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Year 16


About Burnmad

  • Birthday 12/09/1997

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Master of Fragmentation Rampant

Master of Fragmentation Rampant (166/293)

  1. IC: Selamat - Iron Canyon Cave (First Watch) Selamat stepped over to the spot where Tueris had sat himself, and lowered himself to a cross-legged position a short distance away. There he sat, watching the outside, which was dead still but for the occasional stream of sand blown over the lip of the canyon by the winds which raged across the desert above. His spear lay in front of him, easy to reach in case a threat should appear. His hands, free of its weight for the first time in some hours, now rested in his lap. His back was straight, body almost in a meditative posture, if not for the fact that meditation would be rather difficult with the amount of cortisol still flowing through his veins. He did not speak to his watch partner. Not yet, anyhow. He wasn't sure how to start a conversation with someone like Tueris. In a way, he had the elder Glatorian at somewhat of a disadvantage. He had seen Tueris' fights when he was a youth, followed his career in the arena long before Selamat had ever stepped onto those sands himself. Tueris, on the other hand, had likely only ever seem him once or twice as anything other than a member of the mass of onlookers in the arena stands, and then only in passing. He wondered if Tueris even knew he was an arena hopeful-- perhaps, he thought, the Second Glatorian would be more optimistic about this expedition through the Iron Canyon if he knew how many hours Selamat had spent practicing? Something told him: Probably not. But, perhaps he might at least get enough of a sense of his younger Glatorian's dedication to Vulcanus that he wouldn't conceal any more information from him. That was the main thing Selamat wanted to discuss, and the primary reason he'd chosen this watch: Was there anything else Tueris hadn't told them yet? But his having such a topic in mind only made initiating all the more difficult, for a number of reasons. So he remained silent for the time being, waiting at least until the cadence of their companions' breaths shifted to one which suggested they were asleep. OOC: @a goose
  2. IC: Selamat - Iron Canyon Cave Selamat nodded as Tueris spoke. "I can take the first watch as well," he said. Better now than later; he was already on-edge with adrenaline, and when that subsided would come the crash. OOC: @a goose
  3. IC: Selamat - Iron Canyon Selamat continued to step forward into the cave, eyeing the bats that lined the ceiling warily. He wasn't familiar with bats; he did not leave the vicinity of Vulcanus often enough or for long enough to spend much time sheltering in caves. He knew that they were supposed to be harmless, but that knowledge did little to put his enhanced limbic system at ease. His implant was pumping adrenaline into his bloodstream, making his breathing ragged and his movements twitchy. Doing his best to suppress the artificial fight-or-flight response, the spear-wielding Glatorian looked back at his allies, and signaled them over with a jerky wave. "Looks clear," he said in a low tone, though his voice sounded strained. He forced himself to lower the spear's tip until it rested against the cave floor. OOC: @a goose @Nato G @oncertainty @Toru Nui @~Xemnas~ IC: Skrall - Bone Hunter Stronghold Skrall did not stop to follow the gaze of his compatriots as he walked about the wagons, trying to complete a cursory inspection before Atakus returned. It was easy enough to guess what they were looking at; those Skrall called to the Sisters' chambers had to go somewhere, since their brothers would not suffer their presence and hadn't the courtesy to put them out of their misery. It was a given that most would pass through this place, as they were suited to little else than the purposes the Bone Hunters had for them. An unbroken Skrall was already nearly incapable of surviving in the South, he knew (for such was the subject of a great deal of pondering of which all Skrall were guilty, but to which none would admit). A broken Skrall, however, was incapable of surviving anywhere that he was not given food and simple, easy tasks. The Skrall in this respect was not so different before and after the Sisters had selected him; both led lives defined by structure and authority. From wake to sleep, one's day was defined by the authority of one's superior. From the rations he ate, to the tasks he performed, he lived within a cage made from the will of another. The difference - aside from the veneer of honor to which the Skrall clung so dearly - was that the unbroken Skrall filled the cage of his orders like water filled a cracked vessel, pushing at the walls and spilling out from any gap. An unbroken Skrall would trade his rations for drugs from the South, push himself to complete his tasks early, and find a secluded spot to look up at the sky without being observed. Broken Skrall, on the other hand, were prone to standing slack-jawed when not occupied. He finished his walk about the wagons, and frowned. Atakus was still nowhere to be seen. He wondered what the Agori was talking about with the barbarians' leader. A simple exchange wouldn't take so long... That business Fero mentioned must be something more complex. Which meant it was quite likely that Skrall wouldn't learn any more details about it. OOC: @a goose @BULiK @Nato G @oncertainty @Toru Nui @Vezok's Friend
  4. IC: Selamat - Iron Canyon Selamat nodded in recognition of Tueris' words. He supposed they constituted an order, technically? He was inclined to listen to the Second Glatorian out of respect, but in these circumstances, with him being the leader of this expedition, Selamat supposed that the glatorian's authority was somewhat more formal. He stepped forward alongside Escus, advancing towards the cave. As he reached the entrance, he paused for a moment to let his eyes adjust a little. It really was a lot darker past the point where the sun's rays did not shine. He hoped his counterpart from Tajun wasn't kidding about having superior low-light vision. He stepped onto the sand-strewn floor of the cave, spear held out in front of him, ready for whatever might burst out of the darkness at them. OOC: @a goose @Nato G @oncertainty @Toru Nui @~Xemnas~ IC: Skrall - Bone Hunter Stronghold Skrall continued to watch the throng of bartering shoppers with open disinterest as he listened to Skrall's speech. He nodded along at the end, developing an appreciation for the other spec ops Skrall in spite of himself. The scout clearly had some sense, though he was far too open about it. For all that Skrall talked about them using their brains, Skrall wondered whether the scout had just started using his own after his experiences in the South-- perhaps a close call with heat stroke had somehow started it working after so many years of disuse, and he had not yet learned the dangers of being too clever too loudly? Perhaps a nasty blow to the head had dislodged some kind of implant that all Skrall had inside their skulls to make them stupid and obedient? Actually, that seemed like something the priestesses would do. Skrall filed that thought away for later. More immediately important, however, was the fact that, true as his words were, Skrall was saying them rather energetically, and in earshot of outsiders. "...And that will be an excellent thought for every Skrall to mull over while preparing for our departure," he said, voice low but firm. He glanced back at his allies, his head inclined towards the market proper in a way that might look incidental to an onlooker, but which ought to make it painfully obvious to any Skrall with sense - which he hoped was most of them - that he was telling them to watch what they say in front of the barbarians. OOC: @a goose @BULiK @Nato G @oncertainty @Toru Nui @Vezok's Friend
  5. IC: Selamat - Iron Canyon The young Glatorian nodded, a bead of sweat shaking loose from his jawline and vanishing into the bone-dry sands of the canyon floor, sating them not one whit. The spear with which he upset the sand before them had shifted from one arm to the other and back again as they traveled. It was important to make sure one arm was not tired out before the time had come to use the weapon for its intended purpose. He did not spare a glance back at his companions, but his thoughts were upon them even as his eyes scanned the canyon walls ahead for the places where they had yielded to the elements; where wind and grinding sand had carved out places beyond sun's reach, where darkness covered all and the air cooled your sweat-slick body until you were ready to venture out into the slowly baking desert once more. He felt a mix of emotions towards the leader of their expedition, Vulcanus' Second Glatorian, who walked several paces behind him. On one hand was suspicion; Tueris had concealed details from them about the plague they were to be investigating. On the other hand was the knowledge that, aside from the events which had seen him disgraced and demoted, the Glatorian had never failed Vulcanus before. Selamat had never known the man before today, but he'd felt as if he did, Tueris was such a fixture in the village. He did not believe that the older Glatorian would lead them into certain death-- even if that was exactly what Tueris seemed to think he was doing. The others in their party he had never seen nor heard of prior to this venture. He was uneasy about having the two Agori with them, especially if they were wandering into a Bone Hunter trap. Still, one of them was a medic, and their talents would prove vital if one of the fellowship was to be injured. Or, indeed, if there was truly a plaguestruck village waiting for them at the end of the canyon. His mind vacillated on which possible outcome to this trip would prove true, and on which would be preferable. Though he had never fought another being outside of nonlethal arena combat, he knew at heart that he was a formidable opponent, and had no doubt in his ability to strike down whatever foes fate placed before him. But a plague? That was something that could not be slain with sword or spear, nor warded off with a shield. He would prove fairly useless if they were forced to treat the ill. Any member of the party could fall ill themselves, were they not careful around the sick. Then what? They could not simply be brought back to Vulcanus, where they might spread the plague to another village entire. If they could not be healed, would they be forced to die in the desert, for the sake of the others? What if Selamat could not return to his home, could not become its greatest warrior, its protector? What if protecting Vulcanus came to mean staying away from it, dying for it? His brow furrowed at the thought, and in that moment, his eyes lit upon a particularly deep shadow that rested in a recess of canyon wall. "There," he spoke, voice hoarse from some hours of disuse, as his free hand lifted from his side to point out the cave to the others. "Let us ensure that it is not already occupied, and then we may rest there until the sun has passed overhead." OOC: @a goose @Nato G @oncertainty @Toru Nui @~Xemnas~ IC: Skrall - Bone Hunter Fortress Skrall did not look at his companions as he weighed in on their debate. His eyes were busy surveying their surroundings, watching for any sign of foul play; reminding the deserters that they were not trusted. "These people are common bandits. They weigh gain and loss on a scale. We bring little more than our gear, and the goods we have offered them, and we shall leave with nothing more than our gear and the goods they offer us in return. If they were to do anything, they would do it here, where they are strongest. But they will not. They would lose a dozen men or more, and our future business as well. As long as they have the weak Southerners to prey upon, and as long as they know that we are strong, they dare not to bite the hand that feeds them." OOC: @a goose @BULiK @Nato G @oncertainty @Toru Nui @Vezok's Friend
  6. IC: Selamat - Iron Canyon Selamat stepped forward. "Let me go first," he offered to Escus, as he drew the spear from his back. In lieu of explanation, he took up the forward position in the procession, lowering the tip of the spear into the sand in front of them. The technique was one which he had heard from an older Glatorian, a drifter who had visited Vulcanus once when Selamat was young. It served two purposes; while it kept his spear at the ready out in front of him, it also created a disturbance in the sand several feet in front of the traveling group. By moving the spear tip back and forth while walking forward, the disturbance could be made to mimic the movement of a sand snake, one of the favored prey of the larger predators of Bara Magna's deserts. It was insurance; a trick that marginally increased ones' odds of surviving a run-in with the ambush hunters that haunted the nightmares of every tribe's scouts and travelers. Last Selemat had heard, the Glatorian who'd taught him the technique had been killed and eaten by a pack of dune wolves, which notably were not ambush predators. OOC: @a goose @~Xemnas~ @Nato G @oncertainty @Toru Nui IC: Skrall - Bone Hunter Fortress Skrall watched, not moving a muscle, as Atakus walked away from them. He would wait two and a half seconds for one of the younger Skrall to follow him; if none stepped forward by that time, he would. He would have stepped forward immediately, but the task was not suited to him. His slim frame meant that the prisoner might try, in his desperation, to run, or to overpower him. Either way, he would force once-Skrall to submit, of course, but it would still look bad. Better that one of the younger, broader Skrall do the deed, so that once-Skrall would be less likely to bother trying. But of course, it was also vital that the Skrall as a whole turn out one of their number for the task, promptly and without speaking. Three seconds of them standing dumbstruck would be unacceptable. Thus, two and a half seconds was the time limit Skrall would wait. OOC: @Skrall
  7. IC: Selamat - Into the Abyss Selamat stood stock-still as the elevator shook its way unsteadily down to the canyon below. There had been several moments prior in their journey which had struck him as the point of no return, but this was, without any doubt, the no-returningest of all the points they had crossed thus far. The elevator seemed to him as alike to Charon's ferry, carrying them across the River Styx into the depths of the Underworld. But if he saw the canyon as Hades, then he likewise saw himself as Heracles, the peerless champion who would plumb its depths and deliver Theseus - who, in this strained analogy, he supposed must be the people of Ferrum? - from their imprisonment. He was, perhaps, more of an Orpheus. But, that was a myth he had not read. And so he stood there, waiting for the elevator to touch down upon the sandy rock floor of the canyon. OOC: @~Xemnas~, @a goose, @Nato G, @oncertainty, @Toru Nui
  8. IC: Selamat - Precipere The reason of the elder's response seemed to satisfy Selamat, and he nodded. "Thank you, elder." OOC: @a goose @Nato G
  9. IC: Selamat - Precipere Selamat was not supposed to speak during this interaction. One of their number had been designated to do the talking, and that one was not Selamat. Nevertheless... When Tueris stopped speaking, he piped up. "Excuse me, honored one," He began, addressing Somok, Precipere's elder. "Did you say that the other member of your tribe who was to join us had fallen ill?" His concern was only halfway buried beneath honorifics and social etiquette. @a goose @Nato G
  10. IC: Selamat - Precipere You didn't think to tell us that before we departed? He said it in his head. It was an impressive exercise of restraint on his part - the shock of the news nearly activated his implants. But that restraint was for naught, unfortunately; the way his gaze snapped instantly from Somok to Tueris left no doubt that this was the group's first time hearing the information that Tueris had just related so casually. They'd been told there was a plague waiting for them, they'd even been told that the information came from the Bone Hunters. But the knowledge that the Bone Hunters had found the Iron Tribe's leader - alive, even - and delivered her charred remains to Vulcanus? It changed the situation drastically. Had Tueris planned to tell them this if Somok hadn't brought it up? If this was 'need to know' information, they had needed to know. Selamat remained silent, but his eyes were boring a hole in the back of Tueris' head. There would be a discussion about this later, when they were not among strangers.
  11. IC: Selamat - Precipere Standing behind Aurax with the rest of the expedition, Selamat bowed wordlessly to the Ash Tribe's apparent leader. It was not worth questioning the implication that they would not be permitted to pass through on their return trip-- evidently, most of his fellows did not plan on making a return trip. He did, but that was a bridge to be crossed when he reached it. He turned away and began studying the construction of the building they occupied, hoping that, permission for passage having been attained, they would not waste further time here. People of the Iron Tribe were very likely dying as they stood here. OOC: @~Xemnas~ @a goose @Nato G @oncertainty IC: Skrall - Approaching Bone Hunter Stronghold Skrall snapped to as Atakus called out their fast-approaching destination. While making sure his visible weapons were visible and his concealed weapons were concealed, he spared a glance to the two younger Skrall in the cart. "Here we go, Skrall. My advice: Don't speak unless spoken to. Don't be afraid to return any stares that come your way, though." As their party neared the mesa, and he completed his self-check, he returned to surveying the sands. Populated did not necessarily mean safe, and the growing intensity of the dunes made for much shorter sight lines. @Skrall
  12. IC: Skrall - On the Road He thought quietly for a moment, eyes returning to their previous routine of surveying the land around them. "Dunno," he said, after some moments. "I'm no Sister, I can only see what's in front of me. If they ever had intelligence, they lack it now." OOC: @Nato G @oncertainty
  13. IC: Skrall - On the Road "Once," Skrall replied, eyes now briefly diverting to meet the younger Skrall's gaze. "We did much as we are doing now; delivering a reject to sell to the bone hunters. Only, we did not continue further south after we had done so." There was more to the story. He felt a sudden impulse to share some of the details with them. "On our way back, we were attacked by one of the desert's creatures: An upright predator called a Vorox. Closest thing to a true 'people' that the dunes have. Seemed we surprised it while it was dragging a kill back to its den. It punched a hole in a Skrall with its tail, and gave a few more some minor scratches before we hacked it to death. The scratches were fine, but the Skrall that got jabbed started seizing up, couldn't move, could barely even breathe. Surprisingly, he lived. Unlucky for him, as he got transferred to logistics for being the first blood drawn by the South." OOC: @Nato G @oncertainty
  14. IC: Skrall - On the Road Skrall, to this point, had been silent-- straining his ears to listen to the conversation in both carts at the same time. Taking it all in, drinking in the words of his various traveling companions, trying to get a bead on their perspectives, their weaknesses, and their merits. At the same time, his eyes scanned the horizon, as much to spot any lurking denizens thereof, as to appear like he was not eavesdropping. The results came as a surprise. Well, partially-- that the three male youths were hopeless greenhorns was no surprise. But, there was an unexpected level of nuance to their childish ignorance. Magnet Hands was a thinker; open-minded. If he took care to keep his skull from being similarly opened, that quality might serve him well, when he had gained the experience to know what things were worth thinking about. The other Skrall in their cart struck him as more of a watcher and a follower, someone who took in a great deal of information about the world around him, but struggled to operate without direction. Quite easy to influence, if handled properly, Skrall thought. In the other cart, it was clear that the third youth was trying desperately to be properly Skrall-like. That made him quite predictable, but not necessarily dependable. The female, Skrall could not get a read on. She had said too little, and revealed of herself even less. This was one thing which was not surprising-- of course the female, feared and reviled by all who knew what she was, would not be forthcoming with details about herself. Un-Skrall was not worthy of consideration; even if he managed to earn Skrall's respect, orders were orders, and the traitor would soon be left behind them with the Bone Hunter slavers. Still, the claims he had made were of great interest, and Skrall wondered with a detached curiosity how much of them had been truthful. The scout was the most intriguing of all Skrall's companions. Skrall had initially written him off as a foolish outcast, an ill-fitting link in the Skrallic chain. Now Skrall wondered if the scout was not, perhaps, the wisest of them all-- other than Skrall himself, of course. The scout's story stuck in Skrall's mind even more than un-Skrall's had; the implications it had for Skrall, and what it said of the merits of the Southerners they had come to conquer. There was no doubt in Skrall's mind that the scout had glimpsed one of the myriad faces of Truth-- the ever-shifting crumb of knowledge that few ever saw more of than a mere outline. The question was, had he survived the encounter fully intact? That was a question that would have to be answered through further observation. Presently, it occurred to Skrall that he had been silent for quite a long time while the two youths with whom he was sharing his wagon had been conversing. He thought it prudent to join their conversation, for the sake of group cohesion. They seemed to be talking about Tajun, and one had just asked why all of the Southerners did not live there. "Not enough resources for everyone to live in one place," he said, without tearing his eyes away from the desert sands. "They do as the Skrall did in the North; control sources of not just water, but also food and raw materials. The only difference is that instead of all being Skrall, the villages which control those things in the South are all different. Instead of the leaders taking the fullness of the land's bounty and rationing it out as needed, they distribute it randomly, through a foolish process called economy." OOC: @Nato G @oncertainty
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