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  1. IC: Vrill [Wise Man's Archive, The Backroom] "Until next time," 'Syzygos' nodded curtly as Cyrix bid farewell, making mental notes of every Kalta stomping ground. He savored the last of his cigarette, closing his eyes and focusing on the sliver of obsidian surrounded by heatstone that he could feel moving around the room. He snuffed out the Fusa in the crystal ashtray of his own making, then looked over his shoulder to where Priicu and Muir must have gone. Hmmm...
  2. IC: Myhruk [Ga-Koro, Docks, Fowadi] "WATER?" the bewildered Lesterin sharply repeated. He was frozen in place, processing the Po-Matoran's accent. There was no water nearby. Only below. Ah, he understood now. "Staying away from it!" Quick thinking. Water was pretty far down on this ship, all things considered. Much better than the dubious structural integrity of the Koro's lilypads. He looked up. At the midpoint of the pole, there was a metal platform. Furthest from the water on the ship. Shame he wasn't up there. Another deduction; unfortunately, there didn't appear to be a ladder up this tree trunk that he could use to- Tree? His hands twitched. Digits danced back and forth. There was a way to make it up there. He was sure he knew how. IC: Nichou [Ga-Koro, Warehouse] Nichou nearly jumped at just how suddenly their world had been upended. He had been confident in their chances - there was a Toa with them, plus he knew Lekua would always be able to find a way out, and it had just been concretely established that Nale had his back. Even if he hadn't quite believed that THAT many people had entered without drawing any attention, the silence had been so ever present that against all odds, it became a surprise to him. Knowing the element of surprise to be long gone, Nichou's left hand patted across his tool belt, frantically reaching for a particular cylindrica-got it! His thumb slid a button on the side of the metal device with a click, springing open an internal mechanism that rotated a shade open. Light instantly poured through the second half of the iron body, where a glass lens focused it into a concentrated beam that threw the crystal's glow much further. Nichou turned it from side to side, the cone of warm tungsten light slicing through the warehouse's musky darkness like wide strokes of a blade. He didn't see anything but strange plants in front of him, and the view was similar once he swung over towards Nale to make sure her flank was okay. The plants were moving but there weren't any threatening figures. It was when he continued his rotation around what was beginning to feel like a trap that the miniaturized spotlight fully revealed the gargantuan frame of the monkey... in that moment, there were no words. Maybe if he stood still, it would keep standing still. Not that Nichou's rational mind was in control of his legs by then. OOC: @~Xemnas~@Tarn@BBBBalta@Rahisaurus et al.
  3. IC: Nichou [Ga-Koro, Warehouse] The carpenter gave a chuckle at her joke too, the sharp exhale relieving a long-held tension in his internals. Everything was tense as they crept through the darkness, and yet for that moment, they could have been on the docks outside given how he felt. "Well, I try to only commit to promises I'm sure I will keep." In the darkness of the room, his pitch black fingers readjusted their grip on the hatchet. His head slowly swirled back and forth, carefully scanning the room. Maybe nobody was here. After all, if there was someone to notice them, surely they would have been noticed by now? "But don't thank me yet - I haven't saved your life or anything." Yet? He thought, considering if the word was a fitting end to the last sentence. No. Hopefully we don't need a 'yet'. All this excitement and Nichou couldn't stop thinking of how quickly the day had escalated to this point. Brandishing weapons? How long had it been since he'd needed to use his axe for destruction instead of creation?
  4. IC: Vrill [Wise Man's Archive, The Backroom] 'Syzygos' nodded contemplatively, considering Cyrix's words. He noticed the others leave the room. Hmm... "Trouble? Nah," he said, utterly relaxed. "Only trouble we had was getting Stannis to budge."
  5. IC: Vrill [Wise Man's Archive, The Backroom] Vrill hadn't planned on partaking just yet - it hadn't been long since someone pointed out that libraries were not that appreciative of fire hazards. But the moment the swirling plumes of Cyrix's draft splayed outwards in a flagrant disregard of fluid dynamics, Vrill knew the game had changed. Now, he wasn't all too dissatisfied that Muir was suddenly quiet, but overall, this was certainly an unsettling experience. So Cyrix wanted a tête-à-tête? Fine. The Cy-Toa didn't need Cyrix's heatstone to light his smoke, but he took it anyways. A gesture of good faith. He brought the cigarette to his lips and in his other hand, the heatstone thermos. While the half-unscrewed cap obscured the Le-Toa's vision of his cigarette, a tiny black shard of obsidian silently split from the crystalline outer layer of armor around Vrill's fingertips. It snaked down the cigarette that was beginning to catch flame, slipping between the cap and main body. The heatstone parted way at the Cy-Toa's command, the crevasse widening just enough to swallow the obsidian shard before sealing once more as if nothing had happened. Vrill tilted his head backways and exhaled deeply, marveling as the smoke hit the top of their private bubble. He screwed the heatstone container shut and slid it back to Cyrix. Deep inside, the obsidian shard was growing while Vrill took another calm drag on his smoke. A marker. Just in case. "Well, official inter-koro investigations draw attention. Some good press, yeah, but as you just saw -" 'Syzygos' nudged his head slightly towards where Fenn was. "We're dealing with a touchy subject. Plus, don't want to scare off any leads before we get to them." He shrugged. "It may have been too cautious... but I suppose we're well past the point of keeping a low profile." Vrill glanced at Muir as he inhaled more smoke. "My partner's all about transparency - to a fault. I urged for more discretion... but that hasn't really gotten us that far. You're probably not the first or the last to see straight through our cover." There was real remorse at that failure. Even if for the wrong reasons. It was the most honest and vulnerable Vrill had ever been in the Le-Toa's presence. Even Muirtagh would have been surprised, had he been able to hear the sorrow in Vrill's voice. Good thing Cyrix had him in that bubble, then. "So - you think we should announce our new task force?"
  6. IC: Vrill [Wise Man's Archive, The Backroom] Vrill shook out another cigarette before he stowed the cardboard pack of 'Fusa' branded cigarettes in the same crystalline compartment. The strong black silhouette of the desert Rahi's raised fists stuck out against the tan, nearly sandpaper background. He preferred the much-advertised 'toasted' flavor of Ta-Koronan 'Hikaki Strikes' to that of Po-Koro's sun-dried 'Fusa' competition... but Onu-Koro's smokes tasted like dirt and he figured Muirtagh would find the local flavor more amenable. That was what he might say if he was pressed... but the choice of cigarettes he had with him were primarily a result of the local stands he checked out on his way to the lawyer having selections that could only be described as "complete ####". The paper danced between Vrill's impatient fingertips in well-practiced twirls, waiting for its funeral pyre to arrive.
  7. IC: Vrill [Wise Man's Archive, The Backroom] Vrill's optics lingered on Priicu for a moment before returning to Cyrix. He took a pack out from under his armor, shook loose one of the rolls, and handed it to Cyrix.
  8. IC: Nichou [Ga-Koro, Warehouse] From over Nale's shoulder, the focus pulled back to Nichou. His purple Kakama shifted slightly towards the frame, as if enough to show his intent and thought process, even if he didn't look directly at her. Did he have her back? There was a pause as if there was a consideration, but this was instead his own momentary befuddlement at the thought that this was even a question. Nichou didn't think himself to be someone who left other Matoran behind. Not that Nale could have seen it (even if she had been looking in Nichou's direction instead of watching his back, given how dark it was) the carpenter slipped his hatchet out of its leather loop on his tool belt. The worn oaken handle was a perfect fit for his tight grip. The tradesman didn't want to use it, but he knew that he certainly could and would if either of them needed him to. "I know you just met me this afternoon, but did you really have to ask?" Diffuse the tension by pulling the floor out from under it with a reassuring wisecrack. It was not only meant for Nale - Nichou was projecting a confidence in their safety that he himself had been losing as they crept deeper into this strange den. In fact, he was feeling much better himself by the fact that she had brought it up in the first place. Just saying it out loud made him feel safer. He hadn't felt like this in a long time. A long time. Despite the uncertainty, this time Nichou felt more ready than he ever had been for something like this. Danger. Adventure. There was a momentary exhilaration in the Onu-Koronan's green heartlight at the thought of making a difference in a way he hadn't before. Typically, people trusted his creations to protect them. Rarely did they look to him to be a guardian. Times truly had changed.
  9. Not to mention that stuff's happening at the other two locations. Kentoku has a lot of lore but also plenty of places where it's easy to catch up given the apocalypse is going on there. Zakaz and Seprilli only have a few pages of posts and if you want to read up on a location before jumping in they have plenty of room. Plus, the other locations on mata nui have some stuff going on too - some more than others - to drop in on.
  10. If you like giant gangs of matoran doing hobbit things, there's a massive pile of characters in Ga-Wahi that are going to be grouping up on some quests to join in on. Also, there are two voyages in preparation that you could get a character in on the ground floor of - the pirate ship infernavika in Po-Wahi and the Po-Koronan naval flagship Fowadi currently in Ga-Wahi. Regarding backstories: you don't have to be very specific. The rule of thumb for Toa is that they either washed up on a beach with no memories at some point in time after Makuta defeated the Toa Mata, or they were a Matoran on Mata Nui that transformed into a Toa at some point after Makuta defeated the Toa Mata (~102-103 years ago). If you have some specific ideas that help the characterization as far as when/how they became a toa on mata nui, go for it, but yeah, nobody who came from outside of Mata Nui knows how they got there.
  11. OOC: Recommended listening IC: Nichou [Ga-Koro, "Industrial" District] Eita had drawn his sword, and so followed the assorted tools of those who followed him. It was an unspoken rule; the potential for danger, nature's peer pressure, practically forcing others to follow suit no matter how innocent they looked. The time for conversation was over. Unfortunately... As the group began to file into the ramshackle warehouse, Nichou and Nale held the rear watch. That was, until Ranok stepped aside at the door. Deducing that the musician felt out of his depth, Nichou slid the metal walking stick out from where it was lodged near his backpack and handed it to the De-Matoran. The staff wouldn't be of much use to the carpenter inside the building, and he thought that Ranok could use the support, even if only psychologically. The Onu-Koronan's silent stare conveyed that there would be no questions about the offer, and before Ranok had the chance to second guess, the Onu-Matoran and Fa-Matoran had already slipped past the threshold along with everyone else in the pack. In the darkness of the overgrown interior, Nichou uncoupled the shaded lenses from his Kanohi, stowing them on his tool belt. Perhaps he should have done that before entering what felt like a wilderness, but he knew that Nale had his back. She was remarkably alert, keeping a consistent pace throughout the journey. The Fa-Matoran seemed stuck to Nichou through some unseen force like a lodestone did iron. Close, but not too close - Nichou was glad Nale's magnetic personality had a balanced urge to keep from touching distance, what with the spear-waving and all. Somebody could get hurt with that thing if she turned in the wrong direction with someone too close. Karz, even if she wound up for an attack in the right direction, the back of the spear might knock the Kanohi from a Matoran right behind her. Even if the looming shelves of plants running amok added to the feeling like the two Matoran were back to back as they watched both rear flanks, Nichou made sure to give the polearm room to breathe, as much for his own sake as hers. Nichou's right hand gripped his hatchet just below the head. The tool hadn't left his belt. Yet, at least. He kept his own head on a swivel, his phosphoric green optics scanning the overgrown brush for any movement or oddities with their natural night vision. “Some place, huh?” Nale spoke up. “I was expecting it to be a lot more shady. Well, I guess the plants make a lot of shade, but…that’s not what I mean.” "More shady?" he whispered back to her. It still felt like the were the only ones there. The others behind them, at the front of the group, were off focusing on the main event once again. A little light discussion in the rear echelon couldn't hurt. Nichou thought back to the last time he had been in a battle (though it was a story rarely repeated) and he remembered it being much more loud, so they had to be in the clear, right? Still, he couldn't shake the intuition that something about this place was very wrong. "You use to live in Xa-Koro or something? How could this be more shady?" OOC: @Tarn @Mel @Rahisaurus @~Xemnas~ et al.
  12. IC: Kihr [Spineless Bay] "He'll provide enough." Kihr answered. After another deep pump of his internal respirator shifted into a low whine, he elaborated. "You'll see when we reach the rendezvous." As they continued their solitary eastward trek, the greenery melted away to the more typical mix of dried and dying grasses. Plants slaughtering each other in a constant struggle for the scarcest of resources. Becoming crueler. Growing thorns. Besieging aquifers to starve their neighbors. The fertility of the spineless bay was a facade of normalcy that tired the eyes. Reminded one of what life was supposed to be, instead of the reality it had become. Kihr held a deep appreciation for this dichotomy between a pastoral history and present's desert of the living.
  13. IC: Nichou [Ga-Koro, Streets] The Onu-Matoran nodded along as Nale gave him the rundown. Nichou let loose a slight chuckle at the thought of Miracle Cactus as contraband. He hadn't partaken himself, but he had heard over the years that, aside from the legendary healing effects of raw consumption, it made quite an epic tea. At the mentioning of a 'quest', a wistful grin broke through his calm demeanor. His optics were distant - still looking to the Fa-Matoran's Kakama, but it seemed as if they were focused on something on the other side of her. It only lasted a few moments. As she continued to speak, the memory faded and his attention returned. “Although, sounds like that other group has a problem they need solved, too.” "Indeed." He shot a glance in the same direction. The wood-armored Matoran was hastily writing something down again, the repetitive circular motions familiar to the carpenter, even at that distance. Was he some kind of scribe? A chronicler, perhaps? Maybe that's why Ranok seemed to gravitate towards him. A kinship of storytelling. Nichou briefly wondered if that was what Korero was like when he joined the Wanderer's Company - always writing things down. Early on, the future Maru had no clue he was destined to take Lepidran's place. That's just how Destiny is sometimes, Nichou supposed. Maybe Destiny knew that keeping Korero in the dark let him document the party's journey better. Perhaps the Le-Toa learned a lesson in that, in a similar manner that Nichou had learned much from his own solitude on the outskirts of greatness. Except with entirely different circumstances, of course. "Plenty of problems to go around, these days," Nichou lamented. "This Eita guy, he tell you more about his homeland's situation?" OOC: @Tarn
  14. IC: Vrill [Wise Man's Archive, The Backroom] Vrill had a feeling that Muirtagh wasn't going to budge. Intuition, let's say. Time and time again he'd learned the hard way that trying to compromise with Muir on a 'moral' issue was as pointless as punching a brick wall. For all he knew off to his side there were already columns of smoke steaming from Fenn's audio receptors at Niici's doubling down on Antidermis research. They already had the attention of the Kalta, and it was best to not sour it further. They had managed to get Cyrix speaking frankly about touchy subjects, and that ice woman even called Vrill smart! He could work with that. But they had to give it time to grow, not force cooperation. Not to mention that Vrill was in the dark about what the lawyer's Kanohi had picked up - cross referencing what they knew were lies would give an edge next time. The longer their perceptions of the truth weren't synchronized, the harder it would be to pin their targets down with coordinated strikes in the verbal arena. The agent was also satisfied with the purpose of the visit - he knew how close (or rather, not) Cyrix was to his true identity, and from the sounds of things, he'd gotten the Kalta member to buy their Po-Koronan cover story. Everything else was bonus, as far as he was concerned. But they were running out of things to learn, and the amount of things that could undermine the duo's progress was growing by the minute. That's why Vrill spoke up before Muir had a chance to further debate the merits of Cultured Gentry business. Once again, the obsidian-armored Toa changed the subject. "Either way, doesn't matter when we don't have any Antidermis to even debate researching." The Cy-Toa leaned back in the chair that he had made for himself earlier. "Anything else? Or can we get back to our research in peace? You know where to find us if you find anything that will help our investigation." OOC: @Goose@Keeper of Kraata
  15. IC: Myhruk [Ga-Koro, The Fowadi] He paused for a moment. Who was to say that stepping foot on this abomination of flotation would not cause it to lose all buoyancy and suck him into the depths of Naho Bay the second he stepped foot on it? He didn't say a word as he put one foot on the gangplank, leaning forwards as if stretching his legs until it looked like he knee could go no further before crumpling in on itself. He flexed back and forth, as if testing the boarding ramp for any give or flex. On the fourth leg stretch, he bolted forward in a sprint up the ramp and over the side, as if the floor was falling under him but he could stay mid air if he just gained enough momentum. The Lesterin didn't stop until he reached the mast, which he hugged momentarily, his arms hitting it and bracing his impact like a spring before he flipped around to not-so-casually lean against it. Luckily, there was no way anyone nearby noticed.
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