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#41 Offline General Quin Galum

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Posted Feb 17 2017 - 05:12 PM

IC: Erox (Specialist) - Nearly finished

"I did, yes. Though my partner did too, so I wasn't given a much higher job. Of course, men often don't get the best start in life in Xia anyway."

Sometimes, I wondered what would have happened if my friend didn't return.

Would I have prospered much more than I had now?

...Maybe.

It came to my attention that I had half a lap to go.

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#42 Offline EmperorWhenua

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Posted Feb 17 2017 - 05:24 PM

IC: 

 

So, creative but not exactly clever—or at least not clever enough, which was just as bad of a label among the Vortixx. "And there's no place on Xia for a crippled man," she said. "It's no small wonder you chose to become a Hunter when given the opportunity."

 

Zaryna was clever, though, and direct in her approach to issues and people alike. She regarded Erox with bemusement again. "But then why did the Hunters choose you?"


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#43 Offline General Quin Galum

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Posted Feb 17 2017 - 05:33 PM

IC: Erox (Specialist) - Just about finished

"I wasn't always a factory worker." I said.

I had finished my laps, so I stepped away from the wall.

"I'm off to the training course."

I walked off, a bitter look on my face.

That word, crippled, rubbed me the wrong way. I clearly wasn't crippled, not anymore.

She wasn't wrong, though. Xia wasn't a place for me anymore.

I was a freak, and now I was in Odina, with the rest of the freaks.

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#44 Offline EmperorWhenua

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Posted Feb 17 2017 - 06:02 PM

IC:

 

Nobody joined the Dark Hunters because they were good at making friends and Zaryna was no exception; what she was good at was observing people, like a scientist doing experiments on little rahi. Her words had apparently clawed deep into Erox's side, and from their brief conversation she had learned plenty about him without giving much about herself, and perhaps her cruel means reminded Erox of his female leaders on Xia. Well and good, she thought. Whatever abilities Erox had that made him enough of an asset to be recruited would be showcased in the trials to come. 

 

There was plenty more to learn—about everyone.

 

Head still held high, she also walked in the direction of the challenge courses and remained silent along the way. 


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#45 Offline Agent Norik of E.Y.E.

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Posted Feb 17 2017 - 06:38 PM

IC: Zekev[Reaver]- Finishing laps

If one was on Odina watching the procession of freaks and misfits, they would have noticed a hunched, panting Skakdi trailing at the back, bestial smile turned down in a frown.

"I.. Really -pant- need to get back into shape," Zekev muttered to himself. He had let his body grow lazy and unused in the past year, spending more time loafing around than doing work at his last place of employment. It was time to get back into shape.

I mean, I don't wanna die from a heart attack in this line of work. Ignominious and all that.

He noticed the rest had finished their laps by now, and he trotted over slowly, still trying to catch his breath, and wondering if it was a good idea that he used his hunched height to calculate the laps he needed to run.

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#46 Offline Nato The Traveler

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Posted Feb 17 2017 - 06:51 PM

IC: Corrivalis (Whisper) - Compound, Obstacle Course.

 

Stopping beside the obstacle course, she leaned back against the wall to rest for a moment, while she waited for the other recruits to arrive, and for Nidhiki to explain what they were to do next. 


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#47 Offline General Quin Galum

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Posted Feb 17 2017 - 06:55 PM

IC: Erox (Specialist) - Obstacle Course

Attempting to ignore Zaryna behind me, I arrived at the course.

I stood, waiting for Nidhiki to explain what we needed to do.

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#48 Offline capMARVELOUS

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Posted Feb 17 2017 - 07:27 PM

--IC: Idgaddiy and Skondh--

Idgaddiy looked up from Verberator, which he had pulled out again, and saw four of the other initiates enter the obstacle course.  He scanned them all quickly- there was a Vortixx with robot legs, a hunched white Skakdi, a green-eyed female of indeterminate species, and a female Akula.  That one caught his attention.  He focused on her for a few seconds, then turned to Skondh and asked, "Skondh, how do you feel about shark meat?"

Skondh replied, "NeVeR HaD SHaRK MeaT BeFoRe.  WHY Do You aSK?"

"No real reason," said Idgaddiy enigmatically.  He went back to eyeing the Akula.

Idgaddiy did not like the Akula, not in the slightest.  He didn't exactly know why, but there was just something about her that he loathed.  If at all possible, he would find some way to trip her up in the coming obstacle course.


Edited by capMARVELOUS, Feb 17 2017 - 09:35 PM.

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#49 Offline SnowyAegis

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Posted Feb 17 2017 - 08:05 PM

IC: Nilauhk
As they neared the end of their laps, Nilauhk started to slow somewhat, although it only seemed to serve to easier look at Krahua through her visor, the same thing that blocked her own face from view.
"The Matoran aren't known for genocide."


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#50 Offline The Lorax

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Posted Feb 17 2017 - 08:14 PM

IC (Shadowboxer): The retort 'But Dark Hunter are' sprang to Krahua's mind, but died on his lips. What was there to be gained by pushing the uncomfortable subject? The other Matoran's past and prejudices weren't his business, and only seemed to make her grumpy.

 

The two joined the growing cluster of recruits outside the obstacle course. It seemed that most of them had completed the run at around the same time, with the larger, faster ones having to run further, while those with shorter legs covered less distance.

 

OOC: GoSP will come and post soon, and kick off the next little activity. Those still interacting on the run will have a bit of time to wrap up their conversations.


Edited by The Lorax, Feb 17 2017 - 08:15 PM.

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#51 Offline Ghidora131

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Posted Feb 17 2017 - 08:41 PM

IC Lukasi - Metronome

 

He towered over the other participants, scanning the area for what could come next. An obstacle course would prove to either be incredibly easy or frustratingly impossible, whatever the specifications were on height and etc.

 

He stretched his arms out without worry of clobbering anyone in the head- no one even came near his shoulder height. It was a little lonely, though.


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#52 Offline GoSP

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Posted Feb 17 2017 - 09:06 PM

IC (Nidhiki): Nidhiki stood at the entrance to the obstacle course. Inside, he saw a few other Dark Hunters and Matoran workers hurry to take up their positions and ready the equipment.

 

The last of the stragglers jogged up, and as Nidhiki stepped forward, the group formed itself into a rough, lumpy semicircle around the Toa of air. They all seemed about ready to hear his next instructions, when the last one finally staggered into view, hunched over and breathing heavily. Nidhiki scowled at the recruit as he noted the disruption. That one was Reaver, he remembered. He would have to put some extra work into that one. Well, into most of them, really.

 

 "Alright, listen up!" he called as he gestured to direct their gazes to the huge, walled maze behind him. "This is the training course, and today it will be showing us where your strengths and weaknesses are, and how your skills hold up under tough scrutiny. There are many ways through it, and though all require a variety of skills, different paths will force you to rely more heavily on, for example, stealth, speed, dexterity, cunning or brute force. For now, you may take any path you choose. the other trainers and I are just wanting to get a look at you in action, and assess how we should focus your training and develop your skills. Well, that's it. Traps are armed, doors are open, off you go."

 

A gust of wind blew up under him, carrying to Toa up to land lightly on top of the huge iron gate that led into the course.

 

 

OOC: You may have noticed that I have been pretty vague about exactly what is in the course - this was intentional. As each of your characters takes their own path through the maze, you can have them come up against whatever obstacles you think would best showcase what your character is about. You can dream up almost any kind of obstacle you want, within reason.

 

That said, don't make it too easy on yourselves. This is also a chance to push your characters' limits, and show the ways in which they can grow and improve. The course is designed to be challenging, so any character who strolls through the course without breaking a sweat will be considered god-modding.

 

I hope you enjoy this little exercise, and I look forward to reading the results.


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#53 Offline Ghidora131

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Posted Feb 17 2017 - 10:07 PM

IC Lukasi - Metronome

 

With a bound, he was ahead of the entire pack and into the course. Walls to scale, barbed wire to traverse, pits to jump, everything was seeming too easy-

 

And then there was a problem. A solid wall with spikes at the top, twice his height, no way around, and definitely too solid to knock down. Obviously not one of the walls to the place itself, and yet it was too thick to be a normal one. So what's the gimmick? He stepped forward and didn't notice the trigger in the ground- behind him another wall shot up, same height but devoid of the spikes adorning the top. It was some distance from the other wall, and the only option seemed to be to scale one of them. So the wall with no spikes was scaled first.

 

That was when he was faced with a problem. The jump across was made to be incredibly challenging for someone like a Skakdi or Vortixx, but for his height and strength it would be easier than everything thus far. The only problem was what was on the other side? from what he could see it was solid ground, but right out of view could be a pit of spikes or some other danger. And not to mention the fall- he was capable of making the jump, but if he caught his ankle on the spiked edge, he could lose his head.

 

Fortune favors the bold, so after some preparation he made the leap...

 

Immediately it was obvious that he would clear it. Barely. But then the danger was seen below, a shallow pit of water far too shallow to break his fall, and with short solid spikes at the bottom. He curled into a ball during his dive, and the next minute sand hit the water with a splash.

 

Happy to have passed the test so easily, Lukasi took a second to give himself a pat on the back. But then something unexpected and horrible happened.

 

The water drained.

 

Lukasi had never had this happen, transferring from wet sand into something different than water. The sand particles had floated easily underwater; if he had even half an inch of water he could pull it off. But now he was transferring from liquid to air, and it was a completely new experience.

 

At first he tried to do it the same old way. But his body surged up momentarily and then collapsed into wet sand again. It was going to take a monumental effort to do it that way. And unfortunately, that was the way he was going to do it.

 

 

If the other hunter trainees could see him, they would see a horrific transformation of what appeared to be a grainy mud variation of Metronome's upper half melting into bits before summoning himself back up again, obviously in great strain and some agony, very, very slowly working into a full humanoid again.


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#54 Offline Nato The Traveler

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Posted Feb 17 2017 - 10:50 PM

IC: Corrivalis (Whisper) – Compound, Obstacle Course.

 

Corri took off into the maze, casting a wary glance up towards Nidhiki as she passed beneath the archway upon which he was perched. Once inside, she was quick to distance herself from the more prominent, obvious routes, in an effort to avoid crossing paths with too many of her fellow recruits.

 

The first trap she stumbled across was a simple pit trap, lurking just around a sharp corner. Jogging as she was, she was almost too slow to stop herself from plunging face first into the spike-filled pit. Karz! She teetered on the edge, arms windmilling, and leaned back away from the ledge. The pit wasn’t too deep, and the spikes were fairly small; the trap seemed intended to maim overzealous recruits, rather than outright killing them.

 

She took a few steps back, then broke into a sprint, launching herself across the gap. Once on the other side, she slowed her speed to a brisk walk and powered up her Kanohi, intent on taking a more cautious approach from here on out. Nidhiki had said each route through the maze would challenge the recruits in different ways, and given the placement of this first trap, it seemed like this path was intended to ensnare the headstrong, those who were over-reliant on speed without thought.

 

Around the next bend another trap awaited, her Akaku revealing a series of pressure plates concealed under specific stones on the maze floor. She wasn’t quite sure what the plates would do, and she was in no hurry to find out, carefully stepping over or around them, then continuing on her way.

 

As she navigated the winding walls of the maze, her keen senses occasionally carried to her the sounds of her fellow recruits – frantic footfalls and grunts of exertion, punctuated by the occasional cry of pain. Thanks to her mask, she could make out the shape of a vaguely familiar object around the next corner, and as she rounded it, the sharp twang of a bowstring releasing suddenly cut across the rest of the noise. She ducked back, a crossbow bolt whizzing past where her chest had been to thwack into the wall behind her.

 

There were no obvious trigger mechanisms in sight, leaving her to assume that the weapon had been operating on some kind of motion sensor. All the more reason to be wary. She pressed on, the next barrier to her progress revealing itself to be a large climbing wall. Upon closer examination with her mask, however, some of the higher handholds looked different to the rest.

 

She started to climb, clinging close to the wall and reaching up to give one of the unusual handholds an experimental tug. It shot out from the wall, some manner of spring-mounted mechanism within the wall launching it free. Clever. The force with which the thing shot free was almost enough to rip her from the wall; she could only imagine what might’ve happened to a climber who hadn’t known the handhold was booby-trapped.

 

She clambered the rest of the way up and over the wall, avoiding the sabotaged handholds, and resumed her steady walk. And so it went, for another five minutes or so – pits, trapdoors, snares, tripwires, and so on – until at last she reached the end of the maze. Or, almost the end.  

 

Only one obstacle remained.

 

A gigantic, impassive doorway of metallic protodermis still blocked her path. Too thick for her to break through, too sheer for her to climb, and lined with something even her mask’s vision couldn’t penetrate, so she couldn’t be sure what other traps might lie beyond or within it.

 

She crouched before it, zooming her Akaku’s scope down onto the lock. Whatever material was lining the inside of the door made it difficult for her to discern all of the lock’s mechanisms, but by the looks of things, the lock was connected to some kind of trap hidden inside the wall. If she slipped up even once, it would probably set off the trap.

 

The obvious solution isn’t always the best one. There’s always another way…

 

She had the utmost confidence in her lock-picking skills, but she didn’t trust the Dark Hunters not to have sabotaged this lock to trigger the trap regardless of what she did. So she shifted her focus, looking for any other weak points in the door, anything that wasn’t completely obscured by the impenetrable lining.

 

There you are.

 

In Corri’s experience, lock-picking was an invaluable skill, but it was also fiddly and time-consuming, particularly in a situation like this, where the slightest mistake could seal her doom. There were often much simpler, but less obvious ways for a thief to bypass an obstacle, and such was the case with the barrier before her. The door itself was practically impregnable, and the lock formidable, but the hinges were simplistic and weak by comparison.

 

So it was the hinges she focused on.

 

She dug through her toolkit, and set about disassembling the hinges. The first came apart without too much work, but the second, being lower to the ground, had rusted somewhat, and in the end she had to jam one of her swords into the gap and wrench it apart.

 

She powered down her masks and began to pack up her things, getting ready to push the door over, and that was when the final trap activated itself. Apparently the Dark Hunters had considered the possibility of someone taking the hinges apart, because, with a piercing metallic groan, the door began to fall – towards her.

 

“Oh, lovely,” she groaned, scrambling backwards as swiftly as her limbs could carry her. The door crashed down onto the hard stone floor, just short of crushing her legs. She picked herself up off the floor, dusted herself off, and briskly crossed the finish line, completing her tumultuous tour of the obstacle course.

 

“Am I first?” She wheezed, looking around, “And please tell me we don’t have to go through all of that every morning?” 


Edited by Nato The Traveler, Feb 17 2017 - 10:52 PM.

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#55 Offline The Lorax

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Posted Feb 18 2017 - 12:21 AM

IC (Shdaowboxer): Krahua entered the maze at an easy jog, and took a path at random. He wasn't sure what to expect from this course, but he kept himself alert, looking for what his first challenge might be. 

 

As he rounded a corner, he heard a whir and click as some kind of machinery turned and slotted into place. The next moment, he heard a thunk as a rought wooden facsimile of a kanoka was fired in his direction. He had barely ducked out of the way when another followed quickly behind it. He took a step back behind the wall for cover.

 

Looking to where the disks were coming from, he spotted a mechanical launcher that swivelled slightly when he moved. Apparently, it would keep firing at him until he stopped it, and stopping it seemed to be the point of this challenge. Just above the launcher was a big red target painted onto the wall, labelled "Push to stop". Krahua almost laughed when he saw it. What kind of guard machine had such an obvious off switch? The answer came to him quickly: the trainers didn't want their machines destroyed every time someone passed this way, so instead they installed an easily resettable kill switch. Hitting that would provide the same challenge as hitting the machine itself, but without the mess to clean up.

 

With that worked out, Krahua ducked around the corner and ran towards the launcher, which turned to follow his line. He dodged the first disk, but the second caught his arm and sent him sprawling. He got back up again and tried to close the distance between him and the machine, but the closer he got, the more trouble he had evading the missiles. Every time he got near to the button, the disks would drive him back. Panting, he retreated back far enough that he could easily see when each disk was coming and avoid it. How was he going to reach the button? 

 

The next disk fired and, experimentally, he reached out to it with his newfound magical abilities. He still didn't know how he had come to have this power, but it he could leach speed out of objects and channel it into himself. As he concentrated, the disk slowed down before coming to a halt in front of him, hovering gently in the air. Excellent, he grinned. This might just work.

 

Using the speed he had gained from the disk, Krahua launched himself forward. Another disk shot out at him, but he was already past it. He was getting closer now. A third disk fired. He stopped it in its tracks. He had just enough to get there... Krahua slammed into the button just as the last disk fired right into his chest, sending him tumbling backwards over the dusty ground. That one would hurt later, he was sure, but right now he was too high on the excitement of success to care about another bruise.

"Well, that worked" he muttered to himself. "Kind of".

 

He continued on.


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#56 Online Toru Nui

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Posted Feb 18 2017 - 04:36 AM

IC: Waveahk "Commander" (Odina, Project Protodermis Compound, Obstacle Course)

 

He decided to take the middle-most path. Statistically that would have been the path mapped out first and therefore the most likely to have more conventional and traditional traps and obstacles that could be predicted easily.

 

There was the usual, he saw (and felt). Bear traps, spike pits, spinning blades, there was even a ridiculously small bridge positioned over a large body of water stretching at least a good quarter of the course, that would be used to test a recruit's weight. He humored it for a while, before eventually losing balance on purpose so he could just swim to the other side because he could do that.

 

Of course, what he couldn't predict were the giant metal fists popping out the wall.

 

"WHAT?!" CLANG! "OW!" CLANG! "OW!!!" CLANG! "RRAAAHHHHHH-" CLANG!


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NOT READING THIS IN THE MATORAN FONT ARE WE

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#57 Offline Supreme King TIN

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Posted Feb 18 2017 - 07:20 AM

IC: Kohu

 

I glumly took note of Acanon's silence as I finished my remaining laps, finishing alongside the group at slightly slower than my personal best. If I was to become a dark hunter that was not acceptable. Still, I paid close attention to Nidhiki's speech before quickly making my way into the obstacle course. I chose my own path out of principle, if I was to succeed as a dark hunter I would need to be able to do it independently.

 

I adjusted my pace in a compromise between speed and caution. Carefully approaching blind corners wary of what could be ahead, but never dawdling in one place for too long. Coming across an impassable smooth wall, I considered turning back for the slightest moment. I quickly had a better idea though, attaching my rope to a crossbow bolt, I took aim at the top of the wall and fired. The bolt lodged itself in the wall firmly and I now had an easy way to climb to the top. Jumping up I grabbed the rope in my hands, and wrapped a section under my foot, giving me something to stand on for my next 'jump' up the rope.

 

It was upon reaching the top of the wall that I realized my folly. Just below me on the other side was a group of truly violent Rahi ... Catapult Scorpions!


Edited by The Invisible Noob, Feb 18 2017 - 07:22 AM.

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#58 Offline General Quin Galum

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Posted Feb 18 2017 - 07:51 AM

IC: Erox (Specialist) - Maze

I picked a path at random, and advanced round the corner.

A large, very long corridor, at the sides were tall walls, sprinkled with barbed wire. The floor in front of me appeared to be made of stone, seperated by panels into a grid like pattern.

At the end of the corridor was a doorway, presumably the exit.

Then, the bricks on the walls began to shift, every few bricks across, one shifted, and in its place, a kanoka launcher began to assemble itself, two prongs folding out, followed by a large magazine of discs.

Experimentally, I tapped my foot on one of the panels.

Immediately, one of the launchers twitched and shot a disc out at the panel.

The disc exploded into a ring of ice around the panel.

Freeze discs.

My best bet was to simply make a break for it, and not slow down.

Grinning, I bent my legs, and shot off, my legs immediately responding to my actions

Kanoka shot off every second, but none touched me. I kept sprinting, my feet barely touching the panels. I could hear the pistons working in overdrive.

Then, one of them finally hit me, and my right arm went numb as ice formed around it.

I didn't slow down but that didn't stop me from gasping in pain.

Finally, I made to the other side and continued to breathe heavily. I leaned against the wall at the exit, and took a look at my now frozen arm.

Unsheathing my sword, I began to chip away at the ice with it, gently.

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#59 Offline Click

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Posted Feb 18 2017 - 10:47 AM

IC: Sukiru (Sting) - Obstacle Course

 

As she lay back in bed, she heard the distinctive obnoxious tone of that Le-Toa's voice again, shouting something at the other recruits. "Well Gus, seems its time to get up," she sighed, slightly disappointed no one had bothered interrupt her rest. She was looking forward to showing them the error of their ways.

 

She rocked up from the bed to her feet and walked toward the obstacle course with an exaggerated yawn and stretch while her eyes caught the last of the recruits disappearing into the course's maze of tunnels. So that's how it's going to be...


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#60 Offline Monado Girl

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Posted Feb 18 2017 - 03:17 PM

IC: Galrax "Spirit" - The Obstacle Course
 
"'Sup."
 

The tall, smokey creature waved at Whisper. "Just finished the course, huh? Guess you didn't have too much fun." She chuckled, glancing back at the door. She had actually just rocketed through it herself, and crossed the finish line mere moments before Whisper did. Her trip would have been much faster if she had decided to abuse her powers sooner, but she had to at least attempt the obstacle course normally.

 

Her mind briefly replayed over her stint in the course. It was important for her to remember the path. That was certainly a more challenging task than the path itself, after all.

 

---

 

"Well, that's it. Traps are armed, doors are open, off you go," Nidihki said, and all at once the crowd of Hunters began surging into the course. Galrax lagged slightly behind the group, analyzing who went into each passageway. She noticed one that no one else had gone into - a perfect choice for her. She dove in, and took the corner. Her eyes scanned the short hallway, making note of the small slats on the wall. Her foot pressed down on a tile, and soon Kanoka disks began flying out of the slats.

 

Spirit stood there for a few seconds, watching the timing of the Kanoka. She dived through the disks, narrowly avoiding each one of them. Spirit had no idea what they discs did, and she certainly wasn't intent on finding out. She rolled and tumbled across the floor, grunting as she stood up. She strode towards the next curve, and once again examined the hallway. The only notable feature was a massive pit in the room, which seemed to go on endlessly downwards. A single rope extended from the ceiling, which seemed to be the only way across. spirit stopped, and thought for a few moments. A thought dawned on her, and she mentally facepalmed for not thinking of it earlier.

 

Her body began to fade, and she faded into incorporeality. She flew across the gap, and continued onwards in a straight line. She couldn't go as fast as possible, though - after all, Kanoka disks still had an effect on her if they passed through her. She swiftly found her way in the final few rooms, and snapped back to reality. She touched down on the ground, and glanced at the hallway. A scalable rock wall.

 

Oddly enough, this seemed far more challenging to her than the Kanoka-filled hallway. And it was a challenge she refused to pass up. Had to prove that she was capable of getting through some obstacles without phasing through them, after all.

 

She ran up, and leaped to the wall, managing to cling to it. Her hands gripped the rugged surface, her clawed feet finding purchase in the stone below. The wall wasn't too tall, yet she struggled anyways. After all, she was used to simply phasing through these obstacles.

She triumphantly reached the top of the wall, and gracefully dropped to the ground. Her arms and legs felt sore, but she didn't care. She strolled forwards, out of the gate, and to the finish line. Easy as pie.

 

---

 

Spirit blinked. It was a surprisingly easy course for her, but everyone else most likely was struggling with it. At least, if her course was anything like the others. Bottomless pits, large walls, kanoka hallways, a few spike-filled rooms with moving platforms? No easy task, to be sure.

At least, if you couldn't phase through matter.


Edited by Monado Girl, Feb 18 2017 - 03:18 PM.

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#61 Offline capMARVELOUS

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Posted Feb 18 2017 - 03:19 PM

--IC: Idgaddiy and Skondh--

So there would be no opportunity to hamper the Akula's progress in the maze.  Oh well; there would be time for progress hampering later.

As soon as the gate opened, Idgaddiy and Skondh hurtled toward the leftmost set of entrances.  Here Idgaddiy halted.  "Skondh," he said, "I think it'd be best if we split up for this exercise."

"BuT i WaNNa STaY WiTH You!" Skondh protested.  "i DoN'T WaNNa Be BY MYSeLF!"

"Skondh, it's for the best," Idgaddiy said soothingly.  "I can't do what you can do, and you can't do what I can do.  If we try to do what the other can, we'll both end up hurt."

Skondh softened.  "OK," he said, "BuT i'M STiCKiNG WiTH You FoR THe ReST oF eVeR oNCe We'Re ouT oF THe MaZe."

"Fair enough.  See you on the other side," Idgaddiy said, before heading down a path.  Skondh watched him until he was out of sight, then took the path next to the one his partner had taken.

 

--OOC:--

Details on what these two encounter will follow in a later post.


Edited by capMARVELOUS, Feb 18 2017 - 03:20 PM.

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#62 Offline EmperorWhenua

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Posted Feb 18 2017 - 04:29 PM

IC: 

 

Zaryna didn't have much time to look at the other recruits before Nidhiki laid out the next challenge. It was simple enough: Go in the maze, don't get killed by the many traps, get out of the maze. It was crystal clear this was a test to see what the recruits were made of, but Zaryna's thoughts turned in a different direction.

 

What was Nidhiki made of? she wondered as the turncoat toa fluttered away. 

 

She hated matoran for their obedience to Mata Nui and betrayal of her rulership, and to her toa were just beefier, harder-to-kill matoran who were key in overthrowing her. Nidhiki had betrayed his oath and Code, of course, but while that may have excused him from her loathing as a toa it did little to remove him from her scrutiny as a leader. She would have to probe on his own strengths and abilities later on when he took a more direct role with the recruits. 

 

A few others had already entered the course, including the Vortixx she'd spoken to before, and she entered and picked one of the paths. The temptation to choose a taken path was there in the off chance that they would have sprung the traps in advance, but such a route would not prove her abilities to the leadership. Zaryna was determined to be nobody's fool. She was a proud Akula, as they all were, and not going to shirk an opportunity to demonstrate her god-given superiority. There was no dignity in taking a traveled path.

 

OOC: It's incredibly difficult to write touch situations when you have waltzes and imagery of elaborate ballrooms in your head, so I'm going to try and write as I feel the inspiration and space for it. XD


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#63 Offline General Quin Galum

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Posted Feb 18 2017 - 05:09 PM

IC: Erox (Specialist) - Nearly finished

I managed to mostly chip away what had been frozen, so I slammed my hand against the wall, shattering the rest of the ice. The shards then promptly began to melt, and I continued onwards. through the doorway.

After a few minutes of basic traps and gadgets, I found myself in front of what appeared to be a large totem pillar, in an open, big room.

Behind it was what looked like the exit, but the door seemed closed.

Cautiously, I stepped forward.

Two rectangles in the pillar's stone fell down, followed by two rocky arms folding out and extending from the holes. In each claw like hand was a stone blade.

The top of the pillar also similarily fell, followed by yet another disc launcher assembling itself.

The two hands began to rotate, the blades acting like propellers. The arms blocked my path.

Then, I noticed the button next to the top of the pillar. A message was written next to it: "Shoot me."

Perhaps that turned the machine off.

Then, a wooden disc shot out of the launcher, taking me by surprise and hitting me in the face.

Taking my rifle off my back, I ducked, and sprinted towards the left arm, dodging a few discs in the process.

I jumped, grabbing onto the arm itself, staying away from the still rotating propeller of an arm. It had a good gripping surface, as it was rough.

I attempted to move myself up, when another disc hit my arm, knocking me off the stone limb and causing me to drop my weapon behind the arm.

I gritted my teeth, and ducked under the arm, dodging a few more discs.

I grabbed my weapon and looked up at the button.

I was going to have to make the shot from here.

The disc launcher swivelled round, preparing to fire another disc.

I loaded my weapon with Xian fire, and fired once at the button.

I missed, the fizzing bolt of plasma just missing the mark.

I ran under the arm again, dodging a few more discs, and took another potshot at the button.


This time, I hit, and the arms stopped rotating.

The disc launcher folded back into the pillar, aas did the arms and blades.

Suddenly, I heard the door on the other side open.

Grinning, I ran past the pillar and through the exit, the nerve pain where my legs used to be more prevalent than ever.

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#64 Offline Nato The Traveler

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Posted Feb 18 2017 - 05:56 PM

IC: Galrax "Spirit" - The Obstacle Course
 
"'Sup."
 

The tall, smokey creature waved at Whisper. "Just finished the course, huh? Guess you didn't have too much fun." She chuckled, glancing back at the door. 

 

IC: Corrivalis (Whisper) - Compound, Obstacle Course.

 

"I don't think..." she wheezed, breaths shallow, "...it was meant to be fun." 


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#65 Offline Supreme King TIN

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Posted Feb 18 2017 - 06:16 PM

IC: Kohu

 

I didn't have the firepower to take these monsters on, but I could get past them but first I wanted to recover my equipment. I backed up as I dropped down to a prone position, fortunately the scorpions hadn't noticed me yet ...

I grabbed my rope and wrapped it back around myself, I could very much need it later. Activating my powers a fog descended down onto the catapult scorpion filled chamber, agitating the Rahi within. From their tails they launched boulders haphazardly in an attempt to strike the source of the fog, me.

 

Taking my chance while the thick fog obscured their vision I dropped to the ground, darting between insectoid legs towards the next chamber. With my thermal vision I could easily make out the scorpions though their blinded movements were random. 

 

WHAM!

 

A segmented leg slammed into my side as I ran to the exit, slamming me into the ground with a powerful kick. The pain dazed me for a second but I knew I had to get moving before the scorpion noticed it had hit me, or before my fog dissipated now I now l was no longer focusing on it. I rolled away in the nick of time to avoid a scuttling leg and pulled myself up. Hobbling beyond an exit too small for the Rahi to pass, and aware I could be attacked at any moment, I made my way to safety. Relief passed through me as I crossed the threshold, to safety which turned to terror as a stinger smashed itself through the exit, writhing around at my general direction. I crouched low to avoid the catapult scorpions wrath, it hadn't seen me yet but my fog was dissipating fast now. Taking my chances and fighting through the pain, I broke out into a run crossing into a corridor too narrow for the Rahi.  The loud angry screeches of monsters thundered through the air behind me.


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#66 Offline Monado Girl

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Posted Feb 18 2017 - 06:46 PM

IC: Galrax "Spirit" - The finish line

 

Spirit laughed. "Sure, yeah, why would it be built to be fun? Doesn't mean ya can't enjoy yourself." She leaned backwards, her gaze fixated on the exit. "Wonder who'll come out next."


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#67 Offline Nato The Traveler

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Posted Feb 18 2017 - 06:51 PM

IC: Corrivalis (Whisper) - Compound, Obstacle Course.

 

"Guess we'll just have to wait and see." 


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#68 Offline General Quin Galum

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Posted Feb 18 2017 - 07:05 PM

IC: Erox (Specialist) - Finished

I came running through the exit, breathing heavily but smiling even heavier.

Two others had finished, it seemed.

I bent over, still panting.

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#69 Offline Monado Girl

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Posted Feb 18 2017 - 07:50 PM

IC: Galrax "Spirit" - The finish line

Spirit waved to the newcomer. She smiled, and asked, "Tough time in there, huh? Man, this course must've been rough for you guys."


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#70 Offline capMARVELOUS

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Posted Feb 18 2017 - 08:15 PM

--IC: Idgaddiy and Skondh--

The path that Idgaddiy had chosen immediately made two sharp turns, one to the left, and the other to the right.  When he had taken them, the Cunal came face to face with a long, narrow passage.  There seemed to be no traps waiting for him here.

Seemed.

Idgaddiy stepped cautiously forward.  He heard the spike before he saw it shoot out of the wall to his left.  He contorted his body to avoid it as its tip slammed into the opposite wall.  He retained his posture for a moment, panting heavily.  If he had been a split second too late, the spike would have gone right through his chest, skewering his already-damaged heart.

He ducked under the spike to proceed, keeping an eye on the walls for the next spike.  This time, it came from his right.  He dodged again, more prepared this time.  Staring at the end of the passage, he drew a deep breath of water, steeled his nerves, and ran forward.

Every footfall brought forth a new spike, which Idgaddiy just managed to avoid.  He was going so fast that he almost ran into the wall at the other end.  Panting, he turned around and surveyed his progress.  About thirty spikes crossed the passage, each one stuck in the other wall in an alternating pattern of left-right-left-right.  Idgaddiy gave a satisfied nod and followed the path to the right.

This path led him into a large room with a padlocked door at the other end.  Entering it, Idgaddiy heard the path behind him close with a loud thud.  He scanned the room and found that the bottom of the room was lined with small tunnels, which immediately began to gush water.  The Cunal smiled under his helmet- this trap was obviously intended to intimidate those who could not breathe water.  But he was a Cunal, a proud water-breather.  He sat on the floor and waited for the water to cover him.

It eventually did.  Once it did, Idgaddiy reached up and removed his Breathing Helmet, taking a gulp of the new water.  Almost immediately, he gagged and put his helmet back on- the water tasted bad, and debris was clearly visible in it- not fit at all for him to breathe.  He swam over to the locked door, drew Verberator, activated its vibrating blade, and set to work slicing the lock in half.  In a few short seconds, Idgaddiy was moving on to the next trap.

Many minutes later, Idgaddiy was on the home stretch.  He had just finished crossing a stretch of sand that had produced sinkholes at indeterminate intervals.  He had almost fallen in one.  This stretch seemed to have no other traps, but Idgaddiy had learned his lesson from the hall of spikes.  He stepped forward, and the floor gave in beneath his foot.  He drew back just in time and watched as the floor of the passage fell away.

Well, most of the floor.  There were squares of floor supported by pillars that he could jump across.  He was a good jumper, but these patches of floor might be just a bit too far for him.  Still, there was no harm in trying, and if he failed... well, he didn't think about that.  He got on the very edge of the brick he was standing on, and jumped forward.

Idgaddiy just barely made it, slamming into the side of the landing zone and grabbing a hold of it with Verberator just before he slipped into the bit.  He clambered up onto the bricks, checked his chestplate for any dents- there weren't any- then tried again.  This time, he was more successful, landing on the brink of the brick platform and teetering to regain his balance.  This was done three more times before he successfully crossed the chasm to the exit door.  He went through it, leaned against the wall, and waited for Skondh to show up.

 

Skondh hurtled down the path as he had hurtled around the wall, using his arms and legs to propel himself forward.  The path turned to the right, and led to a long passage filled with walls that blocked access to what lay ahead.  Skondh stopped and stared at the wall that was directly in front of him, before using his meaty fists to pound it into submission.  After three pounds, he broke through to the other side.  He repeated the process with the next wall, but was surprised when it took four pounds to break through, instead of three.  Each wall required an extra pound to get through.  As he pounded, Skondh slowly came to the realization that the walls were getting thicker as he moved forward.  This trap was meant to tire out the strong Dark Hunters.

It worked with Skondh.  His chest was heaving by the time he had gotten through all the walls.  Gulping down more air, he resumed his charge down the path.

The next trap he came across was a very narrow passage.  The walls were entirely covered in barbed wire.  Skondh hesitated.  He couldn't go through that passage without getting torn up by the barbed wire.  But he couldn't go back; the Dark Hunters would think that he was a coward.  He drew a deep breath and eased himself into the passage.

It was slow going.  Each small step sent another piece of barbed wire slashing across the flesh of his arms.  The pain wasn't so bad at first, but after several steps, Skondh was crying.  He was crying.  Big salty tears rolled down his face with each new cut.  He wanted to stop; he wanted to go back; he wanted to go home.  Then he remembered that this was home now, and he had better get used to the idea.  He let out another deep breath, then charged through the rest of the passage, momentarily oblivious to the pain that raked across his arms.

Finally, he had gotten through.  Skondh fell to his knees, gingerly touching the scourged flesh of his arms, watching his green blood seep from the cuts.  He wanted to cry again, but he didn't.  Dark Hunters didn't- couldn't- cry.  He got up and proceeded slowly to the next trap.

He was relieved when he saw that this one was significantly less painful than the barbed wire.  There were five robotic training dummies in the next room, each "armed" with a sword and a Kanoka Disk Launcher.  Skondh charged at the nearest one, bellowing and giving vent to his pain.  He beat down a deadly hail of blows upon the unfortunate dummy, one for each cut he had received from the barbed wire.  The dummy lay completely broken when he had finished with it, sparking pitifully.  The Vemosai looked around at the other four dummies and snarled, "WHo'S NeXT?"

The dummies all replied by advancing on him.

They didn't stand a chance against an enraged and wounded Vemosai.  When he felt that he had sufficiently repaid the pain that the maze had inflicted, Skondh stopped his onslaught and headed forward, through the exit door.  He immediately caught sight of Idgaddiy leaning against the wall and hustled over to him.  "You MaDe iT!" he exclaimed.  "HoW'D You Do?"

Idgaddiy scoffed.  "Not as good as I would have liked- I almost got skewered by a spike, and nearly fell down two holes.  How about you?"

Skondh showed his torn arms.

"Oof," Idgaddiy winced.  "That bad, huh?"

"YeaH," Skondh mumbled.  "BuT aT LeaST We DoN'T HaVe To Do THaT aGaiN... Do We?" he asked nervously.

Idgaddiy shook his head.  "I hope not."


Edited by capMARVELOUS, Apr 20 2017 - 10:32 AM.

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#71 Offline Ghidora131

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Posted Feb 18 2017 - 09:30 PM

IC Lukasi - Metronome

 

 

 

After accomplishing in being a humanoid once more, he lied on the testing track for a minute, breathing in and out to make sure his lungs still worked. Then he was up again, and he was surprised to find the trapping puzzles were over. The exit door was right there.

 

But that wasn't the last trap he had to face. Suddenly behind him the wall opened up to reveal a wind tunnel, and the door was barred off by steel beams. Obviously it was meant to pin someone against the wall, someone big enough to clear the jump of the massive walls earlier like Lukasi. But he let it fling him towards it, only to disintegrate into sand once more and fly through unharmed.

 

 

 

Shooting out from right atop the ground, he stretched his arms and relapsed into boredom now that it was over. Some of the other prisoners had made it here before him- at least they were prisoners to him.


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#72 Offline Agent Norik of E.Y.E.

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Posted Feb 19 2017 - 03:53 AM

IC: Zekev[Reaver] - Obstacle Course

 

Zekev had caught his breath by the time Nidhiki let them loose on the obstacle course, and unlike the run, he was ready for this. While he had difficulty catching up after an extended period of inactivity, getting over, through and around obstacles was still his forte.

 

Zekev easily climbed the first few walls in his way by lowering his body density to lighten himself, and increasing it when he smashed through a series of parallel wooden stockades. Doubtless he was meant to pass between the barriers evidenced by the markings on the floor, but he wanted to keep his momentum going. He'd caught Nidhiki's look of distaste as he finished near to last in the run, and Zekev wanted to make up for that. He most certainly did not want remedial training.

 

The path split ahead, both into a sealed hut, and Zekev took the one that did not have a rotating saw swinging across it. Almost immediately, however, he regretted his decision, as the other path narrowed and then shrunk to reveal the opening of a tunnel.

 

He faltered, remembering the long and troubled relationship he'd had with tunnels and the threats lurking within. Even if this tunnel was not trapped, he'd have a hard time crawling through this one, tiny as its opening was.

 

But he couldn't afford to turn back, and indeed, couldn't, as he turned to see that the entrance he'd come in from was closed, and the door, covered on spikes, began to move towards him.

 

A blast of laser vision showed that it wasn't worth running heading into it at high density, so Zekev cursed and got into the tunnel.

 

"Oh, it's not that long-" before he could finish, the tunnel began to rotate, and he felt it move backward.

 

Toward the death spikes.

 

"####!" Zekev attempted to scramble forward, but the rotation of the tunnel prevented him from getting a good grip.

 

"Get a grip, Zekev. Heh, getting a grip."

 

He adjusted his hands so that they grabbed the wall of the tunnel to his side, so as he pulled himself along, he still moved forward. It helped that his sense of balance had been trained over the millennia due to his constant use of his density manipulation.

 

Just as Zekev launched himself out from the end of the tunnel onto the ground, he heard the unmistakable sound of whooshing flame. Looking back, he saw the tunnel engulfed in flame.

 

And not a second too soon.

 

Zekev  got up and continued onwards, worried he'd lagged behind.

 

He'd exited the hut by now, and the path continued onwards, ending abruptly after a corner at a high wall. Zekev made himself slow down and examine the wall. The only way over seemed to be a rope that dangled from a vertical bar that was suspended over the wall.

 

"Climbing? Doesn't seem so-" Zekev stopped, catching the sound of gears turning softly, and levers clanking away...

 

"Karz!" Zekev felt the floor giving way, and reached for the rope immediately. And not too soon. The floor fell through, and far below were two large saws, one over the another, steadily whirring faster and faster. Below, Zekev recognised the telltale glow of magma.

 

This is training? Zekev started grumbling as he pulled himself up, climbing the rope. He stopped when he heard more sounds of gears, although this sounded more like hinges...

 

Watching in horror, Zekev watched as the vertical bar pivoted ever so slowly and started to point downwards, causing him and the rope to slide lower and lower.

 

"Gah!" Zekev hurried to pull himself up as quickly as possible, but that just made the rope slide further down.

 

Calmdowncalmdowncalmdown

 

Zekev took a deep breath, probably not a good thing to do as he slid inexorably down towards a buzzsaw above a pit of magma.

 

The Skakdi activated his ability, lightening himself as much as he could. The bar slowed its pivoting, buying the Skakdi some time. Zekev struggled to pull himself up the rope, fueled by his desire to not die. Near enough to the top of the wall, Zekev reverted his density to gain advantage of the increased muscle density to haul himself forward towards the top of the wall.

 

The bar broke, and Zekev just managed to grab onto the wall. He watched as the bar and rope fell into the pit.

 

“I really hope I don't need remedial training...” Zekev hauled himself up and hopped over the wall, landing on the nice hard floor on the other side.

 

Hope that's the last I'll see of that-

 

The sound of rumbling cut killed that train of thought. Zekev looked back and watched as the floor began to crumble into the evidently-much-larger-than-assumed magma pit.

 

Oh nononono Zekev broke into a sprint as the floor opened up, showing that they were nothing more than sturdy retractable panels, which helpfully explained how the maze was reusable.

 

Zekev began to feel his lungs hurting, and began cursing himself for not keeping up with his fitness.

 

The Skakdi though he ran past a few other trap, but couldn't be sure as he sprinted past them.

 

Rounding a few more corners he finally made it to an upward ramp, abruptly ending with two downward platforms, leading to the finish line. A few recruits were already waiting.

 

I really need to step up my game.

 

Zekev dashed up the ramp- just as metal plates shot up from the floor of the ramp to slow his progress.

 

“Outta my way, steel plates!” Zekev dispatched them with blasts of laser vision, strong enough to slice vertically through the thin plates, enabling him to smash through them easily.

 

He felt the ramp tilt as the floor beneath it opened up, and increased his muscle density one more time, using his legs to push himself forward just enough to get off the ramp...

 

And fell face-first towards the platforms. He was too slow in lowering his density to soften his fall, and hit the floor with his big ugly noggin. Hard.

 

"Gurrk..." Zekev got up and stumbled across the finish line. His head hurt from the constant shift in density, his body ached from the fall, and he could barely catch his breath, but when Zekev saw other recruits still traversing the maze, he could only grin.

 

"I'm not the last!”


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#73 Offline General Quin Galum

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Posted Feb 19 2017 - 12:12 PM

IC: Erox (Specialist) - Finished

I stopped panting to look up at the dragon like being.

"...it wasn't as hard as it was ###### tiring."

I laughed, the adrenaline somewhat wearing off.

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#74 Offline Monado Girl

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Posted Feb 19 2017 - 12:36 PM

IC: Galrax "Spirit" - The Finish

 

She chuckled. "Well, I can certainly understand that. Looks like some people had far harder times than others, though," Spirit said, gesturing to one of the injured Hunters. "Hopefully this isn't an every day thing. For all of your sakes. I wouldn't care at all, personally."


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#75 Offline SnowyAegis

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Posted Feb 19 2017 - 12:38 PM

IC: Nilauhk - Obstacle Course

Unlike some of the slower or more cautious recruits, Nilauhk entered the course at a slow run. Her first objective was a simple wall, staggered vertically slightly. The grips were enough to, well, grip, but not enough to steadily put one's weight on. Unless they were a particularly light individual for their size.

Being a Matoran of well-above-average height, she did not fall into this category. Fortunately for her, she had alternatives. Switching the glaive tip of her polearm for the halberd alternative, she slid it in her hand, gripping it by the far end. Leaping she planted the tip of her foot on the second 'step', pushing herself that little bit further as she swung her halberd in a wide vertical arc. The blade digging into the top of the wall with a thunk, she hauled herself up, yanking it flee and gliding back down.

 

The next obstacle was a pair of parallel walls, axes of some description swinging back and forth. She could clamber onto the walls and skip the obstacle entirely, but she felt this negated the point of the obstacle. Nilauhk instead sprinted headlong towards the trap, taking a sharp turn and jumping at the last second. Her momentum carried her into the wall above the axe as it swung the opposite way to her, giving her just a moment to effectively run along it. She leapt as they swung the other way, the right axe clipping her foot. The force propelled her past the trap, and gave her a nasty sore spot on her right foot. Irrelevant, she had suffered worse. Getting back up with a snarl, she pressed on.


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#76 Offline EmperorWhenua

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Posted Feb 19 2017 - 02:02 PM

IC: 

 

Upon turning the second corner Zaryna encountered her first obstacle: A pit of acid. There was no slow way to deal with this but she took a moment to measure it regardless. The walls on either side were ribbed, which would allow a particularly light and agile person to run along them but Zaryna was too big for such a feat. She would have to take a more direct approach. The pit was rather deep and, by her estimation, slightly longer than it was wide, which made one way possible. It was risky, but everything was risky in the Dark Hunters. 

 

Seeing no alternative, she stepped back several paces and wound up for a run, then without counting she sprinted in a straight line for the pit. 

 

She didn't quite clear it.

 

With admirable dexterity, however, she caught the lip of the far side and instantly flexed her muscles. The pit was deep, but not deep enough to contain her; she dangled precariously near the acid and had to curl her legs for them to not be melted off. It was not a stable position, she would lose it in a matter of seconds and had to act quickly. Straining her arms, she clamored over the lip, a hard feat to do without using legs which still flopping uselessly above the acid. She grimaced, unwilling to accept any form of defeat from a mere test, and willed herself to exert more energy with more urgency. Finally, she thrust onto flat ground but wasted no time in scrambling onto her feet and moving on through the maze, head still high.


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#77 Offline General Quin Galum

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Posted Feb 19 2017 - 04:48 PM

IC: Erox (Specialist) - At the end

"I don't know if my legs could handle this everyday!" I chuckled, sitting down.

I couldn't tell what species this dragon like being was.

She looked like a pygmy kanohi dragon, with a little vortixx mixed in.

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#78 Offline Supreme King TIN

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Posted Feb 19 2017 - 05:25 PM

IC: Kohu - Still in the maze

 

I worked through the pain as I made my way around yet another corner. As I tentatively stepped on a tile a Kanoka of ice shot out of the far wall. I dived forwards to doge it with seconds to spare. The room was just too long and narrow to cheat this one with my rope, but there was no sign of a safe path.

 

Guess I'd have to rely on my agility then. Jumping to a wall, I briefly gripped into the rock with my long toes thenI jumped further into the corridor. Ducking low as a Kanoka shot above my head  leapt to the next wall, and bounded further ahead, this time nimbly jumping out the the way of a low flying Kanoka disk. As I got closer I would have no time to doge, so I pushed myself to the limit, jumping to the next wall before using all my leg strength to wall jump to the other wall, almost drained I made my final desperate jump from the wall barely to safety beyond the tiles.

 

As I made my way further into the maze I wondered how many more challenges I would face.


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#79 Offline Nato The Traveler

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Posted Feb 19 2017 - 07:19 PM

IC: Corrivalis (Whisper) - Compound, Obstacle Course. 

 

"Listen, we get it," she cast a glower towards the one called Spirit, "You did well on the obstacle course. But there's no need to rub it in our faces. I'm fine with it, but some of the other recruits might get a little... snappy." 


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#80 Offline GoSP

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Posted Feb 19 2017 - 07:29 PM

IC (Huntsman): Acanon moved quickly into the course, moving straight ahead. At first, he found little to challenge his physical abilities as he navigated over three deep pits. He leapt from platform to platform above one, propelled himself between two vertical walls above another, and used a series of hanging ropes to swing most of the way across the third. Things only got interesting when the ropes started moving.

 

Each of the dozen began tracing out a seemingly random path around the ceiling, leaving the Huntsman clinging on tightly as he tried to get his bearings as he swung unpredictably back and forth. Eventually, he saw his opportunity to advance. Another rope swung near in front of him just as he was moving towards it. He leapt out and caught onto it, and pulled himself up to wait for his next opportunity. 

 

As the ropes moved back and forth, it was difficult to spot which ones might be within his range and get him closer to the other side, but with patience, he learned to spot the ones would help him along among the many that would not. His shoulders were burning by the time he made him final jump to safety, but he was pleased to have passed the test.

 

Around the next bend, he came to a locked door, and a high but precariously balanced pile of rocks stacked up near to the far wall. Just above the top of the cairn, he could make out the glint of a tiny golden key. At first, he tried using the telekinetic power of his mask to simply lift the key down, but it was well-secured. There seemed to be some sort of puzzle-mechanism holding it in place. Perhaps he could simply rip it from the wall by force, but that would risk damaging the key. He would have to climb.

 

Approaching the pile, Acanon tested one of the stones with his foot. It shifted slightly under his weight, but held for now. Cautiously, he pulled himself up. As he searched for the next foothold, he had great difficulty. So many of the stones were loose, or caused the tower to sway alarmingly when he put his weight on them. He was quickly coming to realise that the Murau's size and strength would be a curse here, rather than a blessing. When a Matoran might have been able to scamper up, he was more likely to bring the whole thing down than reach half way.

 

Lowering himself back down to the ground, Acanon walked slowly around the cairn, considering his options. Eventually, he came to what he thought was a workable solution.

Pulling himself back up to where he had been, he activated his mask again, not to move a stone, but to hold it in place while he stepped on it. It was tricky to keep it from shifting and knocking into its neighbours, especially when he had to hold several stones at once, but he managed it. By repeating the process, he was able to scale the tower and unhook the key from its convoluted little hook. Leaping down from the top, he landed in a roll and triumphantly slotted his key into the door.

 

It led to a climbing wall, where some of the handholds were really punching fists. When he reached the top, however, he found that there was no way down into the next courtyard but a sheer drop. Obligingly, he leapt down, landing in a roll. Even so, his landing caused a mighty crash and really rattled his bones. Getting up, he looked around. The courtyard had high, sheer walls, and a barred gate at the opposite end. It looked solid enough, despite the fact that it had several large dents, where the thick iron bars were twisted and bent.

 

The only other feature was a dark recess into one of the high stone walls. A recess that contained something that had been awoken by the noise of Acanon's landing. A moment later, a large Kane-Ra charged out, looking for the source of the disturbance. It was a huge bull, old, scarred and ugly as sin, with beady red eyes filled with rage and violence. A chain around its neck held another tiny key.

 

The bull charged at him, blowing heavily, and Acanon stepped back and triggered his mask, this time using the illusion power. He cloaked himself in the appearance of a small stone rat that scurried away along the wall, while a duplicate of his normal appearance ran off in the other direction, narrowly avoiding the bulls's horns. As he had hoped, the Kane-Ra ignored the stone rat and chased after the illusory Murau, gearing up for another charge.

 

While the bull was distracted, Acanon made his way around to the gate. Quickly, he saw that he wasn't going to get through without the key. The gate and its mechanism were well-fortified, and he didn't have the skill to pick the lock. He would have to confront the bull.

 

He kept up the illusion, having the bull keep chasing it round and around the enclosure, while he slowly moved towards it, unseen. He quietly drew his blade, and waited. His puppet changed direction slightly, bringing the Kane-Ra closer to where he stood, and making the bull charge it. Just as the rahi slipped past him, Acanon extended his blade and slipped it between the bull's neck and its chain. The chain pulled tight and then snapped as the Kane-Ra galloped away, leaving the chain hanging from Acanon's blade. He raced for the gate, while pushing his illusion down to the wall at far end.

 

Acanon slipped the key into its lock just the the rahi finally caught up to his false image and rammed right through it. That had been carless of him, but it wouldn't matter now, if he was quick. The Kane-Ra was truly enraged now, and it was barrelling down at him with impressive speed. Just before it reached him though, Acanon slipped through the gate and slammed it shut behind him. The rahi put another large dent in the metal, and snorted at him through the bars, but for all its effort, it could not get to him.


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