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IC: Jolek [Ta-Wahi, Fowadi Aft Deck]

"...Feel like I've seen you somewhere before."

The vague sense of familiarity he was confident in, but the specifics were evading him. Her theatrically lazy circuit around him had given him time to try, in the moments she'd remained in view— but the people aboard seemed dead-set on splitting his attention one way or another. He wasn't getting much. Considering her sudden entrance from high up there, he had a feeling she could be quieter, sneakier than this— meaning the circling, in hunting terms, would be drawing the attention. Feinting worked in all Ways. 

He'd kept his gaze fixed on the grey toa through that time. He could hear her and feel her footfalls on the wood, enough to keep track of the space if nothing else. For a moment, the almost imperceptibly faint ring of wind chimes from the direction of the Ko-Toa joined the mental map he was putting together... And running through the short list of supplies, nothing he'd brought would jangle like that. He didn't think he'd seen any hanging low enough to propogate from there. So what gave?

His gaze narrowed a smidge, looking over the grey and silver armoring below the black Sanok this "Krayn" guy wore as the Le-Toa drew up alongside him.

So he had to be one of those sound elementals. That drew a frown, and with it more questions than answers.

He shifted. Part of him wished he'd brought Rebellion along and found a justification for it later.

Was that supposed to be some kind of cue? Why else would they be going through all this trouble?

He had to play it cool here, not get sucked into their pace.

"Had to be in Ta-Koro, of course. Been stuck there from the bombing till now."

Edited by Razgriz
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IC:


"Everybody relax."

He didn't raise his voice a decibel, but something in his tone cut through the growing tension. A little detour in the conversation was winding everyone tighter and tighter, no one more than the newcomer. Why he was expecting a fight to start Krayn couldn't say but he could see it. The way he was tracking everyone around him, noting every sound. Skyra hadn't meant anything by it but he'd ratcheted up a few more notches once she took a circuit.

"Dehkaz is the captain. Probably in his office, or up by the helm." He gestured, mostly from the elbow, in that direction and held out his right hand. There was no disguising the way his coat shifted, revealing a glimpse of leather belts and holsters underneath. Ta-Koro was too hot to have it buttoned. But unless he was completely brainless he could tell a greeting from a threat. "I'm Krayn. Have a name?"

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On this eve, the thirtieth anniversary of that first colony, many are left to wonder; is the world fast approaching a breaking point?

 

 

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IC: Rynekk | The Fowadi

"Spiritspeed to you, Pirok."

It was amongst the last things that Rynekk had said to that young man, that young foolish man, before the ship-lines had been untied and the tide had been caught, and the Fowadi drifted out and away from the island. Pirok, standing on the docks, had grown smaller and smaller, less and less distinct, until he was a speck, a shadow, a bare hint of a man on the horizon... and then nothing at all.

Rynekk exhaled heavily through his nose once, twice, and then turned from the side of the ship. Pirok's fate would be his own, a destiny made for himself, and Rynekk knew that there was naught he could have done for the boy, the man. His fingers still lingered in the folds of the belt loop that had once held that hatchet, though. Those fingers remembered the warm embrace of another good man's shoulder, and the cold touch of a grave marker, abandoned now deep in the desert. 

He clenched those fingers into a fist. Pirok was gone, good as. The island vanishing on the horizon.

There were other things to be done.

***

There was something in the newcomer's face that stirred Rynekk's memory. He had never met the man before, even in passing, that was certain. And a hard sprint and a harder swim had left the figure ragged, his breathing haggard, so that little enough could be gleaned from the motion of his body, the way he carried himself. But in the face... yes, it was something in the jaw, or in the brow, or both, that conjured in Rynekk visions of another ship. A hated ship, from a long time ago, and yet not long enough.

Infernavika.

That was it, yes! Another man who had served on that ship, a pirate, who had thought himself some good man thrust into a bad world. Rynekk knew the type. His name had been Perkahn, although he couldn't remember if he had heard the name said aboard the ship, or had looked it up afterwards. Accomplice to murder, he had noted in the ledger of his mind. Now that he had a name to the face, the resemblance was unmistakeable. But this man was young, much younger than Perkahn had been -- a nephew then, or a son.

For now, Rynekk let Krayn take charge. He just watched from a pace away.

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"I doubt it, honestly," I replied to Luten, slowly working the knife back out of the deck. Trying not to bend the blade, but if I did, at least we had Kale to fix it. "If he is, then he's playing at a really strange game. I'm interested to see how that works out if so." With a creaking of the boards the knife finally worked free, and I set it next to his bag.

"Skyra, be nice and get him something to drink, will you? He just tried to leap and swim half the harbor to get to us."

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IC: Skyra Daring - Fowadi -

I raised my eyebrow when the newcomer mentioned recognizing me. "Well, I do get around, so it's definitely possible you've seen me before." I was staring at him again, this time trying to see if I recognized him at all, but I was drawing a blank. "I've been to Ta-koro more than a few times so...hmmm..." 

As I was trying to think, Praggos started demanding that I be nice and get the man a drink. I gave the doctor a look. "You know what, I will get this man a drink, but not because you told me too! Just wanted to make sure you know that." 

With that I walked away to find a cup. 

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IC: Jolek [Ta-Wahi, Fowadi Aft Deck]

"Musta been as passerby," he snorted as she left, shrugging. "Whatever. Appreciate the hospitality."

He wasn't totally thirsty, but despite learning certain social graces well after the fact, even a jungle boy understood the import that the gesture of offering food or drink to guest held. Having to hunt one's food each day, if anything, made it all the more pointed— sharing without guaranteed supply was a generosity so much the harder to be able to give.

The twin gleams on Krayn's hip and ribcage were hard to miss, confirming Jolek's suspicions that he'd needed to be wary... But closing that range to offer a hand in turn did a lot of work to assuage the concern. Projectile weapons this close hindered more than they helped... And the De-Toa knew that.

A firm gripping hand closed around his host's, careful not to crush, as he pulled himself up.

"Jolek." First names it was, then— he wasn't here to coast on a reputation whose scope he didn't even know anyway. "And wherever he is, I feel like we oughta track him down— I need an explanation, and you guys need proof I'm not lying."

Edited by Razgriz
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IC:


"You're not," Krayn said frankly, matching pressure with pressure. The other Toa, close up, was clearly a younger man. It was in his voice as much as his face. Energy, ungoverned by the care or caution that came with even a few more years of life. But there was no deception to it. Aside from a— very passing— recollection that Dehkaz might have said something about a new recruit, he could hear it. He was an officer, a detective, with years of time on the job and he was a Toa of Sonics. Every little subtle inflection in the kid's— Jolek's— voice he could hear. It wasn't the infallible detection of a Rode, especially not without more of a background to compare it to, but it was close.

If the kid was lying, he was the best liar in history.

"You made enough of a scene that he'll be along when he's ready. If he offered you a job it'd be here, as part of..." The name tasted somehow unpleasant. "The Aggressors. What do you want explained?"

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On this eve, the thirtieth anniversary of that first colony, many are left to wonder; is the world fast approaching a breaking point?

 

 

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IC: Jolek [Ta-Wahi, Fowadi Aft Deck]

"What the other path is. Bigger than the villages, bigger than the island."

For a moment, his gaze left Krayn and found the middle distance. In the swirl that an untimely sleep following one skipped completely left the memory, the absent Captain's words needed a moment to piece themselves together from the fore. The waking moments he'd afforded himself since had all been a rush— all he knew was that he'd have gone crazy if he didn't go down the road he'd never worked up the nerve, conviction, motivation, whatever it was... to take. There was barely even any time to half-form the question that slipped into the air.

"Dehkaz said that if I wasn't fit to be a good Guard, I should swing by here, and see what could be done besides wait for the trouble to come to us. I can't say he mentioned 'Aggressors', but..."

His head quirked a little to the side, as if acknowledging an unmade point. "It sounds like the name fits. And I'm a pretty bad beat cop. Here I am."

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IC:

"Such a nice girl."

Not.

Not that she'd have gone to fetch this Jolek something to drink without being prompted, either, no matter her protestations to the opposite. I stood up, bag and knife in hand, and made my way back over to who seemed to be our newest crewmember, hoping he wouldn't pay as much attention to my leg as he had been earlier. Like I said; only I get to look at people that way on this ship. I'm the doctor. "Should have brought some contraband with you. It would've made things a bit more exciting." I set his things back beside him, leaning against the railing at the side of the deck.

Hopefully he'd recognize the sarcastic joke for what it was. I also thought about telling Krayn that he could do to relax the same as he told the rest, but we all know that would go over about as well as any other time I've suggested something similar. "So. Here because you want to be proactive, here because you want to go on an adventure, here because you've got nowhere else to go? 'Pretty bad beat cop' opens up to all of those options."

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Well, two out of three ain't bad.

Oh dear, I think Skyra's way of talking is infectious. Good thing I didn't say that out loud.

"I'm assuming by that last one you weren't fired." I glanced back at Krayn, with a nod to catch his eye—and to keep my mouth out of view of Jolek. Didn't want to risk that he could read lips while I was having Krayn listen in on my whisper.

"Sounds like he fits in with the rest of us, and he knew at least one of the right names to drop. You really want to wait for Dekhaz before we at least find him someplace better to sit than the deck?"

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Krayn suppressed a flicker of irritation at how Jolek talked about the job. It wasn't really anger at the other Toa personally, he knew himself well enough to recognize that. It was... not quite pride, but in the vicinity. He didn't like that the Sentinels had revived the name. He didn't like that the previous head wasn't in charge, even though he understood all the reasons why not— and suspected Dehkaz disliked them even more than he did.

Whether it was their right or not it didn't sit well with him. It was disrespectful, dismissive, of the work they had accomplished as a team to apply the name to a new initiative with so many new members. And without so many old.

None of which, however, had anything to do with their newest recruit.

"Then you're in the right place." The Toa said finally. "I'm sure that somewhere there's an official mandate, but the purpose is to go find trouble before it ever gets the chance to find us. It's officially a joint, inter-Koro effort. If the locals will forgive me saying so, though, we work off of the Fowadi. Which is a Sentinels ship. Her crew are mostly Sentinels. The Captain is a Sentinel, so's the first mate. It really just means that the other villages agreed to let Po-Koro borrow people for detached service."

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On this eve, the thirtieth anniversary of that first colony, many are left to wonder; is the world fast approaching a breaking point?

 

 

  Breaking Point: An OTC Mecha RPG

 

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IC: Jolek [Ta-Wahi, Fowadi Aft Deck]

"Water, please." he replied, almost absently. No hard decision to make— despite everyone around him's best efforts, he found his tongue to only tolerate the flavor of alcohol at best— a restarted life spent in the humid jungle meant he was far more familiar with its' uncontrolled cousin in rot. Hard to get used to, hard to find the point in. But right now, he didn't really have much focus to spare upon the decision in the first place.

"I'd been wondering about that— noticed the insignia on his armor. Was wondering why Po-Koro would detach a lone guard into the Charred Forest. My guess was something like Warrant Officers."

He then frowned, folding his corded arms. "I have to ask, how do you dodge getting muddied down by the red tape? You left yourself out of the Sentinel Parade in that sentence. Wouldn't expatriates like us only have more hoops to jump through, between the Sentinels and whoever they're borrowing us from?"

He took the chance to get out of the system. If he'd just thrown himself into the bowels of a second, let alone the first, he'd probably go find out for himself just how shallow the bay was or wasn't, and solemnly vow never to turn back from that initial "warrior nomadism" idea again as the black of suffocation took him.

"If I throw in with you guys, what makes it not more of the same that I skipped out on by showing up here?"

Edited by Razgriz
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IC: Skyra Daring - Fowadi -

"Well, I can't speak for anyone else, but I've never let the rules stop me even once." I couldn't help but make a comment as I poured water into a wooden cup. I wasn't going to use the nice glassware for fucking water. 

"For uh, better or worse. Point is we don't let red tape get in the way." I handed him the cup.

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"Only person I answer to is the Captain." He said simply while Skyra handed Jolek a cup of water. "In the Gukko Force, I answered to my boss all the way up the line to Captain Kongu. And I was pretty independent as officers go. The group is mostly autonomous by design, so while we ultimately answer to the Koros that isn't a day to day concern."

Especially not if they traveled as far as he suspected they might.

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On this eve, the thirtieth anniversary of that first colony, many are left to wonder; is the world fast approaching a breaking point?

 

 

  Breaking Point: An OTC Mecha RPG

 

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IC: Jolek [Ta-Wahi, Fowadi Aft Deck]

"Then that's the lead I'll follow." he nodded, taking a sip as he regarded the taller Toa.

Gukko Force. Meaning, Krayn had come up in and cut his teeth in Le-Wahi, same as Jolek. It wasn't as though Highwind had any allegiance to speak of to the village— It was nestled far further inside the thicket than his old stomping grounds, a stone's throw away from the coast. The jungle was far and away big enough that the only real interaction he'd ever known of the authorities was hearing the birds they rode, leagues to the north. As a "shared heritage" went, it was definitely paltry... but it wasn't nothing. Familiar terrain, familiar surroundings, familiar weather— even that much was a leg up compared to most folks, kindly as they generally were, in Ta-Koro. Even that much counted enough, with little else to speak to.

He wondered what the chances were that they'd barely missed eachother for a moment, an "independent officer" travelling the sometimes-overgrown footpaths the same day two "off-the-grid vagabonds" decided to track big game through their neck of the woods.

Wasn't much.

Wasn't zero, either.

"I can work with someone who'll look me in the eye one way or another— I can't work in a cage. If it's just Dehkaz..."

He took in a deep breath— filling his lungs with air that was already colder, cleaner, stronger than what he'd grown used to.

Much more like home.

"He seemed like he had a good read on me— I'll trust his judgement."

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"You're not quite that lucky," Something in Krayn's tone took on just a small hint of amusement; like there was a joke he was in on, and Jolek wasn't. Not just yet. "You're still junior to almost everybody here. You might not have been a very good guard, but that doesn't mean you're all set to be a good Aggressor yet either. But I expect we can fix that pretty quick."

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On this eve, the thirtieth anniversary of that first colony, many are left to wonder; is the world fast approaching a breaking point?

 

 

  Breaking Point: An OTC Mecha RPG

 

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IC: Jolek [Ta-Wahi, Fowadi Aft Deck]

Something familiar there. Inexplicable. Competitive, yet at the same time comforting. Irked at the challenge he felt. Humbled by the breadth of learning before him, within the people, within the ship, within the name.

"Well, I'm starting from nothing. I know that much, but it's not like I can leave now anyway. I'll get there. I've got to."

A thousand miles. One step.

Nothing to inform him... But nothing to shackle him to something from before. No before to be shackled to.

A thousand strikes learned. One strike, a thousand times mastered.

Foundational. The Void, the blank canvas, filling, finding a frame, finding color. From emptiness, structure, leading again into emptiness.

Words in far-off tongues. Kru, Sensei.

Walking a path trodden before, granted a guiding hand by those further down the length. Shaking off the ash that choked and dulled him, pure, empty white beneath.

"Until then,"

The ground before him bare, polished each morning by hand to almost a mirror sheen.

He had felt this somewhere. He had known that flicker behind the De-Toa's eyes, long ago.

He inclined his head into a half-bow at the waist.

"I'll be in your care, everyone."

Edited by Razgriz
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IC:

"Krayn won't steer you wrong, at least," I said to the Toa sitting on the deck, pulling Skyra back with one hand over her mouth and a glare for good measure. While she may never have been good at following the normal rules of the various guard forces, the ship still had its own hierarchy and rules to follow, loose as they were. Telling new people on it not to worry about things like that would give the wrong impression very easily.

Mean as it would have been, it almost made me wonder if she needed a reminder of the amount of trouble she caused us all in Ko-Koro right after I'd stumbled my way into the group. It was almost enough to make me forget how Krayn had completely ignored me.

"Anyways. Yes, Luten, I think you can feel free to come out now. He doesn't seem like the sort to get too spooked by you. Jolek, say hello to our first mate's mask."

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IC: Jolek [Ta-Wahi, Fowadi Aft Deck]

The boy's head rose a moment later, with much, much less reverence leaking from behind the veil of oblivion, motion spurred by none of the same ghosts of treasured memories. His brows were high on his mask, expression slack, nonplussed. Either he was unwilling or unable to hide that much, as the sentence bounced around like hammer of a strange bell inside his skull.

"Huh?"

Gilded eyes flicked back and forth, between Praggos and Krayn, the latter of which he'd long read as having the most authority of the assembled ranks short of the goliath they awaited.

"Isn't he wearing i—?"

That same chime from before, now much louder than he'd bargained for, and just off his rightward flank.


"Hello there!"

"Gyah!"

One of his better attributes as a martial artist was his ability to turn, pivot, cut angles, and general agile use of the feet. This conferred innumerable advantages in a brawl, where positional awareness was the key that opened the door to all lines of defense and attack. Here, taken by surprise, his gut instinct produced prodigous torque through the ankle and hip as he whirled and sprung back a good bio and a half, forearms raised in a loose guard.

The crystalline construct, glittering in the moonlight, continued her greeting and waving unabated, small enough to stand comfortably on the railing. While there were several things that felt off about being referred to as "Mister" in any capacity...

His posture went slack a moment later, hands lowering as he crept forward again, eyeing the crystalline curiosity with more intrigue than wariness. He didn't sense any malice from her, but in all his years of living alongside a Cy-Toa... he'd never known crystals to start talking and taking names of their own.

"...'Luten'? Nice to meet you too, but I gotta say you don't look much like a mask to me. I know a mask maker."

He slowly raised a finger. All present would see that he meant to poke her on the brow. His eyes narrowed, squinting. She was a strange existence even to learned and urbane, worldly and experienced.

"You're not a little crystal person? Are you even real?"

A guy like him was roundly going to be hopeless. 

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"If it makes you feel better, none of us know how she works either!"

I was glad my initial impression was correct. For a moment there I was worried that I would need to step in between them.

"But she really is Kale's mask. He's wearing her right now. Best not to think too hard about it."

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IC:

Skyra struggled free of my hand covering her mouth, and I grunted as she drove her elbow into my abdomen. Undoubtedly, I'd have at least a bit of a bruise there, although I was used to her antics enough that I'd already been preparing for it.

"Always, always you are making me suffer for your own poor decisions. Why is this the way my friendship is repaid?"

Krayn might not approve, but Jolek had already seen enough of this back-and-forth as it was, and still seemed at least somewhat distracted with Luten, so I wasn't worried about it.

Edited by otter
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IC Luten - Fowadi:

"I *am* a little crystal person!  I'm also a Kanohi! A Sanok, to be exact! And I'm very real, thank you very much!" the glow that suffused Luten's body turned red-purple as she placed tiny hands on equally tiny hips.

"I came to life after my original host's mask was hit by lightning from the Red Star! But he passed away soon after, and then I met Mr. Lannon, and I got to sleep in a real bed, and then I met Mr. Oreius in the hospital, and then Mr. Kale found me and now I'm his mask, and I'm part of the crew here!"

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IC:

One by one lanterns were uncovered down the length of the ship as the shoreline gradually slipped away from sight underneath the encroaching darkness, leaving those still on-deck illuminated only by the faint moonlight which glinted off of the whitecaps and the pale yellow glow of the lightstones around. A steady wind caught the sails, prompting a low groan of iron and timber that reverberated through the sturdy hull as the ship heeled ever so slightly to the side, the increase in tempo of waves breaking across her prow the sole indication of their speed increasing in the otherwise unvarying expanse of sea around. Orders were issued, commands barked, though even this fell away to nothing more than the low hum of conversation as maintenance of course became the sole task at hand for the majority of the crew on deck.

Wind at her back, the Fowadi sailed forth into the night.

* * *

Jolek… Highwind?” The gravelly voice sounded to the aftermost mentioned toa’s side. The Po-matoran whom it belonged to standing with a small bit of parchment in his grasp, squinting at the writing as he read off the unfamiliar name before looking up at the grey-armored toa. His accent was unmistakable, and seemed out of place surrounded by water. “That you, yea? Captain’s looking for ya, c’mon.

With a tilt of his head, the orange and tan matoran plodded towards the fore of the vessel, leading the way for the newcomer as he stepped around crew and equipment towards one of the hatches leading deeper into the iron behemoth.

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IC:

"Well, there you go!" I said to Jolek just as the crewmember walked off. "If he didn't come up here to throw you back into the water himself, no doubt you've already had a good interview, this is probably just the final contractual matters. Don't sweat it too much."

Once I was sure he was moving along, I turned back to Skyra, speaking with a much lower voice:

"Love tap? Better not let that other one you picked up back in Ga-Koro hear you saying that. I'd hate to get involved in any of your affairs."

Edited by otter
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"We can chat more when Dehkaz is done with you. I've got a couple of questions, when you've got the time." Krayn gestured after the retreating Matoran, mostly with the wrist, and inclined his head slightly to the new Toa to bid him— for the moment— farewell. "Good luck."

For Praggos and Skyra's bickering, he didn't pay much mind— and he didn't even touch the subject of Luten. He didn't understand it, so he wasn't going to try and explain it. He did dial his ear protection a notch or two lower. He didn't really need to listen to the back-and-forth at that volume.

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On this eve, the thirtieth anniversary of that first colony, many are left to wonder; is the world fast approaching a breaking point?

 

 

  Breaking Point: An OTC Mecha RPG

 

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IC: Jolek [Ta-Wahi, Fowadi Aft Deck]

As the brief exchange played out between the Ko-Toa and Le-Toa, moments behind their remarks on the rock he was talking to, the outstretched finger confirmed two of her three claims as that investigative poke on the forehead made contact, prompting her (presumably Red-Star-borne) glow to spike and shift to an indignant magenta. The names she rattled off, hands on her hips, as "people who wore her" meant... well, nothing much.

But the feeling of etched and carved geode was impossible to mistake, even after all this time. She was no illusion. Whatever else may have been the explanation, mundane or mystical, inanimate rock was standing here. Arguing with him. Rattling off a story with too many working, unfamiliar parts for him to specifically deny. By hook or by crook, she had life breathed into her. Real. Tangible.

"...The Red Star can do all that? How big of a world have I been clueless about this whole..."

Did he know what to make of that? Of course not. Nobody does when little statuettes go from greeting them to yelling at them in the span of two sentences. But he knew very well now that he was sorely lacking in life experience. Not enough to deny this many senses in tandem. Whether or not she actually was some Sanok could be determined later, right now...

His arms folded, and beneath his Pakari nostrils flared as he accepted this shift in reality. Rocks don't talk, but this rock could. Frustration, resolution, contemplation... whichever mentality prompted it was unclear, but his instinct to reset after a moment was, in short order, validated.

"Right. Okay, nice to meet you, you're the weirdest thing I've ever met. I hope we can be good friends."

Jolek… Highwind?” The gravelly voice sounded to his left, opposite Luten and matching with the footsteps he'd been noting down while he'd made sense of her. The Po-Matoran whom it belonged to standing with a small bit of parchment in his grasp, squinting at the writing as he read off the name.

Dehkaz had already marked him down, and gone on leaving anyway? He knew he'd been read like a book just from talking with the man, but that was still quite a bit of faith.

His accent was unmistakable, and seemed out of place surrounded by water. Po-Wahi. Had to be. That brought up another question about the more clipped, icy tones coming out of the big man's mouth, but first things first. “That you, yea? Captain’s looking for ya, c’mon.

He'd made a bit of a commotion and was also here with a De-Toa five feet away, so that was one explanation for how the boss had known he'd boarded. In the confusion of talking with four people at once (a personal best since the Lavapool Incident), there was plenty of time and diversion for Krayn to have surreptitiously alerted his CO...

"We can chat more when Dehkaz is done with you. I've got a couple of questions, when you've got the time." Krayn gestured after the retreating Matoran, mostly with the wrist, and inclined his head slightly to the new Toa to bid him— for the moment— farewell. "Good luck."

But meeting his eyes, Jolek found none of that mischief from moments ago, hinting at something he'd missed. There had to be another way, then. How...

He returned the nod after that moment's searching, before sending one the way of the Po-Matoran as he started off behind, ambling towards an unvarnished hatch in the flooring of the boat, once again returning to proper focus as a fortress of steel that slipped through the murky waves without sinking. He'd felt the man's personal field brushing against his, that day they'd met in the Forest— this morning. Even within such a beaconlike mass, as though a candle surrounded by floodlights, had he still picked Jolek out by the time he'd pulled himself to shore?

So many questions.

"Perfect. So was I."

So much I don't know.

...


Abandoned against the railing, knife and pack sat, forgotten in the tumult.

Edited by Razgriz
"And if your mind becomes trained in this Way, you will defeat others with your mind. Extending yourself this far, how could this be a Way for your own defeat?"
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helo frens

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