[color=#b22222;]IC:Silence reigned for several long minutes, before Jaller sighed. "I hate politics. So much. I miss the days when all I had to worry about were Rahi attacks and criminals, and any major operations were ordered or approved by Vakama,"Karzahni, I miss the senile old man." Falling silent once more, Jaller pushed his chair back and rose to his feet. Slowly, he paced the room's back wall, sighing once more. "I digress. I think, miss, that a confrontation may, at this time, be the path of least bloodshed. I would, however, urge you to wait until we have the bomber in our custody and can perform an interrogation. I would even permit you to sit in on it, if you wish.""I would rather avoid a war. But I would also rather wait until we have solid information before we accuse anyone."[/color]
BZPRPG - Ta-Wahi
Posted Jul 27 2013 - 10:00 PM
The Ihu-Koronan Highlanders are always looking for more recruits. I have four positions that I need filled, PM me for information.
Posted Jul 27 2013 - 10:08 PM
[color=#b22222;]IC:"You have a deal, miss."Jaller said, extending his own hand to shake Tera's. "Feel free to remain in Ta-Koro for as long as you wish, though I rather suspect that you will need to return to your own village. I'll contact you when the bomber is in our custody."[/color]
Red Skies, an FTL Prequel (Updated 7/13)
Posted Jul 29 2013 - 01:18 AM
[color=#800000;]IC (Oreius) [/color][color=#daa520;](Inu)[/color]
[color=#800000;]The Toa of Fire walked down Ta-Koro's streets, lit by electric lights that cast a yellow glow even in the eternal twilight of the clouded sky. A pack was slung over one shoulder, jostling for space with the two sheaths that housed twin swords. A long, elegant blade hung from his hip, crafted in the shape of a leaping flame.[/color]
[color=#800000;]Wherever he walked, the crowds parted. Though Ta-Koro was not particularly busy this time of day, some of the streets were tighter than others, but there was always room to press to the side and let the Toa Maru pass unhindered.[/color]
[color=#800000;]Oreius had never asked for this kind of treatment, and honestly it wasn't something he particularly enjoyed. He had preferred being just another Guard, one of many. Occupying a position of power and, well, fame, had never been high on his to-do list.[/color]
[color=#800000;]Inu didn't agree. In his world, the hunter was feared, and you stayed out of his way unless you wanted trouble. Watching Matoran step out of their way infused him with a subtle sense of pride, which Oreius did his best to ignore. He'd never asked to be a Toa, and now that he was, he just wanted to do his duty. Enough with the wide eyes and the hushed voices whenever he entered a room. Maybe that was why he'd done his best to stay out of the village for the last few months.[/color]
[color=#800000;]And here they were, leaving again. As the Toa of Fire approached the city's gates, he could make out Angelus casually leaning against the wall of black rock, chatting with another being. As he came closer, Oreius frowned. He knew that face; it was one he would have preferred to never see again.[/color]
[color=#800000;]Still, he restrained himself, shutting the restless feelings of dislike deep within his mind. Though the Makuta was gone, Inu and he were still susceptible to strong emotions, as was evident by the Parakuka's instinctive reaction of excitement to his wariness. Guarding their thoughts and feelings was a constant struggle: one slip, and they might do something they would regret.[/color]
Posted Jul 30 2013 - 11:12 AM
IC: [color=#4b0082;]Nikarra (Dorian and Tuara's Loft, Ta-Koro)[/color]
[color=#4b0082;]Somehow, somewhere, someone may have had a list of every crime Nikarra had ever committed. She couldn't claim it compared to, say, Dorian's -- but whose would?That, however, was beside the point. The point was that 'breaking and entering' was not, in fact, on it. At least, not until today.[/color]
[color=#4b0082;]She sat below the window she'd discreetly broken, checking where she'd been injured, rather glad that none of the cuts were too deep and that the damage to both the loft and her should be repairable. That done, she decided to go off in search of what Dorian had sent her after. It couldn't be that difficult, right?[/color]
[color=#4b0082;]- - -[/color]
[color=#4b0082;]As it turns out, Nikarra had spoken too soon. She had checked practically everywhere -- an odd experience, given that almost every piece of furniture was eerily similar to that of The Final Problem, and something told Nikarra that wasn't because of fond memories of her -- and now was sitting next to the grand piano, also identical to that of The Final Problem, trying to figure out where else to look. For a moment, she glanced over her shoulder at the instrument. He wouldn't have...[/color]
[color=#4b0082;]Nikarra was not sure whether to be proud of herself or slightly disgusted by the idea of putting something that didn't belong there inside a piano, but there they were. Unless there were some other gauntlets she hadn't spotted, of course. She decided that the front door was the best option for leaving -- when she'd checked out the loft's interior with her Iden before entering, she'd spotted a key ring in the foyer, and as she took it she wondered how best to go about sorting out that broken window. Oh well, she'd find a way.[/color]
[color=#4b0082;]Later, when she returned to her room in the inn, she found the bird still sitting, waiting. "See, if I were Dorian, you'd be me in this situation. I run off and do stuff for hours, while you sit calmly on the bed in some room waiting for me."[/color]
[color=#4b0082;]"Yep. A pretty bird awaiting someone she'd just met for no particular reason," she sighed. "Unfortunately, if I turn this the other way around it doesn't quite work, because you aren't going anywhere where I can discreetly stalk you-" Nikarra was silent, an idea having worked its way into her head. "Oh. Now that could work."[/color]
[color=#4b0082;]Writing out her reply, and packaging the gauntlets and safely attaching them to the bird, she opened the window to let it free, before lying down on the bed and closing her eyes. "Here goes nothing," she muttered, taking a deep breath in and activating her Iden.[/color]
OOC: [color=#4b0082;]Nikarra to Po-Wahi in Iden form, following Dorian's bird.[/color]
Posted Jul 30 2013 - 03:33 PM
OOC: Loving the Jaller and Sentinel experience up there, and Nikkara as well.
She came to her senses under rough sheets. Krii's medical bills were paid after a few hours of grunt labor. Not knowing what to do, she left Ta-Koro for reasons she couldn't explain, feeling finally at home in the darkness of the gaping hole outside the city of fire. Her steps echoed as she descended ever deeper, until the mouth swallowed up all light, and the toa of Iron had entered the tunnels of the cursed.
OOC: Krii to Onu-Wahi via the Dark Walk.
Posted Jul 30 2013 - 10:42 PM
[color=#800000;]Angelus saw the look of the hunter in the Toa Maru's eyes and the lean Captain stood up from his slouched, panther-like position, walking past Kino and Liacada towards Oreius, a hand withheld to shake with a familiarity unconveyed by the tight stoicism of his poker face. He seemed to understand Oreius' misgivings before they came with a subtle nod, and as they shook he motioned towards the gates in the distance with his free hand, not the two other consultants that had been almost forced upon them.[/color]
[color=#800000;]"Oreius," he greeted simply. "We're all ready, then."[/color]
[color=#800000;]Curtly, he and the Toa Maru of Fire led the two girls to the gates and out; Angelus and Oreius nodded to the guards on either side of them and said their names in greeting, just as Angelus had before; Liacada and Kino lagged behind until the checkpoint was out of reach and then caught up to the two point men. Little was said as they moved towards Ko-Wahi, scanning the sun begin its slow descent in the distance and wondering what that same sunset would see of them the next time it came around.[/color]
OOC: Angelus, Oreius, Liacada and Kino Iho to Ko-Wahi.
and again, pathetic confusion.
dorian, you aint changed.
Posted Aug 01 2013 - 03:44 PM
Ic: It seemed that wherever Brykon went he felt restless, but in Ta-Koro he felt somewhat at peace. Some found the sweltering heat and noise unbearable, but for him it was almost homely, like a fond memory of a bygone summer. The buzz of people in the popular koro helped him conceal himself despite the police presence, though without his personal skills and caution he wouldn't have lasted a whole day there. He had to remind himself that he was a wanted man, and no matter how slim the chances were that he could get caught there's was always a chance.
His choice to remain in Ta-Koro wasn't about concealment or a strange sense of belonging, though, but instead part of his mission. Liacada was a toa of fire and it was very likely she would try to live there in the hot city. Brykon intended to deal with her, either to bring her back into the mission fold or help her not be a liability. He rented a room for the night and plotted his surveying for the next day.
Brykon prowled the city the day after his meeting with Marfoir, having tossed a linen overcoat on and grabbed a set of painting supplies from a hobby shop to masquerade as a poet making rhymes about beauty he found. It was a good disguise; poetry came naturally to him and not too much attention would be given to an artist (other than curiosity), allowing him to move around and snoop without repercussions -- or "seeking what is beautiful" as he put it. The first place he checked were the inns, including the one he stayed at, but there was no sign of her residence there. But...
"Have you seen a woman -- tall and thin -- fiery features -- lost little face?" he asked.
"Ye," the innkeeper said. "Sha use'ta come here a little. Gon wit' th' guard now, tho."
"Ah," Brykon mused, halfheartedly giving the predetermined answer of "suits her right." He didn't give the keeper a chance to respond before he left the place.
Gone with the guard? Brykon mused. It could have meant any number of things. She could have been found and arrested, or convicted for some other sort of trouble. Whatever the case was she was out of his range. The bard stood outside the prison building and gazed at its walls. There was no beauty to be found there, no questions he could ask that would be answered. Feeling dejected he stepped away from the place and ambled away to write about something else before he'd drop the disguise and leave Ta-Koro. Liacada was beyond his meager abilities.
"Excuse me?" said a matoran who stood in Brykon's way. The bard, unthinking, plowed right into the man and both fell to the ground, neither one with any elegance. When they both got back up, Brykon was apologizing profusely but the matoran wouldn't hear it. "No no, it was my fault for standing too close. I was just wondering how you were doing?"
Brykon blinked. "Have we met before?" he asked.
"No, I don't believe we have," the matoran replied innocently. "But hey, I am an artist like you and I am... well... at a loss for finding things to depict here. Everything seems to ashen, if you know what I mean? Oh, silly me -- of course you don't know what I mean! you're doing just fine!"
Though Brykon was comfortable pretending to be an artist at large, it was another thing entirely to discuss art with a fellow practitioner, so his initial instinct was to walk away but the cover wouldn't be genuine if he shied away from it. And there was just something about the matoran that was familiar to him, like he had been introduced to him at a party somewhere, somewhen -- he felt obliged to carry the charade on and deduce who the man was. He shuffled his art supplies under his arm and pointed to a balcony overlooking the bridge and lava flows. "Shall we discuss our passion there?"
"Lets," the matoran agreed merrily. He was already looking at the place anyway and was glad Brykon chose it to speak over a diner or something. They exchanged smalltalk as they walked there. "Where are you from?"
"Have you spent much time there recently?"
"They've renovated the place. It's a regular chutes and ladders playground now."
"Pretty to look at?"
"Point taken. Are you sure we haven't met?"
"Anything is possible. Our art isn't terribly popular. We could easily have met years ago."
"Mm." They arrived on the part of the city wall Brykon pointed out and leaned on the banister and surveyed the area for something to discuss with the other artist.
"Don't kill the messenger..." the matoran almost whimpered as he slid a small card to Brykon.
Brykon snatched it up and read it quickly:
I'm waaaaatching~ -A
"Where is she?" Brykon barked, tossing the card down the side of the banister and sending it fluttering down into the lava far below. He scanned the area, searching for the unscrupulous electress.
"###### if I know?" the matoran pleaded. "Look, I'm just the errand boy here to tell you what I was told to tell you, and tell I will! Just, please, don't do anything rash. Nobody's out to get you."
"What could you possibly have to tell me? Out of all the things in this world what could I possibly need--"
"Liacada! You're looking for Liacada!" the matoran blurted. "And I'm supposed to tell you where she is! Now could you please let go of my chestplate...?" Brykon slowly released the poor matoran's armor and let him down again, having unthinkingly seized him. "I can tell that she-devil gets on your nerves, too, so..."
"Yes, her. You won't have to worry about her anymore."
"She's in prison?" Brykon asked, a shot in the dark but a decent guess, he surmised.
"No. Quite the opposite, actually. In the wake of the turaga murders the Ta-Koro guard somehow got word of who the assassins were--"
"They what?" Brykon breathed under his breath and then cursed Aurelia in the same exhale. Surely, he thought, this was her plan to hound him and the remains of Bad Company to exterminate them from the rosters, to get back to him for his insolence. It all made sense...
"I don't know how or when, but they found out. So they cunningly did something unthinkable. The enlisted the ones they picked up into their force. It started with that toa of iron... Dornia or something... Droain!"
"Yeah, him. He was their first consultant, as they call them. It's basically like a probation period where the criminals can atone for their doings by helping the law with their expertise and knowledge. Dorian shipped out a while back with a couple others, and Liacada was recruited to take his place. Now she's shipping out, too, probably to find the rest and bring them to justice."
"When is she leaving?"
"Well, actually..." the matoran said and turned to the bridge spanning the lava moat, "there she goes now."
Brykon looked incredulously down at the bridge, but sure enough there Liacada was, with an escort of three others including Oreius Maru, leaving Ta-Koro without chains. She seemed almost normal, not the erratic and strange girl he met in Xa-Koro months before. "Liacada,' Brykon said low to himself, "you clever girl." It was far, far too late to meddle in the matter anymore, Brykon knew. It was for the best that she was in better company, and if the guard already knew of the identities of the other killers, himself included, then there was no point in doing anything about it. What was done... was done. I'm leaving Ta-Koro," he said to the matoran.
"Good call. Seeya round, Bard."
The matoran watched as Brykon left the area, probably to retrieve his things and go on his own mission, and bemusedly thought about what the colonel had reflexively said about Aurelia. The architect considered all the new possibilities on the chessboard as he stepped away from the balcony, too. Yup, "-A" was watching the whooooole time.
Posted Aug 01 2013 - 04:23 PM
As he prepares the metal to be pounded, he says, "I'm already excited about the Cup. I can't wait to so it."
He places a C-clamp on the metal, and tightens it to the point where it won't be flattened on the location where the clamp is placed. He picks up a hammer, and begins to pound on it.
Posted Aug 01 2013 - 04:56 PM
Posted Aug 01 2013 - 10:58 PM
My morning went well, until I remembered I couldn't take the monorail. Seriously, three months of use shouldn't have made me so dependent, but its lack of support left me derailed. Hau was working his shift at the Lavapool Inn, so I couldn't haul him back to the market to help carry the cloth sacks I had filled with fresh foods. I was stuck with more bags than a Po-Koroan caravan, and horribly alone. There's nothing like having no one around that you know when you're burdened with a heavy weight. I could've really use someone to lean on, but no such luck.
OOC: Mita open for interaction.
Posted Aug 03 2013 - 09:58 PM
OOC: Ril from Le
Ril yawned as he reached the gates of Ta-koro, giving a nod to the guards on duty. "Hey guys, I'm back."
Posted Aug 06 2013 - 01:12 PM
IC- Selchzar - Ta-Koro Prison
[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]Selchzar sat on the bench near the far wall of the cell, staring blankly. A thin crooked smile was plastered on his face, like he knew something that everyone else didn’t. One of his long spindly fingers tapped a rhythm on the stone bench.[/color][/font]
[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]Tap. Taptap. Tap. Taptap. Tap. Taptap.[/color][/font]
[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]It was driving his current guard insane. Nuri paced back and forth, agitated, down the rows of cells. He had guarded plenty of inmates in his time, but he couldn’t think of anyone that upset him more than Selchzar.[/color][/font]
[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]Tap. Taptap. Tap. Taptap. Tap. Taptap.[/color][/font]
[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]It wasn’t just the constant beat of the inmates finger against the stone, creating a rhythm that seemed to beat loudly in his own head. No, it was the smug smile too, and the stillness. Selchzar hadn’t been broken by prison like other cellmates, but he hardly seemed alive. The only time he moved was to eat. As far as Nuri knew, the man didn’t sleep. He had never even seen the toa close his eyes. Selchzar’s eyes were always looking at Nuri, as if they were begging him to look into them.[/color][/font]
[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]Tap. Taptap. Tap. Taptap. Tap. Taptap.[/color][/font]
[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]Selchzar had frightening eyes. Nuri could never bring himself to hold eye contact for very long. Selchzar’s eyes burned. Fires swirled in their red depths. He had the eyes of a madman, the eyes you might in a person charging at you with an axe. They were the eyes of man mad with pain, or mad with desire. They were the eyes of madness, and what made that so terrifying was how calm Selchzar was.[/color][/font]
[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]Nuri wrenched his thoughts away from the malicious psychopath. Selchzar would rot there in that cell. That he swore. The world was a far better place without that Toa of electricity. He was going to stay there in that cell forever. Nuri would make sure of that.[/color][/font]
[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]Tap. Taptap. Tap. [/color][/font]
Posted Aug 08 2013 - 04:43 PM
[color=#008000;]IC: NPC Le-Koro Wind-rider[/color][color=#008000;]Kongu's Wind-rider stepped off her Gukko and loosened her scarf. Hot Ta-Koro was hot; per usual. She bounded away from her mount and called out to the Guard across the lava bridge as she continued, "I bring greetings from Tree-bright Le-Koro to your village and to Jaller, your Akiri!"Coming up to the Guard she handed a marked parcel to one of them, "I am ask-told by Kongu to stay in the village until Jaller returns word to me, personally, or through another," she pointed at the package, "This is a message to your Akiri, and I would ask-tell you take it to him as soon as he is ready."[/color][color=#008000;]The letter read:[/color]
Akiri Jaller of Ta-Koro,
I write to you in hopes you may wish to hold assembly with our fellow Akiri. My heart has been heavy that ever since each of our Turaga were stolen away from us by our enemy and we each came to be leaders of our people there remain unresolved issues and problems that need addressing and discussing. I hope to address these issues in a safe and careful manner on equal playing grounds.
I am sure there is more to discuss, and I doubt you are no different in that respect. So please, think to yourself what you may wish to bring up before the meeting.
A similar letter is being written to each of the other five Akiri of Mata-Nui. I propose we meet in a neutral ground; The Kini-Nui. Please bring methods of protection to ensure our meeting is not interrupted by what is left of Makuta's Sons. Please ensure that you and the others remain protected from them. But know who the enemy is: It is equally important that other members of the assembly do not feel threatened by the presence of security. Structure your Guard accordingly.Thank you for your time and my Wind-rider awaits word concerning your response,
"People are scratched,
Posted Aug 08 2013 - 05:10 PM
Ril leaned back against the bench, staring at the smoke rising from the distant forges.
"I feel like doing something."
OOC: Open for interaction.
Posted Aug 10 2013 - 02:53 AM
"It comes with the job," Halfimus explained, "I'm not paid enough to give anything outside quick flavour descriptions."
So pay me more AuRon.
Posted Aug 10 2013 - 07:51 PM
[color=#800000;]OOC The hunters and their captive from Ko-Wahi.[/color]
[color=#800000;]IC (Oreius) [/color][color=#daa520;](Inu)[/color]
[color=#800000;]The long trek from Ko-Wahi to Ta-Koro had passed uneventfully. At one point, the prisoner shifted from Oreius' shoulders to Angelus', but, otherwise, hardly a word was spoken. The small company had been focused on getting back to the village of fire without incident.[/color]
[color=#800000;]And they had made it.[/color]
[color=#800000;]They approached the gates of Ta-Koro at long last. Recognizing Oreius and Angelus, the guards let them through without trouble. Once inside Ta-Koro, they silently decided to make directly for Jaller's office. He would want to be the first to know they had returned.[/color]
Posted Aug 10 2013 - 08:02 PM
[color=#daa520;]I had remained mute, like the rest of my entourage. Okay, captors, but entourage made me feel special and inflated the ego at a rate equivalent to the puncture caused by being carried like a sack of millet halfway across an island. The few travelers we did pass on our way to the cable car were forever scarred in my memory. Their expressions had been pitying and infuriating at the same time: one even laughed when Angelus let me slip off his shoulders 'on accident.'[/color]
[color=#daa520;]Ta-Koro was a place I really could have done without visiting. The monorail bombing wasn't the only weight heavy on my heart in this village. Everything was covered in thick coats of ash, a perpetual rain from forges and volca[/color][color=rgb(218,165,32);]no creating small piles by the sides of buildings, forcing my lungs to cough and splutter unrelentingly[/color][color=rgb(218,165,32);]. I was born to be free from society, to enjoy the pure air of the coast or mountains, not suck sky sludge. Inside, the guard buildings were better: long corridors of volcanic rock with glass windows letting in Mangai's ruddy glow. The four in my entourage sounded like an army of tromping shoes, their feet clicking sharp echoes down the architecture. I couldn't see where we were going, but the general trend seemed to be up. Flights of stairs filled my view, the horrible thought of being dropped nagging me until it became a nervous obsession. Being powerless was horrible.[/color]
[color=rgb(218,165,32);]"So, am I going to get my kanohi back," I asked as my foot bounced against a wall sconce. "Or was that just a ploy back in Ko?"[/color]
Edited by Kughii, Aug 10 2013 - 08:29 PM.
Posted Aug 11 2013 - 12:23 AM
IC(Roshinua-Ta-Koro Guard Office)The eyes of the Vortixx met those of the Toa. A tranquil madness met a raging one. "I'll be guarding you for the time being," he told Selchzar. His hand reached up to scratch the back of his head, and naturally drifted to the hilt of his sword. "How's your day been?"
[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]The thin blue toa gave a twisted smile, but didn’t cease his incessant tapping. His eyes bored into the Vortixx’, and a few seconds passed while Selchzar said nothing at all. It had just become clear that the psychopath wasn’t going to respond when he finally did.[/color][/font]
[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]“You are a talkative one.”[/color][/font]
[color=#000080;][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]Tap. Taptap. Tap. Taptap.[/color][/font]
Posted Aug 11 2013 - 06:34 AM
Posted Aug 11 2013 - 06:13 PM
Ic: What happens when the student grows up enough to turn on the master? What happens when a teacher's life of mistakes catches up to him when he is alone, without ally or alliance? Danger. There was no doubt in Brykon's mind as he glided through the Charred Forest, leaving only ashen footprints to trace his ghostly trek, that he was in danger on some high level. He recounted the things he could rely on as his life entered the next page of this new chapter.
- His body
- His mind
It was a short list. There were no friends where he went, not that he had any in the first place. Dorian, the lad he had nurtured, had swum to the other bank, worked for the coppers now to find people like him. Jin was on mission, far away; who knew what she was doing then. Marfoir was hardly one he could trust but at least he was reliable... though also distant. Illicia, Sev: Missing since the assassinations. The one man -- the one man -- Brykon could trust wholly was a man he had sworn not to revisit until the overarching mission was accomplished and the Four Peers and their plot was dust in the wind. That left him to himself, in the predicament he was in, reacting to an unseen threat that watched his every move.
That note the matoran artist showed him haunted him still. "I'm waaaaaatching~" signed simply "-A." The tauntress tormented him even as he did his job. Was she glaring through the blackened trees even now? were her spies sniggering from the depths at him as he, paranoid, turned to see from whence he came every five paces? The torture enraged him, made him hunger for his revenge all the more, hope that there was light just around the corner then, but the despair that his hopes were likely for naught only egged him onwards more. He wanted to stick Aurelia and her associates in the eye as a show of force, and he thought he knew just the way to do it.
This is not the right way
The list of tasks he read to Jin in Po-Wahi days before hovered in his mind and a single line glowed to him. Find a broken mansion in Ta-Wahi. He knew that mansion. Once, long ago, it was a refuge, a sanctum, home even. But the house had been broken indeed, no longer a roof he could depend on. Until then. Then it was as much a symbol as it was an edifice, and while Brykon harboured no notion that it could protect him any more than a paper shield it would still send a message to his pursuants.
This is not the right way
Were there other options? Of course. Brykon could just as easily, if not more easily, disappear into the jungle or take shelter in Ga-Wahi or even break his oath and hide in the embrace of The Massif. All of them would afford more protection and hope than his plan. Was it the wisest thing to do? No. But it was the path his mind and body took him, the last two things he could depend on.
This is not the right way
But this is my way
Posted Aug 12 2013 - 01:22 AM
"It comes with the job," Halfimus explained, "I'm not paid enough to give anything outside quick flavour descriptions."
So pay me more AuRon.
Posted Aug 12 2013 - 03:55 AM
Song: The Way by Zack Hemsey. (I strongly suggest listening to it as you read the post.)
Ic:Some have said that I was given keys to the city of your dreamsI'm more content to walk outside the walls and catch a breezeI'm more inclined to climb on by or ride internal seasI'm more alive to vibe inside a mansion full of treesBrykon exhaled in a low gasp when the manse came into view. The place had aged more than he and looked awful. What was once a glorious and pretty white marble facade had deteriorated into a charred and broken front pockmarked with divots from opportunistic scavengers. Black vines strangled previously proud columns and the windows were all destroyed, and their shards crunched under Brykon’s steps that heaved as heavily as his heart.He mellowly languished to the main door and stood before that noble entrance. He hesitantly hovered his hand above the lever before reeling back a step to look up above it and sighed in relief. There, still hewn into the marble and far above the reach of matoran, was the blackened coat of arms of his house: A sun rising superimposed by a compass argent, framed by fluttering scrolls; motto inscribed: Darkest Before Dawn.Slowly, reverently, Brykon began to unlatch the pauldron set heavily on his shoulder until he shrugged it off, then he untied the tunic on his chest until he could slide it off the same shoulder. A single tear seemed to float from his eye as he looked down on his bared skin at the largest tattoo set aside from the many others that tarnished his beautiful chest and exhaled again, his time with awe and longing of a legacy once thought indomitable but now just a long forgotten memory. He touched his chest and squeezed the tattoo of the family coat of arms and stumbled back to lean on the nearest column, then closed his eyes to remember a life he had forsaken two centuries before. The truth behind his forsaking, however, had been his closest secret, his everlasting fuel, the thing that drove him onwards. It gave him reason for revenge and he derived power from it. But despite the power from that secret, fewer people knew that chapter of his life than there were members of Bad Company. It made that source his own, a personal weapon no other man could take from him.I do this for a reason that they can't pretend to gleanI lose myself infused in something more than what they've seenAnd yet it tormented him more than Aurelia and her lies, more than the looming death of Mata Nui, the overturning of Matoran civilization. The weight of that secret and the neverending grief and energy at its core broke his soul more than the hundreds of fights and recitals he gave, more than all the gin in the world, more than seeing Xa-Koro become absolved of its crimes in unearthly carnage. Like a molten coin in a purse, that secret of his past burned a hole through its box and burned his body relentlessly. Though it was his secret it still ached to be free, exposed, relived.He felt that he should never have returned to that place, that manse upon the incinerated valley. The secret was too vivid there and his life was too entrenched in those walls, those columns, in that family sigil. But he was there. It was his way. It was his choice, and if he did not die from it he would live to battle again the next day as a stronger, mightier soldier.The noise of stalkers in the dark permeated into his ears. Sighing, he opened his eyes and released his grip on the tattoo before standing straight and marching forlornly to the door. Again he hovered his hand over the lever before conceding to the fate awaiting him within and gripped readily. With a single, forceful yank it gave and unlatched and the door yawned in response to the shove he gave it. Abruptly, the hinges snapped from the years of disuse and the stone door collapsed to the floor with a cra-KRASH that reverberated in the cavernous, stark interior of the manse. Brykon reeled back in fright and lowered his shoulders and snapped into a fighting position out of reflex before realizing his mistake and relaxing, then tentatively placed a step into the foyer of the once grand palace.He blinked several times to adjust his eyes to the shadowy interior. The grand staircase was once showered in light from the great chandelier that also hung in the high ceiling, but as his sight became used to the darkness he could see that the chandelier was gone and the floors were littered with loose trash, ashen debris and dust that came like opportunistic weeds in an untended garden. The staircase itself had been vandalized, the steps made of slabs of marble were apparently neatly cut and carted away, leaving only the skeletal steel frames and singed wooden bases to glide up to the second floor. Wrought iron rails were either badly melted beyond use or missing entirely. Sickened by the disgraced visage, Brykon moved away from the stairs and slinked into the neighboring grand ballroom.In his imagination, the ghosts of guests at many a gala danced in pairs and groups on the checkerboard floor. Music played by real musicians would entrance their minds from a corner of the room and joy permeated from wall to every wall. His parties were never too lavish, always respectable but hardly indulgent, and despite the sometimes meager program people still came regularly if only for the pleasure that flowed like bubbly wine in those halls. People came not for the exclusivity but because they wanted to. It was part of the joy of the place and it never seemed to end.I'm not a slave to greedI don't embrace your make believeI've never been for sale no matter what they think I needHe still vividly recalled his most memorable occasion and he relived the party by rushing straight down the ballroom. It was his wedding reception and guests were lined on both sides, twin rows that extended the length of the room and were in fact doubled. It was a time to be had, the celebration of the marriage between Mata Nui’s finest bachelor, the sole member of the grandest and most ancient noble house in the lands. His wife, more ravishing than the queen of Proto Drakes, smiled in that way that could even make the sun blush with heat as Brykon escorted here arm-in-arm down the full length of the twin rows as people showered them with praise and flower petals. It was a time that everything seemed possible and nothing could make life not worth living. But then they passed his brother...Ah, his brother. The glum one. The merchant. Even in the most joyous of occasions his face remained dour and it was obvious that he could not make his mind not be glued to numbers and investments, and perhaps even jealousy. His smile was probably the best he could have managed, even for his own brother, but Brykon had appreciated it as he did every other smile that day. But that smile only seemed to grow wider and wider every time Brykon visited with his brother, though he hadn’t picked up on it until it was far too late.His memories dragged him into another room: The study. It was there that Brykon regaled small throngs of his gathered guests with tales of his adventures across Mata Nui or, most notably, poetry he penned and epics he composed in his spare time. The bookcases filled with literary volumes had long since been vacated, and with them most of the works he made or treasured or learned from. A harpsichord, often used to give a musical element to his tales, was bashed apart at one dark corner of the room, its strings now a jungle of wire from a rotten wooden base, but even that was a relic of a bygone era when things were fine and life easy to live. Brykon had become too used to that life.But a darker memory insisted to be seen and forced its way to the forefront of his mind. In it, Brykon sat in a chair, flipping through the pages of a book late into the night before his intellectual sojourn was brought to an end by a piercing scream from the story above. Unhinged, Brykon’s muddied mind sent his feet into a fury as he traced his steps made two centuries before and bolted up the crumbling grand staircase into the second story of the manse and flew into the master bedroom. In reality all that greeted him was a vacant room with nothing but a mess of sooty trash strewn about, but in his mind he saw neatly arranged furniture that circled the draped columns of the kingly bed he shared with his wife at night. Her body was neatly splayed on the still-made bedsheets, but there was nothing beautiful to behold. Her mask’s mouthpiece was agape midshriek and her eyes bulged ghastly open, and her dainty little neckline was sliced open to let loose a cascade of blood from her arteries that drenched her body lengthwise with all the finesse of an architect’s most prized water fountain work.Brykon crumbled there, in reality as in his vision, and sobbed violently as he curled himself up on the doorjamb. He cursed himself past and present for his inability to see what was at work, to realize that he was never the one in danger but everything -- everything -- he held dear was only held hostage before him. His wife had been murdered and he was too blind to even know she was threatened. It was as if the assassin had known him well, known that she was his life, that the knife used to slay her just as well sliced his own neck simultaneously. With her died the Brykon that was.It took several weeks for him to come to terms with the heartess defeat he was cursed with, but in the end, disgraced, Brykon took everything he still cared for and delivered it to the only person he still felt he could trust, the only remaining piece of family he had, and bid goodbye to his old life. He was unworthy to watch over it, unfit to rule over it, and unable to protect it, to help it grow. He asked his brother to do it right before leaving into the sunset and night he would flounder in for two centuries. In that time, the manse had been burned into slag and thing he valued most had matured like a phoenix from the ashes, but Brykon still remained in the past, turning over time and time again with the uncomfortable truth that he had failed everything. He only hoped that what he loved last had become what he never was.So let it be decreedLet this music serve the deedLet it spread like a diseaseLet it spawn a noble seedHe clawed at the doorjamb, grabbed ahold of it and in a spurt of strength tore a chunk of the wall out as if he were uprooting a sapling. In blind rage he tossed it aside where the bed once stood and stormed off into the next room. The memory of his secret renewed his power as it always had, but this time at a cost. The visions were too familiar for him and in a state of madness Brykon charged at another wall and threw himself upon it before simply grabbing it and tearing it apart, then throwing it down the grand staircase. He gripped the bent and broken railings of the stairs and remembered how pretty those things were long ago. Everything... so beautiful. Blissful. Appreciated but not recognized. Mentally reaching out to everything around him tendrils from his mind seized the iron and steel in the house around him, and with just the twitch of his finger it all blew up in a cloud of dust, ash, rubble and wood. The metal around him folded on itself and flew to one side like a little tidal wave of solid destruction, leaving nothing unturned but the patch of floor he stood on. But even as the metal thudded to one side it yet writhed like a den of snakes gasping for oxygen, chaotic and without reason or rhythm as Brykon’s will still permeated the atoms.The quick scamper of a spy caught by surprise of the sudden eruptions got Brykon’s attention and he swiftly jumped down from the second level banister down into the foyer and landed on his feet, his enhanced mass shattering the stone floor under him as he murderously glowered to his sides in search of the mysterious spies. Hearing a noise he moved to the ballroom and followed the patter of footsteps just outside the wall in the exterior of the manse, then flew through the wall and snatched the spy like he was a bear and it was a fish, and like a bear he snapped the matoran’s neck effortlessly without even looking at his face and threw the broken corpse aside like trash. He returned to his dragon’s lair, into the recesses of his old manse, and stalked another informant.The second one was caught just as easily in the kitchen. That matoran backed up slowly as Brykon’s steps thumped up to him, and with cool, calculated rage Brykon seized the man and plunged a knife into his chest 37 times until his arm grew weary, then he swung him like a morningstar. His head exploded from the impact like a melon on the kitchen’s island and the body was tossed through the window into the charred forest outside and forgotten. Neither of the spies had screamed or asked for mercy, leaving Brykon still hankering for what he felt was revenge, a scream for a scream, a shout for a shout.A shout from without. Brykon moved in for the kill.But that matoran begged. He groveled. He was the last of them, he claimed, the third watched in the night. He would do anything to be spared. Brykon knew the type: The new guy, left to guard the rear because he was too green to be the point. The scream meant nothing to him in that context -- his wife was no intern -- but it sobered him enough to retain his senses. “Then go,” he commanded, “and tell your mistress Aurelia where you saw me. Tell her what I did. Tell her. How MUCH. I hate her. Tell her I look forward to seeing her again.”The matoran did not protest more than a doormouse before he scampered off in search of his mistress.Brykon turned to look at the facade of his old manse once again with bitter resentment in his heart. The electress and her associates would pay. That he swore to Antrim when the toa-protector beseeched the colonel to sin for him. But the layers in the lives of Brykon and Aurelia were still being developed and still nobody else knew the extent of all that had gone and gone wrong. But even so, Brykon would have his revenge. The Peers themselves were not his primary targets, though -- oh no -- just as he was not theirs. Instead everything they, in their blackest of hearts, held dear: Their plot, their plan, their schemes. That was his target. His revenge would be a terrible one indeed.He entered the manse one last time and collapsed in the foyer, mentally and physically exhausted from his ordeal.There's more than meets the eyeThere's more than meets the priceIf you can't see the sky there's too much artificial lightI can't predict my path, but they can't fully see my pastI'm running from the flash but heading straight inside the blastHe would see this through if it was the last thing he ever did. It was the least he owed to everything he loved. It was the most immoral thing to do; it was no high road he was taking and it was just a continuation of what he was after his wife's death, but it was how he felt he could distance himself from the failure he was before. Perhaps in the strength of passion he could pull is own weight from the well he was trapped in.A mountain full of ego built upon a heap of trashIs exactly what you get when you can't fully do the math.
This is not the right way.
But this is my way.
Posted Aug 16 2013 - 12:33 AM
[color=#8b4513;]The Toa of Iron shrugged, absentmindedly continuing to destroy and reform a small piece of metal between his thumb and forefinger. He had begun to do such things more and more frequently these days, possibly because of the complete lack of excitement in his life. His days of thievery were long gone, but there were times when he yearned for them and the wild emotions that came with them. Becoming an upstanding citizen did get the guards off his back, but it was incredibly boring.[/color]
[color=#8b4513;]He snapped his fingers together, the metal crumbling away. It had been long since he had seen a Kolhii game - so long that he didn't remember who was on top of the ladder anymore. Was it still Po-koro, or had Ga-koro snatched the position of greatest team away from them? Honestly, he didn't know if he should care.[/color]
[color=#8b4513;]But he wanted to; Kolhii had been an integral piece of his childhood.[/color]
[color=#8b4513;]"It's been longer than I think is usual," he said with a sigh. "My Po-koro beanie has been picking up dust for a while."[/color]
[color=#ff0000;]"So, you're watching the prisoner eh?" asked a cheery voice.[/color]
[color=#ff0000;]Slowly walking up the hallway was a crimson-armoured Toa, one whose armour was covered in scratches, revealing to those who encountered him his somewhat violent past. However, what most would notice first would not be his armour; in fact, most would usually notice the black eyepatch hanging over the right eye-hole of his Kanohi, blending in well with its dark red shades. This overall appearance seemed to make him out to be a dangerous man, which was a completely inaccurate description.[/color]
[color=#ff0000;]After all, no matter how much combat experience he possessed, Ril was still a bit of a moron.[/color]
[color=#ff0000;]"Roshinua, right?" he asked, holding a hand out for the Vortixx to shake. "Heard you're new, so I decided to say hello."[/color]
Edited by Content with Life, Aug 16 2013 - 12:33 AM.
Posted Aug 16 2013 - 01:03 AM
"It comes with the job," Halfimus explained, "I'm not paid enough to give anything outside quick flavour descriptions."
So pay me more AuRon.
Posted Aug 16 2013 - 03:20 AM
Posted Aug 17 2013 - 06:04 AM
Stronin smiled at his employee, patting the other Toa on the shoulder. He would really need to take Flaredrick out shopping one day; it was his duty as an employer to help out his employees, even if he actually had no idea how to shop either. It shouldn't be too difficult though - all he probably needed to do was to do the exact same thing as shop-lifting, only without leaving the store immediately and taking the time to pay the people in charge.
"Which team do you support? I'll help you buy a beanie."
Posted Aug 17 2013 - 07:54 PM
The fishes didn’t like the metal capsule that swam through them in the deep water.
It was too big, too strong, and too fast for their tastes. Something about its shape looked predatory in their lidless eyes, and the churned-up water in its wake was dangerous; many fish had nearly been sucked in and devoured by the capsule’s merciless, rotating fins. Schools of silver guppies parted for the gigantic mystery fish, giving it a wide berth as it plowed on through the sea. Sunlight, blue-green at this depth, bounced off the shell of the capsule.
The submarine stayed close to the sea floor, bashing every now and again through a reef. Every time this happened, the rough coral scratched against the smooth outside of the vehicle, and the shrill, prolonged noises of collision were amplified on the inside of the craft. Most of the crew of the submarine winced at the sound; only two, the one amidst all the pipes and levers and the one sitting in a niche of the cramped cabin, remained composed in the face of the noise. The others all pressed their palms to their ears and yelled at the one behind the valves.
“Stop it!” roared a particularly loud member of the uncomfortable ones from his seat along the wall, “Or I’ll come up there and tie your neck around one of those pipes!”
“Avak!” hissed another one between his teeth, his eyes squeezed shut and hands throttling the pole he sagged against. “Do you want to find out how quickly I can separate your jaw from your face?”
Avak, the one behind the pipes, scowled back and, for good measure, steered the sub into an even larger coral structure. The hull’s screams were even worse; all the complainers were reduced again to covering their ears and groaning. Even the one in the niche, previously unmoving, flinched at the cacophony; it was a strange flinch, one that seemed to happen simultaneously across his whole form. As the coral-on-hull screeching grew higher, his flinch became more pronounced, so much so that it seemed for an instant as though he was trying to leap out of his own body.
Immediately as the shrieking stopped, the flincher stood up and strode to Avak. All the rest of the crew, including Avak, watched wordlessly as he stepped over their maze of limbs - it was a small submarine, not big enough to hold all six of them comfortably - and onto the raised section of the cabin where Avak operated the submarine’s altitude and directional controls. One of the others, who had been leaning into a round portion of the wall, sat forward to get a better view; he smiled and sighed, as if settling in to watch an amusing Kolhii match.
A thick, L-shaped pipe stood in between Avak and the flincher, but this didn’t seem to faze the approaching being. Rather than moving around the solid pipe, the flincher approached through it as easily as though it had been air. When parts of his body touched the pipe, they seemed to disassemble momentarily into particles of dark dust, reforming again into his face, knees, torso, and shoulder once those body parts were clear of the pipe. It was as though the flincher was composed of fine sand, sand that had loosened momentarily to let the pipe sift through.
None of the others looked surprised by this, but Avak's wide mouth tilted a little. The flincher returned Avak's resentful gaze with his own impassive one; Avak looked away first. The flincher's face - and the rest of his body, for that matter - was subtly flickering, as though he was personally captured on a film infinitesimally grainier than the reality around him; it was difficult to watch for too long. The flincher's silence eventually cued Avak into speech.
"I'll stop once Reidak gives it back," he pouted, still avoiding looking into the flincher's face.
The one called Reidak, who had been sitting restlessly - his long corded legs had been splayed in an anxiously bouncing V - stood up hastily to answer Avak's accusation and banged his head on the underside of an equipment hook. The others guffawed, and the smiling one's grin only widened. Reidak turned on him and growled like an animal, seemingly none the worse for wear after his head injury. "Wipe that smirk off your face, Thok, or I'll-"
"You don't scare me, Reidak," Thok sneered. He rested on a bench between two crates of rations; in his lap was a large metal tool, at one end of which was a curved pickaxe. He leaned back into the wall again and resumed rubbing a whetstone needlessly along the weapon's sharp edge before continuing. "If I wanted to be shouted at by a Brakas in a cage, I would have visited the zoo."
The one who had threatened to make a bow tie out of Avak's neck cooed ironically. "Iceman can burn," he intoned softly, voice dripping with sarcasm.
"Hakann, Hakann," Thok shook his head sadly, his smile in place as always, though hardened. "Always attempting to undermine my clever-"
But Thok was interrupted by another terrible shriek. Avak had taken advantage of the distractions to steer the sub once more into a reef; the hull bounced and almost tipped this time, throwing Avak from his controls and forcing the others to grab on to any purchase they could find. Outside the submarine, a school of fish scattered, and a shark that had been tailing them darted away in frustration, narrowly avoiding being hit by the sub itself. The coral scraped the underside of the sub, slowing it, but momentum kept the vehicle moving forward nonetheless. Avak, slightly dazed from impact with the L-pipe, did not make it back to his controls in time to stop the submarine from sliding forward through the water and into a waiting chasm.
"Pull us back up!" Hakann shouted angrily as they began to plunge downward. His words were drowned by an anguished roar from Reidak, who hated confined spaces enough when they weren't sinking.
The rift in the ocean's surface was deep and sudden; through the reinforced crystal portholes of the submarine, everyone watched the water darken gradually as they clutched on for dear life. The one who leaned against a pole barely kept his throttling grip when Thok fell into him from above. The tip of Thok's sharp, now airborne weapon barely missed Hakann's hand as it embedded itself in his bench. General chaos ensued - dominated by shouted accusations, attempted blows that only destabilized the instigators, and Reidak's bestial wailing - and continued until the plummeting submarine landed on the sea surface at last. It hit the bottom with a soft thud in a cloud of disturbed sand. The blue-green sunlight was gone; outside, the ocean was only blackness. The lights on the inside of the submarine were bright as ever, and the portholes' yellow luminescence spilled out to reveal only the settling sand.
There was an instant of communal relief once the sub stopped falling, but a divided atmosphere returned almost immediately. The crew was about to start fighting once more, until a penetrating hiss silenced them all. The flincher, who was the only one already standing again, was the source of the hissing, and his red eyes moved deliberately from face to face, daring the others to speak. None of them accepted the challenge. Satisfied, the flincher wheeled on Avak, who was just pulling himself up from the floor, and grabbed him by the scruff of the neck. The flincher's fingers were all too solid, now; he lifted Avak roughly to his feet, holding him with both clawed hands.
"Pathetic," the flincher whispered in Avak's nervous face. His voice was unsettling; it sounded like a swarm of wasps buzzing in tandem, a thousand voices that didn't quite align. Despite himself, Avak shuddered. Those slowly shifting eyes stared calmly into him; the horrible voices continued. "A selfish pursuit of your own interests, a disregard for the well-being of your fellows," he said, voice raised to its normal volume. "These, Avak, I have come to expect from you. But at the risk of your own skin... I'll confess I am surprised, even impressed, by your... daring."
"Zaktan," Avak said as levelly as he could to the flincher, trying to pry Zaktan's hands off of him. "Reidak-"
"Stole one of your trinkets," Zaktan hissed back, his lips parting to reveal a humorless, serpentine leer as his hands tightened. "I know. And even though your little devices are your only friends, I never knew they meant this much. You could have broken the submarine's hull and killed us all, including yourself; did you mean to die in a desperate bid for revenge?"
"I knew what I was doing," Avak spat back. "I know this thing's limits; I'm the only one who knows how to operate it. We would have stayed level if Hakann hadn't distracted me-"
"You're going to try and blame me for this?" Hakann broke in, scornfully incredulous. "It's you who lost control of the sub."
"It's your fault we're down here, Avak," agreed the one pulling himself back up his pole. "I swear that I'll tear out your jaw-"
"Shut up, Vezok," Avak grunted. "Sheesh, haven't seen you this close to exploding since-"
"I'm not about to explode," Vezok said levelly, undermined in his claim by the steady wringing motions of his hands around the support pole and his clenched teeth.
"Vezok," Thok interjected, his voice reasonable and his face still a mask of enjoyment, "I'm sure you wouldn't agree with Hakann if you'd heard what he said about your marksmanship the other day-"
"-I... what? Thok!"
"You heard me! Terrible, he said-"
"I'll kill you!"
"Just wait for me to kill him!"
Reidak's deafening roar put an abrupt stop to the argument. His hackles were raised, his black spine flexing ominously. The others watched him cautiously; for all their bravado, they didn't want to provoke Reidak into one of his fits of destruction in an enclosed space. He collected himself quickly, though, and spoke calmly even as his clawed feet tapped the floor with excessive energy. "We need to get out of here."
"Give me my gun," Avak countered from behind Zaktan's grip, "And I'll be more than happy to pull us up out of this ditch. Smooth sailing, honest to karz. Just give it to me. Now."
"He can't," Hakann snarled dangerously, turning quickly on Reidak. "He pushed it out through the airlock yesterday. I covered for him."
"It was fun," Reidak growled back defiantly. "You enjoyed it, too."
"That isn't the point."
"I spent weeks on that gun," Avak sulked. "If he can't give it back, then I won't get us out. It's that simple. Unless somebody wants to shove him out the airlock, too, in which case we can be on our way."
"I volunteer," Thok grinned. "What do you say, Reidak? Nice, open space, the ocean-"
"Quiet," Zaktan hissed, and there was quiet. "Avak, you seem to think yourself in a position to negotiate what happens to this submarine."
"...Yes," Avak replied, though he gathered from Zaktan's tone that there was a card he'd forgotten. "I'm the only one who knows where the depth controls are."
"Correct," Zaktan assured him, buzzing sinisterly.
Zaktan's flickers became more pronounced as he let go of Avak with one hand. He stretched this out behind him, bending it towards the front end of the sub. There was a pile of items there; six Zamor launchers, crates and crates of spheres, and an assortment of other tools; Thok's pickaxe, still embedded in the bench, was the only one missing. On the top of the pile was a golden-colored weapon. As Zaktan's hand reached for it, this weapon dissolved into particles just as Zaktan himself had done when passing through the pipe earlier, only it didn't solidify immediately. The weapon, a cloud of golden dust, flew through the air like a swarm of locusts until it reached his hand. There, the weapon reformed, revealing itself to be a Three-Bladed Scissor, the prongs of which were now inches from Avak's throat.
Avak laughed, as if relieved. "You can't kill me, Zaktan," he said. "You'll never know how to get this sub moving again."
"We'll keep pressing buttons until one works," said Vezok, rolling his eyes.
"Who said anything about killing you?" Zaktan countered, ignoring Vezok's remark. "This is a small submarine, Avak. The controls are all localized to a region only a few bio square. Navigating requires you to be able to reach all of them, yes?" Avak, uncertain of the direction this was going, nodded. "Not a large space. In fact, I don't think your legs would be necessary for traversing it. It doesn't matter much to me if you keep them." The three scissor blades flexed like fingers as he moved the weapon down towards Avak's knees.
"Fine," Avak conceded. "Let me go, I'll get us moving." Zaktan obliged, and the six all returned to where they had been before the fall. Thok made a point of removing his pickaxe from the bench before Hakann sat; Reidak started pacing the tiny space, unable to stop moving; Vezok decided that the pole had not brought him much luck, and took to sitting on the floor instead; Avak returned to the jungle of valves and dials, flicking a few to check their pressure; Zaktan returned to his shady niche.
The submarine started moving upwards. A second later, it lurched back downwards, as if pushed deeper by a strong current.
"Up is that way," Hakann said to Avak as he pointed with one finger.
"That wasn't me," Avak murmured.
Something thudded against the side of the submarine.
"What is that?" groaned Vezok.
One of the port holes was completely obscured by what looked like the sucker of a squid's tentacle.
The Piraka weren't having a good day.
Edited by Nuju Metru, Dec 29 2013 - 10:43 PM.
Posted Aug 19 2013 - 01:02 PM
The Lavapool Inn was, as per usual, busy as a Rama hive, noisy as a Le-Koran band, ostentatious as the famed Dorian Shaddix's scarf, and stank of spilled alcohol (mostly the fault of the new bartender, who was trying to get fancy with the shaker and failing miserably) and the fetid products of too much alcohol consumed.
Caerus wrinkled his nose in distaste. A wretched hive of scum and villainy. Or- perhaps not villainy. None of the trash in here could possibly be deluded enough to call themselves villains. Here cavorted the vagabonds and crooks and thieves and mercs and conmen, with a sprinkling of ordinary men and women.
The Onu-Matoran smiled. Ordinary people. How quaint.
He was here to meet someone quite a bit less than ordinary. How extraordinary he was depended on who you talked to: the man himself, as far as Caerus could tell, believed himself to be some sort of Skakdi god reborn, Mata Nui's ultimate gift to both women and the island in general. Regardless of his divine status, he was a renowned mercenary, and that was all Caerus needed.
Posted Aug 19 2013 - 02:08 PM
[color=#8b4513;]Didn't you miss me? Yep, thought so. You can't see it, but I'm smiling over here. Blushing, even; your flattery is overwhelming, oh-too-kind, and entirely necessary given who it's directed at. Magical me. [/color]
[color=#8b4513;]Devotees of the Legend of Grokk will be wondering how I got out of the clutches of the great tense-confuser, Sue, and her collection of nutritious vegetables. You may recall that my most private mind (private, who am I kidding? You're all privy to VIP tours, like, right now) was being invaded most rudely. I was in a tizzy, untizzy I remembered my paper clip, chewing gum, Flipping Fusa, paper airplane, and the importance of using unrelated brute force. Needless to say, I got out alive, because here I am, talking to you... Nah nah, wait, don't stand up. I swear I won't go back into that weird metaphysical contemplation of my narrative style. Sit down; yeah, you. Now. Onto the real stor- Listen, skipper, I've got my eye on you, don't try leaving again. Stay. Good boy. [/color]
[color=#8b4513;]So here I was, standing outside the Lavapool Inn, that hub of all hubs, the place that couldn't hold onto its bartenders for more than a few days - I take partial responsibility; whenever I went in, I made sure to steal a few widgets so the guy wouldn't have even balances come closing time - and was, despite its name, almost never used for its housing capacities. The Lavapool was a famous stop-and-shop for mercs and moneybags; I was there as merchandise. I'd been invited to a blind date. I just had a name to go on to find my new employer: Caerus... Care us... Bear bus... Share pus... I'd think of something. [/color]
[color=#8b4513;]One of my feet opened the door saloon-style; the wooden doors slapped two bystanders in the tushies, and I'm pretty sure I fractured some of the woodwork. Third time I'd damaged the Lavapool door; I tried to do so every time I went in. Only failed once, that time when I came in through the bathroom window on a very important cutlery theft operation. It was only the spoon that kept me alive. That's not the point. I entered the bar in my typical fashion and drew very few looks. Most people in here were, unfortunately, accustomed to that kind of thing. I hate it when I lose shock value; it was unfortunate so many of these guys knew me. [/color]
[color=#8b4513;]"Hey, Bovine," I said, punching a tall Vortixx who I recognized on the shoulder. "How's life? How's business?"[/color]
[color=#8b4513;]"It's Bovoz," she frowned back. "And my business is none of yours, Grokk."[/color]
[color=#8b4513;]"We-ell, sue me for caring," I shrugged. The tempers on some people, touchy touchy... "Listen, I'm looking for somebody here. Do you know a Caerus, Bovine?"[/color]
[color=#8b4513;]"If I did, I wouldn't tell you." Her hand got close to her holster. That didn't worry me; I snatched it away and immediately twirled the much taller Vortixx like a dance partner. It was only once I'd expertly dipped her that she realized what had happened; seeing the dawning rage on her face, I let go, and she fell the short way to the floor. "Grokk!" she seethed. [/color]
[color=#8b4513;]One of her buddies laughed, and I laughed jovially with him. "You need some dance classes, Bovine," I winked down to her. "Your footwork is sloppy."[/color]
[color=#8b4513;]I patted her on the shoulder as she sat up and continued onto the bar. The bartender, a nervous-looking little Toa, approached me as I took a stool. "What would you like, sir?" he asked in a wavering voice. I love being scary. It's all in the dental hygiene.[/color]
[color=#8b4513;]"Gimme four coconuts," I replied. A familiar face next to me caught my eye. It was a rugged-looking Toa, drinking himself into a stupor... with a straw. Who does that (aside from me)? "Twinkletoes!" I cried, attracting his attention. "Long time, no see buddy. You sure are downing them over there."[/color]
[color=#8b4513;]"...Grug," he murmured back, putting his glass down with uncertain coordination and swaying on his stool. I started to spin on mine as he tried to rediscover the use of language. Every revolution, my head would watch him as long as it could whilst atop my rotating body, snapping back around finally when it couldn't train on him anymore. "...You... Grug, you look... Like..."[/color]
[color=#8b4513;]"Like a top!" I prompted, watching him sway even worse as his drunken eyes tried to follow my dizzying movement. "And it's Grokk. With a K-K. But no third K, I've gotten that mistake before."[/color]
[color=#8b4513;]"Only once you tell me if you know who Caerus is," I sang back. Before he could answer, he'd fallen into the bar in misery, sending his straw rolling over the edge of the counter. "Guess that's a no...?" I smiled encouragingly. "Rest up, twiddlethumbs. You look like you need it."[/color]
[color=#8b4513;]The bartender returned and handed me my four coconuts. I stared at them for a long moment, then looked incredulously at the bartender, a scowl growing on my face. He shied backwards as I picked up the first coconut. I threw them all at him, punctuating my words with the splattering impacts. "I..." splat. "Asked for..." splat. "Five..." splat. "Coconuts!" splat. He ran away down the bar, covered in coconut juices. My facade of anger broke; I couldn't stop myself from giggling. I reached over the bar and filled my own glass with[/color][color=#8b4513;]... [/color][color=#8b4513;]Don't worry, kids, it was only fruit punch. [/color]
[color=#8b4513;]I decided, though, that I'd had enough of playing around. It was time for business. I stood up on the bar next to twiddlethumbs' slouched-over body, and called out to the pub, gesturing with my slopping cup. "Who is Caerus?"[/color]
Posted Aug 19 2013 - 02:19 PM
IC: [font="'lucida sans unicode', 'lucida grande', sans-serif;"]You think you know me. [/font]
[font="'lucida sans unicode', 'lucida grande', sans-serif;"]Don't lie. After all, liars never prosper. By reciting that particular proverb, I mean that no one in this esteemed gentleman's company of which I possess the sufficient dignity and etiquette to call myself a member is ever going to be "prosperous", thank you very much and have a nice day. My Skakdi brothers are always diligently working to ensure the destruction of their colleagues. As I recall, sapients have been trying to kill each other since the beginning of time. There's no evidence proving those efforts futile nor unworthy of continuation. Oh, wait, you wanted a rationale for why this "stuff happens?" Well, excuse me, Mr. and Mrs. Bleeding Heart, did you seriously think that life was all pilous little lagomorphs, arcs of GORGEOUS multi-colored light ending in vessels of precious metal, and upturned facial expressions? I'm for real. No amount of so-called "pacifism" matters and neither do you. But I digress.[/font]
[font="'lucida sans unicode', 'lucida grande', sans-serif;"]Excuse my loquaciousness, I'm getting ahead of myself.[/font]
[font="'lucida sans unicode', 'lucida grande', sans-serif;"]Hi, my name is Reidak. You are now beginning my much-acclaimed introductory class to life, which has been so helpfully titled "The Way the World Works 101." Let's get to it.[/font]
[font="'lucida sans unicode', 'lucida grande', sans-serif;"]Back to where we started.[/font]
[font="'lucida sans unicode', 'lucida grande', sans-serif;"]Everyone has his or her personal understanding of my violent and impulsive tendencies and traits. Monumentally, the group that fails to come to a consensus on how to pilot a submarine to its destination can reach a near-unanimous assessment of me. Hakann thinks me to merely be a dim-witted thug. Vezok believes I am a harmless brute. Thok considers me a means to an end. Avak labels me a mindless phenomenon of destruction. And Zaktan...Well, no one has an exact idea of Zaktan's thoughts, for all Thok's bluster, but he certainly doesn't consider me a threat. I am either viewed as a useful brute or a bringer of destruction to inanimate objects, but in all cases, I am considered harmless.[/font]
[font="'lucida sans unicode', 'lucida grande', sans-serif;"]They are wrong.[/font]
[font="'lucida sans unicode', 'lucida grande', sans-serif;"]Especially Hakann, who is currently grasping my torso and snickering. I whirl around to knock out a few of his ugly teeth at the crude joke, but his inherent coward's haste allows him to fling me away before damage can be done. Avak sneers and taps a few buttons simultaneously. While dumb and dumber take their romantic moment to high-five, dumbest makes itself known: the door in the wall of the submarine opens to allow my body to barrel into the airlock. The door slams shut with a dual shout of "HASTA LA VISTA, SUUUCKER~!", while the hatch opens. [/font]
[font="'lucida sans unicode', 'lucida grande', sans-serif;"]The result of this sequence of systematic betrayal is that I am left stranded outside the submarine under the weight of an abyss and in the suffocating fluid of said abyss while a titanic tentacle happily cracks about to clutch me.[/font]
[font="'lucida sans unicode', 'lucida grande', sans-serif;"]And so Reidak, imploded by the intense pressure and drowned by the surrounding water, perished and was consumed by the Kraken. In this jar of its fecal matter you might see the remains of his mangled body. This memorial plaque, so graciously donated by his fellow Piraka, forever reads in his honor: "Here lies Reidak. He destroyed objects and died impatient." There is no more left of the Tracer in this world.[/font]
[font="'lucida sans unicode', 'lucida grande', sans-serif;"]Hahaha...No.[/font]
[font="'lucida sans unicode', 'lucida grande', sans-serif;"]You see, that end isn't possible. I'm not going to die. The world doesn't work that way.[/font]
[font="'lucida sans unicode', 'lucida grande', sans-serif;"]"What is the way in which the world works, Mr. Reidak?" Oh, it's simple enough. But you have to take a step back and look at the big picture to find the answer. Comprehending the world's composition first will allow you to draw some crucial conclusions as to its turning. Now, after a lengthy duration of extensive scientific analysis and eons of philosophical pondering over all available evidence, I have been able to reduced what the world is comprised of to exactly two substances: cark and more cark. People pop out of creation bright as a bulb and go into Karzhani as fractured souls because they fundamentally can't handle that part of its nature. Those who haven't yet gone through the second stage of the process are simply smart enough to see mortality for what it is and forestall the falling of its knife.[/font]
[font="'lucida sans unicode', 'lucida grande', sans-serif;"]In reality, though, none of them see it. No one really looks at their little selves for what they actually are. Everyone believes in somebody. Everyone wants to think he or she is the guy behind the machine and that everyone else is simply a cog in the system, each one just a tad more helpful or troublesome than others. Not so. I look at this world and what do I see but a bunch of scheming imbeciles who couldn't tie their own shoes for cark. You wanna control something, hun? Drop that freaking ego and open your eyes. There isn't some grand manipulator pushing our buttons and pulling life's levers and there never will be.[/font]
[font="'lucida sans unicode', 'lucida grande', sans-serif;"]Order is, simply put, pointless. Arts, music, philosophy--oh, the humanity! Spare me the agony. "Civilization's hobbies" don't give you strength or intelligence. Civilization itself has never done anything and never will. Don't believe me? Dump a couple dozen of its Matoran proponents on an island with no food and watch as "law and order" goes to karzhani. Societal conventions don't do dung in the long run. The Piraka are living proof of that. In life, chaos rules supreme. [/font]
[font="'lucida sans unicode', 'lucida grande', sans-serif;"]So what, exactly, is life ruled by chaos? It's the struggle for survival. The strong vs. the weak. Rahi aren't the only things that will eat each other alive. See, sapients have been trying to kill themselves off since the beginning of time. Why else would we continue to improve our weapons from stones and bows to guns and swords but to ensure that ours are better than those of the next guy? Everyone wants to live so much that they'll do anything for continued existence. Crimes are committed for life, not against it, because in eliminating competitors with deaths and arming oneself with resources one makes the fight easier. And even the people most desirous of their own deaths will be criminals if it means life The Toa most devoted to the stupid code of that race will fight to kill when cornered. The greatest of all of the attention-grabbing suicidal Matoran will take the life of another if it means he gets another day of angst. On one level, everyone gets the world that way. Conflict just reminds people of that level. [/font]
[font="'lucida sans unicode', 'lucida grande', sans-serif;"]But while people get glimpses of what life is about, no one gets it. Even the Piraka don't understand the big picture and they're all on that base level. All stagnate on that stage as mere schemers of mice and men trying to eke out a meager existence of attempted control of what can't be controlled. All don't want anything to change and everything to go their way. No, the truth is, life isn't simply about an endless cycle of death. It's about ensuring one doesn't die. After all, as we've established, all crimes are committed in the name of life. All the cogs turning in this system are working to grind something out of the blood and offal of one thousand beings. That product is the man who can't die. The visionary who sees that life is conflict and conflict is life, yet knows enough to ensure he doesn't put conflict first. The philosopher who sees past the dreams and plots of thousands to live without any of those false promises of control. The victor who isn't content with victory and grows for his true experience into a form that surpasses all others. That is what life is--[/font]
[font="'lucida sans unicode', 'lucida grande', sans-serif;"]Excuse me, but I think my reality check just bounced.[/font]
[font="'lucida sans unicode', 'lucida grande', sans-serif;"]That tentacle is coming fast. I roll the mental bones as the pressure inverts my armor and my last breath's air begins to dissipate. Thankfully, I left my weapons inside the submersible, so it's down to hand-to-hand. The die's sides keep that in mind. And the results aren't disappointing. As the appendage makes its swing, I kick back and bring my head down to chomp on its side. I gnaw slightly, flicking the suction cup with my tongue.[/font]
[font="'lucida sans unicode', 'lucida grande', sans-serif;"]Mm. Tastes like chicken. I loosen my grip as the kraken vellicates, withdrawing, then I lunge again and bring my pearly whites through its external covering and muscle to bite clean through the tentacle with a satisfying crunch. The next twitch slams me clean against the submarine. Yet I start to chew. The beast may be flipping its shot, Hakann and Avak may be total dolts, and I've got the weight of the ocean on my shoulders, but cark if I'm not gonna get me some lunch.[/font]
[font="'lucida sans unicode', 'lucida grande', sans-serif;"]Its tentacles whip at me in a blur that leaves me caught totally in its grip. I flail, but evidently, my appendages and trunk are totally encircled by its suckers. Shame, too. I was just about to obtain dinner. Oh well. I suppose next number on Reidak's agenda for the day is "be dragged into the depths of the abyss by giant tentacle-monster."[/font]
[font="'lucida sans unicode', 'lucida grande', sans-serif;"]Karzhani if I'm scared, though. You remember the way the world works, yeah? The struggle for survival. The strong vs. the weak. The fight for life and the man who will live it like no other man. [/font]
[font="'lucida sans unicode', 'lucida grande', sans-serif;"]Well, guess what? I am that man. I'm not the strongest merely because I have more physical power than the rest of the Piraka combined. I'm the strongest because I change. I adapt. It's in my power as well as my thought. When I'm defeated in any way, I come back better. I was played for a fool by Avak and Hakann when they threw me to the fishes. So what? My body's already acclimating to the abyss, giving me lungs that don't need breath, and I was never one weak to pressure. I'm not the one trapped in the stinking cycle who will just die to things that kill people. I'm the one beyond it. I'm the one whose seen it for what it is and transcended that. You think your conventions will save you? The only thing that can save anyone is the power to evolve, to grow where everyone shrivels and to be better than the machine always trying to grind you into the dirt you came from. Thok's schemes and Avak's toys are both worthless because they don't have the power to adapt to chaos. And chaos is life. So I will live in an upward spiral of evolution, always surpassing that truth with my sheer ferocity. I am the eternal man and the one who is become a god.[/font]
[font="'lucida sans unicode', 'lucida grande', sans-serif;"]Thus, the other Piraka are universally wrong in their assessment of me. It is true that I am not a threat. It is true that I am an impatient, crude, and destructive man. But my impatience is only derived from my eagerness to evolve and be a greater being. My crudeness only sprouts from my adherence to the fundamental truths in life instead of honeyed words. And my destructive tendencies are solely the culmination of my killing of that which is beneath me. The fact of the matter is that I don't die, I just come back better. So I don't need to plot or manipulate or otherwise engage in the intrigue of the other Piraka to not be harmless. I'll simply outlast them. And one day, when their enfeebled bodies kneel at my feet, begging for mercy, I'll look down and whisper "No." To be frank, I'm not a Piraka as my job, just for the warmup exercise to the rest of eternity. So I am above the petty activities of the weak...I frakking know that with all the gloriously adaptive fibers of my body, even as the beast drags me into its gaping maw. So I smile as I am tossed down its gullet. For I am the strong.[/font]
[font="'lucida sans unicode', 'lucida grande', sans-serif;"]You think you know me.[/font]
Edited by Iskandar, Aug 19 2013 - 02:39 PM.
Posted Aug 19 2013 - 02:45 PM
A black Onu-Matoran lazily held up two fingers from a table in the corner, his casual demeanour expertly masking his surprise and shock at realizing that this swaggering, trigger-happy piraka was actually the professional mercenary he'd heard so much about.
It was difficult to surprise Caerus Valli. Grokk should be proud - if he ever found out, that was. Which he wouldn't.
"That would be me," he said.
He gestured to the empty seat across from him, taking a swig from his glass as he did so. In reality, little of the alcohol passed his teeth: the Matoran liked to keep a sharp mind when dealing with underlings. When dealing with anyone, for that matter. But this Skakdi... Caerus had a feeling he would be more thankful than ever to have his wits about him in the upcoming conversation. When dealing with destructive individuals, it was best to keep a clear head.
He couldn't count on this mercenary to keep one, after all. One wrong move, and he might find himself halfway through that wall.
That made him want a drink.
"Take a seat."
Posted Aug 19 2013 - 03:18 PM
[color=#8b4513;]My employer-to-be was a little guy. I could roll with that. While the noise in the Inn resumed, I swaggered over to his corner booth and bounced in, sliding my mug across the table with one hand and catching it deftly with the other just before it reached the edge, where it would have spilled into his lap. I took a sec to look at the Onu-Matoran. He was a scruffy tyke, with these green eyes that tried to pierce into my soul. Good luck with that, I haven't got one. As I took a swig of my drink, set it down, and smiled fully at him, showing off my gold tooth, I didn't break eye contact once. It was only once I'd smacked my lips that I looked up at the ceiling. [/color]
[color=#8b4513;]"I've always liked the paneling up there," I informed him with all the air of somebody remarking on a piece of fine art. "It stays pretty, because it's too far away for me to punch." My eyeballs felt hot for a second, and then the panel above me cracked apart, raining little bamboo splinters on us. I'd been smart enough to cover the opening of both our glasses with my palms. My smile only grew wider; I removed my booze protection after he'd shaken the little pieces off his head, and took another swig from my own beverage. Remember kids, drink your fruit punch in moderation. Do as I say, not as I do. "Guess I never tried too hard to reach it, before now," I shrugged as I licked my lips. [/color]
[color=#8b4513;]"You are Grokk?" he asked me, though it sounded more like a statement. [/color]
[color=#8b4513;]"The one and only," I assured him, leaning back in the booth and trying to swing my feet onto the table. It was too cramped, so I settled for resting my knees against the table's lip. "Master merc, flawless shot, experienced assassin, freelance poet, aspiring taxidermist. You must be Caerus. Do you mind if I call you Carrie? How about Care-bear?"[/color]
[color=#8b4513;]"I'd prefer Caerus."[/color]
[color=#8b4513;]"Carrie it is. So, Carrie, our mutual friend has informed me you're looking for a little help on a job. What sorta job are we talking?"[/color]
Posted Aug 19 2013 - 05:20 PM
[color=#8b4513;]IC: Pop quiz, junior tinkerers. Who is the only man on this submarine full of lugnuts who can: A. Push buttons! B. Pull triggers! C. Invent a coffin that will kill you, roll you inside it, and seal itself in the ground all before you even realize you're dead! [/color]
[color=#8b4513;]D. All the frickin' above! Avak, at your service. Have you ever needed something built that someone told you was impossible? Did they say that what you wanted was cool and all, but that there was no one around who could assemble a prototype, let alone a fully functional, beautiful little symphony of turning gears, of woven metal, of love and affection welded and worked into every square inch of the gadget your little heart just can't help but pick up in pace for? Have you ever believed them?[/color]
[color=#8b4513;]If the answer to any of these is yes, then let me hit you with a second quiz.[/color]
[color=#8b4513;]A. Are you stupid. (!)[/color]
[color=#8b4513;]B. Do you knowingly associate, or have you knowingly associated in the past, with stupid people. (!)[/color]
[color=#8b4513;]C. Are you a first time mechanic who has never had the chops or the luck to cross my path? (! ! !)[/color]
[color=#8b4513;]That quiz is going to be self-graded. I think you'll do just fine.[/color]
[color=#8b4513;]My shtick on this team isn't unleashing my juggernaut-level strength on innocent, non-sapient objects, like Reidak; it isn't playing mind games to tinker with the heads of the others until they're left with no viable alternative but to tear into innocent, non-sapient objects, like Thok; it isn't to smirk and grin and say scary things in a low voice to feel powerful like Hakann or to sit around and swear that he's not angry even as he crushes something's bones in his grip like Vezok or do...whatever...it is that Zaktan does. Freak.[/color]
[color=#8b4513;]Like I said, I'm Avak: I'm a different kind of tinkerer. [/color]
six five of us are standing in, using for support, everything keeping us alive in this admittedly tight little submarine was something that owes its life to me. From the rivets in the hull to the control panel to the pipes and L-bars and niches these ungrateful twonks are using to keep themselves from being sucked into the black pressureless void of the ocean floor, that's all me. The mounted turrets we deploy, the explosive caps we wire together, the little electronic helpers I used to wind up and help me do menial tasks now and again (before Thok thought that it'd be funny to rewire so they tried to smother me with my own pillow in the dead of night)...most, if not all, of the Piraka's technological advantages are prime product of my third, less publicized vision power: vision of the future.[/color]
[color=#8b4513;]Bear with me here. Some people are naturally gifted with seeing things that aren't there, but could be, like schizophrenics or priests or germaphobes. They have a peculiar, innate potential to do things with that sight, but instead they sit around and wail and moan about how everything sucks and they're being treated unfairly - and, in the case of the schizophrenic, someone gets mauled once in awhile. I have a bit more...finesse...than that; I see the things that could be there, and then I bring my hands out from behind my back and I put them there.[/color]
[color=#8b4513;]Welcome to the Church of Avak: it's a little bit of steam and a whole lot of punk.[/color]
[color=#8b4513;]It also happens to be, even as things go with the Piraka, a pretty thankless job; when the team gets in a fight of any sort, even between ourselves, my inventions and I get all the credit for every loss and zero for every win. My pet projects are generally stillborn, not out of any sort of mechanical failings but mainly just because the others think it's fun to stick a bunch of foreign objects into spinning gears and watch how they start to smoke and then explode outwards in every direction.[/color]
[color=#8b4513;]Like my gun. [/color]
[color=#8b4513;]One of my latest little experiments was a gun that I'd managed to fit around my forearm, with a little joystick that extended out to fit in my palm and a button on top that I could use to spin the gun. Six barrels, air-cooled, up to a hundred twenty rounds a minute if you can feed enough bullets in...the closest thing the world has yet to a full blown personal machine gun. I was practically chomping at the bit, from the moment the concept became an actual concept and not just little fine threads of ideas in my brain, to put it together and test it out in a combat situation, to hear the ratatatatata of the barrels spinning and the bullets whipping and the people falling; it was the thought that ate up every waking moment I didn't spend devoted to this little submarine (guess how much gratitude I got for that one!) and keeping one of the other Piraka from sabotaging my work in progress during occasional moments of downtime. So what happened, you ask, to this little be all end all of firearms? Where did I go wrong in my constant diligence? Ask the airlock. And Reidak.[/color]
[color=#8b4513;]Oh, wait, you can't ask Reidak. Why not? Let me tell you. It fits rather well into the next part of the story anyway.[/color]
[color=#8b4513;]The squid pounded hard against the edge of the sub, and my baby cried out in a pain that wrenched my heart just as the tentacle wrenched against her metal; Reidak roared at the thing, practically rubbing sandpaper against my already burnt-and-frizzled nerves; Hakann and I spared a glance at each other and then at Zaktan, standing with an unnerving stillness and observing the creature's extra appendage through the bleak gaze offered by the porthole. Thok sat still, holding his ears but tapping his foot and looking generally relaxed, with a knowing smirk almost like he'd bribed the Kraken to pull this little stunt, and Vezok watched it apprehensively, fists clenching and unclenching like he wanted to punch its lights out. All the while the sea beast hammered away, and the banging of the submarine around us and under us echoed with the dull beat of a heart underneath a stethoscope. Clearly, it had been disturbed from some kind of rest by my machine - how was I supposed to know what was hanging out in these waters? - and clearly it had woken up a bit peckish.[/color]
[color=#8b4513;]Well, speaking from a purely tactical standpoint, Reidak was the meatiest of us, so the decision wouldn't have been that hard even if he hadn't stolen my gun. As it stands, well...I won't deny that a bit of personal prejudice wiggled its way into my thinker, but for the most part - from the moment that I turned away from the control panel and let the sub chart its own course for a couple seconds and motioned for Hakann to do his thing, to the moment I pressed three buttons in tandem to open up the hatch with Reidak leaning against it, to the moment it closed again - I was totally calm and rational. Then I let myself grin. Then I chuckled. Then I began to guffaw to myself as I pictured Reidak getting constricted and then ingested. Maybe, just maybe, he'd see my gun before he went and use it to off himself. That'd be sweet justice, even if it's a bit too merciful for me. No, if I had Reidak in my clutches, half beaten to death and unable to move, I'd create a nice little body harness with a variety of spindly little arms and drills that just bored into him like--[/color]
[color=#8b4513;]No time to fantasize, Avak. Now is the time for action.[/color]
[color=#8b4513;]With Reidak out of the way, dreams of revenge sated for the time being, and the Kraken somehow having its entire attention drawn away by the Skakdi-shaped vessel of pure oblivion no doubt pounding away at it as we spoke, my hands flitted over the controls like little locusts, spreading across a flesh plain of grass and making it their own in seconds. The sub lurched upwards again with a jump that send Hakann sprawling, and I allowed myself a quick, casual smirk at his expense as he growled and spat a low curse at my back. Slowly, though, the machine's direction and movements became more steady, and as comfortable as they were going to get all ride. Color returned slowly, kind of like the fading kaleidoscope of sights that come to you as you break out of a long bout of unconsciousness. I was no oceanographer - none of the Piraka were, aside from dearly departed Reidak, who no doubt was going through quite the crash course on our behalf - but even I could notice the slow slippage of the inky black water on our vessel, replaced first by a deep navy (yes, there is a difference) and then a gradual lightening of the water color.[/color]
[color=#8b4513;]No one said a word throughout the light show; as a matter of fact, aside from Hakann's explicit little slip, none of us had really said anything after Reidak had been chucked out of the back of the submarine. I doubted that anyone was exactly eulogizing our brutish "comrade," and as a matter of fact I was pretty sure that a couple people were already picturing toasting his final fate as a skeleton, stuck to a rogue piece of cartilage somewhere inside the Kraken, but the silence after his ejection was like a blanket, except it was the kind of blanket that was wrapped painfully and annoyingly tight around you, like it was trying to suffocate you rather than offer any comfort. No one made any jokes about fish, no one said a word; after a couple seconds I got the idea that maybe they were just nauseous, and that any sort of sudden movement of the jaws might coat the floor in a semi-solid layer of Skakdi puke and anything overly stupid my remaining fellows had to say.[/color]
[color=#8b4513;]After a while the water was light enough that I knew we were close to reaching the surface, and had left any sort of truly Rahi that were truly dangerous to the sub and to us - aka, Reidak and any rogue fishies he'd managed to befriend before his doom - behind. The Piraka looked around at each other, sharing rare glances and slow shrugs of relief, with the exception of Zaktan, who stared pensively outside the porthole into the teal water that still enveloped the bottom half of the sub. The waves lapped away at the porthole softly, like dogs testing a biscuit's flavor before they chowed down. Slowly, Zaktan's gaze turned back over to me and his scissor flicked upwards like he was trying to use it as a makeshift fan.[/color]
[color=#006400;]"Avak, stick your head up. Tell me what you see."[/color]
[color=#8b4513;]"S-stick my head up?" I asked, slightly unsure of the query. I mean, sure, I wouldn't drown, but if there was some shark or something and I couldn't wiggle my head out of the porthole fast enough, then my hands wouldn't do a lot of good tinkering if they didn't have a brain to give them ideas. Zaktan's tone made me...nervous. It always had, but moreso now; was this his idea of making an example out of me for what we did to Reidak? Was I being led to my death up here? Suddenly, the idea that the Kraken had been deliberately set up wasn't as far-fetched as it had been twenty minutes before. Zaktan wouldn't, though. I was too inventive. Yes, okay, a little bit of a loose cannon: maybe a smidge insecure, hard to control, obsessed with my work, but what true artist wasn't? I'd often heard it whispered from the others that I was Zaktan's weakest link, which in a sense was true, but what's more is I was arguably his greatest asset, a walking repository of ideas and what to do with them. [/color]
[color=#006400;]"Yes, Avak," [/color][color=#8b4513;]Zaktan reiterated, with the smooth assurance of a bred and true psychopath, [/color][color=#006400;]"stick your head up. Before I decide you're taking too long and I do it for you myself."[/color]
[color=#8b4513;]Thok smirked to himself and made a halfhearted effort to cover it with the back of one hand, and finally I blew a bit of air out of my mouth, put my hands up placatingly, and walked over to the hatch on top, spinning the wheel tenderly and muttering words of comfort to the sub as it popped open. My hands slid nimbly across the lip of the hatch with the grace of a born inventor and I pulled up, sticking my head and the tips of my shoulders out and spinning slowly in all directions. No shark took off my head, which was good; I didn't see any trace of a squid or even some sort of weird electric fish that had the potential to zap me and send me falling through the hatch a charred, burnt up body. No, just blue, soft waves of blue, everywhere, and...and...[/color]
[color=#8b4513;]Land. The waves licked at a shoreline just inside my line of sight much as they had licked at the submarine, and I had to squint to see that yes, it wasn't an illusion at all. It was an island.[/color]
[color=#8b4513;]An island. A whole new spit of land full of things to break everywhere. Reidak would have been overjoyed to see this. [/color]
[color=#8b4513;]"Zaktan," I called down to the Piraka's leader below, "you're gonna want to see this."[/color]
Edited by Aegon Targaryen, Aug 19 2013 - 06:43 PM.
and again, pathetic confusion.
dorian, you aint changed.
Posted Aug 19 2013 - 06:04 PM
Caerus kept his eyes on Grokk, refusing to be the first to drop eye contact. Even as he brushed the splinters and wood shavings from his head, he kept his cool. This was just a ruffian trying to bully him down. At the end of the day, the Skakdi was a merc, someone who could only afford food and water by putting his life on the line, while Caerus was a businessman living in luxury. He would not be intimidated.
"False names," he grinned, raising his glass. "Good idea. I'm Carrie. I'll call you Kittens." He took a long drink, letting the ice cubes numb his lips, then set the glass down among the wood chips and dust, only slightly less full than it had been before.
"So, Kittens. I hear you're the best in the business."
It was here that the Skakdi visibly swelled, as though he had a gland problem activated by the stroking of his ego.
"It's good then, that I've met you, because I have a job I can only trust the best to do. Your run-of-the-mill merc probably wouldn't even take this on... but you're not ordinary, are you?"
Reaching inside his jacket, the Matoran withdrew a tablet, upon which were inscribed five words.
"Here's your target, if you think you can handle it."
He slid it across the table, carving a path through the debris of what had once been the panelling on the ceiling. Grokk lazily snatched it up, his eyes flickering across the stone.
Kethrye: Leader of the ILF.
Posted Aug 19 2013 - 06:06 PM
Tarpo had been hired for a job in Ta-Koro, nothing new, probably lava-farming. He walked to the address he had been mailed by his employer, knocked on the door and nervously waited. Paranoid as always, he suspected a trap.
OOC: That's directed at you err, Name, I guess. Sorry it took so long. Also if the Piraka need someone to spread the fear of them throughout the land (obviously without killing or maiming said someone) I volunteer Tarpo.
Edited by ToaKapura1234, Aug 19 2013 - 06:09 PM.
Posted Aug 19 2013 - 07:35 PM
[color=#006400;]IC:Zaktan didn't ask Avak to move out of his way. Instead, his body dissolved into a green and gold cloud of swirling Protodites and surged upwards like a swarm of bees. Zaktan's particles flew through the porthole, passing gracelessly around Avak, battering him; as the mechanic Piraka tried to swat Zaktan's Protodites away, he lost grip of the ladder and fell into the submarine, his lower back striking with an unpleasant crackle on a waiting pipe. Avak groaned, but that didn't slow Zaktan down. [/color]
[color=#006400;]Once he had passed through the aperture and into the salty air, Zaktan reformed soundlessly upon the wet, sun-soaking back of the submarine. Avak had not been mistaken; clear upon the horizon was a dark patch clung to by telltale clouds. It was undoubtedly land, an island, and it looked large enough to support plentiful life. Most likely, this was the place. Zaktan squinted in the face of the sea breezes and folded his arms as he looked across the surface of the ocean at the distant land. At full speed, their vessel could reach the island within a few hours. [/color]
[color=#006400;]Zaktan could hear commotion and the sounds of feet on rungs below him. As he had expected, Avak was not the first one to the surface; having exclaimed that Zaktan needed to see something, and having then fallen unceremoniously back into the sub, he had arisen considerable curiosity in the other Piraka, who had considerable cabin fever to boot. Avak tried to get back up; Hakann stepped on his face, pinning him to the floor of the submarine, and made for the ladder himself. Vezok and Hakann subsequently quarreled about who would get to ascend first; a shoving match ended in Vezok's favor, and he was the first to join Zaktan on top of the sub. Thok, Zaktan noted, was the last to emerge.[/color]
[color=#006400;]"Reidak would have loved this," Thok choked as he stepped out of the hatch, unknowingly echoing Avak's earlier sentiments. He wiped away an imaginary tear. "All this... open space. The dumb animal always enjoyed prancing around in open spaces."[/color]
[color=#006400;]"He's sleeping with the fishes," Avak replied, before pausing significantly and smiling. "Or, in the fishes, rather."[/color]
[color=#006400;]"Did you see him bite clean through that tentacle?" Hakann asked Vezok as he examined his nails. "I guess our poor pet monster was underfed."[/color]
[color=#006400;]Vezok smiled back at him, relishing something. "Maybe. Once he finishes with lunch, he'll definitely be looking for dinner. I think you and Avak make excellent items on his menu."[/color]
[color=#006400;]"He won't be alive by dinnertime," Avak countered irritably as Vezok started to laugh. [/color]
[color=#006400;]"Don't see why you're laughing," Hakann snarled. "Reidak can't swim."[/color]
[color=#006400;]"Neither can you," Vezok replied, suddenly dangerously cool. Hakann seemed to remember the results of their shoving match earlier, as he stepped away from the edge of the water a little too quickly. Vezok laughed again, more quietly. "That's right, fire boy, don't mess with me."[/color]
[color=#006400;]"Get back into the submarine." Zaktan's insectoid hiss caught all their attention. "Dawdling here achieves nothing. I want to make it to that island before sunset."[/color]
[color=#8b4513;]If I coulda pulled up a monocle to reread the tablet I'd just been handed, I would've... Note to self: steal a monocle. Some tea to sip and spit would have also gone to good use. [/color]
[color=#8b4513;]The ILF? That was interesting... This scruffy little Onu-Matoran, or whoever he really represented, wanted me to go get the leader of an obsolete fighting force. Admittedly, a general is the hardest guy in an army to discharge, so I agreed that this wasn't a simple job (and that I was probably the only one up to it), but I didn't get why Care-bear wanted him offed in the first place. Since the reported defeat of Big Scary himself, the ILF had become redundant, and it hadn't really done much to head off the growing (and extremely profitable) divisions between the Koros, either. What good - or, more likely, profit - could Care-bear see in getting rid of such a useless figurehead?[/color]
[color=#8b4513;]"Before we delve into the specs of the job, I'll have to ask about payment," I told him, drumming the table with my scarred fingers. "This ain't gonna be cheap."[/color]
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