Jump to content

Umbraline Yumiwa

Premier Outstanding BZP Citizens
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by Umbraline Yumiwa

  1. IC Stannis | Onu-Koro, the Mudpool Inn, A Pool™️ Resort "I'll be there," said Stannis. He looked out the porthole of a window at the city that never slept. Time meant very little here where the sun didn't shine and every hour was both all hours and no hour at all, a quirk that meant people toiled and slept and drank at any point and breakfast was served always. Stannis didn't know when it was anymore, either, no more than an evergreen tree knows what season it stood in. He and Ra'lhen had left Po-Koro at late morning, and the trek into Onu-Wahi would have taken several hours at the least, not even counting the breaks they'd taken, but he'd lost track of things after entering the depths and was completely disoriented now. Only the weariness in his bones gave any indication of time, and with the hangover convoluting things further he was even more lost. Later, after a stretch of time he'd measured by the number of big sighs he breathed, Stannis got up, collected his few possessions, and casually walked to the inn's entrance without so much as a wet towel to wash his face. Sulov had seen him look worse, like when they'd been washed in Rahkshi innards or marched through sloughs. Sulov would greet him how he was. Ra'lhen hadn't returned from their room yet, so Stannis sat down with crossed legs outside the inn's entrance and meditated while he waited for his companion.
  2. IC Stannis | Onu-Koro, the Mudpool Inn, A Pool™️ Resort "Contrary to popular beliefs, water doesn't do any good once you already have the hangover," Stannis said, his voice a hoarse croak that straddled the delicate balance between too quiet to hear and too loud to bear. "It's not a cure. See, the body needs hydration all the time, not just when you're in the middle of a hangover, and your headache is from a lack of other nutrients besides water. That's why it's best to drink a class of water as you imbibe, as a hangover preventative. Only fools and amateurs don't know to plan for their debouchery." Had Reordin or Oreius been there they would have looked the Wanderer in the eyes and tell him with complete earnestness to "shut the f— up, man, you're turning this into a migraine, but for whatever reason Ra'lhen didn't quip like that. The absense of a retort allowed Stannis the opportunity to slice a wry smirk and crack a quip. "And I was certainly a fool." The mirth vanished immediately as he coughed in full-throated agony, keeling over to the side in his chair and hacking like his lungs would spill out, and when he recovered a moment later his eyes were fringed with crimson. He was about to answer Ra's question when his breakfast request of biscuits and gravy with sunny-side eggs had arrived, and he nodded in thanks, then attempted to soothe his headache by rubbing his fingertips on his temples underneath his Hiripaki. "Yes, my brother Sulov," Stannis finally said. "After this meal we'll get freshened up and cross paths with him."
  3. IC A ronin | Sado, Gardens Sighteye was just one of the four major Menti arts for most Dasaka, but for the ronin it was a forbidden fruit within tantalyzing reach, a prize so close be could smell its essense, and yet so incredibly distant he could naught but look at it. For so long this ronin had pursued this art and despite all his efforts and energy expended to his ambitions they remained equidistant. Once, when he was in the nominal employ of the Fursic war machine, he was given the barest touch of its power, yet all that begot him was the ability make the sound of a pindrop in a quiet stadium. To him, Sydelia's display of Sighteye, roughcut and unsubtle though it was, was awesome. He hated how much he longed for that power. She knew he was not what he presented himself to be. Good, he thought. For an instant he considered telling her in her mind's eye who he was and what he was looking for, divulging his mission to her with a direct interface of mind to mind. His optimism that maybe Sydelia would understand his circumstance and open her mind to him as he would to her, but that juvenile idea was quashed quickly as he settled back into his cautious self. She knew he wanted something more clandestine and was receptive to it. That was the objective for this interaction and it was foolish to ask for more so soon. The wide brim of his hat bobbed as the ronin nodded. "I will await you at last summer's best-rated saké brewery ten years running. Time is of no consequence to me. Take as long as you need, Fursic Sydelia." And with another tip of his jingasa he was gone. @Keeper of Kraata
  4. IC Sigrus | Ga-Koro The monk grimaced again at the turn of phrase as his pacifist nature chafed slightly at the thought of killing anything, birds in particular. He'd long been a fascinated amateur ornithologist and birdwatcher, as his notebook listing all the sightings of new winged creatures catalogued. The oldest entry was of a fishing bird classified as an albatross, all the way back when Sigrus was a seafaring navigator, and one of the benefits of the Massif was the constantly shifting wind currents and microclimates that brought new species of rahi to the enclave over time. Sigrus took great pleasure, indeed, in sitting on a log and waiting for new sounds and sights of bird rahi. "Feed two Janu with one seed, yes?" he posited as a suitable substitution, wondering, in part, if the concept of death was perhaps seen differently by a seemingly militaristic culture as the Dasaka. Eita winced a little as he began to feel another migraine start to well up. "I don't think it's a coincidence that we've all met each other," he stated. "If fate has brought us together, then maybe we could find out the reason, together." Fate. Such ethereal matters were often left by Sigrus to the more religious people he knew, like Stannis, or Brykon. The monk had his own beliefs of faith, of course, but his core principles made use of the Three Virtues in quite different applications. When he meditated he occupied himself in centering himself in order to grasp some deeper purpose within; in contrast, the Wanderer meditated to understand the greater picture of the world, something Sigrus had no patience to deal with. It was no small wonder why the two camerlengos had butted heads so much—they perceived their place in the world very differently. He softened somewhat when he saw the dashi in pain, however, and offered a reassuring touch on Eita's shoulder. "I think the cactus can provide the miracle you need, yes. Fate or not, there are many ways this can be resolved, and not all of them safe. In this quest, you have my hammers."
  5. IC Sigrus | Ga-Koro "The Miracle Cactus, you say?" Sigrus growled and clenched his brows low with concern. His eyes, usually alight with zen and happiness, clouded slightly as he thought of the true spice of Po-Wahi. "The fruit of the desert is a forbidden pear, fickle as it be prickly. I know of it, and what's more I know people have been enslaved in the search for it and enthralled by the use of it many times before. "Praytell, to what end it is that you seek that cactus?" @BULiK @BBBBalta @ARROW404 @Mel @Lady Takanuva @Tarn @~Xemnas~ @Harvali
  6. IC Stannis "the Drunken Guardian" Maru | Onu-Koro, the Mudpool Inn, A Pool™️ Resort Where is Stannis? was a question people asked for as long as there was such a being as the Wanderer, though it was probably the first time it was asked by a friend in the lull after a night of cajoled drunken tomfoolery in a tavern. Stannis was understood to be a chaste warrior, educated in manners and reserved in socialization, so few people had the opportunity or proximity to see him drown his feelings with drink. It shouldn't have come across as too much of a stretch, however, the more someone thought about it—he was a former soldier who led a rough-and-tumble life, spoke freely of his use of smoke, could talk in all manners of vice with others afflicted with addiction, and came across as something of a loner, so why wouldn't he actually be the exact sort of person who could lean into a keg and drink it dry in a night? He proved that was the case the night before, where a simple dinner and drink after a long journey on ussalback had become something more cathartic than healthful. However, in contrast to that eagerness to ply himself with ale, Stannis was middling in biological state and not as used to blitzed shenanigans as, say, when he was a guardsman. In a corner booth, drapery shut against the glow of the lightstone streetlamp, Stannis was curled in the curvature of the bench with a tablecloth that smelled like hops pulled tightly like a blanket against his chest. He mumbled disquietly as he roused from his shallow, restless sleep, clearly already suffering the consequences of his actions. "Ronkshou, the [unintellible]... lo... Brykon killed [gibberish]. where are you, Ra... lhen..." Suddenly he bolted to an upright seated position, the tablecloth falling haphazardly to the side to reveal the near-sacred bundle of weaponry clutched close to him as well. "It's okay!" he suddenly declared to an audience of none, "Don't worry about the vomit, my armor is waterproof!" He blinked the stupor from his eyes and matted the world back into focus, and the restaurant went back and forth from blurry to clear a few times. Each time, he noticed more of his surroundings, until finally he took note of his companion at another table on the far end of the tavern across from him. "Ra!" he called out cheerily and immediately regretted the shrill noise. His head ached, and as he scooted awkwardly out of the booth's creaky bench he only felt the pain worsen. Empty flagons and mugs of ales and lagers of various types scuttled to the floor if they weren't there already, perhaps the result of a barstaff realizing that reclaiming the vessels from the protective Maru was a near-pointless effort. With a fumbling gait he tried to make his way to his friend, but instead only stumbled a few steps before stopping halfway and settling down again at the same table they'd been at when the night started. He looked at Ra'lhen, slivers of bloodshot trickling at the corners of his otherwise grey eyes, and mournfully hoped that the kitchen served breakfast as well, before suddenly realizing suddenly he had no way to tell the time underground and desperately hoped it was morning in the first place. Stannis Maru, the Wanderer, the Granite Guardian, was hopelessly, arduously hungover. "F———," he murmured. @Emzee
  7. IC Sigrus | Ga-Koro "Finally got to talk with Stanman about the old days, among other things," Nichou had said. The mere mention of Stannis stirred stirring Sigrus' barely-secret disdain for the prophet and rocked his attention back to the present, primarily in order to assess whether that Maru was nearby yet again. He looked this way and that, spun around gracefully, and then settled back in line with a slight skip in his step upon confirming Stannis the Interloper was not around. Just a false alarm, yes. "Oh, yes—and in case it wasn't stated earlier, I am Sigrus of the Massif." @BULiK @BBBBalta @ARROW404 @Mel @Lady Takanuva @Tarn @~Xemnas~ @Harvali
  8. IC Yumiwa | Ga-Koro .:A Toa, ma'am. With lightning powers, by the looks of it:. Ayiwah replied to the Rora's question, her ideatalk transmission equally conveying what she had received from Tazera about their would be pirate. Lightning, I thought with a mixture of awe and concern. These toa were something to be feared as well as respected, I'd realized, and a single one of them could well be a match for any of our Menti. And if a toa were to decide we were an enemy, like this one that had attached the Ryuu, I imagined that it would take the fiercest battlemasters to counter them if need be, Battlemasters who were in short supply even moreso now than ever before. There was simply an immense field between a Menti who's powers were focused on perfecting their mind for combat and utility and a Toa who could literally command the natural environment to their whims. To summon a bolt of storm lightning from the static energy of snap of fingers? Such a feat had been unthinkable for me until recently. As it began to rain when there was nary a cloud in the sky half an hour ago, I wondered, was this phenomenon borne from the moisture of another Toa's tears? “I am commodore Ayiwah. Greetings, Ironshaper Kale and…companion?” she introduced herself. “What do you wish to talk about?” If Aya thought I would have a strange reaction to what would happen next, she'd have been correct. I felt a flurry of mental energy, a spike of alarmed emotion from the privateers, and then a soothing over after a fairylike apparition dissipated from Aya's shoulders as quickly as it had appeared. It was, without a doubt, among the strangest things I'd seen ever, but I'd realize later on that life here on this strange land would take getting used to and that this was just a normal day. As the alarm faded, I drew closer to the group, but decided to hang back. I was still dressed in my decidedly more casual seafarer's garb, and while I still looked more regal than a clan-ship captain there were few things that indicated my true social status from a foreigner's perspective. Using that anonymity to my advantage, I decided to eavesdrop under the guise of any other Dasaka officer roaming on the docks. <Do not introduce me as Rora,> I told Aya. <Not yet. Indulge me in this. I want to see how these toa treat us without a fear of diplomatic incident.> <Or as much of a fear of one,> I corrected myself. Not eavesdropping idly, I used my sailor's skills honed by the trip over here and busied myself in checking on the moorings of the Tactical Panda II, which at the time had been docked on a pier adjacent to the Yukanna. For a moment, I felt like I was a little child again, furtively roving the hidden hallways of the imperial palace and peering through keyholes to spy on my mother's cloistered appointments with various toroshu and diplomats. Eavesdropping on my mother's meetings had been almost been turned into a game for me, one publicly counseled against my by uncle and subtlety encouraged by my father, and initially I'd suuuucked at it. Royally. But over time, I'd learned how to make myself small, concealing my presence by looking like I belonged where I was. When palace servants and guards were about to pass by, I'd find a way to blend in, searching for a book I'd purposely left lying about earlier, or drawing my eyes closed and withdrawing my mental signature to appear to be asleep. Later on, my tutor Inokio had taught me the more active skills of espionage, how to pad footsteps to not make a sound, properly hide in alcoves and in the smalls of cabinetry, and finding out when and where such meetings were to take place by documenting the patterns my mother had for such appointments. It wasn't until far later, in a conversation in memoriam of my father, that I found out my mother knew about my acts of espionage all along and chose not to interfere in my hobby. There were secrets behind every corner in Sado, she knew, and my game had become a fun way to educate me about these undercurrents in the palace. Inokio had told me these were also Fursic tricks and it was useful for me to know how the spymasters operated for my own sake. The irony dripping from that statement from Inokio was invisible at the time, but it was not lost on me when his deceptions became plain later. The privateer mended things and went on, "My apologies, Luten is still learning the ways of the world and meant no harm by her actions. She and I are members of the Aggressors task force. A team made up of members from the different koro tasked with finding and dealing with issues before they can become major threats to our homes. The large ship moored out in the bay is our home away from home. The Fowadi." He lifted a hand and carefully gestured at the ironclad where it floated a safe distance behind the Dasakan refugee fleet. Newly refurbished armor gleamed despite the sudden storm overheard. Fat drops of warm rain now falling from the sky and pattering against his waterproof coat. "I was hoping to talk to you about about what exactly brought your people to our shores. What I overheard talked of a vast army of rahkshi." In the meantime, I listened. @Vezok's Friend @BULiK @Silvan Haven
  9. IC Yumiwa | Ga-Koro Privateers? I thought. No matter, if they were friends of Ga-Koro then there was no reason to think of them as anything but friends of ours as well. In this delicate situation we found ourselves in on this land we needed to be both perceptive of new connections and give factions the benefit of the doubt, even if such an openhanded trustiness would burn us as well at times. <Who is the intruder?> I asked. The question was loaded in a way that wouldn't be properly conveyed with words—these matoran and toa, despite all their powers over nature, were still deprived of the fluidity and subtlety of Ideatalk where whole concepts and images could be conveyed in the blink of an eye with subtlety that would otherwise require the skills and time of an orator with a captive audience. What i was not clear on, yet, was whether we were blessed or the matoran were unlucky. @BULiK @Vezok's Friend
  10. IC Yumiwa | Ga-Koro I was never one to take advice as soon as it was given, so I took a moment to think about the advice. Every deliberation should take six breaths' worth of time at minimum, the first two to center one's self, the next two to refresh the brain with oxygen, and the last two to affirm the choice made. In. Out. Repeat. "I agree," I said with finality. "Thank you." To emphasize the point I got up from the bench and took a few steps toward the hatch to the deck. I could not trust in walls and guards to keep me safe all the time, nor should I shirk the responsibility I held as figurehead and remain behind closed doors in the wake of adversity; I needed to go back out and show myself and my trust in the imperial soldiers and sailors. I drew my sixth breath and exhaled. "It's getting stale in here. I long for fresh air again." The air outside the Yukanna's hold was quiet and subdued. Despite the sudden alarms that went off at the onset of the Ryuu's infiltration nothing was pointing at an ongoing conflict at this point, which I took as a reassuring sign. The submersible was still there and the docks seemed to be unchanged, and most indicative was the sight of my cousin standing on the pier alongside the Yukanna. I sent a mental ping her way as I strode down the length of the flagship to the gangway. <Aya.> <State of affairs report.>
  11. IC A ronin | Sado, Gardens In response to Sydelia's query her mysterious benefactor hinged slightly at the waist in a polite restrained bow. "I am a ronin of no consequence, good as dead in the eyes of most and invisible as a shadow in the night," he said self-depreciatingly. As with all things he said, though, the words were intentional, an allusion to his very real status as a dead man. His grey and black clothes pointed to his clanless menti status but also bore more than a passing resemblance to the ash-dark garb of a mourner, and Sydelia's perceptive eyes caught glints of six coins on a necklace peaking from under his kimono's lapels. The ronin could move where he needed to unseen and unheard, wraithlike in his lack of status and significance, and from the looks of the collection he'd delivered to the half-mad doctor the ronin knew exactly how to employ these abilities. In the language of Sado's courtiers, particularly those who spent time in the Fursic espionage network as Sydelia had, the subtleties spoke volumes. It was that exactly which he expected her to pick up on, that she could know there was a language between them that came from a familiarity never before called upon. "If it pleases you, I'd rather not dishonor you by saying my dishonorable name, but you may call me 'Atramentous.'" @Keeper of Kraata
  12. Hey guys, sorry if my drop-off for the last month and a half left people hanging. I'm feeling better and am reading/writing again now.
  13. IC A ronin | Sado, Gardens District The black-clad menti had stood back when the other excedly swept into the scene and took the bag of donated goods from the orderly. While he remained quiet as she excitedly combed through the assortment of herbs and remedies, in the shadow of his hat's brim grew a thin smile of self-satisfaction for bringing the right form of currency to the table. His gamble paid well and he'd found exactly who he was looking for; Sydelia's mannerisms—and perversions of kanpō remedies—were unmistakable. "Volcanic Lotus..." Carefully, she handed the basket back to the orderly and turned to the newcomer, carefully composing herself and hoping she wasn't too stained with dry blood. "Thank you, sir Menti; that was a very generous donation. Where did you find all these?" Pretending to be no longer burdened by the weight of the heavy rucksack and its contents, he straightened his back somewhat and tilted his chin up to see Sydelia with his own eyes, and showed his face in the process. It was unlikely Sydelia would know who he was, having worked in entirely different echelons of society and clans, completely notwithstanding the ronin's adoption of a Kanohi Rau to replace the loss of his former mask of power, but he knew her face from the dossiers he'd been able to access previously: Fursic Sydelia, born Mashtet Sydelia, the "mad medic." "You're very welcome," he said. "Some I cultivated in my own backyard, but most of these come from my friends on Oki." This was patently false as the ronin neither had a backyard (unless one counted the whole of Sado as 'his backyard' in a semantic stretch) or any friends on Oki (least of all friends he could be in contact with), but without Rayuke's truth-finding abilities he was in the clear for lies such as this one, particularly with his abilities to shield his mind from most probes, and his presence was mysterious but not suspicious so he had little to worry about. In truth, he'd stolen that particular cache of remedies from a botanical storehouse in the former Umbraline complex on Sado. With that little bit of context, his reference to 'friends on Oki' was a humorous derision, indeed, and an offset to his deep-seated traumas. "I can bring you more herbs as I get them," the ronin mentioned. "It'll be good knowing these will be in an expert's hands." @Keeper of Kraata
  14. IC Stannis | The Mudpool Inn, a Poolᵀᴹ Resort — The Loam Lounge "To Antrim," Stannis cheered flagons with somber enthusiasm as he wondered what life would be like if the man was still alive to govern the Massif and call the strays home; for starters, his duel with Brykon would have gone very differently—if it happened at all. But they didn't have the benefit of his presence just like they were deprived the bounty of the turaga's wisdom, all thanks to the machinations of one dark matoran, so it was up to people like Stannis and Leah and Wokodin and the akiri to be the beacons of hope for their people. It was a hefty responsibility, one that would require— "More ale!" It would be a night of losing track of how many pitchers were consumed. @Emzee
  15. IC A ronin | Sado, Gardens District Conflicts, no matter the scale, hurt people. Whether between two dueling highborn menti or toroshu intent at exterminating another clan, war was war, and war always afflicted the people in terrible ways that left every aggrieved dasaka somberly coping with casualties both corporeal and intangible. The physical wounds were cared for as best as able, but those mental injuries persisted in ways that stewed and turned septic, and the ronin's lips turned down in a frown as he admitted the great irony that beings who's powers came from the mind itself were so woefully ill equipped to process the trauma they incurred. It was an unfortunate tragedy he, least of all, could not unravel—after all, he'd fallen victim to the same cycle of ill mental health as any other, and had let his own ambitions and insufficiencies take their tolls on his fellow countrypeople. The current conflict may not have been his doing, but he'd cost many lives in wars past; yet another trauma he'd allow to scar over time. This war was against demons of a different sort, and that was perhaps a hidden—and singular—blessing as a dasaka could not rationally levy the blame for it against another dasaka. Their losses were taken by foes they did not know, using powers they'd never seen, fighting on behalf of a god they never knew, and there was not a one person left untainted or an ivory castle left unsullied, so all the clans fought for their survival together. How refreshing, the ronin morbidly thought at the change in fortune and tone, a cringeworthy idea he swallowed instantly when he glanced at the dozens of stretchers and medical beds, each with menti and dashi in various stages between recovering fully and cadaverdom. He was dressed in a dark grey linen kimono with a jet black obi at his waist, and on his stooping back was a rucksack overflowing with bundles of herbs and small baskets of flowers. He wore a straw hat, the wide-brimmed conical sort the fisher clans donned, that shrouded his green eyes, but when he looked up to see the street it was not hard to see the weariness on his long, gaunt face. He walked slowly with the deferential care of a pragmatic survivor, wary to get in other people's way as they milled about with more urgent purposes than his own in the tents of the medical centre constructed in what was once the Imperial garden sanctuary. "Excuse me," he said to an orderly when he came close to the administrative tent, "I have some rare herbs and remedies to share for the cause. Perhaps they can be put to use by an expert's hand." @Keeper of Kraata
  16. IC Stannis | Mudpool Inn, a Pool Resort Shortly after they had seated themselves, a member of the waitstaff came out and placed a ceramic pitcher of ale on the table and said something about it being "complimentary" before whizzing off to another table and providing other patrons with a similar pitcher. Perhaps some sort of local holiday? Stannis wondered, then slowly proceeded to serve himself and Ra'lhen the beverage as he tried to recall the regional festivals of Onu-Wahi. The beer was green. "Cheers." @Emzee
  17. IC Stannis | Mudpool Inn "Hi, welcome 'Inn,' I hope you find our service is down-to-earth," a chipper voice came from the matoran manning the concierge's desk, which doubled as the restaurant host's kiosk, who capturing the attention of Stannis and Ra'lhen who looked in the desk's direction. The attempt of a bad pun flew over both their heads, a joke imperceptible for anyone but the teller and amusing solely to its originator; it was probably a canned phrase listed as one of several in the employee's handbook of customer service. The matoran host who spoke was also severely mismatched to the tone, though it could be supposed that the happy-go-lucky tone was a farce as well, a lie of character pressed into service like a waiter's uniform that did not agree with the wearer's personality in the least. The host seemed uncomfortable, and upon closer inspection as he spoke it was clear the words and tone were uncomfortably regurgitated. Glassy eyes of doldrum lurked behind a mask curled up in a mockery of cheeriness everywhere. Stannis suspected he was not well paid. "What will it be, toa-misters? Dinner? Drinks? A room?" he asked of them. "All three. Dinner first, but we'll need lodging as well," Stannis replied. "No problem! Dinner service will resume shortly but have a seat anywhere you'd like for drinks first. I'll save a room for you and your husband!" Stannis was already headed to a table at the corner of the bar area when the concierge's mention of 'your husband' dawned on him, but when he turned around to correct the host's presumption the desk was empty and all he saw was Ra'lhen's bemused expression. He laid his small arsenal against a neighboring chair and sat such that he could easily monitor the inn's entrance. Only then did he sigh deeply and let a melancholy frown grow across his lips. "A while back Antrim was assassinated, presumably by the villain Ambages, though none are sure how it was managed. His badge of office was transferred to a certain man named Brykon, though recently his criminal past caught up and rendered him became unable to perform his duties so I took possession of the weapon for the interim." @Emzee
  18. IC Yumiwa + Zafin | Yukanna That wasn't what I meant, but Long Dihunai didn't know that. She was a warrior, a fighter, so she knew her contemporaries as warriors, as fighters, so it made sense that Inokio's valorous last stand stood at the forefront of her thoughts on the former battlemaster. The apolitical inclinations of the Tajaar made her oblivious to the other dimensions of Inokio, of his status as my sensei, spy, and reluctant political mastermind, as those facets were revealed only behind closed doors and whipped cloaks. I'd been given countless lectures by the man on matters of honor and power, and Dihunai's sermon evoked the sentiments of some from my then-teacher. These two had their similarities; they'd probably even get along. I kept that knowledge to myself. I didn't want her to draw too many comparisons between her and Inokio. That, and I didn't want to be reminded of his betrayals even if he did die preserving me. Something struck me then, something they'd each said:Your empire protects you so you can push onwards. My former advisor's last words to me before following his blade were, Little Yumi, let me suffer by protecting you... one... last... time. Now go. I glanced at Zaf, wondering if she shared a mind with me on this as well, and she looked knowing but I couldn't be sure if she saw the connections I did. Dihunai and the late Inokio urged me to grow, to survive, and to lead from promontories of strength. It did not matter that one was a double agent and the other an Imperial outsider, they each wanted the same thing for me, somehow. Zafin, on the other hand, continued to study her empress' eyes long after she'd returned her gaze to Dihunai. She knew how the rora's mind worked better than most people still alive, and she could tell how even in the wake of a panic attack Yumi was still thinking... sensing. "Clever Yumi" had become a rather irritating moniker from previous years, but there was some truism to the joke. Yumiwa had been groomed to be a peacetime ruler who never was meant to be exposed to the horrors of war or strife, so concepts of strength and prowess were harder for her to grasp, but behind the facade of weakness and overeagerness was a lady trained in softer skills of diplomacy and subterfuge to serve her well in matters of court. For all her recent failings as a warrior queen, particularly highlighted with the trauma of the sacrifice of Sado, Yumiwa was well trained in mind games. Pattern sensing. Tactics and analytics. Zafin watched as Yumiwa turned back to Dihunai. Her ladyship's thoughts were unknowable, but one thing was clear: Yumi was sizing Long Dihunai up as an adviser whether she was conscious of the effort or not. And this Dihunai was making her think. Zafin tore her gaze from Yumi and back to the Tajaar. She liked this Long. I released my vice grips on the bench upon which I sat and felt my blood warm my knuckles again as a calmness started to restore itself on me. I shook my hands like dispersing water from my fingers to eradicate the last of the tinglies and shifted uncomfortably in my seat, but I looked at Dihunai with a mixture of understanding and admiration. I like this warrior, I thought. It was essential for me to learn and to let other people carry their own weight, so when I next spoke, there was more force behind my tongue as the confusion and hesitancy had been banished; I spoke with the intention to listen. "What do you advise is the most important thing for me to do this moment?" @BULiK
  19. IC Yumiwa + Zafin | Yukanna The warrior lambasted me, but I was used to it—I'd been rebuked by Battlemasters and Datsue many times already by then, though that never made the lessons less stinging. My eyes widened in alarm as she pounded her points home in poetic emphasis after emphasis, and all I could see was the fire in her soul. My handmaiden, perhaps seeing the fright in my face, tried to intercede for me, starting "Mistress Dihunai, please calm down, Yumiwa needs—" "No, no, no," I said with a shake of my head. "Zaf, stop." She stopped. "I'm listening, and learning." I inhaled deeply and let the air out again slowly... You know how when you just had a long night of drinking heavy ales that hammered your stomach more forcefully than you expected because you forgot to have a luncheon, so it's barely sundown and you find yourself in the water closet staring at your reflection in the sink and you realize you're well on your way to being wasted? You look at yourself like some stupid schmuck and gather all your fortitude just to berate yourself with a stirring slurred pep talk that goes You're drunk! every other line, just to really drive the point of your inebriation home? But before you do that, you take that critically heavy breath to steel your senses in some halfassed attempt to supercharge your wits with a hard dose of oxygen? Yeah, it was one of those breaths. I was trying to purge myself of the fog in my head and instill a clarity of purpose again. Long Dihunai was a warrior through-and-through and that was one of the reasons I let her come this close to me, because I valued her input and trusted her instincts. The Tajaar were fierce, loyal fighters and apolitical to the strife of the Imperial circuits, which meant her counsel could be depended on to be honest. What Dihunai said was said in earnest, but it troubled me even so. It did not take long for me to discern the why. "You sound like Inokio did," I said, and I felt no ill by it. @BULiK
  20. IC Yumiwa | Yukanna I blinked once, then twice, as I looked up doe-eyed at my adviser's looming face. My point? I'd asked about the oral histories of the dragonkind without a leading thought. My heart still beat harshly like a small reactor that threatened to overwhelm its confines and break out of my body and its beating thrash resounded like a drum against my ribs and flushed all other sounds out of my ears. What did Dihunai mean by my "point?" Had I missed something important? The past few seconds had felt like minutes and the last minute felt like hours, but despite that feeling of vast time I could not recall what transpirations had filled those moments or what had been uttered. I'd been on the deck of the Yukanna, and then I was here, riveted to my seat by some unknowable, unseeable force that clamped my hands to the bench with such tightness that the blood was drained from my knuckles. The force, naturally—though I had not come to terms with it yet at the time—was my trauma. The warrior seemed to notice the confusion in my empty eyes but her strength did not warble or accommodate my state of dysfunction. Instead, her eyes bored into mine and pulled my attention to her and settle on something other than my current state. She'd said something to me before I asked about the dragon lore, hadn't she? She must have, but it was all a blur. What had she said? I blinked again, trying to cobble together some semblance of lucidity through the quagmire of fog in my head. The thought of it was first a distant memory that became clearer as I looked in Dihunai's eyes before it roared aflame in my mind — ::"What are you afraid of?":: "What am I afraid of?" The Tajaar nodded once. "I'm scared that the Dasaka civilization is doomed to die. That every one of us were handed death warrants by our foremothers and that we cannot stop our doom and the wisdom of Zuto Nui's virtues are a curse and not a salvation. "I am afraid... so deeply, terrifyingly afraid, of not being able to help my people."
  21. IC Sigrus | Ga-Koro "Saltwater air and the winedark sea—ahhh it doesn't get any better than this, no."
  22. IC Yumiwa | Yukanna "Long Dihunai," I said, finally focused and lusid enough to breathe evenly and think complex thoughts again, "tell me what ancient legends the Tajaar have of the dragons. I know your folk keep better oral traditions than the Imperial clans do." @BULiK IC Sigrus | Ga "Ahhh, the sea-salty air... how I've missed this," the monk said after inhaling deeply and smiling broadly in profound nostalgic satisfaction. "It was a centerpeice of the life I lived before going to the Massif, yes." @Mel
  23. IC Stannis | Onu 'Famous' halberd, Ra'lhen had said. Stannis' mouth tilted in a skewed smirk that could be either a frown or a thin smile depending on the angle one viewed his face. He hadn't heard of his toa tool referred to like that, but he supposed it was normal. He was a Maru, and it was his god-given weapon, though he still thought it amusing to consider it or anything associated with him 'famous.' For a man of vast renown he shirked the limelight and shrugged the attention given. Come to think of it, what was with that ussal master? Did she look at him with recognition? Was there any overt sign of emotion? Stannis realized he hadn't even noticed, but he wasn't sure if that was a fault of his lack of observation after a long and noisy journey or whether the matoran hadn't made any indications. "It's my halberd," he confirmed to his friend having no reason to hide the truth from him, out of embarrassment or subterfuge. "And yeah, it was a fight. You know the saying, 'You can lose the battle but win the war?' I think that's what happened. I won—but I also lost, and now I have his sword." His voice dripped with mourning. The arrest of Toa-Protector Brykon still stung at his heartlight. It was a fight he didn't want and it came at a cost he didn't wish to pay, yet he was to carry the burden of its victory on his back regardless. The greatsword, the massive weapon called Ice, was the trophy he didn't ask for and served as a reminder of the losses suffered, and more than just his halberd was lost. Mata Nui lost a powerful toa in the defanging of Brykon's abilities, and the Massif was deprived of a dedicated guardian, both of which were sore losses for an island already thin of truly determined and fierce fighters against a growing darkness that stirred somewhere beyond sight. Part of Stannis wished he could restore Brykon's elemental abilities but he knew doing so would be a fruitless gesture that would only serve to reconcile his own stresses. No, better to shoulder the pain of it and carry on until the time was right, and only Mata Nui knew when, or whether, that would ever come. They walked in some silence until they came to the inn and he tapped the wrapped cloth once before walking in. "You know this sword," he said at last at the doorstep. "The other dude did, at least." @Emzee
  24. IC Stannis | Onu-Koro There was a hastening in the clattering of their ussal mounts as the crabs knew they were close to their home paddock and the promise of treats that came with. Stannis glanced back at Ra'lhen to see what feelings he had about the city ahead and whether it was doom or indifference, and then looked back ahead at the growing glows of Onu-Koro's veritable constellations that spilled with effervescent illumination through the corridors that fed the city's cavern. For Stannis, the city of earth was one of his lesser-visited locations and there was not as many memories formed there. He'd sojourned through it before, of course, once as a matoran and once again as a Toa Maru, but they were only momentary occasions. Still, perhaps his lack of lingering there was borne in part from his irrational discomfort in the vast underground wahi, something, he figured once after much meditation on the exact matter, that likely had to do with the dichotomy of light and darkness in the depths of the earth. Stannis relished in investigating mysteries and uncovering fantastical things but the suddenness of illumination in obscurity and the vastness of things unseen and unknown unnerved Stannis, for while he delved in the unknowns like a form of personal currency he nevertheless found the myriad of frightening contrasts of things in the labyrinthine wahi to be overwhelming for his powers and senses. He was glad to have Ra'lhen's companionship for this journey, or else he was not likely to undertake the mission with as much determination. Musical Interlude All at once, they emerged from the tunnel and into the vastness of Onu-Koro's vaulted chamber and were greeted by the cacophony of industry and enterprise. Forges glowed all around and lamps dotted the streets and ceilings, washing them in artificial light that came in all hues of yellow and orange, and the hum of machinery bustled like a low choral. They'd arrived, and it all looked even more majestic than either of the toa had remembered the city to have been before, a far cry over the relatively humble and rustic aesthetics of their own hometowns. Suspicions of its prosperity were all but confirmed—Onu-Koro had done well for itself, indeed. Fortunately for the ambassadors of Po-Koro, they were not ones to be wooed or influenced by materialism. They, like the evil entity they marched to oppose, did not care about wealth or power. "We're here," Stannis said as they dismounted, a statement mostly to himself. After handing the reins to the ussal handlers they collected their small luggage belongings and set into the city proper. The journey's ride had left them sore and battered and they longed for the opportunity to rest their backsides and ears from the battering they'd received. "First things first: I need a break and a good drink. I think there's an inn here with good Yalp reviews—the Loampool, or something like that. From there I can send a message to my brother, Sulov." @Emzee
  • Create New...