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#1 Offline Kagha

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Posted Dec 21 2011 - 09:20 PM

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Click the script at the end of each chapter to review.

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Gathered friends,

It is an age of conflict.

Dark forces clash ruthlessly in pursuit of world conquest. Their advances have been staunched only by the resistance of noble warriors, the heroic Toa, who fight to reclaim the world in the name of the Great Spirit. Over years of warring, legions of hellspawn have been felled, whole lands salvaged from the clutches of evil and nations rebuilt in a cosmic power struggle known to the ends of the earth as the War of Light. Soon, once a mighty and formidable threat, the terror of the Brotherhood of Makuta would become no more than a distant smear on the horizon of history. The sun would rise upon a new age of renaissance for all the Matoran races. Even still, peace, it seemed, would remain elusive.

At the end of the Brotherhood’s reign, their wicked ruler was brought to face the finest knight of justice this era has ever known. Makuta, bringer of plagues and master of shadows, engaged in a fearsome battle with his only living equal: Takanuva, wielder of light and son of Mata Nui. In the end, the fiend was slain. Though he was defeated, Makuta made one last gambit amidst his dying throes. He placed a curse upon the earth, that with his passing the shadows of death would not end, but thrive. And thrive, they did.

Thus came the birth of a new age, the Age of Vampires. Countless ranks of the Matoran races would be turned from their nature, distorted into savage beasts that lurked in the night and craved the blood of the uninfected. They spread through the lands like a blight, and they congregated at the centre of the holy world, in the great city of Metru Nui, under a new insidious leader known as King.

Carnage turned the colour of the reputed island, once a City of Legends, into a City of Fear. The Age of Vampires persisted many years, but it was not fated to last. Full of bloodlust and bored with the stalemate his foes held him in, the shadowy King grew restless. In time, he would summon a battalion of demons and strike at Igni-Koro, the Village of Life, and the heart of the resistance. The last outpost of hope in an otherwise corrupt land was soon to be no more than dust. His advances spawned the Twilight Battle, a conflict reminiscent of the chaos of the War of Light, which would decide the fate of the holy world: restoral, or relapse.

In the end, the wreakers of darkness could not stand against the forces of light any more than could their predecessors. King was slain by his own acolytes in a twist of deceit. The shadow of the plague lifted from the skies, and the suns shone once more.

Much time has passed since then. The island of Metru Nui has become a City of Legends again. Its fear has been dispelled. The Matoran races have been labouring without pause to return it to its once and future splendour.

The shadows still remain, though. Vampires stalk the alleyways, and many of King’s demonic council have escaped capture. Knowing there are monsters in the dark keeps the Matoran united – but they are also united by their hope for a brighter future down the road, and perhaps one day, true peace. They just have to keep walking down that road, together.

The war rages on.

But though the night is long, the sun will always rise.

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Edited by Kagha, Jul 30 2012 - 03:48 PM.

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#2 Offline Kagha

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Posted Jan 27 2012 - 07:37 PM

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.....Somewhere in the world a Matoran closed his eyes, drew in a deep breath, and prepared to face the day......He sat at the bar of a local tavern. Among a bare room of chairs and tables collecting dust, the dim bronze light of lanterns overhead spilled across a polished counter face and reflected off his armour. It was early dawn, and he was one of the few patrons this time of day......Around him, pale sunlight filtered in through paper windows and sketched out fractal scenes on the wooden floorboards. The air was fragrant with the smell of hewn wood, as just outside freights of lumber were being heaved down the road. The sound of rolling carts and panting men had long become a staple ambience for this town. Even beyond the sounds of men at work, there was the slightest touch of birdsong, so faint it grazed the Matoran’s auditors like the fading cries of a ghost......The eyes of the Matoran were like leaden balls in his skull, shifting ponderously around the room in almost paranoid scrutiny. His very presence in the bar felt awry to him, and he half-expected to turn any moment and find somebody watching him. A rational side of his brain told him there was nothing to worry about, but his anxiety was nothing if not persistent, whispering inaudible caveats to his ears. He finally managed to tear his eyes from the far corners of the empty tavern and found himself gazing into the half-filled glass he cradled in his hands. Caught in the lantern’s sheen, the drink was a blazing canister of golden glare. If he focused hard enough he could make out his own reflection in the liquid. Two hollow eyes stared coldly at him, a pallid and gangly face framing them. There was an ancient lack of humour or liveliness in his expression; those things were qualities he never found time for anymore......The name of the Matoran was Ayrh, and he was a wanted man......What felt like a respite of a few seconds fell into long, dragged on minutes, as he fell deeper into the crevasses of his mind. There were too many things that demanded his attention. Marks that needed to be dealt with; employers to consult; merchandise to be traded; and money to be made. There were reputations that were at stake and deadlines that, should they be met or not, could very well determine life or death – that of him and others. His sallow exterior betrayed the stress and mental chaos that held him captive. He lingered in this bar because he knew that the moment he stood from this seat, he’d need to own up to the attention he’d skimped these demands out of up to now......He went to take another sip of his drink and found the glass empty. Pushing it aside, he beckoned the bartender, who was preoccupied with polishing a glass that looked as though no matter how many times it was scrubbed it wouldn’t release the film of scum that stuck to it. Frustrated, the bartender set it down and sauntered over, using the cloth to wipe sweat from his hands......“What can I do for you?”.....Ayrh gestured to the empty glass. “My drink is gone. I’d like another.”.....The bartender stood hesitant for a moment, before finally saying, “Are you sure? This is some pretty hard brew you’re dealing with here, not to mention it’s hardly a godly hour for heavy drinking.”.....Ayrh levelled a hard stare at him and he shrunk back, realising that he should have refrained from the lecture. Ayrh shook his head before going into his coin purse. He drew out a thick sheaf of notes and slapped it on the counter. “Another,” he repeated......The bartender chewed his lip. He took one glance at Ayrh, one glance at the money, and swept up the notes. “Your call. When you’re feeling like something a hapaka would upchuck, though, remember it’s your own cursed fault.”.....With that he walked away. Ayrh sighed and ran one hand over the back of his head. The bartender didn’t need to warn him; he already felt like well masticated rubbish to begin with. His mind began to reel again, and he wasn’t sure if it was the effects of the liquor kicking in or just the dark mood that had swallowed him. Something inside him, a voice of reason amidst his rampant anxiety, told him he should have followed the bartender’s cautioning and called it a morning before he lost what remained of his wits. The rest of his thoughts would have none of it however and he promptly put a stopper on such qualms......A bell chimed at the back of the room and rusty hinges yielded to the opening of a door. Customers streamed in, an irritable haste about them. Judging by their attires, it wasn’t difficult to tell that they were on duty and most were coming here to take time off for lunch. Ayrh watched them out of the corner of his eye as they muttered incoherent things to themselves and stalked off to the far ends of the lobby. A few came to settle at the bar......It didn’t take very before the bartender returned, pushing the drink across the counter. He took it unsmilingly and threw back the beverage. Warm liquid sank into his system and he could already feel it inhibiting the commotion in his head, shutting down entire neural networks and throwing him into a state of emotionally suppressed indifference. If he kept drinking at this rate, he’d surely do himself in before he could get anything productive done today......“Well, I’ll be,” said a voice from beside him......He turned rather clumsily in his seat to fixate the speaker. She sat on the stool adjacent and sipped on a glass of water. A dappled robe fell across her form in ornate sheets, sewn with regal embroidery that appeared as nothing but gibberish before Ayrh’s hampered vision. Underneath the robe her organic armour had a beige tone to it, that colour inherent of the Psi class, accentuated by the stark lighting of the tavern. She leaned one arm in a reserved manner on the edge of the counter and faced Ayrh, peering curiously at him through the oculars of an exotic Kanohi mask......“A second of madu rum in one sitting just after sunrise? I assume the fortnight’s not been treating you well then.”.....She had no idea. He turned up his glass before responding, hoping to find inspiration in the spirits on what to say. He settled with, “It’s a long story.”.....“Oh? I have time,” she replied. “Nothing better to do anyway.”.....Not particularly how he wanted that to go. She seemed genuinely interested in striking a conversation with him, and the fact that she didn’t even check her timestone suggested her negligence of a punctual return to work. She must be of high ranking in her profession, so that nobody would be able to chastise her on being tardy. Regardless, he wasn’t all that sure what a prim, working class individual of such chaste manner as she would want to do with a foreigner like him......His anxiety resurfaced and he began to consider where this conversation might lead. She might delve into aspects of his person that under no circumstances would he want to disclose, but judging by his current level of inebriation, he might not have be shrewd enough to deflect. She was a Psiborn after all. They were hardly trustworthy with their soothing words and their mind games. Incapable of seeing this as a harmless exchange, Ayrh felt a cold stone settle in his gut along with the need to end it......“You know what? I don’t feel all that well,” he said. “Any other time I’d be willing to play this game, love, and you truly seem like an astute figure for being a suitor. The Great Spirit only knows I’m mad for doing this, but I really should be going.”.....The horror on her face was arresting, and she recoiled as if struck. Acid curled her voice when she spoke. “My. You’re a class act then, aren’t you? I was only trying to be polite, but pardon my efforts, you arrogant clod.”.....He offered her a smile and stood from the bar, abandoning her as well as his half-empty drink. It seemed his exit was going to be postponed when he nearly collided into a body standing before him. It was another Matoran, well taller than Ayrh. He was of Fireborn descent judging by the deep maroon shade of his armour, and the markings along his arms suggested a heritage in the island of Stelt. Said arms were crossed against a tree trunk of a chest, and two scalding green eyes glowered at Ayrh. “Are you giving this lady a hard time?”.....Much to his credit, Ayrh did not cower before the figure, but rather let a sardonic smile curl his lips at the idiocy of the situation. The smile never reached his eyes, which in turn stared steely into his confronter’s. “I apologise, but you have it backwards. If you’ll kindly excuse me now, I have errands to attend. Why don’t you go play bouncer someplace else?”.....He went to leave but the Matoran pressed him back. “Wait. I know you. You’re that mercenary who docked here just a few drifts ago. Ayrh, is it? How is that faring for you by the way? Still conning every city on the peninsula out of their fortunes, or has that lost its lustre?”.....“I’ve had enough of this,” Ayrh muttered, shoving by the Matoran and moving for the door. Behind him, the Steltian chortled......“That’s it, walk away. All you’re good for, right? You mercenaries, I swear. You stalk around these parts and you hire for fast payment because not one among you has the stones to get a real status in the Forces and do something meaningful with your time and bloodlust. But that’s okay, because cheap guns, that’s all you are isn’t it?”.....Ayrh took a deep breath and turned around. “You asked for it.” He swung a fist directly into the Matoran’s face. Glasses clattered away as the Steltian stumbled back and crashed into the bar counter. He tentatively reached up to feel the spot where Ayrh had hit him. Rage contorted the Steltian’s face and he charged Ayrh, throwing him into a pillar. Beside them, the Psiborn Matoran was screaming. Not a surprise. She probably led a sheltered lifestyle and was rarely exposed to brutality like this. Brutality; reality was more like it......Ayrh averted his head just in time for the Steltian’s fist to pass and hit the pillar, wooden boards splintering under the force. Ayrh grabbed him and drove a knee directly into his gut, took him by the collar and flung him flat onto a table. The upholstery creaked dangerously and glassware scattered everywhere. Within a heartflash, he was on his Steltian opponent, one hand pinning his throat and the other balled in the air. There was a moment of stillness, either Matoran gasping for breath......“The problem with having a big mouth,” Ayrh snapped, anger throwing burning through his intoxication and throwing his mind back into high gear, “is that chances are, somebody’s going to come along and smash it in.”.....The Steltian hocked and spat in Ayrh’s face. Enraged, he was about to bring his fist down, but a loud click by the bar convinced him otherwise. Both Matoran turned to find the bartender pointing a disk launcher straight at them. “Get out,” he yelled, his face a mixture of fear and rage. “Both of you!”.....Ayrh climbed off the Steltian and wiped the spit off his mask. The bartender gestured at the door with the nozzle of his launcher, and he moved slowly toward the exit, the Steltian oaf in tow. There was a thick tension as they left, the launcher levelled at them the entire time. Upon stepping out, the bartender came over and slammed the door behind them with a warning not to come back......Before Ayrh could collect himself, another punch connected with his jaw and he shambled off of the tavern’s deck, sprawling onto the packed dusty ground. A kick jarred his side and the Steltian was growling furiously above him. He reared back his leg and drove his foot forward again, but Ayrh managed to catch him by the shin and pull his legs out from under him. He dropped hard, and Ayrh rolled over, staggering to his feet to make a proper retaliation. They would’ve gone at it until their cogs were busted hadn’t they been interrupted by a stern voice, booming through the street......“Taveno!”.....The face of the Steltian paled and his combative stance dropped instantly. Ayrh turned, eyes straining against the flagrant morning sky, to see a majestic figure riding up on a long-necked Dikapi. The bird’s taloned feet clapped against the cobblestone road as it walked, metal-laced feathers glinting silver on stubby wings outfitted in chains of jewellery. Striding alongside it were two Matoran in heavy black armour, standing ramrod straight and guiding the bird by a set of drooping reins. Overlooking the scuffle from the back of the Dikapi, a Matoran in pristine white armour frowned deeply......The bird stopped walking and the Matoran dismounted. The morning suns cast his white armour in an ethereal sheen, a beacon of brilliance against the faded blue sky and sunlit grey clouds. He carried himself with a royal aura, with charming azure eyes looking through a Kanohi meticulously formed to his seamless jaw line and handsome facial structure. Upon reaching speaking distance of the two brawlers, the Matoran snapped his fingers in the air and said, “You are dismissed, Taveno.”.....The Steltian dropped his chin and walked over to where the guards stood by the Dikapi. When he was gone, the white Matoran looked at Ayrh and smiled broadly. “Ayrh. How do you do?”.....“Beaming,” was the gruff reply. Ayrh’s bruised face couldn’t even afford a sarcastic smile to offer the Matoran. He glanced back at where the Steltian – Taveno, presumably – and the guards were waiting. “He’s one of yours?”.....“It is a sometimes lamentable truth, but the answer is yes. I apologise on his behalf, he’s always been a bit quick to provoke trouble.”.....Ayrh scoffed. “You don’t say. I’d be careful, Caya. You wouldn’t want your reputation compromised by a few bad saplings representing you, would you?”.....“No, I suppose not. I’ll keep that in mind.” Caya weighed that statement for a moment. “Let’s take a walk, Ayrh.”.....They turned their backs to the tavern and to where Caya’s guards stood, and began to stroll down the street. Their footsteps were lost in the rasping of wagon wheels as lumberjacks hunkered by, or the pounding of metal as they passed smithies and forgeries. They’d gotten a good few blocks away before Caya lowered his voice and leaned in to speak. “How have you fared in your endeavours?”.....Ayrh glanced around the street before replying, still feeling the eyes of a ghost peering at him like he’d felt at the bar. “Like a wreck,” he murmured. “Had to consult three datahouses to track down your precious memos, not to mention dodging a tonne of file work to produce an alias to physically get in and extract the cursed things. I ended up caught and jailed for fraud nonetheless. Enforcements confiscated the memos.”.....“But you did get them back, yes?”.....“Of course.” He looked at Caya as though he couldn’t believe he’d asked that. “I waited a night. Any longer and they would’ve had me listed in their registries and our covert agreement would be Vahki bones.”.....“And you have the memos here?”.....“Indeed.” He took another glance around the street. “Might we go someplace a bit more private?”.....“Don’t be unreasonable, Ayrh, no one will be keen on the matter,” reassured Caya, fixing his business partner with a look of slight amusement. It was evident he still found it hard to believe the small bouts of paranoia Ayrh displayed on a regular basis. That and the fact he was clearly eager to get his hands on the memos involved......Reluctantly, Ayrh slid off his rucksack and reached into the fold, retrieving a bundle of tablets tied together with a tightly wrought string. He handed them to Caya, who gladly took the tablets in his polished white hands and began to fondle them like he would an infant husi chick. It was obvious by the way the Iceborn Matoran’s eyes glistened he was going through different scenarios of how he would utilise the information he now held in his hands to propel the future of his political campaigns. So entranced was he that he nearly forgot about giving Ayrh payment in return. Squeezing the childlike zeal from his demeanour, Caya put the tablets into his bag and drew a small burlap sack which he handed to Ayrh. Pence inside clattered as the bag switched hands......“I don’t know how to thank you,” Caya was saying breathlessly. “I almost feel as though my payment were inadequate.”.....“The widgets are fine.”.....“This is wonderful ... imagine what I can do with this.”.....“Go nuts,” was the dry response. “Look, I gave you what you needed and that’s that. The transaction is done. This encounter never happened.”.....“Understood,” Caya said with sudden sobriety. He reached out to shake the hand of his business partner. The two nodded tersely at each other before parting ways. Hopefully Ayrh never had to see that man again. There were things he had yet to do that he reckoned would tarnish the good nature between the two of them. If he played his discs right, though, he’d be out of town before Caya had a chance to realise his duplicity. As long as he was getting paid, Ayrh had no problem turning his back on a few marks. That made the job all the more interesting......Walking grimly down the road, a little voice in his head reminded him of the rest of the tasks that he needed to complete today. He couldn’t keep drinking and getting into bar fights until sundown; even his enhanced physiology would crash if put to such strain. There were people to be met and deals to be closed. He silently went down a checklist in his head as he strode, absently pulling on the plates of his coat so that they were tighter against his body. His every breath etched itself in the air in billowing white clouds, thick and hazy despite the growing radiance of the day. The sky was clear and the suns were shining, but the shroud of cold that gripped the town was unmistakable. As he looked into the sky, eyes watering from the biting cold, it dawned on him. Winter was coming.

#

.....The zenith of the suns’ path in the sky at roughly midday found Ayrh on the outskirts of town, trekking worn-over paths to reach the stable. It wasn’t until the paved cobblestone fell away into gravel and eventual dirt and the cured grass grew tall and wild that he was able to spy the ramshackle cottage. Sitting at the base of the rolling foothills that bordered town, it was a basic setup of timber planks and beams, faded with age and writhed in lichen. There was smoke drifting out of the chimney that told Ayrh the place was occupied......He continued down the path until he was half a kio away from the stable, when the tall bristly grass fell away into a closely cut clearing. The dirt path was still no better off but at least it was unhindered, winding its way around a wide Ussal pen on its way to the cottage. The pen itself was a moderate sized field, outlined in spiny wooden fences that were so rickety and moss-covered they looked like they’d topple over with one push. Inside, hugging the cut grass and occasional bare spots in the pen, a dozen speckled Ussal crabs huddled around languidly. They snapped at each other in bony, guttural sounds and clicked their pincers socially. As Ayrh passed by, the tall stems of their eyes turned to look at him, and then their entire bodies contracted into their carapaces in gestures of almost ovine submission......Ayrh ignored the rahi and walked straight into the cottage, the rusty iron hinges of the door screeching like a baneful ghost. Inside, a Matoran glanced disinterestedly up from his scribbling......“Greetings, stranger,” he said in a farmer’s accent, speaking around an ear of wheat held in his teeth. “Here to rent a steed?”.....“Indeed. How much is the charge?”.....“Forty widgets,” the Matoran replied, setting down his pen and standing heavily. Black ink soiled the stable keeper’s scarlet hands, which he wiped on his trousers as Ayrh fished up the money. He took the pence and tossed them down the throat of a brass urn at the side of the room, before leading Ayrh back outside to the pen. “Haven’t had much patronage since the ballots started ‘appening. More people are concerned with voting for Kyramore’s new magistrate than they are with travelling. Poor ol’ crabs haven’t been getting out nearly as often as they should.”.....“That’s unfortunate,” Ayrh responded, eyeing each of the mottled crustaceans as he walked through the pen. The stable keeper selected a crab with a lilac tinge to its carapace, petting it on the head and making the speckles on its shell flash blue with contentment. “Here, take this one. Youngest of the cast, got a hardy stamina and a Nui-Jaga’s precision. She’ll serve you well.”.....The eyes of the crab glanced directly at Ayrh and then timidly turned away. The stable keeper was affixing a bridle to the crab’s head, working twists and knots into the spine of a leather saddle. When the process was complete he handed Ayrh a set of reins. “She’s all yours. Try to make sure she gets back in one piece, though.”.....“You don’t have to worry about it. She’s in safe hands,” Ayrh assured, leading the Ussal out of the pen and further into the brush, broadening his distance from the town. Behind them, the stable keeper locked up the pen again and retreated inside, grumbling about termites. Hours passed would eventually find Ayrh straddling the back of the crab, tending its reins as he rode through a cleft in the outlying mountains to the most remote regions of the wahi. No trading caravans or merchants ever dared track this deep inland through the peninsula; most preferred to hug the coast northward from the town of Kyramore until they reached cities in the conjunction roads. As it was, the spit of territory wedged between either coast was mostly unclaimed, housing only rahi beasts and the most crooked of outcasts. The clientele Ayrh was visiting now was comprised mostly of the latter denomination......Eight mios due north of Kyramore and two hundred mios between either coast, the jagged mountain paths ended and Ayrh and his steed were thrown into an entirely different topographical scene. With altitude the air had lost its viscosity and adopted a bitter frost, nipping at the exposed parts under Ayrh’s armour. Luckily the Ussal beneath him didn’t seem to notice the cold and kept marching, every pace of its spindly legs paced and deliberate. Packed dirt and clustered trees gave way to bare rock and gaping canyons, stretching out to kiss the horizon and cleaving out impossible gorges in the face of the earth. The sheer cliffs and narrow rift valleys made it seem as though an eternity ago, giant rahi had stalked the lands and gouged out the earth with lunar-scaled claws. Ribbons of sediment painted the cliff sides mottled shades of grey and brown, and a damp mist hung ominously over the canyon’s base, concealing the valley floors......The brazen sky stretched out above him, spotted with unbound grey clouds as far as the eye could see. Leaving Kyramore, the suns had fled and greyness had shrouded the heavens......From the decline of the forested mountainside, a rocky path weaved seamlessly down to the canyon, and Ayrh followed it, feeling the comforting cradle of the peaks vanish from his senses. The winding path took him deep into the canyons, until the mountains were only a bleary range in the distance. Finally, midway into the rift valley, the path ended in a yawning grotto puckered out of the cliff side. It was well from the top of the cliff but still hundreds of bio from the bottom, and deep enough inward that it made for the perfect hideaway for those exiled......He found ‘those exiled’ huddled in the corner of the open grotto, chirping and hooting as a cloud of foul smoke drifted up from a sieve between them. The stench of contraband drifted in the stale air, causing Ayrh to turn up his nose and fan in front of his mask. His presence didn’t seem to alert any of the outcasts, a couple of whom were lying on the floor in groggy disorientation, drooling and murmuring at the hallucinogenic tricks their minds were no doubt playing on them by now. Those few who endured heaved deep breaths, sometimes laughing as they did. A few noticed him standing there and screeched, curling themselves into foetal stances or hugging the cold stone wall behind them......They were Skakdi, one of the most dangerous species in the world. Reptilian in nature, these bipeds had the constitution of mature Toa and organic scaly armour that dwarfed most artificial plate suits for pure strength. Each stood roughly six feet and had razor claws, jutted spines and wide maws, lined with teeth either filed to points or blunted as to crush even stones. Their eyes burned with power, orbital portals to realms of energy not even the most trained of psions were yet able to understand. There was no reason for any of them to be afraid of Ayrh, a four foot Airborn Matoran with a scrawny mechanical build and a docile Ussal crab at his feet. Yet the Zamor smoke clouded their minds and dissolved any traces of reason remnant there......Ayrh dismounted from the crab and tied the reins around an outcropping of rock in the cave wall. It clicked its mandibles in consent, and folded its segmented legs in a crouching position. He strode into the cave purposefully and asked, “Is there any among you sober enough to do trade with?”.....“Aye, it is me you seek, brother,” came a reply. Ayrh looked into the darkness to see a Skakdi emerging, standing proudly tall in contrast to the hunched stature of most of his brethren. The scaled plates of organic armour that framed his body glinted rich silver, overlapping over cords of hidden musculature and making him appear like some manner of serpentine demigod. His presence was nobler than that of the average brutish Skakdi, and spoke of royalty in comparison to the babbling users lying in the corner of the grotto......“Trellen,” said Ayrh, walking over to greet the Skakdi...... “You’ve come just in time,” Trellen said. “My brothers have become rather ... anxious, waiting for you.” He winced as he said that, and Ayrh noticed a deep gash running down the inside of the Skakdi’s arm. It looked relatively fresh, and would undoubtedly make a nasty scar with time. He trembled just imagining what must have happened to cause the Skakdi here to inflict such harm on their own brother. “I have the substance,” he finally said, taking a straw ball from his rucksack. Inside, more than a dozen vials of Zamor fluid clinked together. Trellen took the offering in such a gracious manner a bystander would be hard pressed to realise it was contraband being dealt. In turn, the silver Skakdi gave him a golden brooch and three jewelled rings. “These were pillaged off a caravan arriving from Kichigai. I’d reckon they’d each go for at least five hundred widgets.”.....As soon as Ayrh took the gems, he felt coldness wash over him. It felt like an unwanted presence had sneaked into the grotto, a subconscious nudge that he couldn’t shake. He turned to glance at the Skakdi, but they were all preoccupied with blazing their Zamor fluid. Trellen noticed his flash of unease and frowned. “What’s wrong?”.....“Nothing,” grumbled the Matoran, mentally urging the obscure whisperings in the base of his mind to shut up. He put the gems in his bag and took a deep breath, unsuspectingly choking on a mouthful of acidic fumes......“Come on. Let’s walk.” Trellen took Ayrh by the shoulders and guided him toward the end of the cave, until they were walking along the edge of the cliff path. Ayrh took in several deep breaths of the cool, clean air. “You know, you don’t have to keep doing this.”.....Ayrh looked at him darkly. “What do you mean? You found another dealer? What did I tell you, Trellen, you can’t trust anybody else with the provision of the Zamor; you’ll be ratted out and hunted down before you know it. Not to mention what ingredients they might be implementing – ever heard of cured antidermis?”.....“No, I haven’t. And no, I’m not dealing with anyone. It’s just ... my brothers, they’d do to go without for a while. It wouldn’t hurt them.”.....“Maybe not, but what about you?” Ayrh countered. Trellen drew back his arm to conceal the wound, but it was obviously too late. “I know what happens when they’re off it. I know it isn’t pretty.”.....“They’re ... grouchy, that much is true. But they’re not dangerous. I can handle them. Karzahni, I even got Zokan clean for three years – three years, Ayrh – until they went and dragged him down again.”

Edited by Kagha, Jul 30 2012 - 03:05 PM.

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