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a goose

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  1. IC: Muir (Wise Man’s Archive) Muir was silent throughout Cyrix's testimony, his expression grim. All of this seemed to confirm what they had gathered so far, except- "Wait… the bugs, do you mean the Entropy Beetle infestation? That was Antidermis?" OOC: @Keeper of Kraata @ARROW404 @BULiK
  2. IC: Muir (Wise Man’s Archive) Muir's relief was palpable; whether it was being back in control of the conversation, Cyrix's co-operation, or just Vrill putting out his cigarette, the lawyer straightened up in his seat and clasped his hands together. "Well, to get straight to the point: I'd like your account of the effects of Antidermis on your colleague, Skorm." OOC: @Keeper of Kraata @ARROW404 @BULiK
  3. IC: Muir (Wise Man’s Archive) "I don't have to be your lawyer to advise you that smoking in a library is dаmned stupid, Syz." Muir's poker face had been resolute throughout the exchange, barring a smile when Cyrix seemed set to call his qualifications as a lawyer into question. Karz, he could really do with a smoke just about now.
  4. IC: Caana (Hanaloi, Forest) “Mm.” Caana looked thoughtful again, perhaps even concerned. “I am used to the cover of night as my ally, but I do not know your forests. I will defer to your expertise; please, lead on.” OOC: @Keeper of Kraata @Mel
  5. IC: Muir (Wise Man’s Archive, Backroom) Muir tried to enjoy the reprieve from doing the talking – Vrill, it seemed, had finally taken back the helm of his own investigation. But the room was a powder keg, and that well-honed Guardsman instinct refused to allow the lawyer to let his guard down. He wasn't quite sure what he had expected of Cyrix, or indeed what he made of him; but then, there was the benefit of observation. He was quite sure he'd get a chance to cross-examine once Vrill was done. In the meantime, he'd just try not to think about how badly he needed a smoke.
  6. IC: Caana (Hanaloi, Forest) Caana smiled, warmly. The Dashi’s enthusiasm was charming. “They are – were – family heirlooms. To hear them tell it, the Tonfa were carved from the wings of dragons, and the armour harvested from their scales.” The Ronin’s tone betrayed her skepticism; neither looked anything like they had come from a Kanohi Dragon. “The staff, on the other hand, I claimed from a defeated Rahkshi.” OOC: @Mel @Keeper of Kraata
  7. IC: Muir (Wise Man’s Archive) "Maybe they were afraid of creating an army they couldn't control, empowering subordinates who could make a power grab. Antidermis isn't loyalty, it's corruption and decay - that cuts both ways." Vrill paused. "... or maybe they just didn't have enough antidermis or time to make their next move. Didn't want their Patero to go off at half pressure." “Neither option adds up for me. Those seem like exactly the type of mistakes Makuta’s followers are known to make – after all, the invasion of Ko-Koro was itself a product of hubris and a failure to think ahead. No, we’re missing something… with any luck, the answers are in these pages, but I’m beginning to think that the only person with the information we need might be the very man we’re investigating.” Still, Muir continued reading, undaunted. Much simply refreshed that which he already knew – how Infection worked, copycat cases such as the well poisoning in Po-Koro some years ago. The latter interested him; it didn’t have the same reach as Ahkmou’s plague, despite the more effective delivery system. A benefit of Po-Koro’s past experience, or evidence for his theory? He had only begun to examine the accounts of Ko-Koro’s invasion and occupation – strange, he thought, that the descriptions of Echelon were so different from others he had read – when Cyrix’s footsteps alerted him to the Toa’s approach. "Cyrix, Toa Kalta. I have some questions for you." “Funny,” Muir said, glancing up from his work. He had activated his mask the moment he noticed Cyrix's presence. “We could say something similar.” OOC: @Keeper of Kraata @BULiK
  8. IC: Caana (Hanaloi, Forest) A little hesitantly, the Menti allowed herself to relax, hands leaving the two Tonfa at her hips. A benefit of her travels – the life of a Ronin – was picking up a little Vulgar Taa; not enough to speak it, but enough to piece together the meaning of a conversation, especially with a little judicious application of her mask. Her present company, however, she kept unaware of this; although they trusted her now, it was always best to have a secret or two, should the tables turn – especially when that secret allowed her to listen in on conversations not meant for her ears. This one, though, was innocuous, and she feigned subtle relief when Hambra switched back to Imperial. “Taken by its kin, I would imagine.” It was an interesting detail to learn; the Koshi may have been even more intelligent than the legends suggested. She turned her attention back to the newcomers, and inclined her head respectfully. “I am Caana.” OOC: @Keeper of Kraata @Mel
  9. IC: Merrill (The Eyries) The seconds, and her surroundings, passed in a blur as Merrill found herself quite suddenly slamming into a mounted (and then just as suddenly unmounted) Kaiakan. She groaned as she pulled herself out of the snow, finding her way back onto her wavering feet and taking in the situation. Her companion, and his delusions of grandeur, had his own problems to deal with, but somehow she figured he’d manage. Meanwhile, her Kaikan was also back on his feet, and aiming an arrow at her leg. First things first, Merrill pulled the arrow out of her shoulder with a grimace, and threw it at his feet, before downing the last of her hip flask. She considered dropping it into the snow for dramatic effect, but given she’d found a viable long-term supply of Irnakk;Pii, she needed the literage. Finally, she settled into a fighting stance – feet shoulder width apart, fists up, as ready to block as to punch. She knew where the next arrow would land, but she knew just as well that she could take it, so long as she braced herself; and she knew that as soon as the Kaikan or his mount moved, she could strike. It looked just the same as it had a moment before, but Merrill could feel the cold metal of her gauntlet thrumming against her wrist, thrumming with the kinetic force of a cliff-face fall, an arrow, and being thrown as a projectile. Thrumming with force enough to kill. And she wouldn’t miss. “Come on, you hillbilly dickbag!” She bellowed with all her might. “Come on and HIT ME!”
  10. IC: Aerus (Echelon's Lair) Aerus watched the female Ko-Matoran leave, her guard never faltering. There was something intriguing about her, and against his better judgment, he found himself curious to cross paths with her again. After all, Mata Nui was a small place, and coincidence so often ruled the day. But perhaps that was just rationalisation, an attempt to satisfy the empty feeling in the pit of his stomach with the possibility of future catharsis. "Almost disappointing," he admitted to Syrik, his voice hushed; though their unexpected guests were departed, earshot was hard to judge in the Drifts. "I think I got rather used to chance encounters ending in bloodshed with the old man." OOC: @Ghosthands @BULiK @Tarn @~Xemnas~
  11. IC: Merrill (The Eyries) Merrill hadn't been back up on her (sore, but functional) feet for all that long when the first arrow hit her hard, embedding itself in her left shoulder. This was something of a blessing – between her newly healed legs and the booze, she was knocked far enough off balance that the second soared past her while she was careening towards the ground. Survival instincts more than a little dulled by the drink, she did the first thing she could think of- She grabbed at her Skakdi companion, in an effort to halt her fall.
  12. IC: Merrill (The Eyries) "Did you float down the Criebe:Luur in a bubble?" Merrill's indignance was matched only by her sheer bafflement. Her strange companion's idiocy shouldn't have been this hard a pill to swallow, but a swig from her hip flask helped it go down a little easier all the same. "No one blasts a bloody horn for dinner, nevermind three times. It's a code, an announcement of something actually important. Returning scouts, enemy at the gates, that kind of thing. Just how thick are you?" Another swig, for good measure. She had a feeling she'd need it.
  13. IC: Muir (Wise Man’s Archive) "The Piraka, Zaktan, had some idea; as did Ahkmou. Whatever was done to Skorm, it didn't need the guiding hand of the Infected Kanohi. We're talking about independent function, something that can turn someone into an agent of the Makuta's will even without Its presence to give commands. Think of how Makuta's banishment affected those under the influence of Infected masks." "I suspect you're right about Makuta leaving it behind, to be used in Its absence. Infection would otherwise better suit Its purposes, as far as converting and controlling Its servants." Muir stroked his chin, thoughtfully. "We're still missing something, though. If Antidermis infection was rife, we'd have heard of it much earlier, and Makuta's followers have never been in the habit of restraint. They occupied this very Koro for weeks – why didn't they unleash it upon the population?"
  14. IC: Muir (Wise Man’s Archive) Muir’s eyes narrowed, lenses shifting. In spite of their history, this was a side of Vrill that he had never seen before, as much a mystic as an investigator; the Truth seemed to wash over him, and he simply allowed the current to take him where it may, in every way the opposite of Muir’s active process of pins and thread. They made good partners. “Tell me what you see.”
  15. IC: Montague (The Unfortunate Fikou) "At first, I worked by simple process of elimination. I made meticulous notes in my dream journal, recording every element that did not match my own experience; first, the expanse of water, too wide to be anything but the ocean. The Monolith, too; I found no record of anything like it on the sea floor, which meant that anywhere well-documented could be eliminated. The real breakthrough came when I noticed the reef." Montague's voice took on a surprisingly matter-of-fact, even scholarly tone as they explained their methodology. "From there, it was further examination of written accounts of divers, and then interviews. It was those that made me certain; not only was this the last site that no one had witnessed, but those who had drawn near to it spoke of a feeling of dread and apprehension that grew in intensity near it. Some even said that in the days after swimming too close, they suffered bad dreams…" OOC: @Nato G @Perp
  16. IC: Muir (Wise Man’s Archive) "Much obliged." Muir smiled back at the Matoran, glad to be returning a little normalcy to his life. Vrill was a whirlwind; Muir had been much like Priicu when he was first swept up, a dedicated young man who was devoted to his job. The lawyer wondered if the librarian would likewise be changed by this encounter, and found that he hoped not. Life had been much simpler before Muir had learned of those who work in the shadow of the law. The return journey to the back room was quiet, Muir carrying as much of the books and archive material as he could; Priicu had been more than generous in accommodating him and Vrill, and he couldn't bare – quite literally – to place any further weight upon the Matoran's back. Procuring a seat and setting down the books and box, Muir set at once to studying the old knowledge with his new eyes. He remembered the plague well. He had been young, so young, only a child, still a Matoran. But even on a child, such events make their impression. In his mind, the plague-houses take on a nightmarish stature – boarded up windows, darkened doorways, the sound of buzzing flies, the smell of death. But for the fact that his parents forbade him to play Kolhii (it was unbecoming, apparently, and no example would dissuade them), his own home may well have numbered among them. To read the tale in Takua's own notes was enlightening – he became suspicious of the true nature of the Comets after noticing an inky black-green stain upon them. The stain of Makuta's infection. Muir placed a new note upon the corkboard in his mind's eye, unravelled and tied the connecting strings to Stannis' testimony. Dosed him with liquid green malice A shade of a Toa-hero, looking feverish and wasted from within … ichor black as tar … from wounds at his hip Let the stuff take its toll on Skorm and take root in the Toa's mind One of Ahkmou's evil pranks Had any Matoran's Kanohi actually become Infected during the epidemic? Not the blotches and the stains, but the rust and the pitted scars? Had the Infection of Kanohi ever spread like that, before or since? There was no report of Kraata in the Nui-Jaga nest in the Quarry, nor even an infected mask left amongst the Comets to spread its cancer. "Mata Nui. V- Syzygos, it's the Madness. Antidermis is the Madness." OOC: (apologies for the delay on this one, required a lot of thought and a bit of consultation with our kind GM) @BULiK @ARROW404
  17. IC: Montague (The Unfortunate Fikou) Montague's eyes flickered back to life, so suddenly as to be uncanny and more than a little disquieting, as if the grim sobriety with which they had just spoken was always lurking beneath they enthusiasm. Their manic energy was what forced the dark thoughts down under the water, holding them there and laughing as the trauma tried to surface, gleeful as it drowned. All at once, in the slightest shift of perspective, the Matoran's bubbly demeanour had revealed itself to be something altogether more troubling. "The cause? No, my dear Gorro, no, not the cause. The source." Montague was on their feet now, flicking wildly through their journal, until at last- "Aha!" The thump with which it landed on the room's small coffee table was more than enough to make the more skittish of their company jump. Stuck across two pages and now unfolded was a map of Mata Nui, covered in sprawling, hand-written notes. Along the coast of the island was a constant series of circles and question marks, all crossed out so violently that some tore at the page. All but one. "Right there," Montague announced, positively beaming with pride. They had set their finger down upon the map, indicating a circled spot just off the coast of Onu-Wahi. Above it, in shaking, chicken-scratch penmanship, Montague had scrawled: H̴̺̫͎̦̱̲̿̓̔̃̍͒͊́̊̆̿͘͝ͅE̶̢̳̺͋̽̀͐̀̒̚R̶̪͗̌͌̾̓͜͝E̵͕͊̃̓́͛̿̈́̎. "This- this shared experience, it may be an affliction, but it is not a sickness. It's a message. It's… it's an invitation. If we are to have any hope of being free, we must follow its directions. We must return b̵̡̖̻͑͛e̷̖͝l̵͕̮͕̓̑̾ọ̷̡̬̃ŵ̶̧͛̚." OOC: @Perp @Nato G
  18. IC: Caana (Hanaloi, Forest) Caana’s expression was somber as the Koshi grew still. Sleep well, Little Watcher; you fought to the end, and have earned your rest. "I'll take you to the expedition. I left them at the Observatory, they should still be there." Caana nodded in reply, her mind still turning over the facts of the diminutive Rahi’s demise. It had been unable to hide itself from the Kavinika, and either it had escaped, or the predator had left it uneaten. The poison, then, must have come first – and though Kavinika weren’t poisonous, Caana knew of one creature on the island that was- A glimpse of blue, behind the trees. They were being watched. The ronin’s stance shifted nigh instantaneously, her hands on the grips of her tonfa, ready for a fight. Whatever waited in the woods, it was not of Hambra’s tribe, nor her expedition; if that much was not already clear from her words, then Hambra’s own surprise that they were not alone confirmed it. Rahkshi. It was a possibility – if not a near-certainty, so close to the poisoned Koshi – but Caana couldn’t take any chances. Let the shape in the trees reveal itself, first. She activated her Kanohi, and waited for her next glimpse of their potential foe. OOC: @Keeper of Kraata @Mel
  19. IC: Aerus (Echelon's Lair) Even as the male Ko-Matoran spoke, Aerus' eyes did not waver from the female. Like Syrik, he had noticed the Hapaka's absence, but he also took note of the fact that the ropes connecting the trio had now been cut. They had been busy – which meant that the female Ko-Matoran, so clearly the leader, had been busy. It was an admirable gamble. If things went sideways, they had sent the mutt ahead for help, and she was the least likely to survive a confrontation. It was cold calculus at its best; she was already dead, and even with the Hapaka, she didn't believe they could overcome Syrik. Escape was their best bet. They were, in his estimation, putting a tad too much faith in a dumb animal's ability to find help and return to them, but the meager advantage of having the Hapaka with them was arguably outweighed by the possibility that it could succeed in its mission. None of this, though, was what impressed him. The actions the Matoran had taken changed little about their actual odds of escaping a hostile situation, and at worst risked provoking Syrik, depending on how he might interpret them. It was Aerus' suspicion that the female Ko-Matoran knew this, especially since she had already consigned herself to death. What had changed, however, was the attitude of her companions – still afraid, of course, but with newly bolstered confidence and a greater sense of control. In other words, they were no longer panicking; no one would freeze if things broke bad, nor would anyone get jumpy and trigger a confrontation when Aerus and Syrik returned. As Aerus smirked, the glimmer in his eyes was one of recognition, and respect. Nicely done.
  20. IC: Aerus (Echelon's Lair) Aerus was too taken aback by Syrik’s dismissal to notice the Toa’s momentary distraction, or even begin to formulate a response, the thoughts stuttering and starting in his head. It was only when Syrik spoke again that something in his mind snapped back into place, allowing him to think clearly. Aerus' new companion was a cautious man – more cautious than he might have expected. Every choice he made, the actions he took and the ones he didn't, were carefully weighed. Syrik could kill him with ease, but had chosen not to, because Aerus was (for now) convenient. There was nothing Aerus knew, nothing he was capable of, that was beyond Syrik's abilities. But taking advantage of Aerus' knowledge and experience was more expedient than going it alone, and making Aerus his ally – his 'partner' – meant that he would more readily co-operate than he might as a captive. His partnership with Syrik, and by extension his life, was balanced on the head of a pin. But Syrik was remarkably stable; the decision to kill Aerus would not be made because of a momentary irritation or inconvenience, but because he had become more trouble than he was worth in the long-term. Aerus had spent so much time focused on moment-to-moment survival, surrounded by cultists and mad Necromancers, men who killed out of boredom just as often as necessity. Syrik was a different kind of danger, the kind that was always thinking several steps ahead; from now on, Aerus would have to do the same. "I'll follow your lead." OOC: @Ghosthands
  21. IC: Aerus (Echelon's Lair) “My corpse.” Aerus grimaced and tensed as he chose his next words, all too aware that he was revealing himself as a liability. “I’ve been successfully working under an alias for some time now, but only because I’ve had so little contact with the outside world. Under my previous identity, I am a convicted murderer and a fugitive from the law, having previously escaped the custody of the Ussalry. The charges themselves were… trumped up, to say the least, but that hardly matters now.” “The good news is that, on the whole, I have long since slipped through the cracks. The bad is that the man who falsified those charges against me is obsessed, and will not be satisfied until I am lying dead in front of him.” He took a slight breath, refocusing himself; by the way that his posture changed, it was clear that Aerus took great pride in what he would say next. “The solution seemed obvious: after I escaped Onu-Koro and returned here, I became Aerus, changed my name and my appearance, and found a cadaver in Echelon’s collection that bore a close resemblance to myself – a cadaver which now wears my old Kanohi and effects. ‘I’ have not been seen since Makuta’s fall, and I used the network to ensure that my association with Echelon before that became known to authorities.” OOC: @Ghosthands
  22. IC: Montague (The Unfortunate Fikou) “Not… exactly.” Montague’s face was pensive, their brow furrowed; they seemed almost to be untangling their thoughts, searching for the thread that might best explain them. “She says she does not share in them, and advised against this expedition, but she has been ill at ease recently… in a manner all too familiar. Out of nowhere, she will get the strangest of expressions, as if she has witnessed something that has deeply disturbed her – but when I follow her gaze, there is nothing to be seen. At other times, she seems distant, unfocused, as if her mind were somewhere else entirely. So, you understand my suspicions.” OOC: @Perp @Nato G
  23. IC: Montague (The Unfortunate Fikou) Montague was quite suddenly and quite uncharacteristically still, their silence hanging heavy upon the room. "Yes… yes, I suppose that makes sense." They scratched their chin. There was a fear in their eyes, now, restlessness replaced by reticence and anxiety, but they knew all the same that this was the time and the place. "Your experiences were rather, ah, rather more distant than mine, in terms of time." They made to drink from their teacup, but found it empty, and sighed. "I am sure you both remember the occupation of Ko-Koro. Well, my sister and I, we were living there at the time. We witnessed many horrors, but none quite so acute or so personal as…" Montague took a deep breath, preparing themself to dive into their memories. "We were being evacuated. One of the fiends cut us off, and the Toa with us told us to run. The only escape was over a frozen lake, and we could not afford to tarry. Carelessness. That was what it came down to. My sister, she took a wrong step and the thin ice shattered beneath her. She called for my help – she was freezing, drowning. I had to act. "The event had rather a profound impact on me, and I have since read a great deal on the topic. You see, you should not attempt to save someone who is drowning until they have become still; to do otherwise is to be pulled down with them in their panic, and so it was for me. My sister… she went limp, just shortly after she dragged me under the water. It was terrifying. The water had been churned so much that I no longer knew up from down, and though I managed to grab her, I knew my sister was dying in my arms. I forced myself to remain calm, to let the water grow still, and at last I saw the light coming from what must surely have been the surface. It was so much further away than I would have thought, but I knew that I had to reach it. My legs were so cold that they had turned stiff, but I forced them to kick. I kept my numb arm wrapped tight around my sister. And the light grew closer, and I realised that we would make it." Montague stood, seemingly unable to go on any longer without satisfying their anxious tic. Their next words were spoken with their back to the others, as they poured themself a fresh cup. "It was fate's cruel jest. You see, in all the turmoil, we had drifted away from the hole in the ice through which my sister had fallen. I pounded upon the ice until my hand bled, but it was like running through treacle, the cold and the water robbing me of any strength. It became difficult to keep my eyes open, and the corners of my vision grew dark and red. I scarcely even felt my sister slip out of my grasp as my body ceased to obey my commands. After that…" Their tea in hand, they sat back down and drank deeply, their hands shaking. "After that, all I recall is waking, coughing up water upon the snow. The Toa had found us, pulled us from the water himself. Lying next to me was my sister, pale and still. I reached out to take hold of her hand between my shaking fingers and found it… cold. The Toa pounded desperately upon her chest, begging her to breathe. That was when the other Toa found us. She moved him aside, gently, and I saw that he was crying. The new Toa, she smiled at me, and put her hands upon my sister's chest. I could almost see the heat that radiated from her, and her mask began to glow – healing, I suppose. Anyways, it did the trick. She… she saved my sister's life. Or, rather, she revived her, pried her back from death's cold grasp. "The two Toa helped us escape after that. And then, recently, the dreams began… swimming through cold water, trying to reach the light of a surface that only grew further away. And below me… that thing, that- that monolith…" OOC: @Perp @Nato G
  24. IC: Nikarra (The Iron Mahi) "Never realised you were such a romantic. You know, you never did say why you're heading to Forsi." OOC: @Void Emissary
  25. IC: Caana (Hanaloi, Forest) Caana crouched, examining the injured creature with a deep sadness in her eyes. .:Koshi. Then they are real. My m-:. She paused. .:I heard the stories as a child. Dismissed them as old wives' tales. And yet…:. She straightened up. .:No one has ever found a body, but that withering... could be poison. Is the bite pattern familiar to you?:. OOC: @Keeper of Kraata
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