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21 hours ago, Palm said:

OOC: @Visaru sorry for the hold-up, Vis!

No worries -- worth the wait!

:i::c: - TARROK

When N’ashka parried my blow, overcoming the momentum of my forceful swing, and then came at me with an unexpectedly swift counterstrike of her own, I felt a rush of some positive emotion. At the time, I thought it was relief that I had found a worthy employer. When I think back to that moment as I write now, I find the feeling colored more by some kind of almost-fatherly pride in her. Perhaps I was glad to be given hope that all great warriors still possess some shred of their glory even when brought low. Perhaps I already viewed myself as her protector and trainer. I hope it was not the latter — that would be unfair to N’ashka’s independence — but even after all these years alone with my thoughts, I still sometimes find my self a mystery.

In the heat of battle, of course, I had no time for these thoughts, and as her sword flashed toward me I had no time for restraint either. Without enough time to swing my weapon in place to parry, I stepped into her lunge and my free hand darted out to ensare her dominant arm’s wrist in a debilitating grip, hopefully to twist the sword out of her grasp in addition to preventing the use of her weapon. As I did so, I swung my heavy weapon’s hammer head straight toward her face. 

 


--------------   Tarrok | Korzaa | Verak | Kirik   --------------

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IC: Nahaki-The Barrowfort

Gorned was having the worst possible day of his life. The poor lesterin was chained to a large operating table. The walls of the room were lined with various vials, lit by eery purple lightstones, and this snake-man-thing was standing over him.

"Through the mists of death truth becomes apparent. Only in the darkness of the tomb can one truly see."

The snake man was holding one of the glass vials in his left hand, and an eyedropper in the right. He took a sample of the substance and dripped it into his victim's eyes. Gorned grit is teeth as his eyelids swelled, he would not give this tormenter the satisfaction of a scream.

Nahaki smiled as he slithered off the table and over to the flasks on the wall. The lesterin was trying to act tough, but he would break soon enough. Nahaki put the vial of his own secretions back on the shelf and grabbed a few new ones of various colors. His smile grew wider, this was his favorite part. He drew a ritual dagger and dipped it in the first vial. 

"All pain is merely a brush with death. The closer to the end, the greater the intensity." He slowly used his knife to slice a wound in the Lesterin's shoulder. Gorned only let out a small grunt. Nahaki frowned, apparently something had gone wrong with this mixture, probably needed more peppers. He wiped the knife off and moved around to the other shoulder, continuing his work.

OOC: Open for interaction.

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Six Kingdoms Characters: Mazor, Jephro, The Janitor, Informant

 

 

 

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IC: N'ashka Akkataka - Irnakk's Tooth

Tarrok moved forward and N'ashka felt his hand snatch her wrist, and then the unmistakable feeling of a metal bludgeoning weapon hitting her square in the face. Her sword clanged to the ground as she grunted in pain. She felt her mouth turn from a bloodied grimace to a bloodied smile as she spoke, "I concede." She had successfully blocked an attack, and nearly made a successful counter. The man had pulled some punches, sure, but it wasn't half bad for a blind woman. The grip released, and N'ashka stepped back.

"It seems one eye is better than none." She gave a snort of approval, "I'm glad we met today, Tarrok." N'ashka gave a respectful nod to where she thought he still stood and she put out her hand for a forearm handshake, "You've given me a lot to think about."

OOC: @Visaru


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:i::c: - TARROK (Irnakk's Tooth)

After the fight, the audience around us turned to leave, a little disappointed the spectacle hadn’t been bloodier. They were simple minded people, who did not understand the complicated politics of violence. I was pleased with the outcome, as it had come to pass exactly as I had expected, a good sign my mind and body were not dulling. 

I clasped forearms with N'Ashka and told her, “I too am glad we have crossed paths. The swiftness of your blade could still best many Skakdi.”

I dropped the handshake and stepped back, and then, before I could think over my words too long, I ventured a proposition: “I hope your thoughts bring you to the prospect of employment. It would be an honor to fight for you, N’Aska Akkataka, and place you back on your throne. I would be willing to forgo a payment in advance, considering your situation.” 

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--------------   Tarrok | Korzaa | Verak | Kirik   --------------

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IC:

"Hello, Dee."

The alchemist was alive. This time. All things considered she admired the sheer obliviousness with which the other Lesterin regarded her own mortality; granted she would have regarded Vana's own mortality with the same, if she truly understood that nothing in this lab could poison her. Every now and again there was an interesting euphoria, or a mild hallucination, but most often she simply looked at the lights. It had taken a long, long time to realize that everyone else saw the same lights from the alchemist's form. She assumed it was something only her own eyes perceived, something that she enjoyed nevertheless. Her words had the same shimmering prismatism, a ripple like uneven glass, whenever she spoke. 

Especially when the pitch varied so erratically. Clearly she'd been trying something new. 

"How's the heart?"


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: N'ashka Akkataka - Irnakk's Tooth

N'ashka felt her expression show some surprise at this. The show of respect from the man was enough to make her tip her head in a short bow. "I'm honoured to hear you say this, Tarrok. But..." she began, "I don't know if I'll even live long enough to ever pay you. All I've got left is what you see right now. Me sword, my teeth, and my body. It might not be enough to survive the week, let alone long enough to take my revenge."

OOC: @Visaru


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IC: {Khy;Barr, The Temple of Guns}

"Come on, Bonema:n—" the shepard of his people intones, voice thick with unbridled mirth. It is the sound of little else than a bludgeon, one of the many autohammers striking the air. Unpleasantly sonorous. "There is much yet to do."

Leaving the Lesterin to their stammers, shrieks, and croons, the lone Skakdi to stand within Arms' inner circle rolls his neck as he steps in the giant's wake.

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helo frens

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:i::c: - TARROK (Irnakk's Tooth)

“We have crossed blades, so I know that you have what it takes to take your revenge.” I told her, upset by her poor display of confidence. Where was the courage and defiance she had when she challenged me to that duel?  “But if you would prefer to die here in the alleys of this cesspool, I will not stop you. It was an honor to have fought you, Ash;tak."

And then I turned to leave her, meaning to make good on my words.


--------------   Tarrok | Korzaa | Verak | Kirik   --------------

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IC: N'ashka Akkataka - Irnakk's Tooth

"I just want you to understand what it is you're walking into, Tarrok." N'ashka let out a little grin, revealing the metallic caps on her incisors, glinting in the sun. "I know what I'm doing, and how I'm going to do it. The odds being what they are aren't going to deter me."

OOC: @Visaru

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:i::c:

I stopped, sizing her up once more. “Good. And they are steep odds, to be sure. You are lucky you have found a mercenary with a little faith. I have no doubts that with me, you’ll have your revenge and be powerful enough again to reward your bodyguard with countless riches. Because you’d die before you fail, I think, and I’m in the business of making sure people don’t die.”

“So. Do you have a job for me, N’aska?” 

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--------------   Tarrok | Korzaa | Verak | Kirik   --------------

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IC: Klidarg - The hills outside Irnakk's Tooth, Irnakk's Jaw

Nothing.

Klidarg sighed as he stood up from his crouch. Nothing in the traps for three days in a row. Not that he was surprised. The Jaw was a poor hunting spot, chosen only out of the Kaiakan’s misplaced sense of trying to recapture the feeling of home. The uplands of the Jaw were a poor substitute for Home, and he knew that. Too dry, too warm, and the wind moved differently.

Klidarg sighed as he surveyed the rest of the hilltop. There wasn’t even enough vegetation for a stew. This was exactly why he decided to try his hand at the mercenary and warlord business in the first place: there was none of his old life to return to on this island. Yet here he was, a battered has-been trying to recapture… what?

The warrior grunted in frustration and flung his spear down the hillside. He heard it crash and thud into something hard, probably a rock. Too many rocks here. Klidarg sighed and sat down, looking towards the Kvere;Ivi.

He had little of the superstitions that Skakdi had for the lake, and so to him, it had always been an image of peace and tranquillity, so far removed from the wars and politics of the island, despite being in the literal centre of it all. The Skakdi avoided the lake except to collect water, even avoiding sleeping with their faces towards it, yet it fed and watered practically all of them, directly or not.

Perhaps that is why the Spined Lords fear it so much, he mused. It is anathema. The wars only continue if the Truce is held. They know they subsist off the grave of the Lesteri. Uncomfortable realisations for a people not given to introspection.

Still, Klidarg knew it was best not to brush off or disparage their beliefs. Even if he did not believe, he’d seen enough to know that he should always respect the fears of the Skakdi. Whatever could scare that lot was worth worrying about himself.

The sound of something rustling along the hillside caught his attention. Klidarg got up, idly wondering what might have caused it. He drew his blade, just in case, and peered over-

Rock Ussal! He immediately realised the beast was quite a bit larger than usual and sticking from its flank was Klidarg’s spear. Unfortunately, it seemed only to anger the already aggressive Rahi, with the spear doing little damage. How did the repellent around this site not drive it away in the first place?

Klidarg immediately drew Starslayer and breathed its command word. Drawing back its string, the arcane mechanisms in the weapon clicked and whirred, and sunlight seemed to pull together, forming a bolt of light nocked on the string. He loosed the bolt, and the shaft of light just missed its mark, impacting the tough upper shell of the scittering Rahi and driving a hole into its back. It screeched in defiance and continued upward.

Klidarg knew he could probably outrun it, but Rock Ussal were rare, preferring to dwell around the lake; a lake that most inhabitants preferred to stay away from. If he could down it and harvest it, he might make enough to start looking for- for what?

Focus!

Klidarg knew he might have a chance with it in close combat, but preferred not to have to find out. He drew the string, and again another bolt formed. He steadied himself, aiming for the weaker “front face” of the Rahi, preferably its bobbing eyestalks. The Rock Ussal got closer and closer.

He loosed the second bolt, and this one seared into and through the side of its face. The Ussal screeched again, but this one clearly hurt a lot more. Unfortunately, it did not slow, and due to the bolt’s straight-line traversal and the angle of slope, that was the best he was going to get.

The warrior gauged that he had time for another shot before he had to engage in close, and so loosed another bolt. This one struck the joints of one of its legs, and the Ussal almost buckled, sliding down the slope, but at the last moment it regained some balance and continued upward. Its eyestalks seemed… angry.

Klidarg stowed his bow and drew his chopper. The unwieldy blade was almost almost his height, and he readied it at a high guard, waiting to slam it down at the Ussal as it crested the slope.

The cursed crab seemed to realise this, however, and moved sideways, away from Klidarg, hoping to crest the slope at another point. Klidarg moved to parallel it, and for a few seconds, the two mirrored their moves across the slope like some kind of pantomime.

This is ridiculous. Klidarg decided to end this now and moved forward, swinging the chopper down. The Ussal moved too slow, and more of its legs were hurt by the attack. However, Klidarg had now lost his height advantage as he skidded downslope on unsure footing.

The Kaiakan dropped the chopped and drew his blade as he skidded past the Ussal. It turned to snap its claws at him, but Klidarg was sliding too fast now. The warrior slowed his slide as he reached the flat surface below, but now the Ussal was charging at him downhill, albeit in an unbalanced, diagonal vector.

He stayed low and readied his blade as the Ussal began to lose control of its slide, intending to strike from below at its soft underbelly. The Rock Ussal snapped ineffectually as it lost control, tumbling. His spear snapped off the Ussal at this point, and as it reached him, underbelly exposed, Klidarg stabbed.

The Rock Ussal screeched a final time before it stopped moving for good. Klidarg withdrew his sabre and muttered a short prayer, before looking around to collect his discarded weapons.

What a joke… From warlord turned crab dueller. It was unseemly, he knew, for a proper Kaiakan to look down on the work of hunting, but he just could not help feeling that pull of disappointment in his gut. Perhaps he really was picking too much from the Skakdi of the island.

Klidarg pushed the thoughts aside as he retrieved the spearhead, shaft and chopper. At least today he would be able to make the trip to the Tooth without being empty-handed. He dragged his tools down the slope and began to wrap the Ussal for storage. A fresh catch like this was bound to make the day of some warlord taking a holiday in the Tooth. He whistled an old hunting tune as he packed up and began the trek to the Tooth, casting one last look over the Kvere and its dead waters.

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IC: N'ashka Akkataka - Irnakk's Tooth

N'ashka felt her grin widen at Tarrok's words of confidence. It helped knowing he was committed. To think this morning that she believed he may have been somebody Ipsudir sent to finish the job. "First, Tarrok, I must retrain myself. I'm a shadow of my former self, but with practice, and with guidance from someone sighted, that will change," she took her sword, and with a few clicking and locking sounds, the blade retracted down to the size of its hilt. N'ashka nodded to the side slowly, "looking" in Tarrok's direction, "I will need somebody talented with a weapon to test myself against. Fighting me will be your first job."

OOC: @Visaru

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:i::c: - TARROK

I nodded instinctually, before realizing the futility of that kind of communication with her. 

“You will not be the first warrior I have trained,” I told her, which dredged up some old memories, painful enough that I had to clench my jaw to keep my expression stoic, even though N’ashka could not see my face. I will write of these memories at some other time. They are hard for me to think on. 

I moved on from my thoughts: “You say that practice with our blades is only my first job. Do you have the rest in mind yet, or would you like to settle on the terms of my employment first?”

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--------------   Tarrok | Korzaa | Verak | Kirik   --------------

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IC: Klidarg - Market Square, Irnakk's Tooth

The market square, one of several, of Irnakk’s Tooth was always noisy and cramped, and the crowd always rowdy and impatient. The streets were always too cramped, most of them tilted at slight angles, changing in width as they snaked through haphazard jumbles of architecture ranging from old Lesterin to modern warlord palaces. Klidarg adjusted his hat as he stood in the market ‘square’, sticking out like a sore thumb in the crowd. Apart from looking half like a Kaiakan tapestry and half like a hillbilly, he was standing still, waiting for his specialist grocer contact to finish inspecting the catch he’d caught, while the crowd surged and mingled and moved around him, like a rock in a really unhygienic river. He’d come to Zabok as he knew the “master of acquisitions” was looking for something good for his master, who had made a show of entering the city a week ago before promptly barricading himself inside his fortress-mansion and making more noise than usual celebrating something or other.

“Oh, that’s a nice fella, and fresh enough. Padded properly. Now let’s see…” Zabok made a show of counting out the price. “That adds up to about fifty Dregs, good price!”

Zabok, I hope you understand that Ussal like these do not come skittering into a trap every day,” Klidarg responded levelly.

“Eh? Oh, yeah, I see that,” the grocer said, looking down at the Ussal again, exaggeratedly looking from the corner of his eye.

It was truly a generous fate that bestowed this upon me today.” Klidarg continued. “After all, I hear your lord will be having a feast soon. What better way to impress him than with this absolute beast?

Klidarg watched as the grocer hummed and hawed and muttered to himself. He knew the Ussal was properly worth at least another ten Dregs, not counting the finder’s fee that blue-hat sellers asked for.

“Hum, what about this then? I’ll give you another fifty Grains,” the grocer offered, trying to look confident.

Klidarg did not respond.

“Hrm, alright, and another twenty Dregs on top. Final offer!”

You are very generous, Zabok, thank you,” Klidarg bowed, and scooped up the money the grocer offered. The Skakdi looked a annoyed at Klidarg’s haggling-without-directly-haggling, but he was grinning from ear to ear when he peeked inside the sack, diligently padded to prevent the Ussal from spoiling.

“Boss is gonna love this...” he excitedly whispered, before hauling the bag over his shoulder and trotting away.

Safe travels,” Klidarg bid him, though he knew the Skakdi was now out of earshot. His business concluded, the Kaiakan re-joined the crowd.

Amidst the shoving and shouting in this congested sector of the city, Klidarg idly looked up and around, into the ‘rock district’ of the city. There, nestled in the ‘upper’ reaches of the Tooth built into the mountain were boulevards and avenues of strange and diverse manses, serving as the homes of warlords. Beyond, he could peer over from this side of the ciy over the lower reaches, many filled with specialist workshops and their own trade districts. The most interesting were the shrine-analogues to Irnakk and other :Dii scattered about. A Kaiakan like him would not be welcome in those areas even when he was a warlord, much less now, and Klidarg contented himself with observing from afar.

He’d spent quite some time in the Tooth and its environs since his (two) exile(s), and he still could not get used to it. Clan days in the Eyrie were lively, between the ruckus of market stalls setup in the village square by recently arrived relations and attendants to the performances and duels fought in the singular flat field on the outskirts of the mountain village. But it was a different kind of noise. The sound of community and life, and restraint even between opposing clans. The pride of Kaiakans would not abide by any slights or insults, but by that measure, they never gave it out to others, especially on Clan days. Klidarg could not help but smile wanly as he recalled the memories.

Perhaps I judge the Spine-Lords too harshly, Klidarg mused, observing the crowd as he steadily made his way out of the town. It always seemed that the Skakdi, especially in spaces like the cramped, crooked streets of the Tooth, were always all a little vexed at something or another, but then again, if he had to live in the Tooth for long, Klidarg decided he might also be vexed at every annoyance. He could afford to be more understanding.

His train of thought was interrupted as he passed an alley, spotting two Skakdi fighting. Such altercations were a clip a quart-

No, not fighting. Sparring, he realised as he watched them stop short of their blows. He watched as the blinded, ragged Skakdi nodded and conceded to the hulk of a warrior. She looked familiar-

N'ashka Akkataka?” He realised, a little too loudly. What is she doing here, in this state? They probably did not hear him, but nonetheless, it would be obvious to the pair that he had separated from the crowd and was now observing them.

OOC: @Palm @Visaru

Edited by NorikSigma
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:i::c:

Now I have always prided myself on my skills of perception, and my long career as a warrior is evidence that this is not false confidence. I tell you this because I now must write of a lapse in my awareness. I think it is because I was in a city, and it is remarkably easy for your enemies to vanish among a crowd. I hope it is not because of my age. The wearing down of a fighter’s abilities is a herald of the end of their career, and I am not ready to go to Kino-Ur and meet all the enemies I have slain in my life. 

So I tell myself that it is only the crowd around me and N’ashka that led me not to notice the Kaiakan standing amongst the other spectators. But soon the others had retreated and it became clear he was staring at us with something more than idle amusement. It was only then that I properly sized up the onlooker: a tall Kaiakan in the traditional armor of his people. He must have been a great sight once, but he was beaten down and worn now.

It was then that I knew him: Kildarg, the Bright Lord, or so he had been once. He had controlled a historic fort to the south of here, and had gathered quite the collection of enemies. I had met one of those enemies, rented out my blade to him, and marched against Kildarg’s last outpost in the southern mountains of Irnakk’s jaw. Kildarg’s head had been worth a fine price at that time, but after his army shattered to pieces my employer was no longer interested in hunting him down, and so I drifted free of their employment. I held no grudge against the Kaiakan, and I doubted Kildarg even knew who I was, but my hand still tightened on the hilt of my blade.

I do not believe in fate, but I could not help but mark the strange coincidence that led me to find two former warlords in one day, both discarded from their old positions and rattling around the dusty streets of Irnakk’s tooth. I did not consider it to be good fortune. Whereas N’aska’s recent injury led me to not consider her a threat, Kildarg still looked to be in good fighting shape, and I could not read the expression on the hulking ex-warlord’s face.

Neither, I realized, could N’ashka, for she could not see him at all. 

“N’ashka, keep your hand on your blade,” I warned her in a low voice. “There is a Kaiakan standing behind you, watching us. I do not know his intentions, but I know who he is: the old Bright Lord Kildarg, from the southern desert.” 

Edited by Visaru
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--------------   Tarrok | Korzaa | Verak | Kirik   --------------

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IC: N'ashka Akkataka - Irnakk's Tooth

N'ashka reached across her abdomen, her back still to the presumably large figure Tarrok spoke of. It was a name she'd heard before, but was unfamiliar with. Her husband's horde never clashed with Kildarg's people, but these were a tumultuous times, and there was no telling what somebody's intentions were. Not as far as N'ashka was concerned. Her arm and blade hidden under her rags, she turned around as if to acknowledge that the pair had spotted him.

What would he do next?


OOC: @Visaru @NorikSigma

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IC: Klidarg - Market Square, Irnakk's Teeth

The warrior whispered to the Blade-Wife, and they turned warily in Klidarg's direction. It was then that Klidarg realised that he really stood out, what with the small crowd moving on.

Klidarg stepped forward, palms clasped.

"Good tidings and greetings esteemed Ash;tak and warrior. Forgive me for my presumption, I was drawn to your duel.

"I am-" Klidarg paused for a moment. Would either of these two take his head if they knew his identity? Unlikely, and besides, at this point, how could Klidarg abandon even his name?

"-Klidarg, humble warrior and sometime-hunter-of-crabs. If I may be so bold, may I ask how you have come to be in this... state, respected Ash;tak?"

OOC: @Palm @Visaru

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IC: N'ashka Akkataka - Irnakk's Tooth

"Circumstance, and foolishness," N'ashka said. Not her own foolishness of course, but Ipsidur Garsi's, "I recognize your name, Klidarg. You've made a name for yourself, haven't you?"

OOC: @Visaru @NorikSigma

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IC: Klidarg - Irnakk's Tooth

The question hit the ex-warlord like a hammer. He tried to keep the grimace off his face, even if N'ashka couldn't see it.

"I did, and then I lost it, along with my lands and army, although perhaps my name still has some currency left," he observed wryly.

A soft itch in his mind began to grow, the seed of a plan that began to take root.

If the lady is also... Dispossessed, perhaps our interests align?

He slowed that line of thought.

Presumptuous. Impudence. The same nonsense that has driven you twice over to ruin!

And once to great strength and capability.

Before he could stop himself, he spoke:

"Might you have any intention to put that name, among my few remaining... 'assets'"-he paused to adjust his weapon sling- ",to any productive use?"

OOC: @Palm @Visaru

Edited by NorikSigma
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:i::c: - TARROK

I look a step away from N’ashka’s side, my grip still tight on my weapon, for I was still wary of this newcomer. N’ashka had made her thoughts and desires clear. I could read her now. But Kildarg’s bruises from his fall from grace were not as raw as hers, so he could hide his shame and mask his lust to regain his throne. I could not match his new identity as a ‘humble warrior’ and ‘hunter of crabs’ with my earlier impression of him, splattered with the blood of his enemies at the head of an army. When I find a gap in the place where two ideas ought to connect, I fill it in with suspicion of a hostile intent. It is a practice that has saved my life more than once, and so I kept my eye on him, hoping to soon discern his intentions. 

I already considered myself N’ashka’s bodyguard even then, despite the fact that our deal remained unfinished. 

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--------------   Tarrok | Korzaa | Verak | Kirik   --------------

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IC: Klidarg - Irnakk's Tooth

Klidarg watched the other Skakdi step away from the Blade-Wife's side, examining the Kaiakan, not quite hostile but guard raised. First impressions were deceiving, but the ex-warlord could tell from his bearing and gait that this was a, as some might put it, professional. His mannerisms were controlled, disciplined, not that of the average lout who betrayed their weakness through their lacksadiacal nature.

"And good sir, you must be an acquaintance of the lady," Klidarg bowed, not as low as before, but making it clear he had no ill intentions.

OOC: @Visaru

Edited by NorikSigma
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IC: N'ashka Akkataka - Irnakk's Tooth

N'ashka waited quietly for Tarrok's response. There was only so much a voice could convey, and she knew that in this scenario, she'd need Tarrok to be the one to make the read on the Kaiakan.

OOC: @NorikSigma @Visaru

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:i::c:

12 hours ago, NorikSigma said:

"And good sir, you must be an acquaintance of the lady," Klidarg bowed, not as low as before, but making it clear he had no ill intentions.

“My name is Tarrok.” I nodded my head slightly in response to his but took care not to move my torso. I am a Skakdii. I do not bow. 

“The manner of our acquaintance is employer and employee, and my job is to keep her safe.” I told him. Technically I hadn’t been hired yet, but by claiming I was then I cemented the deal. She would be obliged to pay me now, my service putting her even further in my debt. 

“And, Kildarg, in the name of doing my job, I am suspicious about your intentions. You introduced yourself as a hunter of crabs, but I know you to also be a capable ruler and killer of Skakdi. I was working in the southern desert when you lost your throne, and I remember well that you did not relinquish it easily. What is it that you are searching for now?”

Looking over his old armor, I wondered what trials had given it the scratches and dents it bore. 

Edited by Visaru
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--------------   Tarrok | Korzaa | Verak | Kirik   --------------

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Posted (edited)

IC: Klidarg - Irnakk's Tooth

Klidarg pondered the question for a moment. 

"I am searching for a worthwhile endeavour, one that will bring me closer to, what's the term, self-understanding. I was once a ruler, yes, but fate has disabused me of that path-" for now "-and so now I seek other paths, while making ends meet, even if that means hunting." Klidarg felt a twinge of indignation at the way the Skakdi framed the word. It was one thing is Klidarg felt disconnect from the cultural heritage of his people, but it was something else when one of the Skakdi veiled its contempt at it.

Klidarg stopped, and faced N'ashka. Even if she could not see his attention turned to her, he knew the acoustics would change ever so slightly, and he needed to direct these next words to her.

"I know the pain and anger of dispossession, Ash'tak. The indignant outrage of betrayal, the swelling horror of watching a swarm of halfwits rend and tear at a lifetime of work, and defiance in the face of collapse."

The words poured forth from him, without a veil of politeness anymore. Even if he did not know the details, he already knew how the Ash'tak lost her throne. Dispossession was always so varied and yet the same. He was locked in now. The shiver of anticipation in his mind.

"If I may be so presumptuous, will you consider my aid in avenging the injustice wrought on you?"

OOC: @Visaru @Palm

Edited by NorikSigma
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:i::c:

1 hour ago, NorikSigma said:

"I am searching for a worthwhile endeavour, one that will bring me closer to, what's the term, self-understanding. I was once a ruler, yes, but fate has disabused me of that path-" for now "-and so now I seek other paths, while making ends meet, even if that means hunting."

I took note of the way he inflected the word hunting, realizing he did have some pride in his role as a crab hunter. I had assumed he was being sardonic when he gave himself such an epithet. I did not even consider the possibility that he might take pride in killing rahi. But the workings of Kaiakan’s minds often give me pause.  

Then, he gave me answer I was truly looking for:

1 hour ago, NorikSigma said:

"I know the pain and anger of dispossession, Ash'tak. The indignant outrage of betrayal, the swelling horror of watching a swarm of halfwits rend and tear at a lifetime of work, and defiance in the face of collapse."

The old wounds of his lost status revealed themselves, and in the way he talked about his old kingdom I knew that my suspicions had been right. He may be looking for self-understanding, but he wanted to find it the same way that Skakdii did.

He craved power.

I respected that, even if I it would inevitably lead him to betray us. I would need to keep a close eye on him, but at least now I knew his aims. Although he was dangerous, he could still be useful to us.

2 hours ago, NorikSigma said:

"If I may be so presumptuous, will you consider my aid in avenging the injustice wrought on you?"

My job was done. He was vetted. I turned to N’ashka to hear her response to his offer. She did not need my further guidance. 

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--------------   Tarrok | Korzaa | Verak | Kirik   --------------

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On 9/14/2021 at 10:52 PM, Krayzikk said:

"How's the heart?"

IC:

IN arms ZZZZ name WE sac RI fice

IN arms ZZZZ name WE sac RI fice--

Deuandra's gaze tilted over to the ovuk-taht puffing necromancer, currently slouched over her shoulder with her sharp chin nearly thrust into the chemist's collar. Vana found herself down here more than anyone, even Khy;Barr's lord, to the point where Deuandra had accepted her presence as a fact of life. Whether that was enough to qualify her as a "best friend" was something that "Dee" was dubious of, but Vana certainly seemed to think so.

"It won't stop glowing," she deadpanned, turning her attention from the face inches from her own to her work again. It was hard to hear Vana, or her own voice, over the buzzing of the hornets in her skull-box, but that just meant that her latest attempt at cooking was leveling out. "Do you need a re-up, Vana?"

-Tyler

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SAY IT ONE MORE TIME 

TELL ME WHAT IS ON YOUR MIND

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IC: N'ashka Akkataka - Irnakk's Tooth

N'ashka grit her teeth, chewing thoughtfully on a speck of sand in her mouth. It was clear that she and Klidarg shared some common ground, but N'ashka had a more exact end-goal in mind. She stood up straighter and spoke carefully, "It's rare for one stranger to offer their strength to another without the promise of a prize of some kind. What do you want in return?"

OOC: @Visaru @NorikSigma

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IC:

"Nnno, not of the usual. Hush, Gohkar."

The two remarks came languidly, moments after the chemist's gaze met her own. Blue eyes beneath the hood regarded her calmly, easily, and a trace of uncommon lucidity crept into those orbs. It was hard to see her face in the shadow of her garment but her tone sounded amused. As though if she could there might have been a smile underneath. But their eye contact passed and Vana raised her hands, showcasing the broken links at her wrists. The Lesterin seemed to consider that explanation enough before she started searching, with exquisite care, through Deuandra's supplies. Nothing displaced, she knew how that would irritate, but with purpose and intent. 

After a few scant moments she stopped, withdrawing a few dried white flowers from the container and popping them in her mouth to chew. Flavorful, certainly, but more importantly a relief for the strain in her back from her hands so long bound.

"But thank you for asking."

OOC: @Haman Karn: A Magical Girl


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: :Arms: [Khy;Barr, Deuandra's Sanctum]

The massive behemoth gave a toothy grin, or perhaps he was bearing his fangs; it was difficult to tell.

Arms reached down, extracting from the mess of armor plates which adorned his form an empty vial which still held within it the ruby residue of whatever liquid had filled it previously. The glass jar appeared nearly comically small in his grip, and it was some wonder it simply didn't shatter from the mere touch of the warlord's appendages.

"Many," the giant requested, his asymmetric three-eyed gaze fixed upon Deuandra. "Travel far."

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BZPRPG -

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Posted (edited)

IC: Klidarg - Market Square, Irnakk's Teeth

What did he want? That was hard to put into words. I have spent too long hiding in here, worried of the future. Honestly, any cause I could put my blade and bow to use would suffice.

"If I may be so bold: A place as a general and adviser by the side of a newly restored ruler, if I prove to be of use in your restoration. If the winds of fate favour us, then I would also humbly ask that you render some aid in re-establishing myself somewhere on this island, where I can further aid in your endeavours.

"In return, I can render assistance in many ways if you seek to regain your throne: Even in these desolate lands, I can hunt and forage what little game remains, and when battle is joined you can count on me as a satisfactory commander and warrior. For now, all I ask is to share in the spoils and hardship of the journey ahead.

"And if it's not too much to ask, a worthy cause."

OOC: @Palm @Visaru

Edited by NorikSigma
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Posted (edited)

IC: Verakastian - Fortress Khy;Barr, laboratory of the Diamond Fox

Creeping carefully down the steps behind the massive bulk of his benefactor into the workspace of its shambolic proprietor, Verakastian’s timorous mind seemed almost to swim through the odours of whatever was brewing within - a sort of contact high that was equal parts intoxicating and imaginary. Nonetheless, he stepped further into the space, trying to keep as far a distance from the recently-unshackled Lesterin across the room from him.

In truth, Deuandra - urgh, don’t look at her for Artakha’s sake - was not nearly as imposing to him as some of the others in current presence - content enough to keep to her own territory within Fortress Khy;Barr and manic enough to be mostly a threat to only herself. The sole assault was upon his senses, which came from looking directly at her, and he could just as easily avoid that as he could being killed via poison. At least, that’s what he hoped. He wasn’t particularly willing to test his own physiology and simply took that knowledge for granted. It was one of the few solaces he afforded himself in this awful prison.

Hah, a prison. Certainly beforehand, yes. They all bore the marks of their bondage here (Dinsmokk notwithstanding) but only one of them was a fake, Verakastian noted with both contempt and comfort. He stole a quick glance at Deuandra’s shoulder (a mistake paid for with a shooting pain behind his eyes) and noted the marks painted there - the same as the ones hidden beneath the bandages encircling his arms. It signalled to him a blatant disrespect for the personal suffering of the fellow Lesterin, both in present company as detestable as Verakastian found them, but also of the countless others that comprised the formerly-enslaved workforce over which he presided. However, knowing to whom those marks were attached, transformed them into the likeness of puerile temporary tattoos that a child may grow fond of - such an innocence did not strike him as threatening.

Even still, he backed into a shaded corner and made himself as invisible as possible while Lord Arms conducted whatever business he had down here. All there was to signal his continued presence was a slight cough and the waving of his hand in front of his face as vapours from whatever the Diamond Fox was concocting wafted over in his direction.

Edited by Perp
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IC: N'ashka Akkataka - Irnakk's Tooth

"Ipsudir Garsi took my eyes, and tossed me out the gates of my burning fort, as if my life would be punishment for standing in her way. My life will soon become her punishment instead. If she was too weak and foolish to finish the job, then she did not earn the deaths of my husband and our children."

She tilted her head to one side, "As for what is to come, I hope you can prove yourself worth your name. If you can, then I would be willing to commit myself to your causes as well."


OOC: Sorry gang, somehow forgot we were waiting on me here. @Visaru @NorikSigma

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IC: Klidarg - Market Square, Irnakk's Teeth

"Then I will prove my worth, and you can be sure that I will fight at your side until such time as you are restored, and beyond," Klidarg pledged. He felt it again, the twisted knot of anticipation and determination, spiced with a helping of anxiety.

I should pack up my camp.

OOC: no problem! @Palm @Visaru

Edited by NorikSigma
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:i::c: - TARROK (Irnakk's Jaw)

That is the story of how I became traveling companions with two former warlords. An unlikely trio the three of us made: An aging no-name mercenary, the blind consort of a dead warlord, and a Kaiakan cut adrift from his both original home and his old empire. We looked like any many of the other down-on-their-luck travelers in Irnakk’s Tooth, but we had something those around us did not: faith, passion, and the luck to be better at killing than most of our enemies.

At least, that is what I hope.

I only have so much stone with which to write my tale, and despite my urge for completeness, I think it best to omit much of the details of that day. We talked mostly of logistics for a while, of a place to spend the night, of our supplies and resources. To our luck, Kildarg had already set up camp outside the city. This was the clear place for us to retire to, as the only people who would stay in the Tooth’s public rest houses are those who don’t mind the prospect of being robbed in their sleep. 

I will record a bit of praise for the Kaiakan here: he knows how to find an excellent campsite, how to set it up professionally, and how to build an efficient and effective fire.

It was around his well-burning fire that we found ourselves as the sun slipped behind one of the peaks of Irnakk’s jaw. I remember being mesmerized by the patterns in the twisting flames and the shimmer shades of the smoldering coals. I have never gotten over my attraction to fire. It is said that some can read futures in the shape of the flames. I do not know if this is true, but there is certainly something otherworldly about the ephemeral nature of the fire, and perhaps there was something that my subconscious scried in the fire that prompted me to break the silence.

“I am glad to have met you both today,” I told the two former warlords. “I think we have been set upon a path that will lead us to greatness.” I wanted to say more, but I did not know how, and I was already uncomfortable with how kind the sentiment of my words was. 

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--------------   Tarrok | Korzaa | Verak | Kirik   --------------

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IC: Kalzok - The coast of The Strip, Near the Fortress of the Nakihl

Kalzok awoke to the sound of chattering bones.

The Skakdi pushed himself off his cot, taking a moment to steady himself in the bowels of the ship he was travelling on. The cabin was largely empty save for a few crew members off-duty, but these too were awaken by the rattling and clacking of bones on metal. The more experienced crew seemed more annoyed than anything, returning to their dice game, while the younger ones looked apprehensive.

Mercy for the unlearned, Kalzok reflected sardonically. He had no such worries and made his way to the upper deck. As he emerged from the hold, the stench of seawater hit his nostrils. Overhead, the sun beat down furiously, without a cloud in sight. The deck was reasonably crowded and busy with crew and even some passengers preparing for disembarkation, and Kalzok knew why from the sound of rattling: they were close to their destination.

Kalzok looked out towards Zakaz. They were close to the shore of the Strip, the land between the Burning Steppes and the Crown. He knew the sound for what it was: The sound of abandoned rattle-totems clicking and clacking, sounds that drifted on the wind, their asynchronous beats meant to ward off, variously, the spirits of the Criebe:Dii or placate the spirit of Nektann. These were placed in the ground on the edge of the Steppe, and the fact that they could hear them now while still at sea meant that the ship was turning towards the coast, and their destination.

Here in the open sea, the rattling sounds came and went with the wind, as if the spirits themselves were circling over the ship. Kalzok again noted some deckhands, especially the Lesteri, looked unnerved and a little shaken. Clearly, they had not passed so close to this part of the coast before. Kalzok smiled grimly, however, for the sound was the sound of home.

---

The ship docked on the crumbling wharf, the ship’s crew struggling to tie the ship up to the wharf as the dockside ‘attendants’ seemed woefully undereducated in such matters. Kalzok sighed impatiently as the ship’s crew tried to communicate with the ragged dockhands, who seemed lost. Some of the other passengers, who were not disembarking here and were instead riding the ship to Zavarra, had to assist, though none of the crew came to ask Kalzok to help as he was putting on his “ominous Nakihl” look to maximum use.

With the ship finally secured and a crooked gangplank lowered, Kalzok tested the stability of the gangplank with his staff. Satisfied, he stepped carefully off the ship, making his way from the wharf towards the village that hosted it. As he stepped off the dock, he carefully set his feet into the ruined sand. Even here, near the sea and away from the Steppes proper, the earth was tortured and sick, loamy with some sort of sticky material, yet sharp and prickly, like there were a thousand blade shards in the sand.

Kalzok looked around at the huts that made up this hamlet. Here and there were denizens of this place, going about their lives, hauling a catch of fish (half of which would have imbibed too many toxins from the runoff of the Fortress), collecting fruits from the sickly trees (which grew images of faces in their bark) or stripping arms and armour from the fresh pile of corpses.

They’ll be wary today, Kalzok knew from the time he spent in such places. The pile meant there was a recent raid from another settlement, and the simultaneous harvest of fish and fruits meant that it was a rare confluence of two rare occurrences. While the loot and harvest were of abysmal quality, even by the standards of the rest of Zakaz, the communities here jealously guarded what little they hoarded. Every little scrap elevated this hovel over the others clamouring for Nakihl protection and aid.

Indeed, the crew seemed oblivious to the tense situation. After the passengers disembarked came some of the crew, heading towards the ramshackle storehouse to purchase provisions for the next leg of their journey towards Zarrava.

Kalzok turned his attention away from the ship, and looked toward eastward, to the mountains and the Fortress far away. Even at this distance, he could see part of its battlements protruding from the mountainsides. There at the feet of the mountains was a larger settlement, the Squal, a sprawling nest of hovels, shrines, miniature forts that housed the largest population in the Strip. That was where his contact would be waiting. The Skakdi began his journey.

---

Kalzok trudged through the desolate plain, passing by ruined landmarks and other mysterious travellers headed to the Fortress. ‘Desolate’ did not begin to describe the devastation of the land. While Nektann’s war was most well-known for bringing about the Burning Steppes, the salting and destruction in The Strip between the Steppes and the Crown were just as ruthless, not least because it could still support some life, clinging on almost defiantly in an anemic form. Perhaps Nektann wished to spite the Nakihl, and in return they stubbornly remained, returning again and again after each destruction of the Fortress.

Thoughts of the Fortress drew Kalzok’s attention to the present. He was unhappy that he had to make this journey, not least because of the Dregs he had to part with in order to make the trip. He was, if not officially a target for other Nakihl, then unofficially a target with little retributive deterrence. He had broke with his Coven long ago, and news of the powers he had gained likely filtered back to the Nakihl as a whole. He was already a prickly colleague, but now, Kalzok knew that every Coven would love to get a hold of him to study his new powers, invasively, and with or without his consent.

He sighed aloud. He would not have returned here if he had a choice. But he still had some… contacts in the viscinity of the Fortress, and one of them had rediscovered something he needed, and was willing to pass it to him for free. The fact that she was now and agent of the Broker was just an additional morsel to entice him to return, as he had something to sell to the Lord Who Listens. Of course, she’s unwilling to leave ‘her station’, so I have to make my way back here. Not that I have an option in this case. I would not let her entrust my items to any sort of courier. Or anyone who was not her, in any case.

So here he was, trekking along the Strip back towards the Fortress.

Here and there lay heaps of ‘scrap’, as the natives of this region called it, that dotted the landscape, the only thing taller than a chest-high plant or boulder in this region. Piles of discarded material that no longer served a purpose. Kalzok absent-mindedly prodded a few of them with the walking-end of his staff. As was the way of things, eventually the heaps would accumulate enough material that scavengers would dig through them for valuable material. As Kalzok continued his journey, he crossed paths with some of these scavengers, but their rags and haunted eyes marked them as ‘normal’ Unseeing Skakdi, and they wisely fled when they saw Kalzok, in his unusual black and blue robe and pointed, almost unnaturally natural yellow hat, approach.

Kalzok looked into the sky and noticed that the sun was definitely beginning to set. In the distance were the dim lights of another hamlet. He knew he could not delay, but perhaps he could stay there for the night.

Not that night in this land holds much danger for myself. For the Unseeing inhabitants this land was dangerous in the dark, with unknown dangers and monsters. For Kalzok, it would be no more dangerous than a stroll. Like most Nakihl, he understood the truth of the island, much more frightening than the stories of packs of demons and berserkers waiting in the mountains and swamps and caves: the island was mostly Dead.

Almost imperceptibly, a strange sound filtered across the plain. Kalzok picked it up and halted. It was a low hum that began to grow in intensity and complexity, the sound seeming to split and spill over itself, eventually warbling like an unholy cry.

A procession. Kalzok knew the dissonant sounds for what they were. It signalled a procession of aspirants, who had been “discovered” by a Seeker as apprentices for some Nakihl Coven or another. He had not heard the chords in a long time. He looked around and spotted the procession in the distance, cresting a slope and heading towards the Fortress from another direction.

He cursed his luck. When one Coven went hunting for recruits, another was sure to follow suit, or had already done so. This meant that the Fortress would be in a flurry of activity as the putrid sludge of Nakihl politics bubbled over, not to mention the growing crowds of the Unseeing that would accompany these processions and the knock-on, almost spontaneous pilgrimages that others would take. If he was going to easily find his contact at the foots of the Fortress’ mountain, it would be now or weeks later. No wonder she had insisted he arrive as soon as possible.

Waiting here for weeks is almost a guarantee that I’ll join the failed harvest of aspirants as living test subjects, he reflected sourly. Rest would have to wait. He urged his aching bones to continue onward through the night.

---                                                     

It was not easy to miss it.

Frow far away, Kalzok could already tell that the place was much busier than before. As he drew closer, he spotted one, then another, then a dozen more processions of Seekers and unaffiliated pilgrims in the distance. Before he realise it, he was already at the edge of the crowds attempting to push through into the Squal.

The Squal, due to its nature, had no defensive walls. Dotted about where the wasteland ended and the slum began were some defensive turrets and battlements, but these were as ramshackle as the dwellings that spilled past them. Closer to this place, Kalzok realised just how active the Covens were today, the crowd filled with Seekers, servants and Nakihl bearing the marks of almost every Coven he knew of, and several he did not. His earlier hypothesis was right, and even from this corner of the slum he could tell the entire place was crawling with activity. Drifting above the general din of the crowds were the warbling calls of the processions, the clanging of divination tools by the many ‘shrines’ and the occasional firearm. Above it all rose chanting of prayer rituals all across the Squal as pilgrims went about their own idiosyncratic practices.

The entrances into the Squal were almost totally congested with processions and pilgrims, the Seekers’ horn calls doing little to part the sea of bodies. As Kalzok pushed deeper into the crowd, he saw innumerable cart-stalls congesting the path. They were set up all over the place, each one haphazardly set up by its owners to sell trinkets, amulets, incense, charms, anything to the quasi pilgrims now shuffling through what passed for the religious centre of the region.

She should have warned me. Any jumped-up soft-spike could shank me in these crowds. Speaking of soft-spikes…

Kalzok looked up beyond the skyline of the manufactories and shrines, and saw the silhouette of the Nakihl Fortress. Its exterior battlements and scrying towers stood out against the unnatural green-grey of the rock, almost growing out of it. At least his contact did not ask to meet in the shadow of that thing.

He was beginning to seriously consider using his staff to shove people out of the way when a hand grabbed his right arm. He whirled around towards the person, his other hand drawing a blade.

Thought I’d lose you in this crowd.

He gave a start when he saw who it was, and sheathed his weapon. He knew who it was his contact from her voice, but seeing her after so many years was still a surprise. It was not everyday that a Skakdi meets his ex-wife.

Vekus. Change of plans?” He tried to speak above the noise of the crowd.

The dark purple-hued Ba-Skakdi, covered in her signature chequered amethyst cloak, shrugged her shoulders, her armour plates jangling.

Miscalculated how many people would be coming. I’ve got your stuff here,” she motioned to the sack over her shoulders.

Let’s sort this out away from all these eyes, she continued, turning and heading away from the city before he could reply.

Kalzok followed.

---

They walked for a few hundred yards in silence, away from the Squal and towards some ruined encampment outside the sprawl proper. They stopped by a dying fire surrounded by a few craggy rocks.

Kalzok took a moment to study Vekus. Her face was more weathered than when he last saw her, with a few new scars. Her arms were still lean, the tattoo of her clan on her triceps fading away with time. Her weapons hung by her belt, polished and sharp, reflecting the glow of the embers. As she shrugged off the bag, he noticed she wore garments very similar to the average inhabitant of the Squal, with a bit less fraying. It was very unlike the old days where she proudly wore southshore clothing. Her new job seemed to be paying her well.

She looked up from the embers and looked into Kalzok’s eyes, glowing orbs in the shadow of his hood.

Long time no see, huh?” she finally managed.

Kalzok wordlessly pulled back his hood, exposing his head to the dread wind coming off the Crown. It sent a strange chill down his back. Her eyes widened, no doubt noting his lack of a Skakdi spine. She was not there when he removed it to gain his new powers.

It has. I am glad to see you are in one piece.” This being Zakaz, that was no small feat, and no trifling praise.

Kalzok usually prided himself in being able to read the intentions or thoughts of others by their face, but Vekus was completely closed off today, her eyes betraying nothing as she pulled the bag open.

So is much of your old stuff. First things first of course,” she said, pulling out a tome. It was square, bound in Tahtorak hide and inscribed with ancient runes. Its spine was falling apart after years of neglect. It was his old grimoire. She handed it to him. Kalzok eagerly accepted and ran his hands over its surface, feeling its strange chill.

It’s still in one piece.

Not for lack of trying,” Vekus commented, likely referring to the broken spine of the tome. Its old wards had failed by now but it had clearly caused some damage to itself and interlopers back when Kalzok last left the Fortress. He felt a thought in his mind, something he wanted to say.

It’s not the only one of your tools that survived,” she continued, pulling out several trinkets. Kalzok recgonised them as idols and divination tools. Not as personally unique as his old grimoire, but they still held some sentimental value. She lay them on the ground (the way he used to lay them out on his worktable) and reached deep into the bag.

And of course…” Vekus pulled the last big item out of the bag. In her hands was a double-barrelled break-action shotgun, carved of Deathwood and Steelgrain, its mechanisms clicking softly as she hefted it. Its coal-black metal seemed to drink in the light of the setting sun. Despite himself, Kalzok’s mouth dropped. He had long given up hope of seeing his gun again.

I am… astonished. I must admit, I am surprised you actually managed to retrieve these items,” he managed, trying to find the words.

I don’t break my promises.” Kalzok looked up and could hear and see the ice in her voice.

Several seconds passed. Finally, Vekus looked away and continued.

Well, to keep a long story short, I came across the old, quarantined wing of the fortress. The one that contained, among other things, your old chambers. They didn’t care much about securing low-level #### like that, even for personae non grata like yourself who have not shown up here in years, and especially with all this going on recently,” Vekus motioned to the Squal with her head, its din still echoing across to them.

Can you believe they haven’t vacated it yet?” she continued, bafflement on her face.

Well, ostensibly, I’m still one of them. It would set a bad precedent if they seized my property,” Kalzok replied, his gaze still fixed on the gun in his hands. Grim Resolve was the name given by the warrior that once wielded it. Kalzok had decided to keep the name in his mind, even if it would never come up in conversation. Names hold power, and it was the least the sorcerer could do after using the shotgun to blow the head off that warrior.

Oh yeah, one other thing. Ammunition. Should still be dry,” Vekus said, handing Kalzok a small bag, weighed down with shells.

Quality desiccation,” Kalzok dryly commented.

A silence fell between the two again. The silence was really beginning to eat into him, and he felt the thought that formed earlier pressing into his face.

Thank you, Vekus.

Her face was unreadable, but it definitely softened, and he saw the briefest flash of… smug relief?

Well, you know, it was just a small favour. Might as well get something out of being stuck in this dump.

Kalzok nodded and took a seat on one of the boulders, Vekus following suit.

Well, let’s ‘sort out’ the other business I returned for: my offer to the Broker.

Vekus nodded, and he recognised her putting on her ‘business face’. Any of their old baggage would be dealt with later.

I know of the location of a buried Lesterin archive, belonging to one of the Great House merchant-princes, dating back to at least a century before the Fall. Unlike many tombs on Zakaz, this one has never been breached,” Kalzok said, letting the implication hang in the air.

Vekus’ eyes widened.

Never? That, plus the fact that I’ve never heard of this place, makes me a bit… skeptical, if you don’t mind me saying,” she said.

I have the proof,” Kalzok said, and reached into his robes, pulling out an unusual crystal. It caught the ambient light of the moon and other light sources and seemed to weave it into a spray of colour along a central plane centred on the crystal’s longest edge. Only Nakihl, Lesterin archivists, and other people with access to forgotten knowledge (such as an agent of the Broker) would recognise it as more than unusual interior decoration: it was craftmanship of Old Lesterin magicians, occasionally used as status symbols but usually to store information in the crystal through light, by some arcane manner. No one knew how to access the information anymore, and most had deteriorated in the centuries since the fall of Oshan, but the vibrancy of this crystal marked it as freshly preserved, which meant-

I hope you didn’t steal this from the Seprilli heritage Halls,” Vekus quipped, her sarcastic remark unable to hide the awe in her voice.

And if that isn’t enough-” Kalzok walked over to the nearby fire. He fetched a simple lens from the divination tools Vekus had returned to him and held it between the fire and the memory crystal. He adjusted the distances for a bit, letting the lens focus the light from the fire into the crystal. The beam of light from the lens hit the crystal and splayed forth onto the side of a nearby boulder, displaying, in old Lesterin runes, the name of the place it was from:

Lahi-Lore-Soka

Why the Lesteri sages of the past built such a simple interaction into the crystal was still a point of debate amongst antiquarians. Whether it was a natural result of other processes, or a purposeful failsafe, it was one of the few ways people still knew to interact with such crystals, and proof of their authenticity.

Well. Never heard of this place before. I assume it’s a mage-city from the name? Unusual that it has not been plundered yet, then.

Yes, rather unusual,” Kalzok agreed, stowing away the lens and crystal.

My hypothesis is that it was an unlikely combination of factors, such as geography, lack of awareness of the place, it’s unlikely manner of seclusion, and so on, none of which on their own were-

Kalzok stopped when he realised none of this was relevant.

In any case, I would like to inform your employer of this opportunity, and to know if he is willing to come to some agreement about this place. If he sends me the required aid, I will excavate the place for him, defusing whatever dangers may lie within, and he can keep whatever information we dig up from this archive, which will be intact only if one like myself defuses the wards. All I ask in return is that I too get to make copies and keep as much of the information as I can.

Kalzok watched Vekus think it through, staring at the ground with her hand on her chin. He could almost see the gears turning in her mind. He waited for her response.

OOC: @Ghosthands

 

IC: Klidarg - Campsite, Outside Irnakk's Tooth

Klidarg was finishing dessert by the fire, a strange misshapen fruit he'd bought from the market. The money from that day's catch certainly afforded him this bare comfort. The blade-wife was quietly seated outside her tent, while the sturdy warrior, his armour reflecting the light of the fire, looked intently into the fire.

On 10/18/2021 at 12:24 PM, Visaru said:

“I am glad to have met you both today. I think we have been set upon a path that will lead us to greatness.”

Klidarg looked up from the fruit to Tarrok as he bit into it. The Skakdi seemed... uncomfortable with that positive statement.

"Mmh, greatness. Your words put a drive to my step. At the least, your skills should guarantee us some measure of success," Klidarg idly commented, hoping to assuage Tarrok's... apprehension? No, it was something else.

He bit down into the fruit again. It was a welcome change from the wild figs in this area, but in all honesty, he has not decided if it was fully to his taste.

"If nothing else, I am sure this path at least provides direction. Not that the N'ashka is lacking that."

Klidarg turned to Tarrok. "I believe it would serve us well if we came up with some plan? Should we gather more associates from the Tooth, or some other group of ill-repute? Surely we will not assault Garsi's fort without an army."

OOC: @Visaru @Palm

Edited by NorikSigma
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:i::c:

“I have several opinions on that score, but N’Ashka has done more brooding on this than I, and I’d like to hear her thoughts first.” I raised my voice and looked to my employer.

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--------------   Tarrok | Korzaa | Verak | Kirik   --------------

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On 10/20/2021 at 1:18 PM, NorikSigma said:

Kalzok watched Vekus think it through, staring at the ground with her hand on her chin. He could almost see the gears turning in her mind. He waited for her response.

IC

"All right." said Vekus. "I think he'll be interested. No promises, mind. But I'll get your offer to him, and let you know what he says. I think one of his faster couriers is in town — should take a day or so to hear back."

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IC: N'ashka Akkataka - Campsite - Outside Irnakk's Tooth

N'ashka drew her rags tighter to her body, and shifted a stitch closer to the fire, "We will need to gather more, and I will need to train; learn to fight," she chewed some morsel, only now dislodged from her teeth, "I might even go some rounds in the Sarke pits," she spat the morsel, it turned out not be food, "All the while, we'll need income. I have the cause and the credit. Many of my husband's Skakdi will return to me once they hear of it. But we'll need more than just them."


OOC: @NorikSigma @Visaru

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| BZPRPG Profiles |

 

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IC:

"You're welcome. Behind you."

The news that Arms was going to be on the road again was of little surprise to Dee and of even less consequence. Skipping over the brew that had sent her into a fugue state, Deuandra rifled with practiced fingers through carefully arranged wooden bowls, plucking several samples of various herbs and capsules into another, larger bowl. She cupped it with a hand and passed it, over her left shoulder, to her patron without looking.

"Don't mix the red and yellow," she admonished with the half-hearted concern of an overworked physician. "Your extremities will swell. If you do mix them, take another yellow and drink from a Miracle Cactus, or your hands and feet will atrophy. Vana, do you have water?"

-Tyler

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SAY IT ONE MORE TIME 

TELL ME WHAT IS ON YOUR MIND

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