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IC: ??? (All)


They gasped, looking at the shard embedded within their left and only arm, and could only think: I shouldn’t be alive.




IC: Burnmad (All), Underscore (All), Terrorsaur (After Entrance), Manducus (After Entrance), Flaredrick (After Entrance), Quin (After Entrance, Before Exit)


Underscore entered Vulcanus. He’d recently left Tajun after a particularly nasty surprise - a few dead Agori distressingly close to Tajun. Most worryingly for him, as Tajun’s diplomat, was the three dead Fire Agori and the almost incapacitated fourth Fire Agori. Killed by either Bone Hunters, or something stranger - sand, animated by a strange stone. Would Vulcanus really believe that? Either way, at least there were Bone Hunter corpses there. His train of thought was interrupted as he felt the increasing heat walking through Vulcanus - Bara Magna was already hot enough, but the denizens of Vulcanus apparently didn’t think it was hot enough, and so happened to settle in what seemed like a volcano entrenched within a canyon. How anyone could live in this constant, unbroken heat was beyond him - at least in Tajun, the nights were cold and the water helped fend off the heat.


He tried to seek out Vulcanus’ diplomat, only to find them missing - apparently, there had been some sort of strange accident in which their diplomat had somehow fallen prey to a Skopio deep in the Creep Canyon. He didn’t want to know the details, and determined he’d have to speak with Vulcanus’ leader instead, Burnmad.


He knocked on the door, bowed to the guards, and waited, until finally, he was admitted. “Greetings, Underscore of Tajun. I am unsure whether you are here in response to the letter I sent your leader, or whether you were already underway to seek my audience when it arrived, as it was only sent a little more than a day ago. In either case, you will probably be here for the same reason, but I will allow you to clarify that.” Burnmad gestured to a table, set with food and drink, his demeanor having grown more jovial. “After we celebrate your safe arrival with a hearty meal, of course.”


Underscore  was somewhat hesitant to speak, afraid to ruin the mood with grim news.“Thank you kindly - I am unaware of the letter you sent, the unfortunate reason I’m here is, er… if you’ve not already heard, there’s been an attack just outside our doorstep. Both your people and mine were killed. Who or what is responsible might still be unknown, but we have found a possible clue of some sort.”


Burnmad could only react with shock and horror - that was, if he could, at the sudden sound of a group outside seeking entry into his hut. Quickly gesturing apologies to Underscore as he exited his seat, he permitted his guards to let them in, and extended an invitation to Flaredrick, who had been idle ever seen his return from Iconox - though it was worded more like an order, as if Burnmad needed extra seucrity in case something went wrong. Through the door came Terrorsaur, General of the Water Tribe; Manducus, Glatorian of the Water Tribe; Quin, General of the Fire Tribe; and Flaredrick; Glatorian of the Fire Tribe. Burnmad could not help but feel overwhelmed at the number of visitors he now had, in addition to Underscore. “Hello, friends. I imagine you were all brought here for the same reason as the good diplomat, with whom I was just about to discuss it.”


Flaredrick quickly moved behind Burnmad, and did his best to stay behind him. Catiously, he kept his eyes on the Water Agori in the hut. While not a soldier, he was still a warrior, and desired to protect his leader, keeping a hand on his blade sheathed at his side, the other on his hip, trying to maintain a posture that kept him calm but guarded. He did not wish to entice anything hostile against the Water Agori, but his battles in the arena had taught him never to keep his guard down.


Quin was the first to speak. “Burnmad, the matter you sent me to deal with… I wish to speak with you about it as soon as you’re done with this lot.” Then, he took a step backwards, allowing the others to speak.


Terrorsaur shifted uncomfortable. Being friendly was easy enough, but being diplomatic and official was more difficult. He did not lie. “Uh, I’ve come because Manducus wanted a companion to travel with. But I’d be happy to discuss our current situation with you and our diplomat.”


Manducus looked around slightly awkwardly. When he’d desired to go to Vulcanus, he did not expect he’d become part of such a discussion.


Burnmad could not help but eye Quin with both concern and frustration toward the current scenario he was in. “That may take some time, as our conversation was to be on some fairly pressing matters. If the matter is one of importance, assume you have my blessing to carry out any act which is under your jurisdiction as General of our forces. As long as that does not involve military action against another nation, of course. In any case, when the time comes to bring me to speed on what you’ve done with this blessing, I will be understanding for having not been able to offer more specific direction at this time.” He dismissed the General, and if the matter was not one of importance, then Quin could just simply wait until Burnmad was done with the Water Agori, as Burnmad had intended.


Turning his attention to the Water Agori, he returned to the issue that which he and Underscore had begun to discuss before being interrupted. “Our discussion of that which brought Underscore here will no doubt benefit from your collective presence… and, in any case, you’ve a right to be here for it. So…” His speech was now riddled with pauses, as if he was taking extra moments to consider his words.


“I had originally hoped to discuss with the good diplomat of Tajun ways by which we might resolve the… delicate matter which caused tension between our two nations.” He was, of course, referring to the two Glatorian trainees, as well as the former leader of Vulcanus - who were now missing, and who had been last seen travelling to Tajun. “I had thought, in fact, this was why he came - however, it would seem I thought incorrectly, as just before you all arrived on my doorstep, he informed me of a fresh incident, which you are all no doubt aware of, had occurred just outside of Tajun, resulting in the deaths of people of both our nations.”


Nearing the end of his spiel, and eager to get someone who actually knew about the incident to talk about it, he finished: “Underscore also told me, if my ears do not deceive me, that some sort of clue had been found which relates to this incident. He was, I presume, about to show me this clue when you all joined us, and I hope that he will do this now, as well as filling in any gaps I may have left in my explanation just now.” With that, he was done, and sat back in his seat.


Underscore nodded at Burnmad. “We can get to the clue in a second, but first we need to fill out the details of this unfortunate incident. A couple of days ago, a commotion was heard outside in the streets of Tajun. General Terrorsaur and I rushed to discover that, in the middle of a crowd, were two of our own Agori, both severely wounded.  One, already dead. From the other, we were able to determine that some of the details through gestures and garbled words. It seemed they were attacked alarmingly close to Tajun, but by whom or by what we do not know. I rushed the injured Agori to the hospital, while General Terrorsaur examined the trail from which the two poor Agori came.” Underscore hesitated, then nodded at Terrorsaur. “General Terrorsaur will take over now - he was present for the next part, I was not.”


Terrorsaur nodded back at Underscore, then turned and nodded to Burnmad. “I followed the trail of blood left by our people to the outskirts of Tajun. A few feet past our border…” He paused. “I found four of Vulcanus’ Agori. Three of them were dead when I arrived, but the last was only severely wounded. I tried to wake them, to no avail. Further investigation revealed a pair of dead Bone Hunters to me. They didn’t seem to be injured in any way.” Another pause… Would Burnmad believe the next part? Or would it come off as a cheap method for absolving Tajun of blame? “Around that time, I heard a disturbance. As I turned, some… Thing was forming in the sound around a strange stone. It lunged for me, and I neutralised it using one of the thornax launchers from the Bone Hunters. Once everything was clear, our commander Jed had your wounded Agori taken to our hospital. I suggested we do something with the bodies, both Agori and Bone Hunter, but as of now I do not know what was done with them.”


Burnmad’s interest piqued upon hearing the last few sentences Terrorsaur spoke. “A strange stone? Tell me about that, if  you would.” For him to ask about this before the wounded Fire Agori was a clear indicator to Terrorsaur that the words meant something to him.


Quin, similarly, having stalled before leaving, shook his head at Burnmad’s refusal to talk to him, for his situation was equally important. If he had to deal with it himself, he would. As he left, he gave the Water Agori a quick look upon hearing Terrorsaur speak of a strange stone, then exited.


Terrorsaur almsot found himself lost for words to describe the next part of the incident. “Um, it looked like a bit of a helmet, almost? And I got the sense I shouldn’t touch it. I forgot to mention the Zesk hanging around the Agori. When this stone started acting up, the Zesk just… died.”


Flaredrick spoke, wanting to give his own input. “Could it be an omen from the heavens? If the Zesk that were around it died, it must be some… mysticism at work. Nothing I’ve known during the wars could do such a thing.” Flaredrick had never known such fear - the level was far beyond the fear he felt when he was close to death throughout his long existence. This seemed something different to him, something perhaps darker and sinister.


“If heaven seeks to kill the people and beasts of Bara Magna indiscriminately, I fear for us all. There must be some other explanation.” Terrorsaur did not want to entertain the thought of the heavens wanting to kill them.


Underscore glanced around, skeptical of what he was hearing, He’d been worried the shard of a glowing helmet story was a poor excuse, yet everyone seemed to have quickly accepted it as something supernatural. “The fragment of the artifact is in Tajun now. Perhaps if it was examined closely by a larger team of people, we could come up with some answers.”


Emerging from an uncomfortably long pause, Burnmad decided to confirm what others such as Underscore might have guessed. “Sir Quin’s forces recently discovered a metallic artifact, similar in description to the one you have acquired, which seemed to influence the plant life around it… I ordered him to attempt to bring it in, or else to set up a camp around it.” He suddenly stopped, as he wondered if the urgent matter Quin apparently had was at all related to this. “The artifact you recovered - what of it? Is it secure? I should like if we could collaborate in studying these curious fragments… And, perhaps, in hunting down any more that may exist, and safeguarding them… They are unlike anything I have ever seen in this world or in my dreams, and they scream danger in my mind.”


Terrorsaur laughed awkwardly.  “Well, as it turns out… I’m still hanging on to it.”


“Lord Burnmad, sir. Are you sure it be wise that we house such an aritfact here? Is there not a cave close to Vulcanus that we can use instead of here? Who knows what can happen if we tinker with such an artifact, not to mention if the Skrall decide to attac-” Flaredrick suddenly cut himself off upon hearing Terrorsaur speak of the shard he had. “Why would you bring such a thing here?! How are you not dead just by having it?!”

Terrorsaur took a step back, trying to ease Flaredrick. “I think I may have deactivated it by hitting it with a thornax. And I never touched it - just got it into a bag.” He gestured to a small pouch hanging from his waist, then detached it and held it up for the others to see.

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IC: Timelord (All)


Timelord returned to his hut. He’d just waved his brother goodbye - Andekas had been sent to assist General Hyethut at Gatherer’s Ridge, and had finally left. He picked up some loose papers and documents off a table, putting them in their proper place among the bookshelves, while simultaneously coughing from the dust. He discarded of his green cloak, and put on an older, much more tattered brown cloak. He knew what he would do while he waited for Hyethut and Andekas to return - he’d find out what his people thought while wearing a disguise to conceal his identity.


He did think, after all, that the Skrall offer was a bit of a problem, especially as it had divided his tribe. For that reason, he decided to visit the village that was more in favour of accepting the Skrall’s offer, hoping that he would not run into anything violent or surprising.


Yet as he entered the village, the first thing he saw was a large crowd gathered before a singular Agori, uttering words that Timelord could not help but react with disbelief to.


“Citizens of this great village of Tesara!” The Agori began. “I, Orkham, address you today to bring forth a matter most worrying, shocking, and most of all, angering!” The crowd listened intently as Orkahm’s expression shifted into one of anger. “It has come to my attention that an envoy of Roxtus was due to visit us, and solidify the deal between our great tribe and the Tribe of Rock! Yet, a thing most insulting happened instead. Our leaders turned them away without so much as a word, without telling us, the citizens of Tesara, fearing the Rock Tribe, fearing that they would lose their positions!”


The crowd gasped, and Timelord could hear a lot of murmuring. Murmuring that made him deeply uncomfortable.


“Should we really be led by people that do not share the same interests? Should we really listen to our supposed leader Timelord; puppet of the Glatorian Andekas; who recently halved our water supply to give the other village more water while pretending the water supplies were low? Is it not time for a change in leadership?!”


Half the crowd roared in support of Orkahm, yet another half remained quiet, or as close to quiet as one can be in a crowd. Timelord could not help but gaze at the speaker in shock, thinking to himself Do they really think this? Am I truly such a monster in their eyes? He decided to walk through the crowd, further to the front, attempting to eavesdrop on some conversations within.


From the crowd, he heard all manner of sentiments. Sentiments he mostly disagreed with, and on some level was taken aback by.


From one Agori, he heard: “He’s right! What has Timelord done to help us instead of the other village? Nothing! He doesn’t care about us, he’s just in it for the power!” Timelord knew that was wrong - he’d explicitly tried not to favour any one village over the other.


“Andekas isn’t even a true Glatorian, he just tells Timelord what to do! Andekas is the true ruler of Tesara!” For Timelord, this was more personal - this wasn’t just a complaint, it was an insult toward both him and his brother. Slander.


He took a few more steps forward, and was both relieved and shocked to hear an argument.


“Timelord hasn’t done anything against us!” As far as Timelord was aware, that was true.


“Is that why he sent the Rock Tribe’s envoy away?”


“I’m sure he had good reasons! The other village would riot if we let them in!” Timelord could not help but agree.


“And why do we care about the other village? They sabotage Tesara!” Timelord shook his head, and decided to stop listening to the crowd before snapping in anger and blowing his cover.


Leaving the crowd and returning to his hut, Timelord threw off the disguise, and motioned to a guard. “There is an Agori named Orkahm. Give him an invitation to come here so that we may discuss the future of Tesara. Do not bring him here, invite him here. I do not wish to cause an incident.”


As Timelord waited for Orkahm to come, if Orkahm even would, he decided to make more tea while pulling out documents detailing the rationing of water in Tesara, something he’d written a few days ago.


After a while, Orkahm eventually entered the hut, followed by the guard Tiemlord had sent. Orkahm did not waste any time, and began to speak. “Where is Andekas? I will not speak with a false ruler.”


Timelord was taken aback, but quickly regained his composure, trying not to snap at the insult. “Andekas is on an important mission to discover Exsidian so that we may make ourselves independent of Iconox’s exsidian. But we are not here to talk about exsidian, we are here to to discuss the future of Tesara. I happen to be the leader of Tesara, so, would you care to sit down?” Timelord pointed to an empty chair.


Orkahm moved to the chair, but did not sit down immediately. Instead, he stared at Timelord sternly and with contempt, contempt that Timelord could feel pierce him. After a tense few seconds, Orkham finally sat down without saying a word.


I hope I can get through to him Timelord thought, with concern. “I heard your speech earlier. Do you truly feel discriminated? Because I will have none of that under my rule.” Timelord pushed the documents detailing the rationing of water in Tesara toward Orkahm. “I heard the part about an unfair water rationing. I can assure you that when I put in place, I ordered that no village and nobody be favoured over another or discriminated against no matter their status or political views - including their view on the Skrall… and if you don’t believe me, I can show you the Hot Springs myself. Only a minority of that water is clean, and by itself it is nowhere enough to sustain even only one of our villages. Rationing was necessary until we secure more water from Tajun.”


Timelord looked  at the paper outlining the Rock Tribe’s offer to the Jungle Tribe. “I want to help you. If you feel there is unfair treatment,  come to me or Andekas, we’ll investigate it. You don’t have to be against us.” Timelord produced a slip of paper from within the desk, and signed it, then showed it to Orkahm. “You may feel happy to know that Andekas will be entering the challenge issued by the Skrall upon his return.”


“You had a chance to talk about the offer of the Skrall with the Skrall. You turned it away without telling us. How are we meant to trust you if you hide things from us?” Orkahm’s question was genuine, without any bitterness or contempt underlying his question.


“The reason Lan and I turned them away was because it was the same offer we already heard. Now that we know about their exsidian and water we’re more willing to hear their offer. If we join, it will be both villages joining, and I don’t want Tesara divided on that matter. I only want what is best for its people as a whole and right now I’m not sure what that is exactly.”


“There will be unrest no matter your choice. Don’t let it spread and have Tesara burn itself down. If we had accepted the first time they offered, Tesara would have healed itself quickly under the structure of the Skrall. You could have even negotiated when Pahrak visited, but you chose not to.”


Timelord could not help but think for a bit, and concede that what Orkahm said was true - there would be tension no matter the choice. “What if we could prove that we were stronger than the Skrall? Would that change your mind?”


“Perhaps.” Orkham sounded doubtful.


“Is there anything else you would like to ask?”


“Nothing else.” Before Timelord could respond, Orkahm had left the hut.


Timelord looked at a guard, and thought to his brother, Andekas, when two soldiers entered - scouts, that had accompanied Hyethut. They told him that General Hyethut had encountered Bone Hunters.


“Send 50 soldiers to Gatherer’s Ridge. Kill any Bone Hunters on sight and have them bring fruit.”

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IC: ??? (All)


They passed under the arch known as Spirit’s Wish after a long pause, hesitant and unsure of the time that had passed. I need to see the others.




IC: Hyethut (All), Andekas (After Entrance)


Hyethut whispered to his scouts and one of his soldiers, watching the eight Bone Hunters he’d discovered move a crate. “I think we have found something of interest, well done boys, Tesara is proud! Grunkhar be praised! Scouts - go back to the camp, gather supplies, and with four people head back to Tesara to inform our noble Timelord. But first, while at the camps, tell the soldiers to pack up, and you, soldier, lead them in this direction, and quickly!” The scouts went off, somewhat reluctantly, but went off regardless, afraid of the punishment that would befall them if they dared otherwise.


Before taking action, however, Hyethut began a group prayer to Grunkhar to embolden the hearts of not only his men, but himself too, for he could not believe what he was about to do. “Remember your training: your body is the true weapon of your soul, your crafted weapons but meager tools for aid. If I command you to drop your weapons, make your body look passive but your mind combat ready and ready to hit our way through their blades.” Hyethut dropped his weapons, handing them over to a young soldier and telling them to stay back unless things got violent, then turned to the rest of his soldiers and told them to follow his lead, half of his soldiers emboldened by the prayer.


Hyethut revealed himself to the Bone Hunters, as did his men. “...Hello! We mean no harm, would you like to trade?”


At the sound of his voice, Hyethut and his men found that they had several thornax launchers aimed directly at them, one even fired at the ground directly in front of them, creating a cloud of dirt and stone, and a few soldiers could not help but cough.


“Do not move! Move, you die!” A voice - presumably one of the Bone Hunters, in a broken form of the Agori language, or simply a strange dialect. As the cloud cleared, Hyethut could see two of the Bone Hunters securing a crate onto the back of a Rock Steed hurriedly, though his attention was soon stolen.


“Fero sees no goods. What do plant-dwellers intend to trade? And for what?”


“My caravan is arriving, I am merely scouting here with my scouts. I have already sent two to fetch the goods from the rest of my patrol, please do not go just yet, we seek metal, exsidian, and iron, and our villages have many gardens behind walls ready for trade. Men! Drop your weapons.”


Seeking to stall the movement of the strange object, Hyethut turned to the elderly Bone Hunter, assuming that they were a leader. “In the meantime, how about we trade stories? Aswell a leaderr of men, traders, and troops, I also study tales and histories. I respect all people, and would be very interested to hear a tale available to outsiders like myself.” Knowing how close the Bone Hunters were to Rock Steeds, he looked at a specimen. “Where do those magnificent beasts come from?”


Hyethut had made a big mistake, assuming that the Bone Hunters would respond kindly to him. These were not Agori and Glatorian, for that was what they killed for sport, as a soldier to the back of Hyethut’s group soon found out when a thornax exploded just in front of him, and a shard of stone sent flying had severed his right foot, soon falling to the ground from a mixture of imbalance, shock, and pain.


“Do you think us stupid, plant-dweller? We know why you are here. It is the same reason we are here. This crater not natural, and item within already killed one of our men.” He stroke the neck of his sted, Skirmix, the beast eager for food, or killing for pleasure. Hyethut couldn’t tell. “Now… you have choice. Leave, or we decimate you and soldiers further. Unless you intend to take seriously?”


Even the elderly Bone Hunter had their thornax launcher aimed at the group, and they were clearly not pleased at Hyethut’s attempt at negotiation.

It dawned on Hyethut that he would not be able to have a peaceful interaction with the Bone Hunters. He’d underestimated them, caught off guard - he should have readied scouts at the edges of the crater to either pick them off with thornax launchers, or to follow them. “Help the injured lad over the hill, and then we will return to Tesara in failure.” That was not his intention. “I understand this is hard for you to image, but we did come here entirely by chance, we truly were looking only for metal, and if possible make arrangements with you, but we will respect your wishes.”


Retreating over the edge of the crater, he was stick to his stomach with incompetence. The strange object was to be his, Fero had harmed his people, but he desired vengeance. “This is entirely my fault. To make up for it, punch me in the eye with a gauntlet.” In the distance, however, he saw something approaching. “Hold that last command - it will be done after the coming battle, my guilt will not let me live otherwise, but we need as many fit soldiers as possible. Aim for the hilltop, they are likely to send a scout to make sure we went off and we need to protect the injured lad here. One of you, come with me. We’re going to shoot the Rock Steeds transporting the crate then head back immediately. When the rest of our soldiers come, charge forward over the hill and kill every last one of them - even the old one, since he is not as helpless or as wise as I had hoped. Just do not shoot or damage the crate in any way. In Tesara’s name, vengeance shall be ours.


Then, Andekas rode up on a chariot  with ten more soldiers, spotting Hyethut, and shouting. “General Hyethut! I suppose I’ve brought the cavalry?”


Hyethut had expected the soldiers from the camp to ride up, but had got an equally pleasant surprise to find that it was Andekas. “Shh. Grunkhar be praised. We’re in desperate need, Bone Hunters have injured a soldier and procured a strange object - what do you have on you?”


“Eight thornax, ten men, and four chariots. General Hyethut, just give the order and we can start this!”


“They aren’t going to stick around much longer, especially after my mistake and all your shouting.” Hyethut stepped close to Andekas’ chariot, somewhat irritated at Andekas. “Gather around me now. Men, glad to see you. These savages attacked us first, so we will not show mercy. Andekas, deploy Thornax to your men and stay in your chariot in case the Bone Hunters try to make a run for it, and I’ll tell if and when that happens. If I truly require assistance right here or their steeds end up dead, then I will not wait to give you a shout and have you storm over to feed those spikit. The rest of you - we need to kill all their steeds so the fallen star does not end up in their hands, I do not think such barbarians are deserving of such a prize. Arm your thornax launchers, then dot yourselves around the edges of the crater and rush up carefully. If you are on the right side, shoot the beasts. If you are on the left, shoot the barbarians themselves. If there’s anyone left over, kill them. Do not hit the box! Once the Thornax has been spent, tighten up and enter the crater.”


Turning to Andekas and glancing at the spikit attached to the chariots, Hyethut asked for a Thornax. “Hand me a fruit, I’m fighting too. Now, prepare yourself - let’s see how the monsters do.” Turning to one other soldier, he said “You, keep aiding the injured lad. The rest of you, accompany me from behind. In the dust clouds, we’ll see if we can get your weapons back. If unable, fall back - no more wasted Tesaran blood.”


“I want to reserve at least three thornax, general. I brought eight, I will give you one. To the two closest to me, you will get one each, with this mind, we will still have five in reserve. Men, aim upon the Rock Steeds carrying the box once you have taken your positions at General Hyethut’s command. He will take charge from there.” Andekas handed a thornax to Hyethut, and prepared his spikit.


Having given out his orders, and having explained the situation to Andekas, signalled his men to begin, his soldiers taking aim… only to find that the Bone Hunters were already leaving. Despite this, the soldiers were able to adjust their aim to fire upon the flanks of the fleeing steeds, catching the left leg of a Rock Steed causing it fall over, its two rises jumping off as it did so, raising their weapons in reaction the attack, while the remaining three quickened their pace.


Hyethut immediately yelled toward Andekas. “Andekas! Gather as many soldiers as you need and give chase to the fleeing cowards, long enough to neutralise the Rock Steed with the box. And, if necessary, destroy the box,  they are not deserving of it! I warn you though, do not follow them for long lest they utilise their cunning against you. If you are unsuccessful - come back here immediately.” Hyethut turned to the rest of his men. “I and anyone else armed will provide cover so you can retrieve your arms. The rest of you, we need to capture those two remnants. I don’t care if they are hurt or crippled, just make sure they can talk! That star will be Tesara’s!” He, and his soldiers moved forward.


“Men, you heard General Hyethut’s orders, the four closest to me, stock your launchers!” Andekas passed two thornax either side of him. “Now, charge!” As he commanded, the four chariots charged forward, the four spikit pulling them hungry. “We will chase after them - once close enough, aim your launchers and fire at will!”


As the Glatorian and the General moved forward, the unarmed soldiers retrieved their weapons, yet one was instantly killed by a thornax fired from one of the Bone Hunters near the toppled Rock Steed. In response, another thornax was fired at the Bone Hunter, yet it missed - though it did tear apart the Rock Steed, impacting with a satchel full of thornax, leaving the two Bone Hunters without cover, protection, or  a means of escape. “Capture them!” Hyethut commanded, advancing with sword and shield ready. At this point, Hyethut knew he had accomplished something - not entirely what he wanted, but something nonetheless. Perhaps as a pathetic defiance, one of the two  Bone Hunter made a mad dash toward the soldiers, holding their one remaining thornax in their hand, attempting to shatter it against themselves - exploding them, and sending a soldier flying backwards, unconscious. Beneath the sound of it all, Hyethut heard the sound of the other Bone Hunter absconding from the area.


“Run after him!”


Hyethut really hoped Andekas’ chase was going better than his attempt at capturing Bone Hunters.

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IC: Pahrak (All), Tuma (Beginning)


Pahrak walked toward Atero, accompanied by Tuma and 26 Skrall. ShadowVezon had been left in charge of Roxtus, while Pahrak had accepted an invitation to join Tuma to see the fruits of his own suggestion., the challenge to beat a Skrall. “If I may, Mighty Leader, what of the Iron Tribe? I remember hearing that some of their survivors have been spotted around Atero. Do you think they might attempt to participate?”


“It is possible. But they are not ones I would expect to do so. They cling to a dead tribe with dead people, and to no ideals. The ones they do have, they make up on the spot. Given their capabilities, it will not be long before we invite them into the tribe, to cast aside their own meaningless past and help us build a superior future.” Pahrak could feel the disdain for the Iron Tribe in Tuma’s voice, perhaps odd considering the contracts he handed out. “They are useful tools for now, but when Bara Magna takes its new shape, they will have to find something new… and if they dare interfere, we both know the consequences that will befall them.”


Pahrak nodded, and headed into Atero, noting a burnt-out campfire with footprints leading off to the north as he entered. No doubt a sign of an Iron Agori having rested there.


Within Atero, Pahrak could see Agori of all tribes reacting to the Skrall Tuma had brought with him with all manner of emotions - fear, happiness, hate, anxiety, apathy, anger, timidity. As he saw Tuma enter the Arena Magna and direct a Skrall inside it, a Jungle Agori ran up to him.


“Do they call you the Rock Tribe because you’ve got the intelligence and looks of a Rock Steed?” The Jungle Agori chortled. “You idiots really thought you could take over the great villages of Tesara? Some idiots might want to join you, but you’ll soon see… Grunkharism will oust the traitors, and you tricksters… you will answer for your crimes.” Pahrak stepped backwards, avoiding a shove from the Jungle Agori and somewhat confused by the words being vomited out of the Jungle Agori’s mouth.


Pahrak furrowed his brow. “Crimes…? I’m sorry, I really have no idea what you are referring to. All we desire is to protect our fellow Agori - Bara Magna is a harsh place, after all, and our best chance is to work together.”


The Jungle Agori did not listen, having already stomped off midway through Pahrak’s sentence and giving him a rude gesture. As they moved away, Pahrak could hear them grumbling about how he and ‘Timelord the Traitor’ were responsible for everything wrong with Tesara. Pahrak, ironically, felt slightly relieved - now he knew Tesara was not lying about being divided, while a few nearby Skrall felt pained they could not punish the Agori for such rude words to their diplomat.


Shrugging off the encounter, Pahrak walked over to the gates of the Arena Magna, hoping to greet any messeners or Glatorian who come for the competition, then gestured toward a nearby Skrall.


“You know, I’ve been hearing interesting rumours of a shooting star that’s landed all across Bara Magna. If some of it is left, it could provide us with some exotic material our Mighty Leader would find very interesting. I need to stay here for appearance’s sake, but I was wondering: could you perhaps go out and  investigate these rumours? Maybe with a partner, just to stay safe?”

“We will search, Agori! Mighty Leader Tuma will soon be stronger for it!” With that, the Skrall marched off, while Pahrak received some funny looks from the other Agori. Then again, other Agori merely feared the Skrall - they did not respect them like Pahrak did.  He smiled warmly at them, and simply said “Good Morning.”




IC: ??? (All)


Where are they? They thought. This place was not meant to be empty. They stumbled as best as they could toward what most would see as an ordinary wall, and walked straight through it. Beyond the wall was a screen,  in front of a raised podium with raised engravings of an alphabet most of Bara Magan would be unfamiliar with.


They pressed the engravings with their only hand, and the screen flickered on.


They pressed some more engravings, creating words of the alphabet on the screen. The words roughly translated to ‘when was the last visitor to this lab’? The screen answered.


97,472 Years Ago


They asked another question with the alien words. ‘Current status of the Great Beings?’


Insufficient data for accurate answer


They sighed, and asked another question. ‘Current status of the Mata Nui Robot?’




‘Current status of the Mata Nui Robot’s mission?’




‘Current Status of Mata Nui?’




They took a moment to reflect - their fears had been confirmed. Not only did they have a shard of the Mask of Life stuck in their arm, Mata Nui had died and the mission of the Mata Nui Robot had been compromised - not how it should be. They resorted to asking more questions.


‘Current status of the Okoto Prototype Robot’?




Nothing had changed there.


‘Current locations of the Mask of Life’?


Bara Magna


Not terribly helpful, but at least it confirmed that every shard of the Mask of Life was on Bara Magna.


They knew what they had to do now. For the future of Bara Magna, they knew it would be their job to repair the Mask of Life. Doing so would cost them their life, but it was all they could do for it was their job among the Great Beings to fix things when they broke, and perhaps… perhaps the Agori would figure something out with the Mask of Life.

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IC: Voltex (All), Sahmad (All)


Voltex and Sahmad walked to the north, away from Atero. Voltex had recalled that one of the meteorites he saw would have landed to the north of Atero, and had invited Sahmad to join him in searching for it, though Sahmad had been quite skeptical about what some space rocks could do.


Sahmad stopped in his tracks, encouraging Voltex to do the same. “There are overgrown scorpions here.” He pointed to the sand, shifted in odd ways.


Voltex frowned, drawing his short sword. “Let’s try and go around them first.”


Sahmad shook his head. “These tunnels can go on for miles - it’s hard to go around what you can’t see. With any disturbance, the Vorox could emerge. So, don’t do anything like scream for help, it’ll just make things worse.”


Voltex decided to survey the area before making any sudden actions. He saw that the sand was shifted all around, indicating tunnels carved out by the Vorox - though, with careful steps, it would not be too hard to avoid disturbing them. To a more inexperienced Agori, it would also look like there were lots of discarded swords around - but that would be missing the fact that every single ‘sword’ had the same makings and was the same shape, as they were not swords, but the stingers of Vorox waiting for someone foolish enough to touch them. Of particular interest was one tunnel moderately larger than all others in the distance, marked by strangely shifted sand even for Vorox, and a faint but strange glow emanating from it. He pointed as he looked to Sahmad, and began to carefully and silently approach.


As he did so, he heard some faint whimpering, readying his sword as he crept forward, and could see that the tunnel was unusually open - from a closer angle, he could see straight into it, unusual as Vorox usually covered the entrances to their tunnels. Within, he saw the back of a Vorox illuminated by a strong glow slightly beyond it. Voltex raised his eyebrow at Sahmad, letting Sahmad make the next move.


Sahmad kneeled down in front of the tunnel, moving the sand a few centimetres in front of the tunnel entrance around, careful not to do it for too long or too much force. Quietly, he told Voltex “That should get its attention - it’ll feel the disturbance and come out to investigate. Or it’ll come out, alert the entire hive, and brutally tear us apart, feeding upon our limbs and bodies until we are unidentifiable bodies strewn across the surface here.”


Voltex nodded, then heard the sound of sand scrunching. But it was not from the Vorox, like they had anticipated. It came from behind them, and Sahmad’s face freezed with surprise. At the same time, Voltex could see the Vorox slowly turn around, seemingly unaware that Voltex could see it as it slowly stalked forward through the tunnel, then in the span of a few seconds darted out of the tunnel before he could react. Adding on to his surprise, he suddenly found himself shoved aside by two Skrall withou so much as a word, who seemed to move on to threatening the Vorox, swords and shields raised while eyeing the glow.


The glow was not the most bizarre thing, nor the sudden appearance of two Skrall. It was the Vorox, speaking.


“I don’t want death.” Its voice was odd, but timid.


Voltex glanced between the Skrall, Sahmad, and the Vorox. “Hold for a moment, please,” he said to the Skrall, before turning to the Vorox, gripping his sword tightly. “What are you, creature? No Vorox has been capable of speech since the shattering.”


“I am Vorox. Broken thingy land and fall into tunnel. Strange glow change me, suddenly speech.” For a creature that was not supposed to speak, it had a strangely good sense of Agori language - not entirely the best, but not incomprehensible. The Skrall and Sahmad were clearly not amused by the Vorox’s words, the Skrall scoffing at the excuse.


Voltex was wary, but curious. “Show me,” he demanded, as he stepped in front of the Skrall.


The Vorox dived back into the tunnel, and after a brief period, it emerged, holding a strange shard of something with one of its claws, extended its hand toward Voltex to give a good look. “Here, strange thing.”


Voltex leaned forward, looking at the shard. It appeared to be a broken piece of a helmet, yet the markings were inconsistent with any culture known to Bara Magna. Before he could speak, however, the Skrall stepped forward.


“Pahrak of Roxtus demands that shard to strengthen the might of the Skrall! Give it or here or suffer consequences for refusal to co-operate!”


Voltex, reacting quickly, grabbed the shard from the Vorox’s hand in a swift, calulcated movement  and moved behind the Vorox. “I only wish to examine it a moment, mighty Skrall. Patience, I have no need to hold onto this for very long.” That, he would soon find, was a mistake.


His hand felt odd, as if the shard was doing something to it. One of his fingers began to ache. Something strange was definitely going on, but he could not pinpoint what. He frowned, thankful that the Skrall had not reacted violently yet - though the only reason they had not already done so was because Sahmad had pointed out the myriad of tunnels, indicating more Vorox.


“You… might wish to observe,” he said, sounding worried as he glanced down at the shard. “It is… doing something, Vorox. You claim this gifted you intelligent thought? What, then, might it do to me?”


The Vorox nodded. “Strange glow give strange mind change.”


Sahmad moved to the side of Voltex, shoving the shard out of Voltex’s hand with a look of horror, letting it fall to the ground. “Voltex, look at your hand.” There was no snark or sarcasm in his voice - he was deadly serious.


As Voltex looked at his dominant hand, he could clearly see that it was not as it should be. The index finger was wrinkled, the skin upon it feeling like it could be torn off at any moment. His little finger, in contrast, was far smaller than it should be- just barely longer than being a stub. A strange effect - it was as if the the shard had simultaneously aged his fingers forward and backward, almost siphoning the life out of one while reversing the life of the other.


Voltex scowled. Typical. It turns a Vorox into a self-aware being, but when held by an agori, it instead ruins their hand.


He gestured toward the shard on the ground. “You can have it. Not like it’s doing me any favours.”


The Vorox picked it back up, pathetically trying to conceal it from the Skrall - quite unsuccessfully, because as it did so, the Skrall finally made their move, one thrusting its sword straight into the Vorox’s chest. Unfortunately for the Skrall, the Vorox still had its stinger tail, which it instinctively sent forwards, piercing the Skrall’s helmet, and then its head - a gruesome sight. As the now-dead Skrall recoiled backwards, it fell upon the ground, blood pouring upon the ground and its sword still lodged in the Vorox.


The Vorox screamed, and stumbled toward the Skrall, dropping the shard. Between the scream and the smell of blood, Voltex and Sahmad could hear the sound of Vorox burrowing out of their tunnels.


Upon hearing the scream, the other Skrall attempted to grab the shard, tossing it into its shard.. Swiftly, Voltex attempted to slice the Skrall’s neck with his sword where it would be fatal and result in death - but he only managed to make a small wound, not enough to kill quickly but given enough time, the Skrall would almost certainly die. But it was still alive, and could still move, and tried to dash away.


Sahmad, however, had a whip, using it to trip the Skrall as it dashed away, and the shard fell out of its sheath. “Mighty Skrall, indeed.”


Thoughts raced through Voltex’s mind as the shard fell. Vorox, the regular kind, were coming, and he and Sahmad could not possibly fight them all off. The Skrall was weak and dying, but still a formidable foe, one they could not allow to reach Roxtus or Atero alive. But they  also couldn’t leave the shard behind.


“We must kill that Skrall, or Roxtus will become our enemy - one that we cannot afford.” Voltex stated, placing his sword in his sheathe and tearing some of his cloak off with his good hand. “You should go on ahead, stab it in the back if you can. I will follow. I’ll cover your back and protect the shard.” As he spoke, he wrapped the piece of cloak around his damaged hand, and slowly reached toward the shard, trying to pick it up without it touching his skin - but slowly, in case its effects were not activated by touch.


“We must protect it.”

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-Smoke Monster-

IC: Smoke Monster (All), Rahkshi Guurahk (All), FF (All), Toru (All)


“Leader Guurahk, what are your thoughts? Should we risk accepting the offer and possibly fall to unspoken downsides? Or perhaps there should be a public vote in Iconox about this first.” FF was unsure of the offer, as he had always been, yet he could not help but feel pained about suggesting a vote.


“I’ll go with the public vote.” Rahkshi Guurahk replied, knowing that he would support his citizens no matter what, believing it to be unbecoming of a leader to make a decision without first consulting their citizens.




Smoke Monster smiled. He had come to give Iconox the offer, now he could more or less make them accept. His time at Iconox had gone far more successful than he had anticipated, and here he was, making a speech to a crowd of Iconox’s citizens.


“Citizens of Iconox, I, Smoke Monster, have come here in the name of the Mighty Tuma to give an offer of protection and goods to your village.” The crowd was silent. “What does this mean for you all? Well, let me tell you. As many of you already seen, the Skrall are great fighters. No Skrall has lost a battle in any arena. This has allowed us to acquire many items, which we will be more than willing to trade with you. With the Skrall being so great in battle, it makes them great for protecting caravans as they travel through the deserts. Bone Hunters and Vorox will have a hard time attacking a caravan guarded by the Skrall.” The crowd murmured, still unsure. “On top of all of this, Roxtus has its own water supply. It is a lot closer to your village than the one in Tajun. This will make it easier  for water to be brought to Iconox without issue, as travel to and from Tajun is plagued by difficulties any competent village would not have! By accepting our offer, Roxtus would then become willing to trade its water from Iconox, which means you would not have to rely on Tajun to get half or even less of the water you were promised.” The crowd cheered. “This is the offer from Roxtus. I trust you will all make the right decision and accept our offer, so that we can make an united Bara Magna.”


Rahkshi Guurahk walked up, addressing his citizens after Smoke Monster.


“I will support your decision one way or the other. However, I will not lie - my opinion is that they have made a very good offer for us. We would be fools to reject a generous offer such as this, one that we may never be given again. When faced with an opportunity, we should not ignore it - we should seize it, lest we regret missing it forever. Vote for what you believe, but please, take time to consider what we could gain.”




A few hours later, the results of the vote were in. Rahkshi Guurahk, and many in the crowd, trembled in anticipation for the results.


“Good citizens of Iconox… Iconox has accepted the Rock Tribe’s offer!”


Toru could only think Iconox had just made the biggest mistake it could make.


Time would tell if he was right.



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