Ic: "That can be arranged" Manuka said to the toa of iron who had approached the remaining guards and ambassador. "You'll need a guard escort, but I'd be willing to do that for you. Would you like to climb the stairs or fly?"Brykon regarded the cloaked Vortixx for a moment. From his out-of-place species and irregular clothes Brykon easily came to the conclusion that this man was a mercenary not unlike himself or, probably more accurately, Jin. If Po-Koro was left to hire sellswords to protect its walls then it truly had sunk into quicksand, he considered. He took the cigar from his teeth and let it dangle between fingers so he could speak clearly. "Why thank you," he said to Manuka. "I'm a believer in grounded reality, so i think I'll walk--"
Suddenly, the guard with the bombastic mouth Brykon had overheard before stepped back up to the plate, though this time he seemed subdued and complacent. He stopped a short distance away and spoke directly to another toa present and saluted. "Sir, Sergeant Kilanewb apologizing for inaccurate information and insult, Sir!"
Brykon harrumphed and turned away from Manuka and to Maxiam. Strife between guards was not a positive thing to see in the first place. The village had been silent earlier as Brykon stalked through the courtyards. Nothing but the saguine conversation of two toa on a porch and the raucous argument had spilled out into his ears; he had heard everything, special thanks to the village's great acoustics. "Seems to me," he said carefully, "it should take more than an apology to make up for being a disruptive, close-minded cretin."
IC (Manuka): Oh, here we go again Manuka thought was the visiting toa threatened to reignite the argument among the sentinels. Now that he had had a little time to cool down and think about it, he was a little ashamed at how he had reacted to the abrasive Sargeant. True, the toa was far from an examplary guardsman, but that wasn't a licence to sink to his level. He shouldn't have let Kilanewb provoke him so easily.
"Hired Sentinel Manuka apologising for escalating the despute, sirs." he added to the group, mimicing Maxiam's formal style. "That should have been handled better."
Putting himself back between the two toa, he tried to alleviate things blowing up a second time. "A fair desision, sir" he replied to Brykon's decision to walk. "The stairs are this way, if you'd like to come with me".
(OOC: This entire thing got deleted right before I was about to post it, so this is a little shorter than I wanted. I hate laptop trackpads.)
[color=rgb(139,69,19);]"Done deal!" he agreed, and cricked his neck. "Well, like I said, this is all just rumor and speculation. Most likely, none of it's true. But it's fun to listen to, eh?""Well, anyway, some say it's not a vault at all - it's a stronghold. That the Toa Maru didn't defeat the Makuta, they just drove him away, and now he sleeps beneath, biding his time. If you believe that, then the riddle's pointless, just a cruel mockery of prophecy and destiny." He kicked a pebble along the ground. "I don't really buy that, though. I have faith that the Toa Maru destroyed the Makuta."Another idea I've heard is that the vault's not guarding treasure - it's guarding a door, or a portal, or what have you. A passage to some other world - some say one that might even lead to Mata Nui himself." The pebble rolled along the ground as he kicked it again. "I'm pretty doubtful of that one, too. Seems awful strange to keep a passageway in and out the heart of your lair of darkness."Others say that it's a prison, that if you open the door you'll find all the heroes who fell in battle against Makuta, sleeping in the darkness, waiting to be saved and reunited with their world." The pebble bounced away as his foot smacked against it just a little off-angle. "That one's got to be so wrong that I'm mentioning it just so I can feel dumb later if it really does turn out to be true. Not even legends have that much of a picture-perfect ending."So that leaves us with the obvious option - that behind that door are all the Makuta's secrets, his weapons, his treasures. If you ask me, that's most likely." His smile remained, but his voice turned a hint darker. "After all, our Akiri are causing enough strife as it is. I'm sure the Makuta would like nothing more than for them to take up his tools and pick up where he left off."His tone abruptly returned to its cheery cantor. "And then there's the riddle itself, of course! Very mystical and legendary, what with its unending oceans and keys in plain sight." He glanced up at the dimming sky. "Some say that said ocean isn't an ocean - it's the sky above us, with the answer sleeping among the stars. That could very well be true. We are dealing with gods here, after all.""And then others take the literal approach. I've heard murmurs of a new species that's washed up on the beach, hailing from far away. Interesting timing, isn't it?""But in any event, people seem so much more interested in guessing about what's in there than actually opening it. It's a bit disappointing, really." He shrugged again. "Seems like everyone who tries to open it just gives up or gets chased away by Rahkshi." Suddenly, he smiled again, an easy, reassured look. "But someday someone'll open it. Some Toa'll come along and fulfill his destiny of opening that door, and history'll march on. I have faith in that." For a moment or two they walked in silence, and then Komae coughed and scratched his head in embarrassment. "Sorry if I got a little dramatic at the end there, I always do that. So, how about you? Any interesting stories about where you came from, where you're going?"[/color]
IC (Pukena): Pukena listened quietly to the stories of the vault - the Po-matoran's logic made some sense to her. After all, the Makuta had to have had some secrets or powerful artifacts locked away somewhere, and from what she had heard, none had yet been found, so where else could they be (but on the other hand, if someone had found said powerful secrets, they would hardly be trumpeting it around the island, would they?).
"I heard something about the Toa Maru's power coming from inside there, so you may be right" she mused. "So maybe there could be more power to be had".
That made it her turn to tell a story. She swallowed hard, and tried to think of the right words. "I come from a place called Karzhani" she said, "though it was not Karzhani as the people of this island talk about it. It was an island smaller than this one, but much less beautiful. It is a desert, far more lifeless than Po-wahi - fiery chasms split the ground, and the blasted earth is not gentle as it is here. A place where fire provides no warmth, while the touch of ice burns. Dust falls cascade over mountains while pools of water sit unmoving. Thunder makes no noise, but the sound of a gentle breeze can be deafening.
"It is a land filled with people just a broken as the landscape - many Maotran had the wrong number of limbs, or walked bent over like rahi. And their eyes, their eyes were as dead as stones, because they had given up hope so completely that even though their minds were as broken as thier bodies, the empty shell kept on working, doing as they were commended by the lord of that realm. He is the one who took their hope, and used it all for himself. He never permitted anyone to leave, either, so all that everyone ever did was keep working as he told them to. If they didn't, they were turned into stone completely, not just their eyes. After a while, it wasn't even scary anymore - you just got used to seeing statues everywhere, because that was what you saw and nobody could even remember things ever being any different, because they were all just so far past despair that it didn't matter anymore. Nothing good existed there, only famine and plague and blight.
She let the word hang there for a while, wondering how to go on from there. She decided to make it quick.
"Until I escaped. I hardly know how I did it, but I decided that living in Karzhani wasn't good enough. I wanted something else, something better. I wanted to get away from all that. It took a long time for me to reach that conclusion, and even longer to act on it. It was a long journey, but I made it out.
"I went to another island after that, one that was unlike that island or this. From there, someone told me that had a way to get somewhere else, so I took it. That was how I did my arm." She grimmaced slightly, looking down at the atrophied mass of overlapping armour plates and bones, then continued.
"And then I got here. Mata Nui, I got here." She was still amazed at that part of her own story, and ir showed. The Great Spirit had indeed been kind. "You can't imagine how wonderful this place really is, you and all the others. I know it isn't a perfect Artakha, but let me tell you, it is pretty, very close. Your people here are kind and friendly, your island is rich and vibrant, everything here is so full of life! I didn't even know what those words meant befoere I came here, but now I do, and I will never, ever let that go. Each day I thank the Great Spirit for this place and the opportunity to enjoy it, but I also pray that it will not change and have that abundant life lost. It is a thing more precious than all the gold in the world, even if some don't see it. I can still harld believe I ended up here by luck and blessing, and would sing for the joy and wonder of it, but in Karzhani we never had any songs or music, so I never learned."
She cut out then, because she had run out of things to say.