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  1. 15 points
    We brought it back... An ancient tradition... Fan;Cast Balom BZIII;Cast In record time, the rebooted BZPRPG podcast has been recorded and edited (Under a week? What?) This pilot episode is a long one, and we'll smooth out the format and any technical difficulties as we go further, but it's a fun ride. When @Haman Karn: A Magical Girl, @Krayzikk, and I aren't referencing inside jokes, making memes, or licking batteries, we're answering many questions players have had about Zakaz's development, the lull in between Arcs, the philosophy of current day GMs regarding staff plots, player character power levels, foreign tech, and even talking about what favorite characters of yours we've been reading. Give it a listen when you have the time, and any feedback is appreciated! We're hoping to generate some discussion, and shed some light on some of the stuff that's happened behind the scenes. I want to also give a HUGE thanks to @Razgriz and @Ramona Flowers for elevating the concept of a post-reading-cold-open into another level with voice and musical talent, respectively.
  2. 12 points
    The Mystix were once notorious across all Mata Nui: bat-like warriors who appeared seemingly from nowhere to assault Le-Koro, led by their would-be Emperor, Ignotus. Their attack was repelled, and the attackers themselves banished by our dear, departed Matau, from there to retreat into the shadows and plot their return. Rumour spread of a new leader in their midst - Zarnarax, brother of the now-dead Ignotus (stabbed in the back and left for the Rahi in the Drifts, some say), had taken charge, and laid out plans to conquer Mata Nui non-violently through guile and political machinations. But that was many years ago, now. Preoccupied with the terrors of Makuta and Its eventual defeat, and the turmoil that followed, most have long since forgotten or ceased to care about the mysterious race. Few now speak their name, relegated only to fireside tales and the drunken braggadocio of Gukko-riders. Fewer still ask the question: What became of the Mystix? FATE OF THE MYSTIX PART ONE: OF FANGS AND FLAME alright shitbirds, this is the fruit of blood, sweat, tears, and an utter inability to set limitations upon ourselves. this is the biggest, most masturbatory goddamn jam you have ever seen in your entire goddamned lives, courtesy of myself (you're bloody well welcome), @Wotz (welcome back buddy), and @Pteronura Brasiliensis (yeah, he's here too). this is in effect not only the official announcement that the chiropteran mystix are back (details in my profiles post), but also the most overwrought and self-indulgent possible recap of just what it is that happened to them at the end of arc 1. no retcons have occurred, no new canon has been added, but that stuff happened literally 8 years ago and even we didn't remember it, so it'd be wild to expect any of you to. you wanna make a mystix? read this post or like, shoot me a message or whatever and i can give the rundown. you wanna keep up with the Grand Mystix Plotline of Arc 3, or get directly involved? you'd best read this, AND throw me a line on discord or in PMs, because we are quite literally going places with this. so you dickwads had better read this utter circle-jerk of a truly epic, novelette-length jam and you had better bloody well enjoy it thank you honk honk mothertruckers
  3. 12 points
    If we're all sharing OC content, I've been fooling around with Lego Studio and made a respectable moc of Talli, if I do say so myself.
  4. 11 points
    banned. banned. banned. banned. banned banned banned baNNED BANNED Max is a rock star and without him this would have been a lesser experience, and I'm excited to get to invite more of you on as these podcasts go on throughout the arc to chat and chime in on The Discourse. A special thanks to Krayzikk for guest starring in this first one. -Tyler
  5. 10 points
    IC: The darkness yawned before the Toa Kalta of Gravity and it swallowed his lightstone whole. It tumbled end over end over end and with every rotation its light dimmed, obscured by darkness as thick and as tangible as fog. His vantage point on the ceiling let him see the pools of light above— or rather below— but afforded him little further insight into their surroundings than anyone else. Still he moved ahead cautiously and attentively in time with the others with his lightstone a set distance away. Without the same lights as the others it would be foolish to allow his entirely out of sight. The feeling of warm comfort, the safety of being wrapped inside a soft blanket, didn’t abate; if anything its traitorous welcome grew with every passing moment that he was divided from the group, with every step that took him deeper into the black above and beyond his comrades’ easy view. Perhaps it was in his own mind, a dark corner that still remembered the freedom of his infection and longed for it anew. That thought, that insidious voice, could itself have been an interference; a trick from a force malevolent in its purpose to ensnare him or to lull him into false security. Maybe that was paranoia talking, the natural result of fighting the feeling that the darkness seemed to instill within him. Fighting to remain alert and aware. Ultimately it didn’t matter; only clairvoyance would have been enough. Skorm had a moment to realize that a claw had wrapped around his foot from the very ceiling upon which he stood, a moment in which he might call out but far too little time to act if even he understood what had happened. With incredible strength, and a grip like a vise, he was himself ripped through solid stone soundlessly and without hope of escape. Below where he had stood the group, and Zueya, continued on with the reassuring sound of footsteps above and the light continuing its steady pace.Not a single unusual sound reached their ears. *** With his gravity inverted and the rough, inconsistent path that he was dragged through it was impossible for the Kalta to know which way was truly up or down. His erratic, shaken journey without regard for matter or direction defied even an accurate estimate of how far he had traveled. But within a few moments he slammed into solid ground, dropped from a scant few feet above the rocky surface. There was no sign of his abductor; not sight nor sound, and Skorm could be forgiven if for a moment he believed he had gone blind. But no; his eyes worked there simply was no more light. His lightstone had not traveled with him, and within the shadows there was not the faintest glimmer of illumination. There was no sound but his own breathing, and perhaps the heavy thump of his heart as shock forced a little adrenaline into his system. The darkness had indeed welcomed him; now only would it let him go? OOC: @Keeper of Kraata + Darkwalk Crew Your characters don’t know anything has begun just yet, one obvious exception aside, but you as players now do. Some of you weren’t here for the heady days of Arc 1 and those of you that were may need a refresher. Kaithas is running this little quest, with my authority, cooperation, and assistance. When a fight (if, allegedly, one were to begin) commences you are allowed one post per round of posts from your opponents, namely Kaithas and myself. Since we have a tagging system now please remember, just to make things easier, to at least tag Kaithas or myself depending on which one of us is relevant. Here’s the bit that some of you may not be familiar with. A staff-run, or staff-sanctioned as this case is both, Rahkshi fight carries real risks to your PC. Unlike some of you might remember we’re not looking to be particularly bloodthirsty. But for as long as you are engaged with an opponent there is a real possibility of serious injury, or death, for your PC. That does imply, and I am making explicit, that if you disengage from one we won’t seek to punish you for it. Additionally NPC enemies under Kaithas’ control or mine are afforded the same protections as PCs, and the rules against autohitting are somewhat relaxed where they are concerned to allow for smoother flow. If you have a significant grievance you may of course take it up with Kaithas or myself and we will look at it reasonably. Have fun, and good luck!
  6. 10 points
    @Harvali @ARROW404 That’s my own map of Mata Nui, glad to hear you like it! It’s not officially canon but it’s about as accurate as I can possibly make it. I was just about to post the latest update to it, so stay tuned for that Additionally, you can find a link to it in my sig Edit: Here's V3.2 of the map: Blank Map | Regions Only | Title Only Here are the changes from version 3.1: Reduced prominence of Papa Nihu beaches Lightened Papa Nihu streams Decreased depth of the Kumu Abyss and added sunken islet details Attached Naho Falls to the Hura-Mafa River Increased prominence and height of Mt. Ihu peak Decreased height of western Ko-Wahi mountains Added small alpine forests to Ko-Wahi Added more waterfalls (especially to the Hura-Mafa) Shrunk down Tiro Canyon Revised Po-Koro and added greenery Revised Ostia and Forsi Revised the Massif Added Dark Walk entrances (where visible) Labelled previously-unlabeled locations (The Massif, Blackrock Canyon, Piraka Clubhouse) Changed "North March Station" to "North March (Obsidian Outpost)" Changed "Nokama Port" to "Nokama Port (The Rockwall)" Added new labelled locations (The Crucible, Darkmine) Added more secret locations
  7. 10 points
    for anyone who wants to stroke my ego by listening to the podcast's theme
  8. 9 points
    This is truly a glowing recommendation given that the page for Scrimblo Plimbo exists
  9. 7 points
    i fully expect this to be one of my most controversial posts, but i stand by it wholeheartedly. the bionicle community DOES NOT need bionicle to come back or be revived. let's talk about why. 1. lego itself doesn't need bionicle back. making a new lego line is risky. within certain budgetary confinements, lego has to pay for: licensing fees (if making a licensed theme) designers to design new sets and packaging molds to manufacture any new pieces and plastic to make those new pieces material for packaging shipping and distribution fees to get completed sets into stores advertising to get people to buy sets if lego doesn't make enough money from the new line to cover these costs, they'll declare the line a failure, toss it in the bin, and move on; they're not going to try to salvage it in the vain hope that sales will turn around. while the exact amount of impact is debatable, you can't deny that fan campaigns played a part in bringing about bionicle G2. despite evidently strong support for the revival, its sales ended up being so abysmal that lego decided to put it out of its misery and end it a whole year early rather than keep bleeding money. what does this tell lego about fan campaigns? it tells them that they're just for show. and what does this tell them about reviving retired themes? it tells them that that's not a profitable course of action. lego is a business above all, and their concern is earning and keeping money, so even though they're more well-off than they were back then, they're going to make the smart business decision to invest further time, effort, and money into what is already bringing in profit. 2. you make yourself look bad by continuing to beg for another bionicle revival. i already know somebody's going to come in here and say, "but... but muh snyder cut!" let me shut you down right there. the snyder cut was released because the millions of people organizing these fan campaigns were actually willing to put their money where their mouth was in order to support the creator's original vision. the bionicle community doesn't have millions organizing fan campaigns. it has the same handful of sweaty man-babies whining for the return of a toy line that financially failed twice for the sake of satisfying their own nostalgia. there's a reason most of the other lego communities look down on the bionicle community, and this is it. (ironically, these are the same lego communities vainly begging for the return of classic space and classic castle, but that's neither here nor there.) by continuing to ignore reality and keep screeching "bring back bionicle" every time lego makes even a vague reference to it in the hopes that it'll get them them to let you relive your rose-tinted childhood, you risk further alienating other lego communities- and eventually, maybe even lego itself- from what's already an extremely insular community. 3. you have the power to make bionicle your own. there's a saying somewhere that goes, "when companies fail to make content the fans want, the fans will make it themselves." bionicle has the benefit of being produced by a company whose primary product experience is making your own content with it. that means that you have the freedom to make whatever kind of bionicle figures you want. you're not constrained to the same certain aesthetics, "legal" techniques, part counts, or budgetary concerns that lego factors into their processes. there will be other constraints, sure, but that's inherent to any hobby. you're not even constrained to making bionicle figures. think of all the books, comics, web serials, animations, etc. that accompanied bionicle G1. think of all the characters that never got visual representations- you can give those to them. think of all the events and locations that were mentioned, but never really explored- you can tell stories about them. heck, you're not even constrained to what accompanied G1 or G2. you can make up new stories about new heroes in new worlds that lego employees could never even dream of coming up with. to paraphrase the inimitable bob ross, you can do whatever you want, because it's your little world. the only limits are your imagination and your work ethic. to say, "i want lego to bring back bionicle like this" is to say, "i need someone else to be creative for me." and that's so utterly sad. in conclusion, when does a man die? when he is hit by a bullet? no. when he suffers a disease? no. when he eats a soup made out of a poisonous mushroom? no. a man dies when he is forgotten. bionicle doesn't need to be brought back, because it will never go anywhere as long as people are there to remember it fondly. those who keep campaigning for bionicle to be rebooted again and again, despite common sense saying that that's a bad idea, have forgotten what already exists. lego has given you plenty. they are not obligated to give you more. if you want more, make it.
  10. 7 points
    honk honk. this is approved -Tyler
  11. 7 points
    IC: "I don't know what to tell you, babe. Start a band. Start killing people. Buy another coat and do detective work, brooding in the rain. I don't know. But the second you walk in there and admit that you have no other options, they'll have you by the spine. They'll never let go." The Toa of Iron peeked up from his whistle, gaze mostly hidden behind a scarf caked in dust and two drawn-up knees. He watched Krayn rub his shoulder with veiled sympathy, cocking his head at the older Toa's pained motion. "The Sentinels are an institution. They work in the same ways as the Gukko Force, they'll frustrate you the same ways, and in the end they all fail you. They fail in the same places at the worst times. I watched them fail to stop Utu and me. I watched them fail to do a thing to take down Bad Company, whether I helped or not - and I watched them fail Tuara. You might think you're alone, but you, as you are--" he flicked Skyra's knee to illustrate that she fit his point too "--you're just free agents. Unless you go to work for Po-Koro - which is not the place you remember, so don't think you're fighting to bring it back. You won't be cashing checks for Tillian Juturna or Naona. You're going to be working for an army, without any of your friends, for an Akiri you barely know. And the same people who wanted a meathead Kolhii player like Hewkii to turn a recluse, make him think he could burn half the island? The ones who can take down six Turaga in the same day and sink Xa-Koro into the sea? There are a lot more out there. They're richer than before, cruel as ever, and Akiri still listen to them. I barely trust Jaller, but the rest?" Dorian bit his lip for a moment and shook his head. "Ambages' money went into a lot of pockets and won him a lot of favors, even beyond the grave. I know it's not the way you see the world. I wish I could see it the way you do for a change. But that's how institutions really keep the lights on. Working you to death is just a bonus." Dorian bit his lip for a moment and continued. "Listen to me. You, my beautiful, frown-lined king, are a goddamn Aggressor. You stole back Onewa. You chased the Mark Bearers longer, further, harder than anyone. When Ko-Koro needed help, you went because you had to. Badge, no badge - no one can take that away from you. And no one can take you off that ship without killing everything it stands for. If they say a badge is the price of admission, then they might as well rename the ship and send it off to fight pirates again. Because wherever you're standing, to me, is Aggressors HQ. If I really didn't think so..." he trailed off for a moment, eyes still feverish from loss. Perhaps Dor had realized he had begun rambling again, like he had on the Fowadi. Like he had so many times before in the presence of the Aggressors. "...I would've just kept walking, baby." Dorian tugged down his scarf to reveal a smile as fragile as blown glass, a throat that gulped as he finished talking, and teeth that grazed his bottom lip and clung there as they looked at Krayn Inzaka. "I spent my life fighting for awful things because they gave me a home," he whispered, smile trembling at the corners. "Trust me. You regret it when you die." He winked. -Tyler
  12. 7 points
    Hey, I've just joined and I'd love to get to know the people I'm playing with. (I've met @Vezok's Friend, @TL01 NUVA and @Geardirector elsewhere, and probably some others too) And if anyone has any tips for what Timak should join in with (who wants a toa of sonics on their party?) I'd love to hear them.
  13. 7 points
    IC: "And so it, like, learns to whistle?" The oblong wooden carving rotated in his hands carefully, the keen blue eyes poking out above the scarf looking for any obvious signs of defect or a gag gift. The face behind the oval Kanohi Rau was blank and expressionless; clearly, his line of questioning had flummoxed the Matoran at the gift counter. "Whistles don't learn to whistle," he replied, confused. "Whistles just whistle." Without knowing it, the fresh-faced young Po-Matoran salesman had put Dorian's whole life into greater, simpler perspective. "I'll take the whistle and the aspirin, then." The Toa of Iron gripped the train whistle protectively in his left hand and sorted out the widgets to pay in his right. As he flipped each onto the counter, his gaze found itself fixed on one tourist trap machine in particular. The Iron Mahi station had come equipped with its own Kid's Corner, kind of a lame name for a place for Matoran imaginations to run wild while your parents got to ride in luxury like Mata Nui himself, but whatever, Dor was paid to consult on shooting people on their way home from bars and not municipal branding decisions-- Ahem. The masked Toa pointed to the new object of his obsessions and cocked his head back towards the "How many widgets to use that thing?" "Ah, sir, your train's departure time is any minute-" "I'll win in record time, then. How many widgets?" The answer might surprise you! It certainly surprised Dorian. Perhaps the Iron Mahi employee shouldn't have rushed him, because he had grown increasingly frustrated with his first eight attempts - one widget each, although that was cold comfort when he was on an eight game losing streak - to the point where he wished he had brought his gun after all. And this stupid Pohatu Climbing Claw Just Wouldn't Move Right. "Does Hewkii know that you torture kids with this busted thing?" he called out, grouchy and petulant beneath the scarf he was masking with, to the cashier. "Err, Renaka?" "Bahbahbahbahbahwhatever." He took a step back from the machine and had turned to leave when he caught sight of the Gukko. That thing was too big to be called a plushie. Too big, too thick, too heavy, and too soft, it was more like a large hunk of cloud, nestled inside a hollow Kolhii ball that Dor had accidentally cracked open with the claw on his last attempt. Even with the Kolhii ball slightly intact, one great, black void of an eye peered out at him from its man-made egg. Why was there a Gukko in a Po-Koro themed claw machine? ... Dor laced his fingers together and cracked them. Sometimes, he didn't know what he would do if all that assassination hadn't made him rich. Buuuut since there was no undoing it... ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Dorian Shaddix was the last person onboard the Iron Mahi. Matter-of-factly, and determined to be silent, the King of the Kid's Corner, fresh from his pyrrhic victory, stalked from compartment to compartment looking for his travel buddies. Two blue suns burned feverishly, from the thrill of victory combined with heady humiliation, along every cart; even with the rest of his face obscured, his eyes were more than enough of a window into his white-hot rage to make people shy away from him. He gripped the whistle in his right hand like a sword's hilt, and the monstrous creature underneath the crook of his left arm would have gasped for breath were it alive. When he found them, he tossed a glass vial of medicine onto Skyra Daring's lap - and then gripped the Gukko's beak and tossed it, underhand, at the window next to the Toa of Air's head. He took his seat without a word, kicked his legs up against the door, and began examining the whistle braced against his knees. -Tyler
  14. 7 points
  15. 7 points
    Just because I like the website doesn't mean I won't abuse my staff power in pursuit of vengeance for this indignity.
  16. 7 points
    While I absolutely agree that this is important info and appreciate the kind sentiments, I do want to pop in to clarify ahead of time for @Harvali's sake that he and I have already chatted about this over discord and I'm aware of his concerns. To clarify further as to why Harvali is worried despite awareness of BZPRPG.com's archive - in its current state, it only has an archive that is several months out of date, and doesn't have the automatic backup functionality - currently every update to the archive has to be manually performed, which wasn't much of a problem when the forum was relatively inactive/the only activity was a game where the many-topic searches bzprpg.com can do extremely efficiently aren't necessary, but given the BZPRPG is now firing on all cylinders again, an automated backup system has become a new priority. I planned to get that implemented sooner, but work on wiki.bzprpg.com (AKA bzprpg.wiki), revamping the website's aesthetic be more dark mode, and updating bzprpg.com/search to allow for searching by users has taken precedence until now. Given those features have now sufficiently matured, my current plan is to, at the very least, get an updated archive live next week, and ideally fully implement automatic daily or hourly post archival in the process. We'll see how that goes, and I'll be sure to keep people updated as to progress when it occurs.
  17. 6 points
    man what did they do to deserve this they just liked doing kung fu at altitude
  18. 6 points
    good thing BFM is alive and well
  19. 6 points
    IC: "I guess sometimes the world can be beautiful, too." -Tyler
  20. 6 points
    IC: Skyra Daring - Iron Mahi heading to Po-koro - I squeaked into the giant Gukko plush as I felt Dorian flick my knee with a finger, he knew how ticklish I was! I slowly turned my head so I could both breathe again and look at Dorian with both a drowsy and slightly indignant expression. Something about train rides and incredibly soft fluff was making me only a few steps away from dozing off. Really it was only what Dorian was saying that kept me awake, like Krayn I had more recently given up my position and rank in the Gukko Force. Naturally the higher ups called it a 'temporary leave of absence' but really I didn't have any intention of rejoining. Quitting had felt strange at first but, honestly I'd slowly been starting to realize that maybe it had been holding me back from being all I could be. At least now anything stupid I did wouldn't reflect on the Force, hahahahahaha. "Yeah I regretted a lot of things too when I died..." I decided to comment. "...except instead of actually dying I got tits."
  21. 6 points
    IC: [Leah - Ga-Wahi, Dark Walk Entrance] “Good to meet you both.” She glanced at the Rahkshi remains again. “And that is an excellent question, Talli.” The rumors about Makuta’s return had of course not passed the Toa Maru by. Her eyes moved from the scrapped monster at their feet to the tunnel entrance, Reordin’s words echoing in the back of her mind. "We're not done yet, you understand?" he asked, still holding her with the utmost care. "You and me. Nowhere near it." Happier times. Her thoughts flashed forward to the orange gloom of Ta-Koro. "We all celebrated after he vanished. All of us, even Sulov. But not you, Stannis. Do you remember? You said the words, and you stood there, still as stone, because you knew, didn't you? You son of a ######, you knew!" "He's right. You've always got a sermon to give, but when do you actually tell us anything? I know I'm not the only one who's tried not to think about it, but all this time there's been a mystery: what actually happened to Makuta? Where did he go?" "I think it's time to come clean, brother. We're operating half blind here, building the island's defenses only on what we see and good faith in your word. You owe us an explanation." An explanation, yes. She owed them that much. She looked somberly at her newfound companions. “Rahkshi haven’t been this bold in a long time. They’re formidable in a single fight, but I’ve rarely seen them operate alone. I think this one was sent to spy on the village perhaps. And the Dasaka - they’re here because their entire homeland got overrun by an army of them. They’re no longer just the monsters haunting the dark walks. They’ve been given a purpose again. There’s a will that drives them.” “I won’t pretend the signs point elsewhere. We beat him, that I know. He was defeated, but…” She sighed. “Somehow, Makuta returned.” OOC: @Mel @ARROW404
  22. 5 points
    I wholeheartedly agree. As much as I wish I could walk into a toy store and buy new Bionicles, as much as I wish the story had gotten a proper conclusion, you're absolutely right. The world now is very different to the world where Bionicle first took off. Capturing that lightning-in-a-bottle effect that G1 had is going to be nearly impossible, especially given Lego's clear disinterest in maintaining a constraction theme, not to mention the disdain that other Lego "purists" have towards Bionicle. I wouldn't put it past Lego to try rebooting Bionicle again, as they did in 2016, or creating some new constraction theme, but I don't think anything they do will ever manage to be as big or lore-rich as the original Bionicle was. I don't think they'd even try to make anything that ambitious again. I'm not even going to bother broaching the idea of a G1 continuation, because that's absolutely never going to happen. A belated ending would never satisfy everyone anyway, after all this time. I especially agree with your final point. I'd very much encourage people to go and do their own thing, create their own legends, instead of kicking and picking at the corpse of G1. The lore has been so twisted out of shape by Greg over-explaining things, answering questions without considering the repercussions, and people pitching their random headcanons at him for "approval." We can remember Bionicle, reminisce about it, revisit and reread it, reimagine it to make our own worlds... but we also need to let it have the rest it so rightfully deserves.
  23. 5 points
    @ARROW404 / dark walk crew: just to make sure you guys are aware OOC since I realized things might have been somewhat unclear, Skorm still seems to be on the ceiling visually as well, and his lightstone is still hovering up there. More is going on than just getting sucked away, not that you all are aware of any of that. Don't worry. Everything will be fine.
  24. 5 points
    IC: "Why must you torture me like this?"
  25. 5 points
    IC: Various It is often discussed what it is like to be dead - but is never discussed what it is like to never have been born. I remember being young, growing up under his controlling wing, the black wing that blocked out the sun and reigned eternal night over our clan. I was at home. Never safe, nor secure, but at home. That was where I belonged, under the obsidian umbrella. Conditioned from the age of six to be a warrior, a killer. Convinced (and I believed, wholeheartedly) that all other beings were animals, beasts in a beast world to be tamed and enveloped by the underworld. The open sky, the fresh air, the sun, all of it, was a sin, a blight on the perfect utopia of everlasting darkness. All of the surface was to be ruled from stalactites and some brutal throne to which all inferior life would bow. We, and we alone, were permitted to roam free. But we were entombed. All living things with the capability to dwell, at some point, on what it might be like to be something other than alive. What is it like to be dead? I happen to be among the few with the unique privilege of knowing the answer to that question. Only, there is no language built to relay the experience, because none who speak exist in death. They simply cease to be. It is never discussed what it is like to never have been born, because there is no experience to be related. Before birth, there is nothing. It is naturally assumed, by those living, with no point of reference, that to be dead is much the same. But it isn't even close. To be dead is to be entombed. (Your agency is robbed; you are no longer yourself.) The black wings that shield away the world, become a world, and your non-reflection is laid bare, until there is nothing but darkness, and endless void. (All life is beneath you; it is other.) Only in a state of death do you walk the earth a zombie, mindless and empty, plaguing the living with your never-ending hunger for consciousness, your thirst to exist being the only semblance left of an identity concept. (Through death you become it; throw death upon all.) None who are dead speak of life, for it is they who have never been born. When we were exposed to the light, we were exposed to true life. We saw Ignotus, the keeper of we, the dead, in his true colour - not black, nor void, but a very, very, very dark blue. Where there is colour, there is life, and where there is life, it can be killed. It became my mission, then, to degrade death, to humiliate him, torture him, and kill him, then kill his memory and its children. All I dreamt of was him and his utter obliteration. It was my sole fantasy. Our - my - glorious leader, smeared off the face of history like a dust darter, vaccinated from the ingrown pores of our race; my dreams were those of birth. A first birth for all Mystix kind, from the darkness into the light - and we could already see the end of the tunnel. I knew my destiny. But destiny is a fickle Mahi - horned and temperamental. I moved too quickly and too soon; I was disgraced, cast out from his dark wing and discarded into the grey caves of limbo, purposeless and empty. My destiny was a hopeless facade. Soon, one of those rogue horns would impale me, cold steel in my chest, my back, my bussy, and my ballsack. I wish my last breath had taken just a little longer. Perhaps then I could've appreciated the irony. I might've laughed. What is it like to have never been born? It is to betray the betrayer of trust, be betrayed again in turn, and stabbed in the back by a stranger. Then, a moment of nothing passes, a moment that spans from creation to destruction - millennia - and from destruction to creation - eons - nothingness and every single individual moment in the whole of time all at once. Beyond light and darkness, apathy and desire, within and without. All values mean nothing to you. You are a naked flame on a bed of nails. Then, somehow, I returned. Somewhere in the eternal oblivion was an opening, all of my nothingness was sucked through by the vacuum, forced through a gap an atomic fraction of my size. After that, I was back. I wasn't me, but I was still myself, and I was back - but not better. I have to confess, it wasn't a pleasant experience. For six months, I wished I had stayed dead. Besides the searing taste of superheated bile, chilblains, and the crushing overload of all my fully-functional senses firing at full power, was the traumatic image of my final frame—the last image I had seen, and the feeling of dying. I may talk learnedly of what it is like to be dead, and to have never been born, but dying is a very real, dread-soaked sensation. It haunted me for six months; for six months, I was in delirium. I was still the unidentified corpse kept in cold storage in the hopes that someone might come and at least explain the death rites for this strange species. I was still the forgotten body, a nobody used as fodder in some sick game or other. My muscles, cartilage and flesh tore through their long and painful recovery from semi-decomposition, while my mechanical parts carried them (barely) from cave to cave, a winged, broken shell. By the time I could think straight, I was already single-mindedly assembling a small army of mercenaries to act as cannon fodder in my fight against Ignotus - but they would never be paid. The job would never even take place. Death was over - I had been born, like all who live, against my will. It was his brother who had killed him and forced me to breathe free air. Was I grateful? Yes. Did it also fill me with bitter resentment? Indeed. I'd believed until then that the reason I had come back, or defeated death, was to kill Ignotus, my oblivion. Now, again, my destiny had been torn from me like a child stolen from its mother. Yet I found myself under a new wing nonetheless, this time not suffocated by a deathly embrace, but instead incarcerated in an open prison. Zarnarax's feigned benevolence easily seduced me. Here, I thought, was a true leader, one I could follow. It seemed so natural to slip back into subservience and ignore, comfortably, the blatancy of his sadism. My illusion was short-lived, however. It was Aru who saved me, the demon's daughter, but where the demon was a toxic fume she was clean air, fresh water. And, rarely seen, there was Flame-of-Summer-Sun, Aclaraung of golden scales, whose ancient eyes slept open and vigilant. Did the two of them meet at that time? Was the plot to topple the new order not mine, as I had been allowed to think, but the work of Ignotus' most ancient enemies? I have never had the chance to ask. In my darkest nightmares, I learn that I am nothing but a tool, replaceable and devoid of agency. I try to take control, but the spectres of the unknown plague me until I think I am dead, again and again, and my only life is lost at last. - - - - - - - Onu-Wahi. One week before Makuta’s defeat. The criteria for the meeting were simple: For starters, He had to be busy. Secondly, the chamber couldn’t be too large, or have many entrances - it didn’t matter if the attendees were Aru’s former conjoined twins; they weren’t to be trusted. I knew that much from experience. While the premise of the meeting may have been straightforward, the actual timing was immensely tricky; the Initiations only took place on sporadic occasions, according to the whims of Zarnarax. This was the only time when Zarnarax would be sufficiently occupied for us to hold our covert meeting. There was no message sent out, nor a signal. Everyone knew to keep their eyes peeled for when the window was open, and immediately assemble in the antechamber. On at least two occasions, meetings had to be called off because our cover was nearly blown by some clutz or other. Zarnarax knew, he must have, that we were planning something. Only, to suppress our uprising he ran the risk of nobody talking, and thus no evidence, which didn’t exactly line up with his ‘by-the-book’ image. Regardless, all we needed was one meeting to form a plan - then it was only a matter of time. Ensuring the small party of Mystix we had assembled was here in its entirety, and hearing someone slide the cave entrance shut, my eyes spared the group my suspicious glare and drifted over to Aru. I was still in awe of her dummy thicc thighs determination to topple our deceptive leader, not least because he was her own father - it had taken me my entire lifetime to even see Ignotus as a mortal, let alone to recognise that my faith in him was a forgery, even longer yet to bite his poisonous hand. I didn’t know the first thing about her, but I felt a certain sense of kinship with her, a certain familiarity. There was something ironic about the fact that I was finally enacting a years-old plan to decapitate the Mystix cult, but on the wrong cult and the wrong leader. I found some pointless consolation in the fact that the antechamber was about the same as I had remembered. - - - - - The darkness. The cold, empty darkness, quiet save for the occasional drip of water somewhere deep within. He detested the darkness. He longed, as ever, to be out in the air, soaring among the mountains, delighting in the rays of the sun beating down upon his scale-armored body. To dive down from the heavens, tackling some unsuspecting prey and claiming his kill. He longed for the light. For outside. But as always, there were tasks to do, and this task brought him deep within the caves. Caves he’d been trapped in for so long, forced to suffer the indignities thrust upon him by the bat-kin. Always the other, denied even the barest scraps of respect. Always treated as something unsavory. Something lesser. “No more.” The words’ echo quietly spread, barely registering as recognizable language each time it came back to him. It was a vow, his own quiet promise to himself that he would never suffer such treatment again. A vow that would soon be sealed in blood. For the Mystix had accrued quite a debt to him, over the years, and in one day he intended to repay them in kind. “No more will these delusions of dominion be allowed to persist. No more will these spurious claims of supremacy be heeded.” His sinuous, serpentine tail coiled around one of the supports holding up the roof of another tunnel, before yanking it aside quickly. Immediately, that branch caved in, throwing dust up in the dark, winding caves. So far out from where the others were situated, the sound would scarce be likely to be noticed, over the constant, small tremors that they had grown so accustomed to. Aclaraung closed his eyes against the dust that rose; while his sense of hearing wasn’t so heavily developed as the cave-rats he sought, it was still sharp, as was his sense of smell; both could easily guide him to the cavern that was his goal. And all along the way, another branch cut off, another path to the open air rendered unusable. Coinciding with all those that had already collapsed in times past, whether while they were all trapped below or in more recent years. Some accidental, some by those who rebelled against Ignotus’s rule, and some during the tumultuous shift of power after Ignotus’s death. And so, as he walked, the all-too-familiar web became a maze— A labyrinth— A hunter’s trap. - - - - - “Keep your voices down!” I snapped, and the room descended into silence. I continued in a hushed tone. “We all know why we’re here. We can’t afford to risk being overheard.” Having said that, I moved in a little closer and gestured for the others to shuffle inwards as well. A brutish, but well-spoken Mystix to my right was still holding the chisel he had been working with in the main hall outside, which I gently relieved him of and knelt down. I began drawing a bat’s-eye view of the entrance to the initiation chamber, pointing with the chisel at individuals around the room and back at markings on the map, assigning roles, positions, everything about how the ambush was to take place, but without a single word uttered. Months had been spent mentally rehearsing this part, and we were banking on the other attending members of our little revolt having done the same. Like clockwork. Wasn’t that what Xar had said when they first began planning? Or maybe that was just what Aru herself had thought at the time. It was, after all, more like her to think of war and politics as machinery. Xar, on the other hand, made it sound like a dance, as if planning a revolt was the same as laying out choreography. Steps and timing and positions. Aru had never known revolution to be so elegant, and she wondered - not for the first time - if Xar was truly prepared for the blood and chaos that would follow when his grand designs met reality. Still - now wasn’t the time for doubts. She was committed, and she could not allow her appearance of confidence to falter, not this late in the game. And so she stood at Xar’s side, watching silently as he reduced civil war to lines in the dirt. - - - - - Before long, he found himself at the threshold. Aclaraung gazed at the great stone door, taking in every detail, every last little scratch that had not yet been worn smooth by time’s passing, as the flickering light of his flame passed over it. Just a bit longer—a few hours at most—and that door would be sealed forevermore, the final chapter of Ignotus and his bat-kin brought to a close. Ignotus. The thought of the name threatened to make the rage contained in Aclaraung’s chest explode prematurely. Ignotus. The petty king. The worm emperor. The ringleader of these Mystix, and the one who had cemented Aclaraung’s place of disfavor amongst the flying rats. Yet, for all Ignotus had done to secure his rule, to eliminate any possibility of challenge, Aclaraung had seen the records. Old correspondences, ‘court records,’ and histories. Many had been destroyed, to ensure that none questioned the Lord of the Caverns in his right to rule. But others were still partially legible. And they spoke of many things; a diplomatic mission, a land over the oceans, far past the horizon, the twinkling of starlight, the heat of high noon. Over all, they spoke of a different leader, a different patriarch of a different people. They spoke of himself. Aclaraung, He-of-Golden-Scale, Flame of the Summer Sun. They were his vindication after countless cold years of ignominy beneath the dirt. - - - - - There was something wrong. Something was in the room. Someone. I froze in place, the chisel still midway through etching the east side of a pincer maneuver. I dared not look up, I couldn’t - yet somehow I knew what was there, at the back of the room, in the corner of the eye. The dreams of self-immolation, the inner death of my preborn self; yes, I knew what was next. My eyes crept upwards, and I saw it before me, black wings in shadow: my destiny. The others were growing steadily more uncomfortable, unsure whether to break the silence to try and snap me out of it, then - SLAP! Okay, so, that was slightly harder than intended. Either way, it had done the trick - Xar seemed to be (vaguely) lucid again. “If you’re gonna throw up, you probably shouldn’t do it on your battle plan.” I looked up - not at Aru, but at the suspicious eyes of our cohorts. I was losing them. Some of the ones further back were whispering amongst themselves. - - - - - One clawed hand raised to rest upon the portal. For a moment, he felt himself caught in the liminality; the unmistakable knowledge that this entrance represented a fundamental shift in his existence. A departure of what it had been, an egress from the shame, and a pathway to what should be. The light of the flame disappeared without warning, leaving Aclaraung in total darkness. Alone with his thoughts, before he would leap over the precipice into a new realm of existence. “I know not through what sorcery you stole my memory from me, emperor of rats and parasites,” he whispered, each sibilant hissing out slowly, dangerously—as though the steam from a kettle soon to boil over. “I know not how you made me forget my birthright. But I never forgot my place. Neither did you, and yet you ensured so many of your followers did, even if they should have known better.” The claws tapped lightly, impatiently, against the stone hatch. “A pity I could not invite this retribution upon you as well. Nonetheless, cousin, know that your unworthy children shall suffer this punishment as well, for so blindly believing your lies.” He pushed, hard, and the door slid open at his command. - - - - - Before I could respond, I could hear the stone door slide aside. Were they leaving? Or… No. I rose to my feet. He was here. - - - - - Empty, at first, save for the voices, ever so quiet, of those who were awake. The grinding of the door covered the growl that he could hold no longer as he moved forwards, into the halls he’d hated for so long. Eyes narrowed as he cast his head about, carefully watching for any possible ambush. He could not risk losing his surprise so easily, so worthlessly. A moment passed, silent, still, tense, before, in satisfaction, he continued onwards. - - - - - Zarnarax allowed each step he took into the antechamber to echo, savouring the moment, casting his cold blue eyes over the room, before finally settling on Xaruthan’s. This, he silently told him, is true power. To walk into a room, and have all eyes on you. - - - - - He crept, slowly, quietly, along the hard stone floors in the halls of the Mystix. Toward the central chambers, where he knew many of them would be, save Zarnarax and his lieutenants, who by now had likely come to confront Xaruthan and Learu. For once, he did have something to thank Ignotus’s brood for; they’d at least seen fit, in their grandiosity, to expand the size of every passageway. It made maneuvering his own bulk around in the darkness easier. Ahead, he could sense them, he could smell them. There were few who were sleeping in the normal way, but the majority had settled into their hibernations. To sleep away the years until memories were lost and they could more safely wander the island above, seeking to subvert the rule of the Matoran to install themselves as rulers. Zarnarax, foolish Zarnarax, just as imperially minded as his brother, but trusting too much in his own honeyed words to realize that the very idea was foolish. “No more will the lies be perpetuated.” Claws scraped against hewn granite tiles as he pulled himself deeper into the heart of his foes’ territory. “No more will the minds be polluted, and the souls turned towards the sin of such overweening arrogance.” The growl built deeper within his chest. Animalistic, predatory, in a way that only one among the bats would understand. The same scheming, ignorant schlemiel who’d thought Aclaraung’s ambitions amounted merely to re-sealing him and his ilk. And even then, that same bat was more inclined to trick and deceive, rather than to subdue and kill. He stopped in the center of the chamber. Up above, even in the very dim light of nearly fully covered lightstones, he could see the many Mystix that hung from the ceiling, already in slumber. - - - - - Had her father ever actually looked intimidating before? His pristine white complexion had certainly stood out, surrounded by caves and darkness as he always was, but it marked him as a misfit. The spikes of ice on his armour, likewise, had always seemed a vanity. But flanked either side by his loyal followers, standing at the mouth of the cavern, his chin stained red… Zarnarax noticed the looks focused on his chin, and chuckled drily, wiping it clean with the back of his taloned hand. “Well, I suppose the cat’s out of the bag now. Not that anyone in this room will live to tell.” Suddenly, it all clicked into place: “In you flows the very stuff that makes us what we are, and it would be a shame to lose that." The way he had looked at Zaruthan from the start, that perverted lust in his eyes - I thought I was imagining it. He wasn’t eager to recruit another enemy of Ignotus, he saw something, he knew… My blood! Immediately after Zarnarax spoke, I stepped forward and unleashed three beams of plasma from my fingertips at him and his two front-most bodyguards. Not a complicated maneuver. I wasn’t yet so accustomed to this element like I had been for that of air, but I was only trying to buy some time to let the others spread around the room a little. - - - - - ”MYSTIX! His voice thundered in the cavern, echoing far. Many of them began to stir in confusion, shaking awake those others near them. Aclaraung reared up to his full height, one arm languidly grasping around the skull of one of the Mystix still stirring. And he pulled. The bat screamed, forced to full wakefulness as its legs snapped apart from being so forcefully yanked from the cavern’s apex. Then the blood-curdling screech was cut immediately short, as the dusty grey floor exploded in a shower of red under the dragon’s grasp. He threw the limp body aside, where it collided with one wall with a dull, lifeless thump. The building growl shifted into the laughter of anticipation. “Wake up, my precious flying rats. Ignotus isn’t here to safekeep you. Zarnarax himself shall be gone soon enough. Now, however, is the hour of your reckoning.” Many of them dropped, still groggy, to the floor, landing carefully. Watching him warily, some already with knives in hand. Good. - - - - - And just like that, the spell holding the room in stunned silence was broken. Before she could even blink, Zarnarax had grabbed one of his bodyguards by the arm and physically thrown him into the path of the plasma. The other bodyguard, moving almost as quickly, rolled out of the way - but not before his shoulder was scorched by the blast. “Don’t be like that,” Zarnarax snarled, sidestepping the screaming mass of melted metal and melted man that had fallen to its knees in front of him. He gently laid his palm on the once-bodyguard’s face, and silenced it with a spike of ice directly through its eye. “Weren’t you the one who wanted to avoid bloodshed?” The façade was gone, then. I knew he had been hiding his true self, Aru told me as much. But to see his mask be discarded in such a brutal display was sickening. I looked at each of his entourage in turn, my eyes pleading - but there was no point. They belonged to him, just as I had once belonged to Ignotus. Their agency was robbed; they were no longer themselves. “The blood is on your chin, Zarnarax.” I threatened him again with a ring of ionised earth around where he was standing. “Believe me, the last thing I want is for anyone else to die. This is your last chance to fly, before I render you unrecognisable.” “Funny, I was about to say something rather similar myself.” Mentally, he reached into the ice on his armour, and- The torrent of water burst forth without warning, taking even Aru herself off guard as it swept Xar off his feet. Her father pounced on the opportunity, freezing the floored Mystix in place. And then he turned to Aru, and her heart dropped into her stomach. He looked… proud. I’m sorry. This didn’t make any sense. This didn’t make any sense. This- “Aru-? What?!” Zarnarax’s lips twisted into a smile, baring his bloodstained teeth, as he kept his gaze on Aru. “Ah. He didn’t know.” He stepped over the fused heap of metal and flesh in front of him, approaching Xaruthan. “I thought you might have figured it out by now. After all, blood is thicker than water.” I’m sick of this #####. Zarnarax, his reflexes as fast as they were, still didn’t have time to defend against the next torrent of water - only to turn towards it, allowing Aru a split second in which to savour his surprise. As her father was thrown back, she saw the perplexed looks on the faces of ally and enemy alike. “Well? What the Karz are you all waiting for?” - - - - - “Not one of you is blameless in the sin which has encompassed your tribe. Not one of you in this room kept themselves pure of the Worm-Emperor’s delusions or the Vampire’s lies. However, despite the years of mistreatment you subjected me to, the decades of ignominy, the centuries of indignity, I am not without mercy.” He launched forth a gout of flame, the heat melting away the covers that shrouded the lightstones around the exit. “Many of the tunnels have collapsed,” he stated, though the ominous undertone of his words clearly wasn’t missed by his audience. “But paths to the surface still remain. Should you find your way into the clear air, then you have my word: You will be safe from my retribution. But know this, little mice—I will be hunting you.” He leaned in towards the closest, who involuntarily stepped back. ”Every.” He turned again, rapidly, and the group backed away. ”Last.” He could hear the rustling of others, their armour shifting as they lifted their small knives. ”Step.” His mouth split into a wide, predatory grin. “I was even nice enough to leave your weapons down here, though I’ve moved them throughout all the tunnels. Should you find them, and attack me...know that you will at least have my respect, for once in your miserable, worthless existences. And if you should kill me, well, you’ll all be safe, won’t you?” One rushed him. He swiped lazily with a wing, knocking the thin, would-be-warrior to the floor, and pinning him down. “I certainly invite you to try.” His gaze shifted downwards, drinking in the fear in the young bat’s eyes. With a heave of his mighty shoulder, the armour crunched inwards. Bones shattered, lungs and heart were punctured. The bravest of the lot died not with a yell of defiance, but in a whimper of agony. The great yellow eyes rose again, the grin unchanged. “My little flying mice.” His voice dropped to a whisper. ”Run.” - - - - - His head was swimming. As he picked himself back up, Zarnarax saw- Chaos. A tongue of flame whipped past him and he dodged, ducking just in time to miss a fist of stone that swung towards him. Learu - his Learu - had one of his faithful drowning in a sphere of water, holding off another with her bare hands. What was that sound- His attacker’s punch connected this time, leaving him reeling, with just enough wherewithal to impale them on a spit of ice, which he quickly retracted back into his armour. What in the- Zarnarax looked up just in time to see my two clawed feet hurtling towards him in a flying dropkick. The attack sent him back momentarily - I took that split-second to scan the room. It was bedlam; in that small snapshot I already witnessed someone I didn’t recognise getting blinded by jets of flame, and another ripped in half at the midsection by, I assumed, a manipulation of gravity. By the time my gaze arrived back at Zarnarax, he was beginning to recover. I was about to follow up when I realised I was still holding the chisel from earlier; clutching it tight, I willed it to heat up to just below its melting point, then launched it like an oversized dart at Zarnarax’ torso. As quick as ever, Zarnarax grabbed the projectile in mid-air - a reflex he quickly regretted as he hissed in pain and let it clatter to the ground, clutching his wrist. “You insolent RAT!” In the instant he spent closing the distance with Xaruthan, he had sheathed his burnt hand in a blade of ice, its point on a collision course with Xar’s throat. I leaned back and whirled my body around in such a way that the knife narrowly missed my jugular. The maneuver nearly cost me my balance, but I shifted my weight onto my right wing and cartwheeled into the air, where I hung from a stalactite for a second to catch my breath. I smacked my lips. There was a taste in my mouth. Looking down, I saw that, while he had indeed missed my jugular, Zarnarax had snuck in another slash before I was out of arm's reach, splitting my abdomen. Glowing fluid oozed out, but for now, it was only skin deep. Plus, I was going to make him regret it. Gobbing a mouthful of searing-hot spit at my fast-approaching opponent, I swooped down to tackle him to the ground. - - - - - Many scattered, disappearing into the tunnels like rabbits into their warrens. Aclaraung watched them with a careful eye, taking note of each tunnel taken, where each route could lead, before returning his full attention to the few that now stood surrounding him. He circled his head around warily, taking count of his current foes. Five. Disappointing. “Know this, children of the catacombs,” he rumbled, bringing his head low to the floor, muscles tensing, ready to pounce. “This sacrifice of yours has earned some small respect, an honour that none of your cowardly kin possess. I’ll remember you as the few who were brave enough to stand against the oncoming destruction.” With the scent of blood on the air already, he could spare no more words. The glow of energy spread quickly from his chest, travelling up his neck in a split second. And when next he opened his jaws, the first of the doomed protectors fell as he was consumed in a gout of flame, blackened armour sliding off a charred corpse. Reduced to ash before he even had a chance to scream. The others, though, let loose their battle cry; the dragon wheeled around, raising a wing to protect his head as a barrage of sharp spikes of ice flew for him. Many bounced off the leathery membrane or shattered on his scales; some few, however, penetrated, sublimating to steam upon meeting the heat of his blood. He swatted outwards, and the Mystix flew into the wall. Another stabbed at his flank, managing to slip their knife between his scales before he shifted away, turning the thrust into a thin cut. His tail whipped up, catching that one’s neck and slamming him to the ground. Then a hard impact between his shoulder blades, the last attempting to find purchase atop his back. Aclaraung rolled, wiping her off onto the rough granite floor before coming upright again. The short battle paused, each would-be ‘hero’ dazed by the impacts they’d sustained. ”Hmph.” - - - - - Zarnarax dropped down and slid forward on the very same ice that he formed into a spike behind him, shooting up to intercept Xaruthan’s path. His smugness was short-lived - a clawed foot shot out and pinned him to the floor, his daughter at the other end of it. If she expected him to hesitate in striking her down, she was mistaken; ice jutted from his chest armour, throwing Aru off balance as he got to his feet. The ice pierced my wing, I winced as I turned my fall into a roll, and by the time I was back up the pain was suppressed. Seeing his attention taken by Aru - whose side was she on? - I fired three concentrated beams of plasma at Zarnarax, one after another, each lasting about a second in duration. Oh #####. Once again, his reflexes failed him - with his attention on Aru, he noticed Xar’s attack a fraction of a second too late. He was alive, and he had scrambled out of the way of the latter two blasts, but not without cost. His left eye was watering - he blinked it back. He still needed his one good eye. - - - - - Aclaraung moved towards the one he’d caught with his tail, stomping down upon the neck of the earth-wielding Mystix who’d tried to jump atop him, rather than simply bury him. Her heaving breaths turned instantly to choked gasps of pain, her crushed trachea unable to draw in air. His claws wrapped around the other’s neck, pinning him to the floor. “Aclaraung,” he gasped, reaching up to try, futilely, to loosen the grip. The dragon watched the struggle dispassionately, cocking his head to the side in the mildest of curiosity. “P-plea—” Snap. The earth Mystix rapped her heels against the floor, brought to convulsions even as her lips were turning as blue as her eyes. He stepped over her, this time, towards the ice-wielder who he’d slammed into the wall. That one was starting to stand, though his eyes were still hazy, unfocused from the impact. His last word came in a strangled, agonizing gasp as Aclaraung pinned him back to the wall, claws dug deep into his abdomen and wrapped around something. “Why?” The great scaled head turned, one large, golden eye trained upon him. “Your kind have a debt to me, Traxus,” he snarled, and yanked backwards. Traxus fell to the blackness swiftly, his last sight being Aclaraung, covered in blood—his blood, spirits forbid—and a trail of detached viscera that flew to splatter against the opposite wall. - - - - - Aru felt nauseous. The entire right side of her father’s face was- White armour had turned black and charred, melting over his eye, his mouth, trapping his face in an excruciating snarl. Ice crept up his neck to cool the burn, but steamed when it made contact. She winced - and then realised- He barely even had time to register that he was choking. The steam condensed around his head - Learu. As usual, the girl was surrounded by puddles - for the first time, he was glad instead of disappointed that her element had taken after her mother - and he froze her to the spot, breaking her concentration long enough for him to launch the same - now frozen - water she had tried to drown him with directly at her, before refocusing his attention on Xaruthan. - - - - - Arctan ran, heart pounding in his ears. He’d already lost track of how long he’d been running. Ever since Aclaraung had first told them to. He’d already run into three different dead ends, deep in the web of tunnels. Aclaraung had picked and chosen which supports to break, which tunnels to collapse, very well; even for one with power over the earth like himself, it would take too long to clear each one. Nevermind trying to use his element to dig himself out in a straight line. “Too deep,” he muttered to himself, panting heavily. “Too deep. Too far. Too much.” It was stupid, all of it. Ignotus’s dreams of conquest, Zarnarax’s plans of subversion. The way that he had helped raise this generation of Mystix to worship the ideals of power and dominion above all else. How he had helped Ignotus to easily deny Aclaraung’s own status to the other Mystix. How he’d even completely lost track of which direction he was going. Zarnarax was yet somewhere within the tunnels, he knew. He just had to find him. Perhaps, together, they could save themselves. He came to a stop in a relatively open cavern, catching his breath. As he did so, he strained his ears, listening—and his breath caught in his throat. “No,” he whispered. “Not now. Not so soon.” He could hear the sound of others falling beneath the scaled beast’s claws and teeth, and when that stopped, he heard the dragon’s bounding stride, claws scraping the rock, coming down the tunnels. Arctan did the only thing he could think to do. He lifted into the air, crawling up to the ceiling of the cavern and curling up as small as possible. The aged Mystix couldn’t run fast enough to escape the dragon, but perhaps he could avoid notice by hiding in the darkness, being as still and quiet as possible. He even held his breath as Aclaraung burst into the space, crouched low to the floor, eyes open and wary as he looked through the cavern. There was no light, Arctan wasn’t making any sound; there was no way the dragon’s eyes could catch him, so long as he didn’t loose any flame. He tried to shrink into himself more as he heard Aclaraung’s sniffing, and his reptilian tongue sliding between his teeth, tasting the air. Eventually, just as he was beginning to feel lightheaded, Aclaraung continued on past, down one of the side tunnels. Arctan permitted himself a small sigh of relief, and began to uncurl his body— Just to feel white-hot teeth sink into his shoulder. But that pain didn’t compare whatsoever to the agony that came as Aclaraung ripped him down, throwing him to the floor. Somewhere beyond the immediate, mind-consuming, torturous waves that raced along his nervous system, he could recognize that his legs were ruined. Blinking away the tears, he looked down to where his ankles were supposed to be, and realized he was screaming. “You thought you could escape me so easily, Arctan?” he heard the dragon say in his harsh, deep, guttural, almost unnatural voice. Somehow he found the will to stop screaming, and noticed Aclaraung slinking towards him with a predatory glare. He rolled over onto his front, clawing at the ground, pulling himself away, only to be held down by the same legs he’d never walk on again, superheated claws instantly cauterizing the wounds at his knees. “I was hoping to find you most of all, record-keeper,” the hateful creature said. “Or shall I say destroyer? Tell me, how many centuries of history have been lost by your working with Ignotus? What power do you have now of what he promised you? What about the others that once led your kind? Did you help discredit and ruin them, as you sought to do with me?” The claws released him, and he resumed his mad crawl towards one of the cavern’s exits. He couldn’t even register the laughter behind him. “Crawl, Arctan, and see what your arrogance has earned you! Where is your superiority now? How now can you claim to stand above any Matoran? Crawl, scribe, and see if your new precious master can save you, see if you can still be made viceroy like you dreamed of!” Had this been any other time, he might have had the presence of mind to feel insulted at Aclaraung’s words, but all he had was terror. He didn’t even notice when Aclaraung left him behind to hunt down the other tunnels, propelled onward along the floor through nothing more than the sheer imagination that Aclaraung hunted him still. - - - - - The room was starting to feel emptier. I looked down - a pool of blood flowed beneath me, diluted with something else - no time to get distracted. Can’t even check on Aru- I looked up to the ceiling and obliterated the base of the stalactite I had been hanging from only moments before, and was now directly above Zarnarax’ position. This I followed up with a wave of molten rock, torn up like a carpet from the cave floor in front of my enemy. The stalactite struck ground less than an inch from where Zarnarax’s head had been mere seconds before, the molten rock colliding with it before his eyes. Eye. Singular. For that, I will make sure you suffer. - - - - - Somewhere along the line, the noise had subsided, at least for the moment. The screams had ceased, there was no echo of rushing flame or harsh laughter through the tunnels. Somehow, Atare found that worse. At least when he heard others screaming, he knew Aclaraung wasn’t right behind him. That was a luxury he’d lost within the last few minutes. Not only that, he’d already found himself blocked off at three different routes to the exit, and was forced to backtrack. Again. “What is this?” he complained, petulantly, into the mostly-silent tunnels. “I deserve better than this.” And he did! He’d put his faith and trust into Ignotus and Zarnarax, just like he was supposed to. Why now should he be punished like this? And all because of that scaled giant! Atare reared back one arm, hurling a stone he’d been fiddling with down one of the tunnel branches. Unfortunately for Atare, he’d not taken too close a look down said tunnel, before hearing the rock bounce off of something hard and metal; and he froze to the spot, almost paralyzed by fear, as a great eye opened. “You do?” Oh no. “Poor, devoted Atare, never receiving his dues.” Atare couldn’t take it anymore. He lashed out, sending a gout of flame in Aclaraung’s direction, only to be met by one stronger from the scaled beast in turn. He fell back, tripping over his own feet to the floor, but just as he thought the flame would consume him it fell short, leaving the air clear. Just Aclaraung, waiting expectantly, who nodded down another tunnel. “Walk. You haven’t far to go to see the rewards of your loyalty.” - - - - - Her father’s attack was clumsy - it took Aru full on, and still could only have left bruises at most. Whether he had hesitated to kill his own blood, or he was simply being worn down and his attention split in too many directions, she was thankful for it, and set to freeing herself. Turned out, she needn’t have bothered - the earth below her feet was torn up and tossed against the cavern wall, Aru along with it. Her head spinning, she managed to pick out her attacker - not that it was hard. The room was a bloodbath, corpses strewn everywhere, stabbed or crushed or torn limb from limb. Are we… the only ones left? She was swiftly brought back to reality by a gut punch from the Mystix with the melted shoulder, who looked positively gleeful at being one of the final few left standing. Before she could hit back, she felt the wall burst forth behind her, closing around her wrists. And then, she felt the cavern wall deform once again; this time, constricting her throat. - - - - - Without much choice, Atare got up, and with the dragon at his back, he walked. And walked; evidently ‘not far’ for Aclaraung was further than he’d ever consider describing in such terms. “What is this?” he asked, peevishly, after another minute or two. He could already feel the air growing dead, as they walked further from any route that led to the exit. “Light your way and see.” So he raised a hand, a small orb of flame within it, and looked onwards. The tunnel opened up slightly ahead of them, into a small little alcove, but within it...His blood ran cold again. Corpses. Not even fresh ones, but a few that he’d known missing for a while, each unmoving, cold, and frightfully pale. “Tell me, Atare, how long were you from your initiation into Zarnarax’s circle?” Aclaraung asked, his voice harsher than usual. “You were so excited for it, weren’t you? Even after your own sister disappeared after hers. You honestly believed what he’d said, didn’t you? That she’d been sent out to scout the Matoran? But somewhere, you had to know. Yet you remained ever focused on yourself.” Claws at his back shoved him roughly, and he stumbled forward, landing with a yelp in the embrace of the dead. He pushed up, tried to get his footing, and stumbled again as the arm he planted one foot on slipped beneath him. “This is your reward for your service, Atare.” Wood splintered and cracked behind him; he rolled over just in time to see Aclaraung rapidly moving back, the tunnel collapsing behind him. - - - - - My eyes darted between Zarnarax and Aru, trying to prioritise - the enemy was nearly defeated, and she had nearly betrayed us all earlier- Us all? Who? I looked around the room at the carnage, body parts external and internal jumbled into an indecipherable mass that infested the cave floor. ‘The enemy is nearly defeated’: what a pointless concept! Some of us had to survive, or all of this would all have been for nothing. Chucking a wad of heat at Zarnarax, I whirled around and tore across the room towards Aru’s attacker, springing off a corpse into the air and down onto his back. So focused was he by his sadistic glee that he didn’t even notice until I landed on him, rolled backwards and kicked him overhead. The Mystix slammed into something, it didn’t matter what, and I was on him in seconds. His feet already melting, he roared in pain as I stabbed my fingers up through his lower jaw, and ripped the armour from his chest, superheated it, and impaled him with it. Leaving the degraded corpse to slide to the ground, I turned back to look for Zarnarax. I couldn’t see him anywhere at first, until- “How very gallant of you, Xaruthan.” Zarnarax’s words were a slurred hiss, but the gleam in his eye made it all too clear that his agony had only made his mind sharper. He shoved his scorched fist further into the small of Xar’s back, jamming the blade of ice even deeper. “How fitting that you should die the same way as your precious Ignotus.” - - - - - “Take the sword, idiot. This is no time to hold yourself to ancient customs, not when your life is at stake!” Cerax couldn’t stand the pair she’d found herself with. Brothers, but two of the most old-fashioned, conservatively minded to be found within the tunnels. Still, at least they’d agreed that they needed to try and turn the tables on the dragon, hunt him down rather than be hunted. To that end, they’d been walking back towards the last sounds of fighting they’d heard, eyes—and more importantly, ears—open to any sudden changes. It didn’t help that Aclaraung had always been hard to recognize down in the tunnels, whenever light didn’t hit him and shine off his scales. It was that shape. That cursed, reptilian shape, so long and low, and the scales that deflected sound around him as badly as some of the rough-hewn tunnels further out from the central chambers did. Why couldn’t he have just been a proper Mystix? She wouldn’t have trouble finding him then. She didn’t even notice the mass on the tunnel ceiling that she walked under, covered in blood and dust so that it didn’t shine like before. “Blasted dragon. Why couldn’t he just accept the way things are supposed to be?” One of the brothers whined, the other grunting agreement beside him. “There’s no way he’s even Mystix, with a body like that.” His scales bristled in anger, still unnoticed as the trio passed fully beneath him, his breath held to avoid giving himself away. “Shut up. Do you think Ignotus would’ve let him stay around so long if he wasn’t one of us? Or Zarnarax, or even Arctan? He has to still be a Mystix.” Behind them was a heavy thud against the ground, dusting kicking up in the tunnel. Cerax and the brothers whirled around, weapons raised, to see Aclaraung slowly lifting himself off the floor. “Looking for me?” Cerax lunged forwards with the spear she held; it was swatted aside, the haft snapped entirely by a set of red-hot claws. She stepped back, raising her hands, giving the brothers the opportunity to step in and try and attack without her in the way. One did, the old, dull sword clanging uselessly against the dragon’s scales. The other dropped his axe, shouted “Run!” and all three did. - - - - - Aru had just managed to prise herself free - earth, after all, was rather more flexible when wet - when she saw her father stab Xaruthan in the back. She couldn’t speak; all that escaped her throat as she fell to the floor was a choked whimper. Xaruthan’s boiling blood was making the ice steam up and melt, but the searing pain only fuelled Zarnarax further, his focus on keeping the blade solid unbroken as he began ever-so-slowly to twiiiisssssssst… “I would have killed you quickly, you know. As quickly as I killed him, at least; the poor ##### never knew what hit him. But you just had to dig. Deeper.” He punctuated both words with a jerking twist of the knife, his good half grinning. Not like this. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Zarnarax was oblivious to her. If she could just get to him - if she could just keep her eyes open- None of us can survive, or all of this was for nothing… - - - - - Thankfully, Cerax had always been quick, and knew the tunnels well. The brothers were quick as well; the three of them outpaced Aclaraung quickly as he came up behind them, this stretch of the tunnels a bit narrow for his bulk. If only they could outrun the flames he might unleash— She saw a strange nod out of the corner of her eye, and the brother to her left slowed slightly. Before she even had the opportunity to tell him to keep moving, she felt the hands of the other on her back, yanking her roughly to the ground before they kept going. She slid with a cry, trying to turn over so she could get back on her feet and at least look death in the face, before the blood-and-dirt covered shape of Aclaraung sailed over in a single leap, claws still glowing bright red with heat. She watched, incredulous, as he descended upon one of the brothers, screams and searing flesh accompanying a spatter of blood against all three of them, Aclaraung digging his superheated claws along the unfortunate man’s back. The other turned, ready to fight— Cerax was thankful she couldn’t see in detail what happened as the first one’s screams ended with a wet ripping sound. Then Aclaraung whipped his arm around, and the second brother grabbed at his throat, something slick with blood choking the life away from him amidst Aclaraung’s animalistic growls of hatred. Shuddering, she stood, turned, and ran down a side hall, following the quiet sound of rushing air as much as she could manage to hear it. She had no clue if she was the only one or if there were others, but if Aclaraung intended to spare her, she wouldn’t argue. - - - - - It may be assumed that dying once may serve as adequate preparation for dying a second time. This is not the case. My breath was snatched away in shock, for I had nearly forgotten how it had felt the first time - only this time it was ice. As the cold spread through my body, the world seemed to dissolve into a swirling mass of images, faces, the earth fell away and oblivion yawned before me, eager to correct the marring of its non-reflection with my mortal soul. Your agency is robbed; you are no longer yourself. The blade was gone now, and my body remained cold as it fell into the abyss, past memories and places and things, and I watched it fall, capable of only apathy. Death simply was, and I welcomed it yet again: my home in the void. But then, who was this? His armour so green, his flesh so whole and unscathed - was this Zaruthan, the rogue puppet of Ignotus? He stood with such pride, such unbridled, perhaps undeserved, self-confidence. His naivety would be his undoing, his weakness… But he was me. Since he had died, he had been something other to me, but now I looked upon him, looked into him, his own eyes looking back - and he was me. It was my mission to degrade death, to kill him, his memory and its children. My sole fantasy. Our - my glorious leader, smeared off the face of history. Finally, birth for all Mystix kind, from the darkness into the light - and here, now, was the end of the tunnel. All life is beneath you; it is other. I looked down to see Matoran moving into the caves of the Mystix, repurposing them, colonising them. Their lives were by now untainted by infighting, their way of life finally triumphant over the shadows that tormented their existence. It… Did not disgust me. It felt right. This was the way. Destined. But then their world was swallowed into a great quaking chasm, huts, machinery and all. They screamed helplessly as their world collapsed away into the obsidian wings of- Oblivion. Ignotus was oblivion’s burning eyes, glaring back at me. There was a voice in my- ear? I was beyond physical, but the voice spoke to me, first Aru, then Zaruthan, then Zarnarax, then- “...of us can survive, or all of this will have been for nothing. It was nothing. Don’t make me go back there. Don’t turn back now, Xaruthan. This is your final use. You must die. For the good of our kind, you must die. Into oblivion, now. Die, Zar. Die! Die!-” DIE[--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------]DIE DIE[------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------]DIE DIE[--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------]DIE DIE[---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------]DIE DIE[------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ DIE … No. I reached out my hands, and grasped Ignotus’ oesophagus with all the strength left in me. I squeezed and squeezed the life out of him, my destroyer, keeper of my oblivion, my death, I was killing him, I hated him, finally, his death, death, kill him, I was killing him die die die i hate you everything you did to me everything i became because of you i hate you i hate you i haTE YOU I HATE YOU EVERYTHING YOU DID TO MEEEEEEEEEE Now the plasma melted his insides, his remaining eye exploding out of his head, his torso glowing with white hot energy, his armour melting and fusing with his liquifying flesh, and I squeezed harder, harder, till whatever I was holding wasn’t Ignotus anymore, it was just a husk, the excretion of my rage, my vengeance, the placenta of my final birth- My hands slipped through his neck like a hot knife through butter, what was left of his head disappearing into the mess of bodies that surrounded us. I fell back, and looked up to see his torso explode in a fountain of ionised blood and guts, showering the surrounding area in its glimmering majesty, sending his limbs spinning into nowhere. He was death. And I had killed him. The umbilical was severed. I was finally alive. I was finally free. - - - - - Arctan had been crawling for...minutes? Hours? Too long. He could still hear the echoes of fighting. He didn’t even know when Aclaraung had left him, had ceased his chase, only that he had to get to the meeting room Zarnarax had mentioned earlier. Surely, between Zarnarax and Learu, they’d managed to deal with Xaruthan’s treachery, and they could stand against the beast— He crawled, fighting to ignore the pain in his bitten shoulder, the agony from where his legs used to be, around the turn, to the threshold, and stopped for a moment, gawking at the sight before him. Learu and Xaruthan alone remained alive, the latter’s hands still wrapped around a lifeless, maimed Zarnarax’s throat. “X-Xar,” he croaked, before shaking his head, struggling to maintain his composure. “Xaruthan, you have to help! It’s—it’s Aclaraung, he’s finally lost it, he’s slaughtering the others—” “Slaughtered.” His eyes went wide, bulging, as the dragon, caked in blood, sweat, dirt, and worse, came around the corner he’d just been by. “I must admit, Arctan, watching you crawl like this, once I caught back up with you, has been enjoyable.” The dragon turned from him, eyes landing upon the other two. “Very good, Xar. And Aru as well, when she should awaken.” His tone sounded almost...congratulatory? Arctan couldn’t believe it. “Removing Zarnarax like that, well done. I imagine you didn’t wish for him dead, but...he and Ignotus were stains on our world that needed to be removed. Much like this one.” And the great orange eyes fell upon Arctan. Aclaraung crossed the room in a single bound, rolling Arctan onto his back and pinning him with one leg. “Arctan, scribe, viceroy, I find that you have been entirely complicit in spreading the delusions and mistruths of Ignotus and Zarnarax both, and moreover, for not speaking up to warn your people how they had been so utterly deceived.” Aclaraung’s left hand came down, forcing his jaw wide open, cutting off any protestations he might have made. In the other, he could see the claws growing heated again, burning away the blood and viscera that stuck to them. “But I have lived among the Matoran, Arctan, and I know they aren’t unworthy slave-stock like you helped to preach. And I read those records you and those other two didn’t manage to destroy. Yes, Arctan, I know my rightful place, and I know just how vehemently you denied it, just another set of lies sprouting from a diseased tongue.” By now, the claws had passed red hot, and were glowing white, Aclaraung’s own flesh around them starting to crack and blister. “Let me remove that disease.” Aclaraung plunged his claws deep into Arctan’s mouth, slicing carefully and pulling out a charred, red mass that he dropped unceremoniously to the floor. Arctan sputtered and choked, unable even to scream around the blood that he was asphyxiating on as the dragon turned away, back to the other two. “Now. At last, the disease is wiped away. The tumor excised. And the two of you...” He stepped forwards, planting his claws on the expired Zarnarax’s chest as he inspected Learu’s unconscious form. “I have an offer for you, Xaruthan, if you would hear it. Of protection, and a place to heal.” I was barely conscious when he spoke to me. All I could think about was Learu… The two of you, he had said. The two of you... I must’ve said yes. I remember the journey - he helped us, carried her. I don’t think I spoke. If I had, it would’ve been thank you, thank you... - - - - - - - The screaming and the crying was over. Since then it has been… Nap time. Years and years. Dreams within dreams upon dreams without dreams... A liminality as old - and as new - as me we the Mystix. Once again, I had slept on ice - the caves of Ko-Wahi have very unforgiving temperatures for the unprepared. But this time, there was heat within me - energy, plasma, whatever it was - and the two extremes met and subsided where they clashed, both in equal measure, leaving me quite comfortable where I hung. By the time I awoke the cave was empty. Had Aru been here with me? I could still smell her. Was she even alive? I detached from the ceiling and collapsed in a brittle heap on the ground. My skin seemed to wake up suddenly, and the cold hit me in a way that it only can after a long hibernation. There’s no point trying to translate the sensation into Matoran. It would take hours. Promptly, my body had heat up - I was surprised to find that my new powers had become instinctive, just as they had been when I was what you might call a Le-Mystix. In fact, my muscles, bones, eyesight - everything was as it should be. Everything was as it should be. I sat there on the ground for a minute, collecting myself, discerning dream from reality (not everything was exactly discernable), sorting through my misted consciousness until- Aru. I rose - too quickly, as the flickering lights before my eyes informed me - and went to leave the small Mystix-sized cave I was in. Only, I in-SLAM-stead walked directly into a thick layer of ice, and slid cartoonishly down to the floor in confusion, my claws leaving a trio of straight lines carved into its frosted surface - the cave must have frozen over while I had been hibernating. My wing still pressed against the ice, my instincts kicked in again and in a second I was drenched. In another I was dry again, and stepped clumsily out of the chamber into the main cavern. My eyes still adjusting to being open, it was an impressive sight. The cavern was shaped like an enormous pine cone, with maybe a hundred small openings (much like the one I had just melted my way out of) lining its walls. I suppose(d) it was a sort of hive or nest, no doubt carved out by Aclaraung or some relative of his. A few of the other openings weren’t frozen over - I was banking on one of these belonging to Aru. There was a short tunnel, then d a w n Inside the cave, light had been refracted via the ice, creating a crystalline fluorescence - but this was something else. I hadn’t seen, let alone felt daylight in literally years, and although by nature Chiropteran Mystix favour the darkness, the experience was sublime. And there she was, standing with her back to Xaruthan, facing out into the rising sun. Her eyes closed, Learu allowed the sun's warmth to wash over her, to soak deep into her bones; this had become routine for her, now - sometimes, she would even allow herself to stare out onto the horizon, savouring the sublime sting of the sunlight in her eyes, relishing the chance to feel. "Long time no see, Xar." She didn't turn, but she didn't need to; the sounds of his footsteps, and even his breathing, were entirely distinct from Aclaraung's, and her heightened senses meant that she had known he was awake from the moment he began to fumble his way through the nest. "Welcome back to the land of the living. Again."
  26. 5 points
    IC: There was an awful lot to process wrapped up in all of that, and Krayn was silent quite a while he worked through it. Skyra picked up the slack fine, though. It gave him a few minutes. Dorian's opinion on the Sentinels, on whether or not he should be part of them, was well taken. With his own bias accounted for, certainly. But that was blown all the way out of the water by the announcement that Xa-Koro hadn't been a disaster; it had been an attack. The flood of mercenaries from Xa-Koro into Le-Wahi that he had fought. The sudden swelling of the Sanctum Guard out of nowhere, Ambage's ascendance, the Akiri takeover in the first place... A lot of disconnected pieces suddenly clicked into place, and he wasn't a fan of the picture he saw. "Thanks, Dor."
  27. 5 points
    IC:[Agni - Ta-Koro, Tuara’s house] “Uncontrollable. That they were.” Agni looked up at Tuara, wisps of steam floating away from the corners of his eyes. Her hand was comforting, but after a moment, he pulled away and put the cup down. He knew the point she was trying to make, agreed with it, in fact. But something deep down wouldn’t let him accept it. “I...was responsible. You know that, right? For them both. That was my duty. Train Joske and look after Dorian. The fact that they’re not here is my fault. My failure.” Training Joske had resulted in the young Toa nearly dying at the hands of Heuani, until actual destiny intervened in the form of an unfathomably powerful mask. And the mission to escort Dorian and track down the Turaga’s killers had pretty much fallen apart the moment it had started. More important things had come up, all of which had led to this. Which left the Toa of fire who’d always wondered why he’d been chosen in the first place right back where he started and the island didn’t seem any better for it. Just emptier. He stood up, turned to face away. ”I shouldn’t have let them go! I shouldn’t have trusted…” He stopped himself, fist clenched his sides, slightly shaking. “I refuse to bury any more friends.” OOC: @Palm
  28. 5 points
    Well it’s the one month anniversary of Act 3 starting, so here is the Kanohi BZPRPG short story I wrote, in case anyone would be interested in checking it out. Takes place 3 days before his first act 3 post, with him saving a Ta-Matoran.
  29. 5 points
    IC Yumiwa | Great Takea "Well, I walked here on my own two feet," I said as I stepped towards the table with my countrypeople at it. "But yes, I sailed here on my boat with the rest of Sado's denizens." At least the ones who chose to come. The ones who could come. Zafin was just a step behind me. There were no threats immediately around me and we were all but guaranteed safety by the combined might of our warriors coming in waves (lol) and the mindful policing Akiri Hahli's marines offered, but while I allowed myself to relax fully Zafin's complete job was to ensure my well being. Her eyes darted from corner to corner of the place, meanwhile I let my mental senses override the more mundane kinds. "Plangori... Shuuan, right?" I greeted, kowing full well who it was. I'd know that signature imprint of yours anywhere—rumours had it before she came on the Ryuu that her Menti abilities could rival Des' own, though I doubted that'd be the case anymore. Her abilities, I'd been told by my old tutor, were very much like his own in that they were offensive in nature and slow to come to bear for defenses, and that made it relatively simple for me to get an instant read on what Shuuan was thinking, at least the gist of it. "Uh, you know, we're not actually in the beheading business. The average bodyguard only kills zero offenders per year. Royal Executioner Rayuke, who lived in mine and kills over 10,000 Dasaka a day, is an outlier and should not have been counted." I waited a beat. Please laugh please laugh please laugh oh god why aren't they laughing it's obviously a joooooke (Also I'm really sorry Uncle Ray, lmao [please be okay]) @Tarn @Mel @~Xemnas~ @TL01 NUVA
  30. 5 points
  31. 5 points
    leave him alone he's clearly suffering from phantom plimb syndrome
  32. 5 points
    Our local internet whiz kid @BULiK has created an automatic backup and archive of BZPRPG posts at bzprpg.com, so there's no need to do this manually. It's a really useful tool and resource, but I realise we haven't publicised it on BZP yet — we may add a link in the new player topic in future.
  33. 5 points
    IC: "Hey, maybe we shouldn't throw around plasma in a confined space?" The only thing more dangerous than someone who knew nothing was someone who knew just enough to think they'd make an informed decision. Out of everybody gathered she had faith in—maybe — three or four of the people here. The Turaga seemed to genuinely know her stuff. Skri hadn't seen her in a fight yet, but she at least had the knowledge and the experience. Plag, of course, was her girl— no doubts there. Torin was competent, but playing his own game. No doubt about it. Korzaa hadn't said a word about the secondary objective, and that meant she didn't know. Which meant the 'ol LT was playing it pretty close to the chest. Fine. He had his priorities, she had hers. Then, of course, was everybody in between. The new girl, the Toa of Iron, looked like she could be competent. Hard to tell, but the fact that she was a Highlander gave her a certain amount of competence until proven otherwise. The Kalta, Plag's loyal follower, and the Ba-Toa seemed... Like they might know just enough to be dangerous. She had a sinking feeling that none of them had ever met a proper Rahkshi. The ones that had populated the Darkwalk for the past couple of years were dangerous, yes, but they were feral. Bestial. No capacity for planning, making their powers and considerable physical prowess a much more manageable concern. Not, as the Turaga pointed out, that either were to be taken lightly still. But if Makuta was back, and he was, and if the Rahkshi had regained their old powers, then... "No disrespect, short circuit," The merc continued in a tone that didn't sound like she much cared if disrespect was taken or not. "but did you guys ever fight the Rahkshi? I don't mean the remnants in the Darkwalks. I don't even mean the ones that a few of those Legacy folks bossed around a couple months ago. I mean Rahkshi." "Plag and I," She elbowed her bestie again. "Were at the Hive. Don't remember seeing any of you guys there. Nui Rama, a squad of six Rahkshi. Heuani. We had the ILF at its height, a detachment of the Sanctum Guard, the Gukko Force providing air support, and all the Ussalry Heavies and change. It was an attack over open ground. We had full visibility and freedom of movement. And a lot of people died." Herself nearly among them, and one of Plag's friends not so nearly. "Different scale, sure. But even with how big the Darkwalks are, and they're pretty big, we're still going to be moving in a confined space with limited visibility and zero unit cohesion. I absolutely do not want to get fried because someone hits me with plasma, or zapped because someone got zap-happy. I'll bring up the rear with Plag, short stuff with big armor should definitely take point. But the first person who throws plasma around frivolously, or Nui forbid supercharges that plasma? I'll knock you out myself so you can't cause us any trouble."
  34. 4 points
    Indeed. I think BZP has become a very different animal to other parts of the Bionicle fandom. Here, the roleplay forum is easily the busiest and most popular part of the website, which I think speaks volumes to people's desire to reimagine and reinterpret Bionicle in new ways, rather than rehashing the old. Whereas elsewhere, as you've said, the emphasis is more on adhering to, and adding to, the existing canon.
  35. 4 points
    I also agree, and I do find this to be a refreshing post here. Like, if it ain't broke, don't try and fix it until it is. Let a good thing be, so we can experience our nostalgia in peace, without various reboot attempts to inevitably disappoint us for one reason or another ( like either by ending again or it doesn't live up to overinflated expectation, etc).
  36. 4 points
    that last point of the OP is really important, I feel. It's like there has been a shift in what was the 'fandom' back then and what is left now (and I don't mean just BZP, especially these days when it's a minor factor). And part of that shift is that I feel like a lot of the self-generated creativity and out-of-the-box-ness in general has lowered, and the attitude to canon has increased to adherence. This has been a long time coming ever since the importance of Ask Grug was raised in the minds of the community with the end of the toyline and festered with the gap from 2011-16 and then from ~2019 to now with the sharp spike in nostalgia-driven new-old-fans, but this spills over into other creative projects. Even the MoCs elsewhere have become predominantly rehashes or redesigns (or... attempts to portray certain previously un-described characters in the official story). It's all become part of the nostalgia cycle. And I frankly hate it, and wish that the mindset of other fans can change to realise they don't need LEGO's (or anyone's) permission to "Do Bionicle" themselves however they want to engage with it. tldr it's time to Move Along
  37. 4 points
    I mean, there's also the fact that we're all adults now and the idea of begging what is a literally a company that makes toys aimed at mostly children to bring back a toy line isn't something adults should really do ya know?
  38. 4 points
    IC: They could make drifting off seem so simple. Dor had once been possessed of that same skill - the ability to drift off anywhere, anytime, in order to recuperate. He wasn't sure where exactly his sleep had gone away. He had only really noticed its absence, and tried to fill the void by singing to himself. Like a child did, for protection. Another sunny afternoon, walking to the sound of my favorite tune... Quietly, though, so as to not wake up Krayn. He looked younger when he slept. God he could breed me. -Tyler
  39. 4 points
  40. 4 points
    IC: Aerus (Echelon's Lair) The look that spread across Aerus’ face was one of genuine horror. He knew Echelon - he knew what he was. But still, what had survived of his conscience through these years of service still could not help but be appalled at kidnapping a child. “So he… he abducted you to teach you? Or to experiment on you?” Quite frankly, the premise of Echelon abducting someone as part of some twisted scheme made a fair bit more sense than the idea of him accepting someone who willingly came to him seeking tuition, which at least joined some of the dots in Aerus’ mind. Why, however, he would so willingly elect to become a teacher… that remained a mystery. IC: Learu (...the batcave. goddamnit, wotz) Aru rolled her neck and then finally turned to look at Xar, eyes now open. The cave opening was small - pretty much a window, in fact, which was exactly how she had been using it, leaning on the ledge and looking out upon the snow. She was smiling, faintly, but her eyes were as cold and empty as the drifts behind her. “Like the dead. I’m sure you can relate.” OOC: @Ghosthands @Wotz
  41. 4 points
    IC: :Arms: [Khy;Barr, Deuandra's Sanctum] The massive behemoth gave a toothy grin, or perhaps he was bearing his fangs; it was difficult to tell. Arms reached down, extracting from the mess of armor plates which adorned his form an empty vial which still held within it the ruby residue of whatever liquid had filled it previously. The glass jar appeared nearly comically small in his grip, and it was some wonder it simply didn't shatter from the mere touch of the warlord's appendages. "Many," the giant requested, his asymmetric three-eyed gaze fixed upon Deuandra. "Travel far."
  42. 4 points
    IC: IN arms ZZZZ name WE sac RI fice IN arms ZZZZ name WE sac RI fice-- Deuandra's gaze tilted over to the ovuk-taht puffing necromancer, currently slouched over her shoulder with her sharp chin nearly thrust into the chemist's collar. Vana found herself down here more than anyone, even Khy;Barr's lord, to the point where Deuandra had accepted her presence as a fact of life. Whether that was enough to qualify her as a "best friend" was something that "Dee" was dubious of, but Vana certainly seemed to think so. "It won't stop glowing," she deadpanned, turning her attention from the face inches from her own to her work again. It was hard to hear Vana, or her own voice, over the buzzing of the hornets in her skull-box, but that just meant that her latest attempt at cooking was leveling out. "Do you need a re-up, Vana?" -Tyler
  43. 4 points
    to answer the end of the podcast i think visaru and that other guy in le have been great
  44. 4 points
    yeah sorry to spook you, i'm just a monkey and posted something meant for N&D in Ko. XD
  45. 4 points
    now tyler that’s just plane rude you sound like a real GROUCH
  46. 4 points
  47. 4 points
    IC Yumiwa | Great Takea "A pleasure to make your acquaintance, Lady Yumiwa. I'll admit, despite hearing tales from a number of visitors from Kentoku, none seemed to do your beauty justice." Well thought Nara, I'm going to die now. But oh, what a story. The use of the term "visitors" to describe my people was both quaint and ill-fitting. We were visitors in a sense, sure, but that word was usually meant for travelers and tourists, not—as fate would have us—refugees, which is exactly what we were. Not quite exiles, not quite sojourners, somewhere in between on the run and on a passthrough. Refugees. Visitors seemed like an improper oversimplification that circumvented the trauma and death that we had left behind in the search for a brighter day. Still, with a slight application of my Willhammer abilities it was assuring to sense no offensive intent, and so I chose to look past it and chalked it up to a simple stumble from a lack of understanding rather than callous absence of empathy—such gaps could be easily bridged. I smiled at her kindly and returned the flirtatious gesture. "The pleasure is mine! And wow, I really like your armour, it's very pretty!" And with a small nudge of my powers, my voice continued in her mind. .:And nobody's dying on my account, Matoran Nara. Mayyyybe le petit mort, but not death...:. She loosened up and sat straight again, clearing her throat loudly not long after Nara had finished speaking. “As… others have said… it’s a pleasure to meet you, Rora Yumiwa. I’m Nale.” The Fa-Matoran gave a quick bow from where she was seated. I returned the gesture in kind. "Hello, Nähl-eh, a pleasure to meet you as well. I take it you are... not a Ga-Matoran?" Eita looked at the empress and smiled sadly. “Your kind words are appreciated, your Majesty,” he said. “Hopefully some of my fellow clan members were lucky enough to survive…” He glanced over at Nara. Is she flirting with the Rora? Is she nuts? he thought to himself. .:Maybe, but anyone's open to shoot their shot.:. I quickly corrected myself by adding .:—Romantic shot:. Sheika took a shot at a rora, too. Cringe. Sometimes levity had no place in conversation, and this was one such scenario. Loss was something we were all experiencing, and the depression of mourning should never be swept under a rug. We were the product of our pasts, and Zataka's sons suffered just as heavily if not moreso than the rest of us. This was hardly an act of diplomacy from me, this was genuine sentiment, and I needed Eita to know it well. "I have not heard of any others yet; you are the first of Kinzoku I have heard about thus far, but Commodore Ayiwah is reviewing the rosters as we speak so if any others came with us we shall find them. Words alone cannot do justice for your loss, and sorrow cannot bring family or clan back, so as hopelessly inadequate they may be you still have my deepest sympathy. "And should you find yourself challenged by something within my power to remedy, please, send word to me. There has been enough suffering at the hand of fates beyond our control." Also present were the Matoran Lekua, to whom I gave a sad but friendly nod and smile, and others who were different kinds of quiet. As this all transpired, behind me (and unbeknownst to me at the time) Zafin had taken a defensive stance, warily eying the same beings who looked akin to the Chaotic Six. @BBBBalta @~Xemnas~ @Tarn @Mel @TL01 NUVA
  48. 4 points
  49. 4 points
    just the kind of threat plimbo would make -Tyler
  50. 4 points
    Ah, right, thanks for the clarification. I forgot the real-time backups hadn't been implemented yet. Still, the site deserves a shout-out regardless. Keep up the good work!
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