come to no harm, and she followed me into my black places."[/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]"Every cut on your back, every broken bone, each bruise, each drop of blood seeping out of you is proof that I lied," Heuani exclaimed with an unbridled laugh. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]Joske, no longer able to compose himself, cried up to the heavens with all the power his feeble lungs had left. It was a shout of pain that was cut short by a wave of refreshed agony in Joske's legs. The tears poured from the Toa of Fire like the current of the waterfalls around him, and he moaned and sobbed and wailed, no longer in control of his voice. Joske was a tide of sorrow breaking the dam, smashing all barriers between physical and emotional torture. Heuani strode closer, deftly crouched near Joske and, confident in the Toa of Fire's inability to retaliate, gently held him by the back of the neck like a mother comforting her child. He stroked the Toa of Fire's face with his other hand with gestures of empathy, wiping away the stream of tears. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]"Shh-shh," Heuani cooed softly as he rubbed the back of Joske's neck. "Shh-shh, it's alright, it's alright. Let me dry your eyes, that's good. Shh-shh, Joske, listen to me. Listen. You did not lose your love." Joske's wails stopped for a moment in puzzlement, though the tears still fell of their own accord. Heuani smiled encouragingly and nodded at this calming. "Yes, Joske, you did not lose your love, Cael. She may be gone, but you did not lose her. Nor was she taken by force... She came to me willingly, with all the sweetness of supplication. Your love left you. By the time I had enraptured her, you see, she no longer loved you. I was all she could see; I was the last thing she saw."[/color]


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#1571 Offline Friar Tuck

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Posted Feb 20 2013 - 01:34 AM

[color=#daa520;]IC[/color]

 

[Keeping Place; night]

 

[font="'comic sans ms', cursive;"]“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door —Only this, and nothing more."Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.Eagerly I wished the morrow; — vainly I had sought to borrowFrom my books surcease of sorrow — sorrow for the lost Lenore —For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore —Nameless here for evermore.And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtainThrilled me — filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door —Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; —This it is, and nothing more."Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,That I scarce was sure I heard you"— here I opened wide the door; —Darkness there, and nothing more.Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore?"This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Lenore!" —Merely this, and nothing more.Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice:Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore —Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; —'Tis the wind and nothing more."Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore;Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door —Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door —Perched, and sat, and nothing more.Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore.Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven,Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the Nightly shore —Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."Much I marveled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,Though its answer little meaning— little relevancy bore;For we cannot help agreeing that no living human beingEver yet was blest with seeing bird above his chamber door —Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,With such name as "Nevermore.”[/font]

- “The Raven”, by Edgar Allen Poe

 

[color=#daa520;]I would see her never more.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]This one, single, lone fact hit me harder than any physical blow I could ever receive. She truly was dead, never to be seen again. Never would I hold her hand. Hear the clear pitch of her voice. Feel her close to me as we stared at the stars at night, wondering and planning about the future. She was gone. Never more. But it wasn't just that; it was he had done to her than hurt the most. Maybe she had left in hopes of diverting his wrath. Maybe she had hoped to somehow bargain with him. But in the end, it didn't matter.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]Nevermore.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Instead of staying away like she had promised, she went to Kini-Nui; she broke her promise to me. While I was underwater obtaining the final crystal, she left me. She came to him in submission and supplication, in willingness and wide-open eyes. Maybe a part of her tried to fight back. Maybe she thought he would keep his word. Maybe she did love me... at one point. But in the end it didn't matter. He took her. She succumbed.  Gave in. In the end it was all about Heuani. All she could see was him.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]In the end, it didn’t matter.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]Nevermore. [/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I could feel the Toa of Shadow’s caressing hand, the gentle repose in which he stroked me, the cooing words that held the sharpest of knives. It was like healing salve that burnt, or poison in the remedy. It was horrid. Gut-wrenching. Disgusting. Yet through it all a portion of me… embraced it. Accepted it. As the tears flowed I found my body leaning into his for support… wanting his support. I could feel his strong body cradling my weak one, his cold, malicious arms lovingly embracing me, his hands stroking the back of my head, his fingers tracing the outlines of my mask.[/color]

 

“Shhhhh… “

 

[color=#ff0000;]His voice. His sweet, beautiful, honeyed voice…[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I found myself pouring myself out onto him, wanting him to comfort me. My decency and conscience was shockingly appalled at my own actions, absolutely disgusted  at the acceptance of his touch, but that part of me was rapidly drown out by these new feelings that washed over me. I had so many open wounds it was a miracle that I hadn’t bled out yet. I had no elemental energy left. My legs were broken, I could not move. And the love of my life was taken captive, humiliated, and then then killed by this toa before me. I had nothing left. The pain was so overwhelming that I wanted anyone, anything, to give me any type of comfort… and that is what he was doing. Giving me what I wanted, what I craved. He knew what I felt because… because he himself had been here before. He knew my pain. Or more like… he wanted me to feel his pain, at something that had happened to him long ago. Probably the same event that caused him to break from his destiny.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Yes… pain. Life WAS pain. All you can do is embrace it. Accept it. Revel in it.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I could feel him kneel closer to me as he continued to stroke my head, my neck, my back, his soft words echoing in my ears. His touch, it hurt so much, oh so much, but… I enjoyed it. His touch. His caress. What he said. I buried my face in the crook of his neck as both his hands went to work on me, pain mixed with pleasure, his voice burying into my psyche like worms into a fruit. At first it was painful, but then… then not so much. The pain was replaced with awkward, then blissful pleasure, warm sensations of someone who understood. I didn’t want him to leave. I didn’t want to leave his embrace. I wanted to be with him forever. In his loving arms. His gentle touch. His caress. There was nothing I could do to stop him, and I didn’t want him to. I was his captive, and that’s where I wanted to be.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Enslaved.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]This was his power, his allure… only in defeat did I understand in. In my mind’s eye I could see the chains he clasped around me, locking them slowly in place, taking my spirit and mind captive one link at a time… and I enjoyed it. Reveled in it. Even helped him. I let him bind me so tight that there was no hope for escape. So thick were they, so snugly wrapped that it was impossible for me to move let alone try to break free. I felt him maliciously pull tighter and inwardly I screamed, but a smile played on my lips. I could feel them dig into my skin, suffocating and choking out what little resistance I had left. He… he was my master now. He owned me. And I was happy.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I was happy.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]No longer did I have to deal with this pain. He would take care of it. He would take care of me. He understood, he knew. From here on out I would not have a care in the world. If he chose to kill me, then it would be in bliss. If he let me live to serve him, I would do so willingly. No longer was I bound to rules, to tough choices, to having to face the consequences. I was free. Free to make my own decisions and live how I want to live, without repercussions. He… Heuani… freed me. He loved me. And I loved him back.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]My Master.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I could feel him lean me back on my broken legs, his gentle, strong arms supporting me despite my involuntary shudders from the pain as he looked down on me triumphant. I just smiled back through the tears, a dumb, surrendered smile plastered on my face. His index finger traced the outline of my mask, down my cheek, up my chin, before resting on my lips, his cold breath dancing on my mask as I closed my eyes is sweet ecstasy, shivering as I did. I knelt there, eagerly anticipating whatever it was he had in mind for me. I loved my Master. He had shown me great kindness and love, and I loved him back. I was his. No one else’s.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]Please… please… take me… Master…[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]His shadow enveloped me, and I felt safe. Warm. Secure. Tiny parts of me were still fighting back, but it was a futile battle. My head slowly sank down as the final resisting pockets within me made a final desperate push, my heart the slightest bit of shame… shame what was quickly evaporating. I held my head there, staring at the ground, but not because of the dissipating feeling… no, there was something there, something that grabbed my attention. Something that drew my eyes to the dirt between us. Something so engrossing that I didn’t hear his comment.[/color]

 

“Any last words, Joske?”

 

[color=#ff0000;]There was an inaudible gasp as a burst of white light erupted from Cael’s mask.[/color]

 

*   *   *

 

[color=#ff0000;]And there she was. Cael.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]For a briefest of moments, her mask managed to break the spell cast over me by Heuani, lifting his power over my mind and body. I found myself standing in a moonlit beach, the gentle lapping of the waves the only sounds in this place. She stood at a distance, back turned towards me. I could not see her face nor read her eyes, but the way she held her arm, the slight slump of the shoulders... she still looked pristine, but it was as if she was defeated, depleted... sad. I tried to reach out to her, but I found myself unable to move any closer, hearing the distant clinking of chains as I struggled. I tried to open my mouth to shout, but no air escaped my lips, the sensation of a gag in my mouth. It was as if I was destined to only see her as a ghost, figment... shadow. Something unobtainable. Unreachable. Forbidden. My spirit may have temporarily been freed but he still held absolute power over me. I could do nothing but stand and watch.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Like I did in that nightmare.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]The Toa of Water stood, her back to Joske, but it was plainly her, without a doubt. The Toa of Fire knew too well the blue of her armor and the curve of her frame. She stood before him, her back somewhat bent, the edges of her body slightly blurred and vaguely wispy, as though she were made of little more than shadows and air.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]“Joske,” she said.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]It seemed to the Toa of Fire that her voice had not sounded half so lovely in life. It swooped and soared like music, echoing throughout the stillness and vibrating deep within his chest. Heuani had called her a sparrow; her voice was sweeter than birdsong.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]“Joske.”[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]She turned then, slightly, one shoulder dipping as she looked back. Joske caught sight of the side of her mask, a glint of one golden eye, but no more. She did not fully turn to face him.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]“They say that love requires everything you have to give,” she said, a note of sadness in her voice. “But you cannot give everything for my sake. The sun will not shine any brighter if you choose darkness for me, Joske.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]“I already chose darkness for you, because that is the choice every healer must make. If you love me, then no matter what happens, you must live.”[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]"Why?"[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]The sound of her voice tore through me with fresh agony, the sound of a voice I knew I would never hear again, enough distraught to break through the gag and speak out in anguish. A beautiful, perfect melody that was forever silenced by this monster, the one I had given myself to. I felt my sobs arc through my chest as I questioned everything.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]"Why must I live? There is nothing to live for. I had a life once... but I traded it. All of it. For you. Fame. Fortune. Face. Pride. I gave up my old life because I realized I fell in love with you, and nothing I had was equal in worth. I gave up everything I had for you, and what little I had left I would have willingly sacrificed if only to stay together. But now... now you're gone. I have nothing left Cael, nothing. What is the point of carrying on? Why should I fight when even if I win I will remain forever heartbroken?"[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]The healer turned her face away again, looking out into the beyond.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]“When did I become the reason you became a hero?” she said softly. “You did it for Mata Nui; you did it for your people. I was one of them, but there are still others who need you to finish what you have started.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]“It is not about you, Joske, just as it was never about me. It is about what must be done, for the good of our people.”[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]The Toa of Water turned then, all the way around, her body shifting and blurring as though seen through rippling water. Joske's heart ached even more as he looked upon her again, but the ache turned to a cold fire when he saw her mask.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]Her golden eyes shone out as bright as ever, but her face was scarred. An angry, vicious red cut trailed from just under her left cheekbone down to her chin, the scarlet of wounded flesh and blood standing in stark contrast to the deep blue of her mask.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]She lifted a hand slowly to her face, and traced the gash with a graceful finger, her eyes never leaving Joske's.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]“I did not do this for me. I did it for you.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]“Because my love demands only one thing: that, no matter what happens, and no matter how long it takes, I keep my faith in you. Remember who we were, Joske, and do not despair.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]“I did this for you.”[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Her words hit me harder than Heuani's did.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]First, it was the full realization of the pain, torture, and sheer humiliation she went through as presented by that scar, a physical indication of what he did to her in the hour or so before he killed her. Second was the absolute, blinding truth in her words, a proverbial slap to the face to what I had just said; it never was about us to begin with, or even me. It was about them. The matoran. Other Toa. Destiny. Mata-Nui’s will. I was so lost in my own grief that I had become selfish in my own pain, trying to come up with some excuse to make me feel better at how terrible things were spinning out of control. I had ceased being the hero and making the tough decisions, instead taking the easy road… like Heuani did. Finally, shame. Shame in my own feelings, my own actions, my own thoughts, both in front of Heuani and Cael. She wasn't the unfaithful one. She wasn’t the one that had betrayed the island, the Code, her love.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]It was me.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I stared at my trembling hands, the same ones that were trying to hold on to my knelt knees as I reeled, trying to deal with my own overpowering shame. I didn't deserve her. Fact. I simply didn't. When it mattered most I failed to trust and believe that she would not falter, that despite the ill-conceived notion it was her way of displaying her love for both myself and the people of this island. She was better than me. In every way. In ever fashion. In every facet.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]And yet she still loved me?[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]"Cael?"[/color] [color=#ff0000;]I spoke hesitantly, feeling the powers of this place beginning to fade.[/color][color=#daa520;] "Please, please answer me this: in the end, when he took you did you... “ [/color][color=#ff0000;]I choked for a moment, forcing myself to ask this question. I should never had even needed to ask it, but I wanted - no, needed to know the answer. The truth.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]"You may have done this for me, but in the end, did you still love me? Or… or was it all him you saw?"[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]She smiled.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]The beauty of this simple expression took Joske's breath away, despite the scar on her cheek. With every passing moment, the Toa of Water seemed to grow more beautiful... but that may have only been because, with every passing moment, she grew fainter.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]The blue of her armor faded; her golden eyes slowly dimmed. Her feet and hands seemed less real and more transparent, as though made of smoke. Her lovely form grew indistinct, nothing more than shades and shadows.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]But her voice was as real as ever. It cascaded through the vastness of the void like the splashing of a brook over stones, singing the song of rushing water in Joske's ears, the soft music of her speech gently cradling his broken heart.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]“I never stopped loving you.”[/color]

 

[color=#000000;]*   *   *[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]The next image I saw was Heuani’s smiling face.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I was still kneeling there, his hand cradling my neck. I was back kneeling before him, my body broken, my face still grinning submissively, dried tears caked to my mask. His hand traced my mask as he spoke, his sweet voice whispering in my ears, taking my soul. He held me close.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]But someone else held my heart even closer.[/color]

 

“Any last words, Joske?” [color=#ff0000;]My mouth trembled as I continued that dumb smile, my dried, cracked lips beginning to move.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]While (activated)[/color]

[color=#daa520;]   powerout "Give me the power to defeat my foe and complete my destiny" endline;[/color]

[color=#daa520;]      when (completed)[/color]

[color=#daa520;]      powerout "Prevent user from accessing mask ever again" endline;[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]The moment those words left my lips it felt as if someone put my head in vice as a thousand needles simultaneously injected themselves into my face. I could feel my mask glow as it processed my request, my body growing suddenly very warm, to the point of uncomfortably hot as time seemed to stop.[/color]

 

[font="'courier new', courier, monospace;"]Compiling Program...[/font]

 

[font="'courier new', courier, monospace;"]Complete.[/font]

 

[font="'courier new', courier, monospace;"]Activating...[/font]

 

[color=#ff0000;]It was as if my world exploded.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]It was at the same time similar to the sensation of becoming a toa for the first time, like back in Ga-Wahi all those weeks ago, yet simultaneously completely different. Whereas the Toa Stone was more like a key, something that unlocked a power that already resided in me, this was like someone taking a sun and forcibly cramming it into my body, a power infusion that defied explanation. [/color][color=#b22222;]There was no hiding, no shrinking away, no exit… from all sides this energy soaked into every pore, every inlet, every crack, forcing out what it deemed unnecessary.[/color][color=#ff8c00;] I could feel my bones cracking, but it wasn’t from damage: it was from repair as my legs reformed into their proper and full proportions. I could feel my skin slithering and molding, but it wasn’t tearing apart: it was reshaping, healing, changing color, a layer of ornate armor growing over it[/color][color=#ff0000;].[/color][color=#ff8c00;] And I could feel my elemental energy get pushed out, drained away as my inner fire was extinguished, but it wasn’t from losing my power: I was gaining a new one. I wasn’t just being reworked: I was being purged.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]Transformed.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]My head shot back as every sensor organ went spastic, my very core altered from the inside out as my inner fire was sucked away, replaced with a glowing light. A light that quickly grew brighter, and brighter, and brighter, until it completely overtook me and integrated itself into every facet of my being. I screamed, but not out of pain, but as a mechanism to deal with the influx of energy as every inhibition, every chain holding me back evaporated and I completed the metamorphosis in a spectacular display of fireworks.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]With a slow steady hand I gazed down at my new body, watching my heartlight beat strong and steady, feeling my new power ripple across my muscles. Stretching out my arm I could see my new colors: Yellow with perfect White accents. I was fully armored: form fitting, flexible, and brilliantly Gold. I looked around at the keeping place as I could feel it strain at this new turn of events, the place no longer dark, but light, as if it was day. Daylight that wasn’t centered in the sky… but from me.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]I was the source of that light.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]I clenched my fist and closed my eyes, feeling my new power flow through every vein, taking in a long, deep breath. I could feel the warmth, the power, the brilliance of what I had at my disposal. I was no longer Joske, Toa of Fire.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]I was Joske, Toa of Light.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]A source of Light in the Darkness[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]A beacon of Hope in this time of Hopelessness.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]The physical manifestation of what the Shadows feared most.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]The paralyzing fear in Heuani’s eyes proved it.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]And I was about to shove it down this throat.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]“You know, Heuani, when I started this quest, it was because of my duty.”[/color][color=#ff8c00;] I began casually, my brilliant blue eyes boring right into him, a shade so unearthly bright that it was unsettling. [/color][color=#daa520;]“My duty as a Toa to protect the matron, my duty to aid those who were destined to defeat your master. I did it out of a sense of loyalty, a sense of pride, to be there for them, for the good of the people. I was even learning some valuable life-lessons along the way; you know, to become a better person, less chauvinistic, humble… all those good things. But then something happened. Something I didn’t expect: I fell in love. Fell in love with someone who not only loved me back, but helped me in my journey to become that better man. Someone brave and loyal and caring enough to do whatever it took to see the end completed. But you know what? You killed her.”[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]I could see him stagger away, his shadow flicker and he tried to shadow-jump away, but he couldn’t. There was too much light. I had bathed the area in so much brightness that there was not a single shadow large enough to transport through. It was as though light was ubiquitous, from every angle, from ever side. He would not escape… not now. Not yet.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]Not until I was done with him.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]“You killed her Heuani… in cold blood.” [/color][color=#ffa500;]My voice was low an menacing, my right arm slowly rising. [/color][color=#daa520;]“You took her, vulnerable as she was, and made promises to her… promises you had no intention of keeping. You lied to her, entranced her, BED her… then killed her.”[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]As my arm came to eye level there was an egg-shaped object attached to it, in the same place where my launcher would have gone, and egg with the side towards my had sliced off, several spinning, glowing rings seen within. Rings that at this point began to rotate wildly, glowing ever brighter as a dull whine began to fill the air.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]“You couldn’t let things be, could you? This was about them, about freedom, about the Great Spirit and his traitorous brother… but no, you had to take it another step. Cross that line. I’m not fighting just for them anymore. No, now Heuani-“[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]There was a pause as my laser cannon finished charging up, a brilliant ball of energy contained in those rings. My eyes burned with righteous vengeance.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]“Now it’s personal.”[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]With a single thought I unleashed the power of the sun.[/color]

 

*   *   *

 

[color=#ff8c00;]The light was so brilliant the night ceased to exist… at least for a moment.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]Kini-Nui was bathed in a light, a brilliant flash so spectacular that it could be seen for miles in every direction, followed by what could only be described as a sub-sonic shockwave. Despite the time of night the ancient temple and jungle surrounding it were, for all practical purposes, looking as if it was high noon. In fact, the blast was so powerful that when the light began to recede I noted that we were no longer in the Keeping Place.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]We had been forcibly ejected.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]Somewhere between our first exchange, my transformation, and that singular blast, the Keeping Place receded in order to protect the stability of its own existence, if not for a while, an attempt to repair the damage done. I could feel that the door had not closed; I knew I could still lead Stannis and his Company inside, but for the moment that place was safely withdrawn. I turned to look where Heuani went.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]It wasn’t hard.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]In the ground leading away from the ravine and the temple was a groove in the dirt, nearly a bio deep, going for almost a hundred bios back, trees bent sideways away from the scar in the earth. At the end of it was a shaking form, a dark, black body struggling to get up. A body whose chest piece was completely blown the bits, evaporated by my blast. As I walked up to him I noted that had he had a heartlight it would have been shattered, and he would have been dead; but this was no ordinary toa, and he had no heart. Which meant he survived.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]Pity.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]With one hand I throttled his neck and with ease lifted him to eye level with me, watching him squirm. I could see his shadow leech off him as he bathed in my light, dark tendrils of black vapor evaporating off his body. I clenched my teeth, squeezing him tighter.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]“My turn.”[/color]


Edited by Friar Tuck, Feb 20 2013 - 11:07 AM.

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Living large... like clown-shoe size large. Complete with nose, rainbow-colored hair, and a bottle of seltzer water.

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#1572 Online Vezok's Friend

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Posted Feb 20 2013 - 09:55 AM

[color=#800000;]IC:[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Fool me once, shame on me; fool me twice...[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]How many time can you get blinded in one night?[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Agni propped himself up on his elbows, then climbed to his knees, all the while blinking rapidly to regain his vision. Just a moment ago, he and Angelus had been standing atop the stairs leading to the Kaita-Suva, examining the gifts they had received from a disembodied Kanohi in a negative zone, located somewhere between the world of their mind and the real one. It had been one of blinding white and quite disorienting, but they had returned safely, only to find that the mask and sword they had been granted by the mask during their inpromptu trip to that wonderous world had been made real by some strange power. And while they had at first examined their respective gift, they had quickly resumed to vigilantly stand watch at the temple, keeping an eye out for either the wanderer and his company, or Joske. [/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Then, out of nowhere, there had been the brightest flash of light and the two Toa had been flung backwards by a powerful force. Agni found himself blinded by light the second time in under an hour. As his vision began to clear though, he looked up and saw the extent of the damage...and whoe was most likely responsible for it.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]He was standing at the end of the rut the blast of light had cut through the grassy ground, standing in an auro of light that seemingly came from his own body: A Toa, clad in immaculate golden-yellow armor with white accents. He was holding another Toa, this one clad in black, by the throat.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Agni's eyes were wide, but he shook himself from his moment of shock and closed his mouth, which had involuntarily disengaged. He squinted, looking closely at the two Toa. There was something oddly familiar about them, but at the same time, he could not recall ever seeing them before. But the tendrils of shadow dissolving around the black-aromored one left little doubt as to who he was. But did that mean that the other was...?[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"...Mata Nui..." Agni whispered, still in awe.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Beside him, a coughing Angelus asked: "Literally?"[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"Maybe...I - I don't know." [/color]

 

[color=#800000;]-------------------------------------------------------------------[/color]


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#1573 Offline Nuju Metru

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Posted Feb 21 2013 - 01:27 AM

OOC: Joske dialogue courtesy of Tuck.

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]IC:[/color]

[color=#2f4f4f;]Heuani was in the numb shock of pain.[/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]He was slumped against the now-cracked trunk of a mortal tree - which had only survived the impact itself by the fortune of its distance - his chest shattered by a bolt of solidified sunlight, his beautiful body broken for the first time. His dark hands trembled of their own accord, which Heuani recognized with a distant degree of alarm as his own exhaustion. The cannonball of light, the concentration of brightness that had hit him, had banished his use of his powers, and even his energy to stand, from him. The blood from his older scratches trickled unopposed over his face; Heuani was not driven to even wipe it out of his eyes. He was puzzled by how much Joske's assault had robbed him of strength, too bemused to register the warmth dripping down his cheek.[/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]Luckily, the night was still Heuani's crutch - darkness had mercifully returned to pervasiveness after Joske's show of force - but just as the Toa of Shadow was finding some solace in his element, Joske had strode over and grabbed Heuani by the neck, hoisting him off the ground. It was a familiar maneuver to Heuani, though he was usually on the other side of it. As though a spectator to his own subjugation, Heuani remarked on Joske's new physical strength, which seemed equal to his own. The muscles of Heuani's elegant neck tensed instinctively against the choking grip of Joske, though the rest of the Toa of Shadow's body was essentially limp, as though he was unable to register his own strangulation. He hung there and, for instants, reflected.[/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]Before his eyes, Joske had metamorphosed into a wholly different creature, one that, it seemed, had been designed with Heuani's weaknesses in mind. Heuani had watched as Joske's armor had changed into the hues of sun, his new mask had glowed, his injuries repaired. The altered Joske had stood erect as the unchanged Heuani, unable to stand the glowing brightness, had hunched over and averted his gaze before being struck by the bolt of light that had sent him rocketing into that tree. Heuani felt as though his skin was afire just to be in the presence of such elemental brightness. Joske was clearly, based on his actions thus far, returned to full or greater power by the magic of his infernal mask. Heuani noted to himself with relief a return to his normal thought processes, not the terrifying impotence that had hung like hazy cloud over his mind before now. Joske was holding him by the throat, a disadvantageous position. Heuani had to move, because he still could fight. He would fight. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]Joske may have been a Toa of Light now, the bane of Toa of Shadow. But Shadow was also the bane of Light. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]A tendril of darkness, using nearly all the physical energy Heuani had left to conjure, struck Joske from the dark sky, pounding him into the earth. Joske let go of Heuani and in the instant of confusion, Heuani shadow-jumped away, repositioning himself to rest underneath the bridge of the Kini-Nui gorge. As Joske, unused to his powers over light, searched for Heuani by eye in the dark jungle, the Toa of Shadow sucked on the night like a babe on its mother, amassing his physical strength as quickly as he could to recover from the unexpected blow that had nearly knocked him out cold. He would, after all, be unable to tap his reserves of elemental power without the spark of body energy. Heuani fed his wounds with shadow, easing the pain they gave him and making it so that he would be able to stand. He crouched there in silence, consuming the dark air gluttonously. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]Before he could fully refill, though. Heuani could sense Joske approaching his way, and he emerged the next instant out of the dark ground behind Joske. Point-blank spears of shadow whizzed into his enemy, making Joske wince with rage as the dark weapons dissolved into his body. Joske threw up a wall of light, a rainbow, to block the next similar projectiles from Heuani, and immediately curved the colors in a wide arc to meet Heuani like a battering ram as he emerged out of the trunk of a tree. Heuani rolled automatically out of the blow like a gymnast and blackened the rainbow, turning it into a shadow serpent that moved to coil around Joske. But Joske's body glowed, and the serpent hissed out of existence. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]The Toa paused, looked at each other. Heuani was now the tiring one, but he would not make the mistake Joske had made earlier and give too much. Heuani would fight smarter, because as powerful as Joske was, Heuani was the more experienced with manipulating the light of the world. All that Joske had, Heuani told himself, was his raw elemental force. It could be dodged, used against him. Joske's brightness cast dark shades that fanned out in all directions away from him, and these were the first that Heuani used to attack the radiant enemy. The narrow shadows of branches and twigs were needles, the thicker ones of the trees giant fists. All these shadows, like a tent collapsing, arced up and over Joske's head, intent on breaking over his body like a wave. Joske blocked them with a shielding bright energy, as Heuani had expected, and as such the Toa of Light neglected the barely visible shadows doing the same motion below him. These sharp shades reached up tore at his legs, rending some of the flesh there.[/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]Joske growled, and Heuani swerved on his feet, barely managing to skip to the side of another sphere of light. He drew on the night and mirrored the elemental projectile, catching Joske in the shoulder with the clout of a bowling ball, as a thin yellow laser, off-course only thanks to Heuani's simultaneous attack, burned his side. Heuani cursed to himself; he could see that the mask was quickly bringing more complex light attacks into play, informing Joske's offense and shrinking Heuani's experience advantage. A barrage of lasers would have gone straight through Heuani had he not shadow-jumped into the treetops. He leaped down at Joske, catching the Toa of Light off-guard for a precious moment, which Heuani took to try and hold Joske down so that he could use his Felnas.[/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]But Joske had already moved away when the Heuani struck the earth, rolled to the side with the rapidity of his element. Joske kicked Heuani under the chin before he could stand, sending the Toa of Shadow high enough into the air that he was able to back flip. Joske was there with light, though, and he caught Heuani in midair, sending him spiraling painfully to earth. Heuani, still bent over from the fall, blocked some jabs, definitive as sunlight through a window, with a wall of darkness; he could tell that the defense had barely made it in time, had been slower than he meant it. Heuani's chest, indented and jagged from the first light, suddenly pained him more keenly, and as he commanded a shadow hand to successfully grab and throw Joske, Heuani noticed out of the corner of his eyes his own hands trembling again. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]With fury, Heuani threw shade after shade against Joske, met and matched by his foe's barrage of light. Their elements were perfect in opposition; they would meet in midair and dissipate one another. Seeing the futility of such forays, Heuani had no choice but to turn to purely physical attacks, and with his failing body, the strokes of his sword hardly ever managed to score against Joske. The Toa of Shadow's energy was failing him, and his speed, so reliable until now, started to leave him. He tried to ration what little of it was left to protect himself with shadow, jump here and there, but it was a vain attempt and Heuani, though it humiliated him to realize, knew it. Joske had as much energy now as he'd had when Heuani had first began to fight his new Light form; there was only one way this could end. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]Heuani was eventually forced to let go of his protection, and Joske subsequently battered him without impedance. He blinded the Toa of Shadow, burned out what little energy remained in Heuani's tired form with strike after strike of powerful sunlight. Heuani had no choice but to take the barrage, try to avert his eyes from the swirling brightness that translated into ache for him. He was hit with finality across the face by a strike containing all the colors of the rainbow. Joske, at last, relented. "It's over," Joske said simply, even the sound of his voice arousing new heights of detestation from Heuani. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]The Toa of Shadow tried to step forward, but instead collapsed next to a boulder, which he clung to with his uncertain fingers like a floating piece of debris after a shipwreck. The Toa of Shadow, as he sat slumped there, felt cheated - why was it that his well of elemental energy, deeper than any Toa's alive, had run dry, yet Joske's had not? Ultimately, his own body had betrayed him, and Heuani saw the irony in that. Normally he was the one watching such things happen. The Toa of Light stared down at Heuani through too-blue eyes, and Heuani, though it pained him, met the gaze with his own dark gold ones. He would not appear fazed by his own tactics. Joske continued to radiate light so that Heuani, caught in the spotlight, would have no chance of returning to strength in friendly darkness. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]"Yet... I am still alive, Joske," Heuani wheezed, even his trademark charisma dented, a rattle of its usual self when so deprived. "And for this, I would consider our encounter far from over. You can't bring yourself to kill me... I'll admit, I'm a bit disappointed; what remains to stop you from ending me? Nothing. Nothing but your 'code,' a delusion that prevents you from being effective..." Heuani's only comfort was the meager shadow in the lee of the rock, where one of his arms had come to rest. It was small, but could be enough, if he gave himself time. Heuani could make time. "If you want to end this, that's in your power, Joske. So do it. Do to me what I did to Cael... and follow my example there in every regard. Being lorded over by you like this, enslaved by weakness, I'll admit, is... captivating." Heuani licked his lips provocatively, eyebrows raised against the slowing tide of blood down his face. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]Joske was felt no more of the irresistible attraction towards Heuani that had once let the Toa of Shadow master him. "Killing you wouldn't do me any good," he spat, ignoring Heuani's jibe. "You've lost, Heuani, and especially in victory, I refuse to sink to your level."[/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]Heuani chuckled, hacking out a little blood with a cough. He repositioned himself subtly to rest infinitesimally more of himself in the shadow of the boulder. "That's quaint," he said with a dark smile that left his eyes cold as ever. "An interesting perspective. But I don't see my level as lowered, Joske: I see it as heightened. I do whatever I want... I'm free, whereas you are chained by your own sense of moral superiority."[/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]"Perhaps... " Joske replied, reaching out with a lone finger to touch Heuani on the cheek. With the harsh sound of welding metal, the Toa of Light traced it across the flesh and up the cheekbone, leaving a long scar marring Heuani's cheek. Heuani took the scar without flinching, though he knew is face would never be perfect again. "Perhaps, Heuani. But that is what separates us from the animals."[/color] 

[color=#2f4f4f;]Joske turned a little away from Heuani, not exposing his back to the Toa of Shadow but also projecting less light directly towards his downed enemy. Heuani grinned in his mind, realizing Joske was entering into just the kind of long-winded speech he had hoped for. He let Joske ramble on. "Animals have no sense of morality... Right and wrong... Belief and faith," Joske said. "They are incapable of forgiveness, fail to understand the simple phrase 'why am I here?', and are unable to appreciate art. To them there is no abstract, no higher thought, nothing but the here and now: instinct, primal urges. You may call it freedom, but it is nothing more than the sensations of a raving carnivore. That is what you are, Heuani: an animal. No more, no less. We are greater than them due to these concepts, but only if we can keep them. Not to mention this: which takes more strength? To kill someone, to end a life, even if you have the power and the support, even if no one would blame you for it?"The Toa of Light paused pensively; Heuani hardly noticed, as he was much more focused on frantically regrouping enough energy to make an escape. He only needed a few more seconds, and Joske graciously gave them, continuing his monologue. "Or does it take more strength of character not to kill and instead let justice be served by the accused own masters, to let those who own him met out punishment for his failure... and to forgive the one who so terribly wronged you?" Joske asked rhetorically. "That is the choice we all must make, and in the end this is why you failed. You like all the others are weak in nature, unable to resist the animal inside. My only consolation is that the Master of Shadows will give you what you so rightly deserve."[/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]As Joske looked back at him with a piercing azure gaze, Heuani realized that the Toa of Light had finished speaking. Heuani, in the meantime, had slowly amassed the strength he needed; he managed to smile, emotionless, back at Joske despite the increasingly painful throbbing of his full-body wounds. Joske's radiance was sharp to Heuani's vision, but it did not blind the Toa of Shadow from seeing humor in Joske's stoic expression. Heuani laughed softy but derisively, laden with unveiled insult. He spat a little blood onto the rock, then looked Joske in the eyes again. Heuani's face under the dirt and blood was nevertheless beautiful in its scorn. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]"...I've never been a good listener," Heuani apologized sarcastically before, hissing in agony and clenching his teeth at the strain it took, he faded into liquid darkness and disappeared.[/color]


Edited by Nuju Metru, Feb 21 2013 - 02:10 AM.

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#1574 Offline Friar Tuck

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Posted Feb 21 2013 - 12:04 PM

[color=#daa520;]IC[/color]

 

[Base of Kini-Nui, ravine; night]

 

[color=#daa520;]And I let him go.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]I stared at the rock in which he had leaned on, gazing at the wisp of shadow he had used to make his escape, observing the blood marks that were the only evidence of his passing. That and the gaping trench in the ground, twisted shadows from unnatural use, and laser burns in both stone and tree. But that barely registered as I breathed in a shaky breath.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]I... let him go.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]We are who we are in the moment of pressure. When we are forced to react, not think, that is the instant that exposes our true nature, unbidden by reserved thoughtfulness or the daily masks used to hide intentions. It is when we, as heroes or villains, show our true colors. And clearly I'm no killer.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]I just had to come to terms with that.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]There was a flash of light, a moment later a shower of pebbles rained down on me as that rock exploded. I stood there, arms outstretched, shaking slightly at the rush of thoughts and emotion I was allowed to entertain again. My eyes closed, teeth clenched as my body shook... I was at civil war with myself, mad at the fact that I simply let him run away. I could have broken his legs, made him beg for mercy, make him, make him...[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]But as I said, I was better than that.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]Slowly I lowered my arm, my sense finally winning out to my raw emotions. I had made a decision a long time ago to adhere to the Code, no matter the cost. That I would hold myself upright, not stoop down to their level, take the road less traveled, and overcome. Not to fight evil with evil, but to conquer evil with good. That no matter what happens I would persevere, come out intact, without compromise. That's what Cael understood, even if I didn't fully grasp what I had said. She saw it in me and did whatever it took to see it through.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]I just wish the price wasn't so high.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]With heaviness and weariness I shuffled back to the ravine. Trying to lift myself up from the slump I found myself in. I mean, I won, didn't I? I defeated Heuani! Even if he survived his encounter with the Makuta he would never again be as powerful, not nearly the threat he once was. I accomplished my mission, at the precipice of my destiny. Once I opened the door for Stannis and his companions, and that would be it. I had every confidence that they would win; there was no doubt in my mind. With the defeat of Heuani the power of shadow had been broken, and it was up to the new set of heroes to finish the job. My Duty as the Vanguard was complete. Then why did I feel so defeated?[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]I sat down on a rock near the ravine, my shoulder's slumped, a grey object by my feet. With shaking hands I picked it up reverently, brushing off the dirt and grime so as gently as one cleans a precious, fragile glass figurine. I held it in my hands, my thumbs rubbing with slow, determined strokes, lost in memories, both sweet and bitter. This was the only thing I had left of her. A single tear streamed down my face, trying to make sense of the world now in this battle aftermath. No inspiration came.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]So I sat and waited.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]I sat there, waiting, in my own little world, thumbing that mask, glowing like a lightstone that wouldn't, and in actuality, couldn't shut off, casting a warm illumination at the base of the temple. It's not like they could miss me. I had no doubt those that would see me or my light would feel encouraged and hopeful at this turn of events.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]I just wished that my own light could do that to me.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]I clutched that mask tighter, touching it to my forehead.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]And waited.[/color]

 

OOC:[color=#8b4513;] whenever the Maru decide to show up, I'll let you in[/color]


Edited by Friar Tuck, Feb 21 2013 - 12:07 PM.

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#1575 Online Gravity

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Posted Feb 21 2013 - 01:25 PM

[color=rgb(0,0,0);]OOC:[/color] ...

 

oh um

 

i uh

 

i'll

 

just be

 

 

leaving

 

i guess

 

[color=rgb(0,0,0);]IC:[/color] [color=rgb(0,128,128);][font="georgia, serif;"]Zauk[/color][/font] [color=rgb(0,0,0);][Kini-Nui Temple][/color]

 

[color=rgb(0,128,128);][font="georgia, serif;"]The sentinel stood ever watchful over the lone flame in the blanketing darkness of night, the fire slowly eating through the moss-covered wood.  In the end, it would undoubtly burn itself out, and darkness would envelope the area in it's cold embrace once again.  The tongues of flame licked the sides of the river-smoothed stones surrounding the fire, the only thing preventing it from consuming the dry grass surrounding it.  The fire's golden light shone off Zauk's teal armor as he stood staring into it's burning depths.  A cold, empty wind swept across his back, sending icy needles down his spine.  He hunched his shoulders forward as if to ward off the next blast of cold air that blew through the area.  To the Toa of Lightning's back was the massive Temple, it's monolithic stone spires stood guard over all below them.  Before him was the small fire, and then, darkness.[/color][/font]

 

[color=rgb(0,128,128);][font="georgia, serif;"]Shadow permeated the very air around the Kini-Nui, seeping into the ground, the plants, the rocks.  Some believed that the myth that Makuta himself was just that, a myth.  Seldom few had actually traveled to the place.  It was bathed in an aura of evil.  One could almost physically feel the shadows pressing up against them, slipping into their soul.  Zauk did, and he shuddered from something other than the cold.  Another wind blew through, and the flames flickered for a second, momentarily plunging the area into darkness.  It was if it were a reminder fromt he shadows; they were still there, waiting, watching.  Although, after what happened, the Toa began to doubt his own mental state.[/color][/font]

 

[color=rgb(0,128,128);][font="georgia, serif;"]But what was the first requirement of being a Toa?[/color][/font]

 

[color=rgb(0,128,128);][font="georgia, serif;"]One could not possibly hope to control one of the very forces of nature and stay sane.[/color][/font]

 

[color=rgb(0,128,128);][font="georgia, serif;"]If there was a breaking point for beings, then Zauk had ran through it and further.  It seemed strange to be aware of it, to be able watch himself fall deeper.  Perhaps it was justification for what he'd done to that Toa of Crystal.  Perhaps he had died, and had been forced to continue living for what he had done.  Forced to witness the shado-[/color][/font]

 

[color=rgb(0,128,128);][font="georgia, serif;"]Light.[/color][/font]

 

[color=rgb(0,128,128);][font="georgia, serif;"]Light?[/color][/font]

 

[color=rgb(0,128,128);][font="georgia, serif;"]The shine of a thousand stars suddenly filled the area with golden brillience, as if someone had released the combined light of a thousand lightstones.  It came from everwhere at once, shoving aside the darkness and replacing it with a warm glow.  Zauk had shut his eyes tightly, but it didn't seem to make a difference.  Before he had time to question the strange occurance, a wave of energy struck him.  The power lifted him clear off his feet, blinded, disoriented, and more than a bit confused, Zauk was unable to resist it.  He vaguely remembered the feeling of weightlessness as he flew backwards through the air, before his head struck the unforgiving stone side of the Temple.  Everything went dark, and memory ceased to exist.[/color][/font]

 

[color=rgb(0,128,128);][font="georgia, serif;"]* * *[/color][/font]

 

[color=rgb(0,128,128);][font="georgia, serif;"]It might've been hours, days, the Toa of Lightning was unconscious, or it might've been seconds.  It was impossible to tell.  He was proped up against the side of the Temple, having slid to the ground after being knocked unconscious from the blast.  The back of his head was numb from the impact, while his eyes stung from the brilliant light that had existed a moment before.  He blinked, but his eyes were still sightless under his Kanohi.[/color][/font]

 

[color=rgb(0,128,128);][font="georgia, serif;"]His Kanohi.[/color][/font]

 

[color=rgb(0,128,128);][font="georgia, serif;"]The Mask of Power, previously painted to look like one touched by Makuta, had returned to it's eariler cyan color.  The Toa of Lightning placed a hand to his forehead, his vision slowly returning.  It was slow, and it seemed quite possible that they had been damaged from the blast of energy.  But eventually, his sight returned.  Though night had returned, a faint golden glow seemed to cling to everything in the area.  The rocks, the trees, even the Temple itself.  The source of the sudden brightness was nowhere to be seen, at least, not at the moment.  Zauk barely grasped what had just happened, let alone figuring out what could have possibly caused such power.  Slowly, shakily, he rose to his feet.  Even his own power, known to create blinding flashes of light, seemed insignificant compared to the inferno that burned a moment before.[/color][/font]

 

[color=rgb(0,128,128);][font="georgia, serif;"]What had just happened?[/color][/font]


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#1576 Offline Tyler Durden

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Posted Feb 21 2013 - 08:02 PM

[color=#000080;]IC:[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]It'd be hard to pinpoint what exactly the Toa Maru were feeling as they left the Suva and traveled towards the Kini-Nui. Stannis was no doubt feeling an impending sense of prophecy, a divine calling from on high ringing in his ears with each passing step. Korero was bouncing around like a coked up jackalope, unpredictable in his twitchy movements, even though Reordin felt he had a bit more sway over himself than he let on. Sulov and Oreius were ever-vigilant, taking up point and rear without question. Leah was calm, movements graceful like water dashing over the surface of stones in a riverbed.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]And Reordin?[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]"It's too cloudy out. I don't like it."[/color]

 

[color=#b22222;]"I didn't think you believed in bad omens, Reordin,"[/color][color=#000080;] Oreius said with a note of slight humor in his voice from behind the Toa of Ice. The Sanctum Guardsman snorted and rolled his robin's egg blue eyes in disdain, though his steps never faltered and he didn't turn to look at the Toa of Fire behind him.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]"I don't," he replied quickly. "I just don't like clouds."[/color]

 

[font="'comic sans ms', cursive;"][font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]"Well, clouds don't like you, either."[/font][/font]

 

[color=#000080;][font="'comic sans ms', cursive;"][font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]"Shut up, Sulov."[/color][/font][/font][/font]

 

[color=#000080;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]So it went, through Le-Wahi, through jungle and vine and cobweb; apart from Stannis, the team engaged in light banter every now and then, mainly focused on Reordin, who managed to hold his own against the multiple adversaries remarkably well ("If you don't watch your tongue, Smokey, I'll grab you by the Parakuka and throw you up high enough that you whiz into Mata Nui's ear and wake him up yourself.") all the way up until they reached the Kini-Nui. All conversation ceased at once[/color]. The temple was a spot of reverence, a place to remember what had been lost and to contemplate on what could be gained. Almost as one, the heads of the Toa Maru bowed, and their eyes closed.[/font]

 

[color=#000080;]And then, when they opened them, they were no longer in front of the temple, or even anywhere near the temple itself. They were standing in a clearing, beautiful, untouched, a postcard-esque scene; two haggard looking Toa of Fire stood a distance away from them, catching their breath, and then, in the center of the clearing, a magnificent golden Toa with inlaid white accents and noble features sat, waiting for something, or someone: them, specifically.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]As usual, Reordin was the first to find his voice.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]"Everything alright here?" he asked, clearing his throat. "We've been receiving noise complaints."[/color]

 

-Tyler


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and again, pathetic confusion.

 

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dorian, you aint changed.


#1577 Offline Ice cream JL

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Posted Feb 22 2013 - 03:41 AM

OOC: Oh.

 

 

Right.

 

 

IC: Aurum

 

Despite having 'North' in mind as a setting to walk, he really hadn't walked much. Maybe it was because he was lazy. Maybe it was because he was tired. Maybe he just didn't feel like walking so much due to the stupid looking armor he had decided to don. 

 

As Aurum half waited, half dozed into the darkness of the night, his mind wandered off into the imaginary dreams of his own. Having decided to wait for the next early light before he decided to leave, the Toa of Iron had reverted to his older armor, fashioned a comfortable bed of his own main of tiny, thin threads of metal, and a comfy pillow that smelled of leaves; indeed, he'd made it from gathering the leaves and wrapping it with the metal threads.

 

And so he slept.

 

And slept.

 

Underneath the shadows of the night; the tools of his master; the shade against the light - light which he would soon have to join, become one with, and overtake.

 

Obviously, that would begin at first light.

 

 

So when the power of a supernova came into play, it definitely was a shocker to Aurum, whose first movement was get hurled away from his bed, and whose first thought was, I'm gonna kill whoever woke me up early. His next thought was, it's daytime already? and when it wen't back to night time, he suddenly decided this was about as natural as the bed he'd been sleeping on.

 

Technically, all beds weren't natural. His one was just made less of wool and more of...iron-y stuff.

 

Looking up as he began to absorb the metal bed back into energy, he looked onwards. The light was still there; the sky looks like it was the afternoon. And the light was receding, towards...somewhere else. And there, he could sense it; the chill in the air, and, in a literary sense, cut off by the light. It wasn't real...and Aurum felt a bit of fear. Light? So much? Even if it wasn't made by a Toa, too much light was still a bad thing. And definitely to Aurum;

 

The intense light blinded his sensitive eyes for quite some time. Sure, he could make out the sky's color, but it was hazy; luckily there wasn't anything in the sky to look hazy. But as he looked down, everything looked messed up; tears welled up in his eyes; it felt as if acid had been poured into his eye sockets, twisting it, drying it, doing SOMETHING to it.

 

Quickly, he held up his hands. Metal threads, like the one he'd use to create his fancy bed for the night, slid down from the top of his mask's eye holes to the bottom, like webbing with holes in it; holes which he easily saw through. It was like a visor; but the eyes weren't as risky to -AAAK!-ness from light anymore. As an added precaution, he pulled his cloak over his body, pulling the hood over his head. And looked around for anyone else.  If the source of light WAS a Toa, he'd have to be careful. And - ah, there. At least somebody familiar.

 

Aurum walked over to where 'Akuz' was, but as he got closer, he noted a slight difference he couldn't really understand; even with the increased sensitivity of cones his eyes, which were better at seeing color in the dark, in his current situation he couldn't tell what the changes 'Akuz' had was.

 

But he was sure it was there.


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BZPRPG Profiles 2013


#1578 Online Vezok's Friend

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Posted Feb 22 2013 - 03:20 PM

[color=#800000;]IC:[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]It really was him. The Toa in the shining armor, sitting on a rock, lost in his own thoughts, was really Joske. Agni didn't show it, but he was still slightly shocked at the sight. He didn't know what had happened, where his former student had been in the meantime, what had bought about the change in appearance and more importantly, his element. But underneath the new mask, it was still him. The voice had been a dead giveaway and as soon as he had spoken to Heuani, Agni was sure of it. As sure as he was about what had just played out before his and Angelus' eyes. Because Heuani had lost. [/color]

 

[color=#800000;]The kid did it! Great spirit, he really did it![/color]

 

[color=#800000;]He had beaten the Toa of shadow, quite decisively in fact. He'd hammered and fought him until his reserves had been practically drained. And it seemed like it didn't matter how much power the first lieutenant of Makuta had. Joske still beat him. And seeing that...it felt...how? Agni wasn't entirely sure how he felt, but witnessing this confrontation between dark and light first hand changed something in him. [/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Of course, he had trusted that Joske would be able to fulfil his destiny when the time came, but he had always felt a certain doubt. What if they had underestimated their opponent? What if they were fighting a battle they could not win? And, as was his nature, he had, as frustrating as it was at times, continued to stoically fight on, no matter how bleak things looked. It made him a good soldier, maybe it had helped make him a good teacher to Joske as well. But now, he felt something more than just the refusal to accept defeat. [/color]

 

[color=#800000;]The flame of hope had been rekindled in him. [/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"Come on." he said to Angelus, nodding. They emerged from the cover they had taken near the temple's steps and quickly walked over to where Joske was sitting. Agni wanted to congratulate him...and then there were at least a half dozen questions running circles in his mind that all wanted to be answered. Joske was still occupied with his own thougts, so he did not look up until the two of them were almost directly in front of him. But before Agni could really say anything, there was a rustling in the brush behind them. Apparently, his questions would have to wait.They turned and looked. And there they were: Six Toa, one of each main-element. Agni had a feeling he knew exactly who they were.They all exchanged a few glances, before the Toa of ice spoke: [/color][color=#000080;]"Everything alright here?"[/color][color=rgb(128,0,0);],he asked, clearing his throat. [/color][color=#000080;]"We've been receiving noise complaints."[/color]


Edited by Vezok's Friend, Feb 22 2013 - 03:21 PM.

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#1579 Offline Nuju Metru

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Posted Feb 22 2013 - 03:47 PM

[color=#2f4f4f;]IC:[/color]

[color=#2f4f4f;]When Heuani materialized on the dark stone floor, grimacing and subtly clawing at himself as though he could scrape away the light residue, the Rahkshi were already waiting. Three of them set down their staffs and picked up the Toa of Shadow's body with sure, deft movements, then the small battalion of creatures began to march with him deeper into the darkness. Heuani, who felt as though he was a corpse being drawn from the battlefield, was fading into unconsciousness. The Toa of Shadow hadn't slept since before his transformation, but he was too exhausted after his duel to remain now in a state of wakefulness. He had no energy to move against or resist the Rahkshi's hands; even if he had, being borne by them was a much more appealing than the thought of walking. He was happy to be limp. Heuani's eyelids fluttered and drooped and, as though rocked to rest by the Rahkshi's strides, he finally passed out. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]...[/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]When Heuani awoke, he immediately recognized that he was in his own bed, in his own chamber. The darkness there was like a cool cloth against his fevered head, and Heuani sunk deeper into it, breathing in and out with slow rhythm. He tried to sit up but immediately felt light-headed, so he took more time lying down and staring at the ceiling before finally sitting up, and then standing from his bed. He did an evaluation of his form, and was relieved to find that almost all of his injuries, on inspection, had been healed; his chest was restored, his ribs repaired, his bruises and scratches smoothed. His Master, though normally predisposed to tearing things down, was far from inept when it came to rebuilding them. The only injury that remained, which Heuani discovered as he ran his fingers over his clean face, was the long mark Joske had carved down his cheek. Heuani deduced that either Makuta had been unable to remove such a light-based wound or, much more likely, the dark spirit had left it there to serve Heuani as a reminder of his failure. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]The Toa of Shadow had, after all, failed, and that was without question. He had failed to kill Joske, his only duty. Heuani had been reduced to a shivering infant by Joske of all people, a rookie Toa of Fire. Joske had been easy prey; Heuani had fully broken him in body and in soul. How could it have been that Joske was able to swing back so quickly? It had been an unexpected, and for that all the more stinging, defeat... Heuani cursed his overconfidence, for he could have, should have, killed his foe five times over. He had given in too easily to his cravings for a perfect demise, forsaken efficiency for pleasure; it was a mistake he would not make again. In future, Heuani swore to himself, he would never again give the mercy of prolongation. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]Heuani walked across his room, past the fire pit, and moodily took a seat in his circular chair. He recognized his body's return to its former limberness of movement, but the Toa of Shadow was much too distracted by his self-condemnation, his attempts to rationalize what had happened in the fight, to find any joy in the realization. Even his self-oath, the compartmentalization of his failure, was not enough to tame the cold anger and the hot outrage that Heuani could feel tickling his fingertips. It had been that mask that had saved Joske, the mask alone, and Heuani loathed to recall how the thing had turned Joske into a stronger, more adept enemy, an enemy that blinded and burned Heuani's soul. Joske's mask had broken the rules; Heuani had been stabbed in the back by someone else cheating. The victory would have been his, if he had only slain Joske earlier, before the game had changed. Heuani subconsciously traced the scar on his face, cradled his forehead in one hand. He had let his better logic go, just to enjoy himself... Heuani hated realizing his impulsiveness. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]How ironic it was to have lost to a Toa of Fire on counts of impulsiveness. Heuani of all people should have known better. His fingers closed of their own accord into tight fists. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]The Toa of Shadow felt the tingles of fury mounting in his extremities. It was rare indeed for Heuani to be overcome by true anger; he was normally cool, controlled and casual. What he felt on a normal basis was more akin to disdain or irritation; rage was an infrequent caller. What was surging now, hardly controllable, through the Toa of Shadow was rage, the variety of anger that was easily equatable to a weakness. Heuani tried to sit still, let the wrath freezing his body consume itself, but the fury in his veins would have none of that. Heuani found himself standing up sharply, only to stop short as he regained enough conscious control to halt himself from punching through a wall. Heuani tried to focus on his breath, but the fury by now had reached his temples, and it throbbed there. It took a concerted effort for Heuani to sit again, lean stiffly into the back of his chair. He looked up at the wall, staring at the white shield that hung there.[/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]Heuani shut his eyes and conjured anything and everything into his mind to avert it from his loss to Joske, the root of his fury; The Toa of Shadow pulled image after image from his memory, a barrage of things meant to calm him. Heuani remembered the ecstasy of fine prizes he had taken, his blood-joy during the hive attack, the cold bright mountaintop where his body did not melt the snow, the refraction of light through his sword, snapping Kapura's neck, the dark space between shadows. And a familiar face that was branded to the inside of his eyelids. Thinking about that only made the dull roar at the back of his head louder, but once she was on his mind, Heuani could not stop himself from remembering all of her, her wise smile and smooth waist, her twinkling eyes and earnest laughter, her graceful legs and full lips-[/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]All the rage erupted at once and unbidden from the Toa of Shadow. With no heed to limitation, Heuani screamed open-throated in anger as he channeled the pure darkness of his chamber into a raw battering ram more forceful than the fists of a dozen Tarakava. He spun the shadows with all his might, channeling the accumulated emotion and burning it as fuel. The pounding shadow, blacker than black, was directed fully against the white shield on the wall, shattering it into sharp fragments that, as they fell to the earth, dissolved into soft snow. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]At least, Heuani reflected dryly through the wetness that he discovered in his eyes, his shades had returned to him.[/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]...[/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]Heuani entered his Master's chamber as he had done so many times in the past, though this time with enhanced trepidation. He feared the punishment for his failure; Heuani would not put it past his Master to have restored him to health just so that torture could be more affecting. Heuani walked through the double doors and, as he did every time, marveled at the size of the chamber and the degree of its total blackness. Even the Toa of Shadow felt that he was a speck of light in the chamber of his Master, and against Makuta's roiling darkness that floated somewhere in the middle, he could practically have been the sun. Makuta flexed a little to acknowledge the presence of his minion, and Heuani knelt before the darkness he served. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]"Rise, Heuani," the darkness groaned with its voice like thunder over stone. "Tell me if you consider your failure to be acceptable."[/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]"Master, I-" Heuani spurted, quickly swallowed his frantic words as the darkness intensified. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]"I did not request your excuses, Heuani," it crackled deeply. "I know you will point to his mask. Answer my question directly."[/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]"Yes, master," Heuani stammered, changing his sentence after Makuta read his mind. "I... I do not... do not believe my failure was acceptable." The Toa of Shadow winced involuntarily, expecting pain to follow his words. Makuta only chuckled at his flinch, boulders rattling down an endless mine shaft. Heuani was simultaneously relieved and embarrassed. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]"How easy it is to frighten you now, Heuani," the darkness commented with dark humor. "You flinch at the mere sound of my voice; did Joske terrify you into childlike jumpiness? Be still. I do not intend to reprimand you tonight; fear me not, for your paranoia will waste time."[/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]"Yes, master," Heuani agreed, glad to hear that he would not be subjected to any pain this time. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]"I understand now, Heuani, that your loss was to be expected," the darkness growled. "I should have anticipated that the mask would be insurmountable, and that you would give Joske the time to use it. Be quiet." The darkness had foreseen Heuani opening his mouth to protest again; Heuani shut it again after the command, and let Makuta keep speaking. "Yet fate still smiles on us. Joske was not the true enemy, and you have survived, even if your incompetence cost me some hours of preparing to face the real threat. I have returned you to health, though you do not deserve it, so that you will be ready to fight again in the morning. The Toa Maru will enter my lair some time after the rise of the sun and before the noon, when they believe I will be at my weakest. We will be prepared for them."[/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]"Of course, master," the Toa of Shadow bowed. "I will alert the Rahkshi to take their defensive positions."[/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]"No," the darkness hissed. "The Rahkshi are to serve another purpose."[/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]"Master?" Heuani asked as politely as he could. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]"The Manas will be our first line of defense," the darkness informed him. "They will fall, as I expect them to. I have placed them merely to test the strength of these Toa Maru, so that I better comprehend their power and dynamics if they reach me. You shall lie in wait for them after they have dealt with the Manas."[/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]"With all due respect, master," Heuani said, picking up the silence that had indicated Makuta was finished speaking. [/color]He could not imagine that any number of Manas crabs or booby traps, even if accompanied by him, would be able to stop the heroes.[color=#2f4f4f;] "I do not believe I can hold off six Toa of the Maru's power by myself."[/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]"Did I ever say you would be alone?" the darkness asked, his rasping tone conjuring a black smile. Heuani unexpectedly had a sinking sensation in his gut. "Enter," the darkness called, its ironclad order echoing around the cathedral of a cave. Some small spots in the stone floor started to look like pools of liquid darkness, a familiar phenomenon to Heuani. The clenching in his stomach only intensified; the Toa of Shadow felt like he was being slowly trapped in a spiked coffin at the same time as his legs converted to water. The spots made an arc of which Heuani was the focus; behind it, the rolling darkness flexed and spun slowly, enjoying the evolving expression of shock and betrayal on his servant's handsome face.[/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]Out of the pools of darkness on the floor emerged five black Toa. [/color]


Edited by Nuju Metru, Feb 22 2013 - 04:02 PM.

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#1580 Offline Friar Tuck

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Posted Feb 22 2013 - 04:06 PM

[color=#daa520;]IC[/color]

 

[Kini-Nui temple basin; night]

 

[color=#daa520;]Humor.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]The sound of a new voice pierced through my mourning, like a spear breaking through a wooden door, jolting me out of my trance-like state. I could feel the presence of new power, of multiple people, of light and strength of heroism. They were here. Stannis and his warriors. The prophesied ones. The Toa that I was destined to escort into the Keeping Place and the depths of darkness afterward. But they weren't alone. At least ONE brought Humor along. To be frank I wasn't feeling jovial at the moment. My face contorted slightly.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]I'm NOT in the mood...[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]I struggled slightly, angry at this type of interruption.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]I DON'T want to laugh.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]My lips twitched.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]I'm TRYING to grieve here! [/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]What came out was a cross of a sigh and a snort.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]But that WAS rather funny...[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]With an angry smile I raised a hand and snapped my fingers.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]The space in front of Reordin's face exploded with light and fireworks, causing him to blink and stagger, his eyes reeling from the flashbang. He recovered quickly however, and once his vision returned I stood in front of him, a neutral yet struggling expression on my face.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]"Not funny."[/color] [color=#ff8c00;]My retort was half-hearted and obvious. But what surprised me was how unfazed this toa was.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]"You're a terrible liar,"[/color] [color=#ff8c00;]came the reply as he blinked away the tears.[/color] [color=#000080;]"Though next time you pull that, lay off on the Hoto bugs will ya?"[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]"Maybe if you just chilled out a bit there you overgrown ice cube you'd realize that this is a solemn place?"[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]"Look who's talking, lightstone. Think you could tone it down a bit? I'd rather not be blind before we enter."[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]"At least your eyes would match the rest of your body."[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]"And at least I don't have the lighting job at a dance club."[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]"Not cool."[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]"No, cold."[/color] [color=#ff8c00;]he corrected.[/color] [color=#ff8c00;]We stared at each other for a second.[/color] [color=#ff8c00;]With a smile that was more a grimace I buried my mask in my hand; I finally placed that familiar voice.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]"Reordin?"[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]"Joske?"[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]"I asked you first, snowflake."[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]"Then you should answer first, sparky."[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]Another day, another time, I would have gladly matched wits with this self-styled comic. I have to admit he was pretty good, but right now I was in no mood for this. He opened him mouth to continue, but I grabbed him on the shoulder.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]"Look, brother, I've had a bad day. A really, really bad day."[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]He finally looked me directly in the eyes, and the sarcastic, playful, snarky attitude of his evaporated. For in my blue eyes were pain, pain much deeper than one person should have to bear. By naturally bright blue eyes enhanced by my new power... unnaturally clear and exceptionally bright, yet at the same time profoundly clouded and grieved. [/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]It was about this time that he and the others finally noticed the slightly damaged dull gun-metal grey mask in my free hand. I squeezed his shoulder. [/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]"We'll pick this up some other time when I feel more up to it. Meantime I have a door to open for you."[/color] [color=#ff8c00;]The need to finish my destiny overruled my compounding grief, so for the moment I was able to set aside my feelings and focus on what needed to be done. It didn't stop me from placing Cael's mask on the rock I had been sitting on as I passed by, my finger gingerly tracing the edge as I stepped towards the ravine however. I tore my gaze away, focusing on something that was invisible to most.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]With a grunt I shot my hand forward, my fingers piercing an unknown veil, the front half of my hand disappearing into a pure-white oval. Had you been standing perpendicular to me it would have looked like it had been chopped off, vanishing into nothingness. With a grunt I forced my other hand next to it, shifting to get a better grip at this crack of light floating in mid-air.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]"By the way guys, sorry about the mess we left in there. After a while the Keeping Place simply ejected both Heuani and myself to prevent unrepairable damage, so it's reluctant to let anyone back in; I can't promise it'll look nice and pretty like I found it. I'll be here once you're done with the final test to lead you in. Hope you've been studying up."[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]I don't know if they reacted to what I said; my back was to them. Even if they had said something there was no way I could have heard due to the rush of energy around me. I stood like one before a lift, trying to pry open the closed set of doors, pitting myself against the forces that held the door shut. My muscles strained as I pitted my will against that what prevented their admittance. I could feel that every effort was being done to prevent it from happening, but I had come to fall to fail now. Slowly, surely, painfully, I edged the crack of light open wider, and wider, until finally with one final roar the entrance flew open, exposing and blanketing the area in light once again. For the briefest of moments I got a glance back inside, only to be pushed back. When the light retreated the door was gone, and so were the six toa. [/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]The Keeping Place had pulled them inside.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]I sighed heavily, tired from the exertion that effort had required. Once again, I was alone.[/color]


Edited by Friar Tuck, Feb 22 2013 - 04:28 PM.

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#1581 Offline Nuju Metru

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Posted Feb 23 2013 - 03:07 PM

IC:

The Keeping Place welcomed its new guests with open arms. It knew that these six were the most important; their essences felt oddly familiar, and they bore themselves with purpose. The Keeping Place showed them the same ravine in the nighttime that it had presented Joske and Heuani a short while ago, but all was at peace, restored again. Not even a twig fallen to earth was broken, for the location had reset itself. The trilling of the birds and the sound of the waterfalls gave the night a pleasant aura; it was almost morning, and the darkness now was more navy blue than black.

 

The six Toa Maru were finally where their destines would be consummated, where they would make the final step on their transformative journey. Whatever lay in wait for them in the Keeping Place, the Great Spirit's failsafe, would equip them at last to try and rectify the fall of the First Toa. It was a weighty mantle to wear, even now, but none of the Maru tried to shrug away the heaviness of destiny. They had learned by now from Stannis that the best way to confront destiny was to face it head-on. Staring out at the waiting ravine, the Maru felt destiny as a wall before their eyes, or perhaps a waterfall that, if stood under for too long, would batter them into the earth.

 

Joske had not told the Maru how to enter the heart of the Keeping Place, and Korero pointed this out. "How do we get inside?" he asked, hoping the others may have had an idea. He was met with noncommittal shrugs from the others and quiet stillness from Sulov (though the latter wasn't all that uncommon); they had as much understanding of the place as Korero himself. Stannis had also been quiet, and it was clear that the Maru's leader was trying to feel a current of destiny nearby that he could surf. The Toa of Stone twisted his halberd pensively.

 

Reordin looked at Leah, noticed her lips were pursed as though she was deep in thought, and her eyes were trained on the far side of the ravine. He asked her what was going on. The Toa of Water spared him a distracted glance before returning her gaze to one of the waterfalls across the way. Somehow the water in it didn't look quite right to her, as though it was falling infinitesimally too slowly. Then again, Leah reflected, she may have been crazy. Reordin, seeing that Leah was dry of conversation, started to try Oreius, but it was clear from the Toa of Fire's mannerisms at that his mind, too, was elsewhere; at that moment, he was speaking to Inu. By now, all the Toa Maru had learned to recognize when Oreius was conversing with the being molded to his back.

 

Sulov was the first one to move. He took a step forward on one of his thick legs, and finding that this presented no danger, took another step, and another, until he was standing on the edge of the ravine. The other Maru followed his example and drew closer to the gap in the earth, stared down at the stream and the sharp rocks at its bottom. It was Reordin who first noticed the stone tablet pushed into the earth like a sign. He called the others over to look at it and Stannis, seeing the strange symbols carved there, immediately recognized the Bird Speech from the slab of rock he'd gotten from Turaga Whenua so long ago. The way the text was aligned on the stone implied to him that it was the six clues of the former Chronicler's Company. Stannis repeated the clues he knew to himself in his head and searched for their meaning to the situation.

 

"Inu thinks... we have to jump," Oreius said, drawing everyone's attention. "He says we need to jump over the edge of this ravine to get deeper inside."

 

"How would that work?" Reordin asked skeptically. "We'd crash on those rocks and die. That doesn't seem all that productive to me."

 

"Why did Inu have this idea?" Stannis inquired, addressing Oreius. Though Stannis didn't fully trust his companion's Parakuka yet, something about the suggestion Inu had just made seemed... right.

 

Oreius took a moment to ask his slug, then answered on Inu's behalf. "Inu says that we won't die, he has this... feeling. Like..." Oreius struggled to put the surge of excited sensations from Inu into normal words. "Like it's a leap of faith. A test of mettle. He was thinking about what around here could possibly be a test like that, and jumping into a deep hole with sharp stuff at the bottom seems the most likely to him. He's very agitated about it; the more he thinks about it, the more true it sounds to him. And I agree; wouldn't the Keeping Place test us before we go inside?"

 

"I think it sounds plausible," Leah nodded. "If we're the heroes who are destined to get the Great Spirit's failsafe, surely we have to prove our faith, first."

 

"It just seems, I don't know, crazy," Korero interjected. "I mean, think about it for a second."

 

Stannis, though, had been convinced, and like Inu, the more he thought about it, the more likely the test seemed. But, of course, there was only one way to find out. The Toa of Stone backed away from the others, positioned himself at the edge of the jungle clearing, facing the ravine. The others noticed and watched with held breath. Stannis secured his Halberd over his shoulder and took a runner's ready position. The Toa of Stone felt the blood pound in his head. He told himself he would count down from three, then run.

 

Three.

 

Two.

 

One.

 

With all his speed, Stannis sprinted at the ravine and, at the last second, he propelled himself up into the air on strong legs, opening his arms and free falling into the middle of the gorge. Stannis felt for only an instant as though he was falling; the next, it was as if he had collapsed into a waiting cloud, a soft pad that cushioned his fall gently. The others saw Stannis fall, saw his body rush towards the sharp rocks, and then vanish into thin air. It was clear that he had gone somewhere else entirely; Inu had been right. The only way to go deeper was to take the leap of faith.

 

One by one, the other Toa Maru executed the same maneuver as Stannis and entered the Keeping Place. Sulov was the last one left on the surface. He took a few practice jog steps in place to steel his mind against this improbable task before rumbling after his fellows, taking the titanic leap, and disappearing mid-fall. Once Sulov was gone, the Keeping Place was able to abandon its facade of the jungle and focus entirely on what lay ahead.

 

...

 

Sulov, after his "landing," found himself in a plane of blank, colorless nothing. There was nothing around him in sight, and if he tried to focus anywhere aside from the central object of his test, his vision would blur and automatically return to the structure before his eyes. It was unnerving for a Toa who was in the habit of always searching for threats around him, but after a time, Sulov accepted the tunnel-vision and took a good look at what he was faced with. It was a tall stone archway, propped up on two monolith pillars, which was unobstructed in its middle. Sulov took a walk around the arch, examined it from every angle, but was unable to get any clues as to its purpose.

 

The closer he drew to the arch, though, the more uneasy Sulov felt. He got the feeling that to walk through the arch as he now was would be suicidal. The Toa of Earth, massive and hulking, retreated a ways away from the arch and sat down to face it. He knew that this odd place, which set his vigilance into overdrive, had to be a test, so there had to be a right answer. Sulov knew that something about him had to change before he walked through that archway, but what? He thought he heard a sound behind him, instinctively turned around, and was returned at once to facing the archway. To be forced to contend with his mounting instincts of danger was-

 

Contending with his mounting instincts of danger. That was the question of the test. Could he defeat those instincts?

 

Sulov sat back down and tried not to focus on the increasing scratching noises around the empty plane. Every reflex of Sulov's told him to spring into action and search for these enemies, but he forced himself to sit still and ignore them. After a time of this meditation, Sulov felt ready enough to go through the archway, but despite his calm center, he still got a curdling feeling as he drew closer to passing through. What had he missed? Sulov stopped himself from wheeling around at the feeling of breath on the back of his neck. He had to be at peace.

 

At peace. Sulov knew what he had to do. As calmly as he could, slowly, Sulov reached across to his left arm with his right hand and he unscrewed the spade there, letting it fall to the earth. He had to enter at peace, and that meant without a weapon. The breath on the back of his neck was warm and moist, but he did not turn to find its source. He did not concern himself with the bestial growl from behind him. Sulov walked through the stone arch. He had passed the test.

 

Sulov was transported to a new chamber, this one small, stone, and entirely physically realized. Sulov had the feeling that he was underground; the cave walls looked like those of Onu-Wahi. He noticed that his spade had returned to his arm, and that on an illuminated pedestal before his eyes was a mask. As he put the thing on, he immediately understood what it was called, and what it did.

 

Kanohi Kimi, the Mask of Seeking

The Kahoni Kimi allows the user to track people or objects. These people or objects must have been pre-marked by the user ahead of time through direct physical contact, but once that contact has been established, the user can thereafter know exactly where the object or being they seek is. This location is summoned voluntarily by the user of the mask; they have only to think of what they want to find, and they will know where it is. A caveat of this mask is that it can only hold a limited number of items in its "database", and that objects marked longer ago will be forgotten faster, and become harder to locate as they age.

 

...

 

Korero was in a similar environment to Sulov, only he was faced with an insurmountable stone wall that blocked one side of the world from him. The Toa of Air tried to float above the wall, but found his powers of air vastly diminished; he could only rise a few feet before collapsing back to earth. The wall rose as tall as the invisible sky, and it was built excellently; there were no hand or footholds on the wall. Korero discovered as much when he tried to clamber up the thing and fell to earth once the rock became sheer. How could he get over the wall?

 

Korero was an intellectual, and he saw this problem as a puzzle for the mind. It was only him and the wall, and somehow he had to get over it. The Toa of Air decided the best place to start was to establish his givens, so he ran along the wall one way and then the other. It went on forever, that was clear. But at one point, Korero saw a chink in the wall, maybe thirty feet up, just large enough for a Toa-sized being to squeeze through. This was his best option, and Korero started to think about the best way to get up.

 

He tried again to lift himself through the air, but the atmosphere here was too dense, and it afforded him no purchase. The wall itself was just as bleak a route; it was smooth as glass below and everywhere next to the chink. Korero leaned against the stone, staring up at the chink, his mind in overdrive. There had to be an answer, because this was clearly a puzzle to test him, and all puzzles had answers. He just hadn't come upon the right one, yet. Maybe he had to think like the First Toa. How would Lewa have made it up to that chink?

 

It hit him like a ton of bricks that the chink wasn't the answer. That wouldn't have been a worthy answer; he had to think outside the box. He'd been trying to think of ways over the wall, when all along he should have been thinking of ways to get through it. He hadn't tried to go under the wall.

 

Korero, excited, crouched to the earth and dug his hand into loose soil that was suddenly there. He knew he had been creative and figured it out, because the earth beneath his hands gave easily, disappeared when he scooped it out. It was only a minute of easy digging before he emerged on the other side of the wall, and felt himself transported to a different place. Korero had out-thought the puzzle, and bested it.

 

He found himself in a small tree house, flooded with green light that streamed through the leafy canopy that made its roof. On a little wooden table was a mask, which Korero felt himself compelled to pick up. When he donned the mask, the mask introduced itself to the Toa of Air.

 

Kanohi Hiko, The Mask of Jumping

The Kanohi Hiko allows the user to jump between real locations in a flash. The Hiko allows for unlimited distance between locales, since it is not based on direct sight, but rather on images. The user can simply look at a picture of a location, or recall a memory of a location, and instantly "jump" there. If the location is unknown, then the picture must be explicit for the Hiko to work, for there is no room for error; any confusion in the moment of the jump will have grave and potentially mortal consequences. The user can also transport up to twice his or her own body weight with the mask, meaning he/she can jump with up to two other people or equivalent equipment. The Hiko does not allow for transportation through time or new dimensions.

 

...

 

Leah was in total blackness. She couldn't even see her hands in front of her face. The Toa of Water tried to speak experimentally, but when she opened her mouth, the darkness surged in like water and stifled her. She quickly stopped trying to talk, and instead started to listen. All around her were chattering voices that spoke in subdued whispers at distances that at once seemed close to her ears and far away. Leah couldn't tell what they were saying, but whatever it was, the sounds of the voices set her on edge.

 

The Toa of Water felt more and more uneasy as the voices got louder, but no more distinct. They were a clamoring roar that beat her morale down. Leah instinctively assumed a curled-up position to feel more secure, so it was to her terror that she found that she never felt her hands touch her knees. Frantically, Leah tried to feel her hands, but there was nothing there. Like in a nightmare, Leah realized that she no longer had control over a body, that she didn't feel anything. She was just a mind, floating around among these other minds, these incomprehensible moaners.

 

Was Leah doomed to become one of them, to lose her sense of self? Had she already lost herself? The Toa of Water was no longer sure of her own identity, meandering in this black place with ambivalently hostile entities.

 

Leah did not want to exist that way. She loved herself and would not suffer to be removed from her body. She resolved to do something to fix it. But what can you do? the voices around her asked. You are already lost, and it is now too late. Leah had to concede that they were right... how could she recover who she once was, when she already felt so defeated? If Leah had had eyes any more, she could have cried at the fundamental loss of herself. With each passing moment, she felt less aware, and less afraid of the other voices.

 

Where am I?

 

It was a simple question that Leah asked herself, but one that saved her. She was in the Keeping Place. She was being tested... and she could guess that she was failing. She was losing her inner motivation with every moment that passed... she had to take a stand, and be strong, against the coercion of the disfigured voices. That though made them angry, and they swarmed to her, trying to drown her once again in blackness-

 

"NO!" Leah shouted, and as soon as she did, a sliver of light invaded the black space, pulling her out of it and restoring feeling to her body. Leah had passed the test; the dark voices melted and evaporated, leaving her in peace again.

 

Leah was transported to the inside of a cave in a cliff that faced the sea, and it was a clear day. The hollow in the cliff was buffeted by cool, salty air, and Leah took a moment to enjoy the view before, relaxed, she turned around and saw a mask that sat happily on a stone ridge, as though also appreciating the panorama before it. Leah walked to the mask and put it on, and it explained itself to her.

 

Kanohi Ruhaku, The Mask of Intent

The Kahoni Ruhaku allows its user to sense the intent of any other creature in the form of an aura around the being. The Ruhaku cannot tell the user thoughts or specify how the particular intent being sensed is to be carried out; it is merely lightly clairvoyant, telling the user or a target designated by the user what others are going to do or are already doing to him/her based on their emotions. The mask is always on at a low level. The aura and their corresponding intent are as follows:

Red – Angry/intent to attack

Orange – Lying/intent to deceive

Yellow – Afraid/intent to flee

Green – Helpful/intent to aid

Blue – Indifferent/no intent

Violet – Passionate/strong and unknown intent

No color - Mask is being blocked

 

...

 

Oreius and Inu were alone in a blank field that went on forever. It was oddly peaceful to be there, and something felt right. It was a moment before Oreius realized what: he and Inu were physically separated from one another. Oreius's hunch at having the Parakuka on his back no longer existed, and he stood as a proud Toa of Fire for the first time in his life, feeling energized and alive. Inu shrugged slowly along the ground, looking just as he had after he killed Turaga Onewa.

 

The Toa of FIre felt as though he could still communicate with Inu. Oreius was overjoyed; he had to share his happiness with the Parakuka. Look at me, Inu! the Toa of Fire exclaimed, spinning in place to try and see every inch of his true self. Look at me, I am free! I have so much energy! But Oreius' overjoyed attitude faded when his thoughts met Inu's, for the Parakuka was weak, hardly able to move, unable to reply, and certainly unable to jump up and latch back onto his host. Inu had been separated from the energies on which he fed, and he could not go on living for much longer.

 

Oreius, at first, felt pity for Inu's state of weakness and silence, but his pity faded as the Toa of Fire remembered what this slug had done. It had killed the good Turaga Onewa, its last host, and in its very nature, the Parakuka was an evil thing, a drinker of bodies. Oreius detested the pathetic slug on the ground, and felt the desire to kill it. But he stopped himself from using one of his knives on the slug. Killing was wrong, against his code, and he could not kill even a being as vile as Inu.

 

It was only a moment before Oreius realized that he could simply let the slug die. Inu was at death's doorstep, and it would only be a little while before the slug expired. Oreius decided that would be his plan; he would do nothing for as long as it took, and gratefully accept the rewards of his inactivity. Oreius would be a free Toa. Inu would be gone from his life, and would stop pulling him down towards evil.

 

But to let Inu, his friend, die, no matter how convenient it was for him, was as evil an act as any Oreius could imagine.

 

The Toa of Fire knelt next to Inu, stroked the back of the slug, and lay down on his stomach. He felt stinging shame at his near-abandonment of Inu and tears welled forth from his eyes, dripping to the ground. But Oreius' heart was reassured by the forgiveness of the slug, signaled by Inu climbed slowly up his back and reattached to him with a sweet, familiar pain. Oreius had opened his heart and sacrificed a better future for the survival of a parasite; it was an act of great goodness, and he passed the test.

 

Oreius was transported to somewhere in the charred forest, Inu's familiar presence touching again next to his mind. Before the pair, there was a wizened tree stump on which rested a mask. At Inu's encouragement, Oreius reached for the mask and put it on. He and the Parakuka immediately understand the purpose of the mask, and that the mask's power would still be available to their use despite their pairing.

 

Kanohi Auporo, The Mask of Weaknesses

The Kahoni Auporo allows the user to instinctively sense the weakness or weaknesses of other beings. An Auporo user is constantly aware, in and out of combat, of where and in which way in which to strike their opponents for optimum damage. They can sense the best way to defeat an enemy, the quickest way; conversely, they can also sense the areas in which their enemies are strongest.

...

 

Reordin stood, to his alarm, in the middle of a field of fire. The flames did not show any signs of slowing, but they also did not move closer to him. He stood in a circle unimpeded by fire, but it was small, too small for him to stay in. Reordin looked around him, saw the fire was a sea that went on infinitely in every direction - save one. Perhaps a hundred yards away from his safe circle, Reordin noticed that there was another circle of equal size, and he knew that it was his destination.

 

The Toa of Ice's first logical move was to try and suck the heat out of the flames, but this was to no avail. He next tried to conjure up a bridge of ice, but there was not enough moisture around him for him to use his element. He reached the back of his hand near the flames experimentally to be sure that they weren't an illusion of some kind; the heat against the hand was all too real. The field of fire was all real, and he had to find a way to get to the other circle. Reordin certainly couldn't jump over the fire, and there was no way for him to extinguish it either, so what did he have to do?

 

The answer arrived with dread to Reordin; he instantly hated it. He would have to run through the fire.

 

How could he, a Toa of Ice, possibly survive such a sprint? Fire was the element of his weakness, and he would certainly fall over with exhaustion before reaching the other safe spot, then burn and die. Surely there was another way through; Reordin would not have been given an impossible test, after all. There just had to be another way through, because surely to run through the fire would kill him.

 

Or would it?

 

Reordin and the other Toa Maru had just jumped off the edge of a cliff and into a gorge which, for all intents and purposes, had looked like a death sentence. But it hadn't been; Reordin had dissipated like the others in midair - and, granted, he had reappeared here, which was practically a death sentence anyway - because the Keeping Place required blind faith to be entered. Could this be the same test twice?

 

Reordin breathed in through his nose once and stepped into the fire. It hurt, and he instinctively leaped back away from it, back into his safety circle. So this test was pain endurance plus faith? Delightful. Reordin thought about how easily Stannis would tackle this test. Surely if Stannis could do it, he could. He prepared himself again and ran full speed through the fire.

 

Midway to the next safety circle, legs burning and weak enough to collapse, Reordin was transported elsewhere, removed from the test he had already passed. He found himself on top of a cold, snowy mountain, and was relieved to treat the burns on his legs before he realized they had disappeared. He was faced with a mask in the snow, and Reordin put the thing on, instantaneously aware of the ability that it granted him.

 

Kanohi Tauhaka, The Mask of Alchemy

The Kahoni Tauhaka allows its user to change the material or element(s) of one object into another. For example, the user could turn a tree from wood to stone, or a metal door to glass, the transmuted object gaining all the new strengths and weaknesses of the new material. This mask cannot create or destroy new things; it can only alter already-created items. The rate of change is determined on the size of the object – the larger the object, the more time is required exponentially to transmute its substance. Against living beings, the mask is far less effective.

 

...

 

Stannis found himself standing in the middle of a blank white place. The ground and the sky were as one; there was no horizon, no defining features to this landscape. It was just Stannis, all alone - or so he had thought a moment ago. Just now, next to him, another being had materialized. The being was small in stature, and he sat with his back to Stannis. Stannis walked around to see who the being was; he was a little shocked to be confronted with his own face, the face of his Matoran self. Matoran Stannis sat perfectly still, straight-backed and cross-legged, and he gazed through grey eyes unblinking into the nothingness.

 

Another Matoran appeared out of nowhere, once again unseen by Stannis until this Matoran was right before his nose. The Matoran, another familiar face, spoke. "You have come so far, Stannis. So very far."

 

Stannis looked into eyes that had been committed to his memory ever since they drew off the enemy on the day Aurax died. "We have not come here without our scars," the Toa of Stone commented.

 

"Death was always in the prophecy," the Matoran replied, shaking his head. "There is always defeat on the road to victory."

 

"Does our path lead to victory?" Stannis asked, posing a question he had long harbored but never given in to. The Matoran smiled sadly, and Stannis prodded him to say more. "Yes?"

 

"I cannot say, because I do not know," the Matoran answered. "I have deep faith that victory is within reach, but I cannot be sure. We believed that the First Toa would save us, but their destiny changed."

 

"Does destiny change frequently?" Stannis asked.

 

"Yes, and no," the Matoran said. "True destiny is immutable. It must have always been the destiny of the First Toa to fail, because they did fail. But our prophecy was incorrect, and so destiny appeared to change. It is generally misunderstood that destiny has two levels; expectation and reality. The former is mutable, the latter inscrutable."

 

Stannis took another look at his Matoran self, who had not moved and stayed statuesque regarding the nothingness. The walking Matoran placed his hands on little Stannis' shoulders; little Stannis did not move or acknowledge them. The Matoran looked at Toa Stannis. "You have changed a great deal, Wanderer," he said. "Evolved. You stand before me now as one of the strongest Toa on the island, yet it was not long ago that you were another Matoran from the Massif."

 

"I have not forgotten who I was," Stannis defended, glancing at his Matoran image again.

 

"I know," the other Matoran said. "But be sure that the others do not lose sight, either. There are great legends in store for you and your team, but only if you always fix to your purpose."

 

"To defeat Makuta," Stannis qualified.

 

"No," the Matoran said, smiling again. "To restore the Great Spirit Mata Nui."

 

"I don't see a difference," Stannis countered.

 

"Not yet," the Matoran said. "But you will, in time, and as new doors are opened to you."

 

There was a silence as Stannis mulled over the Matoran's words. The Matoran took his hands off of little Stannis, and the motionless Matoran was blown by a sudden wind into particles of dust. The Matoran watched Stannis, waited for his next question.

 

"What was your purpose?" Stannis asked.

 

"It has changed with time."

 

"What is it now?"

 

"To rest," the Matoran said regretfully. Stannis nodded.

 

"Death is the ultimate rest," he said sagely.

 

"If I were dead," the Matoran winked, "I would not be here."

 

Then he was gone. Everything was gone; the whiteness, the Matoran, the dust from the vision of little Stannis. Toa Stannis found himself somewhere much more definitive. It was a smallish room made entirely of translucent blue crystal, the likes of which Stannis had never before seen. Through the crystal walls, he saw a teal horizon line that met a clear blue sky. But this was not his focus. The mask that lay before him was. He was drawn to it, a faded golden-orange thing, and he put it on. As soon as he did, the mask's purpose was clear to Stannis.

 

Kanohi Hiripaki, The Mask of Stories

The Kanohi Hiripaki allows the user to bring to life anything spoken in story form, literally taking out of the Legend and into our world. If the user begins with the phrase "All hear the tale of the Great Spirit and of all things..." and ends with, "So transpired the legend," that which they have told in story form will come into being. The user may summon both animate and inanimate things from their stories. There is no limit to what a user may call forth from the Legend.

 

However, since something comes out of the story, something must go in to keep the balance; this "tribute" is random and of equivalent value to that which has been summoned. For instance, if a new Toa is called into life from the Legend, a random and nearby Toa will be subsequently sucked into it. The user may not transport his or herself into the Legend. Objects and beings summoned from the Legend will not return there unless specifically re-exchanged by the user in another spoken story. Beings or creatures summoned from the Legend retain free will, and are not under the control of the user in the event of their summoning.

 

...

 

The Toa Maru emerged again from the ravine of the Keeping Place in unison.

 

Behind them, the night had ended, and the sunrise dappled the sky.

 

They were finally whole.

 

...


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#1582 Online Vezok's Friend

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Posted Feb 23 2013 - 07:26 PM

[color=#000080;]IC:[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]Leah stood calmly in place and took a deep breath. The Toa of water then turned and squatted down on the rocks near the exit of the small cave, resting her Toa-tool across her shoulders. She closed her eyes, taking in the smell of the salty air, the sound of the waves lapping at the rocks, they gentle breeze flowing over her skin. She wanted this moment to last a little longer, she was at peace here, truly at peace. This natural alcove, that did not really exist except for right here, right now, was now as comforting to the Toa of water as the trees of Le-Koro had been just two days ago. So much had changed in such a short time, that the feeling of losing herself that she'd had during her trial had become a real fear. And she vowed to remember where she came from, to always stay true to what had made destiny chose her in the first place. [/color]

 

[color=#000080;]But the shock of her trial had worn off almost instantly as soon as she had slipped on the new mask. The new mask. It fit the contours of her face perfectly, it felt right. And it's power...just thinking about it, Leah felt both excited about what this power meant for her, but at the same time, the responsibility that came with it. Her mind ran through hypothetical scnearios as the uses of her mask became apparent to her. She would know instantly if somebody was truthful, or lying. And the fact that her Kanohi was always on at a low level meant she would know it even while passing by strangers on a daily basis...[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]She stopped herself, before her mind could come up with more uncomfortable thoughts and she focused back on the cave. Indeed, she wished she could remain here longer. But there were tasks that lay ahead of her and the others. They had a mission to fulfil. As soon as she regained her focus on that, she felt a shift in the environment around her. And as she opened her eyes, they were back on the top of the cliff that they had jumped off of to retrieve their masks. And they all had. The other Maru were all there, standing to her right, and with their new masks, also regaining their bearings like she did. Once they had, Leah could feel they would have to return to the Kini-Nui for the next step, but it seemed they had a few moments to exchange a few looks before that would happen. [/color]

 

[color=#000080;]Stannis' Kanohi instantly caught her eyes, as it was now orange with a slightly golden hue to it. The flowing shapes strangely enough reminded her of the pages of an open book of all things. Then she looked to the others, their masks equally fascinating in their own way. Sulov's mask had no traditional eye-holes, instead being covered by a transparent plate, protecting his eyes, while Oreius mask had what appeared to be a third eye on the forehead. Korero's Kanohi was sleek and reminded her of both the masks of speed and levitation, yet was unique. [/color]

[color=#000080;]At last, she glanced up at Reordin right next to her and she gasped, as for a second he looked almost like the carvings of Toa Kopaka that Leah ahd seen when she was younger. Between the ridges, the asymmetrical design, they eye-piece or just the way the mask perfectly accentuated his jawline she didn't know which part she liked best. [/color]

 

[color=#000080;]She had been so caught up in what they needed to do, and just like after their transformation into Toa, she had not had the time to think about what the might expect to find once they got there. Suffice it to say, the keeping place had delivered quite a surprise.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]"Oh my..." she said, a bit breathily, smiling at the others. [/color]

 

[color=#000080;]OOC: I think it's only approriate to get a little piece of the Maru's mind after such an excellent post by Nuju.----------------------------------[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]IC:[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]They had disappeared as quickly as they had gone and as Joske stepped back from the light of the opening keeping place, he found himself alone once more as it disappeared. Well, not all alone. Agni and Angelus were still there, watching him. As the Toa of light turned around, he found Agni looking at him questioningly, arms crossed, but smiling.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"Joske, you got some 'splainin' to do..." the Toa of fire said.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Joske sighed, then nodded slowly. [/color][color=#daa520;]"I suppose I do."[/color][color=rgb(128,0,0);] he said, but glanced back over his shoulder, to where he had opened the gateway for the Maru just moments earlier. The Maru would return soon. This had to be quick. [/color]

[color=#800000;]He motioned for Angelus and Agni to follow him and they returned to the rock where Heuani had been finally defeated. And where Cael's mask rested now. Agni felt a sting as the realisation of the truth sunk in...But that was a question for a later time. He put it with the other dozen's questions already on his mind.[/color]

[color=#800000;]Joske looked at the two of them then; and Agni could see he was terribly exhausted. He hadn't been kidding when he'd told Reordin that he was having a bad day. And that his work was not yet over. [/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]"I know you have a lot of questions...I'll try to answer what I can, but there's just too much to tell for the moment. We'll have to cover the details some other time."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Agni nodded, an understanding smile on his face. "Of course. Oh and Joske?"[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]"Yeah?"[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"You did good, kid. You did real good."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]A weak smile crept onto Joske's face as he leaned against the rock and started to retell the events his mentor and friend had missed out on in as few words as possible. [/color][color=#daa520;]"Alright then, here's the short version..."[/color]


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#1583 Offline Tyler Durden

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Posted Feb 23 2013 - 08:19 PM

[color=#000080;]IC:[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]"I'm pretty hot. I know."[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]​All facetious snark aside, Reordin let out a low whistle as he looked around at the other Toa Maru, examining their masks and the new resolve that began to take shape over the foundations of the old. There was Mt. Sulov, now with a mask that accentuated his almost menacing facial structure and gazing, surprisingly deep eyes. He was a giant earth-black sentinel about a half a head taller than even Stannis and Reordin, who were at about the same height. As the soldier turned his gaze to the Wanderer, examined the open, statue-esque quality of his mask and looked into the unfathomable stormy greys that were the Toa of Stone's eyes, he wasn't even the slightest bit surprised to find a wondrous silver light, piercing the fog; it was a light of bliss, a sort of gracious acceptance of the universe's gift. [/color]

 

[color=#000080;]For once, Reordin let it slide. He blinked, and when his eyes opened again, he felt like a kid again, tearing open presents.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]Then his gaze turned to Korero, the newest of the Company; he was practically bouncing, though that was a side effect of his transformation. He looked as though he couldn't wait to try out his Kanohi, whatever it may be, and even his mouth twitched and bounced spasmodically every now and then. Oreius was a stark contrast to the happiness, looking almost pensive as he gazed around at the team; thanks to the hunch provided him by Inu, he was technically the shortest of the team, an odd trait for a Toa of Fire but one that the Guard bore proudly nonetheless. Reordin looked at him with a sense of pride: no doubt he'd probably been through the most trials on this journey short of Stannis himself, and the soldier was proud to call him a brother, elemental differences aside.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]And then Leah.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]Wow.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]Waxing poetic was high up on a list of things that Reordin called 'Stannis traits' (some other Stannis traits included forsaking maps, gazing up at the sky and making prophecies out of clouds, and making everyone else feel marginally less anointed than him) and had never been something he'd allowed himself to overly indulge in. But now, for the second time in as many days, Reordin found himself writing stanzas in his head subconsciously about Leah. Upon their transformation into Toa, when he'd first woken up and met Leah's gaze, he'd been knocked off his feet - okay, not literally; he'd never gotten back on his feet, but that wasn't the point - by how well she'd adjusted to an element switch, plus the typical Toa transformation. She'd been attractive even then, with her gymnast's body, toned legs, and kind face; even in his first seconds as a Toa, her laugh had permeated his mind and stuck there in a way that would require Reordin clawing out entire chunks of his brain to truly remove.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]But now, with her proper mask, she carried herself in a whole new way, had the rush of transformation written on her face all over again, and Reordin realized that she looked truly heroic. The kind of girl that, God willing, they'd write legends about. She said something, then smiled: Reordin wasn't sure what, because for a second, he didn't need to care. They were just six friends who, by all logic, shouldn't really have been friends, so different were they, so divided in background and belief.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]And then the second passed, and Reordin blinked, breaking the slight staring contest he had found himself engaged in with the azure beauty standing at his side. And this time, when he blinked, he opened his eyes and saw nothing but heroes.[/color]

 

-Tyler


  • 0

and again, pathetic confusion.

 

ghostie.jpg

 

dorian, you aint changed.


#1584 Offline Tyler is Love

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Posted Feb 23 2013 - 09:31 PM

[color=#800000;]IC (Oreius)[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Well.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]That had been something else.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]The last sensation Oreius had felt as he closed his eyes was the feeling of cool metal slipping over his face as he donned his new mask, and the tingling of energy rushing through his body as the Kanohi Auporo granted him its powers. When he opened his eyes again, nothing was the same.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]The charred forest was replaced by the peaceful beauty of the Keeping Place. The sun was rising, painting the sky in yellow, pink and purple, and the soft rushing of the waterfall sang in the background. The lush jungle was green and vibrant. Every colour was bright and vivid.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Then the Toa of Fire turned his eyes to his companions.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]The other five Toa Maru stood at his side, also wearing their new masks, standing tall and proud in the light of the sunrise. Oreius alone stood slightly bent, Inu's form giving him a hunch that shortened his stature. But the Toa of Fire didn't resent the parakuka, not anymore. The Keeping Place had offered him the chance to give the slug up, but he had refused that path. Inu was no longer a parasite: he was a friend.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Inu's thoughts warmed his host's mind, golden and peaceful. They would stand together, even if that meant Oreius would stand an inch or two shorter.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]But his stature had nothing to do with his abilities. As soon as he had placed the Kanohi Auporo on his face, Oreius had instantly become aware of its powers and how to use them. The power that it placed at his fingertips was staggering: the mask allowed him to instantly sense others' weaknesses and strengths, bringing an entirely new dimension to his already formidably strategic mind.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]The Kanohi was always on at a low level, providing its wearer with a constant supply of information. As Oreius' eyes passed over his companions, his mask automatically informed him of their basic weaknesses.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Sulov, for example, a veritable mountain of a Toa, was not without his flaws. Glancing over the black Toa, Oreius sensed various small places in the Onu-Toa's armour where a blade would slip through. His prosthetic lacked dexterity. His elemental energies were intimidating in their raw power, but lacked efficiency.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Leah, Toa of Water, was as graceful and agile as they came, but the Toa of Fire was instantly aware of how easy it would be to defeat her. As with Sulov, it seemed to highlight several places where his swords would easily slip through her armour. It revealed her weakness to extreme heat and open flames. A blast of fire, and she would be done.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Stannis, Toa of Stone, was their wise and revered leader, but he was as mortal as the rest of them. His particularly glaring weakness was his lack of speed, and his tendency to try to evade any attackers. Should it come to a fight, Oreius would be able to blow through his guard with a flurry of lightning-quick strikes, and slip one of his shining blades through one of the slits in the Po-Toa's armour.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]There was that, and...[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Oreius blinked, then began to chuckle.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]The others turned to look at him; until now, the only sounds that had broken the hushed silence were the mutterings of Leah and Reordin. Inu alone knew what he was laughing at, but the parakuka didn't understand the humour; his thoughts echoed with confusion. Then Ta-Toa's deep, rich, conspicuous chuckle rolled to an end, and he looked his leader in the eye.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]“Stannis, I didn't know you were ticklish.”[/color]


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#1585 Offline Tyler Durden

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Posted Feb 23 2013 - 09:41 PM

[color=#000080;]IC:[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]"What."[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]Reordin's blue eyes glowed in mischief as he turned from Oreius to Stannis, then back to Oreius; with a twitch of his head towards the Wanderer, he seemed to ask if the Toa of Fire were playing some elaborate joke. Oreius' expression was neutral, but something about the tug of his smile, coupled with the new masks...he had to go for it. It was his only chance.[/color]

 

"Reordin, think rationally."

 

[color=#000080;]"Pick a side, Stan. Left or right."[/color]

 

"Reordin--"

 

[color=#000080;]Like a jungle predator, Reordin pounced, free runner's legs giving him a natural agility boost that Stannis couldn't match with a strength buffer. Reordin brought him down and rolled, tickling away at Stannis' ribs: the Toa of Stone's handsome face was alarmed, but slowly cracked with small giggles and frantic pants. Leah and Korero began laughing, and he could've sworn he'd even heard chuckles out of the other team members.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]Oh, man, this was just too good.[/color]

 

-Tyler


  • 0

and again, pathetic confusion.

 

ghostie.jpg

 

dorian, you aint changed.


#1586 Offline Friar Tuck

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Posted Feb 23 2013 - 10:33 PM

[color=#daa520;]IC[/color]

 

[Temple base; pre-dawn]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]The three of us stood there in the quiet night air, the profound silence that was the final darkness before the dawn, my body casting it's warm glow on the surroundings. There was nothing I could do to turn it off; it was ambient, ceaseless... and even if I could I wouldn't want to. I had been up for too long and been playing in the darkness too much; my own light was a comfort, one of the few I had considering the events of the past day. As much as had gone right for the island today, not much had gone right for me, and here I was retelling that story in as few words as I could.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]If not for the simple fact of reliving all those memories were still too raw.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]"... and after letting Heuani go I waited here to let them in. Which you saw. And here we are."[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]I was standing, arms crossed, head bent as my eyes were closed, looking very meek and withdrawn. The complete opposite of how I probably should be acting right now, but it was unavoidable. Thankfully Agni spoke.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"So, all this because of the mask?"[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]"Yup."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"And you can never access it again?"[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]"That's the way it works."[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]The last part was a sigh, as I opened my eyes, staring at the ground.[/color] [color=#daa520;]"That's the deal I made. I don't have the fifteen-minute-limit like I should, but neither is this going to last forever; I already feel significantly weaker than a few minutes ago. It's like a full bucket with a small hole in the bottom - a large portion of it I used against both Heuani and to open the door, but even as I stand here I can feel the light slowly siphon away. I guess that's why I glow with no off switch."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"How much longer will it last?"[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]I raised my chin, looking sideways. [/color][color=#daa520;]"I dunno. The rate is unclear, and I have no idea how much 'full' was; it's all a general feelings at this point. Sooner rather than later I'm going to lose this power, and with it the remaining uplifting spirit I have in me. I'm... so exhausted."[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]That small, quiet statement hit my fellow Ta-Toa in the chest.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]I had always been the obnoxiously optimistic one. The one filled with energy. Bounce. Expression. Nothing had ever managed to keep me down for more than a few minutes, and out of all of us I was the one with unwavering faith and unrelenting hope.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]Clearly that was no longer the case.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]In a very short amount of time I was going to lose the one thing that made me special. The mask that was destined for me, the one for me to use to continue my campaign against evil... and a part of me realized I'd screwed up. I worded it wrong. In the heat of everything I had gambled too much, too far, and now this fantastic power and mask was going to be lost forever. I couldn't play Kohlii anymore. I had to re-build my life afterwards as it is. And Cael was dead. I didn't even have those cursed Temple Crystals anymore. The quest to defeat Heuani had resulted in a scorched-earth ending... ironically fitting a Toa of Fire. I had sacrificed my entire future for this... them. Deep down I knew I shouldn't be feeling this way, it was to be expected and prepared for but... but it couldn't be helped. I was after all mortal and not perfect.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]I was so tired.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]I finally looked up at the two of them, my eyes portraying what words could not as well as betraying my thoughts. I had stubbornly and religiously adhered to the idea that heroes do in some way get a happy ending.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]I guess... I guess I was wrong.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]That killed me the most.[/color]


Edited by Friar Tuck, Feb 23 2013 - 11:03 PM.

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#1587 Offline Tyler Durden

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Posted Feb 23 2013 - 10:41 PM

[color=#800000;]IC:[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"Yo."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Joske lifted his head, surprised at Angelus' voice: the jungle Toa had lapsed into one of his characteristic bouts of silence for a little while, let Joske and Agni do the talking. As the Toa of Fire examined Angelus questioningly the hunter drew the longsword he'd been granted, spinning it around his hand and letting Joske take hold of it. He swung it around once, twice, three times experimentally, examined the runes, the lapis lazuli on the end, the way the blade was positioned. Then he looked up at Angelus again.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"Sword's protosteel," he explained with a small grin, contained specifically for the occasion. "When it deflects an elemental attack, it absorbs a little bit of the energy inside. When I land a blow...my opponent gets hit with the opposite of the element imbibed in the blade. The mask thing told me that it was like me: proactive, a sword instead of a shield. Something to protect the things I love."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Joske nodded numbly, still not comprehending it, and Angel sighed, his grin expanding a bit.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"The mask told me - probably as a joke, but whatever - to name the thing. So, I thought about it for a while, thought about you and Agni and this whole adventure...and I figured that, since this thing is gonna be with me whenever I dole out some old-fashioned, rootin'-tootin-justice it'd be best to name it Cael."[/color]

 

-Tyler


Edited by Tyler Durden, Feb 23 2013 - 10:41 PM.

  • 0

and again, pathetic confusion.

 

ghostie.jpg

 

dorian, you aint changed.


#1588 Offline Carson Chambliss

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Posted Feb 24 2013 - 12:02 AM

IC: [font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"](Cognize the fallacy of your "Onu-Koroan dream." Destiny has established this circumstance, not merely the labor of individuals; ergo, it is unwise for you to rely upon your own expertise as fact. It only is pertinent to have faith.)[/font]

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]I repel the thought. There's nothing for me in philosophy right now, everything in the present. I need to find out everyone's kanohi powers and make physical contact with them to enable my own. We need to prepare. At the least, I can ensure the others do not take their tickling too far. I'm not going to put up with Onua's argument, announced originally in my meditation during the test and apparently ad infinitum in repetition, right now. [/font]

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"](Cognize the fallacy of your "Onu-Koroan dream.")[/font]

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]Stop. I know the drill. You'll back up your assumption of fallacy with another fallacy, the baseless and fatalist conjecture that fate has power over people, and that the only thing that makes sense is to trust faith. But that isn't correct by any means. I've proven that belief false. I was born poor, I was crippled, I was made exile. But there is nothing ahead of me but victory. I have a commander who leads me. I have a friend who loves me. I have a dream that directs me. I have total abstention from sin. I have Prosperity and I created it without reliance upon superior chance. That proves the absence of fate.[/font]

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"](Destiny has established this circumstance, not merely the labor of individuals; ergo, it is unwise for you to rely upon your own expertise as fact.)[/font]

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]...Wait.[/font]

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]I've never heard of a mask that can trace things its wearer touches. Yet I've been granted that. I've never heard of a mask that allows insight into the traits of others. Yet, judging by his remark that he has found Stannis ticklish, Oreius has a mask capable of exactly that. These are kanohi that have not been worn by any but us. It could be destiny, though I suppose it's likely coincidence.[/font]

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]But does coincidence explain everything before that, too? How was it that our group was assembled in several days across several hundred square kio? How was it that we happened to find someone who knew the keys to this location, Joske, when we needed to access it? How was it that Makuta failed to attack us throughout our journey as matoran? Is that all coincidence, as well?[/font]

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"](It only is pertinent to have faith.)[/font]

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]What if my dream is false? What if fate does affect us, in ways just as palpable and factual as our own choices? [/font]

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]What if my ideal is incorrect?[/font]

 

...

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]I look at the others. There is nothing that can attack them here, I think; any hostiles would have to move past Joske and his companions prior to threatening our congregation. It's apparent that no one is in need of rest or nourishment. No one looks to be upset mentally, either. There is nothing I can do for them.[/font]

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]And so I just wait. I fall into my reflexive hunch, blank my Kimi, drop my visor. I can't let philosophy catch up to me and distract me, so I have to keep appearances up in the meantime. I wait and I watch until I can be of use.[/font]


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#1589 Offline Friar Tuck

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Posted Feb 24 2013 - 01:21 AM

[color=#daa520;]IC[/color]

 

[Temple base; pre-dawn]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]I looked at Angelus, mouth agape, completely dumbfounded at what he just said. It was as if his very words had the power of paralysis as I tried to wrap my head around that statement. I couldn't.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]A wire in my head crossed momentarily.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]"Angelus, at the risk of our friendship I must say... you imbecile."[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]He was clearly taken aback, and I left no opening for a response as I clutched his weapon.[/color] [color=#daa520;]"You idiotic, shallow, absolutely thoughtless creature! What the karz are you thinking?! How can you think, let alone entertain the thought of naming this sword after her?! Cael wouldn't want a weapon to be named after her... she would never hurt anyone! She was the most gentle-hearted, soft-spoken, gift-blessed toa you were ever going to meet, one absolutely dedicated to the Virtue of Unity and the Principle of Peace. Yes, her over-cautious and pacifist mentality were obnoxious at times, but that's what made her stand out; she was dedicated to the idea of peaceful solutions and non-violence! How many times did we see her stop and drop what she was doing to look at a mere scratch, or to step in front of us and defuse our natural fiery tempers? And you name a sword that is the epitome of offensive combat after her? Have you no respect for who she was or what she represented Angelus? I'm sure if she knew she would be rolling over in her grave... if Heuani even had the honor of giving her one! How dare you-"[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]I paused in the middle of that tirade as my eyes finally registered Angelus' hard face, realizing I was pacing and waving his sword around, my hand still wrapped around it's hilt. I stopped breathing for a second, realizing what I was saying and doing. I may be a Toa of Light on the outside, but on the inside I was still the emotionally-charged Ta-Toa that had been pushed too far and was falling apart at the seams. With wide eyes and hesitant, jerking motions I placed his longsword up against the rock, my lips numb.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]"I'm... I'm sorry. I... sorry... "[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]I staggered a few paces away, leaning myself up against a nearby tree, my back towards them. There was a distinct hissing sound as I emptied my lungs of air.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]"Angelus... I'm so sorry. I shouldn't of done that. I... I was out of line." [/color][color=#ff8c00;]My eyes searched the dark earth at my feet as my mind tried to come up with words.[/color] [color=#daa520;]"It's just that Cael wouldn't want such a powerful weapon named after her... any weapon for that matter. It is a mockery of who she was and what her life was lived as. Even with that reasoning behind me I shouldn't of laid into you like that."[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]I fought back tears as I could feel the last several days finally catching up to me, both physically and emotionally.[/color] [color=#daa520;]"I have no hobby or career anymore. I have no place to live. I have no weapons, no armor, no tools, the mask destined for me will soon become dust due to desperation... and the most perfect and beautiful creature of Mata-Nui's creation was brutally murdered. Not to mention the fact that once those six come out after having defeated Makuta... that's it. The war will be over. They will be the heroes, the ones to make right the wrongs of this island, the champions of the matoran... and no one will know what we did. I have spent my life living in the limelight, being the center of attention or at least known, being the one everyone wanted to know about... " [/color][color=#ff8c00;]I paused, a painful smile on my face.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]"I guess I'm trying to come to terms knowing that I'm going to be relegated to the dustbin of history."[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]It was a grim, humorless grin as I shrugged.[/color][color=#daa520;] "I spent so much time trying to quick and quiet, keeping my mission a secret, that when it's all said and done, I did it too well; no one is going to know the sacrifices made to get to this point for all parties involved. They're going to become the heroes, get all the credit as they deserve... and I'll simply fade into the background. And I don't even get the people I care about the most to share this early retirement with. It's as it should be, I understand that, it's just... hard. And I took it out on you Angelus. I'm sorry."[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]I stood up straighter, my back still towards them. I took in a shaky breath, calming my nerves and regaining my composure. They would be coming out soon, and I needed to be ready to guide them the remaining few steps. Even though I didn't feel like it.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]Especially because I didn't feel like it.[/color]


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#1590 Offline Tyler Durden

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Posted Feb 24 2013 - 01:30 AM

[color=#800000;]IC:[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Silence. Cold, hard. Dead silence.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"If you really think that after all of this, the war's just...over... that you're just...done," Angelus said quietly, "then you're the imbecile. And Cael died for nothing."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]The Toa of Fire plucked his sword from Joske and began to walk.[/color]

 

-Tyler


Edited by Tyler Durden, Feb 24 2013 - 01:31 AM.

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and again, pathetic confusion.

 

ghostie.jpg

 

dorian, you aint changed.


#1591 Offline Friar Tuck

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Posted Feb 24 2013 - 01:46 AM

[color=#daa520;]IC[/color]

 

[Temple base; pre-dawn]

 

[color=#daa520;]"Isn't it Angelus?"[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]I heard him pause for the slightest of moments.[/color] [color=#daa520;]"The cosmic war of good verses evil, yes, it'll never end. As long as there's light there always must be shadow. I get that. But we, being finite, and the universe, being infinite, can only do so much. Therefore we all have a part to play, a destiny to complete, something to start and therefore finish, an end. Perhaps the greater war out there isn't over, but your and my and Angi's part in this particular instance is. Now Stannis and his companions will take on the fight as is their destiny to do so. So yes, in terms of this part of the war we are indeed done, reinforcements have arrived."[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]I finally turned to face him[/color]. [color=#daa520;]"How can you equate that with her death being absolutely meaningless? For being a Ta-Toa it amazes me just how cold you can be sometimes. I even apologized and meant it."[/color]


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#1592 Offline Tyler Durden

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Posted Feb 24 2013 - 01:56 AM

[color=#800000;]IC:[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Angelus didn't have anything to say to the accusations of frostiness, nor did he get into the deep philosophical thinking of destiny or who played what parts in the Great Spirit's war games. He probably wouldn't, for a long time, if ever. But even so, he raised the sword, twirling it around his hand before sheathing it and putting his hands behind his head, cracking his knuckles. Joske flinched, but the hands stayed there; no fists were balled. No hand of friendship extended.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"I named the sword Cael because, at the end, she wasn't a pacifist," he said, not bothering with mincing words. "She fought for you, harder than anyone or anything I've ever seen fight, because she loved you. She loved helping you, being around you, loved loving you...and at the end, she fought for that. I just thought you'd appreciate it."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]There. Underneath the layers of coldness, of harsh jungle logic, a glimmer of hurt was buried like a gold nugget in Angelus' intonation.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]A sidekick, not a savage. A homeboy, not a hunter. Someone who knew what it was like to watch the girl you loved slip through the cracks of your fingers. Not a bloodthirsty crusader hoping to avenge a dead friend.[/color]

 

-Tyler


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and again, pathetic confusion.

 

ghostie.jpg

 

dorian, you aint changed.


#1593 Offline Friar Tuck

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Posted Feb 24 2013 - 02:49 AM

[color=#daa520;]IC[/color]

 

[Temple base; pre-dawn]

 

[color=#daa520;]Why does he always have to do that?[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]As I leaned against the tree, arms crossed, I could not help but lean my head back against it and breathe out a sigh of frustrated resignation, staring at the diminishing stars. It seemed as though we were destined to butt heads over everything, our two views of the world so radically different yet just as passionate. My lofty, idealistic, grand-scheme vision against his pragmatic, harshly logical, and naturalistic sight. [/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]Yet here I was, finally getting that glimpse inside the inner workings of his heart. And with my new, temporary light powers I could see it clearer than what he probably even realized. That underneath the cold, distant layers and the harsh jungle logic, was a glimmer of hurt. A pain so deeply buried it resembled a nugget of precious protodermis - the suffering surrounding him and Tuara, what the Mark Bearers did to them and their relationship. Like a wearer of an Akaku, accentuated by my light powers, I could see deep down who he really was, the person inside who got smothered by the harsh life he had led: a sidekick, not a savage. A homeboy, not a hunter. Someone who knew what it was like to watch the girl you loved slip through the cracks of your fingers. Not a bloodthirsty crusader hoping to avenge a dead friend as I had painted him as.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]And with my jaunt through Tuara's head a while back, I had both sides of this story, making that connection even easier.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]I didn't know if I should be angry at him... or pity him.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]I could just as easily say the same about myself, couldn't I?[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]As difficult as it was to swallow, that was his way of trying to help. [/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]And to say that he didn't make a valuable point would be a lie.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]I really, really hated dealing with people like this. I was no good at it. Fame had a way of preventing you from dealing with people on a very personal level.  [/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]What to say?[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]"She was an actual pacifist who, without doing anything violent, is much greater than any of us will ever be, commanding the respect from those around her even though she never went on the offensive. She is the kind of person who will stand and take the worst kind of beatings without ever striking back and without giving in. She could stand there an utterly defeat and disarm an opponent without every making a single blow. She fought in a completely different manner from you and me, but in no less strength than anyone else. I agree with what you said Angelus, she fought harder than me... than anyone in her last moments. But it wasn't as a sword, or even a shield... it was just her. That's why I'm against you naming the weapon after her. She may have been a fighter, but the type of fighter your weapon represents is not her, not in the slightest. But I get what you mean."[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]I paused, closing my eyes.[/color] [color=#daa520;]"And I do appreciate it. More than you realize... more than you realize. If you feel it is important, then by all means honor her in the fashion you see most fitting; it is not my place to argue against it nor to reject it."[/color][color=#ff8c00;] I opened my eyes again, wondering if the two of us would ever see eye-to-eye.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]"I'm glad you like the gift."[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]It wasn't the happiest of tones, but my anger and frustration were at least out of it now. It was the most sincere I was going to get in my current condition, and I hoped it was acceptable enough. I was tired of fighting my own teammates half the time, now that I better understood his psyche. [/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]Especially since that I was once again fighting myself.[/color]


Edited by Friar Tuck, Feb 24 2013 - 02:52 AM.

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#1594 Online Vezok's Friend

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Posted Feb 24 2013 - 05:19 AM

[color=#800000;]IC:[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Agni was taken aback by the sudden outbursts on either side of him and he took a step back, letting the argument play out. He could tell there were many things to be said and it was probably best to get them out now, rather than later when it would not just be a 'heat of the moment' emotional discharge anymore. And listening the the two, he found himself agreeing with both sides. Was it a good idea to name a sword after a healer and such a close friend? Maybe not, but Joske was right as well, they would honor her name in the way the best saw fit. But one thing he disagreed with.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]He sat down on the rock next to him. And as he spoke, his tone was more that of a concerned parent, rather than that of a strict teacher. "Joske, when this is through and we go back home, I am going to make sure you get a whole part of the wall of history dedicated to you.  Karz, you were chosen by the powers on high to do this and you did it all. And you even let Heuani live. That makes you a better Toa than most. A better Toa than me as well. Do you think a tale like that will just fade away into nothing just because you played your part in this one prophecy? Because if there is one thing that I can say with absolute certainty, it is this: What you have done here, today, will never be forgotten. I won't forget that. Angelus won't forget it. The Maru definitely will not forget it, you are their vanguard. They would not be in there right now without you." He chuckled once as he continued, a friendly chuckle, not out of amusement but out of sympathy. [/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"And Cael will remember it too, wherever her spirit is now. And I doubt she would want you to fade into obscurity either. Sure, there is never a flawless victory when the stakes are this high. There are sacrifices along the way. We all shared a heavy load. And in the end, she shouldered the heaviest part by herself and willingly so. You say naming a sword after her is not the way you would want to honour her name? Perhaps, but it does at least honour a part of her. The part that fought on until the very end."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"I am pretty sure becoming an hermit Toa hiding away from the world just because your part in this particular play is almost over is not honouring any part of her. You want to do it the right way? Then honour what you just told Angelus. How many times did we see her stop and drop what she was doing to look at a mere scratch, or to step in front of us and defuse our natural fiery tempers? Sure, you are not a healer. But you are still a Toa; and stepping up and helping others is what we do! And last I checked, there were a lot of people on this island that need helping; a lot of scratches to look at and a lot of stepping in to do. You want to honour her name? There's your path."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Agni stood up again, letting out a deep breath. As he stood again, he held out a hand to Joske. "Now, back on your feet, Toa."[/color]


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#1595 Offline Ghosthands

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Posted Feb 24 2013 - 09:46 AM

[color=#008000;]IC (Korero)[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]As the mask touched his face, Korero knew immediately what it was.  The name, description, instructions for use flowed from the Kanohi into his mind.  Even as the knowledge entered his brain, excitement began to bubble up inside him.  The Mask of Jumping...oh, the possibilities...[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]Korero walked to the open window of the treehouse he was in, looking out at the lush jungle around him, stretching away to the burnt-orange sky. While he knew it wasn't real (at least, not in the conventional sense), it served to illustrate the breadth of his new mask's abilities.  He could go anywhere...anywhere...[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]The beautiful, peaceful rainforest spread out before him was calm, soothing to look at.  He could spend a lifetime there, not needing to eat or sleep, just looking out at that view.  Just being.  But he turned away from the window at last, and walked back to the centre of the treehouse.  The Keeping Place had granted him enough solace; he had the inner peace and strength to return to the world, and face his destiny with his brothers and sister.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]"I'm ready," he told the Keeping Place, and all went white.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]***[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]Korero found himself back in the atrium of the Keeping Place, where the valley's walls stretched up on either side and the distant waterfall fell with a sound like sand shifting through an hourglass.  The other Toa Maru were there, and each, like him, sported a new and majestic Kanohi.  Sulov's, like an inscrutable monolith; Oreius', all angles and polygons; Leah's, both smooth and ridged; Reordin's, double-faced and reminiscent of Kopaka; and Stannis', tall and proud and curved like wind-hewn stone.  His own sat upon his face, the sleekest of the six, jungle-green and streamlined.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]A smile broke onto Korero's face, and he seated himself on a rock, hugging his knees as he felt the bubbling feeling in his gut.  To his teammates, it probably looked as though he was excited about his new mask and impatient to try it out.  But the Toa of Air had different reasons for his joy.  It was not out of selfish excitement, like a little Matoran with a new toy; no, this excitement was far deeper and more profound, and more powerful for it.  He was a member of a team.  A Toa Team.  A Toa Team with a destiny worthy of legends.  And the best part of it - the part that made him almost ready to jump and laugh, and that was even now causing to almost shake with happiness - was that he felt that he belonged.  All through his life as a Matoran he'd gone from one place to another, never fitting in.  Of course, there were always those who were kind to him, like wise old Nuju and Vakama, or the Toa of Fire who told him not to be afraid, but that wasn't the same as belonging.  And of course, he'd been too busy with his head in either the clouds or a history book to stop and think, and to understand what really defined acceptance.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]But now, he'd found it.  They weren't just a team, they were a family.  They weren't just allies, they were brothers and sisters.  They were all unique, all had their differences, their fortes and their foibles; and yet they complimented each other perfectly.  They loved each other.  And they loved him too, even though they barely knew him.  And Korero knew that this, this, was why they would defeat Makuta.  Not because they had incredible powers, or mythical masks.  Because they were truly united.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]His golden eyes shining brightly, Korero pulled himself back to the present.  He heard Oreius discover Stannis' 'greatest weakness'.  He laughed as Stannis collapsed, spasming uncontrollably under Reordin's relentless tickles.  He sprang to his feet, at once becoming extroverted.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]"Oreius," he hailed the Toa of Fire, still laughing between words, "how did you know that?"[/color]


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#1596 Offline Queen Anora Mac Tir

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Posted Feb 25 2013 - 03:33 AM

Ic: Stannis emerged from the mirage with a stone face as he always held, only this time he wore a Kanohi that was not a Hau but a mask far beyond what he could ever have comprehended. Indeed, even now he was unsure what to think of it. For as long as he was on this quest he believed in Destiny and all that it had. Destiny was the focus of his being, the motor that kept him going. Life was given to him on a track and it went in only one direction and he gladly sped down that track with rapt fascination where others would struggle with the restrictive nature of the road. But the point was Stannis believed hat track could never change.

 

The Matoran he spoke with had said that true destiny was immutable but... their prophecy was incorrect.

 

It is generally misunderstood that destiny has two levels; expectation and reality. The former is mutable, the latter inscrutable.

 

Nixie, the astrologer... Stannis had never spoken with the famed stargazer but he had heard of her much and read some of her work. Antrim liked reading her translations of the stars and some even called her a prophet of sorts. She logged the stars' movements and made predictions and then it was all pondered on in Ko-Koro by the acolytes and adepts, and then it was prophesy. But prophesies could be wrong. Expectations were not reality. There was still the track, the road that went ahead. It never ceased to be in front of him and guide him, but how it was seen, how it was perceived, could have been different than the reality of it, and it couldn't change. Stannis was forever on that track.

 

But that was different now, wasn't it? Stannis understood. This mask, the Great Hiripaki, gave the Granite Guardian power over his path and what was around it. The barrier between reality and myth were blurred. No longer was he left to simple expectations of destiny, left to just experience it... Stannis could now rewrite destiny itself.

 

The burden he carried was increasingly great. He was once a Ta-Koro guard charged with nothing great, but he became a soldier, then a hermit, then a priest. It was not long until that fighting pacifist became a searcher, a wanderer, and yearned for purpose anew, and gathered a team; that man became a leader. But soon he learned of a higher calling and turned into an Exception, a Chosen, a Prophet and finally a Follower. Finally, however, after all that, when he could hardly have expected his pack to become more weighty and his responsibility more demanding, he was given charge of what was not yet real. And with it, what was already real. Everything he knew up until that point was proven to be no less fickle than a shallows cat. But as Stannis became aware of the mask he wore he resolved not to use it to make reality less stable, for his mask's inherent balance would put an end to destructive use, but rather to use it to make destiny more stable. He was able to find his way to where he was then and there, but he did not forget his roots.

 

In his mind he was still a matoran, meandering and aimless, knowing only that he must carry on. He left the Massif not to be a hero by himself but to make others be heroes; to raise people above himself, not be the saviour of all. And back then he needed a guide. He took anything he could find, whether it be a sign in the sand or a flock in the heavens, to lead his way and he was successful but others would not be so fortunate or resolved. They needed help. Stannis would help them, even when they did not help him, because he could now give when he could not before. He would be a hero to others could be the heroes.

 

His face remained stoney and still as he stepped slowly but purposely back in the midst of the others, who had returned from their own sections at the same time. Each had their own mask on their faces, their own special gifts, their safeguards. He wondered if they had a mask that could hold a candle to his gift before banishing the thought. There was no time to spend guessing who had the most powerful tool in the shed. Their masks were granted according to their needs and desires, and it was fair and just. Stannis lifted his head to the glowing heavens and muttered a prayer between his god and his self.

 

"Gather and hear the tale of the Great Spirit and his creation. A stone, blue as the rivers, was wished to come into my grasp and so transpired the legend." He fidgeted his fingers and looked at his hand with anticipation and there, between his fingers, was a piece of turquoise as he had imagined it to be. He did not smile as he again looked to the heavens and closed his eyes in gratitude. "Thank you."

 

He absorbed the stone into his body before it could be seen. He would keep his power to himself for now. The temptation to use his mask was too great, he determined; it would be best to save it for times of need, though the others about him seemed far more excited about the possibilities with their own Kanohi. From the way they cast their eyes about the Keeping Place they were using them right then, and he settled his eyes on Oreius as the Toa of Fire looked at Stannis quite bemusedly. He chuckled as if Stannis had said a nugget of joy before he said, [color=#800000;]“Stannis, I didn't know you were ticklish.”[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]"What."[/color] Reordin's blue eyes glowed in mischief as he turned from Oreius to Stannis, then back to Oreius; with a twitch of his head towards the Wanderer, he seemed to ask if the Toa of Fire were playing some elaborate joke. Oreius' expression was neutral, but something about the tug of his smile, coupled with the new masks...he had to go for it. It was his only chance.

 

"Reordin, think rationally," Stannis said. Oreius had clearly already gotten the hang of his new mask power, and whatever it was seemed keen on throwing proverbial bones for Reordin to jump at. The Maru leader didn't have much of a chance to say anything more than his instinctive response.

 

[color=#000080;]"Pick a side, Stan. Left or right."[/color]

 

"Reordin--" he repeated but it was no use. He could barely finish the name before the Toa of Ice was upon him like a jungle predator, free runner's legs giving him a natural agility boost that Stannis couldn't match with a strength buffer. Reordin brought him down and rolled, tickling away at Stannis' ribs: the Toa of Stone's handsome face was alarmed, but slowly cracked with small giggles and frantic pants. Leah and Korero began laughing, and he could've sworn he'd even heard chuckles out of the other team members.

 

Stannis felt a small surge of fun trickle to his lips like bile, alien but still somehow familiar, as he gave exasperated and jagged yelps of surprise. He batted at Reordin's fingers but that dastardly toa's digits quickly found their way back to his chest with unwavering vigor. Resistance was futile, and that reckoning was exchanged with the resurgent memory of Pohatu as if it were brokered by his mask. Stannis became still and allowed Reordin to tickle without even a twitch from Stannis. The joy of the moment was sucked like juice from a cup with a straw.

 

Reordin's fusillade of tickles passed away. [color=#000080;]"Aw, you're no fun,"[/color] he decried jokingly as he got up and stepped away.

 

"It's a real shame you think so," Stannis fired back. "Personally, I thought I was hilarious."

 

Nobody laughed. ... Well, they say the key to a good comedian is that he never laughs at his own jokes so Stannis must be a killer of a comic.

 

"I wish we could remain and play, but we have to keep moving towards our goal. Before we do, however, let us share what we have on our faces so that we can better understand our team. Keep it short and brief," he commanded. "Oreius, you first."

 

[color=#800000;]"I can sense people's strengths and weaknesses,"[/color] Oreius said, quickly and efficiently like the Ta-Koro guards Stannis remembered of old.

 

Stannis' finger drifted to Korero. [color=#006400;]"I can teleport at will -- and it doesn't have to be in line of sight!"[/color] He was clearly excited.

 

[color=#000080;]"I can change the composition of mass,"[/color] Reordin said.

 

[color=#0000cd;]"I can tell the intent of someone,"[/color] Leah said, also curt.

 

"Tracing," Sulov said simply. Somehow that one word summed it up nicely enough that nobody asked for an extrapolation.

 

"Wonderful," Stannis said. Eyes and ears were everywhere as he was reminded several times by others on his journey. He didn't want the darkness to have an understanding of what the good guys had at their disposal, but at the same time Stannis wanted to know what he had. If destiny could change he wanted to be as aware of what the tracks had as he could be. "Let's be off and out of this pl--"

 

[color=#006400;]"What does your mask do?"[/color] Korero asked, inquisitive; the Chronicler wanted to know.

 

Stannis looked at Korero with his typical blank face. "It helps me understand prophesy," he said simply, not wishing to give full disclosure, not even a taste of it, but even a half-truth was deceitful. Stannis could see Leah nod almost indistinguishably; she had seen Stannis' true colours in that instant, a flash of orange and violet in her eyes before turning green. Whatever Leah saw, though, Stannis was glad she did not speak of it then.

 

"Let's be out of this place," Stannis finished before leading the way out of the Keeping Place and back outside to where Joske waited for them.

 

...


Edited by Arya Stark, Feb 25 2013 - 08:40 PM.

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#1597 Offline Friar Tuck

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Posted Feb 26 2013 - 12:50 AM

[color=#daa520;]IC[/color]

 

[Temple base; dawn]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]Before I could fathom a reply, I got the distinct sense of presence behind me. As I turned to look I saw the silhouettes of six figures emerging from a curtain of light.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]Guess I'm on.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]"We'll... finish this later."[/color][color=#ff8c00;] [/color][color=#ff8c00;]I spoke to Agni simply, glad to get away from this conversation. Without another word I turned and walked to the figures as they in turn came and strode to me. Like two opposing forces we met in the middle, and for the first time we got a good look at each other.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]A low whistle escaped my teeth.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]Heroes of legend. That's the only way I could describe them. Tall, proud, strong... reincarnations of the Toa Mata themselves. And with those masks... perhaps more. One by one I looked them in the eye, going down the line as I took in who they now were and what they represented, taking in this moment. I was the first one to see them fully prepared and whole, the first to experience their presence and heroic aura they produced. Together. As a team. The light within me told me without a shadow of a doubt they were United, committed to their Duty, prepared to meet their Destiny head-on. I may be a Toa of Light, but the Darkness couldn't hold a candle to them.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]Beneath me I could feel the power of the Shadows tremble.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]As my own slowly leaked away.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]I tore my gaze away to stare at my outstretched hand, observing how dimmer it was than just a few minutes ago. The glow was still obnoxious, and to an outside observer the change probably imperceptible, but I could see it. It was huge. My time was rapidly ticking away, rushing headlong into oblivion. I could feel the hair-line cracks in my mask as the early stages of disintegration appeared; standing here was a waste of time. Time I did not have. I needed to lead them to the entrance, bestow on them the information I had learned to aid them in this final fight. But it wasn't the slow but sure loss of my own abilities that was preventing me from looking up.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]It was the Ga-Toa at the end of the line. [/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]Granted, she didn't look at all like Cael. For starters, her build was completely different; this toa was an athlete warrior, not a contemplative healing scholar. Not to mention she was physically more attractive than Cael; outwardly there was very little correlation. No, that wasn't the reason: it was her eyes and body language. The spark, the excitement, the drive I saw. The way she bounced as she walked, the passion and prowess mixed with gentle reservation that reminded me of her... or maybe I was reading too much into it. Maybe I was still to much in shock from what Heuani so explicitly showed me that the mere sight of another Ga-Toa was enough to rattle the fragile composition I had. In all honesty that probably was the better reason, for most of the others showed the same spirit and excitement as she did. Not that the thought helped any.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]It took a full moment for me to pull myself together.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]I took a breath and looked up, forcing the emotions away; I had a job to finish. Despite the inner conflict on the outside I had remained cool and passive. As I looked at them again a ghost of a smile on my face.[/color] [color=#daa520;]"Looks like you're ready to go. Follow me."[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]Silently I led the procession from the temple base up the stone stairs to the top of the temple. Again I was barraged by memories, this time of ones more recent, the desperate dash of earlier that night in my vain attempt to follow Cael; how my run led me here, up these same stairs, to where the trail ended: cold and dead. Just like she was. It took my full concentration not to break down.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]At last we reached the top, the stoney plateau surrounded by statues and spires, the first rays of dawn breaking over the trees and through the ancient stonework. Without hesitation I walked up to the Suva that stood predominately in the center, placing my hands on its surface.  [/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]"This will only take a second... "[/color] [color=#ff8c00;]I muttered.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]I breathed out, concentrating my power on the Suva. It may have seemed strange, but I saw something the others could not: a seal. A seal of Shadow that prevented this Suva from opening, even from the strongest of toa and mightiest of stone-shapers. This seal would have seriously wounded or even killed anyone who attempted to open this passage to Mangaia, tendrils of darkness and shadow striking out against an exposed an unprepared victim. And so I forced my power, my light into it, like a knife into infected flesh as I purged and removed the dark stain that surrounded it. It was tedious, difficult, and time-consuming, but after a few moments I felt something give way, the the resistance I had felt disappearing. To the others all they saw was the dome covered in light for a moment, but that hid a much more complicated affair. As I stepped aside I was covered in sweat from the effort, the unsealing taking more out of me than I expected. I turned to the big guy.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]"Would you please?"[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]The mountain of a toa looked at me for a moment, then to the Suva before taking slow, dedicated steps that seemed to shake the temple as he walked. Reaching down he grabbled the dome with his shoveled hands and with what looked like minimal effort lifted the lid and simply tossed it aside as if it was a disk, the stone crashing and breaking as it landed, kicking up a massive cloud of dust. I stared and blinked at him in fascinated fear, and I could swear that monotone face had a smirk behind it.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]Note to self: never get in a fistfight with that guy.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]By now everyone had gathered round. I rubbed my forehead.[/color][color=#daa520;] "Well, this is is. I suppose I should say[/color][color=#daa520;] some passionate and profound words but... I got nothing. Sorry. Hope I didn't break any expectations."[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]I looked at each one of them again.[/color] [color=#daa520;]"This is where we part ways; my job is done. The rest if yours. You get the honor of ridding the island of Makuta once and for all; the whole island is counting on you. No pressure."[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]With a small smile I nodded, my words done. As each one of the descended, I waited until Stannis was about to descend with them, at the last possible second grabbing his shoulder.[/color] [color=#daa520;]"Stannis wait. There is something I must tell you... in private."[/color]


Edited by Friar Tuck, Feb 26 2013 - 01:08 AM.

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#1598 Offline Queen Anora Mac Tir

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Posted Feb 26 2013 - 01:16 AM

Ic: Stannis had opted to go last, even waving Sulov, the traditional rear guard, past him into the hole. He remembered the last time Stannis had been in Kini-Nui with his Companions and when they were chased off by the fearsome power of the unknown minions of the Makuta; he had gone last in that team, too, preferring to watch every other member rappel down before he went himself. It was leadership by example, ensuring that the team was successful in whatever they did, and it was why he hated to be in the front. Others were always more qualified. Stannis was not the lone hero, he was just the exalter.

 

He nodded in thanks to Joske for his preparations, but as he prepared to descend after the others he felt Joske's hand touch his shoulder. It was not one of reassurance; too firm. No, Joske wanted to speak with him, and the hero of light's words confirmed Stannis' deduction. He raised himself back up and stood next to Joske. They were about the same height so their eyes were level, only Joske was much more shiny, making eye contact more or less unbearable.

 

"Then speak," Stannis said, brief and sharp. "What's on your mind?"


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#1599 Offline Friar Tuck

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Posted Feb 26 2013 - 02:49 AM

OOC: [color=#8b4513;]jam session[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]IC[/color]

 

[Kini-Nui; dawn]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]I took a sharp breath, preparing myself for this conversation.[/color] [color=#daa520;]"Heuani isn't dead. I... I didn't kill him. He's defeated, his power broken, but he is still very much alive. I would bet my worldly possessions here's down there waiting for you."[/color]

Stannis nodded at this piece of information. It was somewhat surprising that Joske had not completely vanquished Heuani, though he slowly realized that the odds were already stacked in favor of the Toa of Shadow in the first place. Chances were Joske had won the battle with some measure of great loss. Destiny oft worked in mysterious ways. "Thank you for the warning," Stannis said. "You may have won the battle but, as I understand it, it's always been up to us to win the war. You did what you were meant to do."

 

[color=#daa520;]"Yes... "[/color] [color=#ff8c00;]I said quietly, mulling over those words. One of the hardest lessons for me to learn was not taking all the glory and stepping aside, letting others recieve their fair share... if not more. Humility was a hard thing to swallow, even after the events at the Temple of Courage. Still, there was more to this than I let on. I smiled weakly. [/color][color=#daa520;]"It's... been a difficult learning curve, to say the least. But there is more that I must tell you, more about the Toa of Shadows. I... I am fairly certain that Heuani was one of the Toa Mata."[/color]

This news, however, struck Stannis with considerably more force. If he were not a rock-solid man already he would have fallen over in a stunned stupor, but his legs did not buckle and he stood, taking it in like a cliff withstands a mighty wave. Now, more than ever, he had to remind himself of the mantra that guided his actions for years: Feel, don't think. If Heuani was a Toa Mata then there were literally dozens of ramifications that fell in with that fact. It meant that even destined heroes foretold to be saviors could do more than be defeated, it meant that they could be turned into weapons of the very thing they were meant to defeat. If Heuani was a Mata, prophesied to beat Makuta, then... what were the Toa Maru? But Stannis remembered. They were special. They were the exceptions. United as one they would defeat the Makuta. United. Not alone, not split apart. This time the prophesy was going to be adhered to. The words given to him by the Matoran in the Keeping Place, the warnings that destinies could change, was in focus now, but Stannis also realized why he was given the Mask of Stories now. It was a mask of myth and reality that could alter Destiny, whatever it said. It, more than any of the others, was a Failsafe. Stannis bore the key to fulfilling destiny. He would ensure it did was not misinterpreted now. He stood still and life returned to him from his recollecting bout. Once again, he looked at Joske. "Thank you, Joske," he said. "It all makes sense now. You have done your duty as destined for sure now, and I think it is only right you be called what you truly are: You are The Gatekeeper."

[color=#ff8c00;]Those few words he spoke stirred something in me. Like a cool breeze in an unbearable desert, his pronunciation of my character revitalized a part of me that I had otherwise given up as lost. It wasn't much, but it was enough. Enough to help lift the terrible weight I was bearing right now. Perhaps he didn't truly understand, but he understood enough. I had heard rumors about Stannis, about his ability to inspire, his perception and knowledge of people and the part they played in Destiny and Prophesy. Not to say I didn't believe them, but talking to him now on-on-one was enough to convince me of those truths. And I more importantly I found myself happy to call him my friend, as he did just now in not so many words.The Gatekeeper.[/color] [color=#ff8c00;]That rung in my head like an uplifting tune.[/color][color=#daa520;]"Your words... mean more than you know."[/color] [color=#ff8c00;]I finally said, bowing my head slightly.[/color] [color=#daa520;]"I know I can't prove it, let alone give you any sort of evidence of it, but after fighting him like I did there can be no other explanation. The way he moved, his actions, his words... particularly in his words. What he said... I am certain of it. I don't feel it proper to share the conversations we had during our duel, but suffice to say he more or less gave up his identity without explicitly saying so. And if that's true... I don't know what to tell you. If he was one of the Toa Mata then the Makuta is even more powerful and devious than we could have possibly envisioned, able to corrupt and turn even the mightiest heroes against those that they once swore to protect. He even got me to that point... had it not been for some timely intervention."[/color][color=#ff8c00;]I didn't know I was expressing the same words he had just thought moments earlier, but I felt strangely compelled to express them anyway. My mind went back to that vision, the vision of Cael that saved me.[/color][color=#daa520;] "I don't know what to tell you, or what you will encounter. All I can say is this: his minions are not going to be the biggest battle or threat you will face - it will be you yourself. He will take your every hope, every dream, every fear, and every doubt and turn it against you. If you have any chance of defeating Makuta you have to be willing to defeat yourself first... and possibly make sacrifices you never ever prepared for." [/color][color=#ff8c00;]I paused.[/color][color=#daa520;] "Then again... I am certain you and your comrades will overcome where the Toa Mata did not."[/color][color=#ff8c00;]I took a breath and shrugged, nodding as I did.[/color] [color=#daa520;]"That's all I got. I will remain behind and protect this entrance and prevent any of Makuta's minions from following in behind you; you'll be safe from any excursions from the surface. If you have anything else to say or any questions to ask of me, do so now."[/color]

 

"The Toa Mata did not succeed because Fate had a change of heart that altered their Destinies," Stannis replied with a measure of calm, collected wisdom. It wasn't brought about by thought or pensive epiphany but rather was second nature, bubbling up like water from an artesian fountain. Stannis only had to remember what he knew to share it. "They were the first line of defense to bring Mata Nui back to bear against his brother. We, however, are not the Mata. Like the walls of Ta-Koro that we know all too well, the closer the curtain walls are to the center the higher they soar and the mightier their reach."We are the only exceptions, and no matter how high the greatest foe stands, we will stand taller. These masks, the failsafes, have ensured this, and I have a strong feeling Mata Nui himself is much more invested in this prophesy than he was before. No, we are not the Toa Mata, we are the Toa Maru, and we cannot fail where the Mata failed. So it was not only written but willed -- and so it will be done." Stannis lightly touched Joske's heartlight with his fist and nodded. "And so I must go and do it. Don't hold your breath for us -- we won't for you."

 

[color=#ff8c00;]I found myself chuckling. It was a an actual good-natured chuckle, not a cynical one. A small laugh, nothing more, but it was something I hadn't done in what two, three days now? It felt refreshing. I placed my own fist on his heartlight in response, staring at his noble features.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]"Deal." [/color][color=#ff8c00;]I said quietly, letting this moment linger just a little longer. Stannis did what I, Angelus, and even Agni could not do; have me come to terms with this passing of the baton, the changing of the guard. Not only did it feel right now, proper, but acceptable; something to be joyous about, not demoralized. I took a step back, lowering my fist, and with a final nod he was gone, having vanished into the darkness of the suva behind his fellow comrades. They were gone, having descended into the depths to face their destiny and the greatest single foe the island had ever witnessed. I wanted to contemplate these things but a distant screech interrupted my thoughts. It was the sound of a Rahi, and it sounded agitated.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]No, not agitated... angry. And not just one... dozens. No... more. The buzzing of wings, the stamping of feet, the savage growls... it seemed as though the whole jungle came alive the beat of an approaching hoard.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]Well, THAT didn't take long.[/color]


Edited by Friar Tuck, Feb 26 2013 - 11:33 AM.

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#1600 Offline Ghosthands

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Posted Feb 26 2013 - 02:20 PM

OOC: Echelon and Utu from Ko-Wahi

 

[color=#008080;]IC (Echelon)[/color]

 

[color=#008080;]The Rahi weren't the only Infected creatures coming Joske's way.  Even as the first waves of beasts poured from the treeline around the Kini-Nui, a black-robed figure rose from behind the jutting ridges of rock that surrounded the valley, a jet silhouette in contrast against the brightness of the morning sky.[/color]

 

[color=#008080;]Echelon looked down on the valley from where he hovered, magnetically levitating high above the ridge, his crimson eyes narrowing as he fixed them on the temple's clearing.  His Infected Mask had picked up Makuta's summons to his Rahi as they crossed the border from Ko; it was there that the Illusionist had left the group, wanting no part in whatever battle was in store.  Echelon understood his ally's tactical decision; it was not out of cowardice but a knowledge of his own strengths and weaknesses that he withdrew.[/color]

 

[color=#008080;]Looking down, the Necromancer saw Utu scaling the ridge's northern face.  The Toa of Ice's powerful hands gouged their own holds into the rock as he ascended the craggy slope; the Mark Bearer was as unstoppable as a glacier.[/color]

 

[color=#008080;]Returning his gaze southwards, Echelon released his magnetic control, and dropped.  As he approached the ground, magnetic fields caught him and he lowered gracefully to the valley floor, immediately breaking into a purposeful stride towards the central clearing.  With a slam of feet against earth, Utu landed next to him, marching with robotic consistency and menace.[/color]

 

[color=#008080;]As the sound of rampaging Rahi grew louder, Echelon knew they were getting close.  Raising the Control Stone to his lips, he intoned one word:[/color]

 

[color=#008080;]"Charge."[/color]

 

[color=#008080;]As Utu broke into an avalanche-like run, Echelon's feet rose from the ground and the Dark Toa levitated once more, gliding through the air accompanied by a metallic hum.  The duo were a deadly contrast; one, white as bone, a physical powerhouse oozing raw strength; the other, black as onyx, an elemental master embodying 'mind over matter'.  An unstoppable force and an immovable object.[/color]

 

[color=#008080;]Woe betide any who stand in their way.[/color]


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