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Ghosthands

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    Mostly just here for the BZPRPG, of which I've somehow become a staff member.

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  1. IC (Lohkar) [The Dancing Crab, Ostia] As the others spoke, Lohkar gradually relaxed his grip on the pistol and let his hand hang lazily one more. "All right, all right," he said, waving said hand in the air in resignation. "Never let it be said I'm not a man who knows how to compromise." His gaze alighted on Lash once more. "I still find meself disinclined to have a Rahk on me crew, or indeed someone with a self-confessed history of jumpin' ship on previous employers. However...far be it for me to deny a fellow ne'er-do-well their chance to get away from the more, ah, over-zealous o' the Koro security forces. So 'ere's the deal." In one surprisingly fluid motion, he swung his legs off the table and planted both elbows on it instead, clasping his hands and leaning over them at the Vortixx. "I am prepared to grant you and your little pet passage to Zakaz, albeit at double our usual price — each — an' with the condition that the big bug be kept in a cage in the hold at all times. Upon makin' port at Zakaz you an' your friend will leave post-haste. Now, I suppose it is possible that me an' my crew may somehow warm to the two of ya over the course o' the voyage, in which case a renegotiation o' this arrangement might be in order. But understand this, luv..." The Lesterin leaned further forward, fixing Lash with a grade-A threatening stare. "If any harm comes to my ship or my crew as a result o' my current fit of generosity, there will be nowhere on this Endless Ocean you can run to, an' no obstacle that will keep us from our revenge." He let the tension hang in the air for a moment, then settled back to lounge in his chair once more, looking around lazily at all present. "Tha' all sound fair?" OOC: @Nato G @pokemonlover360 @Void Emissary @Snelly @Visaru
  2. IC (NPC Broker henchman) [The Place] The Wanderer's jollity was met with the same stony response from the Skakdi henchman as Enra had received. "Broker wants to talk," he said, sticking a thumb over his shoulder to the cluster of vehicles parked opposite the Place. "Follow me." The Skakdi turned and began to trudge back towards the convoy. OOC: @Smudge8
  3. IC (Ageru Tazera) [Bridge of the Chiisai Ryuu] Tazera stiffened. Even with the promise of an intervention by one of the expedition's most formidable Menti, it still fell to her to placate the rogue Toa in the meantime. "Deliberations...are ongoing," she said. Allowing her voice to shake a little didn't take much acting either, with the amount of adrenaline still coursing through her system. "I believe your...demands will be accepted. But it will take some time to arrange. And the Commodore will have conditions of her own."
  4. IC [The Place] The Skakdi just shook his head with a low chuckle. "You tell him the Broker's here to see him." OOC: @Toru Nui
  5. IC (NPC Dastana Inzu) [Bridge of the Chiisai Ryuu] Through the fog of her stunned brain, Inzu became dimly aware of two voices talking to her: one in her ear, one in her head. Their words were fuzzy, she couldn't quite make them out, but she felt opposing reactions to each of them: one seemed Good and important, to be obeyed, and the other Bad, to be fought. She felt as though she was really supposed to be doing something, but couldn't remember what. She tried to open her eyes, move her limbs, but everything felt overwhelmingly heavy. A faint groan escaped her lips, but nothing more. IC (Ageru Tazera) [Bridge of the Chiisai Ryuu] Tazera was still in the belly of the beast, still caught in the flood of anger, guilt, fear, and other attendant emotions brought forth by this debacle; but as Ayiwah spoke, an island of calm began to form amid it all. Yes, her friend, her Commodore was right. The thief's position was not so secure, nor hers so hopeless, as they felt. And though she herself might not have had the means to resolve the situation personally with Soulswhip and Miru, those were far from her only strengths: first and foremost she was an officer, a leader. Though she found herself on the very front line of this particular situation, her ability to command and coordinate could still be brought to bear. She just had to centre herself, think, and find the solution. As Rudra muttered away in Inzu's ear (the man really was unhinged) she listened as calmly as she could to Ayiwah's reasoning and began to internalise it. There was a pause before her reply came over the mental plane, but when it did it was noticeably calmer and more level. :You're right, ma'am. My judgement was clouded. I was thinking the way the pirate wanted me to. This isn't over yet.: She was careful not to let her renewed confidence show and thus tip off Rudra (not that it took any acting to keep glowering at the man) as she continued her Ideatalk. :As you say, we cannot give up the Ryuu. He has Inzu, but we still have the numerical advantage and without our cooperation he has nowhere to go — and without Inzu he has nothing to bargain with. I can't get him off her myself, but perhaps someone else can. A skilled Mindarm, maybe.: She breathed deeply. :So what I need is backup.: :You have it.: A third voice echoed through the mental place, taking Tazera by surprise: a familiar male voice, and one that sounded much closer than Ayiwah's. :Commodore, Lieutenant,: the voice acknowledged each of them respectfully. :Ageru Dakte reporting. I am in position aboard the Ryuu and have visual on the hostage situation. I believe I can break the intruder's hold on Inzu with minimal risk to her person. Permission to engage?: OOC: @Vezok's Friend @Razgriz
  6. IC [The Place] "Lookin' for the Wanderer," the shotgun-toting Skakdi replied. His tone of voice and the look he gave Enra were not quite threatening, but certainly returned none of the friendliness with which he'd been greeted. He jerked his head towards the doorway she had emerged from. "He in there?" OOC: @Toru Nui
  7. IC (Vrinak the Broker) [The Warrens] “Do name your price first, when you find something. And we’ll see what we can do.” The Broker grinned. "Oh, we both know I'll do that." *** At noon on a sun-bleached day, a convoy of vehicles approached The Place from the southwest. Anyone present would've seen them coming well in advance, heralded as they were by the column of dust they kicked up from the road. Most were drawn by draught animals, but the one in the middle was motorised; a recent innovation. Outriders on mounts and the occasional motorcycle flanked the boxy wagons on either side. The convoy came to a stop, and the outriders fanned out, casting their eyes about The Place and the surrounding area. One, a burly Skakdi on one of the bikes, received nods from each of the others in turn, grunted to himself in approval, and dismounted. Hoisting a large double-barrelled firearm from the back of his cycle and slinging it over his shoulder, he swaggered slowly towards the entrance of the small inhabited building that adjoined the ancient amphitheatre. A second Skakdi followed after him, a few paces behind and to the right. The Place had visitors. OOC: @Smudge8 @Toru Nui
  8. OOC: Recommended listening. IC (Ageru Kilanya) [Fort Kizuno, Odaiba] "Very well," Kilanya intoned. "I shall begin." She closed her eye, breathed deeply, and reached out through the mental plane towards the mind in front of her. She extended her Will with well-practiced intent; a discipline that could harm or heal the mind it touched, according to the wielder's desire. Kilanya had done both in her time. Shiki began to feel the Toroshu's 'tell', the idiosyncratic manifestation of her Will, questing at the borders of her mind. It was the image and sensation of a great tree, strong of trunk and graceful of bough, its many roots slowly probing into the soil of her mind: not violent, but inexorable nonetheless, with the slow strength that makes paths through earth and stone and tears walls asunder, given time. The roots found their purchase, and stopped. The pressure on the barriers between her and the rest of the mental plane relaxed, replaced by a sudden calm clarity: a presence, a mental space placed beside her own, as if a shoji had been drawn aside between two adjacent rooms so that one might look through from one into the other. :There.: The voice in her head was not Ideatalk, not an echoing signal to be plucked from the mental plane. It was immediate, directly in her mind, gentle yet sonorous with power. :We are linked. I hope you do not find the experience disorienting.: Though Kilanya's single eye was closed, Shiki felt that the Toroshu's gaze was on her nonetheless — perhaps in a truer way than mere eyes were capable of. Through the doorway in her mind she felt something emanate forth: a readiness to begin, a determination to ensure progress was made...and then an expectation. A question. Was the student able to sense what she needed to? OOC: @Razgriz
  9. @Lady Takanuva asked off-site about Karoru's recent use of her psionics to share her focus with the group attempting to heal Leah. As a Soulsword, this is not part of her established power-set, but it's also a nice post that works well within the situation, so I don't want to force an edit. It also raises a fairly important point about psionics, so I thought I'd share my ruling here. Because I like the post, I'm going to allow it — but as an exception, rather than a rule. In this moment of crisis, Karoru is desperate to help and so has instinctively tapped into her psionics at a deeper level than her training has encompassed. She has managed to briefly use something similar to Willhammer without knowing what she's doing (similarly to how young Dasaka are pushed to manifest their power instinctively for the first time before being assigned their Discipline). It's only this specific situation that has enabled her to do so: a moment of crisis, yet also a peaceful and meditative environment. She wouldn't be able to replicate it, nor can other Dasaka necessarily achieve the same thing, even if they are themselves in exceptional circumstances. It's basically a fluke. Just to be clear about why I'm flagging this up: Psionics is a very broad and potent element. This is why Dasaka were given the Disciplines: to preserve the variety of interesting applications psionics offers, while placing limits on the abilities available to each individual PC. In the lore, the Disciplines are defined rigidly among the Imperials, and are drilled into Menti from the very start of their training. It's very difficult for them to break outside of those boundaries; this is why learning three Disciplines (i.e. becoming a Battlemaster) is exceedingly rare, and four is the stuff of legend. In this case it's not a big deal, but generally, if you want to have a character do something that's outside their established power-set, it's best to run it by staff first. We may allow it on the grounds of storytelling (or, indeed, rule of cool) but we do need to ensure good balancing of PC capabilities and consistency with established lore. And if you have any questions about what characters can and can't do, you're always welcome to ask!
  10. IC (Lohkar) [The Dancing Crab, Ostia] "That so?" Lohkar remarked softly, slowly. As Lash set out what she no doubt thought was her ace in the hole, the Lesterin's eyes had begun to narrow, and at the mention of the Piraka in particular, he shared a meaningful glance with Yasurek. The Ko-Matoran had been the most determined among the crew to help liberate Ko-Koro from the Legacy and their allies, among whom the six infamous Skakdi were notably counted. Lohkar's hand drifted from where he'd set his empty mug on the table towards his chest, to brush against the grip of the plasma pistol holstered there. "Thing is, luv," he said, "I'm not too keen on Makuta types meself. An' last I heard, those Piraka fellers were in cahoots with the Legacy, an' a bunch of nasty buggers in their own right." His fingers began to close around the pistol grip. "Now I've done some questionable things in my time, but I do 'ave standards. An' I'm not sure I want a Rahkshi on my ship. Nor somebody who's willin' to work for the likes o' those grinners. So..." he continued, index finger stroking gently against the trigger, "...why don't you tell me why I should change my mind?" OOC: @Nato G @pokemonlover360 @Void Emissary
  11. OOC: Recommended listening. IC My name is Korero. You might know me as “Toa Korero Maru”. That’s who I’m supposed to be now. “Toa” isn’t a title: it’s a promise. To do what’s right, to stand united against the darkness, and to protect the people of the Great Spirit. I’ve been thinking a lot about promises lately. Before I was Toa Korero Maru, I was just Korero: just a little Matoran with his head in the clouds who stumbled his way into the web of fate. Into a Destiny. I wasn’t even a fighter; my Brothers and Sister all served their Koro before we became Toa, but I barely knew how to hold a spear. Sometimes that feels like a lifetime ago, and sometimes like it’s been no time at all. Sometimes I feel like I’m still just that little Matoran, play-acting at being a Toa. Sometimes I wonder why the Great Spirit chose me for this — and sometimes, when I’m at my lowest, I wonder if he even did. Faith. That’s another promise. Its symbol is there on my shield to remind people of that most intangible yet crucial of the Principles. By carrying that shield I’m promising that there is always hope, that people can rely on us, that Mata Nui will provide…but now, I’m not always sure I believe it myself. Two years ago, we fought Makuta, and we won. Or we thought we did. We certainly said we did. That’s what we told the people of Mata Nui, and what I had the indescribable honour of carving into the Wall of History. It wasn’t a lie — not on my part, anyway. I believed it. I trusted Stannis when he told us that the power of his mask, the power of Mata Nui, had vanquished Makuta. The ways of the Great Spirit are mysterious, and Stannis was our leader. I had faith. I didn’t think I needed to ask questions. Sure, nobody said he was gone for good, but I let myself believe it, and I let the people of Mata Nui believe the same: that we could live in peace and prosperity, free of fear. I didn’t learn the truth until later. After the peace we’d built was shattered by the Piraka, we confronted Stannis. At first he wouldn’t talk, and I think that’s when my faith in him broke. Until then, Reordin and I had been the chalk-and-cheese of the team…but in that moment, we became a united front. We were the only ones who really stood up to him. I know Oreius was angry too, but duty always comes first with him. Leah tried to mediate, as she always does, and Sulov was as inscrutable as ever. Only Reo and I could bring ourselves to call Stannis out on his careful omissions. But he wouldn’t talk. It took more escalations — above all, Ko-Koro — for him to relent and explain that Makuta hadn’t been destroyed, only banished to the Legend. I still don’t really understand what the Legend is, but I now know it’s a far less impregnable prison than Stannis would’ve had us, and everyone else, believe. Makuta is back. I’m sure of it. I’ve been to Kini-Nui — you can feel it there. Even in the brightest sunshine, you feel cold. In your bones. A prickle on the back of your neck, like you’re being watched. I don’t even dare go into Mangaia any more: the Rahkshi are moving, crawling out of whatever caves and crevices they’d retreated to after we cleared it out. They’re focused, they’re coordinated, and their numbers seemed to grow each time I scouted the tunnels. I think an attack is coming. All this time, we let our people believe they were safe. That they could grow and build unthreatened. That it was the beginning of a golden age of peace. But it was only ever a brief reprieve: a long, deep breath before a second plunge. If they’d known he was coming back, they could’ve used that time to prepare, to build defences and unite their forces. I come back to the symbol on the shield: Faith. Hope. False hope is no hope at all, and a lie of omission is still a lie. Promises. Before this all went to Karzahni, back when it really did feel like a lasting peace, I made another promise: to Kongu, the Akiri of Le-Koro. He’s a good man, a good leader, and a friend. I trust him, and I’m honoured to be the protector of his city. He’d just given a speech to usher in a “new dawn” for our people, and we walked together in the treetop streets. He hadn’t shown it in his speech, but he was troubled. I still remember what he asked of me: "No matter how bad things get, no matter how things fall-break apart, no matter what happens, you and the Toa-hero Maru must remain allies until the last man. Do you understand me my friend?" At the time I didn’t really understand. I couldn’t imagine a future where the Maru weren’t united. Now I understand what he was asking…and now I fear I can’t keep that promise. Now more than ever, Mata Nui needs the Maru, and needs us united — not just as warriors, but as champions, as symbols. I know that. But a team needs a leader, and I don’t know if I can ever follow Stannis again. It’s not just about the principle of telling the truth; it’s about the consequences too. If the Akiri had known we wouldn’t be out from under the Shadow forever, they could’ve prepared for this. How many innocents will die because we — because he — never gave them that chance? When I carved our story on the Wall, I left out the part about our predecessors. The First Toa, the Mata whose power lives on in us, descended into Mangaia long before we ever did…and they fell. Everyone knows that much. But they didn’t just fall: they were turned. Twisted into beings of Shadow. We faced them when we made our own descent, and we won, but the price of victory was the knowledge that even the greatest of heroes can become nightmares of Makuta. That part of the story isn’t on the Wall. We discussed it, as a team, and the decision was that it was best to let the memory of the First Toa remain pure…that the truth would do more harm than good. I disagreed, but I was outvoted, so I did as I was told and left it out: a little white lie, carved in the spaces between words. I didn’t even know I was carving one far bigger. Lies of omission are. still. lies. At the time I was blinded by the glory of our victory, and the honour of being asked to carve the fabled Wall of History. Now I don’t think I should’ve done it. I think that’s why we need Chroniclers: the quiet watchers, the storytellers, unclouded by the compromises of power and responsibility. They keep us honest. But when the ones with all the power get to decide how their own stories are told…where does that lead? It leads us here. I just wish I knew what comes next. *** Korero sighed, and flipped the leather cover of his notebook closed again, slotting the pencil into its pouch and slipping the whole ensemble back into his satchel. Pouring his troubles out onto the page always helped him get his thoughts in order, but it never really changed anything. He looked out at the view from the roof of his hut: treetops, stretching almost to the horizon, a sea of brilliant green leaves and just a hint of the real sea beyond, all bathed in glorious afternoon sunshine with hardly a cloud in the sky. It all still looked so idyllic…but he knew it was a mirage. The Shadow had already begun to fall over Le-Wahi once more. He rose to his feet, still looking out across the treetops, his gaze hardening as he tried to forge his dread into determination. Enough waiting. Enough worrying. It was time for him to act. Time to make it right. As for what that actually means…I’ll just have to figure it out as I go. He closed his eyes, concentrated on his destination, and in a flash of light he was gone.
  12. IC (Vrinak the Broker) [The Warrens] The Broker chuckled, holding Ipsudir's dangerous gaze with one of his own, just firm enough to show he wasn't intimidated by the Warlord while remaining cordial. This subtle posturing wasn't really necessary, of course; both of them knew where they stood. But one must keep up appearances. "Why yes, I have heard about this little get-together," he purred. "I'm told that said gentleman has been making the rounds, inviting the great and good of our isle. Should be quite the event, by the sound of it. As a matter of fact, I've been meaning to pay him a visit myself." He grinned dangerously. "I seem to have been overlooked in the invitations." He leaned to a nearby table and tapped the ash from his cigar into a tray before taking another drag. The exhaled smoke wafted up in lazy tendrils towards the hewn stone ceiling. "So, if there's any particular information you're looking for, I can make sure it's...acquired." OOC: @Mel @Visaru @Geardirector
  13. IC (Lohkar) [The Dancing Crab, Ostia] "Ha, I'll drink to that!" I affirmed with a grin, and did so. Consequently I was still nose-deep in my tankard when another prospective shipmate arrived, introducing herself as 'Lash'. Gunner, always quick on the up-take, took point while his captain was temporarily indisposed. Contrary to appearances, even as I downed the mug of rum, I was listening intently to the Vortixx's self-introduction. So far, so run-of-the-mill. A washed-up merc looking for a fresh start...Artakha knew there were enough of those floating around Ostia. And yet, my instincts raised a faint ping of warning. Her story was smoothly delivered but short on detail, vague in all the right places. That in itself wasn't necessarily a problem; in my business you generally have to take a don't-ask-don't-tell approach to recruitment. If somebody's willing to join a roving band of thieves on the high seas, chances are they're either the carefree-bordering-on-unhinged type (exhibit A: Sandman over there) or they've got a thing or two to hide. But I've heard a polished liar or two in my time (hey, you're lookin' at one) and sometimes you've just gotta listen to your gut when someone comes across a little too slippery. Wasn't reason enough to turn her away, of course. Just one to keep an eye on. I emerged from my drink with the trademark grin on full blast. Rule 1 of being cautious: don't let anybody know you're doing it. "Good ta meetcha, 'Lash'." Without moving from my eminently comfortable position, I extended one palm for a firm handshake. "Rest assured, we can get ya as far away from this rock as it's possible ta go. Question is..." I continued, eyes a-twinkle, "what can you do for us?" OOC: Sorry about the delay; been a rough couple of weeks but I should be able to post more regularly for at least the near future. @Nato G@Visaru @Void Emissary @Snelly@pokemonlover360
  14. IC (Ageru Kilanya) [Fort Kizuno, Odaiba] "Good," Kilanya replied, nodding once. She shifted her posture a little, allowing her body's weight to settle as she prepared to turn her focus to the mental plane. "I am not only a Soulsword: I am a Willhammer also. With your cooperation, I can use that power to bridge our minds. Then, we may each perform our summoning, and the other will experience the process through the link. I will be able to see the flaws in your technique more directly, and you will be able to understand the principles of mine more clearly." She paused. "I don't offer this lightly. To enter another's mind is the most intimate of intrusions. Your thoughts, your feelings...you may reveal more to me than you mean to. But in this new and dangerous world of ours, you need to find your strength, and this will grant us both insights that I believe will be invaluable to your training. "So. Are you willing to begin?" OOC: @Razgriz
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