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Bzprpg - Kini-Nui


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#1721 Offline Vezok's Friend

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Posted Mar 22 2013 - 05:22 AM

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

 

[color=#800000;]Agni nodded once, then pulled Joske's right arm across his shoulders and slipping his free hand under his left to hold him upright. The others quietly watched them. No-one spoke, as the young Toa had requested. Joske tentatively moved a foot forward and the veteran picked his own pace accordingly to make the walk easy for him. It felt a little odd, Agni realized, to move this slowly, especially after the past days had mostly been spent trying to keep up with the tempo at which Joske was moving. But it was a welcome change as well, simply because of what this act of walking meant: They had done it. They had kept the Suva safe and the Maru's backs clear. [/color]

[color=#800000;]When the horde of Rahi had attacked and had been joined by several of the Makuta's top-men, it had been touch and go for a short while, before Joske had climbed atop the temple's pillars. If not for the power of light, the hastily assembled defenders would have been overrun. But he also knew that without them to hold the line, Joske would have been overrun on his own as well. But together, yes, together they had indeed accomplished something amazing.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]So as Agni carried Joske, he did it with the hint of a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. The only thing stopping it now was the Toa at his side and the thought of what he had lost to make this victory possible. After a minute of slow walking in silence, they had made it to the Kanohi resting on the ground near a rock on the temple's perimeter. Cael's Kanohi. [/color]

[color=#800000;]Gently, Agni let Joske go from his hold, but kept him steady with one hand as the young Toa sat down at the base of the rock. It was the same boulder Heuani had been defeated at and where Agni, Angelus and the Maru had found him sitting on just a little while ago, before the battle.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Agni squatted down beside his friend and reached over to where the Kanohi lay on the ground, handing it over to Joske, who took it with a nod. Before het let go though, he said:[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"You did good, kid. I'm proud of you, Joske." [/color]

 

[color=#800000;]He stood up and turned around then, looking back over his shoulder once before starting to walk back towards the temple. As he moved, he took in the sight of the battle's aftermath. He saw the temple itself. Elemental blasts had left their marks upon the pillars and steps of stone and wounded and dead Rahi were lying at its base, while others were still frozen in bizarre poses in the wall of glass he hadd helped to create.  But that was about it. The Makuta's lieutenants were gone by now, realizing they had lost. Agni was sure it wasn't the last they had seen of them. But today, the tables had turned. He had faith in the Maru, despite not even exchanging words with them so far. They would defeat Makuta and the forces of shadow would be crippled. After that, it would just be a question of time before they found Echelon and co. again and would lock them away for good. Yes. For the first time since he had left Ta-Koro, he felt that things were changing towards the better for once. He softly chuckled at himself as he thought back to the frustrated young Toa of fire, forced to patrol the streets and to stop petty crime. If that was the amount of villainy he would have to deal with from now on, he would gladly do so. Of course, that was wishful thinking, but he indulged the thought for a moment. A few seconds later, he approached the Toa of plantlife who had already begun to repair the damage done to the flora around the temple. [/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"I was wondering why I there were battle-sounds outside the temple's perimeter. I appreciate the help, brother. Though, I do not know your name."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]The Toa of fire shrugged slightly, then nodded towards the temple. "If want, come join us at the Suva. The fight didn't give us much time for proper introductions, now seems like a good time to remedy that."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]There was no immediate reply, so Agni left Trizvam to finish his work around the temple. Perhaps once he was done the Toa of plantlife would follow him to the others. But if he did not, that was fine, too. Agni was just thankful for another helping hand, nameless or not. [/color]

 

[color=#800000;]He quickly walked the rest of the distance and made his way back up the stairs to where the others were waiting. Angelus looked past him to where Joske was sitting and then to him. Their eyes met and Agni just nodded once. They understood each other. "He'll be alright. Just give him the time he needs."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"In fact, I think we can all take some time off after this." he added, the smile he had been hiding finally showing itself. "Because first off: We won here, today. And that is every bit as amazing and tremendous as the kid says it is. So I say: when the Maru return we head to Ta-Koro and spill some drinks. I'll buy. We're not out of the woods yet, though, so the celebrations will have to wait for a little while, but they're coming. And with Makuta gone, we'll finally have a chance to fix a lot of other things."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]He looked at Angelus and Dalia when he said those last words and his eyes lingered on the Toa of water. "Just like this mess with what's left of the mark-bearers. I only know what little I learned from Angelus and Tuara in the past few weeks, but I'll do what I can to help. We all care about Tuara."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]And finally he turned to the freed Toa of electricity. "Which leads me to you, Ronkshou, if that is still your name." he said. "It's a name with quite the reputation, I'm sure you're aware of that. But whatever Joske did back there seems to have turned you around. We don't get chances like this very often so I need to know: Will you help us to find Echelon and whoever is left when this is done?"[/color]

 

[color=#4b0082;]"Traitors!"[/color][color=rgb(128,0,0);] a weak voice spat from the side behind them, then.[/color]

 

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

 

[color=#4b0082;]"All of you! Cowards!"[/color]

 

[color=#4b0082;]She was lying on the ground, curled up on her side, arms wrapped tightly around herself and head pressed to the ground, trying to disappear underneath the black cloak she wore. Tiny whisps of smoke were rising from her form and black feathers lay around her where they had fallen off of her left shoulder. But the purple eyes looking at the group of Toa were burning with anger and they were centered on the Toa that had been Ronkshou just a while ago. [/color]

 

[color=#4b0082;]Kohra had waited for the right moment to strike at the defenders. On the back of the Muaka-tiger she had waited for the feline Rahi to spring into action. Her target of choice had been Dalia. The Toa of water held her own against the Rahi, but she could tell that was all she would manage to do with her amount of power. Add to that the lack of a proper Kanohi and she was a prime target. If Kohra had taken her down clean and quickly it would have opened the defenders right flank and allowed the servants of Makuta to finally break through their line of defense.[/color]

 

[color=#4b0082;]And when the Muaka had finally made its move, so had she. The Rahi had charged out of the undergrwoth and up the stairs. At the right moment, Kohra had jumped from its back...right into a wave of pure light. Thext few seconds were a blur of motion, flashing colours before here eyes and pain. There was a reason she wore a cloak during daytime. Even mere sunlight was enough to cause her discomfort. But the pure light washing over her could not be stop by the black piece of cloth wrapped around her. It felt as if she was on fire, getting burned alive, without any flame. Not just her skin. The muscles underneath, the bones. Her very being was tortured by the light. Like Vidar, she did not have the fortune of being infected by a Kanohi that could be cleansed in an instant by an attack like this. At the same time though, her connection to master was not like that of a Parakuka either; she could not die by its removal. There was no screaming. By the time she hit the ground, the top of the stairs on the northern side of the temple, she was nothing more than a cramped up and shivering wreck. [/color]

 

[color=#4b0082;]And only now she had found the strength to speak again. It was barely enough, her words weak and throat hoarse. But she was not going to lay there quietly while Ronkshou stood with the defenders, while Vidar's mind had decided to check out for good and while Echelon, Utu and Aurum were fleeing like dogs with their tails tucked between their legs.[/color]

 

[color=#4b0082;]There was nothing she could do, physically, at this time. But she was still here. And she would not abandon the master. She would die first. But even as the Toa of stone and sand stepped forward, their leader, the veteran Toa of fire held up a hand to stop him. He knew a beaten foe when he saw one.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"Somebody restrain her."[/color][color=rgb(75,0,130);] was all he said.[/color]


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#1722 Offline Landes'Rehn

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Posted Mar 22 2013 - 07:11 AM

[color=rgb(0,0,128);]IC:[/color]

 

[color=rgb(0,0,128);]"Restrain her?" Dalia asked, raising an eye at Agni's order, "We should finish her off... Before she gets strong enough to-"[/color]

 

[color=rgb(0,0,128);]A quick look from Agni silenced the Mark Bearer. Dalia then developed a sudden intrest in her feet, her face burning beneath her mask. While the Mark Bearer had no intent on leaving her enemies alive, she knew that Agni would never let her kill anyone. He and his "Code" wouldn't allow it.[/color]

 

[color=rgb(0,0,128);]So, Dalia simply folded her arms and looked away, keeping quiet for a few moments before asking, "So... How did this happen? How did that Toa- Joske, get so powerful? Who are these, 'Toa Maru' that you talked about?"[/color]


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#1723 Offline The Fifth Spoilers

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Posted Mar 22 2013 - 09:19 AM

[color=#8b4513;]IC: TrizvanThe wild Toa sighed with weariness as he finished his work. The grass and trees around had been restored, a taxing job. Without the damage to the temple and the dead Rahi, one might think there were never a battle in the first place.He didn't want that.Closing his eyes as he drew on his dwindling energy reserves, Trizvan reached out to the grass of the battlefield. Exercising his control in a way he hadn't used in many years, the grass beginning at his feet began to change, their lush green growing duller, then brown, then brighter once more. They weren't green anymore, however. They were a rich red, brighter than blood. In Trizvan's eyes, it signified both death, and victory. The color spread through the grass, washing outward until all of it had been dyed. A reminder that any victor's path, no matter his cause, was paved with death.The wild Toa sighed once again and sat on a boulder. He looked to the other Toa. He had no interest in conversation, but he felt he ought to express his respect. They had fought well, and the deaths were few. For that, he was grateful.His steps kicked free some grass seeds. They were fertile, and would spread. A new kind of red grass. He thought it would make a decent reminder of the battle, and one that would last for the ages. As he got within clear earshot, he stood still, waiting for a moment of silence in which to express his feelings.[/color]


Edited by Draezeth, Mar 25 2013 - 12:53 PM.

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"I am Groot." - Groot

 

"Anga-krahi takayavo, nga ai’i vu kyase." - BZPRPG 2013

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#1724 Offline Friar Tuck

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Posted Mar 23 2013 - 12:53 AM

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

 

[Kini-Nui Temple grounds; morning]

 

[color=#daa520;]How strange it was to touch the face of someone that was long dead.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Angi had departed, leaving me with only my thoughts, this mask, and the rock that I sat on. The rock near the edge of the clearing at which several key events had happened over the last few hours, none of which I actually cared about at this moment. What I wanted was to be alone. Yes, I was here, alone, but I could still see the Toa at the top of the temple, catch occasional words of their conversation; no, I wasn't alone. Had I been in the mood I would have chuckled; just like Angi to get you most of the way there, but then forcing you to make the rest of the journey yourself. Blasted Toa, even now still being that ever-teaching mentor.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]Amazing how soft metal can feel.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]My thumbs stopped caressing the edge of the mask as my eyes re-focused on it. It was so simple, a dull gray Mask of Healing, but it was as if she was staring right back at me. Eyeless, neutral expression, no sigh of life... even now I could feel the grief that I had stuffed and shoved down in order to focus in the ensuing battles rising to the surface, of it banging against the cage that I had hastily imprisoned it in. It was clawing to come out, a beast within that this time I would have no control over. I had the chance to extract revenge on the Toa that that had so brutally killed her; but I didn't. I could have unleashed my pain on the hoard of Rahi, sacrificing them to my anguish; instead, I freed them of the Makuta's influence and kept deaths to a minimum. I were even a handful of high-ranking, equally-powerful Lieutenants of the Master of Shadows I could have beaten my frustration out on, giving them the ninth degree for my loss - yet I kept myself in check, fighting for the right reasons instead of the emotional ones. I did not regret that decision. But when you're sitting here in the aftermath trying to decide what to do, not having the relief valve for the suffering you went through...[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]It always looks better on paper than it did in practice.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]And now after my self-denial of my revenge this time I would not be able to hold back. I had to be alone.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]It was a blessing I didn't have any powers currently; or at least enough juice to do anything with them.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]I need to be alone.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]My feet didn't budge.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]C'mon feet, move![/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I might as well willed the Mount Ihu to change location my body was that exhausted.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]I said MOVE![/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Like an old, rust-covered mining drill my body creaked to life as I forced myself to stand, practically falling over in the process. With nothing but sheer determination I commanded my legs forward, and slowly step by step I staggered towards the treeline, using one arm for balance as I clutched the mask in the other.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]As the gathered Toa talked about the previous battle I slipped into the jungle unannounced and unnoticed.[/color]

 

*   *   *

 

[Kini-Nui jungle; morning]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I didn't know how far I walked. I didn't care.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I could go no further.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I had wandered into the jungle, picking a random direction and moving as straight and as far forward as I could physically muster. I didn't know where I was. I didn't know how far I had traveled. All I knew was that my body could go no more and had decided this would be the place I would lie down.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]My mind had no arguments as I collapsed face-down in the underbrush.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I laid there for... a while? I dunno, I didn't care. I was too depressed to care. Yes, depressed. Me. Joske. Depressed. Those two words never ever came into even remote contact with each other, yet here we were. With effort I craned my head to look at the metallic object in the dense green undergrowth, lazily noting where it had fallen in my decent.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Retirement? Heh. That required something to look forward to. [/color][color=#ff0000;]A this point I really didn't have anything to look forward to.[/color] [color=#ff0000;]I mean, after all, I had completed my destiny.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Then what?[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Reaching out I clawed at the ground, my fingers digging in the loose dirt and I began to crawl along the jungle floor towards Cael's mask.[/color] [color=#daa520;]Everyone had a destiny right? Something to complete in their lifetime; what gave them purpose.[/color] [color=#daa520;]My destiny is complete; my life has no purpose anymore.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I pushed through the underbrush, every twig feeling like a tree truck against my face, every leaf a coarse wall of sandpaper that mercilessly grated on my damaged exterior.[/color] [color=#daa520;]I'm a Toa without powers, and even if I had powers I wouldn't have any idea where to go next. When Toa complete their destiny they usually transform into Turaga, but here I am, stuck in limbo. [/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Like a snail I left a small trail behind, a trail of gold powder as my mask was half of what it was when I donned it, it's rapid dusting made even more pronounced by every plant that struck it, even to the point of small sections simply falling off altogether. It could not have been but a handful of bios, but it felt like I had traversed the island by the time I could feel my fingers grasp its smooth edges. I breathed out heavily as I drew it in, her in, closing my eyes in resignation.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]If my destiny is complete, then I might as well give this one last shot, because if I don't try, then I might as well be dead.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I laid there under a canopy of brown and green, all but invisible to the outside world. Even Angi couldn't have found me out here. As my face was there next to hers, I gave a small, weak, smile.[/color] [color=#daa520;]I don't fear death; only here and now I realize I never have. Taking on the Tarakava as a matoran; throwing myself between the Company and Makuta's servants; accepting the quest without any prior knowledge; willing to fight Heuani alone; defending the Suva against impossible odds... no, I never feared it. I never ran from it. I could be said I ran towards it more than once with a grin on my face.[/color] [color=#daa520;]I am not afraid to die.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Opening my eyes I stared into her lifeless mask, know what I was going to do was stupid, even for my standards. This had been a thought that had been implanted in me the moment I reached the temple, further beaten into me when her final fate was finally proven true to me. Only I and my deepest, darkest thoughts knew of it, and now that she was dead there was no other alternative. This is why I wanted to be alone.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]So that no one witnessed it.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]I am not afraid of death.[/color]


Edited by Friar Tuck, Mar 23 2013 - 01:07 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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#1725 Offline Nuju Metru

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Posted Mar 23 2013 - 11:58 AM

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

[color=#2f4f4f;]Heuani leapt quickly enough from the fragmented earth, removing himself from the rustling gravel of sharp fragments. Dozens of the rocky flecks had gave him shallow cuts, but Heuani breathed deeper in on the darkness and these lost their uncomfortable twinges. With Heuani's absence, Stannis let the maw of the earth subside; he would not waste energy on that complex offensive longer than necessary. Heuani spoke; meanwhile, he extended himself into the disturbed section of the earth, lightly surrounding the shards of dark stone with liquid shade. The shadows sat there, silent and invisible, as their Toa master addressed Stannis.[/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]"Perhaps I am what you say," Heuani said cooly, as much to himself as his enemy. "A powerful slave of a higher might. Yet you argue that you and your comrades, while in the same state as I, are any less enslaved?" Heuani chuckled without brightness. "Listen to yourself. You serve a doubtful religion, the unquestioned worship of a napping creator, all out of the brave faith in your heart. Faith, it's an attractive concept - I myself was once driven by it, before I learned better - but it is a euphemism for slavery. What you call faith is just the accumulation of social conditioning, the 'virtue' of destiny renamed... If faith is a willingness to follow one's destiny, then it is the willingness to throw oneself, too pathetic to do otherwise, into bondage. I wouldn't call that brave. You claim faith as your ally, when she should be your great enemy. Because faith is obligation. Faith is... restriction. [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]"Think back, Stannis, to the time before all of this began. You were a Matoran once; a rag doll of the island, a weakling. When the Chronicler came to you and told you that you, little Stannis, had the power to end the darkness of this island, did you have any choice but to believe him? Were you even given a real choice? No; your options were weakness and safety - I would call them self-preservation, logic - versus the incorporeal construct of destiny and the promise of new strength. It was far from a decision when the Chronicler framed it like that in your mind; he, like so many, is a masterful manipulator, a salesman. Your social necessity to 'serve the greater good' was used with the subtlety of a sledgehammer against you, and you never thought to doubt it. For all you knew, you could have been walking into a death sentence - as you now have - and you didn't stop to consider it. I can see that you're not a very good critical thinker.[/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]"You and I, we're alike in so many ways. We were given the pretenses of free will when signing our lives away to vain enlistments. I like to pretend that my choice was one of free will, but I know that it wasn't. The manipulator who sold me my non-choice knew exactly where to hit, what to promise, to make me buy it. So did yours. Here you stand, carrying the heart of my old brother and wearing a powerful mask, transformed so completely from your Matoran self; at whose hands did this transformation take place? Not yours. You were passive in your changing, the object of the change rather than the perpetrator of it. I can relate... we were both given irresistible gifts by our masters, and by taking those gifts we have only deepened our servitude to them. We're both the toys of beings larger than us; mine just doesn't pretend to let his toys to think for themselves.[/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]"Perhaps," Heuani repeated, "I am what you say. But if I am to be called a slave, then we are all slaves to one or another. When two mountains clash, the snow that avalanches from their peaks has no control over its motion. Anyone would call snow foolish if the snow were to claim it had determined the path of its fall all along; so we are both proven fools... I no longer have free will, and neither do you. The difference between us, Stannis, is that I know enough of my own slavery to make the most of it, whereas you sit in yours blindly.  [/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]"Blindness is weak. Understanding is power; I understand that you are a slave to your obligations... Watch, Stannis, as I make you my slave through my understanding. I am going to punish you, and there will be no way for you to fight back against me."[/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]Heuani suddenly lifted all of the sharp gravel out of the ground with the shadows he'd instilled there. A horizontal hail, he sent the chunks of shattered rock hurtling in a dense cloud towards the nearest dueling duo, Reordin and Uriuri. Those two Toa, deeply engaged in their own battle, wouldn't see the eviscerating particles until it was too late. Stannis was instinctively compelled to save Reordin; he extended his mind to the stone shards and stopped them in midair, forcing them to drop to the earth again. Heuani had expected as much - while he didn't care at all about Uriuri, he knew Stannis would care about Reordin - and while Stannis' attention had been drawn, Heuani shadow-jumped behind him, grabbed the Toa of Stone by the shoulder, and thrust his flamberge at Stannis' lower back for the impalement stab.[/color]


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#1726 Offline Tyler Durden

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Posted Mar 23 2013 - 01:40 PM

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

 

[color=#000080;]The duel was made all the more tense by the gnawing realization in the minds of both Toa that someone, eventually, would break the struggle; eventually, the stalemate would be flipped on its head, someone would change the game as simply as a dealer in a blackjack game lands a 21 against a table full of 18s and 20s. Eventually, someone would give ground, and then the duel would be over. But neither moved: for once, both Reordin and Uriuri agreed that it would be best to wait and see what happened, wait for the opportune moment, and try to ensure that neither Toa gave their opponent such a moment to capitalize on.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]Reordin snatched one anyway.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]He ducked under the hatchet swing, as Uriuri had expected him to do, but instead of countering a double swing of his ice axes, Reordin swung with the handles of his axes, hitting Uriuri in both pectorals and deadening his arms before tucking with his head and headbutting Uriuri against the wall. The Toa of Shadow kicked Reordin back three steps and made a move with his hatchet, but the Toa of Ice was ready for that and caught the Toa of Shadow's wrist in an X-shape with his weapons. There was a yank of Reordin's arms; Uriuri's shoulder popped, and the Shadow Toa howled in pain even as Reordin pressed him up against the wall, hands by his sides, and created multiple tendrils of ice that stretched across his opponent's body and embedded in the walls; he quickly used his Mask of Alchemy to turn them to Protosteel that would be a challenge to break out of even for someone with super strength and two good shoulders. The Toa of Shadow was pinned, and what's more, Reordin had the athletic and military endurance training that kept him fresh and energized as Uriuri could ever hope to be.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]The pinned pariah groaned and tested his shoulder with a hiss of pain before looking up at Reordin with a beautiful smirk; the lines in his white teeth were traced over like a child's sketch with deep red crimson blots.[/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]"What...you believe-think you're big and bad now? With your fancy-pants Kanohi and your divine weapons...you're pathetic. I wouldn't have believed-thought it of you at first look-glance...but you're pathetic, Reordin. Weak. And from the looks of things...your team isn't much better off."[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]Reordin turned at that, if only for a second, to see Leah squaring off against Whiru; she was holding her own, but it was obvious that the Toa of Shadow was holding nothing back, and the Toa Maru of Ice's face betrayed a grim, second's worth of light fear for her.[/color]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]"Oh...you got a soft-weak spot for her, huh?"[/color][color=#000080;] [/color][color=#000080;]Uriuri snickered, seeing the look and capitalizing on it.[/color][color=#2f4f4f;] "Guess the Chronicler was right...history repeats-rhymes all the time. Maybe...if we're lucky...Heuani will let us have a turn-go when he's done with her."[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]Reordin was on him in an instant with his fist, spinning on his heel and delivering a wicked hook across Uriuri's cheek. The Toa of Shadow's head whipped to the side, his neck lolling from the blow even as a crack sounded through the air around them; his cheekbone had given away against the sheer ferocity and force of the blow. The Toa of Ice didn't let up after that; something in him had snapped at that, and that something was now assaulting Uriuri's ribs, his organs, that stupidly beautiful face of his. [/color]

 

[color=#000080;]Reordin was an inch away from killing him, and Uriuri knew it. Whereas old Lewa would have felt fear, the Toa of Shadow laughed, dissonant, and felt as the Toa of Ice's bare fist hammered against the cheek that the cut had been delivered to. Slowly, the cut turned into a scrape, which evolved into a gash. One particularly heavy fist, thrown right to the cheekbone, enlarged the wound so that Reordin could have slid a finger or two into the wound if he'd wanted to. Uriuri's beautiful face was coated in blood and rapidly fragmenting; Makuta's work was being undone before his very eyes.[/color]
 
[color=#000080;]The Toa of Shadow's laughs slowly died into pained, wheezing chuckles as the savage light finally dimmed from Reordin's eyes and reason returned to him. The Toa of Ice viewed his handwork sickeningly, realizing what he had been about to do - what he was still on the path to doing. The former hero laughed sickeningly, blood flowing through the large gash on his face and into his mouth, then out over his chin as he snickered. The droplets of life-giving crimson nectar dropped like snowflakes onto the ground below, getting lost somewhere in the coal black that even now surrounded them like a death mask.[/color]
 
[color=#2f4f4f;]"How bad does it hurt-feel? To realize that you worked so long-hard to snatch-steal our souls, then you lost them just over little-tiny old us?"[/color][color=#000080;] Uriuri asked, his pathetically enraged voice cracked and wheezing through damaged lungs. [/color][color=#2f4f4f;]"Huh? How does it feel!?"[/color]
 
[color=#000080;]Takua's words, ringing in his head like a gong one last time.[/color]
 
[color=#b22222;]"There is darkness in you, yet you fight against Makuta. Why?"[/color]
 
[color=#000080;]Reordin stood back; Uriuri's battered body was too weak and worn out to try and free himself, even as he attempted to absorb the shadows into his body to rectify the damage the Maru deputy had wreaked upon him. The Toa of Ice's blue eyes were deep and cold as he gazed upon the fallen frame of a man who had once been a god to him, but was now little more than the gravel dust on which he stood.[/color]
 
[color=#000080;]"I want to help. I want to help because deep down, people are good inside, and I figure they shouldn't have to suffer the way they do. No matter how gray I grow to be, I want to be able to look back on my life as it's ending and think, wow. I really fought the good fight. Because if there's no bigger meaning, if there's no bright tomorrow waiting on the horizon...then I figure that, in the meantime, the smallest act of kindness can be the biggest thing in the world."[/color]
 
[color=#000080;]Lose?[/color]
 
[color=#000080;]"No. I won."[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]From the inside of his Sanctum Guard blazer, he drew a weapon that he'd been carrying inside his jacket since they'd first become Toa: Sulov's pistol, the one that had been given to him as a sign of the Toa of Earth's friendship. Uriuri had just enough time to realize what it was and look up at Reordin before it went crashing horizontally into the edge of his left eye socket with a loud crack; the Toa of Shadow was unconscious, but not dead, as Reordin forced down the darkness inside of him one last time, balling it up into one little sphere, and then pushed it all outwards into the out cold Toa before him. Uriuri didn't twitch, for the darkness had not been something physical, but the Toa Maru of Ice could feel a weight lifting off his shoulders, in the same way that the weight lifted when he was around Leah, or when he'd destroyed his last cigarette. It was the weight of peace; it was the weight of fulfillment.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]Sulov had been right all along: Reordin had finally won.[/color]

 

-Tyler


Edited by Tyler Durden, Mar 23 2013 - 01:42 PM.

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and again, pathetic confusion.

 

ghostie.jpg

 

dorian, you aint changed.


#1727 Offline Queen Anora Mac Tir

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Posted Mar 23 2013 - 03:41 PM

Ic: Stannis was a prophet first and a warrior second, and it was because of this that he kept his mouth shut. Speaking too long would only exacerbate his doom and give Heuani an opportunity to sneak in, but despite all his mental aptitude Stannis also found no desire to counter Heuani with the truth, so he simply stood and allowed the shadow toa's words to bounce in the chamber without harm. But the distraction Heuani created was not one of words but of action, drawing from the hero within Stannis to open a gap to advance in. The chunks of rock were tossed into the air like a salad and rained down on Reordin -- Stannis automatically stopped them just as the sickly yellow eyes of Heuani disappeared from view. Clever girl, Stannis thought to himself as he felt the cold and dark hand clench down on his shoulder like a vice, strong and unyielding. Without flinching and without word Stannis flicked the blunt end of his halberd back and felt it connect with Heuani's chest. Just as the flamberge began to move forward with its keen blade to sever the prophet's spine the wooden staff erupted with a flare of stone energy that displaced Heuani's blade, then arm, then his body and blew him away with the force of a mountain. [color=#2f4f4f;]Heuani bounced back fast. He dissolved upon impact into the earth, fading to darkness. He re-emerged in a dark corner of the room, naturally camouflaged himself against the black stone, and was totally still. Not even Stannis' perceptive eyes would have been able to see the Toa of Shadow so disguised by his element. From his dark corner, Heuani willed the shades around Stannis to attack him fullscale. All around the Toa of Stone materialized daggers of black energy that made to stab him. Stannis blocked or swiped through these with stony projections, but for every dagger he stopped, another would spring up somewhere else. The dark blades seemed to be multiplying; it wouldn't be long before Stannis was unable to stop all of them.[/color] The exertion of stone energy Stannis was forced to use was too taxing for him and he quickly took note that the waves of darkness were duplicating like starfish; each one slain birthed two more. For an instant there was an idea to activate the Kanohi Hiripaki -- the utterance of a single sentence could rid the shadows in his presence and banish Heuani's attacks from harming him. But he thought better of it. Doing so would only attract attention to himself and he had no intention of doing so. Instead he reached out to the rubble of stone he dropped a moment before and tugged the debris as if they were ensnared in a net. They answered the call of their wielder and flew into the air barely above the ground, and rocketed for where Stannis struggled. Like a murder of crows they seemed to peck the blades of darkness from around him in a wave, and when the dust settled Stannis stood there no more, having taken his flight from the precarious predicament.Heuani's powers were too alien for even Stannis to battle equally. He was too flighty, too energetic, and the strategy Stannis was used was backfiring. Heuani was fiery in his combat, drifting from here to there and using great energy to fight, but there was no form to it, no notch for Stannis to grip. Heuani was a sheer cliff and Stannis was free climbing without a spotter. It was too risky. Stannis was many things but vain was not one of them. As his powerful legs drove his escape he remembered the vision he had as a Matoran the morning after fighting the dark minions in Ko-Wahi. Soldier Duty and Fair Maiden Destiny were always at his side to protect and guide him, but Unity was left to him. When something seemed too great to surmount it would take more than one to master it.Stannis could delay Heuani's attacks but he would need to produce unity if he wanted to succeed.


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#1728 Offline Vezok's Friend

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Posted Mar 23 2013 - 07:45 PM

OOC: Post is in black colour for now because for some weird reason firefox didn't load the editor correctly.IC:Playtime was officially over. If there was one thing Leah had noticed about the Maru's opponents in the brief moments of knowing them was how completely they filled in their new roles. They reveled in the darkness around them and in their own hearts, they enjoyed their dark powers and the advantage they had over their opponents. They had the home-field and the upper hand in raw elemental power and they knew it. They loved to savour the defeats of those that opposed them and took their time.But only as long as circumstances allowed them to. They had treated them like playthings in their initial attacks and been rebuked. And now the gloves were coming off. Whiru's sly, dangerous smile remained on his face, but the look of superiority had gone from his eyes. He wouldn't attempt to force Leah into any more intimate eye-to-eye moments on the battlefield. Those could wait until later.He sprang from the darkness above the Toa of water, sword pointed straight down. The rush of air alerted her and she stepped back and spun, the staff's ends whistling through the air as it was swung in an arc to hit the Toa of shadow. But Whiru parried with his sword, pushing back against her, using his strength to bring his sword closer to her."Perhaps I will leave you with just enough life in your body that you may enjoy our company before the end."Leah suddenly gave way to the force exerted by his arms, his blade sliding down the length of her polearm as she turned it perpendicular to its edge. Had it still been her old staff, it would not have worked, but the protosteel it had turned into during the transformation redirected the dark weapon Whiru wielded with ease. At the same time she dropped down and spun to swipe the Toa off his legs, but he dissolved into darkness with a chuckle. She immediately spun around, suspecting an attack from behind but it didn't come.Instead, shadow-tendrils lashed out at from behind, hitting her in the back like whiplashes. Pain spread across her back, making her yelp. The darkness knocked her forward three steps, but the tendrils wrapped themselves around her waist, yanking her backwards. She leaned against them, pushing her feet against the cold stone-floor to resist, but then, out of the corner of her eye she spotted Whiru, moving forward, blade raised to decapitate her from behind where she stood. She maybe had another second before the end. At the same time, Reordin came into her field of view. The Toa of ice was fighting hand-to-hand against Uriuri, who was laughing through a bloody grin, in turn watching Leah, seeing her death coming.Not like this. The former Toa of air was not going to get the satisfaction.Leah did the only thing she could think of...and let go. She had struggled against the shadow holding her and in turn, it had increased its pull, willed by Whiru, to hold her in place for the finishing blow. But when she stopped resisting, she was yanked back and suddenly fell backwards. Whiru's spidersword cut through the air where her neck had been just a split-second ago. With a snarl that sounded almost feral, Whiru's head snapped in her direction and shadow-jumped after her. The tendrils around her disappeared, leaving her off-balance. She gasped as she hit the ground, the air getting forced out of her lungs as her opponent closed in again. A blast of water stopped his advance and she rolled to the side, getting back up on her feet. By the time she was upright again, he was gone once more, merging with the darkness of the room. Staff raised in defense, Leah turned left and right. For a brief moment, she saw Stannis do the same, until the shadows around the Toa of stone suddenly came to life; and violently so. Leah saw the shadow-daggers whirl around him and it looked like it might be too much for one Toa alone. As soon as she took a step forward to see if she could help though, she herself came under attack again, her own enemy just waiting for such an opening. A lance of pure darkness hit the floor an inch away from her feet. She spun to see where Whiru had thrown the elemental weapon from, but that was a mistake. More lances flew out of the darkness and despite her diving out of the way, she was to slow. She gasped as she felt the shadows cut into her flesh on her left thigh and knee. Another sliced the side of her lower right leg and another left a wound on the upper arm. Two more impacted her chest and shoulder, but her armor withstood the attack. The sudden pain made her left knee give way and she whinced, leaning to the right to take weight off of it. She was lucky none of the lances had pierced through her and that the cuts weren't deep, but they burned like fire. Whiru re-emerged from the darkness before her. The dark Toa was walking, sword firmly in his right, but he was not going to use it right now. His left arms was held up, palm of the hand facing upward and in the air around him hovered even more blades made of shadow. Getting out of the way was out of the question, there was no way she could dodge or parry them all.Unless... she thought, an idea forming. Water always took the path of the least resistance. She brought up her staff with her right, left hand pointing forward, as if she was going to charge. The two Toa eyed each other for several seconds, an amused look on Whiru's face as he looked back into the blue eyes of the Toa of water, blood running down one arm and leg. This was a gamble, at best. Her leg was protesting against any sudden movement and there was a big chance this wouldn't work."How does it feel? To come this far only to realize you could not even come close to being a match for us? To know the only thing you might be 'destined' for is failure? Doesn't it pain you?"Leah glanced to her right, where the one Toa she felt more strongly about than any other these days stood over the fallen form of Uriuri. The dark Toa's face was a bloody pulp and nothing like the image of perfection he had some minutes earlier. And that sight gave her strength. She answered Whiru's bemused look with a glare of her own and a defiant smile."Why don't you ask your brother?"The next instant the shadows shot forward, a cloud of blades coming for her. At the same time, Leah sprinted forward, right at the cloud. Her staff's tip dragged across the ground behind her, creating sparks against the stone. Her free hand reached over, grabbed the other end of the weapon firmly and using both arms she swung the weapon up and forward in an arc, pushing herself off the ground with one foot at the same time. The momentum spun her around in mid-air, and as the staff came up, a thick curtain of water formed at it's end, spreading as it followed the movement of it and obscured the line of sight for the Toa of shadow. The water surged up and engulfed the blades of shadow in mid-air, sweeping them away with it. And still it followed the arc of Leah's weapon. Like a ribbon attached to a stick it described the same half-circle as the staff and as she landed, hitting the ground running and facing Whiru again, she swung the Bo-staff forward. The next moment, Whiru was hit by a blast of water that caught him off guard. Face full of water, he did not see Leah until she had already closed the distance. He brought up his sword, parried her initial hit with her staff, but she just brought up the other end and whacked him from the side.He raised his hand, quickly releasing a blast of shadow, but the Toa of water was on the attack now and she elegantly stepped out of the way of the ill-aimed counter. She jabbed the polearm into his abdomen, winding him, then pulled it up, hitting him in the chin. His head rocked back and he tried to bring up his sword, but she knocked it aside. What followed was a series of rapid hits that drove the surprised Whiru across the chamber. She hit him on the shoulders, the legs. Anywhere she found an opening, she tried to land a blow. But the stun of that first hit could only last so long. And down here, the Toa of shadow had no problem to recover within seconds. Concentrating on the darkness, he endured the attack and suddenly, his arms shot upward, catching Leah's weapon as it came down again.She tried to pull it out of his hands, but to no avail. His knuckles cracked as he tightened his grip, then yanked the staff outward with more strength that she could counter at the moment. The sudden change of angle forced her to let go and the staff clattered to the floor. Before she could raise her hands to call upon her element again he kicked her in the stomach, sending her skidding on her back. He didn't bother to walk after her. One second later he emerged from her own shadow, dropping his knee down on her legs, pinning them in place and seizing her throat. Leah felt like her windpipe was going to give way if he applied any more pressure and she tried to pry his fingers loose, but like before, his physical strength exceeded hers and without building up some momentum behind her motion she could not match it. No more dragging it out.Whiru held his sword over her heartlight. "What were you thinking?" he asked, his voice suddenly soft again, seductive. Like poison in a vein it slithered into her ears and began to break through her resistance. She looked away, to the side, her struggle getting weaker as the tone of his words took effect. He leaned down closer until there was only an inch left between their faces. "What hope did you have? A mere Matoran, inside a pretty Toa's body.""Even if I don't kill you right now, you'll be nothing more than a trophy for me...for the others. You will live, just long enough to contemplate your folly and to adequately repay us for all the trouble you caused. And when we grow tired of you and you have realized your failure completely, then you will join the rest of your team in death. Did you actually believe there was a chance you would live through this?"Her resistance against him was almost non-existant now, the Toa of shadow knowing the effect he had on his victims surely holding her in his sway. His right hand let go of her throat and reached up, gently tracing down the side of her face, following the curve of her chin, then pulling it up to look at her. What Whiru saw, were not the eyes of an opponent that knew she was beaten. The blue eyes glowed with defiance, anger and at the same time retained that empathic look, that expression of pity. "I don't need to believe there is a chance...I know there is." Whiru blew out air through his nose at the realization that his voice had had no effect. Coldly he asked: "And why is that?""Because I have something you lost a long time ago." she replied. His face turned from a slightly frustrated one into one of pure hatred, only accented by the perfect design of his face. For a moment, all smoothness disappeared, replaced by aggression. Not only had she used one of the essence stones to become an impostor, she was rubbing it in his face. He was going to end her, right now. He pulled back his sword, extending his arm as he took aim. A quick stab, straight through the heart; so he could help to dispatch the rest of these Maru. Leah turned her head away again to her left, as if to avoid looking him in the eye. The muscles in his arm tensed, then tried to bring the blade down. But the sword did not move. He looked to his right and saw that the whole arm had become encased in ice within the last second. Reordin was standing just a few feet away, one hand raised to control his element, Leah's staff in the other. He must have picked it up while he had taken her down. He was about to summon the shadows to tear the Toa of ice apart, when his vision exploded suddenly into white points of light. Leah's hand shot up, the base of her palm hitting the bridge of his mask. There was a crack as the nose underneath broke. She tucked in her legs, soles placed against his stomach and kicked Whiru off herself, who managed to land on his feet, despite his blurry vision."Catch!" Reordin called out to her, tossing her her Bo-staff. With one hand she caught the weapon, then turned to the Toa of shadow, twirling the weapon. With his sword-hand blocked, he only had his left hand, but as soon as he raised it it was swatted away like an annoying fly. The next moment, he found himself flying backwards from another hit by the staff, then suddenly flung forwards again by water hitting his back. It pushed him back into range of the staff and then Whiru was on his back before he could warp away. He looked up at the Toa of water looking down on him and chuckled, his golden eyes holding nothing but contempt."Do it. Show no mercy. Kill me! I dare you, Toa-hero."Leah spun her staff faster, letting it gain speed. Then, with one powerful swing, she brought it down. The staff hit the side of the Toa's head; and he lay still, comatose.The Toa of water let out a deep breath, then looked to Reordin, who had his ice-axes out again. She gave him a weak smile, which he returned."So...what do you have that he doesn't?"Her smile broadened at that. When Whiru had kneeled on top of her and she had looked away, it had not been to escapse his gaze, but because she had seen the Toa of ice approach to help. She looked Reordin in the eye."Unity." she said."Oh. I thought you were going to say 'a boyfriend'."
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#1729 Offline Tyler is Love

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Posted Mar 24 2013 - 12:16 AM

[color=#ff8c00;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]IC (Oreius)[/color][/font]

 

[color=#ff8c00;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]The Toa of Fire and the Toa of Shadow continued their deadly dance.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#ff8c00;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]Moving as lightly as a burbling stream, Reka slipped under her opponents' jab and swung her sickle at their exposed side. Oreius and Inu spun with the momentum of their dodged strike, allowing their other weapon to come around and knock hers away. They continued their spin with inhuman speed, swinging their sword in an arc of light that aimed to cut their foe in half.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#ff8c00;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]The strike didn't land: the Toa had simply vanished.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#ff8c00;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]The disappearance of their opponent left the Toa of Fire with too much momentum; they fell into a roll, and bounced to their feet, weapons at the ready, eyes searching the shadows for any sign of Reka. They found none.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#ff8c00;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]Oreius signalled mentally, and Inu silently agreed. The two that were one became two once more; their limbs pulled back into their proper shapes, and their posture straightened,[/color][/font][color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"] re[/color][/font][color=#ff8c00;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]turn[/color][/font][color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]i[/color][/font][color=#ff8c00;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]ng Ore[/color][/font][color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]ius to [/color][/font][color=#ff8c00;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]t[/color][/font][color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]h[/color][/font][color=#ff8c00;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]e he[/color][/font][color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]ight[/color][/font][color=#ff8c00;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"] a[/color][/font][color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]nd str[/color][/font][color=#ff8c00;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]e[/color][/font][color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]ngth of a regular Toa.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]His muscles trembled as their power left them, leaving an aching sense of weakness that could easily be mistaken for exhaustion. Oreius was not tired, however: he was still at the height of his strength. It was Inu's energy that had fuelled the first part of their duel.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]In exchange for the loss of his enhanced physical abilities, however, the Toa of Fire was once again a master of flame and heat, and the powers of the Kanohi Auporo were once again his to command. He had been too distracted at the onset of the battle to comprehend Reka's weaknesses (a mistake that he silently berated himself for; the soldier couldn't allow his focus to slip like that), but as soon as he laid eyes on her again, he would know how to defeat her.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]And seeing her just became easier.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]Calling up a flame to run along his swords was as simple as breathing: Oreius allowed the energy running beneath his skin to flow down his arm and through his fingers, setting his weapons ablaze. The twin blades shone like stars in the gloomy cavern, cutting through the darkness and revealing a shadowy tentacle reaching for his throat.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]A swipe- a slice- and the tentacle fell, dissipating in midair. But Oreius was granted no relief: the light of the flickering flames revealed a second -and then a third- appendage composed of pure darkness. He cut these in half too, the light his swords cast doing almost as much damage as the razor-sharp steel.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]The flurry of attacks ended quickly, replaced by a dead silence.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]Oreius looked to one side, then the other, the spun around, his wary eyes flickering from shadow to shadow as he attempted to locate his opponent.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]Then she stepped out of the darkness, as though she had only then been birthed from the shadows, like Venus from the surf. Her visage in the firelight was so beautiful, so perfect... Oreius shut these thoughts out as best he could, hardening his heart to the temptress. She was cold, distant beauty, yet warm, soft sensuality, and as lovely as twilight, but she was evil.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]The Toa of Fire could almost taste it: Reka was the essence of pollution, of pure water turned to stagnation and poison. As he recognized this, the pieces seemed to fit together in his mind, and he suddenly saw the terrible reality of whom he was facing.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]The sickles. The golden eyes. The fluidity of her speech and movement.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]His eyes turned briefly to the other Toa of Shadow, and everything clicked. The axe. The ball and chain. The flamberge.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]Blood thundering in his ears as he contemplated this horrific new knowledge, Oreius looked back to Reka, and his heart broke.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]Gali.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]The Toa of Shadow smiled, but the seductive twist of her lips looked to Oreius like nothing more than the leer of a harlot. His stomach twisted as he realized just how far Makuta's corruption had gone. He hadn't been satisfied with merely defeating the First Toa: he had perverted them, dragging them down into the filth of his foul darkness and putrefying hate.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]He blinked back angry tears, and the flames burning on the steel of his sword brightened, licking up his righteous anger, casting the circle of light farther, illuminating his opponent.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#000000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]“You're strong,”[/color][/font][color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"] Reka murmured. [/color][/font][color=#000000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]“Stronger than I once was.” [/color][/font][color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]Her eyes sought his, held them. [/color][/font][color=#000000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]“Such a pity you fight for the losing side.”[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]The Toa of Fire struggled to find his voice, keeping his guard up. “I fight only because you fell. Your Master will fall in the same way.”[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]Her charming smile widened, soft lips revealing and framing perfect teeth as she spread her arms wide.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#000000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]“You know who I am, Oreius; that knowledge should paralyse you. How can you hope to defeat this?”[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]She stalked closer a step, her body seeming to flow through the air.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#000000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]“And even if we fall, how can you possibly hope to defeat the One who made us? He has vanquished Toa far more powerful than you.”[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]“That is all we can do,” came the soft reply. “Hope. But faith is strong, Reka, and even where everything else fails, it can ove-”[/color][/font]

 

[color=#000000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]“-it can overcome all; yes, I've heard,”[/color][/font][color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"] she snarled, her beautiful face twisting abruptly into an ugly mask of sheer scorn. [/color][/font][color=#000000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]“Faith did little good for us, in case you haven't noticed.”[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]“I'm sorry,” Oreius said, and he was.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#000000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]“Don't be,”[/color][/font][color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"] she replied darkly. [/color][/font][color=#000000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]“I don't want to feel guilty when I rip you open from throat to pelvis.”[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]The shadows surrounding the pair leaped in; a thousand spikes of darkness jabbed at the Toa of Fire, but he extinguished them with a blast of heat and light that rippled outward from his body. The Toa of Shadow continued her attack, summoning a massive wave of elemental night that cascaded over Oreius, but this too was blown apart, fragments of shadow flying outward from his body and melting away.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]A scythe composed of darkness threatened to harvest Oreius' knees, but he leapt over it and cut through it with one of his swords, while the other fended off a whip of shadow. Both blades were glowing red-hot as the Toa's fire danced over the steel, emanating light and heat as though they had just been pulled from a furnace.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]A swarm of shadow needles peppered the aura of light that Oreius was casting, but dissipated before they could touch his armour, followed by a lance of darkness that very nearly skewered him. He dodged the aerial attack, then threw out an arm, summoning an attack of his own.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]A living tendril of flame blossomed from the tip of blade, and lashed through the air towards Reka. The Toa of Shadow responded throwing a fist-sized ball of darkness that met the fiery whip in midair and blew it to bits. But Oreius was already attempting another attack: he cast three balls of fire into the air, which fell like meteors upon his opponent.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]Reka's reaction was to create a massive sword out of shadow, which she swung in a wide arc above her head, slicing all three projectiles in half. By then, the Toa of Fire had already unleashed another two whips of living flame, which twisted through the darkness only to encounter two shadowy counterparts. The four whips clashed together, destroying each other with a cracking sound reminiscent of gunshots.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]Oreius' skin danced with tongues of fire that licked at his armour but did not consume, making him look like some heavenly being composed entirely of flame. He continued throwing elemental attacks, trying to batter Reka into submission, but every blade or whip or blast of fire he made was met with its dark counterpart and destroyed. The Toa of Shadow, from what he could see in the light cast by their duel, didn't look tired at all. He need to break this stalemate: he would tire long before she did.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]And the only way to break this impasse was to remove her shadows. But every attempt he made was struck down by Reka's darkness. He couldn't manage to take the advantage long enough to create a bright enough source of light.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]Then he felt it: his senses caught the unmistakable presence of fire elsewhere in the chamber. His eyes flickered across the cavern and saw Leah sprinting forward, her staff's tip dragging across the ground behind her, creating sparks against the stone. [/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]He didn't give himself time to think about it; he simply acted.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]Throwing a hand out, the Toa of Fire mentally took hold of those few small sparks and pulled them high into the air, as though caught on a tremendous up-draft. The faint points of light and heat fled higher and higher, until they were lost in the darkness above.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]Reka saw what he was doing, and, with an angry shout, threw a barrage of shadow tentacles towards the now-invisible specks of light, but it was too late.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]The sparks, fed by Oreius' elemental energy, exploded above the duelling Toa in a vast burst of light and heat, banishing the shadows; for a brief moment, the cavern was lit up as though it were daytime, and the sun shone below the Kini-Nui.[/color][/font]


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#1730 Offline Friar Tuck

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Posted Mar 24 2013 - 01:33 AM

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

 

[Kini-Nui Jungle]

 
Crazy (cra·zy; adjective) - distracted with desire or excitement;  absurdly fond : infatuated; passionately preoccupied : obsessed
 
[color=#daa520;]All the above.[/color]
 
[color=#ff0000;]I gripped Cael's mask tightly, psyching myself up for what I was about to do next. Passion, obsession, desire... longfulness. Heartbreak. Dispair. I finally understood what it was Heuani meant and what he wanted me to feel.[/color]
 
[color=#ff0000;]And why he did what he did.[/color]
 
[color=#ff0000;]There is no logic when it comes to Love. It defies all reason, all sensibility; it flies in the face of analysis, laughs at any attempt to rationalize it. When true love grips the heart it is like a disease that cannot be removed, a weed that is nearly impossible to root out. Even in heartbreak it does not disappear, only digs itself deeper into you core as a reminder of what you once had, torturing you on what could have been. Some say that to love and lost is better than to have never loved at all, but whoever said that never experienced it in its fullest. [/color]
 
[color=#ff0000;]Yet despite its weedy nature it is not bad; despite the bad rap if properly cultivated it can transform from a weed to a beautiful flowering plant, the likes of which few poets have ever described in pen. It can grow into something so much bigger, so much more satisfying than a simple flirt, one-time stand, or even a casual relationship. True love, when properly nurtured, can create a relationship, a bond so powerful that nothing, not even death, can truly vanquish it. It endures forever, long after the body has grown old and the mind withers. It is something everyone deep down seeks, wishes, longs for, but few ever taste the fruit. And that is the temptation.[/color]
 
[color=#ff0000;]Taking the fruit before it is ready.[/color]
 
[color=#ff0000;]That was the downfall of Heuani.[/color]
 
[color=#ff0000;]I don't know which one he was. In fact, I didn't want to know which of the former Toa Mata he was, but in our battle I had seen a heard enough; he had desired too much. Maybe it was out of jealousy. Maybe it was out of lust. Or maybe it was because of something he could never have, or maybe over a simple comment. Whatever the case, his desire, his lust to have overruled his principle and his virtues, leading him down a road that ultimately lead to betrayal... and denial of what he wanted. No matter how much he had, he realized he needed more. She wasn't enough... so he took another. And another. And another. Never satisfied, always craving, becoming the monster he is today, the rumor and legends of his deeds that follow in his wake, the stories mothers tell to young daughters at night. His is what happens if you let your desire, your craving, your lust for power take precedence over the Virtues and the Code that Mata-Nui so carefully crafted and instilled into each one of us upon activation. But there was more to it than that.[/color]
 
[color=#ff0000;]He also believed that the rules didn't apply to him.[/color]
 
[color=#ff0000;]In his desire and madness he came to conclusion that he was above the laws, or at least through other means he could circumvent what was placed down in antiquity. This is the folly of all power-seekers; they wish or believe themselves free of the laws and boundaries that tie this world together, that bind the universe and keep it from fraying at the seams. They think they can beat the system, but in the end they can't, their evil eventually consuming them as they pay dearly for their crimes. No matter how hard you try there always must be a balance in the universe in one aspect or another; nothing is ever free. A price must be paid. Something can never come out of nothing. He believed that he could cheat death and destiny, forge his own path as he so willed. That the rules didn't apply to him. That he was free of the consequences. It was this lone fact that, in the end, was the difference between him and me.[/color]
 
[color=#ff0000;]That there are always consequences for one's actions... either for good or for ill.[/color]
 
[color=#ff0000;]Which led me to this moment.[/color]
 
[color=#ff0000;]I loved Cael, more than life itself. I loved her more than Kohlii, more than being hero, more than the powers gifted so miraculously for me. While not the sole reason that I accepted my quest or the reason I fought on despite mounting odd, she did represent it in it's entirety. She was the reason people like me got up in the morning and dragged out butts out into the real world and face the never-ending battle with a smile on our face. The reason we do what we do. Even the reason why sometimes we make the ultimate sacrifice - so that people like her can live. People like her, those who have a future, those who know how to build and re-build a society in a devastating aftermath. True warriors don't fight for themselves; they never fight for their own futures. They fight so that others may live and have a better life because of it. She was my heart and soul, the driving force behind my every move. Without her I was lost and without purpose. To me she was the physical manifestation of hope. And without hope, what's the reason for living? That's what it boiled down to.[/color]
 
[color=#ff0000;]I wasn't going to live my life that way. I had already learned that while Destiny is immutable, one's Fate is his own to decide. I wasn't going to live without hope. I had completed my destiny, and in the process sacrificed everything I once held dear; everything. I had nothing left, and nothing left to lose. Therefore I had every reason to do what I planned on doing right now. Which no doubt is the same place Heuani at one point found himself in. To choose our own fate as we see fit.[/color]
 
[color=#ff0000;]This difference is, I am ready and willing to accept the consequences. Just because I challenge destiny and fate does not mean I believe I am above the law. There WILL be repercussions for this singular act. I have gotten lucky thus far, gotten away with more than I should have. This time I would not be so fortunate. But I was willing to accept the outcome.[/color]
 
[color=#daa520;]I am not afraid of death.[/color]
 
[color=#ff0000;]I took one final look at her mask before closing my eyes, breathing a silent prayer.[/color]
 
[color=#daa520;]Cael, when I said I loved you, I meant it in every sense of the words. That I would care for you, protect you, be with you until death and beyond. Here I sit, ready to make good on that promise. I cannot fathom living without you in my life, even as you were so brutally taken from this mortal realm. I promised you we would always be together. So what I am about to attempt will bring that to pass: either I will succeed, or I will die. Either way, we will be together again, and this time we will not be separated. Together forever. My love...[/color]
 
[color=#ff0000;]With a scream that could pierce the heavens I pulled my arm black, summoning every once of willpower and elemental light I could muster. Even as I placed the mask on the ground I felt only a trickle, my wondrous mask all but disintegrated, only a few small chunks left on my face. It wasn't going to be enough. It wasn't... no, I needed more. Just a tad more... I was so tired... [/color]
 
[color=#daa520;]"Mata-Nui, please grant me this one last request from your humble servant: grant me the strength to try."[/color]
 
[color=#ff0000;]I don't know where it came from, but I felt the slightest of surges from deep within. Perhaps is was an untapped reserve, or perhaps something more... I didn't know. All I knew was that I had enough, and with a voice with as much passion as one could possibly have I plunged my hand into her mask, using the last rays of my light powers to force through the cracks, much like I did to open the doors to the Keeping Place. My arm was engulfed by the mask, and for the briefest of moments I felt nothing, only cold nothingness.[/color]
 
[color=#ff0000;]Then I felt a hand.[/color]
 
*   *   *
 
[color=#ff0000;]The moment my hand broke that barrier, I knew I had done something wrong.[/color]
 
[color=#ff0000;]Cosmic laws where there for a reason; to keep the universe in balance and in check. If anyone could do whatever they felt like, everything would fall apart at the seams. Some where known, most were not, but there were handful that were glaringly and universally obvious... and I was attempting to break the most basic and fundamental of them all.[/color]
 
[color=#800080;]"The dead do not come back to life."[/color]
 
[color=#ff0000;]The jungle was gone. The underbrush, the greenery, the island... gone. The world had been replaced with endless white, only myself and Cael's mask populating this odd realm. That and a floating Great Kanohi.[/color]
 
[color=#ff0000;]One that was clearly not pleased.[/color]
 
[color=#800080;]"The dead do not come back." [/color][color=#ff0000;]repeated the mask, more commandingly than before. [/color][color=#800080;]"Release her life-force, Toa. or-"[/color]
 
[color=#daa520;]"No."[/color]
 
[color=#ff0000;]I don't know who was more startled: myself at the sudden and forcefulness of my own voice, or the mask at the fact it had been interrupted. It seemed confounded at my single word, utterly perplexed at my lack of apparent respect. There was a long silence, a silence that was physical as the plants that I had been wading through just moments before.[/color]
 

[color=#800080;]"You cannot bring her back. Release her spirit."[/color]  

 

[color=#daa520;]"I can."[/color]

 

[color=#800080;]"No. You can't. It is impossible."[/color]  

 

[color=#daa520;]"Then tell me then the legend is false, the legend of imprint."[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]It was a story I had heard long ago, back in the days of my childhood and Turaga Vakama still told stories around the campfire. It is said that Kanohi have a tendency to retain an imprint of their owner's conscience and identity within themselves for a short time after being removed, allowing any mask to be infused with great amounts of a life-force to resurrect the deceased mask-wearer. However, after an extended period of time, the imprint will fade away, making such a resuscitation impossible. At least, that's how the story. Everyone, especially Jaller, simply laughed off the tale away, by I was an impressionable young youth and much more susceptible of accepting wild and fantastic tales. Even as I grew older I never forgot it or the others the Turaga told us, even if over time I left them fall by the wayside of childhood fantasies. That is, until I placed the Temple Stones into the statues. As I was transported away to the Keeping Place I realized that it was merely a tool of many uses, among them transportation, creation.. and knowledge. And as I moved through time and space I gleaned little titbits of information. Most I had already forgotten, but one I grasped on to, for it correlated to the very story Vakama told me as a child. The possibility of bringing someone back. But more importantly, the cost.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]And as much as this entity hated the idea, I felt it was beyond him to lie.[/color]

 

 [color=#800080;]"I can neither confirm nor deny," [/color][color=#ff0000;]he said slowly, gazing at me with this eyeless sockets,[/color][color=#800080;] "but even if it were true, what could you, a beaten and bruised Toa possibly offer?"[/color]

 

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

 

[color=#ff0000;]The mask looked at me critically, but I forged ahead. [/color][color=#daa520;]"I offer myself and my energies as the payment for her life. I am willing to give up who I am so that she may live."[/color]  

 

[color=#ff0000;]The cynical laughter burned in my ears. [/color][color=#800080;]"What makes you think your own pathetic life-force is strong enough to pay for the return of a soul, let alone re-create a body? You barely have enough energy to keep functioning yourself, let alone bridge the gap for another. Still, you humor me and your valor is commendable, so if you leave now I will spare your life."[/color]  

 

[color=#daa520;]"No."[/color] [color=#ff0000;]My features were a hard as stone.[/color]

 

[color=#800080;]"Truly you cannot be serious. I an giving you an way out, one I should not be offering. Should you continue in this foolhardy pursuit, then you will die. What could possibly be more valuable than your own life?"[/color] [color=#ff0000;]He seemed almost smug in his reasoning, as if he was giving me the greatest of mercies. What I said next promptly wiped that expression off his featureless face.[/color]

 

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

 

[color=#ff0000;]The pause was climatic. [/color][color=#daa520;]"For all your apparent knowledge and power, there is something you lack: understanding. If you understood, you would know why I am here, why I am doing this... and why I cannot let go. I love this Toa, this woman, and I am willing to give anything to be together with her again... even at the cost of myself. It's not that I hope to skirt the consequences... it's that I am willing to accept them. Whatever the cost. No matter what you say, I will not let go, not in a thousand years. I lost her once; I will not do so again. Even if that means I die, at least I died trying. Being the man I promised her I would be. That no matter what happens, we would be together. And no power in the universe can stop me from doing just that."[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]The silence was deafening as he absorbed my words.[/color] "[color=#800080;]And nothing will dissuade you from that."[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]My heart caught in my throat as I answered.[/color] [color=#daa520;]"Nothing."[/color]

 

[color=#800080;]"Then you will meet the same fate as her."[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I was struck with a bolt of lightning that made Ronkshou look like a Hoto Bug[/color]

 

[color=#000000;]*   *   *[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Nothing I had experienced matched the pain I suffered right now.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]The mask hit me with everything he was worth, pouring his vengeance on me with great retribution. He would make me suffer for my hubris, make me wish I would die before snuffing out my existence, as was his right. I had broken, or at least attempted to break, a universal law, and now I was receiving the punishment for it. A punishment I justifiably deserved.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]But I did not let go.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]There was the slightest of pauses before he came at me again, this time ten fold. Waves of anguish slammed on my frail body like a tsunami over a tiny breaker; it was enough to make me scream for mercy as I cried out in response. This was no ordinary battle - this wasn't just my body we were dealing with. It was my own soul that was here, the very thing that tied my spirit and my body together, therefore the pain more excruciating than physical torture could conquer up. I had put myself up as the link between this world and that for Cael so that she might find her way home. It was an impossible task, one that I could not possibly succeed in.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Yet I did not let go.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]The attacks ceased for a moment ans the mask drew closer, curious as why I did not falter. I sat there shaking like a leaf in the wind, gagging and gasping for breath, every orifice open and every part of me trembling uncontrollably. I could barely meet his gaze as he inspected me, like a curious scientist explores a strange new piece of data. Through glassy eyes and twitching lips I mustered the will to speak.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]"Let... her... go."[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]The mask was astonished and perplexed at my endurance.[/color] [color=#800080;]"No."[/color] [color=#ff0000;]he said simply, and hit me again. [/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Nothing in the world could equal the pain. But I refused to let go.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]"Let... her... go!"[/color]

 

[color=#800080;]"SILENCE!"[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]It was as if my insides were being turned inside out and then torn apart from every angle. No part of me was safe as I endured his wrath, this time with no breaks in the action. I could feel myself slipping away, but not out of my own volition. No, my hand was locked around hers, and I would never let go.[/color]

 

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

 

[color=#ff0000;]It was as if my own light was ripped from my body as I saw the remains of my mask evaporate.[/color]

 

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

 

[color=#ff0000;]Talons dug into my chest, the claws grasping at my inner fire. With a gasp I felt them remove an ember, a red-hot coal in it's bloody appendages. Yet I refused to yield.[/color]

 

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

 

[color=#ff0000;]My head shot back as the pain vanished. The shock of the change left me stunned, eyes wide in stupor as I felt tendrils wrap around me, burrowing their way into the very reaches of my soul, siphoning away what little was left of me. I could feel my Toa Power being removed iota by iota, the very life-essence sucked away in unceremonious fashion. Once that was gone I would have nothing left. The mask had ripped me apart piece by piece, section by section, part by part, until there was nothing left of me to dissect. In a few moments it would be all over, and I would cease to exist. I would die. Simple as that. Here, in a strange place, with an ever stranger entity, trying to rescue the one worth all the pain and suffering this mask could dish out. Yet I had no regrets.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]And still I did not let go.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I would never let go.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Even as the white world slipped to grey, then to black, even as the pain retreated into nothingness and I felt my conscious mind float away into the void, the last thing I could see was that mask. The mask that had tried everything to get me to let go of my love. To let go of Cael. The very thing I didn't do. The last thing I remember wasn't an image, but a sound. A voice.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]A sentence.[/color]

 

[color=#800080;]"Paid in full."[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Nothing.[/color]


Edited by Friar Tuck, Mar 24 2013 - 01:36 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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#1731 Offline Tyler is Love

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Posted Mar 24 2013 - 03:16 AM

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"][color=#000000;]"The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death."[/color][/font]

 

 

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

 

[color=#000080;]The last thing Cael saw was Heuani. His ebony frame, supple and muscled. His golden eyes, pools of liquid amber that penetrated her soul and drew her in and coaxed her to lose herself. His immaculate face, perfectly formed and proportioned[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]The last thing she felt was his kiss. His cool hand held her face still; his soft lips met hers, gentle at first, before pressing harder, and then the Toa of Water no longer felt pleasure but fear, as her own element rose up inside her and began to drown her.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]The last thing she heard was the roaring of blood in her ears and the terrible pounding of her heart as her lungs filled with water and she tried to pull away from Heuani and force air into her body but the Toa of Shadow held her fast. His arms were a prison; his kiss was poison.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]The last thing she tasted was blood as she bit his lip, desperate to get away, and his face twisted in anger and he thrust her away, his finger tearing her flesh from cheekbone to chin. She would have cried out in pain, but her lungs were full of water, and she couldn't make a sound. She fell, hitting the cold stone but hardly feeling it. It was darkly ironic, in a way: water, the healing element, whose power she had mastered for the sole purpose of bringing life, was going to kill her. It had already killed her. She choked, and tried to draw breath, but it was too late.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]The last thought she had, before darkness covered her eyes, was of Joske.[/color]

 

[color=#000000;]* * *[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]The first thing she saw light.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]Wait, that can't be right. Didn't I...?[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]Cael's thought went unfinished as her vision burred into focus.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]She sat up easily; there was no pain, no physical sensations to remind her of...[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]Of... dying.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]She was dead, wasn't she? But this didn't look like Artakha or Karzahni. It was just... nothing. Empty white space as far as the eye could see.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]Was this what came after death? An eternity spent here, in this blank slate? The healer had always assumed that, if Artakha and Karzahni didn't exist, the other most likely option was simply nothingness. Like falling into a deep, dreamless, never-ending sleep.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]Not spending eternity awake, in an empty place.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]She didn't know how long she sat there for, simply staring into the void. It could have been minutes, hours, or years: there was no way to keep track of time besides counting seconds. But, gradually, she became aware of someone -or something- distinguishing itself from the endless expanse.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]It started off far away, and with no landmarks to judge distance by, it could have been kio away. But Cael waited patiently as it slowly came closer. There was no hurry: somehow, she understood that time was meaningless here.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]As time went by, the figure came closer, and the Toa of Water began to be able to make it out. It was vaguely Toa-shaped, and blue as the summer sky. It approached unhurriedly, but steadily, coming closer with every passing moment.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]Then, with a start, Cael jumped to her feet in astonishment as she recognized the blue being, and Toa Gali, the First Toa of Water, walked up to her, a smile on her face.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]The healer's jaw dropped slightly; she clasped a hand to her mouth, then clumsily bowed her head in respect and awe. She waited there a moment, holding her breath, but Gali said nothing. There was only silence.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]After a long few moments, she raised her head slightly, and saw her hero standing there, arms folded, chuckling quietly to herself.[/color]

 

[color=#0000cd;]“Cael, you place far too much importance on formalities. Come here, sister.”[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]The First Toa of Water pulled the healer into a warm hug. Taken by surprise, Cael stood there awkwardly for a moment, before relaxing into Gali and embracing her back, still not entirely sure any of this was real.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]The two Toa separated and stood at arm's length. Gali looked Cael up and down, and smiled approvingly. [/color][color=#0000cd;]“Well, you've certainly grown since I last saw you.”[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]The healer smiled shyly. “I guess you could say that.”[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]Gali laughed, her golden eyes similar in shade to Heuani's, and yet entirely different, sparkling with life and joy.[/color]

 

[color=#0000cd;]“And the things you've done! Guarding Ga-Koro in my stead, caring for the Matoran, watching over the waters, and helping Joske achieve his destiny...”[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]“We all did what we could when you... when you left,” Cael replied quietly with a small smile. “I did my best, I suppose.”[/color]

 

[color=#0000cd;]“Your best was a good deal more than you think,”[/color][color=#000080;] the First Toa responded warmly. [/color][color=#0000cd;]“I'm proud to call you sister, Cael.”[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]The healer's cheeks flushed at the compliment. The two Ga-Toa were silent for a long moment before she finally spoke again.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]“So... where am I, Toa Gali?”[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]The First Toa was quiet, appearing to be deep in thought.[/color]

 

[color=#0000cd;]“I suppose... the best way to describe it would be a crossroads.”[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]“A crossroads?” The shock in Cael's voice was evident. “Aren't I... didn't I die?”[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]Gali nodded.[/color][color=#0000cd;] “Yes, you did. But you're not entirely gone yet.[/color]

 

[color=#0000cd;]“If you stay here, you will pass on. I can't tell you where; all I know is that you will leave Mata Nui forever. But I've come to collect you, Cael: if you come with me, you can choose to return.”[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]“Does... does everyone get this choice?”[/color]

 

[color=#0000cd;]“It doesn't matter.”[/color][color=#000080;] The First Toa smiled. [/color][color=#0000cd;]“But you do, and that's all that matters.”[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]She extended a hand. [/color][color=#0000cd;]“Come, sister. You've done enough for one day. It's time to go home.”[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]Cael looked at the proffered hand for a moment, then reached out and took hold. Gali's hand enfolded hers, and she looked back up at the First Toa of Water and smiled.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]“Let's go, then.”[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]The Ga-Toa's grip grew stronger, holding the healer's hand tight, then yanked Cael out of the white expanse and into darkness.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]The last thing she heard was a titanic voice, booming louder than anything she'd ever heard; it spoke a single sentence that shook the stars.[/color]

 

[color=#4b0082;]“Paid in full.”[/color]

 

[color=#000000;]* * *[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]Cael opened her eyes.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]At first, she couldn't make anything out except for a blur of brown and green. She blinked, and the world slowly swam into focus. She became aware that she was lying on the ground: she could feel grass and pine needles beneath her, and a stick poking her in the back.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]The green and brown colours above her gradually coalesced into the jungle canopy. Her sight returned, the healer began to quickly run through the rest of her body, figuring out if everything was in working order.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]She could hear the sound of birds calling to one another. She could smell the scent of pine sap, and taste it on her tongue. Her limbs all responded at her command, and her chest rose and fell as she breathed.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]Everything seemed to be in proper working order, so the Toa of Water rolled over and attempted to push herself to her feet. The resulting rush of blood made her dizzy, so she settled for kneeling on the forest floor, waiting for the vertigo to subside.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]When the world stopped spinning, Cael looked around, and, with a start of fear, saw a familiar form lying on the ground next to her. Red, gold, and unconscious. Joske.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]Her wooziness forgotten, the healer moved over to the Ta-Toa's side and quickly began checking his vital signs. His airway was clear; he was breathing; his heart rate was slightly slower than average, but otherwise normal.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]He was also completely covered in wounds, cuts and bruises. There didn't seem to be an inch of his body that wasn't hurt in some way. His armour was pitted and scarred, and spattered with blood and scorch marks. Three of his ribs felt broken.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]Cael didn't think twice about it. Kneeling beside him, she placed her hands on his chest, activated her mask, and the familiar rush of peaceful blue energy spilled out of her hands, enfolding Joske's battered frame and sinking into his skin, repairing the damage done to his body.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]Compared to the injuries the Toa of Fire had sustained before, this healing was relatively straightforward. The Toa of Water set the broken ribs and knit them back together, and soothed the Ta-Toa's burned flesh. His bruises faded; his wounds closed and sealed themselves, stopping any blood flow. She poured her energy into his strained and torn muscles, coaxing them back to health, and repaired as much internal damage as she could find.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]Despite being simpler than other healings she had performed on Joske, the process left Cael trembling and slightly dizzy with exhaustion. She closed her eyes as she deactivated her mask, and waited for the feeling to subside.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]When she opened her eyes, she saw Joske was already stirring. His breathing quickened, and his eyelids fluttered.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]She leaned over him, her face scarce inches from his.[/color]

 

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

 

[color=#000080;]His eyes flickered open; he blinked several times as his world came into focus, then they widened in astonishment.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]“Cael,”[/color][color=#000080;] he breathed.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]They remained there for a long time, the Toa of Water leaning over the Toa of Fire, unwilling or unable to look away from each other. A soft breeze sprang up; the leaves rustled, but neither of them moved. At long last, Joske reached up with a trembling hand and gently touched the side of her face.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]“I missed you,”[/color][color=#000080;] he whispered, his voice cracking.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]She smiled, tears gently trailing their way down her cheeks, then gently leaned in and kissed the Toa of Fire.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]For the second time in her life, she had nothing else to say.[/color]


Edited by Eyru Bieber, Mar 24 2013 - 03:17 AM.

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#1732 Offline Friar Tuck

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Posted Mar 24 2013 - 04:41 PM

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

 

[Kini-Nui jungle; ???]

 

[color=#ff0000;]And even if she could have found words to say, it would have been impossible for her to speak.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Our lips were too busy interlocking.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Even as she leaned in I used that hand to reach behind her head and gently pull down. It didn't take any effort really; she didn't need any help or guide on my part. She was already on top of me, embracing me, pressing in close, spilling tears of joy and sadness and relief and heartbreak all at the same time. But she wasn't the only one crying. In her brief one-over with her mask she must have hydrated me: for down my maskless face my own tears intermingled with hers. The fact that she was here, alive, us, together... I could not hold back the emotion. The emotion I felt when saw she first vanished off the bay in Ga-Wahi; the sense of dread as I raced across the island to save her life; the feeling of utter hopelessness as Heuani gloated over his conquest of her. All of it came out here, all at once, even as I silently sobbed. She - she was back. We were together again despite all odds.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]And as for my hands... my hands were busy.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Before everything happened, I actually prided myself as an expert womanizer; after all, who couldn't resist the smile-wink-perfect-touch combo? Once I had swallowed my pride however and learned the error of my ways I had made a commitment to be better than that. To be more honorable. I had made a promise to myself to forgo my old habits and start anew, be the gentleman Cael saw in me. And for the most part yes, I had very much succeeded. But old habits die hard; I mean really hard. And in this case my exhaustion coupled with my passion and the sheer overwhelmingness of this moment, well... let's just say had it been any other instance in time I'm dead certain Cael would have smacked me so hard that I would have been shunted back ten minutes so that she could slap me again before it happened. It was like touching her for the first time all over again, something I wanted to ingrain in my memory forever; in a small way that was actually true. One moment she had only been a mask, the next there was a full body attached to it, reborn out of the memories of the old. She was brand-new, and she was mine... and I was hers. And I was making the most of the opportunity. The old me wasn't completely gone; just just beaten into a small corner that came out every once in a while to play.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]To be perfectly honest though, I wasn't the only one enjoying this moment to the fullest.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Apparently Cael wasn't as squeaky-clean and modest as she claimed either. [/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Life is full of surprises.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I don't know how long we laid there in the sun, the ambient air warming up as the sun rose higher in the sky, the shade moving away and into smaller patches. All I can say it was picture perfect as Cael dozed on my sprawled body, both of us just too tired to care or move, let alone speak. But we didn't have to. After the karzahni both of us went through I think we earned a nap, though I personally felt like I could sleep for a week straight. Nothing could break the spell this place had cast on us; not even Artakha could compare to this. My lips began to twist into an exhausted grin-[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]"You're cold."[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Her voice was as soft as it could be, but it broke the moment like a disk through a stained-glass window. It jolted me awake out of my trance-like state, and as I opened my eyes I saw her look quizzically at me.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]"No I'm not. I'm actually quite warm... especially considering you're right on top of me."[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I strained forward and kissed her gently, and for a moment we were lost again, not a word spoken. Her lips tasted like the ocean on a calm day even as her comforting, familiar scent filled my nostrils. It may have only been a day or two but to me it had felt like an eternity had passed since she had been taken from me, and these sensations with it. Eventually however she pulled back slightly, feeling my armorless chest with her probing fingers as if examining me for something.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]"Wrong choice of words.” [/color][color=#ff0000;]The healer smiled.[/color] [color=#000080;]“I mean, you're not excessively warm, like lava wrapped in a thin blanket. You're standard temperature for a Toa... which is odd. So for you, you're cold."[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]"Toa have a standard temperature?"[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]She was about to open her mouth when the implications of that hit her. There were Ta-Toa, Ko-Toa, Pa-Toa, even others... all of which had the power to control and alter temperature. So this "standard" really wasn't as universal as she suggested... I grinned madly as she weakly attempted to punch me.[/color] [color=#000080;]"Joske! You know what I mean! There are standards, and there are exceptions to tho- stop laughing!"[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I couldn't help myself, a hoarse and throaty chuckle escaping my lips as she playfully beat me in the chest once or twice, which hurt surprisingly more than I expected. Taking a long breath, I looked into those golden eyes of hers, a sly grin on my face.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]"Look, I'm probably just tired and depleted. That's all. Give me a day or two and I'll be back to my normal, steamy self. Watch."[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Reaching down with myself I tapped into that place where my elemental power resided, the fire that burned within me, fueled my passion and my soul. Facing my palm upwards I commanded the tiniest of flames to appear-[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]And nothing happened.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I blinked. I tried again, this time actually focusing at the task at hand. I guess I was more tired than I gave myself credit for. I mean, after all, I DID have an eventful day after all-[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Again, nothing.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Cael looked at me expectantly, like a child waiting for something exciting to happen, her eyes darting back and forth between my eyes and my hand. Perhaps this was just a side effect of the temporary light powers? It could take a while for my fire to come back. Taking on a long breath I closed my eyes and concentrated with everything I had...[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]...only to slowly and shakily release it. With great effort I attempt to sit up, and it took Cael's help for me to accomplish this feat. Quietly she settled into my lap as I stared into my hands. There was a slight tremor in them as I came to grips with the realization of what had happened.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I had no elemental powers.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]It wasn't that I couldn't summon them; it wasn't even like there was a gnawing void of where they used to be - it was simply not there. Nonexistent. It was as though I never had control over the Element of Fire, never had a connection to heat and flame. That ember that I saw removed... my heart sank as I realized it was more than just metaphorical. In order to fuel her return part of the cost had been my connection to fire. The coal was the seed in which my powers had blossomed from, and now that was taken from me. But that wasn't all. In my self-diagnostic and self-searching I found that wasn't the only thing missing.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I was also missing my Toa Power.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]At first I was confused; how could I remain a Toa without it? It was the lifeblood of our race, what made us who we are, at least in the physical sense. As it was explained to me by Agni back after I first transformed, within a Toa's body is an energy called Toa Power, and that we as Toa use this energy instinctively. This energy is dormant within all Matoran, and is the trigger for transforming into a Toa; even Toa that were never Matoran (such as the former Toa Mata, I thought somberly) also possess this energy. Unlike Elemental energy, Toa Power does not recharge, so it must be used very cautiously. A Toa will turn into a Turaga if they have completed their destiny and sacrifice their Toa Power. If a Toa has expended all their Toa Power before they fulfill their destiny, then they will become a Turaga as soon as their destiny is fulfilled. That was it in a nutshell. Lose the Toa Power, lose the cool abilities. Simple as that. I had given all of it, the very essence of my life force, to Cael, to bring her back. By all accounts I should be a small Turaga, a frail elderly man after what I just pulled. I shouldn't still be a Toa. There was no explanation. Unless... unless...[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Unless my destiny wasn't quite fulfilled.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I hadn't said a word, but somehow Cael must have known what I was thinking, for I felt her cool hand wrap around mine, clasping all four together in front of us. Slowly I lifted my eyes, a shell-shocked expression on my face as she looked back with sad understanding. It took a while for me to pull myself out of this state, but when I did, the full realization of what happened settled on my like a cloak.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]There was a reason I survived.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]A reason why that entity couldn't kill me. Wouldn't kill me.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]It wasn't my time. Not yet.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I leaned forward, my head resting on her chest as I began to weep again, this time for different reasons. It wasn't that I regretted my decision; I had done so with open eyes and ready heart, willing to accept whatever the consequences may be. I honestly thought I was going to die... the possibility of survival was so remote I honestly didn't think of what life would be like afterwards if we made it. Whatever my destiny was, whatever the future had in store for me, I had yet to complete it... without powers. The only thing that was granted to me still was the use of a Kanohi, and even now I didn't have one. Never again would I be able to summon flame. Shoot a fireball. See and feel the heat and warmth of others. I could never use that launcher to fly, or create small wonders of light and tongues of flame. But more importantly the essence of my Toa-hood had been removed.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I could no longer heal physical injuries or cure poisons.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Perform near-miraculous feats for the greater good.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Nor would I ever be able to pass on my power, channel and store into a stone for some future matoran to use.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]And the day I finally completed my destiny I would either turn into a Turaga, if I was lucky, or I would die outright from the energies I was exposed in this mad gamble I had made. It was a sobering thought, a scary realization of what I had just lost.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]But even as I felt a soft, gentle hand stroke the back of my head, a soft voice soothing me as I wept in her arms, I realized that, at least for me, it wasn't a power truly lost. Maybe my own abilities had been weakened, but I had regained something even more precious to me in return. Deep down, I knew. As much as this hurt, as much uncertainty as the future now held for me, it wasn't just me. It was us.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I wouldn't have to do it alone. That alone was worth the price.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Slowly I lifted my head up, looking her in the eyes once more. So many things passed between us unspoken, and invisible bond as much part of us as any part of our bodies were. I was about to open my mouth to say something when I noticed something. Something on her mask.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]A scar.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]When she was reborn she was done so in perfect form. Not a single curve out of place, not an iota of her being in any way marred or otherwise imperfect. It was no wonder earlier I had caved a little to my desire, looking at the water beauty sitting in my lap so exquisitely before me... or so I thought. Somehow only now I had just noticed it. The scar I saw was on the right side of her face, starting just below her cheekbone, curving slight down to end just beside her chin, just above her jawline. It was raw, red, a stark contrast to her blue-toned mask, and slightly ragged, as if freshly made from a claw or maybe a digging finger, clearly haven't had time to heal. It was... it was remarkably similar, if not suspiciously so, to the scar that I saw in the vision in the battle against Heuani. In fact, it exactly matched that injury. Gingerly I reached out and touched it, finding it hot to the touch. Her response was immediate as her head jerked back slightly in mild shock. Apparently she didn't know it was there despite the fact it looked painful. The moment her hand rested on it, however, I could see that she understood what had happened. There was a long contemplative silence between us before I eventually spoke. It would seem we were both marred in our own special way.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]"Looks like we'll both be carrying around some scars for a very long time."[/color]


Edited by Friar Tuck, Mar 24 2013 - 04:43 PM.

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#1733 Offline Vezok's Friend

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Posted Mar 25 2013 - 05:30 AM

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

 

[color=#800000;]Agni looked at Dalia sternly. He could relate to her sentiment better than she could possibly know, but it was exactly for that reason that he refused to consider the option. He would have been glad to never see a single one of the Makuta's servants ever again, but since that night out on Naho-Bay - not the one of Cael's sacrifice, before that - he knew that if went to that dark place again there was no telling if he would manage to come back from it. Killing wasn't hard for a Toa...it was too easy most times. But death created nothing. It only left behind misery. But Agni couldn't very well tell the others that without telling the whole tale of what he and Valria had done. So instead he told them the second important reason:[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"Dalia, look around. Echelon and Utu and that Toa of iron - I don't know his name -  got away. We could follow them but that would mean to leave the Suva undefended while the Maru are not out of the woods yet. Or old enemy Ronkshou here doesn't seem to be under any dark sway anymore and Vidar...well, look at him." [/color]

 

[color=#800000;]He pointed to the curled-up figure on the ground nearby, small movements still signaling he was alive, but he was so out of it, Agni didn't know weather he would be able to recover or not. That left the Vortixx. [/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"She's still here, she's alive and she most likely has knowledge we can use to track down the remnants of Makuta's forces once we are done here."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Kohra chuckled weakly at that. She was still in a bad shape. It was hard enough keeping her torso propped upright with both arms. Running away was a distant dream. Nor did she want to. "If you believe I will tell you anything about..."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"Oh, shut it!" Agni snarled. He looked back at Dalia. The former mark-bearer had her arms folded and was looking away in an awkward moment of silence, which she ended a few seconds later by asking:[/color]

 

[color=#800000;][font="helvetica, arial, sans-serif;"]"So... How did this happen? How did that Toa- Joske, get so powerful? Who are these, 'Toa Maru' that you talked about?"[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="helvetica, arial, sans-serif;"]Thankful for the change of topic, Agni replied: "It's a long, long story. I only know one half of it and even that is missing a few bits here and there. In short, while we were all taking care of our own problems these past months, it seems the great spirit had a back-up prophecy to fulfill in case the Mata failed. From what I saw and have been told, all the Makuta's dark deeds, the murder of the chroniclers company, all that was to prevent this from happening, to stop the Toa Maru from coming into existence. Didn't do him much good...the Maru are the Mata's successors. Only met them today myself.  Joske knows them far better, he's had more contact with them. He's part of the prophecy as well, sort of a herald for the Maru. And no, I have no idea where he got those new powers from. Probably the same place he conjured up Angelus' new sword from. Speaking of which...where'd he disappear to?"[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;]Agni's eyes had fallen on the rock where he'd last left Joske sitting. Only he wasn't doing that anymore. The veteran knew his protegé was in no shape to be moving around so he felt reasonably worried at the sight. The Maru were still somewhere below, fighting Makuta. As long as they weren't back, the Makuta was alive, he was a threat and he still commanded forces...forces that could be regrouping for another attack. If something had snuck up on Joske...[/color]

[color=#800000;]He looked at Angelus.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"Stay here. I'll check this out."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"Shouldn't one of us come with..."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"No. As long as the Maru aren't back we need to hold the Suva. Stay put, I'll be back soon."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]The Toa of fire nodded once at the rest of the defenders, then activated his mask and instantly jumped the distance between him and the rock. He knelt down and examined the ground. There were bent blades of grass where Joske had been sitting, but also soft impressions leading away from the spot...he must have gotten up on his own. And judging by the tracks, that had not been the wisest idea. It seemed the kid still had whatever it was that made him run off to Ko-Wahi in the middle of the night to fight Muaka or to take on Tarakava alone.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"Typical..." Agni muttered under his breath. His eyes scanned the ground, then he started to follow the trail. In his shape, Joske had left behind a clear path of upturned leaves, broken twigs and the likes. It led deeper into the jungle. Pulling out his swords, just in case, he stepped into the overgrowth...[/color]

 

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

 

[color=#daa520;][font="helvetica, arial, sans-serif;"]"Looks like we'll both be carrying around some scars for a very long time."[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="helvetica, arial, sans-serif;"]Suddenly, there was a rustling of leaves and snapping twigs behind the two Toa. Cael's head whirled around and saw the familiar being step out from the twilight of the undergrowth. [/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="helvetica, arial, sans-serif;"]"Joske." [/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="helvetica, arial, sans-serif;"]The Toa of fire did not look happy at all to see him with company. [/color][font="helvetica, arial, sans-serif;"]Agni's eyes were narrow, his sword raised and glowing with energy. And it was pointing at Cael. [/font][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="helvetica, arial, sans-serif;"]"Stand up. Slowly. And move away from him."[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;]Agni was breathing heavily. He had seen a lot of things today that had required a great deal of suspension of disbelief. From Toa of light to magical masks granting wishes and surviving and onslaught of Rahi. But this was his limit. There was only one mask that could reanimate the dead; but that was merely temporary and could not restore them to full life. There was no force in the universe that any normal mortal being could tap into that could do so. And considering where they were, Agni could only think of one nearby who might have the power. And if this was Makuta's work, this Cael was dangerous. As much as the death of her pained him, since they had become friends; as much as he would have liked to see her alive again, he did not trust his eyes.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Joske's mind was still working as fast as ever though and after the inital surprise he had immediately realized how this scene had to look to the other Toa of fire. [/color][color=#daa520;]"No, Agni! Wait, it is her!"[/color][color=#800000;] he called out, raising a hand out, but power-wise, there was nothing he could do to intervene. [/color][font="helvetica, arial, sans-serif;"]Agni glared at him. It was very possible that Makuta knew about the relationship between Joske and Cael from Heuani. [/font]

 

[color=#800000;]"How do you know this? She disappeared in the middle of the night. None of us saw her die, just her mask. Makuta isn't dead yet. And he's using your vulnerability against you!" [/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Joske looked distraught. Agni looked into his eyes briefly. There was no lie in them...but that didn't make it true. He focused back on Cael stepping closer until there was maybe a foot of distance between then weapon and her. His frown darkened, then he asked:[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"The morning after Joske came back from Ko-Wahi alone. What was the first thing we did together?"The question was trivial. But it served two purposes: Joske had not been present then, it was only something Cael could answer, if it was really her. And secondly that piece of information was so inconsequential, if somebody had recreated her memories from mind-reading to fool them, they would most likely have skipped it. The Toa of water was silent for a moment, the question a surprise. Then she said:[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]"We...shared tea...for breakfast."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]The Toa of fire let out a deep breath, his expression lightening up considerably. The hand around the hilt of his blade opened and the weapon fell to the ground. "I'm sorry," he said, "I had to make sure it was really you."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]The next instant, he had closed the distance between them and Cael found herself in a big-brother-type of bear-hug. When he let go again he smiled at her broadly.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"It's so good to have you back!"[/color]


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#1734 Offline Landes'Rehn

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Posted Mar 25 2013 - 08:31 AM

[color=rgb(0,0,128);]IC:[/color]

 

[color=rgb(0,0,128);]As Agni went after the missing Joske, she took the time to consider the ramifications of what he had said. Everything that the Makuta had done... To get rid of those Toa Maru... She briefly wondered if that included the Mark Bearers. She knew that Echelon had 'comissioned' them from Arekule... Was that one of his intended uses for the Bearers once Arekule had completed Echelon's request? Maybe she'd ask Echelon that. Before she killed him.[/color]

 

[color=rgb(0,0,128);]Dalia looked back at Angelus and the others, who more-or-less had gone back to watching for any threats. It felt tense, a tense waiting that the Mark Bearer destested. But...It also felt calm. It was still tense, but it was also calm. Which gave her time to think. For the first time since she woke up, and Angelus was gone back in Le-Wahi. Ever since then, she hadn't really been thinking with her rational mind. She'd been thinking with her emotional heart. And, while it gotten her this far, she didn't know where to go next. There was that fiasco back in Ga-Wahi, leaving Emotia and her family dead... The Mark Bearer had little intention to go back to that village, thinking about everything that had happened.[/color]

 

[color=rgb(0,0,128);]Thining slowly, she checked her mind of the list of the other Bearers. Dorian... In Prison. Tank... Prison Too. Emotia? Dead. The same with Reaver, Tillian, Iris and Yuru. Utu? Under Echelon's control. Praggos? Missing. She doubted that he was really dead, he was far too clever for that... She knew that Salvinn and The Seventh were missing too. But they couldn't pose a threat to her future safety. In fact, none of them could now. Outside of Utu, they were all dead, or in jail. Dalia, weakest of all the Mark Bearers... The one that had lived because they simply didn't want to go through the trouble of branding another Mark Bearer of Pleasure...[/color]

 

[color=rgb(0,0,128);]Dalia, Former Mark Bearer of the Mark of Pleasure, The Weakest of all the Bearers, was still alive. She could be called... The Last, (Wo)Man, Standing.[/color]

 

[color=rgb(0,0,128);]Dalia started to chuckle, which turned into more of a laugh of pure relief.[/color]

 

[color=rgb(0,0,128);]In the end, the only Mark Bearer home free was the weakest of them all.[/color]


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#1735 Offline The Fifth Spoilers

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Posted Mar 25 2013 - 09:15 AM

[color=rgb(139,69,19);]IC: Trizvan[/color]

[color=#8b4513;]The Toa frowned as Agni ran off. What had he invited the mute for, then? Stepping forward slightly, he called a trickle of his remaining energy and poured it into a crack in the stone they stood on. Out of it grew a long-leaved plant, which soon flourished. One flower bloomed for everyone who had defended the Kini that day, its petals matching the color of their masks, including the one that had been infected before. His way of showing appreciation.[/color]

 

[color=#8b4513;]Without another word, he turned and walked away. Any thanks directed his way was met with a turn and a bow. And then he was gone once again. He wanted to return to his shelter.[/color]

 

OOC: Trizvan to Le-Wahi


Edited by Draezeth, Mar 25 2013 - 11:08 AM.

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"I am Groot." - Groot

 

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Onepu, Kehuri, the recluse, Aar, Phantom, Demos, Priicu, Kimala - BZPRPG Characters

 

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#1736 Offline Friar Tuck

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Posted Mar 25 2013 - 12:35 PM

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

 

[Kini-Nui jungle]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I probably should speak up. I should probably get up. I probably should explain what just happened here now that my over-protective mentor showed up, crashing this little party.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I was too busy calming myself from the heart attack Angi just gave me.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Because there was nothing I could do to stop him even if I had wanted to.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I half-knelt, half laid on the ground, my hand over my chest as I breathed in deep, regular breaths, trying to ease my heartlight from it's hyperactive state. The notion of being utterly powerless hit me like a charging bull, and it scared me speechless. Yes, Angi meant well. Yes, nothing happened other than a happy, excited reunion. But had it been any other way, or been a different situation, there would have been nothing I could have done to stop him. Powerless. Maskless. Helpless.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]This... this was utterly new.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]By now I had gotten over my shock and was kneeling on the ground as the two of them exchanged pleasantries, though my breath was still a little ragged. I knew I should get up and do something, but I couldn't bring myself to do so. Even as he turned to look at me, questions written across his mask, I couldn't bear to look him in the eye. Stupid, yes, but even as the excitement and the novelty of what I did wore off reality was quietly settling in. I wasn't a true Toa anymore.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]All of Angi's time and effort just got flushed down the drain.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Yes, he had instructed me in combat, aided me in learning new essential skills after my transformation. But the bulk of my training was in the mastery of my new element. An element I no longer had access to. All those weeks, long days, and even longer discussions... moot. I still didn't regret my decision; I never would. But I did feel disappointment rise up from deep within even as Angi stared at me, waiting for me say something; anything. I looked in the opposite direction as this awkward moment fell on us, rubbing my shoulder in a vain attempt to will away the distant, dull pain from an older injury. Disappointment in the fact that he had invested so much of his time and effort into me, and now... I snorted slightly, a shameful smile on my face. Without powers, without masks, without extraordinary abilities, you were who you are. Stripped of everything that made you special you find out what you are underneath it all, what your actions and words hide. Me?  [/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]A young boy.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I had been a very carefree individual, but once I became a Toa I was forced to grow up very fast very quickly, so much so the rest of me hadn't had a chance to catch up. I was still a rather young man, impressionable, and while he may not outwardly show it had a lot of heroes and simple ideals. A majority of the world was still very much black and white to me, I looked up to a lot of people, tried to emulate their ideals, and got frustrated with myself when I couldn't perform as expected. This is why I made such a good Kohlii player; yes, for me it had been about the fame, but I also greatly enjoyed entertaining others, gaining and craving their approval. Tuarag Vakama was the closest thing I had to a father, Jaller the older brother that I never liked, the list went on... and here I was, come full circle. I was nothing more than an oversized matoran, and now that I wasn't some crazy, thrill-seeking fire adept I found myself back at square one.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]A young boy who felt that he had somehow earned the disapproval someone important. It was completely foolhardy, yet there it was.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]"I sacrificed my powers."[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I could tell he was straining to hear my voice. As meek as it sounded there still was a smile on my lips as I stared at my hands. [/color][color=#daa520;]"I sacrificed all of it as payment to bring her back. I no longer have access to my elemental powers. I no longer have any Toa Power, so when I do finally complete my destiny I'll instantly turn into a Turaga, no fanfare or questions asked... if I survive the transformation. All the training you gave me, the grief I gave you over mastering flame... I'm sorry if you're disappointed and understand if you are."[/color]


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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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#1737 Offline Emzee

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Posted Mar 25 2013 - 08:40 PM

IC: Ralhen – Kini Nui Temple

 

[color=#dc143c;]“Which leads me to you, Ronkshou, if that is still your name.” Agni said to the Toa of Electricity. “It's a name with quite the reputation, I'm sure you're aware of that. But whatever Joske did back there seems to have turned you around”[/color]

 

[color=#dc143c;]Ra’lhen tensed at the sound of that name, and he consequently looked over his armor once again. This armor he was wearing was nothing like what the Toa used to wear. The armor that ‘Ronkshou’ wore exposed much of his back and arms, and they were decorated with the intent to intimidate. There were also runes carved into the dense metal that tied its wearer’s allegiance to the Makuta.[/color]

 

[color=#dc143c;]This made him realize that he still looked very much like the monster that terrorized hundreds of Matoran.[/color]

 

[color=#dc143c;]“We don't get chances like this very often so I need to know: Will you help us to find Echelon and whoever is left when this is done?”[/color]

 

[color=#dc143c;]Ra’lhen began to contemplate. He supposed now was the time to really decide what he was going to do. That was when Kohra made a pitiful outburst, followed up by the Water Toa proposing to kill her. While this happened, Ra’lhen continued to think. After everything that’s happened, after everything that Ra’lhen watched his hands do, everything that he watched other servants do, could he really take up this offer?[/color]

 

[color=#dc143c;]When Ra’lhen was first infected, he had made a vow to himself that, as soon as he was freed, he would spend every waking minute finding, capturing, and even killing those that work for the entity responsible for so much misery. He would chase them, and beat them until they never dared to spread their vile tendencies again.[/color]

 

[color=#dc143c;]What would that make him, though? Now that Ra’lhen did have his own body and emotions back, the Toa had trouble feeling the same way he did when he was first enslaved. The thought of being a “good Ronkshou” made the hardened Toa shiver with disgust and even fear. There is nothing worse in this world then losing your will.[/color]

 

[color=#dc143c;]It was not enough for Ra’lhen to just give the Makuta’s servants a taste of their own medicine. To Ra’lhen, that was not defiant enough. He was going to go one step further.[/color]

 

[color=#dc143c;]Ra’lhen looked to see that Agni had gone in search of Joske, leaving just him and Dalia looking over the now red battle field. That was fine; he would just tell her then.[/color]

 

[color=#dc143c;]“My name is Ra’lhen and I’m afraid I cannot help you all find Echelon”.[/color]

 

[color=#dc143c;]The brawny Toa let that sink in before he continued.[/color]

 

[color=#dc143c;]“I led a team of six Toa on Mata Nui, learning the island secrets and gathering the tools we thought we needed to replace the First Toa. One hundred years ago, we felt we were ready, and I led my team through Le-Wahi, towards this very spot where we would go down into Mangaia and defeat the Makuta. Instead, we were ambushed in the jungle, and I alone was taken to the presence of the Makuta himself. He infected me, and gave me my first mission: to kill my five team members. And I did it.”[/color]

 

[color=#dc143c;]Ra’lhen’s eyes showed a hateful glow, but also seemed to not be directed outwards, but inwards.[/color]

[color=#dc143c;]“Violence has been my lifestyle for too long. I only remain here now in return for Toa Joske graciously freeing me from the Dark One’s hold. After the Toa Maru defeat him. I am retiring from combat”[/color]

 

[color=#dc143c;]Ra’lhen then saw a group of flowers bloom from one of the cracks in the stone temple. The flowers colors appeared to closely resemble the colors of all the defenders, including Ra’lhen. It must have been the Toa of Plantlife’s work before he ventured off into the jungle.[/color]

 

[color=#dc143c;]Ra’lhen didn’t say anything, but instead gave a fond smile to the flowers. [/color]


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FCG Devlog Entry #7: Project Update

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#1738 Offline Tyler Durden

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Posted Mar 25 2013 - 09:51 PM

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

 

[color=#800000;]Stay here, Angelus. Hold the Suva! Sit on your hands until you're worried you'll get a blood clot![/color]

 

[color=#800000;]The jungle Toa fell into a controlled collapse against a nearby rock, arms crossed tightly, as he let out a deep sigh through gritted teeth. Agni disappeared away into the air, leaving him and a handful of other scattered defenders sitting about. His longsword was slung casually over his shoulder, blade pressed flat against the stone as his posture slouched with the telltale signs of disinterest and a slow-brewing frustration. The slow pump of blood in his ears, behind his eyes slowed, as did the slow trickle from the light wound on his side. By now, Agni was gone, along with Joske, and Cael...she was even farther gone.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]And then Tuara. She was the farthest away of all.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]In his heart, Angelus didn't even have to return to Ta-Koro to know that it was well and truly over between the two of them; he'd seen it in her eyes with a heartbreaking increasing frequency during little moments such as going in for a kiss, or idle conversation, or even grabbing breakfast in the morning. They had been through a lot, and it had bonded them in a way that people don't normally bond. They'd come together in that way four or five guys come together in a foxhole and promise themselves that when they all get home and went back to their wives, each of them would get thrown their own deluxe bachelor party. Then, in that same vein, everyone makes it home one day, and what do you know: no one ever makes good on the promise. War attracts people, but it also repels them. When it's all over, they don't want to remember; blood ties are let all over the ground on the battlefield and left to stain the plains of grass and memory. Nothing more.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Angelus knew, with every cell in his body, that the Mark Bearer investigation had repelled him and Tuara for good. And now, of all things, he had just found out that she'd gone home, abandoned the mission she'd roped him into - again - and she was now spending the good portion of her waking moments in a bottle, staring at Dorian's face, that totally ridiculously handsome face that could make any girl swoon if she was in the right frame of mind...[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Instinctively, a fire flared up on the grass, then was put out by Angelus' conscious mind before it ever had a chance to even singe the ground. The jungle-raised Toa of Fire watched with a distinct envy the untouched splotch of battlefield, its sheer good fortune, before closing his eyes and relegating himself to sitting on his hands and waiting.[/color]

 

-Tyler


Edited by Tyler Durden, Mar 25 2013 - 09:51 PM.

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and again, pathetic confusion.

 

ghostie.jpg

 

dorian, you aint changed.


#1739 Offline Tyler is Love

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Posted Mar 26 2013 - 12:31 AM

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

 

[color=#800000;]With a cry of pain, Reka drew back, involuntarily raising her arms to shield her eyes from the blinding light. For a second, the cavern was lit up by an artificial set of suns, banishing all shadows.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Oreius seized the opportunity and dashed forward, throwing fireballs as he went, keeping the battleground illuminated. With the Toa of Shadow distracted, there was no one to extinguish the orbs of fire, and they shone brightly as they flew through the air, keeping the darkness at bay.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]The Toa of Fire was scarce metres away from his opponent, his swords already lifted to strike, when Reka raised her head and glared at him, her golden eyes burning like lava.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Abruptly, Oreius felt a tide of weakness overtake him; his legs gave way mid-jump, and he fell to his knees, skidding for a moment as his momentum wore itself out on his armour. He lay there on the ground, gasping, as he felt his strength drain away. It was only with immense concentration that he managed to hold on to the orbs of light and flame that hovered above him; their ties to his elemental power kept them burning, keeping Reka's shadows away.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]The Toa of Shadow, herself, however, had recovered, and had already began to stalk closer to the kneeling Toa, her steps measured and soft. A few seconds passed, and then Oreius felt the razor edge of a deadly sickle tracing the back of his neck.[/color]

 

[color=#000000;]“So powerful,”[/color][color=#800000;] she purred, her dark voice silky as the night air. [/color][color=#000000;]“And now so weak. Just like us.”[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Adrenaline flooded Oreius' mind, borne on a river of panic that threatened to stifle him.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]Oreius! You need me! We must be as one![/color]

 

[color=#800000;]The Toa of Fire shook his head almost imperceptibly, fighting off the flood of energy that Inu was trying to force into his body.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]No, not yet.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]The Parakuka retreated slightly, but an current of anxiety remained on the outskirts of Oreius' mind: Inu was not afraid, but he knew the difference between predator and prey.[/color]

 

[color=#000000;]“Do you like it?”[/color][color=#800000;] The Toa of Shadow continued. [/color][color=#000000;]“The feeling of... helplessness? Of failure?[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]We need to act! Take my power-[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Fighting nausea as he pushed Inu down, Oreius struggled to merely lift his head and look at Reka straight on. Catching his eye, she smiled, reached down, and gently cradled his chin in her hand, forcing him to hold her gaze. The light above the pair flickered as his fiery orbs grew faint, drawing on energy that was hardly there.[/color]

 

[color=#000000;]“I wear the Mask of Hunger, fire-spitter. Your life... is mine.”[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]Oreius! Now![/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Closing his eyes, the Toa of Fire finally let down the barriers he had erected against Inu's power; the resulting painful jolt of energy raced through this body like a wildfire, igniting the subtle physical changes -like bulkier, longer limbs and sharper claws- that signif[/color][color=#ff8c00;]i[/color][color=#800000;]ed t[/color][color=#ff8c00;]h[/color][color=#800000;]e tw[/color][color=#ff8c00;]o w[/color][color=#800000;]e[/color][color=#ff8c00;]re b[/color][color=#800000;]eco[/color][color=#ff8c00;]ming one.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]The fiery lights went out.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]The Toa of Fire's weak muscles were suddenly bolstered with new strength; Reka's eyes widened, but before she could react, Oreius and Inu leaped up, flinging their fist up in a ferocious uppercut that met their opponent's chin with incredible force, catapulting the Toa of Shadow backwards. She landed hard, without her usual grace, cracking her head on the hard ground.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]Oreius and Inu were upon her in an instant, straddling the supine Toa and pinning down her arms with their knees as they began beating the helpless servant of Makuta. Each blow was fuelled by nigh Pakari-level strength, and it was only moments before Reka's beautiful face was broken and bleeding.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]Her nose was broken; her cheekbones were pulverized. On the third blow, her elegant mask cracked from the left eye to the edge; the Toa of Fire followed up by tearing the mask from her face and tossing it aside without an ounce of curiousity: the Kanohi was evil, immoral.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]Still the assault continued. Blood spattered the cold stone; patches of bone could be seen where before had stretched clean, unbroken skin; Reka's eyes were almost swollen shut. Her lips were bruised and bleeding over shattered teeth; her once-perfect smile was now jagged and ugly.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]Finally, the Toa of Fire managed to reign themselves in; in their violent rage, they had come close to killing the Toa of Shadow outright. Still, they had not stopped soon enough: it was obvious that Reka was not long for this life.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]She coughed, spat up globs of blood and fragments of crushed enamel. Her barely-visible eyes regarded Oreius and Inu with pain, hate... and some small amount of relief, as though, in the midst of despising them, she had remembered, for a moment, who she used to be.[/color]

 

[color=#000000;]“So...”[/color][color=#ff8c00;] she whispered faintly, wincing as the words exited her broken mouth. [/color][color=#000000;]“In the end... you are a monster too.”[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]She drew a last breath, the air rattling through broken ribs and bruised lungs, then closed her eyes.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]They did not open again.[/color]


Edited by Eyru Bieber, Mar 26 2013 - 07:21 PM.

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#1740 Offline Nuju Metru

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Posted Mar 26 2013 - 01:23 AM

OOC: Jam between EW, Tyler and I. More of this to come soon.

 

[color=#2f4f4f;]IC:Once Stannis evaded his assault, Heuani stepped out of the shadows, emerging unseen behind the running Toa of Stone. Still in his dark fingers was the Rahkshi staff; its sharp edges were like drowned mirrors in the absence of the sun. Heuani took a moment to hoist the weapon over his shoulder and consider his angle before he wound up and threw the weapon like a javelin. If Heuani had been any master of spears, Stannis would have been skewered; instead, the Toa of Stone was caught in the back of one of his calves. Stannis cried out, collapsed involuntarily as that leg gave out beneath him. The staff ricocheted off the floor, skidding to a halt some yards away from Stannis.As Heuani approached with his sword, Stannis wheeled around on his knee to parry the incoming swipe just in time. The translucent blade clashed against the halberd's ready head, sparking in the darkness. It was a skillful block, but without the leverage to back it, Stannis fell backwards, leaving Heuani, lunged, standing over him. The Toa of Shadow's sword point was to Stannis throat before he could move; shadowy bonds snaked up from the floor and held Stannis in place at the wrists and ankles. Heuani smiled, and pulled his sword back to snick Stannis' jugular-[/color][color=#000080;]An axe, out of nowhere: it was perfectly proportioned and formed, clearly the work of a master. The underside of the blade hooked against Heuani's flamberge, effectively snagging it in midair; the Toa of Shadow looked up with a mild surprise to see Reordin, all lean muscle and attractive swagger, flick the axe around in his hand like a gunslinger. Heuani's wrist rolled as he tried to maintain his grip on the sword. The Toa of Ice smirked at the display of secondary defensiveness and stepped forward once, releasing his hook on the flamberge with a sudden, wide sweep to the right.Heuani involuntarily pirouetted, rather clumsily for someone so used to possessing such feline precision on his feet, and Reordin's smirk only grew wider. Above the look, the Toa of Ice's bright blue eyes observed Heuani with a cold distaste that would have looked oddly familiar to him. One way, or the other."And you wonder why folks don't vacation here anymore."[/color]Stannis heaved his muscles and elegantly got back to his feet once he was out of direct harm's way. The Telerahk staff was kicked up and Stannis snatched it midair, now holding two polearms for combat. Despite the seeming unwieldiness of it Stannis had spent many years with twin pikes; he knew how to handle this just as well as any good warrior with a sword."We can't let him recover. Together we can do this!" Stannis announced though it could have just as well been an order to charge. Heuani was too dangerous to give even a second's time repair and recollect. A serpent is swift and deadly, but only when poised; when uncoiled it is most vulnerable, and Heuani was serpent extended.Stannis' weapons spun with great power and precision in his loving hands and firm arms and he jumped forward to spear the shadow Toa with one or both of his tools, one end aiming for his groin to cleave upwards and the other for Heuani's neck, to decapitate him.[color=#000080;]Reordin, ever the athlete, ever agile, had already crossed behind Heuani and to his left, swinging at both his right hip and upwards, towards his left armpit, ready to tear it wide open.He was so caught up in his maneuvers, fast and perfectly placed with a soldier's intimate love of anatomy being taken into account, but not at the expense of a decent bit of strength, that for once he decided to forgive Stannis for the cliched "Together we can do this" line.[/color][color=#2f4f4f;]Heuani, already feeling himself surrounded, had dissipated into dark mist before Stannis and Reordin's intended blows would have carved him asunder; the blades collided in empty air. The Maru had surely expected as much, because when Heuani restructured himself and struck at their backs with lashes of shade, a wall of Reordin's cold element halted them. The shadows were caught like fossils; Heuani let them dissolve in the block of ice, and took the offensive.The Toa of Shadow became a dancer. Faced with two capable enemies, Heuani's superior reaction time and his fine balance were his salvation, and his perfectly tuned skills became much more apparent when put to a true test. Heuani became an entirely different beast; he had found the joyous flow of the battle, and he inhabited it. Stannis and Reordin were both shocked by the seeming ascension in Heuani's ability, a sudden change from cornered animal to immaculately fluid deadliness. The two Toa Maru were able to block his attacks, but to their shock, Stannis and Reordin were actually being driven slowly backwards by Heuani's remarkable onslaught. The Toa of Shadow sucked in on the deep dark all around him.Fists, blades, blasts, and tendrils of darkness struck with the same speed and power with which Heuani's blade, operating so quickly in sequence with his element that the two seemed simultaneous, conducted itself. Even Heuani found his instincts to be remarkable - they had never been so challenged, so he had never felt them so keenly - and the wide smile of the victor graced his lips for the first few moments of his terrific alteration. Perhaps his master was guiding his hands; Heuani had not been so acutely alive within his memory. He pranced and glided through and around his foes, peppering them both with quick near-mortal strokes. If either of them lapsed, they would surely die.But Heuani's smile grew hollow too quickly. He was over-exerting himself; he was starting to feel himself tire.[/color]


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#1741 Offline Tyler is Love

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Posted Mar 26 2013 - 02:20 AM

[color=#ff8c00;]IC (Oreius)[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]Oreius and Inu were still for a long moment, gazing down at the dead Toa of Shadow without blinking. Part of it was their desire to make sure she was actually dead and not merely playing a deadly trick, but they also found themselves grappling with the reality that they had just killed another sentient being.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]The Manas and the Rahkshi had been merely Rahi; they did not think like Toa did. Their deaths, while unfortunate, hadn't caused the same amount of mental agony that Reka's death now did. Staring down at the Toa of Shadow's lifeless corpse, the Toa of Fire felt a sudden wave of revulsion, and deactivated.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]The two that were one became two again; bulky limbs slimmed down and the Toa of Fire's hulking back straightened once more. Oreius and Inu sepa[/color][color=#800000;]rate[/color][color=#ff8c00;]d; their[/color][color=#800000;] m[/color][color=#ff8c00;]ind[/color][color=#800000;]s b[/color][color=#ff8c00;]eca[/color][color=#800000;]m[/color][color=#ff8c00;]e t[/color][color=#800000;]h[/color][color=#ff8c00;]ei[/color][color=#800000;]r[/color] [color=#ff8c00;]o[/color][color=#800000;]wn again.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Regret for a kill was not an emotion that Inu was familiar with. He had felt sorrow and guilt for Onewa's death, of course, but that had been an accident. The Turaga had been his friend. The slaying of Reka only brought forth warm images of hunting from the Parakuka's mind; he found nothing wrong with killing an enemy.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Oreius, on the other hand, found himself torn between self-loathing and guilt for not halting his attack sooner, for snuffing out the life of another Toa (and one of the First Toa, to boot!). The Toa Code was a standard that he was familiar with, though he had not been a Toa for long. Even as a Matoran, he had endeavoured to fight without killing and to defend without causing harm.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]And now he had broken that standard; he had lost control and taken a life.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]It was necessary[/color][color=#800000;], Inu soothed, as best as he could. He tried to assuage Oreius' conscience with the knowledge of what Makuta had done to the island; what they had done was necessary and vital to protecting their home, but Oreius angrily brushed the Parakuka's thoughts aside.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]No, it wasn't, he replied. I killed a Toa. Death is never necessary.[/color]

 

[color=#ff8c00;]We killed a Toa, [/color][color=#800000;]Inu reminded him. [/color][color=#ff8c00;]I am guilty as you are.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]The Toa of Fire was silent for a long moment, then took a deep breath and stood to his feet.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]I know, he thought quietly, turning away from Inu as best he could. But that doesn't make me any less guilty.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]His eyes turned to the duel taking place in the centre of the chamber: Stannis and Reordin fought Heuani together, but were unable to best him. The Toa of Shadow was as fluid as water and as deadly as the night: his superior strength and agility allowed him to hold his own against the two Toa Maru, and even drive them back. His flamberge twirled and strcuk with ruthless accuracy; his shadows whirled around his opponents in a nigh-unstoppable onslaught. Slowly but surely, Stannis and Reordin were being forced to retreat.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Abruptly, Oreius felt a heavy weight descend upon his shoulders. It would never end, would it? As long as the Makuta lived, there would be violence and bloodshed. Heuani wouldn't stop fighting until he was struck down; he would drag this confrontation out until another one of the Maru was forced to break the Code. Even in death, he would strike a mortal blow, just as Reka had.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]No, the pain would never end. Blood would never stop being spilled. Not until the darkness was rooted out and destroyed. Not until the malignant tumour that throbbed at the heart of the island was cut out and burned.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Tahu's fire still burned deep within his chest; Oreius could feel the energy flowing just beneath his skin, as easy to activate as breathing. It ebbed and flowed and pulsed in time with his heartbeat, never slowing or cooling, but always moving and heating his flesh from the inside out. All Toa of Fire naturally radiated heat: a direct result of fire's tendency to never stand still or slow down.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]A short temper was another trait of Ta-Toa: fire is never forgiving or lenient. And as Oreius watched Heuani push back his brothers, he felt the familiar burn of Tahu's anger awaken in his chest.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]It wasn't right that so many should suffer because of one evil man. It wasn't just that so much blood should be spilled on account of Heuani and his Master. No, justice demanded that this battle end now. Justice demanded that the criminal pay for his crimes.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]A vast set of scales- on one side, the Code, preventing Toa from sinking to the level of those they fought. On the other side, the fire of righteous anger, calling for justice to be served. And in the middle stood the Toa of Fire, his fists clenched, Reka's last words echoing in his mind.[/color]

 

[color=#000000;]“So... in the end... you are a monster too.”[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]“No,” Oreius spoke aloud. “I am a servant of the light.”[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Taking one of his swords, the Toa of Fire struck the ground, throwing up a spray of sparks. Reaching out with his powers, he mentally took hold of the small points of light, and threw them over the battling Toa before allowing the energy in his veins to pour into them. In an instant, the sparks exploded, releasing their energy in a great flash of light that banished Heuani's shadows, bringing to Mangaia the light of Mata Nui's justice.[/color]


Edited by Eyru Bieber, Mar 26 2013 - 02:22 AM.

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#1742 Offline Visaru

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Posted Mar 26 2013 - 12:08 PM

IC

 

Verak had been sitting on the steps of the temple for most of the exchange, listening curiously to the explanations and arguments. 
 
His boredom was fading as he realized more and more about this different world he had just stumbled into, where people cared about being a hero and there was so much at stake. There were the Toa Maru, destined to save the island, and Joske, the temporary Toa of light charged with defending them. There was Dalia and Angelus, former lovers maybe, who cared about some sort of mark. There was Agni, the far too righteous Toa, and this new guy, who was apparently just freed from Makuta’s control. Also filled with a Toa’s annoying sense of moral duty. 
 
Verak’s gaze apathetically slid over the vibrant red grass that covered the field. That wild Toa certainly had an eye for the dramatic. The field, too, was almost perfect, healed of it’s wounds. It was with a smile that Verak noted the grass was red as blood. It was a strange way to honor the exciting fight which had occurred here. No such glory for the dozens of men slaughtered in the hive battle, or in defense of the villages. Verak’s smile grew as he realized that this battle had been far more important than the hive one. Verak’s adrenaline seeking urges had made him more heroic in the island’s eyes than all those brave souls who died taking down the hive.
 
He laughed. He was a hero now, even though he didn’t care. Verak could care less whether or not Makuta won, or the destined heroes died, or killing occurred. But he had been in the right place in the right time, and now everyone would soon hold him up, praise his heroics. He had done nothing to deserve it, but the universe was a cruel place. You don’t get what you deserve.
 
Verak walked over to the sprouting flowers, the colors of the heroes that had defended the temple.
 
He gently fingered the brown one, his own little symbol of glory. He was a hero now.
 
For a second, he considered picking the flower and leaving the temple behind. He didn’t want, didn’t deserve these honors. If he was a righteous man, that’s what he would’ve done.
 
But Verak wasn’t heroic enough to walk away from his honors. Even though he didn’t want them, he was not at all humble enough to deny them.
 
For once in his life, Matoran would look up to him, and shower him with praises. Who didn’t want that?
 
He limped up to the top of the suva, where he stood victoriously and looked around the red field of victory. 
 
“Come on, brother!” He shouted to Angelus, “You’re a hero now, whether ye want it or no. Get up off yer rear and celebrate!”

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#1743 Offline Vezok's Friend

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Posted Mar 26 2013 - 01:40 PM

[color=#000080;]OOC: Small addendum to the Maru-action I discussed with Tyler earlier.[/color] [color=#000080;]IC:[/color] [color=#000080;]Oreius was not the only one whose attention turned to Heuani as their respective opponent was defeated. Leah had taken a few seconds to catch her breath, time in which Reordin had already dashed away to assist Stannis. Glancing around, she saw that Korero and Sulov were holding their own still and Oreius was still facing Reka. Her eyes were immediately drawn back to Reordin. He was attacking Heuani alongside Stannis, both of them requiring the Toa of shadow's attention. And get it they did. Leah knew which state the three combatants were in at this moment, a state of mind she had come to know as battle-meditation. She had experienced it many times during her own training. Once that state was found, the movements followed each other of their own accord, with almost no conscious effort required to command the body. They just knew what to do, right in the moment. For a brief period, conscious thought was replaced by honed instincts and trained movements, combined into a deadly dance of attack and counter-attack that flowed back and forth like waves, but would not come to a result unless one of those involved faltered. And the longer this fight went on, the more likely that would become. And Leah knew that if Heuani got the chance, he would not hesitate. [/color] [color=#000080;]Still, the way the battle went, she could not risk getting in close. Too many cooks ruin a meal and all that. But perhaps she could lend a hand from a safe distance. And if so, Reordin would know what to do. Twice they had joined their talents today already and won. Let's make that three... the Toa of water thought and summoned her power.[/color] [color=#000080;]Jets of water began chasing after the Toa of shadow. Like three liquid serpents they followed every move their adversary made. And for a brief moment, Leah thought there was something artistic in the way the scene played out before her eyes. Two Toa engaging a third mid-jump, surrounded by swirling water and darkness. And if she had been an artist, she would have comitted the scene to memory to sketch out later. But she wasn't an artist. And all she thought about was to provide Reordin with something he could easily freeze without using up too much of his own energy. Then, Oreius' sparks exploded into bright light, illuminating the room to its furthest corners. Without letting her control of the water go, her head turned quickly to find the source of the light. Unsurprisingly it was Oreius, who had turned from the fallen figure at his feet to assist the others as well. But as Leah saw the form of Reka, bloodied and beaten on the ground, she noticed her mask wasn't giving her any feedback on the intentions of the Toa, and her heart sank. She looked back at Oreius. When he had faced the Toa of shadow, he had activated Inu, the Parakuka, to gain the upper hand through the sheer strength the parasite granted him. The implication horrified her.He must have lost control...he couldn't have willingly... she thought. She glanced back to the battle and made a decision. For a moment, she gave up on the supporting attack and ran over to where the female Toa of shadow had fallen, dropping down to her knees as she came close. She came to a skidding halt, her hands reaching for the Toa's neck, feeling for a pulse. She found none. As she had feared, her masks inactivity meant the worst. Reka...Gali was no more.She looked back to the fight, saw Heuani fighting against her brothers. And then, standing up again, she called out to him, screamed, her voice loud and angry at the waste of life."She's dead! Has Makuta corrupted you so deeply that you'd watch your own sister die for him!?"[/color] 


Edited by Vezok's Friend, Mar 26 2013 - 02:30 PM.

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#1744 Online Ghosthands

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Posted Mar 26 2013 - 02:18 PM

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

 

[color=#008000;]"Pohatu, please!" Korero shouted as another vicious strike from the flail impacted his defence.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]"That is NOT my name," came the dark reply.  "My name - "[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]Suddenly, the Shadow Toa dissolved into blackness, melting away before Korero's very eyes.  The Toa of Air looked about in apprehension, slowly turning on the spot with his shield still raised, searching the shadows for his vanished opponent.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]" - is Vassus."[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]The voice came from right behind him, even as the shadows coalesced unseen at his back.  Korero wheeled around, but he was just a fraction too slow; the flail hit an imperfect defence and Korero's shield was knocked away as the flail's spikes raked across his side.  He cried out as he tumbled away from the attack's momentum.  His shield skidded away across the stone floor.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]Korero winced from the pain of where the flail had scratched his torso, and tried to cry out for help, but no sound left his lips and he could hear no sound whatsoever; he was shrouded in complete silence.  As he opened his eyes, he saw Vassus' ominous form materialise above him.  The Shadow Toa smiled disdainfully, tapping his mask.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]He can teleport, Korero realised.  And I'm on my own.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]Korero's eyes narrowed, a spark of defiance rekindling in them as Vassus brought up his flail for a killing stroke.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]Two can play at that game.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]The flail came down - and Korero vanished, his body flashing white for a split second and leaving only a few wisps of white energy where he had been.  The spiked head dug into empty stone floor.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]Vassus' eyes widened momentarily in surprise - and widened further as he was pushed back by a blast of wind, the flail's handle yanked from his grasp thanks to its firmly embedded head.  The attack had caught him completely unawares; Korero had used the Shadow Toa's field of silence against him.  The powerful Toa recovered his footing gracefully, dropping into a crouch which accentuated his powerful legs, the perfect musculature flexing beneath his armour plates.  He looked up, finding Korero standing a few bio directly in front of him.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]The former Toa Mata of Stone's handsome face twisted momentarily into a grimace, before his lips curled back up again into a cold smile.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]"Is that really how you want to fight me?" Vassus asked disdainfully, his eyes boring into Korero's.  "You think you can beat a Shadow Toa at his own game?"[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]With that, Vassus melted into the shadows, reemerging right at Korero's back with a punch already driving at the Toa of Air - but Korero span around, catching Vassus' arm as it missed him and twisting it around so that the Toa of Shadow was forced to stumble, gasping as his shoulder shifted painfully in its socket - but it wasn't dislocated fully as was the intention of the move.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]Vassus chuckled, moving into a brawler's stance, fists cycling in front of him.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]"You need some practice, whelp," he sneered.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]Korero shrugged, smiling nonchalantly.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]"I suppose it's not as easy as it looks in diagrams," he replied - then hastily weaved out of the way of a shadow-jumped punch.  Vassus hadn't waited for him to finish his sentence.  This time, though, Korero responded with a Jump and a punch of his own, which landed squarely in Vassus' gut.  His opponent staggered back, winded, not having expected such a swift attack from the Toa of Air.  Another white flash, and Korero delivered a spinning kick to Vassus' shoulder which knocked the already off-balance Toa to the ground.  Korero Jumped again, appearing at Vassus' side, but the Shadow Toa smashed his legs from under him with a swipe of his forearm.  Korero Jumped to a few feet away, landing in his own acrobatic crouch as Vassus regained his footing.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]They both Jumped, Vassus dissolving into Shadow and Korero flashing white as he used his Kanohi Hiko.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]What followed was an unfollowable blur of Jumps and blows, as the two teleporters weaved their chaotic dance at lightning pace.  Both of them almost seemed to be in several places at once, such was the speed of their combat.  Vassus was stronger, but Korero was faster, and the two of them seemed evenly matched; but here and there, Korero's quick punches and kicks began to leak through Vassus' defence.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]Whum. The fighters materialised, arms locked.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]"You're fast," Vassus grunted, his face centimetres from Korero's.  With blood trickling from a cut lip, the visage wasn't quite so perfect any more.  "Almost as fast as I was."[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]"Emphasis on the was," Korero replied.  Vassus growled, and Korero felt that snarky side bubble up inside him.  "Ooh, did I touch a nerve?"[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]Vassus snarled in anger, lashing out suddenly and smashing the Toa of Air away.  Now it was Korero's turn to be sent sprawling to the ground with the air knocked out of him.  The Shadow Toa began advancing upon his stunned opponent, murder in his eyes.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]Korero shifted, pain blossoming in his side.  The combination of the earlier graze from the flail and now this strike clearly hadn't done him any good - and even now, as he gasped for breath, he could feel Vassus' footfalls on the cold stone floor as he approached.  But as he raised his hand, he found it gripping a sharp, black object.  The force of the blow had been so great that the piece of spiked armour Korero was gripping had come clean off in his hand.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]And an idea formed in his mind.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]Vassus raised his powerful leg to end Korero in a stomp to the back - but Korero flashed white once again.  Vassus whirled around, determined not to fall for the same trick again - but Korero had in fact only moved about an inch, still on the floor behind the Shadow Toa, using the flash as a decoy as he knew Vassus would expect another attack from behind.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]Forcing his still-winded body to move, he grabbed hold of Vassus' ankle with one hand and plunged the armour-spike into his unprotected calf with the other.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]Vassus howled in pain and collapsed, clutching his leg.  With another flash, Korero had retrieved his shield and was standing over him, and kicked the fallen Toa at the base of his mask.  The sleek Shelek skittered away much as Korero's shield had, disappearing into the shadows.  The Toa of Air looked down in pity at the being writhing on the floor, the bulky legs that had once been his greatest strength now the source of his defeat.  The spike had bitten into a nerve cluster in the muscle.  Vassus wouldn't be getting up.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]Sobbing in agony, Vassus looked up at his defeater, a thin rookie Toa who didn't even know how to hold a sword.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]"Go on, then," he croaked.  "Finish it."[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]Korero shook his head.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]"No.  I'm no executioner."[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]"I don't need your compassion!" Vassus screamed, screwing his eyes shut as another wave of pain washed through his mind.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]"Yes you do," the Toa of Air replied, looking sadly down at him.  He turned, and began to walk away to help his brothers and sister.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]"Why you?" came Vassus' voice from behind him, cracking in wretchedness.  "Why you and not us?  What makes you different to us?"[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]"Nothing," Korero replied, turning back to Vassus.  "Nothing at all."[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]"Then why," continued Vassus, spitting out blood, "were you given the destiny that should have been ours?  Why are we condemned to this fate, while you go on to take everything we were promised?  Why?"[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]Korero knelt next to him, much as he had with the Manas crab.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]"Pohatu," said Korero, using his original name, "you fell.  So far.  Once you were a hero, proud and strong.  I've read about everything you did, you know, every brave deed, every selfless act.  Makuta took the best beings this island had ever known and tore you down."[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]Vassus stared at Korero, tight-lipped.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]"If I cannot win today," he said, a blade of shadow forming behind Korero as he spoke, "then neither will you!"[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]Korero's eyes widened and he instinctively rolled out of the way - and instead the blade plunged into Vassus' chest.  Korero cried out and cradled the fallen hero in his arms - but his heartlight was already erratic, and slowing.  As Korero looked on, the rage and pain and corruption seemed to melt away, and he could see in Pohatu's eyes a glimmer of the noble person he had once been.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]"I'm sorry," he said, holding back a sob of pity.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]The dying Toa raised a weak hand and cupped Korero's cheek, and smiled peacefully.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]"So am I."[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]Pohatu's eyes closed, to open no more.[/color]


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#1745 Offline Landes'Rehn

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Posted Mar 26 2013 - 02:42 PM

Ic:Dalia couldn't help but continue her laughter at Verak's words."To the guards of several koros... He's already a hero in some shape or form. He helped get rid of the mark bearers after all."What she said wasn't the whole truth... But it was part of it. She knew that if Angelus hadn't gotten involved with the bearers, Tuara would probably be dead, maybe Dalia too, and maybe the Mark Bearers would still be running amok on the island if he hadn't decided to get involved."Besides," She starter, her laughter stopping, "The battle isn't exactly over just yet. Those Maru underground still have to kick the makuta's ###### for everyone on this island's sake."
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#1746 Offline Queen Anora Mac Tir

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Posted Mar 26 2013 - 06:53 PM

Ic: Stannis was pushed back swiftly from the strikes of shadow Heuani summoned. Like whips from the void they were impossible to truly parry and hard to predict; it was only thanks to Stannis' toa-gifted reflexes and his skill with the two weapons that he was able to even survive the onslaught. His polearms caught each dark flails and tossed them aside like a swimmer churns through water but the stream flowed against him and each block was tied with an evasive step in turn. His steel eyes were not being bewildered by the flurry of obsidian chains, though, and instead remained glued on Heuani's eyes despite the distance increasing between them. The eyes were the window to intention in battle so Stannis payed attention to them instead of the constructs. And so, as Stannis looked at Heuani's lookingglass, he took note of the subtlest cues. Heuani was proud, alive with his evil and his power, but Stannis could feel the slightest change in his nature. His eyes did not reflect the same confidence he was using with the rest of his body. Heuani -- no, Tahu -- was falling victim to the very same mistake he made a century prior. 

 Jaller authoritatively set his fist on the table of the war room in his office. Guards of lesser ranks were lining the wall and officers were gathered around the table with Ta-Koro's map laid out on it. "[color=#ff0000;]These reports don't help,[/color]" he announced, his voice tinged with exasperation. "[color=#ff0000;]They tell me that we are in more dire straits than before. They don't help address the problem of making the road safe.[/color]" Stannis was a Pa-Matoran ranked as a Warrant Officer 1st Class, high enough of position to sit at the table but still at the opposite end from Jaller. He looked around the room at the faces of the assembled men and women of the Guard, brought together to figure a strategy to clear the trade route to Ko-Koro. "[color=#b22222;]We can send another expeditionary force[/color]," one man chimed in with a shrug. "[color=#b22222;]If we can find a pattern in the rahi attacks--[/color]" "[color=#ff0000;]No, we can't risk sending in more men[/color]," Jaller said, shaking his head. "[color=#ff0000;]We've lost one team too many already.[/color]" He looked around the room, settling his eyes on Stannis once. The Pa-Matoran may have been warden of the foundries and lava mines but he was still a pro at dealing with issues in the farflung reaches of the wahi. Jaller's eyes asked for something of substance from the officer... So Stannis obliged with an idea."[color=#8b4513;]What if we can find the nest of these rahi and deal with them at the source?[/color]""[color=#b22222;]And how would we do that without risking more men?[/color]" someone else asked asked."T[color=#8b4513;]ake Tahu with you,[/color]" Stannis replied. "[color=#ff0033;]I will go,[/color]" Tahu's powerful voice announced from behind Stannis as the famed Toa of Fire entered the room.Stannis smiled, happy that his protector agreed. "[color=#8b4513;]Great. Between he, a squad of guards, and Kopaka there should be no problem of safety.[/color][color=#000000;]"[/color]But something stirred at the thought of Kopaka. Tahu's benevolent voice held a tinge of disdain. "[color=#ff0033;]No. I will go alone.[/color]""[color=#8b4513;]But Unity-- !![/color]" Stannis protested."-- [color=#ff0033;]Is useless when there is none to be united -with-[/color].[color=#ff0033;] I will deal with your menace and return when the job is done. Deal with the defense of the village, captain[/color].[color=#ff0033;] A Toa's duty is to all the people, not just one Koro[/color].""[color=#ff0000;]Yes, Toa Tahu,[/color]" Jaller said, and called the meeting done. 

 

 

Tahu never did understand Unity. He was too proud in his power and status as Toa to accept that some tasks were too big and the fact that he was wrong was going to haunt him now.

Leah shot streams of her power to chase after Heuani, too, and seconds later a great eruption of flame light was summoned from Oreius. Within seconds the tide turned to the Maru's favour. Heuani's might, despite channeling the darkness of the ancients, was nothing compared to a Virtue. One lone fallen toa was nothing against six prophesied heroes. Taking the respite like a starving hermit takes a bowl of soup Stannis roared back against Heuani's halted fusillade of shadow and closed the gap between the two fighters once again.

 

United as one,The foe is undone,His malice defeated by good.

 

But what is good? Stannis pondered then instinctively knew the answer: Good was peace after a calamity's demise. Good shone through unhampered. Good was the opposite of what was evil, and Heuani, despite having once been a great and mighty hero, was broken by his flaws. He did not deserve a hero's burial, only death.

 

The Toa Maru were good. Heuani would be defeated not by goodness but by what is good. Stannis knew that Heuani had to die, and so he fought.


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#1747 Offline Carson Chambliss

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Posted Mar 27 2013 - 11:11 PM

IC:[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]Once upon a time, I wanted to be a hero.I was little then. And the world seemed little, too. I raced around the neighborhood and made a game of memorizing the names and faces-here was Mr. Onepu, there was Mr. Taipu. I was goalie on a kolhii team. My favorite thing, though, was the storytime I had with the elders. They told fairy tales about the six toa and their adventures. Tahu, Gali, Kopaka, Lewa, Pohatu, and Onua. I wanted to be one of them. I wanted to be as pure as Gali, wise as Onua, strong as Pohatu. I saw people around me sad, and I said to myself that if only I believed enough and worked hard enough, I could be the hero great enough to save them all. My truest desire was that no one should have to cry. And so, I said to the world, I would be a hero defending the weak and bringing peace to the island. I would save the world. To that final end, to that destination of a utopia without hurt and built of happiness, I always acted for. It was my ideal that guided me. When I took up the responsibility of a job or a chore, it wasn't just for my family's safety, it was for all families' peace. So I went about the birth of my life as a person who wanted no less than to be a hero.I grew older. Things grew complicated. I failed to save people. Even in the Ussalry, even with the weight of the law and the power of my weapons enforcing the will of my body (made out of steel), I couldn't defend everyone. Then I knew I wasn't a hero. A hero, like I wanted to be, didn't let anyone die. My dream was scarred, then. I couldn't be all I wanted. I simply wasn't enough. So I set aside the problem of my false want. I resolved that if I couldn't be an actual hero, then I would try to be as much of one as I could. I couldn't save everyone, but I tried. And I lost people. The ones I knew. Never the ones I didn't, never the faceless masses. Because they were the majority and I decided that I would fight to save the majority if I couldn't save all. Because it made sense. The boy who wanted no less than to be a hero, and found that he could not, still tried with all his strength to fulfill that want throughout life.But now I'm not sure I can ignore the flaw. I can't just look at the corded brawn, linear plate, and weaponized hands (body made out of steel) before me and deny the resemblance to myself. The eyes are too similar, I conjecture. We both have seen Death. It pervades our existence, perverts him (me) into lone stagnation, and has wrought my (his) body into an armament to be wielded...We are the same in that way, and I sense there are other ways as well. I can see in his total hunch the resignation of a person driven by idealism into despair. I can feel in his cold air the calculation of the one choosing sacrifice. He and I are not different at all. Onua and I stretch into each other seamlessly, not a man and his shadow, like Reordin and Lewa, but like each half of a man. I am him and he is me.That is precisely it. My childhood is the birth of the idealistic child Sulov. My adulthood is his life.Thus, Onua is the end of the boy who wanted to be a hero.And like all ends, I see him coming.We are--I am--analytical in combat. I strive to overpower opponents with information more than anything. I provide them with lies about my fighting style, test and observe the results, and always keep my real power in reserve. Given enough time, even with little else, I can overcome enemies by prediction of their movement and surprise of mine. It is logical that, therefore, I seek to slow the pace of battle to a grind for optimal conditions in which to analyze the fight. The inverse is true: I am wont to avoid direct engagement in full contests of speed and power because they are my weakness as one utilizing less tangible methods to create victory.It also follows that we both see this and attack each other with all our force accordingly.[/font] 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]My entire life becomes this attack. My tossing aside of my saber is my rejection of my most sentimental possessions. My sprint is my delve into the struggle of combat now and then. His response is the other half of the exchange of combat, the benefit and the opportunity. My power is my devotion to right and his the crushing weight of the sin I have fought against forever. I note that everything has become quiet about me at last, resonance of the air whooshing past and the clang of metal on metal alike dissipated, and I see Onua blink as his mask glows. Evidently, he is using his kanohi to assault my aural perception and is surprised at its lack of effect; I know no such power, but it is minimally harmful to my efforts at worst, and I plan accordingly. The absence of hearing is the absence of another kind of distraction. Distractions are detrimental to my end.[/font]

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]I stop a meter from myself, clock back slightly, and launch an opening jab at his nose with my shovel. His punch back flies for me at the same time, and we shift back at once. Then we punch with the other fist for the abdomen. We block with an arm each, freezing his memory in my mind, and throw up a hook kick. We each know the value of grounding an enemy to decrease opposing mobility and increase the power of blows, yet we both avoid high kicks to increase stability in case of an accident downing foes and attempt lower attacks. Our hooks entangle before they are repelled. And then we split apart for a microsecond before the next onslaught, each movement a perfect mirror of the other, and I can predict each mirror. Shoulder throw. Parry. Punch chest. Retreat. Dislocate hip. Block. [/font] [font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]Punch jaw. Retreat. Leg sweep. Parry. Punch kidneys. Pivot. Punch face-[/font]

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]-And my visor shatters, my mouth spurts blood, my fist intercepts an arresting grip-[/font]

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]-My eyes close to save my vision as the shards of glass slam into their lids, my mind knows that the next punch is for my solar plexus, my body can do nothing to stop it-[/font]

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]-My lungs exhale, my feet fall back with the oncoming attack, my muscles clench to armor myself, my Earth rises in a makeshift shield to slow the punch-[/font]

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]-And my nerves feel the pain of contact.[/font]

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]I'm thrown back on the ground, limbs splayed by the sheer force. I open my eyes to try to find Onua so I can more accurately predict his next strike, but they can only blink against the blood dripping in. I throw my shovel before my head to defend my brain. My mind is running, looking for a way back onto my feet, perhaps if I ward off attacks to my vital organs and use Earth to sense him so I can-[/font]

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]Onua's knee explodes into my groin.[/font]

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]Flash white. I don't move and call Earth, trying to see Onua like I planned, yet see nothing there. Then my shovel is slammed into the ground. Earth struggles to push it back up. At last, I see Onua, barely stepping onto the ground with one foot, and I throw a punch at him.[/font]

 

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

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]His other foot comes down on my right arm. Pulverizing. I feel a snap and a catch and then a stab right against my armor like my hand against the plinth in the Great Mine, splaying my arms horizontally and pinning them with shadow bindings. He disappears in a millisecond.[/font]

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]I have to stop this. I have to see him. Even if for a second. I have to see his next attack or I die.[/font]

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]I open my eyes. A hand of jet drills is flying for my face, Onua blurring behind it. My eyes are forced closed again, and with it, my senses. The Earth reaches up and grabs the lunging arm. His other simply attacks it, and I force more Earth into the arm.[/font]

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]Yet it's failing. I can't regenerate it fast enough to match the rate Onua destroys it. I assess the extent of my injuries to look for options.[/font]

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]Radius fractured by stomp; groin traumatized by knee; two ribs cracked by punch to solar plexus; visor shattered, eyelids cut, inside of cheek lacerated on teeth by punch; hearing inactive by kanohi. My body is ill-suited to move from its position with appendages splayed and head to the ground, so I cannot hope to win with movement. I can't stave off the arm and push Onua away with my element at once.[/font]

 

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

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]I guess I'm at the end of the road. My ideal's dead. Now, in a poetic move, the writer of this farcical tale is about to ensure the same of me. I've lost. There's nothing left. Even though I saw the moves of my opposition coming, even though I steeled myself against them, it didn't matter then and it can't matter now. And it will continue to not matter as long as I remain so powerless. Perhaps it was that none of my fighting was worth it. In the end, the price for what power I did get was just too high. It was enough to win some, but not enough. Destiny made sure of that. As far as I got to the Dream with hard work, and belief, I never got quite to it. None of those things mattered. The process is always outweighed by the results. And in my case, the results have not matched up.[/font]

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]Thus, the boy who wanted no more than to be a hero, the boy with the power to play at his want, die-[/font]

 

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

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]What was that?[/font]

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]What was that utterly contemptible piece of coprolite you just denounced yourself with?[/font]

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]"I've lost."[/font]

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]No freaking way. That's a falsehood and you know better than that.[/font]

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]How?[/font]

 

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

 

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

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]I wasn't going to win by becoming a toa. I wasn't going to win by beating Makuta. Cark, I wasn't even going to win by achieving the Dream.[/font]

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]I couldn't win that way because victory isn't made of a moment for myself. It's made of the results. Not the winning results like beating an enemy, not by proving that your beliefs are more right morally than anyone's, and certainly not by getting power. [/font]

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]We won with the actions we did that produced the results. We coalesced into the Wanderer's Company together. We established our mission to defeat the Makuta together. We denied sin and applied what's right together. We won as the Maru together. We won in every weapon gained, in every skirmish survived, in every helping of trail mix ingested. We've inspired others to want to be heroes, too, and so my ideal--and our mission--will never die. Hero or no hero. Destiny or no Destiny. Reality totally synonymous with our perception or everything possible. None of that matters. Regardless of philosophy and all else, we have won. We do not require the circumstances to be suited to us for victory. Nor do we require circumstances to be fluid and open to change in order to attain triumph. We win in increments, slowly but inexorably garnering a precipitated advantage, and so we have already won. The inertia of our movement granted to it by the incremental advantage has given us victory. This isn't the end, like I thought earlier, it's just the beginning of more successes.[/font]

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]All that is left is to clean up the mess. Starting, in my case, with Onua.[/font]

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]I miscalculated you, I will grant you that. You weren't trying to mentally persuade me to abandon my ideals. You were trying to tell me that I didn't need to focus on them and to just have faith. That's the only course of action that makes sense in the face of this life. There are terrible things in this world. Death is abundant. Happiness is scarce. Suffering is common. But these are all fundamental parts of life. If there is no death, then there can be no recomposition of life. If happiness is abundant, then it is taken for granted. If there is no suffering, then there is no point in the calculation of equivalent exchange. It's a terrible cycle for sapient beings to endure their torments, die, and leave others to repeat the circle, but it would be no better if sapients were made ignorant of evil and kept artificially blissful. This is a cycle that you accepted as your duty to protect. And now it is my cross to bear as well. I will protect the freedom of this existence from Makuta and all other threats to it. I will have faith in it, for after all, it is what makes sense. [/font]

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]On the other hand, you have shown me despair like Sulov has nearly fallen to. Your body and mind have been twisted in their current body into the inverse of a guardian. I remember your confusion when you saw how ineffectual your kanohi was--you made your sadness at your misjudgement apparent, and you only sluggishly try to fight. You are slothful and purely wish to escape the cycle, deluding yourself to think that you have accomplished nothing and desperately searching for a way to make yourself active. You are driven by a mindless desire to evolve beyond any sort of pain by, paradoxically, causing it. I was incorrect in thinking that we are the same. You are erroneous, faulty and cursed to fail only by yourself, as Sulov was. And I am veracious. There is no way that I will surrender when backed by validity; I have judged you and will punish you accordingly, as you deserve.[/font]

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]Now I see the course of action that makes sense. I will do what is right. I will not succumb to sin. I have won. All that is left is to clean up the mess of Sulov Koskium, Onua, and all other fallen. All to obey is my commander, the hero Stannis, and all to defend is my team. The heroes. The Maru. These are my objectives. [/font]

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]It's been great, guys. All of you. Thanks, fam. It's been an honor, 7th. Reordin, you're the starchild. Stannis, you are my commander. [/font]

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]And, if this really all is just some farce, if we're all just characters being pushed about like Chess pieces, if really there is no Mata Nui or Makuta or anything and it's all just one cosmic plot beings we can't comprehend just put together to entertain themselves with a story...[/font]

 

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

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]I'm gonna give it a happy ending. [/font]

 

[font="tahoma, geneva, sans-serif;"]Now, Maru...Let's go.[/font]

 

...

 

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]The arm of Earth is fading, slowly being ripped apart by claws. The drills are closing in on His body. Left unchecked they will pierce His Mask and then his skull. His enemy looks down coldly at His damaged self and readies the killing blow.[/font]

 

[font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]Exactly as planned.[/font]

 

He does not try to shift from His shadow constraints. He does not feed more power into the failing arm. Instead He blinks the tears and blood from his eyes and His shovel makes a slight scooping motion and flings a stake of Earth at the back of His ally (he once called him 'Reordin') nearby.

 

His enemy whips his head to follow the stake as the ally evades it. The Toa of Shadow cannot comprehend why this was done. Without thinking of the fight, his melancholy brings him to ponder the cause of this seeming betrayal and what it could mean. He thinks on this for all of a second.

 

In that one second, He acts.

 

He kicks the ground with his ankle. Twelve ceramic spikes erupt from it at the enemy and the platform he looks down at His beaten body from. The enemy notices and blinks from shadow to shadow to behind His body, flinging drills of shadow, yet each one is countered by a matching blade of Earth. Then, as the enemy looks on, ambushed and eyes wide, He busts free of his restraints.

 

He pushes himself from the ground with his shovel. Each motion requires all his bodily strength due to its current state of injury. It is obvious to his enemy that he is not acting as one invulnerable to damage. As He faces his dark mirror, each analyzing the other, He senses that the enemy is studying His wounds. His pitted face is bleeding from a crown of glass thorns. His armor is battered all over and as bloody as one flayed. His mouth bleeds like martyrs bleed for their words. Each breath is labored like one whose side has been pierced. His arm hangs heavy at his side like it was nailed into position on the ground. His muscles' soreness is clear in his movements like one who exerts himself to the point of death.

 

Yet He stands. He smiles, though the eyes are too blank to reflect the positivity of His mouth's curve. His enemy pales.

 

And He moves to attack.

 

Earth between Him and the enemy disappears. An exact square meter of ground, centered on His lopsided stance, begins to fly through the channel He is rapidly opening up across the cavern. The enemy teleports away once more and bombards Him with drills, but His mask allows him to follow the movement with mirrored speed so the drills miss and His slide switches paths. The enemy appears to realize this at once and instead summons a floating wall of drills behind his body. A wave sends them at His rush.

 

Soil crystallizes around His right arm in response. He does not need to move it, simply let its dangling form shield His body as He pulls back His shovel to ready it. The enemy sees the shield and recognition is lit on his mask again. The dark one desperately tries to bring up a defense. A bubble of shadow forms around him, rising to construct a semi-sphere about his body.

 

Too slow.

 

A microsecond. His shovel breaks the shadow. A millisecond. The enemy flounders away. A half-second.

 

His blade punches through the enemy's shoulder.

 

The enemy falls to the ground. His arm and legs are splayed, trembling as he screams and curses Him. He simply grinds the Earth to a stop and steps off to look at the enemy.

 

"Please," Croaks the being who was once Onua, as the blank and bleeding face looks down. Hazel gazes meet halfway. The lighter and more soft of the pairs is tired and frustrated, scared and sad, as pitiful as a small child crying after the breaking of a favorite toy.

 

The darker is completely hollow and without emotion nor coldness. It remains wholly devoid of expression.

 

"Please," The enemy says again. The dark eyes watch impassively as he struggles to form the words in his pain. "Please, kill me."

 

-And free me from this karzhani, Mirror and reflection hear unsaid.

 

He thinks as he watches the pathetic being before him deny himself and his cause. He kneels, motion utterly vacant, and His battered shield forms fingers to grasp the loose arm. His shovel slices off its claws and the shield sucks them in, attaching them to its front and reshaping to take the form of a titan's hand. He stands up to regard the being before him once more.

 

Then he speaks. His voice, like all else about him, remains utterly empty.

 

"No, thanks."

 

Ceramic binds the wound of the Shadow Toa, forming a thick tourniquet. The enemy screams and curses again. But he will not die of bleeding out. In accordance with one of His imperatives, He has not killed this enemy.

 

He turns to examine the other fights. Only one enemy is left a combatant. Reordin and the ones He has once called 'Oreius', 'Stannis', and 'Leah' each dart about his body, flowing together in battle. He looks upon it dully.

 

Soil rises from beneath His heels. Humus swirls about His body, attaching itself to his segments of metal armor to form a suit of ceramic and dirt. His hand is clad in a clawed gauntlet and feet in spiked sabatons. His limbs are covered in compact earth and trunk in potter's plate. His face is set in a helm of soil.

 

He checks the scene before Him once more. Then, arm set in His earthen and armored splint against His side, eyes bloody and uncovered, and body made out of steel, He leaps into the fray.


Edited by Mr. Peanuts, Apr 06 2013 - 09:49 PM.

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#1748 Offline Nuju Metru

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Posted Mar 28 2013 - 11:59 PM

[color=#2f4f4f;]IC:[/color][color=#2f4f4f;]Heuani's foes were too numerous. He was pushed to the defensive; he felt his reserves burning away. For now, he still had the energy to fight, but soon the Toa of Shadow would not even be able to stand.[/color] [color=#2f4f4f;]The Toa Maru had by now dispatched their previous opponents; one by one, they'd struck down their respective shades and joined their leader Stannis in the struggle against the darkest one. As they'd unified in turn, Heuani's advantage had been incrementally diminished. He had thrived when facing two opponents; the arrival of the third had evened the playing field; the fourth had skewed the scales against him; the addition of the fifth, Sulov, turned Heuani's fight into a struggle for mere survival. All five Maru assaulted him at once. Heuani darted, ducked, blocked and countered with the boundless speed of a wild beast and the deft precision of an acrobat, but even his best attempt was insufficient to prevent his foes from scoring compounding bruises and cuts on him. [/color] [color=#2f4f4f;]Not even the prodigal Toa of Shadow could match the mighty Maru, for caught in the flurry of their surrounding attacks he had no time to deal lethal blows. When he shadow-jumped elsewhere in the chamber, he would be met by elemental barriers, projectiles. His own shadow constructs, when he earned enough time to make them, were swiped aside by fire and ice, rock and air, as if they were banished by the sun itself. Dark needles and finessed blades of black were sequentially dulled or shattered. Each conjuring took a toll on the puppet master; the darkness of the underground could not refuel Heuani quickly enough to compensate for his exertions. Heuani's sword was his only ally - it was still quick as thought, nipping here and there - but even that, he knew, would fail him soon enough.[/color] [color=#2f4f4f;]Suddenly there was a female shout from across the room, piercing among all the rumbles, grunts, and clangs of the fight: "She's dead!" The words unexpectedly drew Heuani's attention. He let his blade drop in surprise, received a sting to the shoulder in exchange, but nevertheless turned to the source of the shout, as did the five male Maru. Leah, the last of the Toa to gain victory, was standing over a mangled body in the sudden silence. Heuani's golden eyes, seeing the form on the floor, were opened too wide by an image he sensed he would never forget. Leah cried out to Heuani, her words leaden with outrage. "Has Makuta corrupted you so deeply that you'd watch your own sister die for him!?"[/color] [color=#2f4f4f;]Heuani did not feel himself move, though he was distantly aware that his feet were shuffling surely towards Leah and the body sprawled beneath her. He and his body were not one; its buzzing senses were all numb to him. In response to Heuani's steps, the Maru formed an opposing wall, their guards still up; they expected treachery of some sort in the strides and grimly blocked Heuani's advance. But as he progressed, they all noticed a definite shift in their enemy - his clear sword hung from just a few fingers, his proud chest was hollowed, his gaze was fixed dumbly ahead - and at a nod from Stannis, the Maru parted silently for the Toa of Shadow, leaving nothing to stop his feet from sucking him towards the thing he least wanted to see: her.[/color] [color=#2f4f4f;]She was there.[/color] [color=#2f4f4f;]At first he was able to stare indiscriminately; he still remained separated from his temporal being, and so the enigmas encircling his pupils were unattended watchtowers that saw but did not interpret. Looking at her, Heuani felt like he was floating above himself, a spirit held to earth only by the faintest of spiderwebs. Wet tears on those webs would glisten, if they flowed. They did not. It was a beautiful place, he knew, where he hovered, so he had no reason to cry. He could see her better up here anyway, see her in blue memory. His detached consciousness looked up to the dark roof. Surely she wasn't truly gone, but she must have left for now, stood up and departed, departed to clean her redness-[/color] [color=#2f4f4f;]Another glance, this one taken as Heuani felt his vision sharpen and his mind return to its cage, thundered in with the shrill whistle of actuality. She had not left, she was still there. All the information his eyes had taken in was processed at once, terrifying epiphany. It knocked Heuani about like a leaf; he collapsed upon himself, landed with weak arms on his hands and knees beside her.[/color] [color=#2f4f4f;]Her captivating form had been mauled and bent by the Parakuka rage. She was dented, scraped, hideous. Heuani couldn't look at her; his head turned away of its own accord from the broken visage before him. He refused to see it. He felt his eyes squint closed, felt feverish fingernails dig through the back of his head to find a more accurate image of her. Dark beneath his brow, his lids were screwed together; he would not see, save what he wished. The brown mazes before his vision were illuminated by such fantasy. He remembered how finely she stood, how dim light made her shine, the secrets locked in her lips and the promises that swayed with her stride. But even as Heuani drank his recollections, that well was poisoned by the image of her limbs, bent in all the wrong ways, her shattered cheekbone-[/color] [color=#2f4f4f;]He looked again. He saw the old shapes, subtle but definite, even as they were veiled by injury. He realized again how beautiful she was. How virtuously, Heuani realized, she lived in his heart, pure like melted snow. She was relentless as a stream, bubbled like boiling water when she laughed. Most beautiful of all was her sagacity; she always knew people, she always thought deeply, she bore prophetic wisdom in one hand. And sang out her dreams. Beautiful as always. He had never wanted anything more than he wanted her, he recognized, as he leaned into to her mangled features. All he did was for her, one way or another. [/color] [color=#2f4f4f;]Whimsically but slowly, Heuani bent closer down to her bloodied face. He hesitated, closed his eyes, and then kissed the cold lips hungrily, his back arching like a wildcat's as her slack jaw welcomed him. He had never been able to kiss her, and in her current state, she could not stop him. The Maru watched silently, too shocked or disgusted to know how to react, but Heuani didn't care. He wanted her, he had always wanted her, and she could still be his-[/color] [color=#2f4f4f;]-But she was dead.[/color] [color=#2f4f4f;]Not just warped. Dead.[/color] [color=#2f4f4f;]Dead.[/color] [color=#2f4f4f;]With unprecedented rage, Heuani sprang up from her side. He roared viscerally at the other six Toa and wildly slashed the air between him and them with his arms. From the Toa of Shadow's fingertips burst untamed shadows, a horde of angry whips that swirled through the air dancing to the incomprehensible music of his grief. All the emotion that Heuani was accustomed to bottling broke forcefully forth in his explosive attack. One of the Maru cut short his dangerous flailing projections, though, with a well-placed elemental blast that sent Heuani skidding back to where he had knelt. He sat beside her again, his face by now wiped clean of any expression; he looked void of feeling, as though all of it had been used at once in his outburst. Heuani was empty and his impeccable face wore the blank symmetry of a statue. He blinked.[/color] [color=#2f4f4f;]"What heroes you show yourselves to be," he finally said, biting his lip.[/color] [color=#2f4f4f;]He picked up Reka's limp form and dissolved into darkness. The Toa Maru were, once again, victorious.  [/color]

Edited by Nuju Metru, Mar 28 2013 - 11:59 PM.

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#1749 Offline Vezok's Friend

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Posted Mar 29 2013 - 05:52 AM

[color=rgb(40,40,40);][font="helvetica;"][color=#800000;]IC:[/color][/color][/font][color=rgb(40,40,40);][font="helvetica;"] [/color][/font][color=rgb(40,40,40);][font="helvetica;"][color=#800000;]Great Spirit, it really is her.... For a moment, Agni had feared the worst had come to Joske, a personalized demon to finally do him in on this day, where he had already accomplished so much  and in turn had sacrificed as much or even more. But that wasn't the case. Far from it. The friend he had thought lost - and in Joske's case, the woman he loved - was standing just a few feet away from them. Cael looked the same as always, safe for a visible scar on her cheek. And as if she had never been gone she asked: "Agni, are you alright?"[/color][/color][/font][color=rgb(40,40,40);][font="helvetica;"] [/color][/font][color=rgb(40,40,40);][font="helvetica;"][color=#800000;]"A bit overwhelmed...", he admitted, "which is probably an understatement. I mean, you were gone and now you are not. How...?"[/color][/color][/font][color=rgb(40,40,40);][font="helvetica;"][color=#800000;] [/color][/color][/font][color=rgb(40,40,40);][font="helvetica;"][color=#daa520;]"I sacrificed my powers."[/color][/color][/font][color=rgb(40,40,40);][font="helvetica;"] [/color][/font][color=rgb(40,40,40);][font="helvetica;"][color=#800000;]Agni stopped mid-sentence, turned to Joske. He must have heard that wrong. The kid was so exhausted, he had a hard time even projecting his voice at a louder level than just a whisper. Surely he didn't just say - [/color][/color][/font][color=rgb(40,40,40);][font="helvetica;"] [/color][/font][color=rgb(40,40,40);][font="helvetica;"][color=#daa520;]"I sacrificed all of it as payment to bring her back. I no longer have access to my elemental powers. I no longer have any Toa Power, so when I do finally complete my destiny I'll instantly turn into a Turaga, no fanfare or questions asked... if I survive the transformation. All the training you gave me, the grief I gave you over mastering flame... I'm sorry if you're disappointed and understand if you are."[/color][/color][/font][color=rgb(40,40,40);][font="helvetica;"] [/color][/font][color=rgb(40,40,40);][font="helvetica;"][color=#800000;]No, he had heard right. And Joske was just sitting there, smiling at his hands for some reason. Agni's mouth closed. He wanted to say something, but his mind needed time to process what he had just heard. What his protegé was saying was challenging how far he was willing to suspend his disbelief. And he had already stretched that ability far on this day. And it was only made worse, because it all made no sense and perfect sense at the same time. He had already seen so much today he would have waved away a day ago as fantastical nonsense. And he was willing to believe a lot. In a world filled with super-powered beings, how could he not. He was willing to believe six Matoran were destined to become the successors to the first Toa. He was willing to believe a floating mask in empty white space could grant wishes. He was willing to believe a man could fly. [/color][/color][/font][color=rgb(40,40,40);][font="helvetica;"][color=#800000;]And  then he had seen Makuta's top-agent beaten, by a Toa of fire who had not only recovered from the initial savage beaten he done with a change of his very element. An element they had not yet seen in a Toa. At first, that one had made no sense either. But if there were Toa of shadow, why couldn't there be Toa of light? Safe for the Maru, Agni doubted any Toa on the island had been granted that much power.[/color][/color][/font][color=rgb(40,40,40);][font="helvetica;"] [/color][/font][font="helvetica;"][color=#800000;]But even with all that power, there was one thing that remained constant: Death. It was the final frontier, a veil that could not be pierced by those on the other side, only by those whose life was about to run out. That was the universal rule. No matter how powerful, through battle, illness or old age, sooner or later that was everybody's fate. And yet, somehow, Joske had done it. And that somehow was the part that made it so hard to come to terms with. Before his mind, Agni saw the people he had seen die. Matoran in the guard, other Toa, friends. For a moment he thought back to the adventure on the Kumu-Islets. Why was it that Cael had been brought back, yet Valria's old team, Mef and others could not? He didn't really feel like going back to such dark moments, but he couldn't help it. Only when he reminded himself of the fact that Joske had been given more than just raw power could he push those thoughts back again. [/color][/font][font="helvetica;"][color=#800000;]Because one Toa giving up all of his power to bring back another, it made sense. A fair exchange. And Joske had, at least temporarily, been granted an insane amount of it. But he had needed more than just power. He had needed his mask. Maybe it all came down to that Kanohi. Only with its power he had had just enough to pull it off, to bring Cael back. Agni sighed. He couldn't fully comprehend the mechanics of the exchange, Joske probably didn't know them either, but he understood the reasoning behind them. And so he resigned himself to accepting that the kid had done it again. He smiled weakly.[/color][/font][font="helvetica;"] [/font][font="helvetica;"][color=#800000;]"Disappointed? No...truth be told, I don't know what to feel. Proud? Suprised? Dumbstruck?  Take your pick, it's all there. All this time training you, I thought it would come down to a Toa of fire against a Toa of shadow. But this...I'm having hard time accepting it. I mean, yes, I can see it, I know it's all real. I just don't understand how..." [/color][/font][font="helvetica;"] [/font][font="helvetica;"][color=#800000;]He shrugged. "Maybe I'm not supposed to."[/color][/font][font="helvetica;"] [/font][font="helvetica;"] [/font][color=#800000;]What he said probably sounded like a jumbled mess to his friend. And if it did, it was only because it was. His thoughts were still circling each other. And there was one that kept popping into his mind, one that reminded him of something he would have been happy to never think about again. He picked up his sword, wiping off the dirt on the flat side of it with his fingers before sheathing it again and turning to walk away. He would need some time to think about all of this. But not right now. He'd go back to the Suva, wait for the Maru to return and then they could all go home and sort out the problems that had piled up along the way. He looked Joske in the eyes, then said:[/color]  [font="helvetica;"][color=#800000;]"You've done more crazy things in the last two days than I have seen in the past 100 years combined. Never doubted that you could, either. And I am not disappointed. I am proud of you. And now you're sitting here, apologizing for giving up your powers to bring back Cael. And I don't know what to say to that. Even without your powers, you've become a far better Toa than I ever was." And then, a bit more grimly, he added: "Than I ever could be." [/color][/font][font="helvetica;"] [/font][font="helvetica;"][color=#800000;]He started to walk away. [/color][/font][font="helvetica;"] [/font][font="helvetica;"][color=#daa520;]Wait!"[/color][color=#800000;] Joske croaked. Agni stopped, looking back over his shoulder. [/color][color=#daa520;]"What do you mean by that?"[/color][/font][font="helvetica;"] [/font][font="helvetica;"][color=#800000;]The older Toa of fire's shoulder were slightly slumped forward. "There comes a moment for every Toa, where they face an adversary that tests how far they are willing to go without compromising who they are. When you let the shadow-Toa live, you passed that test." [/color][/font][font="helvetica;"] [/font][font="helvetica;"][color=#800000;]"A test I failed."[/color][/font][font="helvetica;"] [/font][font="helvetica;"][color=#000080;]--------------------------------------[/color][/font][font="helvetica;"] [/font][font="helvetica;"][color=#000080;]Leah planted her staff firmly on the ground, the tip hitting the ground echoing across the dark and now quiet chamber. The tension of battle was slowly leaving her, allowing her to catch her breath and think for a few seconds. It also brought the minor injuries she had sustained into focus again. The multiple cuts and bruises left her with a dull, throbbing pain all over. The fight had taken a toll on them all, on some of them (Sulov) more than the others. But that pain was nothing in comparison to the emotions the Toa of water was feeling right now. [/color][/font][font="helvetica;"] [/font][font="helvetica;"][color=#000080;]She watched the spot where Heuani had knelt just a few seconds ago, where she had knocked him back to with a blast of water at his sudden outburst. His shadows had been caught by a wall of water and collapsed in on him, driving him back. It was a final raging outburst that went nowhere. Against the six of them, he alone could do nothing, especially after exhausting his elemental reserves. He had vanished not long after, taking the body of his team-mate with him. The other shadow-Mata were either incapacitated or dead as well. By all accounts, they had won, they should feel happy, encouraged and driven. But the feeling of elation after a victory, like she had felt after the battle for the Rama hive, would not come to Leah. And she wasn't even sure if even the defeat of Makuta himself would change that. Because all she could think of was the cost of this victory. [/color][/font][font="helvetica;"] [/font][font="helvetica;"][color=#000080;]The blood of Reka, Gali still stained the stone-floor where she had fallen. And Leah eyed it with a dark look in her blue eyes. In the end, Heuani had shown that even he could still feel something, that deep inside, past all the corruption, there was still a small part left in the former Toa Mata that remembered who they had once been, that they had been friends, comrades, lovers...[/color][/font][font="helvetica;"][color=#000080;]And thinking how all that had been taken away and led to this added even more to the anger that she already felt towards the Makuta. He had twisted the first Toa into the dark beings they were now. He had made the Parakuka that sat on Oreius back and made her brother lose control momentarily and take a life. She thought of the enslaved Rahi again, doing evil against their will; and the other servants and agents, twisted and corrupted beyond redemption.  And she thought of all those that had made sacrifices standing up against them: the chronicler's company, Takua himself, Joske and his companions, all those that took a stand across the island to fight for their freedom. Makuta had made them suffer for hundreds of years; and now that his power was being threatened, he threw everything he had at them, just so that he could continue to bring the island misery.[/color][/font][font="helvetica;"][color=#000080;] [/color][/font][font="helvetica;"][color=#000080;]No more.[/color][/font][font="helvetica;"] [/font][font="helvetica;"][color=#000080;]Her staff shortened as she retracted the ends of it, making it easier to carry. She reached out with her elemental control and gave whatever humidity was in the air an outward push from her position. She could feel the particles hit her brothers, but also the walls of the chamber...except for where they went through an opening on the far side, obscured by darkness. [/color][/font][font="helvetica;"] [/font][font="helvetica;"][color=#000080;]She turned away from the bloodstains on the floor. Leah's usually soft features hardened into a dark expression of determination as she glanced at the others. To Reordin, it seemed as though a hurrican was forming over the ocean.[/color][/font] [font="helvetica;"][color=#000080;]"Let's move." [/color][/font]

Edited by Vezok's Friend, Mar 29 2013 - 05:53 AM.

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#1750 Online Ghosthands

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Posted Mar 29 2013 - 07:20 AM

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

 

[color=#008000;]As the last of the Shadow Toa disappeared, and the battle was finally over, a change seemed to have come over Korero.  His posture was strong and calm, arms folded, no longer the gangly and awkward being that had entered the lair.  When he spoke, his voice had altered too; it was a little deeper, stronger, and its sparkiness and naivete had been replaced by a grimness.  Clearly, seeing how far the First Toa could fall and fighting these shades had changed him.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]"Three broken.  Two dead.  One grieving," he said.  "All lost.  Makuta killed them long ago."[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]He looked to Stannis.  His gaze was not accusatory, but the leader could see the regret in his brother's eyes - and Stannis understood, as only he could, how Korero had been affected.  Fighting the twisted shadows of beings you'd idolised your entire life...nobody could go through that unchanged.  The Toa of Air had been forced through the painful realisation that his ideals of heroism, noble and incorruptible, were imperfect.  Every legend, every story he'd ever studied and memorised, every great deed of the First Toa; they had all now been tainted by the knowledge that those paragons of virtue had not only failed, but become the very thing they sought to defeat.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]And he'd had to fight them.  To defeat them.  To break them.  He and his brothers and sister had been forced to shatter the very mirror they'd modelled themselves on.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]Korero hadn't lost his optimism; but part of his innocence had died.  And he was stronger for it.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]"So this is the price of victory."[/color]


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#1751 Offline Tyler is Love

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Posted Mar 29 2013 - 11:06 PM

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]IC (Oreius)[/color][/font]

 

[color=#2f4f4f;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]"What heroes you show yourselves to be."[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]This single sentence struck Oreius with far more force than any of Heuani's blows had -or possibly could have. It mirrored the words Reka had whispered with her final breath, calling the Toa of Fire out on the monster he had briefly allowed himself to be.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]He turned away from his teammates for a moment; his brothers and sister stood almost as silent as he, but he was alone in his misery. Even the bright heat that flared up as Inu tried to comfort him wasn't warm enough to thaw the icy grief that threatened to paralyse him, choke him, suffocate him.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]Out of all the Maru, he alone had killed. He looked down at his hands: they were stained with Reka's blood -the blood that he had knowingly spilt with his own strength. He hadn't been helpless when he had continued to strike the Toa of Shadow even after she was defeated. He could have chosen to stop... but he had not. Inu's battle frenzy and his own sense of duty to the island had combined into something monstrous, something that not only killed, but did so out of a sense of righteous duty.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]His stomach twisted painfully as his mind reeled; he felt sick as he finally saw himself for what he was. He wasn't a Toa: Toa didn't kill. He was merely a soldier who was willing to do whatever it took to achieve his ends. Reka had called him a monster, and, truly, he was.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]Before all this began, back when Oreius had been just another Guard in Ta-Koro, he wouldn't have found it difficult to rationalize murder. Not that he had ever killed a sentient being, though, and he had only slain one or two Rahi over his whole career: it was easier to knock off the masks of the infected creatures than to try to strike a fatal blow.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]But, back then, duty had been his life. The Ta-Koro Guard prided themselves on their courage, which was born out of a steadfast resolve to do their duty, and to do it to the best of their ability. To do one's duty -and do it well- was more than admirable: it was the best any Matoran could aspire to.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]However, journeying with Stannis and the others had changed his view of the world. Duty was not the end-all be-all; it was equal with unity and destiny. And the ends could never justify the means.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]The Toa of Fire looked up to see his brothers and sister beginning their walk towards the unseen exit of the chamber. He followed, still silent, and looked down at the swords he still held in his hands.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]This one last thing, he would do. He would defeat Makuta, for the Master of shadows had done far too much evil to be allowed forgiveness simply because of a guilty conscience. He would complete this quest, because everything in his life thus far had led up to this one moment.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]Unbidden, a long-forgotten memory rose to the front of his mind: the words he had spoken to Turaga Vakama those many months ago:[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]"I... I just want to do something, Turaga... I can't just wait until a hero comes to win my freedom for me. Even if I can't do anything worth singing songs about; even if it means my death, I need to fight..."If I can't change my destiny, then I'll follow it the best I can. And that means fighting the Makuta, even if it won't change anything.”[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]He had given up everything for the unpromised chance to strike a blow against the Makuta, and now destiny had given him that opportunity, as well as the strength to take it. He wouldn't waste it. He would do this one last thing, for the sake of his home, and for the sake of the Matoran he had once been.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#800000;][font="arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"]And so Oreius and Inu followed their team towards their destiny.[/color][/font]


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#1752 Offline Queen Anora Mac Tir

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Posted Mar 29 2013 - 11:44 PM

Ic: [color=#333333;]"What heroes you show yourselves to be,"[/color] Heuani said, then sank into the shadows from whence he came.

 

"[color=#006400;]Three broken. Two dead. One grieving,[/color]" Korero had said. "[color=#006400;]All lost. Makuta killed them long ago.[/color]" Silence overtook the Toa Maru again for a short moment and Korero looked to Stannis to show his confusion. "[color=#006400;]So this is the price of victory.[/color]"

 

"No," Stannis said sternly, with resolve steely as his eyes, "that is the price of failure." The last word seethed through his teeth like poison. "We did not win, we only established ourselves. These were not the Toa Mata. This was not Pohatu, nor is that Lewa, nor did Oreius slay Gali -- they were already dead, long ago slain by the being they were foretold to defeat. These people sacrificed all that they were to darkness, they would have us killed to keep themselves -- they were worse than Rahi, sunken from their ship of virtues into the corrosive mire of these ######."

 

"We did not succeed because Heuani yet lives in darkness. Even I was fooled, bewitched by his display of affection. But even his sadness gave way to anger and he still aimed to kill us. He is no longer a toa and lies far beyond redemption's sway." Stannis shook his head in dismay. "We did not gain a victory here, we were only reminded of what can still befall us if we lose faith. Don't fool yourselves to think otherwise. Don't perish and become like them."


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#1753 Offline Friar Tuck

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Posted Mar 30 2013 - 12:32 AM

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

 

[Kini-Nui jungle; morning]

 

[color=#daa520;]"A test... you failed!?"[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]My voice repeated what he said without my consent, and despite the questioning tone in it I found myself realizing that the emphasis was as a shocked statement. And not merely at that last comment. Oh no, it was what he had just got done saying previously as well.[/color]

 

[font="helvetica;"][color=#800000;]I am not disappointed. I am proud of you[/color][/font].

 

[color=#ff0000;]That hit me like a someone wearing a Pakari. He had said things like that along those lines before, but not with that much emotion or absolute pride. It was always "good job, kid" or "well done, sport"... not to say those weren't important, that he didn't mean it, but they were generic. Catch-all. Instant praise for a momentary positive outcome. No, this was different. This was an admission. Not as an instructor. Not as a teacher, not as a superior, nor even as a well-meaning mentor or elder. No, the closest thing that came to this was a father telling his son that he was proud of him. A father who was finally satisfied that this young man had become the man not only that he saw, but what he could never achieved. I may have been a very hard-headed student but deep down Angi had my most admiring respect and admiration, and to that extent I gave my all whenever he had trained me, to the point where when I failed I was not mad at him, but at myself for failing. Failing to please and meet his expectations. And now, in this moment of weakness, when I had no powers or any other gifts, I witnessed him saying the words that I never once heard in the months I spent training with him or even during out misshaped adventure. [/color]

 

[font="helvetica;"][color=#800000;]You've become a far better Toa than I ever was.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#ff0000;][font="helvetica;"]I gripped the earth between my fingers as I choked with emotion. How... how could this be? I was a spotlight hog. A spoiled brat. I wasted most of my life up until this point seeking hollow praise from meaningless individuals with an ignorant view of the world. It has only been in the last few weeks that I came face-to-face with the reality that surrounds us all, how the world works. How could he, Toa Angi, call me a better Toa than he? I'm not better. I'm... I'm not. I can't be. I'm... not perfect. [/color][/font]

 

[font="helvetica;"][color=#800000;]Than I ever could be.[/color][/font]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Even as I came to grips with those statements, I could feel the pain in those words. The words of a Toa who had dome something irreversibly wrong and could never forgive himself. A man scarred by something that happened long ago... that marred him. As much as those words pf praise were meant for me, they also had a much deeper meaning.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Maybe he... is not perfect either?[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]That hit me other than I should have let it. Nobody's perfect. I knew that. But to Me Angi was as close to that ideal as one could be. I put him on a pedestal... and now was beginning to think he was just as flawed as me. Or at least he was sounding like it.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]"Does this have to do with that death?"[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]Slowly I lifted my head, looking at his turned back. It was as if a great weight was on his shoulders, something I had never witnessed before. He did not reply, and I found my mouth continuing to speak despite my best intentions and not knowing fully what I was blabbering about. [/color][color=#daa520;]"I... I heard it was an accident. That you had a team once and someone close to you died. At least... at least that's how the story went."[/color][color=#ff0000;] There was a long silence as I liked my lips, fearing my next question as much as I did the possible answer for it.[/color] [color=#daa520;]"I take it the rumor... the rumor wasn't entirely accurate?"[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]It was that feeling that you had when you saw that ball heading for that precious, expensive vase but knew there was nothing you could do from watching it get destroyed.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I tried to brace myself for his reply.[/color]


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#1754 Online Ghosthands

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Posted Mar 30 2013 - 06:23 AM

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

 

[color=#008000;]Korero gave Stannis a nod.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]"We have their example as a warning," he said.  "We will succeed where they failed.  But...it is hard to know what ideal to follow when everything you aspired to...well..."[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]He gestured to the four unmoving black bodies that lay nearby.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]"The Toa Mata were our paradigm, but they fell," he said.  He looked to Stannis once again.  "Stannis, you're our leader.  I look to you now.  Be the ideal, and we will follow."[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]A small smile crept back to his face, and his finger traced the emblem on his shield; it was like the sun, rising from a dark night.[/color]

 

[color=#008000;]"I have faith."[/color]


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#1755 Offline Vezok's Friend

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Posted Mar 30 2013 - 08:27 AM

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

 

[color=#800000;]Agni really didn't feel like retelling the story he had involuntarily touched upon. But after all they had been through together and with the way Joske looked at him now, he had a right to know. Agni let out a short breath. He had opened this chapter of his life for sharing and now it was time to read it aloud. He just hoped the younger Toa would understand. He expected a backlash, some respect would be lost, but if Joske could understand the motivation, perhaps there was something to learn in it for him as well. Maybe the last thing Agni would have him learn before the student decided it was time to part ways with a fallible teacher. But was not going to make it a lesson. He would tell the story and let Joske and Cael take away from it what they wanted. [/color]

 

[color=#800000;]He turned back around and unwrapped the scarf hanging around his shoulders, before sitting down, shoulder slightly hanging. The veteran suddenly looked older than he was. But his eyes still found Joske's as he began:[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"Many months ago, I was on patrol in Ta-Koro when I saw a Toa making her way through the streets. I would prefer it not to say her name. I've come to know her since then and despite everything, she is good people. But she was the one who opened this case in the first place. When I spotted her, she was stumbling and wrapped in lumps, probably more exhausted than you are now and looking like she'd been through a war. When I asked her who she was and what she was doing in Ta-Koro she couldn't recall anything, neither name nor purpose. But she had been on the run from something for days, that much was obvious.""I took her back to the headquarter, made sure she got medical attention, food and rest there before asking more questions. When we finally got back around to those, she still couldn't remember where she had come from, but I did get her name and that she was a Toa of gravity. But from what she told me, something horrible had happened to her, something her own mind was refusing her to revisit to protect her. And somebody was responsible for it. So I went to Jaller afterwards, asking for a formal investigation to be opened. Anybody with that kind of power was dangerous and needed to be stopped, even if they weren't operating from Ta-Wahi."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]His tone was starting to gain more confidence as he recalled that part. It was just like answering to an inquiry by the guards higher-ups, Jaller and Vakama in his case at the time. It wasn't the best storytelling, he knew that. He had never been good at speaking of epic tales. But his to-the-point account of events did sum up all the important bits. [/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"Long story short, he allowed me to go after whoever had done it and speaking with the Toa she recalled something about Onu-Wahi, so we headed there and took her to the Turaga. Whenua couldn't help her to regain all of her memories, but a few, indicating Po-Wahi next. We were about to leave when we met a Toa of earth named Mef; and another who joined us. We made it to Po-Koro alright, but that's when things started to get complicated."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Agni quickly told Joske how they had had to deal with a crazed-out elderly bar-owner, psychotic Matoran sisters, a shadow-being and somebody dying in the lobby of the inn they were staying at. And he told them of how he saw Mef and Valria - still not mentioning her name - got close during that time and how it helped her regain both more of her memories and confidence. [/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"After Po-Koro, she decided the next best place to follow the trail was either Ga-Koro or Kini-Nui. We wound up doing both, since going by ferry to Ga-Wahi and then coming here takes less time than a trip inland on foot. The village of water did not bring new results, but we restocked our supplies there and then came here. That was when I finally learned, who was responsible for everything."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"His name was Telric. He'd somehow learned that one of his victims was still on the move and he sent a team of mercenaries to kill us and bring her back in. That didn't happen. Half of them died when the others defended themselves, the other half of them got a beating that they would never forget. If you've ever seen a Toa of gravity mad, you know what I mean. But at least we had a name and we knew where he was operating from, so we made our way back to Ga-Koro and hopped on a ferry to the Kumu-Islets. When we got there we finally learned the full story from the Toa of gravity, what Telric had done. She and her team had once tried to make a move on Kini-Nui to find out what happened to the first Toa. Telric and his mercs surprised them, captured them and brought them to his hideout. He killed most of the male Toa in her team, safe for two. Then he tortured them, made the women watch and vice versa. He broke her and the others. Did things to them...made them his playthings, slaves. I didn't ask for details. I had heard enough."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"We got to the Islets in the afternoon, the trip to the hideout took until nightfall. Turns out Telric had made himself a mansion in the jungle, away from everything and not accessible by any main-road, only by crossing through a swamp. And he had been busy..."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Agni's eyes darkened as he recalled the sight of the mansion. It had been eerie. "The Toa of gravity and her team had not been the only ones, you know. He had stolen away so many in time that he kept them in pens, like cattle. I had talked with her before we moved in. She'd wanted to kill Telric, understandably, I didn't. We decided to see what would happen. And if there was no other choice..."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"So we snuck in, undetected, or so we thought. Telric was waiting for us. We still took him down, the Toa of gravity, her old team-mate, Mef and me; but with enough noise to alert all his mercs and guards. And we still had to get all the slaves out. It was chaotic. I don't know how many of the captives made it out, we just helped them out of the pens and told them to make for the wall, trying to keep the guards at bay at the same time. Mef used his element to bring the wall down then, opening a path for them to escape; and I covered them with a wall of flame. When they were clear much of the empty house had caught fire and the mercs had fled. And we had what we had came for. All we needed to do was to bring Telric back to the main-island, then to Ta-Koro and lock him up forever."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]His voice soured at that point. "I had thought we had made it, that we were in the clear. I let my guard drop and he used that to his advantage. Because somewhere in the chaos, one of our companions, Kuyre, had gotten poisoned. I don't know where exactly, maybe in one of the slave-pens. But on the way back to Ga-Koro, he suddenly fell ill. Telric had planned on that happening. He knew we still needed to make the trip back to Ta-Koro before any chance of escape was gone and he used it. He still had a boat he demanded we signal to pick him up. In return he would give us the recipe for the antidote. We couldn't just let Kuyre die, so we had no choice. He stopped us short of the finish-line. Kuyre would live and I could follow him later, but for the time being, he walked free. And he knew he had us beaten then. And then, when he got on his boat...he killed Mef."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]There was a pause. For a moment Joske thought Agni was choking up, but then he noticed it wasn't because of sadness, but out of anger. Agni was angry at himself. He had felt responsible for the others, being the professional soldier. And then one of his team had gotten poisoned and the other killed, brutally, while he  was watching. He still had the image of Mef's lifeless body hanging from the side of the ship burned into his mind... [/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"Just like that. And he just left. I don't know what we did when we got ashore, I think she brought his body to the morgue. All I know was that I was angry, mad. I knew what I was going to do, told my friend to wait and then I went to the marines. I told them what happened, they agreed to help. And when I got back to the Toa of gravity we hopped in a boat and hunted Telric down. His hideout was ashes, so there was nowhere he could have gone in such a short time. And now he felt he was in the clear. We were going to prove him wrong."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]His voice returned to a more matter-of-factly tone then, a bit more distant, as if recounting something he had not taken personally part in. "We found the boat anchoring in a secluded part of the bay that night. The marines went in first, covertly, to take out the guards on the ship. I followed shortly after with my mask. And the Toa of gravity stayed behind. She was our heavy hitter and I didn't want her in danger in case our plan didn't work. But it did. She jumped the distance from the boat to his ship with her power. Telric wasn't scared, he didn't know he was already standing alone. The Marines had taken out all the guards below decks and I had dealt with the rest, knocking them out. And then she came in and finished Telric. By the time I got to her on the top-deck he was already beaten and on the ground. He couldn't run away or fight anymore. It should have ended then, taken him in again. But we didn't. I didn't."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]There was another pause then, this one slightly longer than the others. [/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"I told my friend and the marines then to get back to our boat. She knew what I was going to do, I had told her, but the marines didn't know. They left the boat and me alone with Telric. He was looking at me, you know. He pleaded to be spared. I didn't hear it. All I could think of were the slaves he had kept for his amusement, the things he had done to my friends and that image of Mef dying, falling into the water..."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"So I set the boat on fire. The flames caught on quickly and spread fast on the deck. I looked at Telric one last time and the I used my mask to get back to the marines."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"I left him to burn." [/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"On the way back we watched the boat get consumed by the fire and then sink. I don't remember feeling regret at that point. I don't remember feeling anything, to be honest. We made it back to Ga-Wahi. A few days later, we buried Mef at sea. My friend and I parted ways afterwards. She wanted to get away for a while, I had to get back to the guard. I don't know where she is now; but where-ever it is, it's a safer place than it was while that monster was still around. The next morning, she was gone and before I could do what I had intended, I got sidetracked because a rookie Toa of fire sent a fireball the size of Nokama's hut out over the bay, so I didn't go back to Ta-Koro then. I think you know the rest from there..."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Agni fell silent once more, this time for longer than before. But he wasn't done talking and after a long moment, he said: "I do regret what happened, now. And if I could go back I would have acted different. Like when you let Heuani live...I wish I had known then what I know now back then, Joske. But it wasn't until I started teaching you that I learned that lesson myself. Death creates nothing. Telric's certainly didn't. It didn't make me feel better. It didn't undo any of the horrible things that were done to my companions. It just meant that I hadn't been strong enough to stick what I knew was the right thing to do. instead, I did the very opposite. Maybe for the right reasons, but that point is moot..."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]And there it was. He had put it all out there. And now he was awaiting judgement from the very Toa he had taught, or tried to, to the best of his abilities. Maybe Joske would hate him now. He wouldn't be too surprised if he did. He was determined to see this through though. He would stay and help until the Maru defeated Makuta. And if he was to go away afterward, alone and without his closest friends, so be it. [/color]


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#1756 Offline Friar Tuck

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Posted Mar 30 2013 - 05:01 PM

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

 

[Kini-Nui jungle; morning]

 

I sat there in silence for the longest of minutes, mulling over the story I had just heard in impassive thought. I had heard the stories, [color=#ff0000;]know I had in a way waltzed into his life at the end of something big, but I never understood what or how extensive. Now I knew. Even as my face was stoney neutrality, I knew what I needed to do. What to say. It was that simple.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I leaned forward and hugged a very startled and confused Angi.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]"Thank you."[/color][color=#ff0000;] I whispered, holding the embrace. He didn't respond back, too stunned to move, but I didn't care. I heard what I needed to hear. I admit it may have looked awkward, but I needed it. Angi was no longer the hard-nosed instructor that he started off as, nor the strict yet fair mentor he had become over the last several weeks. To me he was the closest thing I had to a father figure outside Vakama, except he was someone I could relate more to. Maybe it broke Guard protocol, maybe he didn't see our relationship that way, but in that embrace I released a lot of backlogged feelings about him that I never got the chance to say.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]The young boy in me was at last satisfied.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]It didn't last long, even though to everyone involved it probably felt like an eternity. Eventually I pulled away and plopped down next to him, resting on my palms, looking up at the treeline... and smiled. No, grinned. Grinned like a schoolkid who didn't have a care in the world, marveling at the colorful world around him. Despite everything that had happened over the last two days I had finally found my inner peace. Not to say the future wouldn't be a daily struggle, but I could finally come to terms with the craziness that had been my life for the past three weeks. Eventually, however, he asked the question I was waiting for him to ask.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"Thank you... for what?"[/color][color=#ff0000;] he finally stammered out. Even as I answered I didn't turn away from the crown of the trees.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]"For showing me that nobody's perfect."[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I let that sit there for a while, that statement floating in the gentle floating wind. Eventually I turned to look at him, my bright blue eyes boring right into him.[/color][color=#daa520;] "As much as one good deed usually does not grant a being redemption, one evil act does not necessarily condemn one to Karzahni. I admit Angi, I made a terrible mistake; I put you in a high pedestal, saw you as the epitome of Toa Morality and upholder of the Code, and believed you to be, for the most part, infallible. Foolish of me? Yes. But that's what I saw. That's how I felt. And a part of me feels crushed. I gave you such high stature in my life that to see you as a killer destroyed my view that it's possible to be completely virtuous. As ironic as it seems... you failed me. Failed me as the last of my facades came crashing down. Yet even in that instant you proved to me something even more vital: the importance of the Toa Code."[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I leaned back, returning my look to the treetops.[/color][color=#daa520;] "My view of the world has always been simple. Either you win, or you lose. If you train hard, you'll do better. If you don't, you won't perform well. There are good guys, there are bad guys. There is right. There is wrong. Either you follow the Code, or you don't. Not to say there isn't shades of grey, but the world is much more black and white than most people give credit for. There are things you don't do, and there are things you do do. If thought about in such terms, then there is little to understand or try to figure out as problems or challenges come along, for you already know the answer. Such as how to deal with what you just told me. Call me naive and simple-minded, but it's an astonishingly satisfying and low-maintenance view."[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I lowered my gave to the greenery between my legs, focusing my mind back to the subject at hand.[/color][color=#daa520;] "Toa have to deal with a lot of things; I understand this now. I've lived through it. We are on the front lines of this never-ending war, and what we see and forced to come to grips with is something most other beings are blissfully unaware of. The challenges we face, the decisions we are forced to make on a daily basis - its enough to drive anyone off the deep end from grief or despair. Even as we are servants and protectors of the Matoran, it is also often our duty to administer justice in lieu of proper authority. For the longest time I didn't see it as that way, but now I am beginning to understand. Sometimes you can't haul them in. Sometimes you can't hold them. Or sometimes if you don't act they'll get away and do more damage next time. So we have to stop them. As much as we may be a police force we are often called upon to be the judge and jury as well. But not necessarily executioner. [/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]"No, not unless we have a clear head. It is very easy to get sidetracked by emotion, to be overwhelmed and let the mission get personal. As long as we have a vendetta, we cannot judge or sentence with impartial or fairness. We cannot make a justified decision that reflects the justice that needs to be meted out. That's why we have the Code. With everything we are forced to experience it is rare for any Toa to keep a clear enough head to be fair and just, which is why we are commanded not to kill unless absolutely necessary. As in, there is no emotion involved. Because then it ceases to be justice; it's revenge, pure and simple. No longer are we keepers of the peace but enraged combatants, only wishing what has befallen us in terrible retribution. Even if we have the right. Even if doing so would gain the applause of every living creature. Even if it would do good. If we do it in anger in our hearts then it's no longer right. That's why we have a Code. Now I understand the comments you made earlier. Why I was a far better Toa than you.[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I paused, thinking back those few minutes.[/color][color=#daa520;] "We both were in a similar position. We were both fighting a cruel and heartless foe. Someone who had caused innumerable people pain and suffering. Someone who, if killed, would not be missed and in fact do the island a favor by removing him. So much so, that in any court of law we could have killed them with the court's blessing and approval they were that dangerous. And we both had them dead to rights. We defeated them. Had them in our sights. Done what others could not. The difference is... I managed to hold myself back. And in doing so, despite letting him get away, I did not compromise myself. Had I killed him, I would have done so out of hatred and anger over what he did to not only Cael, but the dozens of others he had manhandled over the last century. It would not have been justice. It would not have been impassionate judgement. I didn't allow myself to go there. But you did. Now I understand.[/color]

 

[color=#daa520;]"This is why I thank you. Because you showed me that even the best and most noble among us struggle with this very issue every day. Every battle. Every decision. And that sometimes you fail. Yes, I admit, you went down a few pegs... alright, several pegs, bit it showed that you're imperfect; like me. And that the quest for perfection is a life-long pursuit, not a one-time deal. That actually it can never come true, but in fact simply and ideal. And ideal, as impossible as it may be, is still worth pursuing. I spent far to long trying too hard to be perfect in my sport that I lost sight of what's important. The pursuit of perfect is important, but should not be all-encompassing. Because we're going to screw up eventually. Like I did. And like you did. I guess we're all a bunch of screw-ups trying not to be in a screwed-up world. So as much as it may have hurt to hear that tale, I can't blame you for it. I can't punish you for it. I can't even justify being angry or mad or feeling lied to. Because I've done things just as bad if not worse if you put things in perspective. What matters is that you continue to strive to be better and learn from your mistakes... a lesson you've devoted yourself to teach me. And to that effect, Angi, I have finally learned it. Through your mistake. I never knew why until now, but looking back I can see how that event changed you and how you taught me - to prevent me from making that same mistake you made. From those long talks to obnoxious debates to that training session in mines with the eventual philosophical runaround. So that I would never have to deal with that burden."[/color]

 

[color=#ff0000;]I looked at him, a toothy smile from ear to ear.[/color][color=#daa520;] "You know what? You did it. You done good... you old geezer."[/color]


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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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#1757 Offline Vezok's Friend

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Posted Mar 31 2013 - 05:34 PM

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

[color=#000080;][font="helvetica, arial, sans-serif;"]"[/color][font="helvetica, arial, sans-serif;"]Three broken. Two dead. One grieving; a[/font][font="helvetica, arial, sans-serif;"]ll lost. Makuta killed them long ago.[/font][font="helvetica, arial, sans-serif;"]" [/font][/font]

 

[color=#000080;][font="helvetica, arial, sans-serif;"]There was a moment of silence. Leah had walked a few steps ahead in the meantime, eager to move on and leave this chamber behind. She was still angry and wanted to see justice done. Korero looked to Stannis. "[/color][font="helvetica, arial, sans-serif;"]So this is the price of victory.[/font][font="helvetica, arial, sans-serif;"]" The response was immediate. [/font][/font]

 

[color=#000080;]"No, that is the price of failure. We did not win, we only established ourselves. These were not the Toa Mata. This was not Pohatu, nor is that Lewa, nor did Oreius slay Gali -- they were already dead, long ago slain by the being they were foretold to defeat. These people sacrificed all that they were to darkness, they would have us killed to keep themselves -- they were worse than Rahi, sunken from their ship of virtues into the corrosive mire of these ######."[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]Leah turned her head at that, looking back over her shoulder. Stannis continued. [/color]

 

[color=#000080;]"We did not succeed because Heuani yet lives in darkness. Even I was fooled, bewitched by his display of affection. But even his sadness gave way to anger and he still aimed to kill us. He is no longer a Toa and lies far beyond redemption's sway.We did not gain a victory here, we were only reminded of what can still befall us if we lose faith. Don't fool yourselves to think otherwise. Don't perish and become like them."[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]This time, Leah disagreed with the Maru's leader. The Toa of water had looked into the shadow-Toa's eyes when he had held the body of Reka, and for a moment, there had been something in the golden eyes that had not broken through before. For just a second she could see beyond the evil that had consumed the first Toa; and what she saw had been a worse fate than Stannis believed had befallen them. Korero gave the Toa of stone a nod.[/color]

 

 

[color=#000080;]"We have their example as a warning, we will succeed where they failed.  But...it is hard to know what ideal to follow when everything you aspired to...well...The Toa Mata were our paradigm, but they fell," he said, indicating the fallen Toa of shadow still left in the room, before turning back towards the Toa of stone. "Stannis, you're our leader.  I look to you now.  Be the ideal, and we will follow. I have faith." He pointed to his shield. [/color]

 

[color=#000080;]"We all do." Leah chimed in then. Her soft features wore a hard, grim expression. "The worst is yet to come. You are right, Stannis, this wasn't a victory...but they were the Mata, somewhere deep down. I could see it in their eyes. Makuta's evil runs much deeper than you said.  He made them remember. Everything.  As deep as they fell and as twisted as they had become, he did not make their minds fully his own...and that small part of them was aware of what they had become, how far they had descended into the darkness."[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]"That is worse than death." [/color]


Edited by Vezok's Friend, Mar 31 2013 - 06:02 PM.

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#1758 Offline Tyler Durden

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Posted Mar 31 2013 - 09:05 PM

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

 

[color=#000080;]"Let's just go," Reordin growled, popping up from his crouched position and sliding like a droplet of water down a crack. "They weren't who they used to be. We took them out of the equation. That's as far as it goes."[/color]

 

-Tyler


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and again, pathetic confusion.

 

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#1759 Offline Vezok's Friend

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Posted Apr 02 2013 - 12:44 PM

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

 

[color=#800000;]"Thanks...kid." Agni said, a bit hesitantly, but his voice solid. Out of all the reactions he had imagined, he had not counted on this one, at all. And the veteran didn't quite know what to make of it. He didn't feel any less guilty...but at the same time, he felt better. He wasn't sure what to make of the feeling. He was glad that Joske did not hate him, he agreed with everything the younger Toa had said, was glad he understood and saw the lesson that tied into the story, but at the same time...something had been lost. Not Joske's powers, something else. Something that had crumbled away along with the pedestal that Joske had put him on.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]And as the thought lingered for a bit, Agni realized what it was. Joske had become better than him. Powers or not, he had surpassed his mentor in pretty much every way, safe for experience perhaps. But that would come with time. And the veteran knew that he had nothing left to teach. He had passed on everything he knew and everything he had learned during their quest. It had payed off in ways even he had not expected, but the fact remained, there was nothing left that he could add. [/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Agni let out a deep breath and started to stand up. "Darnit, Joske, you're getting me borderline misty-eyed here..." he said, but grinned. Then his tone got a little more serious.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"I should get back. The fight for the island isn't over yet and Angelus is probably gnawing off the tips of his fingers soon if I don't get back soon."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]He smiled at Joske and Cael, in a rather fatherly way. "And you're in no shape to fight, if it should come to that. You've done more than enough already anyway. And I don't think Cael would either let you go or leave your side at this point."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]He turned around and started to walk away, but stopped once more, to look back, this time at the Toa of water. "It's really good to see you alive again, Cael. Take good care of him, lass. When this is over and the Maru are back, I'll see if we can't get everyone back to Ta-Koro. Come find me there...unless you have other plans."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]With a wink, he disappeared among the trees, leaving two of his closest friends behind, but safe.[/color]

 

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

 

[color=#800000;]Not too long after, he reappeared out of thin air next to a sitting Angelus.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]"Found him." he said. "He's safe...how are things here?"[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Angelus shrugged. "Same. Nothing happening above or below ground."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]He knew he had no other option but to just drop the bombshell now; and he didn't really know how else to do it. The others defending the temple didn't know about it, but the last thing Angelus knew about Cael was that she was dead. [/color][color=rgb(128,0,0);]Agni nodded slowly. "Not entirely true, though...Cael's back." he said, just loud enough for Angelus to hear. [/color]


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#1760 Offline Tyler is Love

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Posted Apr 05 2013 - 10:52 AM

IC

 

[color=#800000;]“What do you mean, that's as far as it goes?” Oreius growled, his head snapping around to fix his golden eyes on Reordin. Tahu's fire burned within his chest; it had thawed his icy silence in seconds.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]“I killed another Toa, and you're making her a variable in an equation?”[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]His knuckles paled as he gripped his swords tightly; his muscles clenched as though it were taking all his strength just to keep from lashing out. The Toa of Fire stood as straight as Inu would allow him, trembling almost imperceptibly. His eyes flashed, and the air suddenly became warm.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]“You think we can just... just write off death and blood and pain just because destiny chose us? Toa aren't killers, or was I wrong?”[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]Every Toa in the room froze, but none so much as the Toa of Ice himself.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]He didn't turn; it would do him no good to turn, not yet. His hands did not twitch towards his weapons, as the Toa of Fire's did, but the rigid muscles and soldier's discipline that crackled around his head and back gave a subtle nod towards the fact that if he wanted to, Reordin could and would defend himself, hold his own, and possibly win against Oreius. But he didn't. Not yet.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]Then he turned, and his eyes were cold and blue like a child smote with hypothermia; his face was stoic and impassive, like that of a statue dipped in purest white gold. Like his leader, Stannis, nothing about Reordin hinted true emotion, but it was obviously there; all it took was a simple sabre's strike diagonally across the top, and it would pop and froth like vintage champagne. But for now, it didn't pop. Not yet.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]"No, you can't write it off," he said with that maddeningly sure aura that he had about him. "But you've gotta."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]The Toa of Fire shook his head. “I'm not a soldier anymore. None of us are; don't you get that?”[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]He looked down at his hands, so different from the hands he had lived with all his life. These ones were larger and stronger- and stained with blood.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]“As soon as draw a line between us and them-” here he briefly glanced towards the inert bodies of the Shadow Toa. “-then we're no better than they were.”[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]"I am still a soldier," Reordin said, though now the superiority was tinged by a note of fear, desperation at the heresey Oreius had just spoken. "Don't you dare say that I'm not. You don't know--"[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]“You're not!” Oreius spat, his voice raw and guttural. His eyes were fixed on Reordin's, as though the Toa of Ice had frozen the both of them in place.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]“I do know- I was a soldier too. But this island doesn't need warriors; it needs Toa. That's why we're here, isn't it, because no one else lived up to the standard. And it's going to happen to us if we think we can kill in the name of the moral high ground.”[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]"You don't know!" Reordin growled, his witty, light voice now tight and controlled. Oreius faltered for a second: through it all, since the day they'd met, Reordin had shown no fear, no real pessimism beyond his persistent needling of Stannis. He had been cocksure, nigh arrogant; the team had taken it as a subtle sign that he respected the judgement of destiny enough to at least keep his mouth shut about the definite misgivings he had.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]This was not that Reordin: he had the look of an animal in the kennel, desperate for a way out and fearful of what may come. That fear punctured Oreius' righteous fury like a needle into soft flesh.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]"Look around you, at what we just did. Look around you, Oreius! You know what we just watched? We just watched what happens when a guy falls for a girl, and will do anything with her in mind. That pulp of gelatin that used to be Gali? That's what happens when heroes fall for each other like that. And that's what happened to me. I was picked to be a hero, and then I fell for another hero, just like the last time."[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]Leah froze up.[/color]

 

[color=#000080;]"What we just saw? That could be me in Heuani's shoes, if I let my guard down. That would have been me in Heuani's shoes, if I let my guard down," Reordin explained desperately, almost pleading with Oreius to understand. "I'm not Stannis. I'm not like you, like Leah, I'm not even like Sulov! Takua wasn't even supposed to pick me, he told me so himself! He wasn't sure it was me! I don't have the kind of restraint you guys have, I'm not like you guys. So I have to be a soldier, because if I'm not - if I start looking at it from the standpoint of lives, and feelings, and expectations - then I lose myself. And I can't let that happen to the people of this island. Not again."[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Oreius made no reply; the other Maru watched as the tension thickened, each Toa staring into the other's eyes, refusing to give ground. Like the First Toa before them, fire and ice were locked in a confrontation that wouldn't burn out or thaw, as Tahu's blazing emotion met Kopaka's cold logic.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]Then Oreius blinked, and his eyes softened. The fire in his chest fell, becoming embers again.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]“No. You're better than that, Reordin,” he said softly, the pain in the Ko-Toa's eyes briefly mirrored in his own; for a moment, the Toa of Ice thought he saw the same struggle taking place deep within his brother.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]“You're better than him... better than some of us here. After all... we were the one who killed, not you.”[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]The Toa of Fire looked away, unable to hold Reordin's gaze any longer.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]“I'm sorry. You're who you need to be, just like all of us are who we need to be.[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]“And... and right now we need to be heroes. So let's go.”[/color]

 

[color=#800000;]He raised his eyes once more to meet his brother's, and extended a fist. Reordin did the same, and the resulting ­clank resounded throughout the darkness of Mangaia as fire and ice came together: the sound of unity, and of justice come at last.  [/color]


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