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Haman Karn: A Magical Girl

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About Haman Karn: A Magical Girl

  • Birthday 08/27/1996

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The Tracer

The Tracer (231/293)

  1. IC: He saw Utu; not the sullen, croaking corpse he had been at the end, but Utu as he had been in his prime - ferocious, a demon with chipped, dirty-ice eyes, mammoth's bones, and a cavity in his breast titanic and empty in equal measure, as cold as it was hot, black and yawning, more sinkhole than heart. It was no easy feat to straddle such a creature, to pin him to a bed with the easy strength that comes naturally to some lovers. But in this dream, as in life, Dorian had managed to restrain him, ensnaring him with long, leather-bound chains. As in life, there was a pillow wrapped neatly around Utu's skull, cushioning his friend from all the horrors of the world, robbing him only of the misery of breathing. The pillow had Dorian's body on it, and Ol' Blue Eyes was grinning back at him as though it was the easiest thing in the world to just lay back and be a pillow. It bled stuffing from a pair of wounds beneath its sternum, but those wounds bled hot, guilty blood too, and the pillow seemed unconcerned with staunching them. It wasn't the only variable that was making the equation difficult. Utu was critiquing him every step of the way. "Could you not draw this out? I have places to go after this." That must be nice. Try struggling a little. People usually struggle when this happens to them. "Did I struggle last time?" What? Maybe. Probably. I don't remember it that well. "Don't you? You killed your friend." Your death didn't even last, you giant baby. "Betrayal does." Ice the talking, pick up the struggling, big guy. This isn't doing anything for me. He could feel the face of Utu Kotore contorting beneath the face on the pillow, two layers of mocking grins powered by the same muscles. It was nice to know that even in his dreams, some people were true to life - but how true was that, anymore? People like Joske and Cael, Merror and Agni...they were open books to him. Someone like Tuara was harder, but they knew each other's charm points and dark places in equal measure, and it led to a more honest accounting of their relationship as Dor thrashed in sleep, night after night, sobbing with rage and guilt into the ragged holes on a body pillow. But how well had he known Utu? Hey. "Yes?" How did you end up dying? "Probably alone. Probably afraid. Same as anyone." Dorian pressed his palm down onto the printed Calix, trying to muffle the barbs of the Mark Bearer beneath, but his hands lacked the same altruistic streak that had led him to this hospital bed in life, all those years ago; his grip was clammy and weak. Utu's laugh had always sounded like rocks colliding. In his dream it was different - still a stone, but one skipping along a cold, clear lake. Death had brought him a measure of peace, like Dor always thought it would. Maybe Cael and Agni had seen that too - just peace on Utu's terms, not on his. Somehow he had never thought of it that way. "Is that what your terms are? Calling your own shot, quitting at a moment's notice?" What freedom do you have in your life if you can't choose when to die? "People can't choose when they die, Dor." You're wrong. "And you can't just choose to save them. It happens or it doesn't." Whose life did you ever try to save? "Yours. More than once. More than you ever did for me." Nnnngh. "You know how this goes. Moving on is a process--" No, no, no no NO! I'm sick of this! I'm done with process! Everything I do now is a process - atoning, recovering, grieving, why are these all such processes? I miss immediacy. Pulling a trigger. Cannonballs at the beach. Coughing after your first shot. The burst from a Mark. A hug. "What's a lifetime, if it's not one big process?" Then ******...let that be over, too. Is that what you want to hear? I want to die. I want to die a whole, whole, whole whole lot. And this is the only place where I feel safe saying it. No one will listen here. "..." That what you wanted? "I am you." It was true. The lips on the pillow were moving in time with Utu's, and that was certainly Dorian's face on the pillow. His cheekbones, his brow, his grin and the laughter in his cerulean eyes. They had left out the circles drawn under his eyes since Joske died, and the tears that sprang unbidden whenever he passed a Kolhii game, but this pillow was probably a first-run edition, printed and fluffed long before those were staples of his look. Or maybe including the ghosts in someone's eyes just wasn't a very good selling point for a sexy pillow. "Think of the times you've decided not to die when things looked bad. We can think of a few, can't we?" Well... Sure. But there are times I gave up, too. "Yet we're in your dream. I can't speak for where I am right now, Dorian, but I'm very certain I'm not dreaming." Huhhh. Mmmm. Hey, do you think the world is flat? "Do I what." There's somewhere I'm looking for, and I don't have any idea how to get there. But it's important. I can avenge Joske there. "You did avenge Joske." Only once. He told me I had somewhere to go. "He told you. With his dying breath?" No. In a dream. "Like this one?" Hummmmm. Yeah. "You just want to feel better about what happened, and that has nothing to do with the world being flat." If I just get on a boat and sail, will I find it one day? Or will I just drop off the map and- "Give me this if you're not going to do anything with it." Utu's massive palms, which Dorian had seen used to crush a Matoran's skull like grapes, reached up and grasped his own. Dor's fists were dwarfed within them, as surely as the pillow had dwarfed Utu's face. They pressed down hard, so that more of his bone structure became visible beneath the instrument of his own murder. "I'd rather die again than hear you talk yourself into believing the world is flat." I have to believe something. "Where'd you learn that from?" You know who. "I do. I wish you'd unlearn it, it ruined you for good." His own dialect was beginning to creep into Utu's; he was starting to hear traces of his own inflection in the Toa of Ice's mountainous rumble. "Then wake up, Dorian Shaddix, and hit that ****** deck. Search the four corners of your flat Earth, kill who you've gotta, and save who you can. People will judge you, and they'll doubt you, and they won't be much help along the way. People can judge you, and doubt you, and they won't be much help along the way, but that's because they gave up on what you're doing long ago. Or they never had the strength to try. Or they become cops, and you know how useless they are. Those who can't be heroes teach heroes. So don't listen to them. Do what you do best, and the rest will come or it won't." The pillow slackened over Utu Kotore's face, reluctance seeping into every muscle of Dor's grip. His hands wrenched free of Utu's cold palms and tossed the pillow aside. A dusting of blood and feathers arced through the air above them and hung there. It was a rainbow above their heads. "It's that easy, huh?" I asked hoarsely. "No," Utu rumbled. "The process never gets easier. People will say you're never done. So just try today on for size. Today's the day you leave the bed. Today's the day you can trust yourself to have a drink, not four. Today's the day you prove the world is round, that sloths do fall from trees, and that you deserve to be here. And if you keep believing that, today's the day you can hold your gun again." My gun. The thought of that familiar grip brought a warm, wan smile to my face, the mature older brother to the impetuous grin on the discarded pillow. "Today," I breathed. "Today. I can kick today's ******." "I think you can, too." Utu didn't smile; I didn't know what it looked like when he smiled, so I knew the look would be impossible to conjure up, be it memory or dream. I wish we could've shared a smile together, once or twice. But Utu Kotore's voice sounded like he would have liked that, too. "It's tomorrow I can die." "No. Tomorrow, you won't want to." Utu's voice smiled again. "Wake up, Dorian. You're drooling on your pillow." "HAAAA AAA AAA AAA AAA AAA AAA!" He woke up with a gasp, breathing deep into the innards of the pillow. The seagull's mocking calls mingled with a few cries of despair; it seemed that the avian life on Mata Nui had taken to harassing the Dasaka with a vigor they had never dared unleash upon the Matoran. More than once some naive, trusting Dasaka with a love for wildlife had approached the docks with a loaf of bread and found her fingers and face victim to the scimitar-mouths of the Ga-Koran gulls. He could hear the screeching calls for aid tugging at his mind, as he had since the Fowadi docked and he had taken shelter here, below deck, from the prying eyes of the island that thought him dead. Usually they gave him a piercing headache, one where he could feel his guilts and memories being dug up and cast aside without regard as they searched for each other on the plane. Today, for the first time, he welcomed the intrusion. And, for a second, he eavesdropped in on his own brain. .:MASAAAAAAAA:. .:MASAYOSHIIIIIIII:. .:YOUR CHOJO BIDS YOU SLAY THIS MONSTER:. Dorian laughed aloud into the sand-stained pillow, breathing fresh air into a pair of deflated down lungs. And for the first time in days, he crawled out of bed. His neck and shoulders cracked from disuse, and he stretched up to touch the ceiling of his little cabin, then down to touch the bottom of his bed. His foot hooked around the strap of the bag he'd been lugging around the island, the one he'd kept zipped for his own protection. His fingers touched the zipper reverently and pulled. His arsenal waited inside, enough firepower and ammunition to sack a Guard HQ if he wanted to - and more than enough for himself. He reached for the weapon on top- --felt its grip in his hand-- --and, far from despairing, I felt like myself again. Sup, nerds. What arc is it? Wait, what the heII is BZPRPG.com-- Only for a second. But it was enough. Dor climbed up to the top deck of the Fowadi to the sounds of pitched battle. On the dock, the seagulls, Mata Nui's best and brightest, were being fended off with frantic pulses of psionic energy; the away team as represented by a girl even taller than Tuara. But Tuara's brains had been consumed for energy at an early age, to make room for the muscle that made her the most singular woman Mata Nui had ever turned his gaze on. This Dasakan girl must not have lacked for brains; she was skinnier than some of the palm trees, and it looked like her shoulders popped with every wild throw of energy. Behind her, a swordswoman with a crystal visor was making a show of reaching for her swords, but not a very effective one; Dor could see the ghost of a grin on her face from here as she took her time protecting her charge. The gun weighed heavy in his hand. Kill who you gotta. Save who you can. Raising the gun came as naturally to him as breathing, kissing, or ****** up; three quick cracks and it was over, as his bullets turned the seagulls into tiny little supernovas. The ruin made of their bodies rained down into the waters, with occasional splashdown on the docks near the feet of the two Dasaka. Blood and feathers. Like a rainbow. Dor grinned at them, and the young girl - younger than Joske, younger than Skyra, younger than him - grinned back. "Appreciated, great Toa!" Great Toa? Dorian Shaddix laughed at her, loudly enough that it carried from the deck of the Fowadi, and winked. -Tyler
  2. IC: Most of Sato's story was only making a surface level impact on Whitehot, a case of neglect that she would come to regret for the rest of her days. Sinshi would ensure she never heard the entire story again, no matter how much the Toa of Earth whined, pleaded, or stomped her foot with enough force to level a house. That said, as much as she would have loved to tuck such a salacious, lewd piece of blackmail away on her Menti companion, the toothy description of Sado's assailants had begun to gnaw upon Whitehot's spine. "You guys had never seen a Parakuka before when the Ryuu first arrived," she mused, chin cupped in her palm, remembering the chaotic day on the docks when the Dasaka had first arrived. "So I'm guessing you've definitely never had Rahkshi, either. That's...pretty insane timing." -Tyler
  3. IC: Dorian's gaze clung searchingly to Praggos, watching him for some telltale sign of betrayal or admonishment that always seemed to come from senior figures. When none came, he reached over with a fist and punched the doctor on the shoulder that had once been Marked with contempt. "I've never really thanked you for ev-ery...thing..." They had both stopped to watch a pillow, its fluffy surface marred with twin knives, plunge from the top floor of the Dustpool into the sands. Marred with sweat, dirt, and...um, drool? Wet spots - the pillow gazed up at the two Toa with a smug, boyish rictus that belied its grievous wounds. DON'T I JUST LOOK A-DORABLE? the body on the pillow's surface crowed in a speech bubble, printed to the right of its face. Praggos started to chortle as Dorian's gaze drifted up to the window, then back down to stare at it. "Oh, no," he muttered sadly, as though he had watched a young sloth plummet to its death. Praggos' chuckles grew louder, a little stronger. Dor shot him a sullen look and scooped up the mortally wounded body pillow, carrying it a few steps forward to the alley between the Dustpool and a blacksmith. One Dorian Shaddix propped another up against the building, pulling the knives from his wounded body - after all, the pillow was far beyond any danger of bleeding out - and setting them at his inked-on hands. He produced a cigarette and tucked it inside the top of the pillow's case. His fingers clutched the lighter that had once belonged to Joske Nimil, as a reminder of the fire he'd lost. Dor kept it for similar reasons. "Here, suck on this, soldier," he murmured. "And rest. I know how hard you fought." He lit a second for himself, and the two himbos shared a respectful final moment together. DON'T I JUST LOOK A-DORABLE? the pillow quipped, brave in the face of dusty oblivion and future scavengers. "Yeah. Yeah, of course you do." Dor scooched the knives closer to the pillow's sides and stood to rejoin Praggos. He had shoved one hand into his pocket grumpily and flicked his cigarette to the ground with the other. As they began their walk to the bazaar in earnest, the smile gone from Praggos' face for some reason, Dor made sure to dig his boot over the cigarette, burying it in the sand. "I don't know why anyone had to do that," he grumbled. "It wasn't the pillow that hurt anybody." -Tyler
  4. IC: Dorian watched the trio of law enforcement, both current and former, depart into the gun store with a curious look on his face. His teeth were clearly locked together behind the backs of his lips, for fear of something he might want to say or cry out. His hand trembled near a holster that had seldom been empty for years, but when it stopped, he turned to Praggos - the target of years of japes that ranged the entirety of cruelty's spectrum - and a serene grin spread across his face. "Everyone's been so friendly," he mused out loud. His mouth twitched and his right hand balled up, punching the doctor in the shoulder. "C'mon. Let's go grab something already. I remember this kebab stall from the night before I joined Bad Company, they had this great plug from produce from Ga-Wahi--" For all the animosity slung his way, however unfairly, it was fair for Praggos to say he knew the tempestuous Toa of Iron better than most. So he may have noticed that, despite the guilt clearly gnawing away at his reflexes and boyish looks, Dorian was truly, finally acting... "--so while Cipher was hashing out the details, I was out buying the grossest, messiest cut of liver I could find, and I was going to pretend to hurl it up--" ...like himself. Finally, as they cut out onto one of Po-Koro's main streets and began passing underneath many of the inns, the Toa of Iron paused his mischievous tales to take a breath. He shot a glance up at the Dustpool Inn to their right and then back to Praggos, eyes twinkling above the scarf that covered the rest of his face. "Hey, Praggos?" -Tyler
  5. I truly believed Tyler Durden was your honest, real life, full name. I thought you simply fancied it enough to often go by it here, too. Until rather recently, when I ran across a story written by you on a world news site. My jaw dropped at the chance of discovering the writings of a BZPower member in such a location. Off to Google I went with the name, and the cold truth hit me like a bucket of ice water: Tyler Durden wasn't real. Unexpectedly devastating. Genuinely.

  6. IC: "You're welcome. Behind you." The news that Arms was going to be on the road again was of little surprise to Dee and of even less consequence. Skipping over the brew that had sent her into a fugue state, Deuandra rifled with practiced fingers through carefully arranged wooden bowls, plucking several samples of various herbs and capsules into another, larger bowl. She cupped it with a hand and passed it, over her left shoulder, to her patron without looking. "Don't mix the red and yellow," she admonished with the half-hearted concern of an overworked physician. "Your extremities will swell. If you do mix them, take another yellow and drink from a Miracle Cactus, or your hands and feet will atrophy. Vana, do you have water?" -Tyler
  7. IC: Hahli's eyes threatened to remain shut even through the first knock on the door. The Dasaka were welcome guests of Ga-Koro, and their Rora had seemed amiable; like Ayiwah had explained, Yumiwa was a charming figure, skilled in diplomacy, asserting what she wanted yet reflexively seeking compromise. She would have gotten along with Nokama as famously as she had with Hahli. The thought brought a wan smile to the Ga-Matoran's face. Still, the visit had proved taxing, especially on only a couple of days' notice. And there was something about the earnest way the beer-sipping younger princess had filled the room with her presence... Anyway, what Hahli was really looking forward to was a nap. Until the second knock came. That was when she decided it was either Akiri business, which meant it was time to put her diplomatic face back on and ignore how her shoulders and calves were killing her, or it was Jaller, in which case she would utilize her shoulders and calves to cave his skull into a banana shape. Standing and cracking her neck, she made her way downstairs from the office chair she'd been languishing in. When she cracked open the door, she was greeted by the welcome sight of Toa Leah, along with a small party in the Toa Maru's wake. There was a Rahkshi corpse at her door. Play it cool. She put her foot on the dead monster's skull, mantling it like a true conqueror. She grinned sharply at her friend. "Thank you for the present, Toa-hero," she chuckled, although inside her heart was simmering with tension and fear. "What's the occasion?" @Vezok's Friend @ARROW404 @Rahisaurus @Mel IC: "Coming, coming!" Unlike her Akiri across the Koro, Nixie had been deep in the throes of a nap, which may have contributed to the cranky edge in her voice. Or perhaps it was, historically, Nixie's poor reputation with surprise guests. Many of her neighbors had made her the butt of jests about how disturbing Nixie's slumber led to surprise Valkyr attacks, which not only wasn't funny, it wasn't fair - much like the attacks themselves. The door cracked a peep, and a baleful golden eye stared out at Kira from the abyss. "Hello?" -Tyler
  8. IC: Dorian stood between Praggos, Skyra, and her new plushie, spinning his train whistle in his right palm. He looked like he was trying to come up with ways to do tricks with it. "I probably shouldn't be walking into a gun store," he mused out loud. "I'll meet you guys at Sentinel headquarters. Buy me something pretty, Sky, you know what I like. Praggos, you hungry? I'm buying." -Tyler
  9. IC: I want to hit this wall until something scarlet comes out of ears I don't bloody well know if it will be mine or his His heel clicked against the icy floor impatiently, synchronized with bored, scornful bounces of the side of his face against the perch of wall he was slouched against. Look at that pose. He made Reordin sick. Leaning forward, fingers steepled, going on and on about all the work it had taken to groom his Toa team, the old nonce. "Well, if only the Rahkshi had waited to attack them until they proved themselves to you," the Toa Maru of Ice drawled. "Personally, I don't like the idea of a race of Toa capable of excavating our minds, either, but then I'm not big on your perverse little gremlin either. But Ga-Koro has played host to their initial expedition for months, and Leah's sent regular correspondence. Every letter speaks glowingly of them. They might be high-strung, but they're honorable. No different from the people you were hired to defend here." Sarcasm dripped from his tone. "If Leah vouches for the aliens, that's a start. Enough for me, at least." OOC: @Keeper of Kraata @The UltimoScorp @Visaru -Tyler
  10. IC: They could make drifting off seem so simple. Dor had once been possessed of that same skill - the ability to drift off anywhere, anytime, in order to recuperate. He wasn't sure where exactly his sleep had gone away. He had only really noticed its absence, and tried to fill the void by singing to himself. Like a child did, for protection. Another sunny afternoon, walking to the sound of my favorite tune... Quietly, though, so as to not wake up Krayn. He looked younger when he slept. God he could breed me. -Tyler
  11. IC: Yumi's sudden departure left her younger sister momentarily despondent; for most of the morning they had been so close, cuddling and sharing jokes at Masa's sardonic expense, that letting her sister go now felt like one step forward in their troubled relationship and five steps back. She wanted to follow Yumi like a puppy, content once again to act like her sister's handmaiden as long as she could remain part of Yumi's sunny corner of the sky, before the obvious truth hit her. Her sister would always be a slave to her own wanderlust, and would never be content to stay onboard the Panda or Yukanna and await a brainstorm on how to retake Sado. No, Yumi planned on going and exploring. She likely expected Des to do the same. She wasn't being punished by her sister, she was being liberated by the Rora; she wasn't being abandoned yet again by her family, far from home. For the second time in her life - and the first time any Chojo had ever set foot on a foreign land - Umbraline Desdemona was being left unsupervised. I'm gonna meet a handsome boy! I'm gonna go meet a beautiful girl? I'm going to make new friends! Eat weird fruits! Drink weird stuff! She stood up proudly, drawing herself to a tall, willowy height that now seemed regal instead of spindly, took her first step towards her new, popular phase-- "Wuu-wuaaaaagh!" --and her foot caught on Yumi's discarded blanket. "##### ##### #####!" she yelped in panic, trying to regain her balance as her long limbs flailed, but it was her faithful best friend who caught her. Thanking Zuto Nui for Masa's Arthron, she drew herself back up to her full height and dusted off her shoulders. With a bit more balance this time, she lifted the foot currently draped in the scarlet blanket and placed it back onto the couch, neatly folded over once, before turning back to Masa with a look equal parts grateful and suspicious. "...What are you, Masa?" "Blind, my Chojo." Masayoshi's mouth tightened in mock obedience, but her hand tightened around Desde's shoulder with just enough pressure to make the glass-boned Umbraline princess squeak. "Great." She threw up an awkward, simpering thumbs up at her sworn sword. Masa lifted one back. "Glad we're on the same page, Masa." On her way up the stairs, she heard her uncle's assistant snicker. Thankfully, she was much more coordinated as she crossed Yukanna's deck and hopped onto the docks of Ga-Koro; suddenly, she was no longer the stick insect Desde, but Umbraline Desdemona, exotic princess on the prowl for action! ... Where do I find the cool people? That was one of Yumi's skills, not hers. Oh no. Oh no! She wandered deeper into the Koro, looking for something that screamed cool. OOC: Do you scream cool? Come be friends with Sado's favorite imouto! IC: "I can show you girls where to wrestle dirt worms!" Whitehot chimed in, perhaps ignorant of the broader context of Daijuno's earlier distress or Sinshi's pointed line of questioning. "Do you have any embarrassing baby Sinshi stories?" -Tyler
  12. IC: Jasik gave Kilanya a curious look as she spoke. It was hard for him to even remember the woman she had been before Yusanora's assassination had upset their lives. Surely they must have met at functions before, galas or diplomatic functions. Yomiken had probably considered Kilanya a prime candidate for marriage at one point. Had they even met, shared a dance perhaps, during the Chiisai Ryuu's announcement party? Jasik couldn't remember; the details of that night had largely blurred in his brain right now, resurfacing only in occasional, unwelcome dreams. Her markedly neutral pronunciation of support towards the Empire, with little mention made of the Dastana's secession, must have been a similar shock to them at the time, right? Had she always been so full of surprises, a maverick at heart? "Our troops are at their best," he responded, full of confidence as ever. Once it may have been dismissed as the easy confidence of the young and rich and proud, the kind Kulrik had trafficked in despite his idiocy, but he had fought with the Soulswords and Mindarms of Iki for months and knew the measure of almost all of them, down to the individual level. He spoke of them with a battle commander's pride. "And I don't doubt you can hold, Kilanya. But our bodies are tricky things. Most people never bother to take care of them. First Sons, especially." He remembered telling Masayoshi the same thing, dragging Inokio's own bloodied husk in his wake as he presented the Executor's assistant with her best, most detestable lead yet. He bit back a laugh, remembering the look on her blind face as she realized what was thudding down the stairs behind him. "And in the end, it's our bodies that kill us. Most of the time they creep up on us to do it. Just keep an eye on it. So I don't have to." -Tyler
  13. IC: IN arms ZZZZ name WE sac RI fice IN arms ZZZZ name WE sac RI fice-- Deuandra's gaze tilted over to the ovuk-taht puffing necromancer, currently slouched over her shoulder with her sharp chin nearly thrust into the chemist's collar. Vana found herself down here more than anyone, even Khy;Barr's lord, to the point where Deuandra had accepted her presence as a fact of life. Whether that was enough to qualify her as a "best friend" was something that "Dee" was dubious of, but Vana certainly seemed to think so. "It won't stop glowing," she deadpanned, turning her attention from the face inches from her own to her work again. It was hard to hear Vana, or her own voice, over the buzzing of the hornets in her skull-box, but that just meant that her latest attempt at cooking was leveling out. "Do you need a re-up, Vana?" -Tyler
  14. IC: "Oh, no," one of the Marines groaned. Her partner beside her remained silent, but Gelna had been stationed on the mainland for most of her career, and had intimate dealings with the crew of the Infernavika - so the Sand Toa's face, handsome though it may have been, raised memories of inane interrogations and endless, bombastic proclamations of love and joy. Even if she could no longer place the name as well as that of Captain Lohkar, or his first mate and rival Raknar, she found it hard to forget a face. "Nice jump," she drawled, clearly not paid enough to deal with an ex-pirate today. "But I'm not letting you any closer to my walls." -Tyler
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