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About EmperorWhenua

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  1. IC Sigrus | Po-Wahi, Papa Podu's "Hm? Land routes? Ah, I do, yes, yes," the wayfinder said to Nichou. He offered slightly more context this time to his friend, adding, "The Massif is secluded by intention but relies on trade routes by necessity. I charted all the major and minor trading roads before taking office."
  2. IC Yumiwa | Ga-Koro, the Yukanna Maru's question caught me by surprise. "Lady Toa," I ventured gently, "could it be true that, despite my people's representatives being among you for some time now, I am the first Dasaka to tell you about our home?" @Vezok's Friend
  3. IC Sigrus | Papa Podu’s Sigrus’ brow cocked back at Ranok in response. “Yes, yes.” His nose pointed north.
  4. IC Yumiwa | Ga-Koro, the Yukanna “Tsu-ru-gi.” Leah echoed Yumiwa’s word for the sword. I could feel the awkwardness in her torturous atempt. "Very good," I lauded, more for the toa's effort than her butchered pronunciation, then explained, "it's what we call such a straight-bladed sword." “I’m afraid the parallels continue. I know little about the sword or it’s original owner - but as far as my people are concerned: It was given to, wielded by and survived Makuta’s favored servant - Heuani. In his hands it brought death and destruction to our villages. Until Toa Joske stopped him. After that…it’s path becomes unclear. As far as I know Joske kept possession of it - until his death.” She paused for a beat, expression visibly pained. “He was… the Maru’s vanguard. I don’t know who took up the blade afterwards, or if it remains in the Mangaia.” How odd it was that this purported group of six toa, of which Leah Maru belonged, all had the same name despite coming from distinctly different families, I thought. Perhaps it was a fashion of camaraderie to refer to themselves as a singular, a form of demonstrable unity. In a sense it was inspiring to me, and I wondered who this Maru person was they all fashioned themselves after, but before I could turn that stray thought into a question to sate my own curiosity she asked me about my own family. The toa glanced out to sea for a moment and said, “Your uncle… is he here?” I joined her in looking out over the azure horizon, though with fundamentally different intentions from hers. Whereas she gazed there and found her focus, I easily lost myself in the far off seas. Water was her elemental home, but for me it was a long and anguished passage. "No, Lady Toa," I said, and grasped the railing tightly. "My uncle is somewhere out there, back on Sado. I need to hope so—he's the last Umbraline at home." A tear slithered down my cheek as I thought of my uncle left on the far side of the world where I hoped my appeals to Zuto Nui were heard. It was an equal exchange with the toa—I could sense her feelings as they dwelled in her head but now she could sense my own as it congealed to a rivulet of water and slid off my chin. And then I beat back the feelings and looked at Maru. "Whatever investigations we do will have to be here." @Vezok's Friend
  5. IC Inokio | An award-winning eatery in Sado Sydelia rightly guessed Inokio's wish to enter her mind, the equivalent to entering a private room and shutting the door to outside listeners. As far as he was aware neither of them had been followed to the eatery, but the ronin's life was rife with paranoia and espionage so he took great pains to make all risks measured to the milligram. Telepathically inserting his thoughts into Sydelia's mind just so offered him the least amount of risk. He nodded at her invitation and then waited in silence. As soon as the food and drinks were provided, Inokio wasted no time in seizing a quail egg with the chopsticks and entered. ::I know who you were,:: his voice said in Sydelia's mind, or rather, a voice that sounded as Inokio imagined himself to sounding. It came in broken sentences that were more pictures than words, thoughts that sunk into her own thoughts like claws in dense fur. ::I know this about you because of what you are now. We were once butterflies who flitted at the same tree.:: The implications were visceral—the man was claiming to be a former Fursic, and by means of his demonstrated precautions was adept at spying. Claiming to be a former spy was a dangerous thing to do, it meant he had enemies and agendas, and spoke nothing about his current loyalties. With a 'normal' Dasaka that may have been the end of the discussion, an exit explained with a No thank you—this is too much drama for a lunch meeting, but Sydelia was not one to adhere to those standards and she didn't back down. For her, Inokio's words likely excited her for the dangers it all but guaranteed and he indulged her fascination further ::Knowing someone's name from behind a one-way mirror holds unbalanced power over the other, which I want to address. My name carries no honor, my dignity is a thing of memory, and telling people who I am places them in danger, but I am compelled to tell you my name so that you may know who you are dealing with. I wish to deal with you. I wish to gain your trust, or, failing that, your respect, because I wish to work with the versions of you from both the past and present.:: He deposited the quail egg in his maw and savored the creamy yolk. It was a shame for Sydelia that none of Inokio's speech was carnal. ::Do you want to know my name, Mashtet Sydelia?::
  6. IC Yumiwa | Ga-Koro, the Yukanna Maru was not being unsubtle, and I appreciated that. We were both playing detective, earnestly grasping at new information and awed at the coincidences we found. "'The Legend,' that's cool!" I said, meaning that I said yet not quite comprehending what it all meant. Whatever this 'Legend' is I would need to ask more about it, particularly if Maru somehow banished their Makuta to a proverbial closet that somehow had another door in my world. It was clearly mysterious and pertinent. After the brief pause she asked, “Could you tell me more about where, how and by whom the sword was used when this happened? Were you there with your uncle - or did someone else have the blade at the time? The one who opened the gate on our end was not the flamberge’s original wielder, so knowing who was there could be important - in fact, any detail you can tell me will be helpful.” "I'm afraid I don't know much about the history of the weapon..." I said sullenly. I folded my arms in thought, then touched my chin with my right hand as if somehow it would help me think more harder-er. Maybe... pacing? I paced a few steps back and forth across the observation deck, trying to remember something relevant to Maru's queries of the greatsword's past. I'd read so many books and listened to so many oral memory crystals in my education I would expect something would have been mentioned. Much of my education had been about the legacies of Umbraline leaders, histories of every single clan and culture, arts and crafts both modern and anachronistic, and various applications of warfare techniques, but there was definitely a horizon to the education I'd been given. At some point in the distant past stories became blurred and lost, turning from fact to historical fiction, to more embellishment than tale, and finally into the scantest of myths only breathed by the eldest of datsue. Stories like those of dragons like Aclaraung, of Menti wielding the mind like a force of nature, and when Sado was a hovel of straw huts in the rain. "I did not go with on my uncle's quest," I said, though withheld that I probably would have liked to experience the adventure at the time; hindsight proved it was wise that I didn't. "But he did use the sword in what was apparent function." "The blade is as old as memory, by all the accounts I know," I said, thinking aloud. "Nobody knows from where it came, or if anyone does they don't speak of it, but in the present day we simply understand the sword to be an anomalous relic of unprovable provenance. You see, it's been passed down by the the Rora's arbiter of laws for generations—my uncle was merely the latest to hold the position—but we cherish the weapon for its material and permanence. Many crystals shattered against it, so whether truth or myth we viewed the Executioner's Greatsword as a symbol of weight, permanence, and justice. Justice, as a saying goes, is not held lightly. "How it came to our land, and who first held it, are not things I know. I can consult our historian Datsue for their remembrances," I offered, wincing at the heart-wrenching thought that we may not have many historians left. "What about you? What histories have your cultures attached to the tsurugi?"
  7. IC Stannis | Onu Koro @ Sulov Maru’s Trail Mix and Hookah Bar "We're here on business, brother: The first is to discuss my gorp subscription," Stannis said as he wandered to a corner booth. Concrete wrapped in velvet, he thought as he slid in, A fitting metaphor for him, though his thoughts did not quite settle on why it was so fitting yet. "The truth is I'm thinking of cancelling, but I was wondering what sort of retention offers you have. Ra'lhen is here as my backup in case 'customer support' had a bad day." It was another one of the Wanderer's dry, wry jokes, not the kind to make an audience laugh—the premise of Stannis Maru doing stand-up comedy for actual laughs is, in itself, a laughable proposition—but the kind if humour that makes one think. Not a lot, just enough to take the edge off of a sharp thought, the kind of humour that can make someone go "Heh," and briefly forget about being angry. For those who knew the man, it was a brief glimmer of the soul Stannis had inherited, the soul of Pohatu. Pohatu was a better comedian and generally kept better touch with his friends, but there was a healthy dose of his affable charisma that trickled down to Stannis, for better or for worse, and with that came a gift that helped the Wanderer navigate the prickly situations with akiri, villagers, and even his own brothers and sisters. He could bridge virtually any gap or at least show that he was trying. To Sulov, the joke was a indicator of the Wanderer's temperament and a reminder that this was still the man he'd loved so deeply before, and Stannis sealed the joke with his familiar friendly thin and lopsided smile. @Void Emissary @Emzee
  8. IC Inokio | Sado Sydelia had barely arrived when the familiar man appeared and sat in the chair opposite her and ceremoniously let his kasa fall from his head to his back to reveal his weary-looking Kanohi Rau. The menti seemed a little more flustered than she'd last seen him, as though he'd been roughed by ruffians or taken a bad spill along the way, and while he managed to mask the appearance of being affected by an inconvenience along the way his stress level was obviously through the roof to Sydelia's trained eyes. This menti could perhaps hide many things, but his stress levels were not among them. But curiously it was not his status as a ronin that he seemed anxious about, as though he played the role of an unsanctioned Menti and outcast ronin he still carried himself with a self-respecting air of aristocracy that matched the mood of some of the well-to-do patrons of the izakaya's rickety chairs. "My humblest apologies if I kept you waiting," he proffered with a downward-turned gaze. "I did not mean to be the second to arrive." A waiter appeared and he ordered a hot saké, a miso soup and a few poached duck eggs to share. Sydelia ordered something as well for the pair and the waitstaff soon departed. Suddenly, the ronin's eyes burned with a different glow than before as he then looked up to meet Sydelia's gaze directly, as if he had gained his gumption anew and gotten a degree of unseen-before boldness. "I am grateful—and pleased—you chose to rendezvous... May I enter?" @Keeper of Kraata
  9. IC Stannis | Onu-Koro @ Sulov Maru’s Trail Mix and Hookah Bar It was hard to take the military out of a man even if the man left the military. Sulov was an enigmatic man, even in his hometown, who's background and influences were about as well known as the ingredients to Renning Hot House and left a lot to the imagination. In contrast, to those who knew him—who truly knew him—beneath his two layers of armor and straight angles there was an affable and steadfast man with taste even a Cultured Gentryman couldn't help but appreciate buried under mysterious pasts and austere visages. His residential hut and hookah bar matched such a juxtaposition, as the door revealed as it gave way to Stannis' push. There was a simple undercurrent to Sulov Koskium's abode, ceramic benches and industrial shelves with filament light bulbs against monochromatic walls, but countering that was upholstery of tufted velveteen and fuzzy rugs, gold and white brocade pillows and sueded bean bags that invited one to sink into the cozy luxury, all with ornate hookahs at every booth that practically begged to be imbibed. It was a scene of maximalism thrown against a wall of brutalism, and it didn't feel like it would be out of place to find a spare Gucci belt buckle laying beside a bowl of whole-grain organic gourmet granola on the polished concrete bar in front of the block-letter menu. The maitre d'maison was not immediately apparent, but at a far corner of the establishment Stannis perceived a latch's action and a rustle behind a heavy curtain. It was either the entrance to the granola business' larger industrial hut or the vestibule to Sulov's personal quarters, but regardless of the answer the result was the same. An instant later, a hulking man of straight lines and eclipsing muscles appeared and stopped in the jamb to leer his heavy emerald eyes and match Stannis' pearly gaze. For an instant that felt like an eon, neither spoke, each Maru staring the other down like quarreling siblings after a decade apart, and Ra'lhen was unsure if they should leave before things got more tense, but after a long pause Stannis' chin quivered and his eyes welled up in unrestrained emotion as he held up three fingers. "Sorry, we didn't reserve. A table for three... if there's availability." @Emzee @Void Emissary
  10. IC Ronin | Sado streets The midday sun beat down on the Dasaka capital and, in the absence of much greenery that had been wrecked by the attacks from the previous season, the rays bloomed in intensity from the crystalline buildings. High summer was hot enough already and the towers turned into mirrors that shot the light into the streets of the residential districts, making the most unprotected stretches into unbearable ovens. Most dasaka had determined it was better to sidestep those stretches and stuck to more shaded streets, and even under the considerable protection of his wide kasa the ronin hastened across these areas to avoid heatstroke or burn. Dwarfed by the towering skyscrapers and under the oppressive weight of the heat it could make even the boldest Menti feel like an insignificant ant under a loupe. The ronin muttered a few lines under his breath and caught a glint of inspiration. Perhaps he’d pen a poem bemoaning high imperial architecture becoming a hazard to its own people when laid bare to the elements? Yes, he quite liked the idea, and continued to mutter possible stanzas to himself as he subconsciously quickened his steps. He was being watched. It was less something he saw than something he instinctively knew, a niggling pinprick at his nape placed by an observer’s focused gaze, and by the time he noticed that his spine tingled with the sensation of being watched he was already looking this way and that for the hidden spy. He clutched at his obi’s knot to assuage his panic as his mind suddenly whirred from dreaming lines of poetry to possible reason for his onlooker. Had he been followed from the Garden? he worried. But no, he didn’t think so, he hadn’t been feeling the pinprick for long. His overt scanning served to unwittingly summon further attention to himself, and he suffered it as soon as he turned the corner to a shaded street. A squad of five menti, all wearing the clan markings of the current Confederate regime’s guards, lie in wait for him, and at the head of it stood a particularly stoic soldier with the twin-star badge of a sergeant. “These streets are now off-limits for public safety,” she sternly admonished, mentioning the ordnance for the first time to the ronin. “And Menti soldiers are needed to fight the demon menace elsewhere. Identify yourself,” she barked, hands clasped at her back in an at-ease power pose. The ronin fretted at first, then sullenly accepted his ill luck to be at last confronted by the city guard at an inopportune moment. “I am a ronin,” he replied, humbly bowing and clutching his hands under his kimono’s sleeves. “My dishonored name is too insignificant to share.” “Your name and your allegiance,” the guard changed her choice of word to meet the ronin’s clanless status and demanded anew, more severely this time, with hands now at her hips in confident dominance of the situation. “And tell me why you are not fighting on the frontlines—for Honor—ronin.” “Because the battlefields for redemption are here in Sado,” he said, then, as if he'd spoken out of turn to a better and looking for an ounce of forgiveness, he bowed quickly and added, "With humility, lady sergeant." “Your name,” she barked, taking a stride forward and grasping at the shackles at her waist before the ronin cut her off. “People learn my name before they die. So much as lay a hand on me and I will kill you,” he said almost regretfully in a voice just a hair over a whisper, soft yet dangerous, like a snake coiling to strike on a bed of fine satin sheets. The guard scoffed, a sneering chuckle escaping her lips joined by the amused chuckle of her squadmates as she drank the threat in. Was that his dare? she wondered, To fight to the death over his name? “I don’t think so. There are four of us and one of you. Four of the Republic’s finest guards against one ‘dishonored,’ injured ronin.” She nodded at his bad hand. “Not good odds for you, mister, so: Kill us how, exactly?” “Two, four, forty, it's all the same,” the ronin said matter-of-factly as he slowly shrugged; his neck cracked as a joint audibly fell back into its socket. “If you strike me you’ll be breathing your last breaths an instant. Let me pass.” For an instant, the sergeant’s eyes twitched with hesitation as she measured the delivery of this ronin’s warning. There was no malice in the sentence, no burning urge to hurt another, merely a statement of fact. He may as well have been an itamae holding up his chef’s knife and telling his eager audience of restaurant patrons “this blade is sharp.” That casually murderous energy disturbed the officer but she was bound by her own intact honor to do her job, and by that point she had assessed—accurately— two things: First, that this ronin was hiding something, and second, that she was not going to get more information from him, and as a result she determined an arrest was warranted. Her honor demanded she detain the ronin, and her honor would prove to be her undoing. She nodded, mentally giving the order to her team, and the one guard closest to the ronin reluctantly moved in for the arrest. The man sprung into action when she was a pace away, closing the gap just as she took her next step and meeting her with a blindingly fast grapple. Her momentum was seized and he tossed her to the side in a smooth manipulation of leverage; to her credit, she rolled away and was back on her feet again, a little frazzled mayhaps but otherwise uninjured. The ronin regained his composure and slowly adjusted his hat back into place. The sergeant gave her tussled officer a worried glance but she shrugged back at her commander, looking more confused that she had not been hurt than anything. It seemed as though the ronin had thrown her aside as a demonstration of his skill; or, the sergeant feared, as a game. “Assaulting a peace officer of the rora?” the sergeant chuckled, but the facade of confidence was wearing thin. “Now that is an arrestable offense.” The ronin shook his head slightly in disagreement. “Arsix is no rora,” he said. “Claiming squatters rights when the Umbralines weren’t around doesn’t make her a rora. She is a toroshu, and not my toroshu.” “The clanless and casteless are subject to every toroshu’s laws, Ronin,” she spat with disdain and took a step forward to him with her shackles out and ready. “Even a saihoko weaver can claim purpose in life, but you… you shirk the sliver of duty your body gave you. You will mind your place, ronin, for you will have no purpose as a stranger.” He dismissed her with a shrug. “My purpose is fighting,” he said flatly. Then his eyes darkened as he added, “And it seems I’ll have it now.” Four menti total—the sergeant, who carried two katana at her waist and wore a Huna; one officer with a warsword and a Hau, and the last two with naginata and a Kakama and Miru—would be challenging for almost anyone, and the guards began to move in with the expectation that they would be sufficiently powerful to bring a rogue menti down, skilled or not. Of the squad, only the sergeant had an inkling of the risk they took in attempting to apprehend this menti, and she shared her thoughts of concern with her women as they moved in on him. They drew their weapons and tiptoed forward like cats, one foot in front of the other, step, by step, each guard from a different angle of attach. As their leader urged caution they circled the ronin, vying as a unit for the best instant and angle to strike, trying to find the first opening to come in and cast themselves upon him, but they still knew so little about their quarry, far too little to see the difference between a weakness and a featureless wall. (OOC | Musical queue) The ronin, for his part, stood lazily still with hands held leisurely at his side but cast at the advancing guards glances this way and that, like a bird of prey choosing which morsel to pounce on first, and it was as he spun his head from one to another that they came in. The sword-wielder came in first with a shout, giving a fierce shout as she dove in with her blade in a burst of incredible power. The ronin’s spine tensed under his kimono as she gave the yell, and at that instant he turned his focus on a different guard and darted away instead, leaving the sword-wielder bereft of quarry just as her blade arrived where the man was supposed to be. She as well jumped at the opportunity to charge at the ronin and was not prepared for him to do the same at her. She angled her lance at him, seeking to intercept him, but he ducked low and avoided its point. In a panic, the guard stalled her steps and jumped as she activated her Miru, which would prove an error as she was suddenly pummeled by the ronin’s potent Mindarm abilities. Like an October leaf caught in a typhoon, the airborne guard was blown away, thrown against the nearest building’s wall with such great violence that her spine broke and she fell to the ground as a crumpled doll. Suddenly, the guards couldn’t help but acknowledge their own potential mortality and the tone of the battle shifted. One of them cried out in anguish at the abrupt severing of a soulbond. Without hesitation the ronin moved to the next target. He returned to the place he stood previously to deal with the sword wielding guard. Her warsword cleaved the air this way and that, each strike more emotional and desparate than the last, but the ronin deftly avoided the first, second, and third strike before crossing swords on the fourth. With calculated precision a nodachi sizzled into azure life from the ronin’s hands, halting the warsword in its sweep. In a dancelike maneuver the ronin pirouetted swiftly on the balls of his feet, stepping away to disengage the menti only for his weapon to flick back at her like a whip from a pace away. The menti’s Hau protected her in a lifesaving reflex, she activated the kanohi just in time for the nodachi to glance off her shoulder and avoided what would otherwise have been a dissecting hit. The ronin did not linger for a riposté, instead repelling himself from the ground and bounding away before the guard could muster a follow up. He landed near the sergeant, who unsheathed her blades in a blinding flash worthy of his respect before she vanished from sight. He turned his attention back again to the original guard. The remaining guardswoman, who had until that point been suffering from the sudden death of her soul-bonded sister, was wrested from her mind’s abyss by her sergeant’s mentally shouted orders to snap out of her trance and come back to her senses, she was needed in the fight, her sister would need to be mourned later. It was blunt, the sergeant’s limited knowledge of Eiyu Twin-Souls bonds doing little to soften her reprimands as a consequence of knowing the benefits of the bond without ever quite grasping its drawbacks, but the lack of finesse finally worked in stirring the frozen menti. It was no use, however: She came-to just in time to witness her other squadmate lose a contest of Mindarm strength and speed, then be cut across the heartlight, and she was seeing clearly when her comrade fell to her knees then gasped in shock as the nodachi’s blade impaled her through the chest, driving air and the life it sustained out from her. In no time, the ronin was upon the last of the three. She threw her naginata at him, but the ronin disintegrated it with a pulse of raw psychophysical energy, turning it to atoms mid-flight. She activated her Kakama and ran at the man, shackles in hands, hoping to bind him with speed on her side, but the attempt was half-hearted at best as she truly simply wished to cast herself upon him and avenge her sisters. That emotional imbalance in the wake of such devastating loss, however, was part of the ronin’s gambit. She thought she was being unpredictable, but the irrationality, the conflicting desires to follow her leader’s commands or to drive her dagger into the man’s heart, made her fall right into the man’s trap. Speed or not, her momentum was turned against her and her legs were swept from under her. She fell in a heap, her armor grinding across the pavement and leaving white streaks in its wake, and then the lasting she was aware of was the ronin’s shadow descending upon her, his open kimono the fluttering tendrils of a spirit of death and his long blade a scythe that extracted her life as well. It was the sergeant’s turn at last and she struck from concealment. Her blade sliced at his clothes and left perfect cuts in its fabric, and though none bit through his armor there was telltale glitter as newly carved fragments fractured to dust. The ronin deftly weaved his giant blade this way and that in defense, unable to pinpoint where his assailant and making every attempt to seek her out. Finally, he heard a grunt and a clatter as the katana appeared and clattered to the ground. The sergeant materialized a moment later several steps away, crimson streaks down her right arm from a deep gash at her shoulder. The ronin’s seeking blade had found its mark, and he sauntered over to finish the job. ::Stop:: The ronin ceased his walking despite his better senses. In his mind’s eye, the sun grew ever brighter and his vision became blurry as everything became washed out by the light. He was keenly aware that this was not reality, but he remained unable to move because his mind was being raided. ::You have proven yourself. My women are dead now... because of you. You’ve won. Your purpose, fulfilled. So what now?:: The ronin did not want to answer yet felt compelled to by the forced willpower of the sergeant. “I will continue where I was headed and have lunch with a new friend.” Its callousness was equally chilling as it was insulting, and the mention of a ‘new friend’ in particular made her heartlight drop as she took issue with a murderer being able to have anyone as a friend.but the sergeant managed to maintain her composure. But composure meant control, and what little control she could maintain could mean the difference between dealing with this dangerous man or perishing herself. Borrowing from her past education among the Kyoshi beast-tamers, she treated the ronin as a dangerous tiger, wooing him to stillness while she moved in with her snares. She could not move too quickly to all control would be lost, and she saw it as her solemn duty to take the dangerous ronin in. Willhammer as a discipline required a careful balance of subtlety and efficiency—too bold and the psychic hold became brittle, too quiet and it would be lost. For the man, the world continued to grow hazier still, and his mental defenses had long since been sliced through so he remained at the guard’s mercy, if only just. It would take a while yet for his mind to fully combat the probe and by then it could be too late. He was aware that the competition of wills had a countdown. ::It’s just the two of us now, ronin. Let’s talk more, shall we? Sit.:: He did as commanded, folding his legs and settling on the pavement. “There is nothing for us to talk about,” he said, seeking to compartmentalize his thoughts by maintaining a narrow focus: The sergeant, the attempted arrest, the hot summer sun; all things that were not the ronin himself. “What, then, do you want to say?” ::Where are you from? A Menti of your skill would not have been left adrift.:: she asked, doing the opposite what the ronin attempted. She maintained her focus on peeling his layers apart and knowing her enemy. Erstwhile, she carefully inched closer to the man, hands dangling over her waist in preparation to grasp her manacles… or her wakizashi. Only a handful of steps more. If she managed to maintain her mental domination for just a little bit more, she could have him, she could… The ronin chuckled mirthlessly. “Oh. You have noooooo idea.” The purr of a cat happening in her mind caught her off guard. It wasn’t coming from the material world, they were not near the Gardens anymore, yet the presence of a great tiger somehow loomed threateningly and grew stronger by the second. Another one came from the other side still, unseen yet unerringly near as if it were right behind her. A worried creasing if her forehead told the ronin she knew he was in her mind as well now. ::Two can play at this game, sergeant.:: ::No! Wait—NO! How!?:: she shouted silently, realizing her miscalculation too late. Too focused on the ronin and maintaining her domination on his wills, frustrated that she could not puncture his mental barriers fully yet, she completely overlooked the possibility of a retaliatory probe. ::You’re a… a battlemaster?:: ::I was, once. Now I am a Ronin.:: The den of cats seemed all around her now, yet they all came from the one menti staring at her in the flesh. Suddenly her grasp on him faltered, flickering like a dying lamp’s flame. No! Just a pace more! But it was too late, detention was not an option anymore, this man was too powerful to arrest after all, and yet her duty powered her forward to take one more step as she sprang for the— ::Knife.:: Her fingers coiled around the wakizashi’s grip and pulled it from its scabbard, half because of her own volition, but the other half made her feel twisted, sick, sick to her stomach— ::Stab.:: Pain, pain beyond belief snapped what remained of her Willhammer focus. She looked down suddenly and gasped in horror at her own blade buried deep in her bowels, gripped firmly in her own intertwined hands, and fell to her knees. Blood seeped from her wound onto the hot concrete and sizzled lightly. Her knees ached from the heat, but she did not cry or show fear even in the face of a senseless death. The ronin got up and paced around her, a taunting cat circling his defenseless prey. “Do not fret, my lady sargeant,” the ronin assuaged, his tender voice like aloe to her burns. “You fought well and with great courage, but the time to rest well is now.” She bit her trembling lip to still it as she glared up at him. “Before I die, tell me, finally… who have I lost to?” The ronin considered giving the reward for her efforts, then acquiesced. “I am Inokio.” “You live?” It was more a statement than a question, uttered by someone awed at the confirmation. “I have a great tenacity to cling to life, and that’s no fault of yours.” Her thoughts swelled in a sense of twisted, contented pride at being bested by a famed warrior as Inokio’s Soulsword nodachi cleaved her head from her shoulders with a single sweep. As his weapon dissipated, he looked around him at the deaths and shook his head in sadness at it all. They were good menti, good soldiers who didn’t at all deserve to die that day or any other. He scooped up his hat, fastidiously affixed it back on his head and, after a moment of repose, reverently collected the sergeants knife and scabbard from her body. And then, as before, he walked away. OOC | @Keeper of Kraata Still on for sushi?
  11. IC Yumiwa | Ga-Koro, the Yukanna That sword! All it took was a quick glance at Maru's unguarded mind to see what she imagined. Her memory of the weapon was an echo of an echo and as a result the image was rough compared to a fully developed image, but even so, it was obvious in the mental image that the flamberge had all the markers of fine Dasakan craftsmanship. But... a crystalline artifact sword here in Mata Nui, so far from where it came from? It seemed impossible, or at least improbable, for that to be so. And yet. And yet, it also seemed familiar, as though I'd'd read annals of a similar blade in an ancient manuscript, something shown to me by either Dad or Uncle. I wouldn't have anything in my yacht's library, but perhaps one of the datsue craftswomen may know more. "May I keep this thought of yours?" I asked, seeking to retain the memory of the sword Maru had like hewing a branch from its tree for safekeeping. But did we have something similar? I scratched my chin in thought and let myself process out loud for Maru to hear. "It saddens me to think of such a beautiful blade in the hands of a servant of a Great Enemy," I said. "We do... we did have something that felt out of place. My uncle, Umbraline Rayuke, carried as token of his office an all-steel greatsword that had been passed down for generations of Executioners. That sword alone contained as much metal as the rest of the empire combined. As I understand, it was used to unlock something, a gate from which your 'Makuta' emerged from..." @BULiK @Vezok's Friend
  12. Hi, I was told there would be free Spice samples
  13. IC Stannis | Onu-Koro "Well, the dignity suits you," Stannis said and offered a humble smile. “And how could you possibly be nervous? He’s your friend, right?” Ra’lhen asked, a hint of incredulity in his voice. "If Sulov were not my friend I wouldn't fear his judgement," he responded. "It's because I love him that his opinion of me bears weight. I think you feel similarly as well." “Is… this the place?” Ra’lhen asked as one particular hut entered his field of view. It was not quite a hut, more of a small warehouse with an attached dwelling, but the industrious nature of the place belied its status as the home for the koro's beloved toa-protector. Almost everyone in Onu-Koro had a side gig, the hustle culture kept thriving by the city of industry where engineers, greasers, and miners alike were all entrepreneur inventors on the side, and even the most humble sluice operator was the Founder and CEO of something. Since everyone had their own business, Sulov Maru was no exception to the rule. This large hut was most assuredly his friend's place as it was marked primarily by the sign by the front door that said ' + ((( ))) !!! - !!! Below that, scrawled in as an afterthought, was an addendum: "But come in anyway!" So this is where all my gorp is made, Stannis thought as he reached for the door's handle. "It's the place." @Emzee
  14. IC Zafin & Yumiwa | Ga-Koro, the Yukanna. Oh goddess, she has muscles. Am I aroused? Yes. No?? Yes. Look at those biceps. She completely retained her composure as she spoke and matched Leah's clandestine tone. "Your Toaship is referring to the demons your culture refers to as 'Rahkshi,' among other mutual travesties between our lands?" Her eyes darted to the side and behind Leah, the briefest heralding of the empress' arrival before her heels clacked upon the observation deck. - I arrived swiftly as requested but remained properly hastened and did not appear rushed—Leah Maru's request was of great importance, but she expected to treat with an empress, not a harried captain. Behind me several paces was Long Dihunai in her practical blue and orange-decorated armors, appearing quite different from me in my azure and crimson silks, and she lingered near enough to evesdrop but not enough to intercede in the conversation. ::Wants to talk re:Similar events here and back home. They're all linked.:: ::Thx:: "Leah Maru," I welcomed her as I drew close and tilted my waist, hands clasped loosely, while maintaining eye contact with her, a greeting given to one of high military significance. She stood a couple inches taller than me, about the same stature as my uncle, and she exuded the same level of competence as he had as well. I liked this Maru, visual similarities aside. "The pleasure is mine, if only were here to discuss pleasantries. "You speak of linked events and contemporaneous coincidences. It's clear now, knowing what I do, that these were no mere coincidences but..." I exhaled sharply in final admission, "our fates are linked by a common enemy. Let us learn what we can from each other." Zafin, meanwhile, scanned the area around with her sharp eyes and mind, feeling for intrusions and spies. @BULiK @Vezok's Friend
  15. IC Stannis | Onu-Koro When Ra'lhen came out of the inn he found his friend under a lightstone streetlight, sitting cross-legged in what seemed like a placid meditative trance, but there was an eeriness to the Maru's visage as he had not shut his eyes. Worse yet, the harsh yellow glow of the lamp cast his brown armor a pallid hue and made the scars and scratches appear in stark contrast, flecks of mica under a black light, and those grey eyes beyond it all pretending the world and all within it was dead to Stannis. The ruse evaporated as soon as Ra'lhen approached, however, and what had once seemed lifeless stirred with conviviality with instantaneous transition. The two were in stark contrast. The Maru looked almost ill in his physical state, marks and broken weapons and all, but his voice was assured and content, much the opposite to Ra'lhen who had washed and polished himself up but felt tired and distant inside. Whether Stannis was oblivious to that was not apparent as he got up and looked his friend up and down once in approval. "You look well," he said. "Sulov's hut is this way." They were mere paced along when he asked, "Are you nervous?" A beat passed, marked by the drumming of machinery elsewhere, before he suddenly added, "I am." @Emzee
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