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About Razgriz

  • Birthday 08/25/1996

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    dragging casuals to fridgetanamo
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Tahnok-Kal Attacks!

Tahnok-Kal Attacks! (149/293)

  1. IC: Jolek Highwind His companions had scattered, leaves riding their own distant winds, after a sharing of brief farewells. Hakari's trio off to the north, towards the distant greenery of the city upon the Ocean and her rediscovered past beyond. The Le-Toa and Zelvin to Ta-Koro, a sizzling metropolis of possibility for people like them, just as much as it was a cage. They had places to be, people to see, things to do. The group had come about spontaneously and, with the end of the moment that had birthed it, dissolved until it had pared down to one. Upon the unmarked, obscure stretch of road, the young Fa-Toa stood, motion having left all but his eyes as they panned left, then right, then towards the ash that hung above him. Almost at once, he was alone again. Before he'd even realized it, they'd left him behind— the noise had left. The color had left. All that remained was gray against gray. Only one against only everything. ... His eyes closed, the lids sliding over the two points of gold he could offer in their wake. He breathed in deep, letting the bitter smell of ash and metal in, long past the point of becoming familiar with Ta-Koro's stuffy, acrid air. What a boring view. And a puff of the same left his nostrils, his Pakari settled back into the dull frown he could feel hanging off his face. Back to the same, then? Was that it for the day? It couldn't be, something felt missing— something that even so felt routine as all he had done before that burst of excitement. He put his mind to work on it, brow only just beginning to narrow before his legs already began to move, pivoting on the heel and marching back into the shrubbery. His stomach was empty— he'd been planning to follow up on his last night's traps before the offer to assist in felon retrieval. He'd already been a little peckish before the green fella who controlled gales showed up and drawn the Ash Lads to them. Man. Had he been so absorbed? Long time since he'd had the luxury of something to get the blood pumping, sure, but to forget his own basic urges until only now when just about every patrol beat had him craving fried plantains within an hour was... His frown deepened as he shouldered past the same brush he'd lead the gang out of. "Something to that." He muttered the words to nobody, even as he encountered the first of the three snares. Empty. Empty stomach, empty snare... Empty Soul. He began to disassemble the noose, pulling cord away from straining branch with scarce little thought. Another thing that had no need for it, no reliance on the guiding hand of the conscious mantra of steps. The muscles knew better than words could, than mind could. He barely even needed his eyes— and sure enough, felt himself to begin looking at nothing. The soul. The seat of life, of identity, of Being. As it was once explained to him, the soul was the spark in the heartlight, that "You" within you. He knew it was something he must have had— to be born was to have one. If you had a mind and could speak it, you too must have a soul. When his mind wasn't occupied by his hands, what did it ever do? He stood, shuffling over towards the next as his gaze slid across the ashen ground, barely catching upon the differing sticks that peeked out from below the monochrome surface. To answer that question would be to speak another into the dead air. What was there to think about? All he had been doing was living— but even Angelus would probably just call it "surviving". Do his guard work. Return home. Eat. Do the same types of training he'd known for years now, sleep... And all the same the next day, the next week, and the next month. It was almost like the grid he walked every day, or the ash he was trudging atop now. Seeing it made you feel like not thinking. Letting each moment, same as the last, slip by until one rough, strange, and binding caught hold— and that hadn't happened till now. Once in the time since he was squaring off with those Skakdi in the alleyway near the bombed-out Inn. The second snare had been snapped halfway up its length. Had he caught something and it freed itself while he was waiting? Judging from the fraying on the cord... no. more like something bigger, and more daring, had snatched the opportunity before him. He'd felt this mood before, the way his blood seemed to recoil at his thoughts. It wasn't all that long ago. Rebellion. When he'd put away his father's pride and joy, an weapon that had seen untold death and untold life in even measure, off to the side. The blade he wasn't enough to wield. He hadn't the right to it. He'd realized it then as well. No. He'd realized it ages ago, and even just today. But that was when he'd had the will to contemplate it. Confront it. It had pulled a decision out of him. A change. The smallness of his story. The hollowness of his soul. They were connected. They had to be. A soul was something that wanted. A story was how it got. That he blended into the this dull gray haze was only appropriate, given those— Motion pulled him away from his yammering, back into the world, as he finally ambled to the last snare, lava rat swaying gently in the line. For it to be still on a pendulum arc rather than having settled... this guy was fresh. All too fresh. Pressing a finger to its limp body revealed the last traces of its warmth against the tips of his digits. Couldn't have been more than half an hour dead. Half an hour ago would mean... "No kidding..." The fight had scared it out of a burrow and into his trap. Forget the widgets he was technically owed— if anything, Mama Clench had just earned him dinner. More than worth a scrape on the brow, let alone a little lost pocket change— seemed like it was the gift that kept on giving, even if the brawl itself ended in a flash. He hooked the line and catch to his belt, opposite the guardsman's sword on the hip. Funny how it worked— even inadvertently, he was doing better when he felt alive. When he was in a scrap, when he cared about it, when he was... A click he felt, but did not feel. When he was following a desire. He wanted to win. He wanted to help an old comrade. He wanted out of the same rote "waiting on something" drudgery that had consumed him. It wasn't much. To compare it to the desires he had just seen in Hakari's compulsion to find her home, his had paled in comparison— to say nothing of the all-consuming wishes that had driven Perkahn Highwind's tale. It wasn't so thought out, so feverish, so invigorating to hear or speak of. It was little more than a whim, speaking honestly. But even a whim was something a soul gave you. Even a whim could start a good story. Whatever Ta-Koro had in store for him, he couldn't say he was too confident in anything close to "more of the same". Living on instincts was what he'd done for ages. The promise he'd made was to get stronger— so speaking, to exceed that. He thought he'd do so through duty... but duty had become a greater shackle than he could have even come close to realizing. To kill off a choice was to kill off the why behind it. Doing things because "I must" is no different from eating. Everyone I met today was doing something they wanted to. Their actions were theirs. Their goals were theirs. I've just followed my nature beneath that duty. That's why I'm out here, and they're moving forward. A purpose to do something that I feel from my core... That might be what I need, then. Something my soul can chase. ... It was getting dim. The fiery reds of the Lake were beginning to cast their red glow upon the haze. Better get going. He started forward, eyes peering upward and squinting as they, for only a moment, caught a glimpse of blue peeking through the grey as a southerly wind shook the dead trees, smelling of salt, and more faintly, sand.
  2. IC: Ageru Shiki (Dastana Republic Odaiba Encampment - Fort Kizuno) I have my orders. I dip lower, stiffly changing from my nod to a full bow as she turns and walks away. Without realizing it, my breath has caught at the parting words she left me with, a wistful rumination that's the best insight I may ever have into the mind of my Toroshu. Hope to be cultivated... It's as if she sensed my doubts. Flying in the face of my reassurances to the opposite, "until we next meet" supplanted "fare thee well"— Even a fool like me could be forgiven for inferring, right? As the clipped, tight steps fade away into the fort's interior, I whirl to the wall and take a knee, brow furrowing again. If I am to give my all to our continued survival, I must ratchet up the pace. It'll give me the time I need to train as much as I can. If I am to become a woman who can cultivate hope, I must first find it within. It'll give me the faith that my training will amount to something. I pull a deep, cleansing breath of the coastside air, and set to the next scar in the wood. ————— The day drags on, and I soon arrive at sundown. The tawny pinks, oranges, and golds of the sky have painted the white clouds and crystalline towers of Sado alike, as though sakura bloom atop trees of glittering ruby or amethyst. It'd be a beautiful sight, if I didn't know the disarray the Capital was in. You could call it a transient beauty in the same vein as those trees, I guess, but I'm not a Soulsword trainee on account of my gripping poetic sense. To wield sword and pen with equal skill is the ideal, of course, but I'd like them both to be up to par. It's with that mind that I tear my eyes away from drinking in the evening sun, blink out the spots in my vision (you moron.) and recenter myself into My Self. It's a familiar stance, seiza— my hakama are worn enough at the knees that the rough hemp fiber's finally starting to smooth, even against the relatively forgiving and gentle grasses of the clearing repurposed as Kizuno's training grounds. I'm a little early. Only a few other trainees have filtered in, and only a few of them before me— we greet eachother with small nods all the same. Maybe I've enough time to try one more swing at manifesting my blade more efficiently? I don't know if I should risk it. If I can't make headway, and a significant portion of it, I'd be going into my training mentally exhausted. ...Never you mind that I've been doggedly throwing myself at it day in and day out whenever I got the chance, but tonight of all nights would not be the venue for a tepid showing. I promised her I was no slacker.
  3. IC: Jolek Highwind That name Hakari mentioned stook out like a sore thumb as he quietly listened, taking in what chatter ears were privy to behind him— half his company squarely mute as they were. Lokhar... Pirate Captain Lokhar. That was an itch. One he wasn't scratching yet, but... he was close. Guard case? Someone he'd overheard investigators trying to tail, or people like him bring in? ...No. Not a chance. Jolek knew he wouldn't have remembered anything like that. Didn't pay enough attention. So what do I pay attention to, if I'm remembering this name? ... Talking about it in terms of people, if it was a name he'd overheard, it was from someone close to him. That pared down the margins significantly enough. No shot from Tarex. They'd not spoken much at all about his former life somewhere on the outskirts of the Wahi, nor had either of them even... really heard of Lesterin back when they'd last spoke. Angelus, for all his experience as the head honcho of Ta-Koro's defenses, hadn't mentioned such a man either. A twig snapped underfoot, and he blinked, looking down. Plenty of debris like it nearby... Right. They were pretty close— this was a few hundred meters out from a bend further north than where he and Zelvin had entered. A lot of lumber was sourced from this bit of the woods. Close enough that it'd all be the same road to hit on their respective ways. A glance back told him that the aforementioned Toa of Crystals seemed to be handling the two prisoners in tow well, without much issues upon the terrain. Good... the walking tree and Matoran seemed to be busying themselves with a discussion of their own, conveyed in silent gestures and expression. Hakari... hm. A Lesterin, and someone from a faraway land. Seprilli, it was... Seprillian? Seprillian Pira— Infernavika. "Lokhar, huh? Funny coincidence." he murmured finally, filling a lull as it came in the conversation. "My..." He paused, as though the term were still unfamiliar on his tongue. "My dad mentioned him every now and again. Him and a guy named 'Raknar Seprillian'... served on their crew while they were sailing the island, at least for a while. Boat was called an 'Infernavika'." Words heard secondhand, relayed by a man with no authority to back them. In truth, he probably wasn't the right person to ask in the slightest— more to the tune of "the best Hakari had to work with" than anything else. There were Lesterin and Skakdi alike populating his comrades in the force, odds were they'd be much more reliable when it came to recalling one of their own— And yet. "If it's a pirate or a ship you're looking for, North's definitely the direction you want." he remarked, picking out the road through the last column of brush ahead of them, the sheen of worn cobblestones poking through the blanket of gray ash. "I haven't been to Ga-Koro in ages, but the docks are always chock full of boats and sailors. If you don't find your man, you'll find someone who knows him for sure." He felt something urging him to weigh in anyway. As though it were a stone that needed turning. He didn't know if it was in the spirit of helping out, or of holding onto the ties he was supposed to have, or... just a whim, appearing for its own sake. But it was there. It was something he could give. So why not? She was on the path past forgetting. As someone in the same boat... Guess it makes sense. To that end, he hadn't missed that the Le-Toa's words had mean to hit his ears as well as hers. It was the same question he, in his many hours of monotony and isolation both in and out of the city walls alike, had pondered to no avail— not that his brain was particularly suited for it anyway. He punched good, kicked good, kneed and elbowed good. He didn't like being called stupid, but he couldn't deny the fact that, compared to a bookworm like Brontes (for instance) he was no high-minded cerebral Toa. Esoterism escaped him many times. Mysteries that didn't exist in the here and now... usually took a back seat to things that did. But he had more than his own mind to rely on. He beckoned the group forward. "There are a bunch of Skakdi and Lesterin like Hakari in the Guard," he intoned, pointing with his other hand to a break in the brush, a gateway to the Ga-Ta roadway. "I dunno much about it, but there's rumors going around that it's got to do with something they sailed through— some kinda thick fog, maybe a storm cloud. It's shaky. A lot of them washed up like us. A lot of them're starting to remember old lives, like you." He looked to Hakari, then to the Le-Toa, and then finally to the group as a whole as the Matoran, ever tapping upon his bracer, stepped into the clear behind him while bringing up the rear. With the main road running along on either side, it seemed this was the end of the line for their shared reminiscence. You mean lack of one? "You're in good company, so maybe they're onto something. It's all over my head." he cracked a wan smile, before folding corded arms in front of him with a puff of air through the nostrils, turning to the direction of far-off greenery. "Anyway, for you guys headed off that way, this road's gonna be your best bet. It's a little longer than a straight shot, but it's travelled pretty well and Rahi know to keep away from it. Might find a few inns or something to catch some shuteye along the way. Other than that..." He never really had gotten farewells figured out. No matter how much time his mother had made up for in a missed childhood's worth of scolding him on it, he was never too good at them. He'd already talked more now than he had in months, it felt like— "If it helps you get on the ship you need, tell this Lokhar guy a Highwind sent you." He offered her a shrug. Jolek was no Perkahn, and he wasn't the type to call in favors. Least of all ones he wasn't owed. But, karz. "If he thinks it's my Dad, he might bite on it." He didn't have these kinds of ideas often enough. "We're headed the other way. Good luck out there."
  4. finally dragging self out of cave and towards the direction of posts i will be up to date THIS WEEK or the staff can throw me into a hungry hungry games
  5. IC: Ageru Shiki (Dastana Republic Odaiba Encampment - Fort Kizuno) As she says those words, my spine immediately goes alight with a rushing sensation, already stiff as it is from my endurance of her dismay. There are only a few ways to take such a question, and all of them— all that I've come up with— mean she intends to hunt me down once that time arrives. Hunting down a struggling Soulsword, met by little more than chance... Could it be? There's no way— surely there's so much else that takes precedence, over every trainee— to say nothing of a Menti like little old me. I don't really know what to think, except that I should probably not think too much about it. If I spin off in my own head with expectations and theories on just what might be in store for me, I'll be set up for a bad time— be it disappointment or outright failure. Again, this is my Toroshu. Our clan's very tip of the spear in both the theaters of the war and of politics. I had only expected a passing advice from her when I made my insolent query, and I shouldn't go around acting like I've suddenly earned more than that just yet. For all I know, there are far more pressing matters that would need attending to long into the timeframe she seeks anyway. ...But really, what else could it mean? "Well, there are two answers. Schedules usually have me train on the evenings," As much as I intend to cool my head before I think rashly— "But I intend to get back to it as soon as I've finished my work." My mouth moves of its own accord. It would be impolite to brush her off even if we were on equal standing, and downright insulting to do it to her as my elder and leader, true— but I'm still overwhelmed by the feeling that "I couldn't help myself", rather than "I held to decorum". I just need to see where this ends up now. after all, even if the hope I dare not entertain comes to pass, to what end would it be? I had no guarantee that this would be any different from the thousands of ways I've tried to approach this beforehand, with those that had much more time and energy to devote to someone like me than someone so lofty as her. It's like an eagle teaching a fledgling sparrow to ride the wind, isn't it? If it is a disrespect to my former mentors to think this would succeed where they have failed, I don't want to commit that. Yet. Regardless of every part of me that's logical... Hope rises, from deep within the Soul. Am I arrogant in thinking of this? Am I dooming myself? She's cupping her chin in thought, but as her gaze narrows on me, I realize something must show upon my face, and that I've worked myself up regardless, in spite of my best efforts. I guess I can't help the excitement— but I can help the attention. More than ever, I need it to be absolute and undivided. I'll never get a shot at moving forward quite like this again. I clap my face, palms meeting the cheeks of my Kiril twice. It's a classic, stinging smack upon the skin— and it's an easy reset button on the train of thought. I can wonder and worry and wait once my time is my own time, after all. "Is there anything else I might do for you, Toroshu-dono?" My head inclines. Right now, I've been using hers.
  6. IC: Rudra, 小さい竜 (Chiisai Ryuu) Bridge The embattled pilot of a one two man caper glanced about the room quizzically, as the voice of thunder and legion rained down into the halls. It held the same tinny, echoing effect as the commodore's in its timbre, true, but the voice was clearly someone else. A new party, railing on him for fighting back and lauding the incredible power of the foreigners' psychic abilities. Clearly someone who thought that they could do no wrong, and that life under the heel was ideal. Naturally, this engendered a specific opinion within him, his mask openly twisting into a sneer of disgust. Who the karz was that bootlicker? That wasn't the foreigners' accent at all... They seriously have our own laying it on this thick? Eugh. His gaze settled back on the captain, revealing herself as a "Leff-ten-ant Tazera", and narrowed imperceptibly as a slip of her tongue confirmed his suspicions. She didn't know that voice either— meaning, it wasn't somebody beneath her command. Not a submarine crewmember. Not a Dasaka. A Toa, then— had to be Sonics if they could shriek so loudly. Well. That made sense, he guessed. After all the playing nice the Marines had done, and all— but it wasn't a total wash, either. It gets a lot easier when my point's made for me. Morons. "Name's Rudra, brother." he said in undertone, allowing his voice to slide in beneath her big, hotheaded declarations of threatening intent. He knew that Aeragot, for whatever it'd be worth, had to be looking at that crackling whip in her hands with fresh eyes now that he was certain of what it could do to a man. She was forcing an ultimatum with it, too. Better remind him who's in his corner. "Welcome abo—" He too was cut off buy the loud, ringing CLANG, as another one of the crystal-clad women came surging in with a head full of steam, and what had to be some sort of blade on her hip, all but drawn and stuck in him. Immediately, Rudra bladed himself on what plane he could between them, trying to ensure both of the sure antagonists were in line of his sight— "They're surrounding us," he noted, the tension finally creeping into his voice. "You heard her— They're looking pretty hasty." He raised his fists to interpose them between either, but couldn't help himself but return to the outburst that had kicked all this off. "You heard that kid earlier, too." They'd sounded young to him, at least. Shaky, even if they were incensed. "Completely at their beck and call— buncha psychics washing up in a military vehicle and gettin' all hunky-dory with our people is one thing already, but now they've got our people licking their boots so much that they're willing, begging to see me die? See us die?" He was mad at me for defending myself! Really thinks I oughta roll over and get killed! What, you think we follow their laws now? "Sneaky little hostile takeover. No wonder he's worried— They're brainwashing people. Turning us against eachother, just in time for this giant navy of theirs to roll up to the shore. How far up does this go? Can't believe I didn't see it..."
  7. aeragot is already doing great not sure what you mean brother
  8. IC: Ageru Shiki (Dastana Republic Odaiba Encampment - Fort Kizuno) Ah. "You do not have forever. If the Rakushi come over these walls tomorrow, you will need all the power of a Menti to defend yourself and our kin. 'Forever' is a luxury none of us can afford." I've gone and done it, haven't I? The Toroshu's one working eye is full of steel, glaring at me like I've just made an obscene gesture in her direction. Her shoulders have tensed, and all of a sudden that pressure that I've been buffeted by this entire time has redoubled, as though blasting my spirit itself— She's really mad at me. It's not unreasonable, either. The entire island is in grave danger every waking moment while those things still prowl out there, and a troubled student like myself is the last thing our last remnants of clan territory need in light of it. For as much as a girl like me is starstruck in the presence of such a fine warrior, and humbled by the praise I'd received so far, this was the exact thing I'd worried about coming up— and the exact way I'd worried my troubles would come across. I've earned that hostility, even if I wish I didn't. It's a chill, running down the core of my spine. I'm not proud to admit it, but it's got me mildly panicking, and I scrounge up what defenses I can. "Well, that's not to say I'm helpless in battle, that is— I've been training my body pretty religiously, and practicing my strikes with the bokken to hone my form. Even if I can't force my blade out well by will, I can still fight—" She's upset by my words. But also... "Perseverance is essential, but effort without progress suggests something is blocking you." Her face softens, ponderingly and... it almost seems apologetic. She's worried, too. "'A scythe wielded backwards cuts no stems, no matter how hard one reaps'." I then stop in my tracks, as the toroshu's sagacious recitation hits my ears. They are a core tenant of the clan Koryu's first teachings. I know these words well. I've heard them before, many times— but there is one I can't help but recall. It was under my time as a trainee beneath our next most honored warrior, Ageru Viitkha. A long day of mutual frustration had taken hold of us both after the first few hours when we progressed beyond simple kata and uradachi drills with bamboo shinai. I remember her brow twisted up in a knot, totally at her wit's end while I stood there, body every bit as ragged and worn as my brain felt. I had barely managed to hold my soulsword together long enough for a single swing, time and again. No matter how many times we both tried to bring the discipline to heel... something wasn't clicking. After some shared silence, I saw my instructor's gaze turn away from me. Away from the grounds. If anything, it was away from anywhere on the island, and out into the evening sun. She had found her stupefaction to be everywhere I was, I imagined. With that contemplative face, awash in the tawny reds, pinks, and oranges of fruitless day's end, she muttered those same words quietly. I could barely hear it beneath the breeze, I remember. Whether or not I was meant to, I still don't know. She then, much truer to her usual character, she grumbled a few curses upon my previous teachers openly and to my face, before calling it a day. Come to think of it— it was also the last time she trained me. When we next met, she only gave a cryptic expression that seemed to say I was a puzzle she wasn't sure what to make of. I'd not questioned that until now. I respect Viitkha-renshi's skill, experience, and knowledge wholeheartedly, but we were like oil and water as teacher and student. Had we been born in the same generation, or not shared the mutual goals we did in my time as her student, I kind of suspect that she'd class as a natural enemy of mine, and I similarly for her. It felt completely incompatible. But if she and the Toroshu have both arrived at those words... I have to ruminate upon them. I can feel it in the pit of my stomach, in the back of my skull. That I can offer no rebuttal to them is proof enough that there's something to it, before I even think about how different their personalities feel in spite of shared experience and schooling. If every teacher I meet sees the same problem... I would be wrong to not consider it. "...I do not know what is held wrongly, ma'am." I speak at length. "Even now, practicing hard every night, I am a leaf in a whirlwind." It's a bitter taste in my throat. Like days-old medicine, that I can't even wash down with tea. But. My mind is made up. I won't have an opportunity again, not today, maybe not ever. She is leading a war against a threat not of this Earth— I'm supremely lucky to just have this audience alone. "What would you have me do?"
  9. IC: Jolek Highwind "Lucky for us that nobody here really minds the terrain," he breathed, making a mental note of a cross-shaped hatch on one of the smaller saplings, a bit of an earthward bend to its length. One of his favored snaring plants in the past couple months. Meant that they were definitively on the right track— again, layering his method. It built in options, even if they simply reinforced his intuition. "—makes this pretty much a straight shot. Just a little distance to walk, nothing crazy." The words were wide of the continued conversation, but seemed to be a simple reminder that he was doing his job. Whether it was to them or to himself wasn't clear. Maybe it didn't need to be— "Yep, pretty much." he agreed with Hakari, a sage nod drawing itself from his alert posture. "All I got was my name, how to speak, and how to fight." There was background knowledge. The Sun, Moon, Stars, Water, what a Tree was, even abstract calculations to some level— remnants of a normal education, maybe. Basic schooling. That stuff seemed to go without saying. The body remembered much, the mind only what was general, accumulated learning. The soul... nothing. Like the driftwood he'd washed up aside, only he had the capacity to cough out the brine and knew to pound his chest to help move things along. It was nice knowing he was far from the only one, maybe, but even so... "Though recently I've been...remembering." He felt himself stiffen, imperceptible within his already measured, prowler's gait. "Seprilli...that's the island I'm originally from. It's the homeland of all Lesterin. I'm not sure why, but I remember it now." Like so many things, they too had passed him by as he'd dawdled. There were Skakdi among the guard force who'd begun to say similar things in the past couple days. A place called "Zakaz" entering their minds like a bolt from the blue... or a clearing of that oppressive white fog that surrounded the island he called home. All of a sudden, their transparent pasts had become awash with color, vibrancy, an excitement upon them that seemed to all but re-awaken who they had been within who they had become. Jolek had met his blood in the flesh, walked the halls of the house that he by all rights should know, and swapped stories with the two who held his memory as their dearest treasure and hope. By all rights, the months he'd spent with them should have done at least as much as... near as he could tell, nothing had in the Skakdi and Lesterin. Yet here he stood, looking back only upon the jungle, coastline, and the colorless, inscrutable gulf beyond. Same as it ever was. "...That right?" the Fa-Toa asked after a moment. "Yours are coming back?" His face remained hidden, behind the back of his head. "Sounds like a direction, then. That's good." His voice had shifted somewhat, if only just. It was hard to place how. "Hope you find your way home." He kept marching through the trees.
  10. IC: Rudra, 小さい竜 (Chiisai Ryuu)Bridge Her derisive snort was met in kind with one of his own, treading the line between circumstantial similarity and mocking imitation. Only halfway an affectation on Rudra's part, too— frustration managed to color his voice for the first time the newcomer had heard. "Oh, yer fuuuuuuull of it, Missy." he drawled, blading his stance and presenting the back of his coat to the carefully neutral Onu-Toa, displaying the hewn threads and blackened gash that exposed his seafoam armoring beneath. His eyes remained locked upon her— no, upon her weapon, gaze narrowing in a barely-perceptible twinge when she drew it taut with a nasty, twanging thrum. "It's a good thing we're not under your laws— I only fired back at you after ya nearly tore me open. We call that 'reasonable self-defense', which I guess you guys wouldn't be too used to, the way you talk." The near-wound ought to speak for itself. As a matter of fact, she looked set to pounce— He put up his be-Zeused dukes as he rolled on. "And to answer you both? She's bluffing, and none too good at it." he declared, opening his lead hand and circling the wrist in a rough gesture about the room. "No shot that one panel was the only control surface in this entire big ol' bridge. You got a backup set somewhere, if you made a journey this far out. Can't hide it from my brain, no no no. Else one thing gets screwed up and you're all stranded at the bottom of the ocean." It only made sense. It had to. If he really so thoroughly took this thing out, how could it have lasted this long on the high seas? No, not a chance in the world were things as bad as she claimed. This was a set-up, a ploy to fool a sucker. And a sucker he wasn't. Try and throw me off my game. Go ahead, keep at it. Like I don't know you're about to swing on me the moment I fall for it. Beads of sweat had begun to roll down the outside of his brow. A lot of lightning today... "I'll find it. I bet it's a lot sturdier and simpler, too. Not so easily 'wrecked'. Not so exotic to maneuver." At the very corner of his peripheral, he tried his best to be aware of movement from the dark blob that his back was facing. He'd put a lot of trust in the new guy by doing that... Seemed like a nice kid, all in all. He wanted to calm things down. Rudra, to a certain point, would love it if things were calm too— but that wasn't in the cards any more. This moment of tension was gonna snap at any time now. "Hey, my man—" his voice came low, subdued, resolute and seemingly accepting of that inevitability. "Got a name I can call you by?" And that neutrality couldn't last forever, either. "Heaven and Earth Acquisitions"... that's a good one.
  11. IC: What on earth was that clicking for? He'd long sourced it to the Matoran in the middle of the pack, catching the clasped bracelet around the wrist every so often in his glaces over the shoulder to ensure none of the group had wandered astray. While it was too soft to really grate on and annoy him, the eerie relative silence of the Charred Forest made it hard to miss. Not a chance of it, when his senses were dialed in as they were now— while the strength of his internal compass essentially made navigation an innate skill, he still had need of minding his surroundings actively whenever he came down this way. Landmarks were still important, even if redundant— a good defense was a layered, multifaceted one. A cross notched into a trunk here was as much a lodestone as you could find in the swathes of grey, orange, and long streaks of black jutting out of the ground. His ears, too held importance, in the event they ran into larger Rahi lumbering in from the south. Ash Bear. Muaka. You never knew. Granted, on the inverse, the clicking might even help warn such beasts they were coming... Around here, closer to the outer reaches of Guard Patrol beats, he'd noticed the animals' tendency towards giving him a wider berth than he had grown up with— with a small party's worth, now, that'd only grow further. Regardless... Asking probably wouldn't get anywhere, would it? Kanohi was the sort who shied away from limelight— much like Jolek found himself, albeit on far less thorough terms. He wanted to keep eyes front, and the other end of that conversation didn't carry one through spoken word. So... Best he just let it be for now. The steady rhythm wasn't bad for providing a constant backdrop unobtrusively to fill the stillness. But as luck had it— "Soooooo...have you lived in Ta-koro long?" Hakari promptly spoke up not a minute later, taking her share of interest and then some in the not-quite-a-path they were beating into the Ash as it weaved through dead, familiar trees. The Fa-Toa's found his brow inexorably furrowing as he'd mulled over the Lesterin's question, a low hum rising from his throat. How long had it been? To begin with, this stint on the force had felt like eternity, but even before then— how long in Ta-Koro proper, as opposed to passing through Ta-Wahi in that seemingly tiny stint of meandering the island, before the attack of the Rahkshi? "Hard to say. Maybe two, three years at most," he arrived at the most specific guess he could manage, weaving under a low-hanging branch by stepping out into a wider stance, letting his head roll under in a dipping, U-shaped arc as he continued forward. If he'd already hit head movement branch, then they weren't all that deep to begin with... "I wandered for a bit before that. Mainly got up to Ga-Wahi for a week or so, that's why I know the road." He turned after a moment's continued stride forward, giving any who needed ample opportunity to navigate the bend. "But really, I'm a lot like you guys— grew up in the jungle. Matter of fact, first thing I remember is the shore."
  12. IC: Rudra, 小さい竜 (Chiisai Ryuu)Bridge Ha. Sent her packing. Even if the viewport had just taken the full brunt of the blast for the Maru, Rudra knew that he'd gone and forced her to respect him a little— he wasn't about to roll over just because she was trying to treat him like an also-ran. He hated cocky people like that. It didn't matter if you were chosen by Mata Nui or the scum on the heel of his own boot, nobody got away with acting high and mighty forever. You know, it was actually really nice to get her to buzz off without breaking the merchandise, either. Couldn'ta planned it better if he'd tried. Sure as Karzahni wiped that smirk off her pretty little face, too. “I would not take up such an offer from someone lacking an exit strategy.” As a swath of voices cascaded through the stark, echoing space of this now-a-little-crowded bridge, the Vo-Toa let his gaze slide downward again, carefully regarding the scene before him. The Captain, now warily circling as though to mirror him rather than advancing further. The Onu-Toa, showing his hands, nothing to hide but no clear assent to the idea. The disembodied voice of the Commodore, imperiously spouting off from the peanut gallery yet unseen. All in all... a lot to answer to. Luckily, he'd not cracked under any pressure yet. "'Exit strategy'. Pfft," he scoffed first, shoulders hitching at the chuckle. "As if you didn't hear the mooring lines snap. Ship's already at sea, look out whatever window you like. That's all we need." "Look pal, I appreciate the offer. I get the impulse too, though wealth just isn’t my vice." Maybe not 'we'... Nah, not calling it in on him just yet. He says he gets it. That means on a certain level he picks up what I put down— he's just unconvinced. Fine by me, Mister Hard To Get. I'm more convincing than they give me credit for. "But stealing the most recognizable vessel on the island right now? How are you gonna fence this thing, when the buyer would have to not mind having a whole navy after them? I just want us all to get off the ship alive—" Rudra's smile had yet to wane. The Onu-Toa's eyes darted to his left, clocking the Captain's motion same as Rudra. Good, another hand with an idea of the space he was working in was valuable, and he was keeping good track of it. "—and I’d rather no one got hurt in doing it." "'Well, that's quite noble of you." he replied evenly, actually nodding along with the sentiment. "As a matter of fact, I find myself sharing the concern— but to hear Miss Energy Whip tell it, the Commodore here expects her to die defending this thing. Same goes for every seawoman aboard, I reckon. Breaks my heart. You know, you're a hard worker—" he glanced sidelong at his opposition, matching each step with hers as he once again began to strafe right. "—I still say you deserve better than this lot. Very least, not dying. Who knows? You walk away and fate might have it back in your hands before you know it, since you love her so dearly." It having never been about depriving them of the ship... there was an undercurrent of sincerity beneath the bluster and bravado, audible to an attentive listener. His face had softened, if only just, before he steeled it again and launched into his sales pitch anew. She was a woman of clear conviction, a military lady to the bones— and although a few small miracles had smiled his way just this afternoon, he wasn't the miracle worker itself. Just an unfathomably lucky recipient, the engine of doing whatever it was that they found right. It was funny that his new little dark friend had mentioned that little tidbit about who to be making this sale to. "And as for your other concern, that's easy— they can't chase it down if they can't find it, can they? Gotta find a spot to do the deal hidden. Luckily, this baby, as we've already seen," he indicated the viewport he'd shot at, still half submerged. "can slink beneath the surface. Hide in a reef, in a glacier, maybe something like... I dunno, one of those underwater caverns you hear so much about. Maybe. But you'd need to go somewhere, especially now that I'm telling you, where there's too many of such to catch out— one cave's easy. One thousand's a nightmare." His hands began to crackle, fully cloaking in the chirping white of lightning. If she could repel his bolts, then it made sense his sparks could repel her, didn't it? He ignored the sounds of water flowing against itself momentarily. with a ship that submerged, it was likely pretty standard anyway. "As for buyers, you follow the news much? Those rockbrained Po-Wahi monkeys up in the desert have themselves a Navy now, hеll, I even hear Ihu's gearing up, too— Times are changing. Everyone wants in if they don't already have one, otherwise they're a sitting duck— But on top of that, this baby's a tech marvel, real beautiful engineering begging some egghead to crack 'er open and figure out how she ticks. Having a stranglehold on the front of innovation's been a certain orange-faced engineer's life motto, right? Can't have one of these in the water if it ain't his." Behind the Hau-shaped Mahiki, eyebrows rose, a thought nakedly occurring and unbothered to be hidden. "And hey, speaking of—" he held up a finger, twirling it round as if to indicate the hull... Or waters beyond. "Here's another Navy pouring in right now!" His smirk had stretched to a full on grin, ear-to-ear and halfway manic in its conviction. Rudra had without a shadow of a doubt spent his due time considering this venture— and as he had skulked his way into the depths of the submarine, forced to examine and reexamine the end goal of this skullduggery and its' worth, he couldn't help but arrive at a clear conclusion— Yes. Because there were people out there who wouldn't be able to resist. One in particular. "Now, you're smart. I can tell you follow. With those factors in mind, sound it out for me. Who's got domain over a whole maze of tunnels, no naval forces to speak of, and a penchant for tech so raging you gotta go to his village if you need your iStone fixed? Who do you think is gonna be salivating at the thought of a whole fleet of submarines he could mobilize in the darkest waters on the island? The foreigners aren't gonna get it— but I know you do, brother." Get Akiri Nuparu on the horn, baby. This one's gonna blow his mind.
  13. IC: Ageru Shiki (Dastana Republic Odaiba Encampment - Fort Kizuno) "That's..." Ugh. I talked big about picking her head moments ago, but what I hadn't considered was the possibility— scratch that, the inevitability of addressing the starting point. If I were to proudly trumpet out that I was seeking guidance on a skill I'd barely made any headway upon through my own merit, I think my old teachers would have grounds to cut me down where I stood. If nobody else, I can only imagine Viitkha-renshi standing above me, glaring down with the fire of a midday sun. I get why they would be frustrated. Hours upon hours have been poured into me, but to no avail— in the end, we faultlessly return to the same conclusion. They get tired of beating their heads against a wall I know much better than they. Effort can only get so far without the necessary knowledge. Putting it simply, Ageru Shiki is talentless. I am a being with no aptitude for the Disciplines that extend beyond my arm's reach. I can't bend minds or trick senses, nor can I push concrete objects around with my Will. I have neither the learning, nor the innate sense for such matters. If I'm to do anything like that, it's physically so or bust. As I can't even muster the basics, the things taught to Menti who barely scratch half my age, I have never been through much in the way of theory. There exists no path for me. The doors they attempted to show me, expecting only the slightest nudge ajar, were simply walls of hard stone. I am talentless. I am not a woman who can change the world with her Will. "I am training, Toroshu-dono." I reply after a moment, making sure I address her respectfully as possible. "This... this is very easy, compared to my studies." I cannot lie. I don't have a reason to. The praise is making me a little uneasy... or rather, the comparison between the two crafts is. The act of repairing a wall is nothing. Necessary? Absolutely. I recognize that, and I'm not going to cut corners or run into the work in front of me half-baked. If she says I use my Kanohi with some skill, then maybe there is an argument for it. But I am not even remotely training with so little dedication as this. I am talentless. I have no room for that. I don't want to denigrate the effort of those that tried to get things through my thick, hard skull in that manner. As a Menti, we are continually locked in a battle between our wills, mind, and souls, and the world. This is one of the concepts we are taught first, before even discovering how that is expressed. Within those of us born into the warrior caste, there exists the energy of the mind— beyond that which can almost passively be utilized for Ideatalk. It's like the air in your lungs— you doubtlessly use it for speaking, but you're much more worried about your breath control when you run or jump or swim. It's like a great pool that exists within you— the Power of your Life, given Order by the Mind. Life is something that the world holds, too, and on far greater scope than any one Menti could dare challenge. Speaking bluntly, what life energy we release is paltry, in the face of the All that Lives of the World. It goes without saying that more energy outmuscles less. Therefore, we seek not to challenge Everything, instead focusing tightly our energy upon the ways our Will can layer a suggestion over it. Honor your Disciplines, and you can use your energy in spite of being an ant before a dragon. Our battles are not with the world, but they are battles with ourselves. At this, I am bereft of talent. Nothing has come from any attempts I have made to meld my energy around the ambivalence of the world, or that of others. It was proven clearly in aptitude tests, ever since I began my training. If I could not even manage to nudge a pebble, I am no Mindarm. If I could not even convince an abiding Dashi to blink, I am no Willhammer. If I could not even paint a white flag red in someone's gaze, I am no Sighteye. All that Ageru Shiki can look into and draw out is Herself. That alone is her path. As I am talentless, someone who lacks natural fluency, it simply comes down to what I can only do. Not only I can do. I can only do. I've no other recourse than this— the only method open for me. It is said that every Menti can manage at least one of the four disciplines through diligent training, that there exists at least one that they are naturally fit for. I've heard it referred to as a couple different things, depending upon my teacher. They call it a Menti's "Origin", "Tendency", "Kankaku", "Alignment"— but the general rule of thumb is that we all hold a certain Awareness (I suppose that's my name to add to the list for it now) for one Discipline or another, one existing on a level beyond the realm of talented or talentless. A drop of potential, however meager. For me, it came as a puddle of sweat, ragged breathing, and a burning mind that drove down through my back to create a sparking, sputtering glob of blue, untamed force in my hand—and fading like morning mist, the moment my focus faded. "I am pursuing the Soulsword, as my Mother before me had." I say, unable to color my voice in any appreciable way. I fear if I do, doubt may yet creep in. It's gotten ahold of me in the past, and feels like a demon's claw around the throat. I believe in becoming someone like her, someone who can do what she had for me——— It was peerless in its construction. Perfectly formed from blue that belong in a summer sky, and honed to a razor's edge that slashed through the flames themselves before cutting the grain. It was a victorious promise. An assertion inarguable as it parted fear, death, and fate with the ease of a real blade through soft silk. It convinced me of its certainty. I could not doubt that blade for a moment. ———But from where I stand, and when I look back upon my many failures, that seemed an impossible summit. My diligence being whatever it was from the viewpoint of an unbiased judge, rather than myself, I was barely even beginning the climb. As though I kept stumbling upon a stone beneath the grass of the first slope, I could not even fathom where I was stepping wrong, no matter how many times my aforementioned instructors tried telling me where to shift my weight. "Whenever I don't work, eat, or sleep, I try to understand it better. Every night, before I rest, throw my head at my blade... Regrettably I don't often get far. Not even to the point where I understand my failure at a corrective level." It's a little hard to meet my honorable Toroshu's eyes at this point. Here was as fine a warrior as any our clan had produced since the time of Gethseru herself, a living master of our shared Discipline— and all I had to show for myself was a sheepish admission that I could scarcely shape what energy I thrust out from my person. Regardless of our differences in experience, status, natural ability, all those logical things that would make a rational person sigh and murmur that it couldn't be helped, I feel it all the more frustrating. A bitter smile wants to flicker onto my face, but I do my best to force it down. "I suppose it's best I just persevere, even if it takes me forever." It's not a matter of choice. No matter what, I need to become the kind of person Sasaki was. If we both hold swords within our souls, I can never measure up until I do.
  14. IC: Rudra, 小さい竜 (Chiisai Ryuu)Bridge He clicked his tongue. Looked like that crackling little whip could, after all, be functioned into a makeshift barrier against his bolts and volts. Granted, it was a tight-run thing even for her— that wasn't a lot of line to work with, nor did it cover a whole lot of area. Maybe he could, like, wave his hands around. Hit her with a fakeout, and get her that way— her eyes were tracking his hand, not his face. "I am an officer of the Imperial Navy," she growled through a dangerous smile, advancing cautiously, still holding the Soulwhip at the ready in case he went for another pot-shot. "We do not surrender our ships to the enemy. We fight to the death." "Death? Sheesh. Pretty sorry reward for the hard work." For whatever it was worth, he met her with a wry smirk of his own as he began circling off to the side, a slow matador to her slow bull. "Sounds like your priorities are a bit off-kilter to me, babe. Better to live and avenge than die and hope someone else does it for ya." She was creeping forward, but if they were making eye contact... He upped the voltage in his hand— and her attention snapped to it. D#mn. Better start talkin' again. "You Navy types are all thewoAHSHI—" He staggered as a series of muffled snaps reverberated through the hull, and the water table surged higher in the viewport— he knew it, the friggin' mooring lines gave. They really were gonna sink at this rate. With him alone, and everyone still aboard the ship after him. Not that he was in truly deep water yet, but... Wait, why is there a bunch of person-shaped armoring in my right ey— "I don’t mean to interrupt anything, but I’m realizing only now that there might be seriously differing opinions on what I should do to help here.” He glanced over for as long as he dared— Onu-Toa, kind of scrawny, bit of a carefully neutral expression. Somebody not related to this, somebody who got nosy. Not related to them— So somebody who understands the language of widgets! "Well," His Mahiki split into a grin, a leering, daring smirk as he stopped moving, managing to fit the newcomer, the whip-bearing captain, even the viewport in his field of view— more or less, anyway. Two heads were better than one. At this point, he'd probably have much better odds with an extra hand to delegate defense and hostage-minding too. ... ... ... And, yeah. Yup. He could live with it, if only given the circumstances— half a state of the art boat's asking price was probably still more than enough. "Suppose the first question you oughta ask, pal, is this— How do you help yourself? You're on a sinking ship in the middle of two people you don't kno—" For the third time, the bridge lurched, cutting his train of thought off— And the floor pushed into his feet. Water outside was receding. Great! Now he wasn't going to slam the shiny merchandise into a scratchy old reef. Their buoyancy controls must have come back. Someone with sense was righting things. Mata Nui, you really are looking out for your favorite son here, aren't you? Now, square one. Maybe one and a half. Screw it, this is getting somewhere whether somewhere knows "Say. Tell me something, brother. Ya look sharp—" He raised his hand, decidedly keeping the fingertip trained on her rather than him. In the viewport behind her, practically directly in his line of sight, however, a, count 'em, fourth face entered this scene— and hers was unmistakable. Leah Maru, the long arm of Ga-Koro's law and its pride and joy... tutting at him and smirking. Throwing a breezy salute. He could practically hear her tsk tsk tsk and see the finger she wanted to wag. Bad though that one was, something even his confidence couldn't ignore... His own smile didn't fade, even refused to, but his brows furrowed into a tight line, eyes hardened dangerously, and teeth showed just a little more. You never back down meekly when you've got to inspire, after all— not to some smarmy merchandise mover, Makuta-beater accolade or otherwise. She was posting her face right there, begging to be knocked down a peg. Most people'd be cowed by the arrogance. Most. As another pinprick of light emerged from the buzz at his fingertip, twice as furious as any before it, he regarded the smudge of black and grey-green out of his periphery. "—You feel like makin' a whole lotta widgets?" He raised the finger gun past the Captain's shoulder, visualized the exact point between the Maru's eyes through the glass between them, and fired.
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