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IC: [Agni - Ta-Koro, Guard HQ, Jaller’s Office]

“Thanks, I will. Good luck with...well everything.”

 

I trust your judgement...

 

He winced at that, at least on the inside.

 

—————

 

Taking his leave, Agni made his way from the headquarters back through the narrow alleys. He could have teleported again, but since he’d been robbed off the long trek down from Ko-Wahi, he took his time now. Not quite the same as having a half day to himself, but the familiar environment was comforting in its own way. As he passed near the Magma lounge, he heard the sounds of laughter. Always something happening at that place. 

 

A short while later, he found himself outside one particular flat.

 

He raised his hand to knock on the door, but hesitated. Then with a deep breath, he finally rapped his knuckles against the door.

 

“Tuara? I’m back.”

 

OOC: @Palm

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IC: Tuara Drigton - Ta-Koro

At the sound of Agni's voice at the front door, Tuara quickly took Kitea's letters she had been reading through, and shoved them hastily into the drawer of her nightstand. She slid off the side of her bed onto her feet and made her way to the bedroom door into the living room.
"Coming!" As she crossed the room Tuara wiped at her eyes with pointed fingers, blinking repeatedly, trying to disguise the fact that she had been crying only ten minutes prior. She looked over to the various tea-bags and mug left on the kitchen counter hours ago, unfinished. Tuara stopped at the door, took a deep breath, composed herself, and opened the door.

Agni saw his fellow Ta-Toa, bright-eyed and smiling, standing in the entryway. She stepped forward and embraced her friend.
"It's good to see you!" Tuara pulled back and leaned against the doorway. "Want to come in? I was just in the middle of making some tea."

OOC: @Vezok's Friend

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IC:[Agni - Ta-Koro]

 

It took Agni a second to respond to the hug. Tuara, guard herself, could instantly tell something was on his mind. But then he caught himself and returned the embrace.

 

When they stepped back from another, he studied her face intently for a moment, but didn’t seem to draw any strong conclusions.

 

“Tea, yeah…” He started, sounding absent minded, but quickly added. “That sounds good!”

 

He followed Tuara inside as she set about making the aforementioned tea. “How are things?”

 

OOC: @Palm

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OOC: @Vezok's Friend

IC: Tuara Drigton - Ta-Koro

Tuara gave him a bit of a side-long look at Agni while he stepped into living room. There was something a little strange about how Agni was acting. Normally he seemed rather sure of himself, but there was hesitation in the hug, and again in his voice. She took some steps over to the counter-top, and reached into a cupboard for a second mug.


"Things are good." Tuara lied, a little more flatly than she would have liked. Quickly, she continued, her tone becoming a bit more regular, "I'm just glad the trial is over finally." She turned to look at Agni as he began taking a seat on the couch. Tuara gave him a tight-lipped smile and a nod, indicating her own complicated feelings about it all - including some guilt in the part of the crime she had played, "And I'm happy to be back at the house again."

There had been a period of time with Tuara in house-arrest at a run-down apartment located downtown with a view of the mono-rail, until the court found a resolution. While she used the tip of her thumb to boil the water in the small metal teapot, her mind flashed to moments waking up in a heavy sweat, head pounding, seeing things that weren't there. Another wash of complex memories rushed along her body from head to toe. It had become so cloudy, every memory melded together as if it all had happened at once. She was hardly coherent during any of it. There had even been a time that she had lost track of the passing days. Tuara decided to shift the conversation away.

"What about you, Agni?" As she sat down across from Agni in the love-seat, she set down the teapot, and both twin mugs, leaving the tea to steep. Tuara watched him carefully. "Everything good with you?"

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IC:[Agni - Ta-Koro]

 

Agni watched Tuara prepare the tea. The trial…yeah, that had been something alright. He had worked with Angelus and Jaller to make things as easy on Tuara as possible. Under the circumstances that had amounted to very little unfortunately. She really had been through enough.

 

Which was exactly what made answering her question so difficult in turn. He didn’t want to burden her with anything more. On the other hand, there was little actual comfort in sticking to sad smiles and half-truths. In fact, Tuara probably would understand him better than most. Karz, that was part of why he’d come to her place to begin with.

 

So he said: “Not…really.” before sitting forward on the couch with a sigh. He had his head tilted down, eyes focused on the wisps of smoke rising from the teapot.

 

“I, uh…I just got back from Ko-Wahi.”

 

He glanced up at his fellow Ta-Toa, finding her eyes again.

 

“The peace temple.”

 

OOC: @Palm

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OOC: @Vezok's Friend

IC: Tuara Drigton - Ta-Koro

Tuara straightened up with a start, before leaning in. She felt her heart begin to pound suddenly, a wellspring of emotions rising to the surface. In the weeks since her attempted escape, Tuara had learned from Angelus and Jaller that Dorian had been there before returning to Ta-Koro. It had also become Joske's suspected grave, based on what Dorian told Tuara. She found herself grinding her teeth. She should have been there too. Maybe she could have, had things been different. She shouldn't have put herself in this situation to begin with. If she hadn't, maybe she would have been able to save Joske. And if she couldn't have saved him, maybe she could have saved-

Tuara stopped herself, realizing she hadn't said anything for a few moments.

"What- what did you find? What happened?"

Edited by Palm
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IC:

Without preamble, a silver-and-gunmetal ghost floated out from the throng, footsteps light and presence low. Nothing much going on today after all, only a couple of street brawls and lost pets— nothing that would amp him up as he'd hoped. The fights weren't even new faces— he'd broken bread (waffles) with most beforehand, and they knew to not wreck the place enough for him to care to stop them.

Honestly, if he didn't have a job to do, he'd have offered they take a swing on him for the Karz of it next.

Instead, the young Toa had spent his final hour actively preparing, forcing his mindset back to the forests. A familiar territory, for a familiar task, and in so embodying it he let his concerns fade away behind focus. He walked with a light step, a diminished presence, and let the world slide around him as he moved rather than force his path through. Though not in possession of Volitak or even Huna, he had barely drawn the eyes of the crowd. Even his breath had stilled, manifesting only as subtle shifts in his diaphragm— inaudible, imperceptible. He'd seen Muaka move like this.

Quiet. Still.

"Ready."

Edited by Razgriz
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IC: Zelvin (Ta-Koro, Gates)

Zelvin didn't show it, but she was surprised by how long it took for her to notice Jolek appear from the crowds. The Fa-Toa was a master of this sort of movement, no doubt. If luck was with her today he would undoubtedly prove very useful.

"Excellent. You look very ready indeed." she answered. She had discarded the robe she usually walked around in everywhere. She was just in her natural armor, which clearly was the sort that privileged movement over raw protection. A belt-and-sash combo that she had probably been wearing the whole time was now clearly visible. Pockets and pouches presumably containing equipment of various sorts.

"It seems most sensible to me if you lead the way for now, young man" she offered, "it's your traps we're checking, after all"

OOC: @Razgriz


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IC: Chiaki - Ta-Wahi - The Charred Forest
Ev
en with a long way to travel, my going is slow.  The necessary evil of climbing a tree every so often to check my direction doesn't help.  But it doesn't bother me too much- at least I know that I'm still going in the right direction, and the journey will make arriving at the destination all the sweeter.

The changes as I go along, however, do bother me.  Perhaps it's because I'm in unfamiliar territory, but I find myself much more aware of the evolving environment I come across here than I was in Le-Koro.  And it feels... off.  The Charred Forest starts to smell ashier.  What few sounds of wildlife there are suddenly grow quiet.  Strange marks, X shapes of varying colors, appear on scattered tree trunks, probably meaning something to the people who explore here regularly, but only confusing me.  And I get the distinct feeling that I should be watching where I step.

I make my going even slower.  Step by careful step, I inch my way closer to the borders of Ta-Koro, my senses working overtime.  If any danger should present itself, I'll have to react quickly.

Are my ears playing tricks on me?  That... doesn't sound like any Rahi I know.  And It sounds like it might be coming closer.  My hand drops instinctively to my sash, where I keep my jitte, just in case...

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IC:[Agni - Ta-Koro, Tuara’s House]

 

“Nothing, I mean…” Agni replied, voice throaty, “…I found the cairn. Joske’s cairn.”

 

He looked up at Tuara, eyes equal parts grim and apologetic. “No sign of…-I’m sorry.”

 

He picked up the cup of tea. It was scalding still. So, perfect temperature for the fire Toa. A tiny comfort.
 

OOC: @Palm

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IC: Tuara Drigton - Ta-Koro

Tuara turned her face away and lowered her eyes. The pair sat silently for a few moments. Tuara bit down on her tongue while watching the steam rise from the tea held between both hands. When she looked back up, she sniffled a little, eyes glistening in the light. Tuara let out a little nod and a quiet,
"It's ok."

It was a half-lie, of course. Not that Agni had done anything wrong - in fact, Tuara counted him among her closest of friends and allies, and owed him a great deal. But Tuara had held out hope, even still, that Dorian was alive. That she hadn't made a mistake in letting him go by himself to the Mangaia. She could have pushed to make somebody go with him, or made sure he stayed in Ta-Koro somehow. But even this was a lie, Tuara hadn't been thinking straight at all - half-drunk, and completely diving off the deep-end. Knowing this, deep down, it only made Tuara hate herself more for her sorry state. She realized she was beginning to squeeze the mug, and quickly relaxed, lest she shatter it. She took two deep and long breaths, feeling the tears she was pushing down well up again.

"Thank you for looking."

OOC: @Vezok's Friend

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IC:

whoof

Tor's blow definitely connected a little better than hers did. She needed to create a little room; this close together she couldn't use the kicks she was fond of. She hooked her foot around Tor's and shoved, hoping to topple her or at least knock her off balance and create the space she needed to better control the flow.


fK5oqYf.jpg

 

On this eve, the thirtieth anniversary of that first colony, many are left to wonder; is the world fast approaching a breaking point?

 

 

  Breaking Point: An OTC Mecha RPG

 

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IC: Torana - Ta-Koro, outside the Magma Lounge

Saeva’s shove broke her (admittedly) weak grapple, forcing Torana to disengage and make some space lest she spend some time laying on the cobblestones. She brought her arms back up to guard as she steadied her stance again.

Well, this is certainly familiar.

She waited for Saeva’s next move.

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IC:

Right then.

"Let's move. We've got a couple hours of light left before scavengers start waking up and I run the risk of going home empty-handed. Hope you can keep up."

Without waiting for much in the way of a response, Jolek took off into a steady jog outside the gates, tossing a quick wave to the guards manning the drawbridge at this hour— men he'd found a kind of passing familiarity with in these regular trips to and from the Charred Forest, and they him in turn. Never learned their names, but he knew more or less knew their faces. For him, and for them, that was enough.

Maybe that was part of it all. Cloistering himself within his own head, in his tight, tight sphere. 

He heard Zelvin's footfalls in his wake, presumably easily keeping pace. He fought the urge he felt to pour speed on, as if chased or raced— old habits. Couldn't lead well at a dead sprint. Not through the terrain he was headed into.

The stone gave way to ash, turning the staccato tapping of their strides into soft puffs of fine dust as they ran. The Charred Forest, as he'd alluded to earlier, was a decent thicket of desiccated and smoke-dried woods, just as much material being living hardwoods as blackened, dead husks. These trees were easy to hollow out, the soft ground easy to burrow within and hide from the rare large predator that stalked through the maze of trees. Small game— Rahi no bigger than a brakas, generally— was the main thing you could find in the forest, tucked away from the many watchful eyes of Nui-Rama or Kofo-Jaga. Lava rats, adolescent Hikaki or Infernavika... Those were usually what his snare traps managed to turn up. The latter two were rare, typically only venturing this far from the lava floes to hunt the former, but always a nice surprise.

It took about fourty five minutes, give or take, to make headway into the brush from the gates, and here their pace slowed by necessity.

This was in part to make sure he got a bead on the specific landmarks that he'd plotted as a course to lead him to his favored hunting grounds— that half-split tree on his left was about twenty paces at steady walk to the tree he always took a few swings at before continuing through (thus the denting in its almost rubbery bark), for instance— and in equal parts that continuing at their jog was...

He lifted his foot, glancing down and kicking a fallen twig to the side, out of their path.

Was a very loud idea, unless you got lucky. Since this was one part collection and one part manhunt, not a good call.

He took a slow, long breath, listening through the air that surrounded them as he walked forward, silently pointing to each landmark for the old woman behind him— tracing their path.

Light birdsong, practically dead air compared to his home to the south, but so far, nothing. The air was warm and dry, a light tinge of fire down his throat as it lay atop the ground, a blanket of rising heat. Ash suspended in the air— at first glance, it appeared similar to a light mist, but it only served to trap the heat of the lava to the west, carrying it over them like a thick coat.

He had to wonder. Did she have any more specificity to work with regarding these two than "Charred Forest"? There were a few houses out here that he'd considered, but they were fairly scattered. The search could easily come up dry.

For now, though, he needed to keep quiet. He'd speak when noise was unavoidable.

Edited by Razgriz
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IC:[Agni - Ta-Koro, Tuara’s house]

 

He could see it in her eyes: Tuara was feeling the exact same way he did. Though he wasn’t sure if he deserved any thanks. He’d gone just as much to find answers for himself. What he’d found were confusion, anger and pain. And he was struggling to keep them in check. His tea was still near boiling point in his hands.

 

“Why?”

 

Agni let the question hang in the air for a moment. 

 

“Why didn’t they say anything? We could have helped, they didn’t have to go alone. Neither of them.”

 

“I know Dorian spoke to you before he disappeared…he say anything to you?”

 

Part of him was worried he came across as the interrogator again - but Tuara could hear the difference. Agni was clutching at straws.

OOC: @Palm

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IC: Tuara Drigton - Ta-Koro

"I've played that memory so many times over now that I'm not sure I even lived any of it anymore."

Tuara looked into her reflection in the tea, rippling slightly, distorting her face. She couldn't see the tears on her cheeks in the mirror image, but she felt them. "I don't think he knew what was going on, himself, Agni. I think they thought they didn't have much time... and I think they didn't want to risk anybody else."

OOC: @Vezok's Friend

Edited by Palm
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IC:[Agni - Ta-Koro, Tuara’s house]

 

Agni placed the tea back down in front of him, his hands were too shaky with impotent rage. Part of him knew this was irrational, just a part of grief. But the main part of him wanted to yell about the hare-brained reasoning, the utter stupidity of going up against someone like Echelon alone. Even with Heuani he’d been there - and not just him, ready to assist. And that had been with a power up from destiny.

 

He clenched his fists, but kept it in check, for Tuara’s sake.

 

“I think…I finally understand why you left the group back in Ko-Koro the first time around.” He said, obviously struggling to calm down. “This is driving me…so karzforsaken mad.”

OOC: @Palm

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IC: Chiaki - Ta-Wahi - The Charred Forest
I was right.  The sound isn't coming from any Rahi at all; no beast could consciously step so carefully.  The sound is coming from people, easily visible people whose brightly colored armor serves as the only real break-up in the endless graying monotony.  They might be friendly, or they might be extremely unsubtle ne'er-do-wells- it's becoming increasingly hard to tell who's aligned with who nowadays.  All that's certain is that they're coming from the direction I'm headed.

Perhaps they could help me, or perhaps I could help them.  Either way, best not to lower my guard just yet.

Still keeping one hand on my jitte, I cup my mouth with the other one and make myself known to them.  "Ho there!  Slow going for you too?"

OOC:
that'd be @Razgriz @Geardirector and whoever else might be hanging out with jolek and zelvin

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IC: Zelvin (Charred Forest)

Zelvin had kept herself as close to Jolek as she dared. Her mask was now on to prime her senses. As a Toa of Crystal, her sight was still her strongest sense by far. She could spot something very far off with minimal effort. The Charred Forest was a strange place. Zelvin hadn't been here often, but she'd never regretted going there, it had a certain rotten thrill to it that she honestly found a bit endearing. She'd of course never choose to live here.

"Ho there!  Slow going for you too?"

She swore under her breath. The problem wasn't really being spotted, it was the shouting. She wondered if anybody else had heard them...

"Be ready for unwanted visitors" she whispered to Jolek

OOC: @Razgriz and now also @capMARVELOUS


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IC: Tuara Drigton - Ta-Koro

Tuara looked across the table at her friend, watching the tea he set down, it's boiling beginning to slow. She leaned forward and put one hand over his. "I regret leaving you all in Ko-Koro, Agni. I regret a lot of things. If I could go back in time there is... just so much I would change. So many moments where I walked away, or I made the wrong call, and people got hurt or killed. I'd give it all up to have another chance. But I can't."

She leveled a look at him, "I'm only now beginning to learn what to do with all my regret, and learning to cope better with what I can't change. And sometimes, it really gets to me," Tuara continued, choking back tears now. "But we can't let something uncontrollable, control us."

OOC: @Vezok's Friend

Edited by Palm
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IC:

...

Well, that was pretty quick. Must have been a traveler making their way to the Koro proper through the woods— If these guys were as supposedly nefarious as zelvin had claimed, they wouldn't have lead with a giveaway of their position, right? Wouldn't make a lick of sense. Not to Jolek, anyway.

He craned his neck, squinting for a moment in the direction of the voice— there, about a hundred bio or so out to their right. A tall Toa, clad in silver and green armor, whose cone-shaped straw hat stood out distinctly against the darker mahoganies and blacks of the charred wood around him. He didn't seem sinister, near as Jolek could tell— just a traveler. An armed traveler, yeah, but that was par the course for travelling anywhere that wasn't a main road.

Behind him, Zelvin's tense voice floated in, warning him to stay alert in case of visitors with less benign intent dropping in.

Well, no sign of them yet... to begin with, he had neglected to mottle down either of their natural armoring with the ash that clung to their feet. If he was alone, he doubted it would have made too much difference; his natural greys and gunmetals already did a good portion of the work in breaking up his outline against the ashen backdrop of the forest, mist often clinging to the air and fading the lines further. If he'd put his heart into it, he could definitely creep through here with much more secrecy.

Zelvin, however, was someone he'd managed to mistake for a Ga-Toa when they first ran into eachother on account of her natural coloration— made sense that a bright spot of blue would stand out against the backdrop, no matter how much that cloak of hers had picked up the greys of soot and travel. Had he just not thought of it, or had he tunnel visioned on just checking his traps because he was starting to feel peckish? He couldn't really say, but in either instance—

Yeah, that's my fault.

It was on him, as the guy leading the hunting party, to decide how thorough they'd be with regards to concealment. Nobody else's.

Well, he'd made eye contact now, and the sound was already gonna attract whatever attention that cared to investigate within earshot. A snapping branch would have been an annoying blunder, but potentially easy to be written off— a voice was unmistakably a voice, thus a presence, thus a person— either hunter or prey, whichever the "Ash Lads" would care to see them as. If they were here, and looking to fight, they'd be on their way. If they would want to be gone, they'd be going.

So saying,

"We'll see," he replied, in something between a stage whisper and a holler of his own, as if nudging the volume down gradually from where their exchange had started. "Just checkin' some snares a few hundred bio in! You need help or something?"

The die was already cast— in his eyes, this much wouldn't really make things appreciably worse.

If they'd wanted to retain a clandestine approach at this, they'd need to beat feet and get the karz away from the source of a loud noise that told lurkers where they might have been. They'd have to completely reposition, separating from the Le-Toa and all but throwing him to the wolves to throw them off their scent.

He personally disagreed with the idea of leaving this stranger to their fate, if worst really came to worst.

Better to crack their skulls early.

Edited by Razgriz
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IC: Chiaki - Ta-Wahi - The Charred Forest
Well, I wanted to get their attention.  Now I've gotten what I want.  Neither of them seem to be advancing menacingly on me, but they aren't approaching me with friendly intent either.  Probably a wise decision- as I've said, it's become increasingly hard to tell who's aligned with who.  Still, the shiny gray one's mention of checking snares takes a small weight off my nerves.  Best let him know my intentions here are similarly non-threatening.

"I might," I call back in response to the gray one's question of whether I need help.  "You two are from the Koro, right?  Am I still going in the right direction?"  And then, after a pause, "What are you trying to snare, exactly?  Everything seems... pretty dead already."

OOC:
@Razgriz @Geardirector

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IC:[Agni - Ta-Koro, Tuara’s house]

Uncontrollable. That they were.”

Agni looked up at Tuara, wisps of steam floating away from the corners of his eyes. Her hand was comforting, but after a moment, he pulled away and put the cup down. He knew the point she was trying to make, agreed with it, in fact. But something deep down wouldn’t let him accept it. 

“I...was responsible. You know that, right? For them both. That was my duty. Train Joske and look after Dorian. The fact that they’re not here is my fault. My failure.”

Training Joske had resulted in the young Toa nearly dying at the hands of Heuani, until actual destiny intervened in the form of an unfathomably powerful mask. And the mission to escort Dorian and track down the Turaga’s killers had pretty much fallen apart the moment it had started. More important things had come up, all of which had led to this. Which left the Toa of fire who’d always wondered why he’d been chosen in the first place right back where he started and the island didn’t seem any better for it. Just emptier.

He stood up, turned to face away. ”I shouldn’t have let them go! I shouldn’t have trusted…”

He stopped himself, fist clenched his sides, slightly shaking.

“I refuse to bury any more friends.”

 

OOC: @Palm
 

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Posted (edited)

IC: Tuara Drigton - Ta-Koro

Tuara watched Agni get up, and cut himself off briefly. Trusted who? It wasn't Joske or Dorian that they had misplaced their trust with. Tuara recognized what he was saying now, she had seen this before; but usually in the mirror. Tuara felt her heart fall slightly, seeing Agni like this. Normally between the two of them, it was he who remained level-headed instead of her. Not that Tuara could blame him, knowing all that had happened. She could empathize, it was how she herself felt not long ago.

"Joske and Dor aren't the kind of people who are really controllable. I've spent enough time in my life trying to do just that, to know that's true. It's why people cared about them and cared about who they are. And that's not your fault. You can be as angry as you want, I know I've been furious since the night Dorian left," Tuara put a hand on her chest as her voice cracked a bit, thinking about her arm snap in the interrogation room eight weeks ago, "But I don't want to see you turn on yourself like that. I've done it to myself enough to know it doesn't end well."

OOC: @Vezok's Friend

Edited by Palm
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IC: Zelvin and Ash Lads (Charred Forest)

Zelvin was quiet at first as the new arrival approached them. She was concentrating on shifting the focus of her mask to privilege her hearing above her other senses. Her blue-masked face stood out from the rest of her body covered in the rapidly graying cloak she had put on again soon after entering the forest. She should have thought of that sooner. Sloppy on her part, she was too out of practice.

“You’ll be surprised what you might find even in the most inhospitable parts of this island,” Zelvin remarked, speaking with experience, and with a voice a bit louder than was strictly necessary, “and if you’re looking for Ta-Koro you are indeed headed in the right direction by heading towards where we came from.

“Should we take ‘em?” he whispered, eliciting an apprehensive nod from the other one, who whispered back

“I think it’s the safest option. I get a real bad vibe from the old woman… something about her raps against the back of my noggin in a way I don’t like. They haven’t seen us yet, I think...”

“Then let’s give ‘em a surprise” he answered with a yellowed grin, and he raised his weapon.

Zelvin had spotted them, exactly why she was playing the smalltalk for some extra cover, give them a sense of false security. She suspected Jolek was aware of them as well by the time she gave a call to action.

“2 o’ clock. Incoming!” she belted, dashing to the side behind a tree. The spot where she had been standing there was now a gaping hole in the ground. The roots of the near-dead trees around them had been compelled to act out their natural processes in record time, breaking down whatever came in their way.

Zelvin had to fight her way free of the tree’s branches being brandished like claws, shortening the crystal handle on her weapon to suddenly have a scimitar in her hand. She reformed the excess matter of her weapon’s handle into a small shield. A barren spot let her fend off the rotten branches of the trees that swiped at her, falling to her blade like wheat to a schythe.

Torben chortled, pulling his staff free of the ground where he had jabbed it down. The forest around them were on their side. Without cover, their targets had to take what was coming to them. Their eyes glowed, and unleashed their power. Drabak took aim at Jolek, Torben at Chiaki

OOC: Alright, Impact Vision is being fired at @Razgriz, Laser Vision at @capMARVELOUS
 


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IC:

Movement.

"Mostly Lava Rats! They burrow under the roots and come out at low light!"

Even in the midst of his conversation, Jol had been sure to keep his wits about him and not laser in all of his focus onto the newcomer— tunnel visioning had gotten him nearly killed about a dozen times already in a jungle much lusher than this. To get caught unawares now woulda been so embarrassing he'd die, even if they didn't kill him. His senses were thusly on a hair trigger—

After the movement, in the span of moments, light! That's right, these were Skakdi, they had all sorts of weird eye-beams to worry about!

—or what passed for one, these days. The Toa of Magnetism's guard raised, shelling up behind forearms and elbows as the crown of his skull received an impact like a punch from... himself with the Pakari, really. His feet had been in stance, luckily, and it was only by a few inches that he'd been knocked back by the sudden blow, silt beneath him sliding out from beneath the soles of his feet. He'd been lucky the user in question had aimed for the head, but he felt no comfort from his fortune. Rather,

I've been in the city too long. ####it, I shoulda seen those two way before now.

Rusty? Dulled by boredom? Already losing a step by becoming too used to that same routine he was whining about earlier? Tough to say which exactly, but none of them were good signs in the slightest.

However.

He gazed through his guard, looking down through the brow as his chin had safely dipped behind his leader shoulder and forearm. Sure enough, the two Skakdi were sitting dead ahead, flanked at either side by the burnt-out treeline. In current tandem as they were, they had their elemental abilities at play— something he frankly lacked. Sure, in theory he could  guide the short sword (Guard-Issue) at his hip by its metal point into one of them, but that level of control...

What the karz is that swinging in from the right si—

He drew the sword from its sheathe as he stepped in to the dark shape, intercepting its arc, and hacked downward as a branch swayed way too far from what should have been the end of its reach, nearly raking itself across his Kanohi. The blade smashed through roughly, strength more than any real cutting power doing the work as the now dead wood fell to the Earth.

...Wasn't in the cards. He just didn't have the fine-tuning necessary— same as everything else, he'd need to get on the inside. He was pretty sure he could get an edge there. He had to close this gap between them.

That branch was dead now... It'd put something in their faces, even if he didn't really hurt 'em with it. He could move in behind that, and chew up some of this ground.

His Pakari shone as he gripped the fallen branch. It was an awkward, oblong thing, weirdly balanced and not at all a proper projectile. Normally he wouldn't be confident in getting it terribly far at all, even as strong as he'd trained his body to be—

"Hrn-RAH!"

But what if he was way stronger?

To the point where that sorta worry didn't matter?

As the branch sailed in the direction of the Ash Lads, the martial artist surged forward into a flat-out charge as he stormed towards his preferred range of "right on top of the bad guys, where he could get his hands on them". All he needed to do was that much, and this was as good as over.

The sword in his hand, taken without much regard for whether or not he knew its technique (a monumental sin, looking back) already felt a little more familiar to him as he held it closer to a machete, or knife, or hammer.

This was why he signed up for it— if he really had been softened up, this sort of thing would whip him back into shape. Shake the cobwebs out.

Karz, he kinda hoped they'd hit him again.

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helo frens

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IC:[Agni - Ta-Koro, Tuara’s house]

“Ah...karz it.”

Agni sighed and deflated. He was still angry, but somehow, with just a few words, Tuara had managed to at least slam the furnace shut for the moment. His shoulders slumped and he turned around, head down and rubbing at his eyes and face with his left.

„I’m sorry.“ he said as he sat down again, resting his elbows on his knees and chin on his hands. He picked up the tea again, staring at it rippling in the mug as he gently swayed it in his hand.

„You...you were always the responsible one. I almost forgot. Joske and Dor were...well, being Joske and Dor. And I was too busy just trying to get at least some lessons to stick in their heads, but you... Even when you left in a huff, you always did it because you actually knew the stakes. Through everything that happened. Always did.“

“And you’re right. It doesn’t change this mess of feelings, but you’re right. Still, I...I shouldn’t have let them out of my sight. They were always too impulsive. And always too lucky...that’s...I shouldn’t have trusted that. But it’s too late now. They’re gone. I miss them - and I hate the way they left us. To the point where - if either of them were here right now - I don’t know what I would do.”

He took a sip of the tea. It was still scalding hot - so, perfect - and he savored the taste. It was good. Bitterness intertwined with herbal spice and savory fruit. That just about summed it up, didn’t it?

“Guess I’ll try and take away what lessons I can and then...I dunno, try to be a better Toa.”

He drank again. The intent seemed sincere, but Tuara could hear the dark note that crept into his voice.
 

OOC: @Palm

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IC: Tuara Drigton - Ta-Koro

"It's all we can do."

Tuara didn't want to press any further for now, choosing instead to focus on clearing her throat with some tea. In her mind, there was little doubt Agni had every right to be angry. When all was said and done, what had happened was really one of the worst outcomes imaginable. It had driven Tuara to some of her truest lows during her withdrawals in the apartment. Tuara winced internally at this thought. The one thing she had to do, to give herself a fighting chance at having a life, was one of the closest times she felt to losing it.

Tuara stood up, and walked over to the window, standing between it and the piano. There were sunbeams now, seen so clearly with dust in the air. Too much dust. It made the home feel stone still, like nothing lived in it anymore. She felt herself scowling, and raised her drink up to her lips, shaking a little. With another breath, she calmed down. Some things, it seemed, were permanent.

On her heels, Tuara turned a bit towards Agni again, changing the subject as much for herself as for him, 
"So, what's next for you? How is the Guard going?"

OOC: @Vezok's Friend

Edited by Palm
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IC: Chiaki - Ta-Wahi - The Charred Forest
I'm just about to say something back when the blue one yells to watch out- oh, she means her two o'clock.  I turn quickly to face what's behind me...

And duck, just barely in time to avoid a hot streak of laser vision from burning a hole through my skull.  It burns a hole through my hat instead, almost searing the top of my head and mask just underneath.  I look up to see the telltale smoke and fading glow around the ugly green Skakdi's eyes.  He's the one for me to target.  Dropping my hat and my backpack to the ground, I straighten up slightly and activate my mask.

The ground he's standing on looks pretty rough already, but I make it even rougher.  Using the power of my Matatu, I lift big chunks of ash, dirt, and rock quickly up from under his feet, trying to get him to stumble.  I then pelt him with the chunks, trying my best to keep them away from where the gray one is fighting my opponent's ugly red buddy.  With the hand that's not directing my mask power's actions, I pull one of my jitte out and set it to just under maximum voltage.  Just in case...

OOC:
@Razgriz @Geardirector

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IC: Zelvin and Ash Lads (Charred Forest)

Jolek would get his wish. The twisted, gnarly branch he had thrown ahead of him as cover was sent flying back in his direction by another blast of Drabak's Impact Vision. It was about to hit him right back in the face aga-

A sound like cracking glass rang in his ears as a glittering spike shot across his vision cone, taking the branch with it, shattered by impacting with a tree trunk. and leaving Jolek free to press on.

Zelvin was coming up from the side. Her weapon back in full size as the scythe she preferred it to be. Chiaki's telekinetics were partially neutralized by tree branches reaching forward to catch the debris sent to target Torben, but it provided the perfect smokescreen for the old Crow. She got in close to the green-colored Skakdi, her polearm clashing with his as her crystalline grip grew a morning star at its other end. A branch came in and she whirled her weapon around in a swing to pulverize it, before completing the arc by parrying a swing from her opponent's weapon.

Drabak was caught flat-footed by his counterplay being neutralized. His own sword was raised to meet Jolek's incoming strike.

OOC: @capMARVELOUS @Razgriz


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IC:

Motion, like so many things, came natural to those that lived by it, even when said life had rotted down to a stump. If stagnation was enforced by facade, then this was the genuine thing bursting forth, a starburst explosion that burned away the clouds hanging over, lifting a veil on the soul.

Great Spirit, he'd missed feeling his blood rush a little.

The fire crossed through his heartlight and out to his extremities like a wave, a lightness that sharpened his every facet just so. Why couldn't everything be this nice? Doing that civic duty stuff was necessary, sure, but... Does it have to feel like such a chore?

The crash of steel on steel rang out against the trees as a thunderbolt from heaven dropped onto the Skakdi's blade, a hew wrought of orange-tinted silver that crashed upon him. Jolek beheld the strike with a rough grunt, halfway to a growl, of exertion as sparks burst from the grinding blades, forcing his weight and strength into the sword. In truth his swing wasn't terribly remarkable— he'd always had more experience with knives than swords, chopping meat or brush instead of combatants.

It showed in his form, that much he knew. The Ta-Koro "standard" equipment was hardly something one could say genuinely existed, but their shortswords were just on the edge of being the closest thing to it— and had so far worked out alright when one just treated them like a particularly straight machete.

No points for technique, but body mechanics were universal— and the red Skakdi's seemed to be holding, even as the Toa bore down on him, sink in the hips forcing the brunt of his weight behind his strength. He was strong. Was this guy stronger? Maybe. Maybe he was doing something wrong.

Either way, he was also close.

The Fa-Toa gave up on the bind, letting the Skakdi shove his sword back towards the sky—

And truly entered his world.

He stepped in on a shallow angle with his left foot, letting the rebound swing his arm, then shoulder, then torso back—

And his white-knuckled fist, formerly a free hand, rocketed towards the Skakdi's liver in a compact, crushing left hook from the opposite side. With the head so fervently protected, you were free to brutalize the body. Fighting 101.

Now this was more like it.

Edited by Razgriz
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helo frens

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IC:[Agni - Ta-Koro, Tuara’s house]

 

Agni continued nursing his tea in silence for a moment longer, taking a deep sip, thankful for the change in subject.

 

“Well,” he started, “that was the other thing I came to talk to you about: More Dasaka showed up in Ga-Wahi. And by more, I mean an entire chrystal fleet. Jaller asked me to go and check it out, see what’s happening over there and then report back. Was wondering if you felt like a change of scenery perhaps. How long has it been since you’ve been out of Ta-Koro?”

 

OOC: @Palm

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IC: Tuara Drigton - Ta-Koro

Tuara looked out the window, feeling her fingers which were wrapped around the warm mug, tighten. Leave? There was a time when Tuara did that any time something went wrong. Just thinking about it activated something inside her. A reflex, somehow aware that something had taken a bad turn, just by reading her habits. Something had gone wrong before, everything was ok now right? There had been time, she had stopped drinking, but - her mind flashed back to the letters, now stuffed into her bedside table drawer. Something was wrong, it just wasn't the thought of leaving which indicated as such.

Well, why break tradition now?

"That sounds like it could be a problem for Ga-Koro," Tuara put her thumb to her chin, let out a long breath, and made a swiping motion, bringing her hand down again as if deciding something. She turned to Agni, "And I've been here since Kitea first showed. Let's go."

OOC: @Vezok's Friend

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IC: Chiaki - Ta-Wahi - The Charred Forest
Well, that didn't exactly go as planned.

It seems like my two new... not exactly friends... have the two ugly Skakdi fully occupied.  I could just leave them to it, but some sense of obligation compels me to stay.  I decide to play support.  Keeping my mask power on, I aim my telekinesis at the tree branches swinging and groping and, in general, just getting in the way.  For every one that lashes out at either the gray one or the blue one, I snap it off.  Pretty soon there's a small fleet of broken branches hovering above the battlefield.

An idea comes to me.  One at a time, I telekinetically twist the branches into rough spears and propel them at the two Skakdi, aiming for their necks and backs while their fronts are being occupied by the other two.

OOC:
@Razgriz @Geardirector

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IC: Zelvin and Ash Lads (Charred Forest)

Zelvin's melee with Torben was swinging in her favor. Her Scythe seemed to move independently of her hands, and Torben was thrown off by her sending it flying with her elemental telekinesis, to swing around and hit him up the back of his head with its spiked end. The Skakdi was made of tougher stuff than she had judged, however.

His entire body already hunched forward by the swipe, he went with the flow and turned it onto a headbutt that Zelvin narrowly avoided getting right in her chest. Her arm and side flared up in pain with a curse past her teeth as she weaved out of the way of the Skakdi. He looked up, and his eyes lit up...

Drabak released a pained groan as he buckled in response to the strike Jolek had landed on him. No question, it was a nasty blow. The Skakdi hunched, even dropping to his knees, the rows of spikes that made up his organic spine bristled like the pins on a porcupine...

Hadn't Zelvin said he'd "had some work done" on that?

OOC: @Razgriz @capMARVELOUS


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IC:

Making mice of strong men was the role of striking the body. To drive the wind free, break the rib that caged the soft tissue, rupture the liver and force autonomy to flee a body before even consciousness— this was the technique at its height. Place it perfectly, and strike with authority, and even giants fall to their knees. This Skakdi, the crimson half of the Ash Lads, was not quite a giant.

Good connection. On his knees. No rules— Get him Out!

Jolek had nonetheless placed his well. The rush he felt on the approach had him now. Before thoughts could scramble to catch up, the body moved. His opponent before him had doubled over, groaning as his side lit in protest as a set of stone-hard knuckles crashed into it with drilling force before just as swiftly releasing— the rebound doing further trauma as everything within returned to place. Even as the Skakdi collapsed to his knees, Jolek's feet were mobile— floating a half-step back, stance maintained as the mass of red crumpled in his wake.

An afterthought, Jolek remembered in his conscious mind, was apprehending this guy. He should definitely make sure that was done.

His body, meanwhile, reached for the back of the criminal's skull with the free hand, pulling it forward—

As a flush knee to the temple rocketed up to meet it, taking advantage of full, practiced technique and kinetic chain. The rear leg was the source of the strike, allowing more space, velocity, and weight transfer as the driving force up from the ground activated the hips. They carried said weight fully, extending forward as he rose to the ball of the foot on his standing leg. Not enough to compromise balance, clearly— he wasn't an amateur.

But enough to maximize penetration. Even technical minutiae, such as the pointing of the foot on the striking limb to "sharpen" the knee (focusing the impact onto the point of the femur, not the front of the quadriceps nor the free-floating patella) as it landed, were in place as a matter of course. It had been immeasurably long since that even needed to be thought about, a matter of "consideration" as opposed to being the full breadth of the "action".

Thinking was slow. Too slow.

Purity of technique was the pursuit. It was lifelong, an endless spiral that pressed tighter, tighter, closer, closer towards the singular point of infinity. He had walked this Way long, and was to continue walking the Way for yet longer after this.

That meant engraving your accumulated training into things deeper than mind. Deeper than thought. Deeper even than the muscles, which read what the eyes saw and moved the ways they had hammered into them on only reaction.

The Soul.

Drabnak was unfortunate for running into someone like him, perhaps—

But he had made his choice in risking this fight.

If this landed flush and stunned him, Jolek could quickly bind his hands together with magnetism— perhaps the best use of his meager ability with the element. Then it was all but certainly a three-to-one.

Edited by Razgriz
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helo frens

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edit: woopsie daisy

Edited by Mel
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There's a dozen selves inside you, trying to be the one to run the dials

[BZPRPG Profiles]

Hatchi - Talli - Ranok - Lucira - FerellisMorie - Fanai - Akiyo - Yukie - Shuuan - Ilykaed - Pradhai - Ipsudir

And some aren't even on your side.

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IC:[Agni - Ta-Koro, Tuara’s house]

In his mind, the Toa of fire pumped a fist in victory. Mission accomplished: Get Tuara out of the house. Outwardly, he just nodded with a faint smile. The fact that she had so readily agreed to join him on this little scouting mission meant that hopefully she was beginning to come around. And as her friend, that made him happy. 

“Ready when you are.” he said. “Grab what you need and we can be on our way.”

OOC: Feel free to move us to Ga-Wahi, @Palm
 

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IC: Tuara Drigton - Ta-Koro

Tuara nodded quietly, and went to retrieve her knack-sack in her bedroom at the foot of the bed. She reached down and lifted it up. Once she rose, she stared at the bedside table where her brother's venomous letters were kept. Slowly, she stepped over and gently opened the drawer. Then, suddenly, she grabbed them, and stuffed them into the open bag with a quiet
'humph'.


* * * * *


OOC: Sure thing, @Vezok's FriendAgni and Tuara to Ga-Wahi

Edited by Palm
Added a link to the corresponding Ga-Wahi post.
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IC:

Saeva laughed.

That was the stuff. Not like fighting Erzu where the familiarity was too much, the intuition made for bouts that however inventive were just too similar for her to get too excited over these days. This was better. Unrefined, quick, and for a minimum of stakes. But if the stakes were so low she really needed to have some fun, right? Getting knocked on her 'd be good for her for once. So she grinned that signature, devil-may-care grin and danced in with a flurry of quick, light jabs at her pal.

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On this eve, the thirtieth anniversary of that first colony, many are left to wonder; is the world fast approaching a breaking point?

 

 

  Breaking Point: An OTC Mecha RPG

 

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