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sunflower

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  1. IC: Sentinel [Ga-Koro, Southern Docks] The Ba-Lesterin nodded, her demeanor shifting to one far more casual than the air of professionalism that she had been working to uphold moments earlier. “That I understand,” She stated in reply, before adding, “...not a test or anything, just personally curious.” "I've seen what you mean, my own people have the capacity for good… and great evil. Figured I could tip the balance a bit here. Funny how things tend to jog your memory." She was quiet for a moment, and she frowned as if attempting to remember something which just barely eluded her, before glancing back over to Talli. The professional tone returned to her voice. "We'll be headed back to the ship soon, Miss Anach. The Quartermaster will get you sorted with a berth once we're there." * * * True to her word, the Sentinel and her charge set off across the bay on the skiff once the last box of supplies was carried up the dock and checked off her list. The double-hulled watercraft was nearly completely packed, the two of them squeezing between the crates tied down to the wooden deck. It was just as well that the bay protected them from the worst of the swells of the Endless Ocean, with the skiff noticeably much lower in the water from the added cargo than the line of light sea growth would suggest. Ahead of them, anchored further out, the great metallic bulk of the ironclad loomed ever closer. It appeared almost unmoving amongst the rolling waves, even as their skiff rocked back and forth on Naho Bay’s crystal clear waters. As they approached figures began to resolve themselves from the clutter of rigging and equipment on the upper deck, though the cacophony of activity was progressively obscured from their view by the armored gunwales above. Their approach did not go unnoticed, before their skiff had even moved alongside the gently sloped slab of iron armor which adorned the side of the vessel closest to them a series of ropes and chains had been lowered from some position above them. With a practiced hand the the Po-Koroan sailor looped each of them onto corners of the skiff, before folding the small scalloped sail which had pulled them across the bay inward to its stowed position. She gave the central chain a tug, and nearly at once the ropes went taunt and the sliff was raised from the water. "I'll take you to the Quartermaster once we're aboard," The Lesterin reassured her charge, raising her voice slightly to be heard over the ratcheting sound which accompanied their travel up the side of the armored ship. Past the portholes and rivets, the skiff was pulled higher and higher, as the edge of the main deck above came closer. There was a great ker-chunk as the skiff reached its place firmly secured to the davits suspending it over the side of the Fowadi, and the Lesterin motioned to Talli as she stepped off onto the ship proper. IC: Dehkaz [Ga-Koro, Cael's House] "I understand your position, and I appreciate your candor. Your skill at sea is appreciated, and perhaps your familiarity with your home waters will come in handy, though regardless of that you're welcome aboard. That conviction of yours is worth more than any experience on the ocean," The captain stated, his words holding a certainty to them that was as steadfast as the iron hull of the ship he commanded. With a nod to the foreigner and her ever increasing resoluteness, Dehkaz rose from his kneeling posture. He spared a glance over to the Maru currently recovering off to the side of their small gathering, the Ga-Toa stirring ever so slightly, which was as much reassurance that she was in some sorts better off than she had been earlier as he supposed they would get for the time being. They had done what they could, now it was up to her to take it the rest of the way. "We'll be departing no later than sundown," He stated to those of his crew assembled there, both old and new, before taking his leave from the healer's abode and stepping once more out onto the salty village of Water. * * * His trip back to his command was, by comparison to the flight which he had launched himself earlier, leisurely. He had enough passing familiarity with the village to orient himself well enough towards the outer docks of the village, though proceeded with no great haste in that general direction. The walk gave him time to reflect, if not necessarily work through, the events of the day and the knowledge which was gained, though he had no doubt that they had just barely scratched the surface when it came to secrets uncovered and revelations to be found. He arrived at the docks not too much later, a few widgets convinced a Le-Matoran trader to take him out into the bay, though the wizened merchant seemed rather incredulous on his choice of destination, and decidedly unconvinced on his relationship to the moored ironclad. Even so, they made no argument against the offered currency, and in short order they had set out across the bay. Coming up alongside, Dehkaz made his way up the ladder to the main deck above. The slow steady rock of the Fowadi was a welcome familiarity, doubly so after the strange… wave that accompanied the lilypad village at the shoreline. He made his way aftward, taking a less than direct route as he stopped to talk with crew, partially affirming the readiness of the ship for their later departure, though more for his own benefit to gauge their general disposition. For a shakedown cruise there had been significantly fewer issues cropping up than he had expected, though this seemed in no small part a consequence of how familiar the crew had been with the ship's characteristics over the years, and their initiative when it came to handling the minor ones which did reveal themselves. Eventually reaching the aftcastle, the bulkhead door to his cabin closed behind as he stepped inside, the patterns of sunlight streaming in from the portholes having shifted dramatically in the time he was gone. On his desk sat a collection of parcels, a new development, no doubt brought in with the rest of the supplies collected over the course of the day. Pulling up the chair he took a seat, a gauntleted hand opening the shutters on the lightstone lamp situated on the desk, as he spread the stack across its surface with the other. Communications, updates from the rest of the navy, a few tools he had sent from his workshop in Ostia… none particularly kept his interest. His mind was far too preoccupied with the day's events. More than ever he was sure that the few months of relative peace that the island had enjoyed was rapidly drawing to a close, and beginning to seem as if it had been simply a held breath before catastrophe struck again. It was still some hours before sundown, and there was still much to do. * * * The sky burned with brilliant crimsons and fiery oranges as the sun began to dip behind the rolling hills and lush forests of the Ga-Wahi region to the west. Clouds, the remains of what storm had rolled through the area earlier that day, eagerly took to the dramatic coloration. Already a wind had picked up, the waters of the bay responding in kind as they fell and rose against the side of the armored vessel's hull. From across the main deck an order rang out, and with a disciplined synchronicity the large sails unfurled from their position held up against the yards, catching the wind and pulling the rigging taunt. With that the ironclad Fowadi began her voyage forward, her adorned bow cutting through the surf like a hot blade through wax. Though her initial direction was not out from Naho Bay, instead trimming southward and towards the Koro of Water, her path tracing a wide loop around the coastline. Before her the foreign fleet glittered brilliantly in the retreating sun's rays, the refracted light dancing across her reflective hull as she sailed past. Down the sides of her citadel each of her guns raised one by one to their maximum elevation, nearly pointed completely vertical towards the darkening sky above. A great thump echoed from the depths of her hull, shaking the deck and rattling unsecured cargo, quickly followed in succession by another and then another. The sound heralded the flight of the shells which took a dramatic arc into the sky above the bay, glinting in the scattered light as they flew. Thump thump thump it continued, until each of the barrels were clear and the guns recoiled back behind their armored casemates. Once the last gun sounded an expectant silence hung over the bay, even the wildlife around momentarily quieted by the deep, reverberating notes. And then with the sound of a distant thunderclap the signal shells burst high in the sky above, their photothermic charges igniting their incandescent packing within. Each sounded one after another, a rolling procession which lit the sky with even brighter tones of red and yellow in the fading light of the evening. All the while the ironclad sailed onward from under her bright salute to the newly arrived fleet, out into the Endless Ocean which waited for them at the mouth of the secluded bay. OOC: Fowadi and crew to Ta-Wahi at your earliest convenience. No need to move instantly just refer to this when the time comes. @BULiK @Snelly @Emzee @Mel @Perp @Krayzikk @otter @Lady Takanuva @Click @Void Emissary
  2. IC: Muuk [Naho Bay, Fowadi] "Aye, that'd be me," The Po-Matoran confirmed, giving a nod to the Toa surveying the deck. "Yer lookin for a ride, Toa Makua? Not usually our speci-ality, and fair warning t' ya, we tend t' get stuck in with the less than savory types if ya know what I'm sayin' t' ya." From behind his Kanohi the quartermaster grimaced, giving a shrug, before continuing, "Well, ya look like the kind that ain't got a problem takin' care of yerself with that there sword of yer's huh? Either way yer gonna be paying for rations I suppose, consider the bunk complementary if yer willin' t' help us out in a scrap." If he had anything more to say to Makua it was promptly interrupted as the acrobatics from an unfamiliar Lesterin caught his attention, and the Po-Matoran pivoted on his heel to shout, "Oi, wat'er ya doin there!" @Emzee @BULiK IC: Sentinel [Ga-Koro, Southern Docks] If the Lesterin's expression had been one of relief a moment earlier, then the look that spread across her face from behind her Rau as Talli presented a veritable novel of experience out at sea was pure appreciation. She accepted the presented parchments, taking a cursory glance at the official Ga-Koro Marines seals that decorated the records of service. A moment later and her blue eyes shifted back to the Matoran, an inquisitive eyebrow raised. "This is an impressive record, though if you don't mind me asking Miss Anach, why leave Ga-Koro? With experience like this you could find work… pretty much anywhere. Not that we couldn't always use a sailor like you, definitely the opposite, just that you could find better paying, less dangerous local crews I'm sure." @Mel IC: Dehkaz [Ga-Koro, Cael's House] Dehkaz listened intently as the foreign matoran-he couldn't recall if they called themselves by another name-recounted her experience and expressed her interest in joining. Though her words were shaky, and it looked as though the last meal she had gotten was when she had started on her journey to Mata Nui, she was nonetheless resolute. The Toa of Magnetism considered what she had said, before settling down onto one knee in an easy position to meet her gaze eye to eye. "Well met Saardma Azusai, I am Captain Kyhrilik. You and your people have traveled far to reach the safety of this island, it's because of this I feel the need to warn you; being a part of my crew may not be the safest of employments you may find on this island. We do our best to protect the lives of the peoples of Mata Nui, even if it means putting our own at risk." "We are certainly willing to have you as a member of the crew, though if you wish to lead a safer life here then there is no shame in that as well." @Snelly @Krayzikk @Click @otter @Lady Takanuva
  3. IC: Muuk [Naho Bay, Fowadi] There was a sound from above, halfway between a grunt and a sigh, followed by indecipherable conversation and shouts obviously directed at someone aboard the ship rather than the Toa floating beside it. A moment later and a rope was thrown over the armored hull of the ship, splashing down into the bay not so far from Makua’s slowly melting float. “Come on aboard!” The Po-Matoran shouted down, “We’ll discuss details where I don’t have t’ be shoutin!” OOC: @Emzee IC: Sentinel [Ga-Koro, Southern Docks] Only a few moments had passed since Makua’s flashy departure from the docks on his frozen slab of ice when the purple and copper Lestern turned once again away from her work at the sound of another voice. Her expression, previously colored with a tinge of exasperation at being interrupted again, faded into a small bit of relief once the Ga-Matoran introduced herself as actually looking to join up. “Well you’ve got the right place for that Miss Anach,” She replied, placing the iStone which she had been inventorying with down before turning to address Talli directly. “Do you have any prior sailing experience?” OOC: @Mel IC: Dehkaz [Ga-Koro, Cael's House] The Toa of Magnetism retracted his hand as Leah settled back down from the water-wreathed position she had been suspended from, curling his fingers into a fist which he held close to his chest. His eyes were focused on the mass of dark liquid which had been pulled from the Maru, regarding its sickly tones wearily. None of this sat right with him, however it appeared as though one hurdle had been cleared, as mysterious as the means by which they had done so were. It had taken less out of him than he had initially expected, though on reflection it seemed more and more likely that their combined power had served as the kick Leah needed to extract the poison herself. Perhaps she was not as far gone as she initially appeared. Dehkaz glanced down at the Maru, as motionless as before. Then again, perhaps so. Skyra voiced the question slowly percolating to the forefront of his consciousness, and the Captain turned as Krayn answered entering the hut. His brow furrowed and frown deepened as the De-Toa outlined what information he could glean from Leah's assailant, though he took a moment to file away the theory, and information which it contained, for later. "I agree," Dehkaz spoke after a moment's contemplation, folding his arms across his chest, "The refugees and their island… and now attacks within Koros themselves, Makuta is getting bolder, and fast." The remainder of his thought was cut short however, as a crystalline blur resolved itself and came to an abrupt stop nearby. He recognized Karoru, though the foreign warrior was carrying another within her arms. One of the refugee Matoran, though he wasn't sure that was what they called themselves, wearing brown clothes and wide-eyed. He glanced over to Skyra, his expression somewhat questioning, before addressing the two new arrivals. "I see," His tone held a hint of curiosity, his gaze momentarily focusing on the familiar flier which the not-Matoran held within her grasp, before returning to meet her own amber eyes. "And you are…?" He asked, the question a genuine one, with little to no accusatory notes to it. Having recruits delivered straight to him was a perhaps bit of a novel experience. OOC: @Krayzikk @Snelly @otter @Lady Takanuva @Click
  4. IC: If it were physically possible to hear one's eyes roll then Makua would have been able to make it out long past the point at which the general din of the busy dockside faded away. As it was though, the Ko-Toa's elemental departure was only followed by the bemused muttering of something along the lines of "Toa…" as the Sentinel returned her focus back to her previous task. * * * Despite the great difference in size between the two watercraft, if Makua's makeshift paddle board could be called such, his arrival up to the ironclad didn't go unnoticed. "Ahoy there Toa!" Came the call from up the tumblehomed side of the armored vessel, the origin of which appeared to be the tan form of a Po-Matoran peering over the side. He gave a wave and continued, "What is your business?" OOC: @Emzee
  5. IC: Sentinel [Ga-Koro, Southern Docks] The Lesterin raised a brow at the white-armored Toa's insistence, but shrugged nonetheless in acceptance. "Well, uh, sure thing then in that case," She replied, before cracking what could nearly be described as a grin of it wasn't partially hidden behind the mask of professionalism she obvious was doing her best to uphold, "He is currently out on the ship, feel free to go talk to him directly, y'know-" She jabbed a thumb in the direction of the armored ironclad sitting out in the bay. "-if ya can make it there without me." OOC: @Emzee IC: Dehkaz [Ga-Koro, Cael's House] Whatever theories and speculation his mind raced to produce in place of the information which Praggos had yet to provide as he kept pace besides the Toa of Ice were pushed to the wayside once the two had reached Cael’s abode. The subliminal catastrophizing which proceeded unchecked while his focus was set on tracking the Kahu just above them disappearing as he caught sight of Leah Maru. She was in one piece, that much was clear as Skyra and Cael moved her from Destiny into the dwelling. A small relief, if nothing else the frantic urgency that had caught even the Dasakan warrior Karoru off guard spoke to there not being much of Leah left. It wasn't until the Captain stepped inside behind Praggos that the true extent of her injuries, and the severity of them, was apparent. Before them, barely conscious and murmuring, lay the form of the Mata Nui-chosen protectors of the island. Her complexion–only a short time ago bright and determined in the face of all the grim realities which the island found itself in once more–was sickly and worryingly off-kilter in a way that wasn't helped by the erratic beat of her heartlight. It was far too reminiscent of someone just past the state of living for his liking. In spite of the myths and hearsay surrounding the Maru and their accomplishments, seeing Leah in such a precarious state was a pragmatic reminder of the mortality of even these living legends. The uneasy sense of the fragility of it all did not pass lightly. Praggos spoke of poison and infected Kanohi, the mention drawing his attention to Leah's own Mask of Power; and the oozing gashes across her cheek as Dehkaz began to piece together just exactly what had transpired. A motion caught his eye a moment later as Praggos continued to converse with Cael as to their best course of action, and Dehkaz watched with a focused gaze as Leah appeared to gather what strength she could to clench a fist over her faintly pulsing heartlight. The inexplicable gesture confounded even the most outlandish explanations that he could come up with for exactly what the Maru was attempting to convey to them. Until something happened. If her meaning had been inexplicable then what transpired next was an enigma. For all his time a Toa, indeed that time would encompass the full span of his conscious recollection, he had possessed a deep connection with that which was invisible and nearly wholely imperceivable to most. Magnetism was not an element that many associated with the traditional sense of the natural world; it was not the land they lived on nor the very air they breathed; but it was integral and fundamental in a way which few outside of his elemental affinity truly experienced. No two things were alike through its lens. Each Wahi strung its connections differently from another, a unique imprint which resonated deep from within the ground itself. His ship, a fortress of iron, shone like the brightest star even from its distant mooring out in the bay. Even those individuals around him bent the invisible ley lines that surrounded them in minute, yet perceptible and unique ways if one focused on them. His power was of the links and directions of the world around. As such the tug deep in his soul was a familiar, and yet completely foreign sensation. It was a connection, a pull of such a small magnitude that he considered for half a moment that he had imagined it completely. It wasn't magnetism, that much was clear enough to him. No, it was something far more general, calling upon no specific sort of elemental power at any of their disposal. A power. One that Leah appeared keenly aware of. "I felt that too," Dehkaz stated, his eye meeting the healer positioned across from him. "It's almost as if-" Leah reaching up to grasp Praggos' outstretched hand in a desperate grip cut his thought process short, and he looked back down to the Maru of Water with a searching gaze. And there it was again. This time it was stronger, but only just. As if someone had taken the lid off of a heatstone just that little bit more. Only it wasn't a warmth that the sensation brought with it, not quite. It was a clarity, like a cool breeze passing through Po-Wahi. Like water. Dehkaz raised his hand, palm down, towards the form of Leah, as if to stop her exertions, though that was not his focus. Instead of letting the strange power slip away once more, he held it in his mind. Kept it suspended within his perception the same as he used his own power to suspend himself in the sky above. And then he gave it a push. OOC: @Vezok's Friend @otter @Lady Takanuva @Snelly @Eyru @Krayzikk
  6. IC: Dehkaz [Naho Bay, Fowadi] The Toa of Magnetism turned, his attention drawn to the blurred form that rushed up to the deck of the ironclad, before resolving itself to the recognizable form of none other than the Dasakan warrior Karoru. Her tone was shaky, but resolute in a way that he'd heard plenty of times before. Her discipline was heartening, but her words were worrying. Leah...? It had scarcely been an hour or so since he had last been talking to the Maru of Water, the fact that something dire had happened in so short a time was intensely worrying. "I'll head over," Dehkaz stated, "Follow if you're up for it, Karoru." With that the Captain raised an armored fist, the faint azure glow of his elemental power gathering around it, before punching downward towards the deck beneath him. An instant later he was catapulted upward but an unseen force, accelerating into the air in a shallow arc that carried him nearly the entire length of the bay towards the dockside once more. His momentum slowed as he neared the village, hands splayed on either side as he maintained the field which kept him suspended in the sky. Leah's blue armor would've been nearly impossible to pick out amongst the population of the Koro, but Praggo's brilliantly white wear caught his attention nearly immediately. A push from his power, and he was moving downward in the Toa of Ice's direction, landing in a jog next to him. "What happened? Karoru sounded shaken up, Leah in one piece?" OOC: @Lady Takanuva @otter
  7. IC: For the briefest of moments the Lesterin, her head crest and slightly odd armor tones indicative of her heritage upon closer inspection, seemed somewhat confused at the icy Toa's proposition. Though her look of confusion seemed to be more from the fact that Makua was in fact not another barrel of supplies than the particulars of his offer. "We are," She stated as her Rau shifted from confusion to understanding, giving a small nod, "Headed to Ostia, that is. You'll have to talk to the quartermaster for specifics on paying for a ride, but I can take you over once all the supplies make it here." "Fair warning, we're not exactly sailing a direct route. We'll be headed south along the island, stopping down in Ta-Koro before making the journey around Le-Wahi. You might be better served taking a ferry if you just want to make to Ostia." OOC: @Emzee
  8. IC: In contrast to the general clamor of the main jetties and piers in which the bulk of the crystalline-clad foreigners had landed their equally shimmering ships, the southern dockside was far less populated by them. Though this didn't entirely seem like a fortuitous circumstance, the more secluded nature of the docks combined with the simple fact that even under exceptional events trade was still as necessary and active as ever meant that the walkways and gangplanks were just as active as ever. Fortunately enough, a single being stood out like a sore thumb among the Ga-Matoran dockworkers and crew, her scuffed tan armor harkening to a home which was significantly sandier than the place she currently found herself. Currently the Po-Koroan was stood off to one side of sets of crates and barrels being lashed together, the recognizable shape of one of the Sentinel's amphibious skiffs bobbing gently with the waves not far behind her just off the dock. @Emzee
  9. IC: Dehkaz [Ga-Koro Docks] The Toa of Magnetism watched Ironshaper depart in the direction of the largest of the foreign ships moored to the dockside. They had learned more than their fair share of information from the short conversations had so far, and Dehkaz was more certain than ever that the story wasn’t yet done unfolding. Still, they had more than just information to get from their stop in Ga-Koro, even if circumstances had been drastically shifted. A goal set, Dehkaz made his way from the seaside docks to the collection of wooden and leaf-built buildings that arrayed themselves out along the perimeter of the village. His first stop was the harbormaster’s office, a single story building which looked as though it had weathered nearly every single storm and tide that the Wahi had ever seen, with mismatched planking and well-worn footpaths around its perimeter. The interior was a buzz of activity, with a multitude of voices washing over the Captain as he pushed the door open to duck down inside-the entrance no doubt having been built when Toa were far less commonplace across the island. With the sudden appearance of the Dasakan vessels the sheer amount of frantic activity was of no surprise, and it took a good few minutes before Dehkaz was able to get a word in with anyone of some official capacity. Still, the slightly salt-encrusted Ga-Matoran whom he was able to speak appeared almost thankful of the banality of the Captain’s ensuing request and began penning down ink onto a parchment not long after. Crew Wanted! For the Ironclad Fowadi Sailing experience Not Required, Pay negotiable for applicable skills Inquire at Southern Dockside by Sundown So read the number of notices which were distributed and posted around the village of Water’s dockside within an hour of Dehkaz’s departure from the harbormaster, the ink hardly drying on a number of the pieces of parchment by the time they were put up.
  10. IC: Dehkaz [Ga-Koro Docks] Dehkaz mulled over the Maru's far more upbeat words that she had left him with for a moment after she had made her exit. The parallels were not lost on him in the slightest, the fact that so many of them were thinking the same was telling, as was what Leah hadn't actually said aloud. Makuta was back in force, and everyone was gearing up. The conversation was enlightening, but it also brought up more questions. The Fa-Toa weighed his options, there were more than a few things they needed to follow up on, and not nearly enough time. "Kale," Dehkaz called over to his first mate, who was probably the best person for what he had in mind, "see what else we can find out about the Dasaka's situation. Leah mentioned their fleet's Commodore was nearby their submerging boat, seems like the best place to start." "Oh," The Captain held up a hand, "and if you make it onto one of their ships, see what details you can pick up about them. Even if they're only half as impressive inside as they look outside, I have a feeling we'd have a lot to learn from them." @Silvan Haven
  11. IC: Dehkaz [Ga-Koro Docks] "I expected as much, we were only looking to top off on food and other perishables," Dehkaz explained, "I appreciate the concern, though we'll be headed down to Ta-Koro and source what we'll need from there." "As for crew, experienced sailors are always welcome, we have the room and I certainly wouldn't turn down extra hands on deck. Provided they're up for a bit of a challenge, sailing her is a learning curve in of itself," The Captain gave a half shrug, though the motion was more solemn acknowledgement than dismissal of the gravity of their situation, "Truthfully though, given the state of things I'll take anyone willing to swing a blade in Makuta's direction. Whether or not they have a sterling record or clear conscience… is not something we have the luxury of taking the time to vett thoroughly." "All of this," He motioned across the fleet surrounding them with an upturned palm, "could have very easily been our people." @Vezok's Friend
  12. IC: Dehkaz [Ga-Koro Docks] "Supplies, as it would happen, though that particular venture has been rather obviously supplanted, given the current dock situation," Dehkaz answered, explaining, "Fowadi's fresh out of refit and we're putting her through her paces around the length of the island." A thought occurred to him, and he added after a brief pause, "Crew as well. Ko-Koro was a wakeup for the majority of the island, and it was reason enough to get the Aggressors operating in an official capacity with Guard support once more. If you happen to know of anyone, civilian or Guard, with skill and drive, and needing an outlet for them, send them our way. The Guard has enough to worry about now, what with Makuta overtly acting once again, with the Aggressors giving him and his lackeys another angle of attack they'll have to divide their focus on defending." "Any of the Dasaka would certainly be welcome as well. I can imagine more than a few are looking forward to striking back." @Vezok's Friend
  13. IC: Dehkaz [Ga-Koro Docks] Dehkaz folded his arms across his chest, a contemplative posture that he held well after he took another appraising look around the docks. The worn, eclectic collection of vessels stood out in sharp relief, not just from their glittering hulls, as the reason for the mismatched fleet becoming far more evident with each passing moment. Refugees… There were enough of the foreigners to fill Ga-Koro once over again, which belied the far more sobering reality that it was most likely fewer than had started the journey to Mata Nui, and even less than those who had managed to evacuate from their homeland. Not all of the vessels were like the high-sided and fully rigged kind which stood out amongst the docks, a great deal were no larger than the most simple of Ga-Koroan fishing boats, and it was a miracle they had completed such a journey. For a moment his thoughts wandered back to what Shaddix had revealed to them back in Ostia, when the worn Fe-toa had laid his bag and story out. The revelation of Makuta taking direct action once more confirmed the mercenary's words, not that Dehkaz had much, if any, reason to doubt them. Not with the look he gave them. The fact that Makuta had saw fit to drive an entire people from their homeland was similarly not surprising. No, what gave him the most pause was that the dark god had succeeded. Mata Nui had weathered attack after attack upon their villages, swarms of infected rahi, rahkshi, and creatures pulled from the depths of the darkest nightmares. They'd held the line, stood fast for countless years, even against what seemed to be ever increasing forces. It was this fact that made the thought of Makuta having amassed such power to uproot and destroy an entire nation deeply troubling. Ko-Koro had precipitated a motion in the back of his mind, and it seemed the events since had only served to solidify it further. "Any information as to how their homeland fell?" Dehkaz asked, returning his attention to the Toa Maru, "These are quite the martial people, I can't imagine they went quietly." @Vezok's Friend
  14. IC: Dehkaz [Ga-Koro Docks] At the shout Dehkaz turned, looking off past the foriegn warrior and down the dockside in the direction of the voice, unfamiliar at first. It was then that he caught sight of Leah as she approached. “Maru Leah,” The Captain nodded in greeting to the village's protector as she reached them. He paused for a moment as their crew’s newest potential recruit and Skyra conversed with the new arrival, before turning to address Leah himself as the latter two departed for the ironclad moored out in the harbor beyond. “Seems we’re not the only ones paying Ga-Koro a visit,” Dehkaz commented, indicating the span across the wharf behind them where the multitude of crystalline ships were docked with a flourish of his hand. His tone turned questioning partway through, which was tinged with a more solemn timbre, “What happened to them? This certainly isn’t some diplomatic entourage, not unless it’s customary for them to send an entire Koro’s worth of shipping along with.” @Vezok's Friend
  15. IC: Dehkaz [Ga-Koro Docks] "Well met, Menti Karoru," Dehkaz replied, while he was in the dark as to the customs and traditions of the foreigners, he picked up on the title to which the warrior referred to herself by. To that end, she had given him much about herself to consider. The fact that she was without others despite having traveled here with the rest of her people was interesting, though it didn't appear as though the larger implications of that were inherently dangerous. The motion of her hands, nearly imperceptible, caught his eye for a moment. "We could always use extra hands on deck," He glanced over to Skyra, the Le-Toa obviously particularly interested. He paused for a moment, his attention returning to Karoru as the spark of an idea gleamed behind his violet eyes, "It seems you've already met Skyra here, she'll show you around the ship and answer any questions you have. If she feels like you'd be a good fit then perhaps we can help you find what you're looking for out at sea." @Lady Takanuva @Snelly @Krayzikk @Silvan Haven @otter
  16. IC: Dehkaz [Ga-Koro Docks] The Captain watched Kale depart with his slightly green-tinged projection- the fact that Luten seemed capable of seasickness brought forth a hint of bewildered amusement at the continued novelties this island seemed to hold- before he moved off into the just barely contained bustle of the docks himself. A quick word with a few dock workers had the skiff moored to an empty spot in the ever crowded dockside, a feat in itself given just how many vessels were squeezed into the accommodations. Now, walking alongside the numerous foriegn vessels, Dehkaz was able to glean a bit more of their construction. Their basic design wasn't much different than Mata Nuian seacraft, convergent features common to most depending on what their original purpose; it seemed a fishing boat was a fishing boat regardless of its origin. Where they differed however, that was where his interest was focused. Chiefly among that was their peculiar construction, while they all incorporated wooden structural members and decking as far as he was able to observe; not unlike the common sailship seen across this island; where normally wooden planking would have wrapped around that to form a hull instead were slabs of a crystalline material. It certainly wasn't glass, not if these vessels had survived a journey as long as he suspected they did, but it also wasn't exactly the same material mined in Onu-Koro. The color was wrong, and the surface nearly opaque in a quality he'd never seen in a mineral before. There was also the fact that many of the larger vessels used a two, or even three hulled design the larger they got. Perhaps, he surmised, to deal with the far more rigi- Dehkaz's musings were cut short as a familiar voice called out from ahead of him on the docks, and the Captain turned his attention away from the crystal-built vessel and to the two approaching figures. One, of course given the gregarious nature of the greeting, was Skyra. The other Dehkaz did not recognize, at least not personally. Her armor, weathered from use, was of the same make as the reflective vessels around them, and bore a coloration relating to no Element or Koro that was known to him; though it certainly matched the descriptions he had heard and read of the foreigners. She was taller than the energetic Le-Toa she walked beside, enough to meet his own gaze dead on, and strongly built in a way that along with her worn armoring spoke to one that was no stranger to action. "Daring," He greeted as they met, giving the Toa of Air a nod and a slightly raised brow, before turning to address the being that she had obviously led to him. "Captain Khyrilik," He introduced himself to the foreigner. "Is there something I may assist you with…?" He added, letting the last syllable trail off to give the warrior an opening to likewise introduce herself. @Snelly @Lady Takanuva @Krayzikk @otter
  17. IC: Dehkaz [Naho Bay, Fowadi] The Toa of Magnetism nodded his assent, "Once we stock up you're free to go as you wish, I'm sure there will be other crew that will wish to disembark as well." With that, Dehkaz hauled himself up and over the side of the deck, landing squarely on the skiff which was in the process of being winched down to the waters below. Once the small vessel was fully lowered he unhitched the lines, holding a palm out to the side of iron hull to keep it from floating away as others boarded with a small application of his elemental power. A moment later, and they were off; carried by the slight breeze that had picked up. Weaving around the mass of crystalline and more conventional ships, they eventually reached the docks themselves, and it didn't take much time from there to find the three Toa that made it by their own means. "We'll split up, see what we can find out. Keep your ears open," the Captain advised, the general cacophony of the active port surrounding them. "We'll meet back at the ship by nightfall. Oh and Kale-" Dehkaz turned to address his first mate. "-See if you can't find some additional crew to hire on, we'll offer them the normal rate... and perhaps a bit more for useful skills. Here's as good a place as any, and I've a feeling now might be a good time."
  18. IC: Leli For the majority of the conversation Leli felt fit to stay silent, she had her input on the whole crazy situation, of course, though she felt it appropriate that Tarnok deliver his report uninterrupted. The three of them were all there, and he was better equipped than her to present the events in a... unflavored manner. But at his last remark she bristled, and her mind raced. "Not going to happen," Leli interjected, with a bit more fire than she meant for it to have. She turned to Nuparu and gave an apologetic motion, "Sorry, Akiri. Ussalmatoran Tarnok was under my command, any dereliction of duty was under my purview; not his."
  19. IC: Dehkaz [Naho Bay, Fowadi] Dehkaz watched the two of them grapple off into the mass of shipping that crowded the Ga-Koro docks despite Praggos' sputtering objections, and for a moment, he had half a mind to join them in their expedited trip across the water. Perhaps it was just as well that his own equipment was stowed in his cabin, having been replaced during their maritime travels by his coat and sidearm. As he made his way over to one of the ironclad's davit-mounted skiffs Ember approached, and he glanced over to the Matoran as she spoke. "Of course, go ahead." @Perp
  20. IC: Their journey around the cape had gone encouragingly, the weather had held and the waters remained relatively calm. Just before dusk they had reached the northernmost tip of the island, laying anchor there for a small party to take one of the skiffs ashore to the squat, stone lighthouse which was the rocky outcroping's sole inhabitant. There they remained for a few hours after the shoreparty had returned with current maps and charts, taking the time to take stock of the crew's effectiveness as the watch changed over. While by no stretch of the imagination green sailors at this point, their familiarization with the ironclad was an ongoing process during their maiden voyage. With changes made and duties rehearsed the Fowadi set out once again. The ocean’s flat calm continued well into the night, the reflected stars above in the cloudless, moonless night offering an eerie calm that permeated their journey down the eastern side of the island that lasted until daybreak. By midmorning they had begun sailing west, angling towards Naho Bay. The sea had picked up somewhat with the wind, though dropped down as they entered the clear, shallow Ga-Wahi waters. Only a few hours later had them begin to navigate the shallows between the various islands that dotted the entrance to the bay, sails furled to reduce their speed. Dehkaz stood atop the quarter deck opposite to the wheel, weight braced against the hull plating as he looked out over the rapidly growing landmasses and inlet of the bay. Something had struck him as odd as they had made their way closer and closer to the beachside Koro, though it wasn’t until they had entered the bay proper did it hit him. The waters were surprisingly clear of shipping, for a village so steeped in ocean-going trade, there were scarce few vessels in the waters around the mouth of the bay. The fact bothered him, and he was about to voice his concerns to the rest of the crew when a glint of sunlight caught his attention. From the wrong direction. The sun was at his back, and yet something out towards Ga-Koro shone like a star- as if someone had erected a giant mirror right out in the harbor of the village. He knew, of course, that was impossible, but it wasn’t until he had gotten a closer look thanks to his Kanohi that the captain realized just how close he had actually been. It wasn’t some great mirror, but reflective all the same. And it wasn’t a singular point. There, amongst the green lilypads and wooden docks sat numerous crystalline vessels, glittering in the sunlight as brightly as the waters in which they floated. All manner of them, from largest multi-masted ships to smaller fishing boats which were only visible once the Fowadi sailed closer to the crystalline fleet. So many that a great deal of them had simply beached themselves in the shallows close to the shore, and they lined the sands from Ga-Koro. Though alien in their make, with sharp lines and multi-hulled construction, their material of choice called back to what he had heard of the curious vessel that had docked in Ga-Koro months prior, as well as the foreigners which crewed it. This certainly threw a wrench into their plans. While there had been a small question of there being large enough facilities for the Fowadi to dock at Ga-Koro previously, with the foreign fleet now taking up residence at the village, there was no possible way for the ironclad behemoth to squeeze through the mass of shipping. “Small change of plans,” Dehkaz said, turning to speak to Kale, the Toa of Iron not far on the main deck. “We’re not going to be able to stock up on supplies from Ga-Koro, let alone dock there in the middle of all of that. We’ll lay anchor here for now.” “Rynekk, Ember!” He called, “I want you two to take a crew and some skiffs over to Forsi across the bay, see if you can’t find us some supplies to partially stock up on.” “Kale,” He turned back to the first mate, “you’re with me, we’ll head into the Koro and figure out what this is all about.” Dehkaz paused for a moment, before adding, “Let’s take Krayn too.” @Void Emissary @Krayzikk @Silvan Haven @Snelly @The UltimoScorp @Perp @otter
  21. IC: Dehkaz [Ostia Docks, Fowadi] Dehkaz followed Krayn up to the Fowadi's weather deck, behind them on the dock below workers were moving about, untying mooring lines and removing empty pallets which had held stacks of barrels and supplies when they had departed the ship earlier that day. A sizeable collection of onlookers, some gathered on the dock or adjacent docks and some in the harbor itself standing on small boats and skiffs, had gathered throughout the day as news of the refitted flagship's departure had spread throughout the white stone port town. It wasn't a great surprise, the ironclad's gleaming hull had become a fixture in Ostia during the previous few months, and many of the individuals gathered had a hand in her overhaul. The deck of the battleship itself was beginning to take on a frantic hum of activity, though orders shouted and signals raised kept a frame of organization to the otherwise indecipherable activity. Hatches and scuttles were being secured and rigging checked and tied into position all the way down the length of the metallic leviathan. Within the depths of the ship came a reverberating repetitive clunk as the anchor was weighed and slowly rose from the water a link at a time. Even deeper beneath the deck was the hum of the pump starting up and getting up to pressure. Amongst all of this, Dehkaz took up a position behind the ship's wheel, pulling it to starboard and waiting for the final confirmation that all was set for their departure. The gangway was removed, the last mooring line was pulled aboard, and the Fowadi began drift away from the dock. Dehkaz gave a command, and the yards were trimmed to starboard and the pure white topsails let down to catch the offshore wind as well as the golden afternoon light. Now fully under her own power, the ironclad set off in earnest, much to the excitement of the onlookers gathered. Gaining speed rapidly despite its apparent bulk, it didn't take long for the Fowadi to clear the harbor entrance and sail out into Leva Bay. To their port side just outside the harbor sat the ironclad Pakanokai, having been completed only a few short months prior. A flash of light followed by thunder rolling over the sea emanated from the Fowadi's smaller sister ship as its saluting guns arced a salvo of photothermic charges high into the sky above. Dehkaz watched them pass, before turning his attention back to their course ahead. Behind him the geography of the stone coast began to drop away from his view, taken over by the great endless expanse of ocean that stretched out further than he could possibly see before him. OOC: Fowadi and gang to Ga-Wahi. @Void Emissary @Krayzikk @Silvan Haven @Snelly @The UltimoScorp @Perp @otter
  22. IC: Tera looked up from her desk, away from the map of the island she’d been considering. She was still waiting for the other rahkshi shaped--errr… well, she supposed neither they nor Makuta wore shoes, but the metaphor might still stand. Foot? That didn’t have quite the same ring, but perhaps there was something there. She reached up with her hand and gave an almost lazy gesture, the door Dehkaz had just knocked on clicking as the stone components of the latch slid to the side and it slightly opened. “Come in.” Dehkaz listened with half an ear, though intently enough to file it away for later discussion, to Skyra and Krayn. A growing sense of concern over the Le-Toa’s current condition permeated the air, broken as the door before them swung inward ever so slightly. Dehkaz pushed it open the rest of the way, giving a nod and casual salute in greeting to the Captain of the Po-Koro Guard. “Afternoon Tera, we’re gearing up to set off soon. The Fowadi’s practically shining. Few more things to iron out, and I believe Krayn has some questions as well.” “Captain Stonehaven,” The De-Toa greeted, pushing down a long ingrained instinct to salute. For the moment he was a civilian. The Captain had been fairly new to her post the last time he was in Po-Koro; a stint of detached duty to the Village of Stone, continuing in the same cooperation from before Makuta’s fall. It wasn’t work that crossed their paths very often, but he couldn’t have stayed as long as he did without seeing her in passing. This was their first proper meeting, though, and the first time he properly took stock of her. “Dehkaz was kind enough to let me piggyback his meeting with you.” In place of a salute he extended his hand to shake, with a friendly- albeit absent- smile. “It’s a pleasure to meet you properly. Krayn Inzaka, formerly of the Gukko Force.” Tera stood, her light blue eyes looking over Krayn before extending a hand to shake his. “A pleasure, Mr. Inzaka. I know a little of your history, though tangentially…” The Po-Toa gestured around her office, walled with filing cabinets, the only exception a pair of cestus hung in a place of honor over the map of the Koro, one badly dented, the other stained with blood. “I’m still working through Captain Wortan’s records. Dehkaz said you had questions, what can I do for you?” Krayn opened his mouth to speak, and then paused. The matter was so simple on the face of it but with so many layers beneath, so many questions he had to find some way to ask. If he enlisted, who would he work for? Would they be willing to work with him? Is your work environment toxic? Salary? Sick days? By the way, is your new boss a fascist too? “That’s a surprisingly complex question. May I sit?” Tera gestured to the chairs across from her desk as a wordless assent to Krayn’s request, indicating one for Dehkaz too. She sat as they did. “Makuta is back.” The sentence rested for a moment without follow up or preamble and Krayn held his coffee mug from outside cupped in his left hand. “That probably isn’t a shock to you. I had my suspicions before I came back from Ko-Wahi, but Dehkaz and I ran into a friend that confirmed it.” Tera let out a breath and nodded, her expression becoming a dour frown. “I thought as much, or… Mmm. Did you fight in defense of any of the villages, Mr. Izanaka? When the Rahkshi attacked?” “Which time?” Krayn gave half an apologetic smile at even that dry a joke, and took a long sip from his mug. “Yes. I was in Ga-Koro during the final attack, on the deck of the Infernavika as a matter of fact, a few hundred yards from the Fowadi. Before then I was present during the assault of six upon Le-Wahi.” Tera’s head bowed, then she nodded. "Then you know what they’re like. Vicious. Overwhelming. There were few of us here, we’d lost a lot even before--well, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you." She took her own sip and her eyes flicked back up to meet his. “But we had moments where it seemed like we were winning. Pushing them back, getting a chance to breathe. And every time that happened, they’d come back stronger. Because above all, those creatures and their master are singularly relentless.” Her jaw shifted. “To an extent, it’s felt like these past years have just been another winning moment in a battle that’s still not over. But if he’s back, truly, well… I expect that fleeting second to end soon.” The other Toa nodded. There wasn’t a need to ask a question, or to relate his own memory of the fight. It was a point they both understood. He sipped his coffee, allowing the thought to settle, and then nodded again. “I think it already has. Captain, I retired from the Force for personal reasons. I won’t bore you with them. But I thought it was over. I could rest easy after a frankly grueling few years. But I went to Ko-Wahi because I couldn’t sit by.” He shrugged, the movement obviously hesitant and uncomfortable in one shoulder. “Without Dehkaz, here, I would have died there. I would have liked for that to be the epilogue, the genuine end to a war we’d won.” “Clearly it wasn’t. I can’t stand by now, either, and by myself I’m a little short-handed for this fight.” He took a longer breath, letting out out slowly. “The reasons I left the Force are still in play. If you have concerns about my competency I’m happy to alleviate them, but my resignation wasn’t of that sort. I’m here, frankly, because I need to work with someone. Po-Koro is the closest thing to a home I have now, but it also… hasn’t been perfect.” He met the Captain’s eyes without condemnation, but without apology either. “Dehkaz was kind enough to let me come along because I want to come to some kind of an arrangement to continue working with him, and the Sentinels. But I came because I needed to meet you, too. To see if you were someone I can trust.” The aforementioned Toa of Magnetism’s violet gaze flicked from Krayn to Tera. He sat, quiet as the two spoke, having nothing to include as of yet. His hands were steepled before him as he regarded the other two. For a brief moment his mind hit on just how unlikely their small gathering was; in a hundred other lives none of them would have been here at this table, let alone as acquaintances and allies. More and more it was becoming clear just how powerful a motivator the Darkness the island struggled against was. “No, it isn’t perfect. It hasn’t been perfect.” The Po-Toa’s eyes met Krayn’s steadily. “I think one of the many costs of our momentary victory over Makuta has been our naivete about our own nature when deprived of darkness to unite against, but perhaps that’s for the best.” She tapped her finger on her desk once. “As far as trust goes, know that I serve the Koro, for her people and the ideals of what she could be. I hope any actions of mine you’ve heard of have borne that out. Moreover, with darkness once again on our doorstep I believe the island working in concert is imperative. The Aggressors are a great symbol of that cooperation and something I’m glad we play host to.” A shrug. “Of course, it’s all well and good to say those things. You’ll have to judge if you can trust me for yourself.” Krayn’s mouth quirked with what might have been something like discomfort— or maybe distaste— at the mention of the old task force. Not directed at the Captain. To her he nodded slightly, almost unconsciously. There wasn’t any give to her tone but she hadn’t bristled at the point either; the Po-Toa didn’t pretend Po-Koro’s former attitude hadn’t happened. But she didn’t try to justify it, either, and she had her priorities straight. “You’re right. Words are easy. But you’ve said the right ones, Captain.” The Toa’s posture relaxed just a little. “Which I suppose brings us to whether or not you’re willing to make use of me, Captain.” “In a vacuum that would be a fairly difficult question to answer, but I suppose the Commander’s presence is fortuitous in that regard.” Her eyes flicked to the Toa of Magnetism sitting quietly next to Krayn. “What would your impression be of him, Dehkaz? You’ve saved his life, I figure you must know.” A slight smirk quirked her dark lips. A brow raised on the aftermost mentioned Toa’s Kanohi, and from behind it Dehkaz glanced from Krayn back to Tera. His hands separated from their position before him as he crossed his arms across his chest. “Scarce few people nowadays that I’d trust to have my back regardless of the situation at hand,” he addressed to the Captain of the Guard, his tone was characteristically pragmatic though still wholehearted sincere, backed by an ease to his normally rigid posture and intonation. “Krayn is among those, but more than that; there aren’t many of those who I’d trust to keep that same sort of dedication to the people of this island as a whole.” Dehkaz paused for a moment, as if considering something. “Give him access, information, support, and there isn’t an injustice he wouldn’t tackle,” The Toa of Magnetism looked to Krayn for a moment, before continuing to speak to the Po-Toa, “Great Spirit knows he’s gone up against the evils of this island without any before.” “Give him a lever and a pile of stones to stand on and he’ll move the island, huh?” Tera smiles faintly. “If Commander Dehkaz vouches for you sincerely I would be remiss in refusing your service. The only question is what role you’ll serve. What do you currently do aboard the Fowadi?" “Manage my old boss.” The quip slipped out, a stopgap against his surprise at the depths of Dehkaz’s ringing endorsement. And ringing was the word; every material in the world had a resonant frequency, the right sound that would make it shake, and he had a feeling that this was what it would feel like. He’d have to get the Commander back for that. “Aside from that, Captain, I haven’t served directly on it before. I was there when we picked it up to go after the ’Vika and I’ve spent a lot of time as a helpful passenger. But I’m not much of a sailor.” The De-Toa shrugged, then smiled as a thought crossed his mind. “If Dehkaz is up for it, perhaps he’d be willing to be my supervisor. A friend made the point that I don’t seem to do well in a rigid command structure. Having the Commander around to make sure I’m using my authority wisely would work out, I think.” “If you know how to swim and fight, I think that’s all that’s needed.” Tera smirked, her eyes drifting to Dehkaz. “That arrangement would be amenable to me. Commander, I assume you’re content with this as well?” “Absolutely,” Came the Commander’s reply, his face pretty clearly showing the positive appraisal for the arrangement which the De-Toa had come up with. It was a clever idea, the three of them knew how much efficiency was lost in the day to day grind of Guard activities. It was necessary, of course, as the island’s defensive forces grew in size so did the sheer logistical needs to coordinate them effectively. However, Krayn didn’t necessarily need command, nor underlings to carry out his orders. No, the both of them knew that he worked best without obstructions, and this was the best way to clear them. “Your cabin is as you left it on the Fowadi,” Dehkaz turned to address Krayn himself as he spoke, giving a small nod more to himself than the two other Toa in the office, “I’ll get the finer details sorted out while we’re underway.” Satisfied with the mental checklist that he had rearranged, Dehkaz rose from his seat. “Thank you for your time Tera,” he said, “We should be headed back to the ship now, wouldn’t surprise me if they’ve already managed to catch some pirates by the time we get back. I’ll send word when we reach Ga-Koro.” With pleasantries exchanged, the two Toa parted from the monolithic stone structure of Sentinel HQ, the sun still high in the sky as they stepped out into the dusty main road. From there, it didn’t take too much time to collect the rest of their band and make their way back to the Iron Mahi line to Ostia.
  23. IC: Day broke as it always did, obscured by a fog that clung to the embankments of the river Meuse. The sun had yet to rise completely, or so it seemed through the blanketing haze that hung over the landscape. There was no brilliant disk of light shown down from the sky, simply an even glow that diffused through to the scenery around. Upon closer inspection a nearby observer might have noticed slight wisps of some black, opaque smoke that drifted through the fog on its own accord, driven by winds and currents unseen to any but it. Or perhaps they would have come to the realization that the grey tone which the dirt and foliage took on the banks of the river was not entirely the result of having been viewed through the haze around, but rather the fine, powdery dust which clung to nearly every available surface. Suddenly a rapid succession of lights flashed from the western bank, breaking the eerie silence that had hung over the landscape, followed immediately by a thunderous crack and a faint whistling through the air. And then all was silent once more. Until a trio of explosions ripped into the landscape, one landing on the eastern bank and sending a huge gout of water and sand into the air. The other two sounded somewhere deeper into the mist, each more distant than the last. Scarcely had the debris from the massive impacts fly out of view did another barrage of artillery fire echo out across the grey landscape, melding with the cacophony of weapons fire which seemed to have taken the cue to begin. Not all originated from the western bank, however, as a pale green, ghostly shaft of light lanced out from within the mist on the opposite side, tracing a path like one would move the beam of a lantern across the landscape. Foliage burst into flames from its touch, and sand fused itself into glass. The water of the Meuse burst into a column of steam as the beam traced over its surface, and then it was lost in the fog. * * * Above the fog, suspended in the air nearly a thousand feet above hung the airship Thunderchild. The leviathan of steel and steam was, for the moment, motionless, though within the winding corridors and lightened frame in its interior it was anything but. At the heart of the massive airship, within its cavernous hanger space, engineers and officers rushed to and fro. They wore a multitude of uniforms and equipment, matched equally by the multitude of languages that echoed about the interior space of the airship. All were dwarfed by the massive fighting machines which they scurried about. Each was as unique as those that serviced them, bearing the flags of nearly every nation on the planet, though were still arranged in a pair of neat rows down the length of the hangar. The air was positively electric with activity. “One minute,” Came a voice, projected by voice tubes from a far off location somewhere else on the airship. The hangar space began to clear, as service people made last second checks on the colossi before moving. “Thirty seconds,” the voice sounded again, this time louder as the conversation which had filled the hangar not a bit earlier was pulled away with the crews. “Five.” “Four.” “Three.” “Two.” “On-” The last bit of the final count was drowned out by the great sound of mechanisms engaging, and one by one the section of hull beneath each of the individual fighting machines dropped away to release the metal behemoths into the sky below. It was not a complete freefall, however, as nearly as quickly as they had dropped did pressurized seals break and gaseous envelopes not unlike those that held the Thunderchild aloft inflated, slowing their descent to a more manageable speed. Guided by the crews within, one by one these armored warriors slipped beneath the fog…
  24. If one had declared to the masses that, in the final years of the nineteenth century, this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than that of man, and yet just as mortal, none would take such a claim seriously. None would believe that as men busied themselves about their worldly concerns they were being scrutinized and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinize the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. With infinite complacency, the people of this world scurried to and fro across this globe, going about their little affairs, serene and ignorant in their assured dominion over the material- probably not unlike the infusoria under the microscope. No one gave a thought to the older worlds of space as sources of incontrovertible human danger; or, if they did, thought of them only to dismiss the idea of life upon them as impossible or improbable. It is curious to recall some of the mental habits of those departed days- a bygone age where terrestrial men of greater imagination pondered whether there might be other men upon Mars, perhaps inferior to themselves and ready to welcome a missionary enterprise. Yet, across the gulf of space, there brooded minds that are to ours, as ours are to that of beasts; intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, appraising our world with envious eyes, slowly and carefully drawing their plans against us. And early in the twentieth century came the great disillusionment. The year is 1903, the Great Martian War rages on. Five years ago, mankind received a bloody and violent answer to the eternal question - "are we alone?". Indeed, the first cylinder falling from the heavens was a surprise to all, but markedly was only the tip of the proverbial spear. The merciless attack on humanity itself that soon followed was destruction the likes of which no person had seen - a terrible assault from cold, vile intelligences which shook even the greatest of human nations to their very core. Like lightning and rolling thunder the otherworldly invaders struck across Great Britain from the landing sites of their silvery vessels, sweeping south past the great city of London and up to the furthest reaches of Scotland in the north. In a matter of days, there was naught but destruction and desolate wasteland as far as the eye could see - that is, if any poor soul had managed to survive in the wake of the invader's advance. Even still, this was not the extent of the invaders’ insidious designs, and even now the Martians conspire to leave absolutely nothing for us. However, the mettle and resolve of humanity is poised to determine if our home is something that we shall give up so easily... To this day, the nations of the world push back! Equipped with unbroken spirit and boundless valor, brave soldiers make use of mechanical marvels reverse-engineered from the Martians’ own fighting machines. These mighty few, clad in iron and possessing prodigious courage, may yet turn the tide. Terrae Impetus Retro. The State of Things The British Empire Defeated! So said the headlines of newspapers across the world during the winter of 1898, not but a day after contact had fully and completely been lost with England. Only a few short months into the Martian invasion and one of the most powerful nations the world had ever seen was no more. Some nations celebrated, others quietly gathered their military forces, but many simply watched, unwilling to acknowledge or unaware of the danger that the otherworldly beings posed to them. This complacency was only compounded when the Martian’s advance simply stopped at the English Channel, and for two long years it seemed as though that was the extent of their assault on humanity. Of course, none sat idly by during this time. The remnants of the British Empire, formerly scattered across the world, lobbied for the retaking of their homeland. Others, such as France and Germany, made quick work of snatching up what precious few pieces of the Martian technology could be acquired for their own use. The lack of activity looked to some as though the Martians had simply left, gone to return to their planet. Some academics even went as far as to say that the Martians had been wiped out by the Earth’s own microscopic biosphere, for surely they could not have developed an immunity to Earthly diseases as mankind had over the millennia. Whatever the reason for the pause in action, it was not to last. In early Spring, after the turn of the century, the second Martian advance began with their fighting machines emerging from the waters of the channel onto the shores of Belgium and the Netherlands. There was little forewarning to prepare a defense, and in the time it took for the powers on mainland Europe to marshal their forces the aliens had made it far as the French and German borders to the East and West, leaving swathes of destruction in their wake. It has been three years since then, and while ironclad battleships from the world's nations hold the line from the Channel itself, landlocked defenses are slowly beginning to weaken as the Martians continue their unrelenting assault. But man has not been idle, and their newest weapon may be just what turns the tide of this war of worlds... Ferreis Induti No later than the first sightings of the Martian’s massive mechanical beasts did the minds of man begin to work, wildly speculating and postulating exactly how the various mechanisms by which the fighting machines of the otherworldly invaders operated. After the first of the tripodal giants were felled, its components were hurriedly collected and whisked away to nations that coveted them by enterprising individuals for these theories to be validated and amended. At first, various nations only received bits and pieces of the Martian’s strange technology, and information that could be gleaned from the disparate parts was fractured and incomplete at best. Indeed, it took the Martians’ second brutal assault for the inventors and engineers of the defending nations to come together and truly unlock the secrets of the Martians’ greatest weapon. Thus soon after, mankind saw fit to create fighting machines of their own. With boilers and reciprocating engines powering dynamos, these man-made titans leverage the magnetic-mechano limbs derived from the Martian technology to achieve motion. However, the more esoteric of Martian technologies have proven to still be beyond our grasp for the time being - the heat ray in particular vexing the brightest of minds. Though not as large as the hundred-foot tall behemoths they are designed to fight against, a dedicated and determined crew gives these machines an edge. Demons from Mars Much has been written of the men from Mars in the years since they landed in their gleaming pods, though as of yet no live individual has yet to be found. From the bodies recovered from their destroyed fighting machines, the true face of the enemy has been closely studied. The Martians themselves are large, with oily grey bodies about the size of a bear. They possess no limbs like the kind familiar to us - instead, a plethora of long, whip-like tendrils surround the area underneath their V-shaped mouths. Two large eyes, round and lidless, are perhaps the only familiar aspect of their peculiar biology. Internally they appear to possess no organs save an enlarged brain which occupies the majority of their body. How such an organism is able to live and function is beyond our science thus far. More striking, however, are the great machines they pilot. Approximately 100 feet tall, the machines stand atop three spindly legs with which they glide across all manner of terrain. These legs attach to a girdle of sorts that is secured to the body of the machine itself, with a mass of writhing tentacles extending down from the bottom of the machine. A hood caps the very top of the body, while the weaponry - such as the heat ray - that the Martians utilize is held at the ends of the tentacles. It should be noted that there are a secondary, distinctive subspecies of Martians, separate from those who occupy the tripods. While the large, cephalopoid creatures are undoubtedly the masterminds of the invasion, a second, subservient species has also been observed. Peculiarly, they are two-armed and two-legged, a form that at great distance could be mistaken for mankind itself. Indeed, it was initially thought that these creatures might be some twisted abomination of humanity, until specimens could be properly investigated. These are no humans - with brittle siliceous skeletons and long limbs which attach to an overly rotund body, it appears that without wearing the form-fitting, metallic space-suits provided to them by their masters, they would be crushed by the increased gravitation of our world. Beginning with the launch of the second wave of Martian assaults, the two-meter tall bipeds have been observed being deployed as foot soldiers, equipped with odd hand-held projectile launchers that fire metallic bullets without the use of gunpowder. To Hold the Line The time for action has come, for the first time in recorded history humanity’s fighting machines will clash with those from the red planet. The first generation of these colossi, built by nations around the globe, have been gathered along the French line to prepare to push the Martians back off the mainland. Housed in the mighty airship Thunderchild, this will be a deciding battle! Name: Age: Gender: Job: Country of Origin: Appearance: Personality: History: Equipment: Fighting Machine: Designation: Country of Origin: Crew: Description: Weapons: Traits: Rules of Engagement Listen to your GMs (krayz, grav). Don’t metagame, godmod, or otherwise exceed the limits of fair play. Get your profiles approved first. BZP rules apply. Arabella Fortunado and the Damocles Erich Volk and the König Arnault Mongouse and La Charlatane
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