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IC: Myhruk [Ta-Koro, Alley]

The Lesterin watched with interest as the Toa's knuckles contacted the stone wall. He was surprised to see the stranger being so open to his ideas. He got the sense that they understood each other quite well, despite being different species, delivering justice through different means, and not even knowing each other's names.

"Mmmm," he nodded in agreement. He leaned against his own wall, crossed arms silently nursing their own aching as he watched the generalist intently. The Toa seemed nearly as young as he was... and yet something in his optics made it seem like he had been around longer than the vigilante.

"Are charred trees tougher than live ones, or did you just run out of trees in Le?"

The fool admitted that expanding his own repertoire might be the wise move. The thought of the city boy trading his jungle for a real one was as intriguing as it was frightening. He knew every street of his city. Maybe the stranger knew every tree like he knew every wall (How big was a forest anyways? Couple hundred trees?). How deep could his bag of tricks get if this was all he knew?

The generalist knew what it was like to be somewhere else. Do other things. Maybe the wall warrior would have ended up the same way himself, had he only washed ashore on a different beach. They had a silent understanding and that kept the truth evident. Rarely did the loner have the opportunity to have such grounded advice given so freely.

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IC: Jolek

The soft thumping rung through his bones, inaudible to the world around him as he mulled over the question. The thought of running out of trees was absurd, for one— but then again, the original wall-whacker didn't seem to be too familiar with the jungle. Even now, his monochrome counterpart wasn't certain if he was truly all too familiar with the city. Who was to say it was any different, then from him all of... how long had it been? A year ago? A few months? A decade? He'd never kept track, instead just letting it pass.

In a way, it must have seemed like looking at a mirror of the road not taken. The tangle of wood and vine regarding and being regarded by the grid of stone and ash. A "dabbler" versus a "generalist". Trees and Walls.

Known and Discovered.

"Depends on the tree." he replied, enigmatic in the statement of the obvious. "Young ones with fruits like bananas are soft. Bendy. You can put all the force you can handle into it. Get good enough that you smash them down in time. Charred ones we've got here are stiffer. Brittle. Dry. Hard surface, but no give."

Thump.

His hand had pulled back until the fingertips brushed the stone behind again— and now swiftly turned over as the knuckles careened back into the wall with a stern report. Only so much velocity you could build up over a few inches; not enough to break skin, but enough to feel and compare.

"But the hardwoods are different. They're big and dense, and their bark'll bend you long before you bend them. If you know what you're doing, you're not gonna blast those anywhere close to full speed. If you don't..."

Half-theatrically, but wholly illustratively, he pulled the knuckles free from the pub behind him and shook them out. If anything, the wall might have been more forgiving on simple account of smoother surface, now that he'd done both.

Here, he folded his arms in kind and leaned back into the relatively cool stone, before his eyes and head drifted South.

"This whole town wouldn't be able to run out of either of 'em, let alone me. Not for a long time."

Edited by Razgriz
"In building a house, there is the problem of the selection of wood... all such things are within the master carpenter's frame of mind. The principles of the martial arts are like this."
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IC: Myhruk [Ta-Koro, Alley]

He watched with care, admiring the delicate planning and finesse of the movements as the Toa experimented with punching Ta-Koro's soot-stained walls.

He slowly nodded for a few moments, as if imagining what a banana tree was for the first time, before throwing a much more conclusive nod in the walldenting protégé's direction.

"Yea."

There was a kikanalo in the room, though. Myhruk was trying to remember something important that he really needed to know now...

"Y'know, one time, somebody told me that all the way over in Le-Koro, they make walls out of trees, right? Ever punched one of those?"

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IC: Jolek

Still staring in the direction of home?, the Fa-Toa's eyes narrowed for a moment, coming to a conclusion with an unspoken process.

"...Nope."

Maybe before he'd washed up, but that would have just been like all his family's stories to the conversation they were having now— secondhand.

A beat later— No, two— Three, the—

"Never been, actually."

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IC: Myhruk [Ta-Koro]

huh.

"huh."

Not having a city meant not having a home. And sawmill had been in the jungle for a while from the sounds of things - no, he grew up there, those were the words.

"hmmph..."

Sounded awful.

"You get lost in all those trees?"

Maybe that's why the Toa wanted to punch them so much.

"If you've never been to their Koro... where have you been?"

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IC: Jolek

"Nah. I'm good with directions."

That one flippant, devil-may-care, assured by an adolescence of proof.

"I've been... Here. Here and In There."

This one none of that. Ponderous, strained. Faltering, as though there was more that needed, or maybe desired dictation. Yet couldn't, regardless.

"Ga and Ko once, too, but only passed by."

An afterthought, and not pretending they weren't. If he'd been pressed by his counterpart, he would've barely been able to name anything he'd done in either. When he pressed himself, for that matter, he could only come up with an idea of "something about a school?"

He wasn't hiding anything— it wasn't him. However vexed it might leave the Lesterin, This was It.

He clicked his tongue.

"Signed on before I could fill the gap. Bombing and all— Speaking of, I should ask the same:"

His eyes met the Lesterin's again, finally. Still narrowed, searching, they weren't hostile— just direct. Following a lead that was personal, not professional.

"Lotta Lesterin and Skakdi we've got on call have had new memories turn up out of the blue on them lately. You from that..."

 

"Seprilli...that's the island I'm originally from. It's the homeland of all Lesterin. I'm not sure why, but I remember it now."

 

"Seprilli place too?" 

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IC: Myhruk [Ta-Koro, Streets]

Ta-Koro's son nodded along. "Here and In There." yeah, he'd been there too.

Ga? No, but he'd seen a beach once. Maybe a few times. Facial features raised in an expression of interest.

Ko? He'd seen Ihu... over the shoulder of Mangai, distorted by the volcano's plumes. Hung out near the cablecar sometimes, but that's as close as he'd gotten. He looked almost confused why a jungle kid would go up there, it looked cold. Maybe their trees were different, too. He'd seen a few on the side of the mountain.

Oh, only in passing. That made more sense. Probably took the cablecar down.

The Lesterin was surprised that jungle boy seemed frustrated by his own meager response. A furrowed brow, as if his own escapades escaped him. Truth be told, the brickbuster himself felt the same way lately. Yeah he'd been around the block forever, but it felt like he hadn't done anything yet. That one day the recurring nightmare he woke up to started to change. Felt like every day it was more real, and there was more to it. Lately he had this strange gut feeling that there was more out there. Not more out there than Ta-Koro - he begrudgingly admitted that - but more out there like a part of him was missing out there. But so far gone that he didn't know what to even look for.

Until his new pal asked a question back. The clocked-out cop didn't notice anything abnormal in the confused kid's eyes, in fact, his response was chill and matter of fact

"Yeah, grew up there. Helped my pops run his ferry over to the spineless bay over on Zakaz. Couple times we even went as far as Zarrava, but he tried to keep me on the boat for that. Dangerous waters and all - was just a kid, so I don't blame him. But yeah we mostly we stayed on Sssss."

Until he reached a word that he never remembered that he knew.

"Sp-"

"Sppp-"

"Suuuuhhhhh-"

"Supper-"

"Real-"

"Really?-"

There was a ringing in his ear as the word repeated itself past the point of shattering into a mixture of sounds. They clashed like swordsmen, until the blades crossed and aligned into a marker of his past and future, a magnetic pull in his own blood as it swirled in circular loops inside his short circuiting brain.

SSSSSSSS
SEEEEEEE
SEPPPPPP
SEPRRRRR
SEPRIIII
SEPRILLL
SEPRILLL
SEPRILLI

The estranged son of Seprilli blinked, eyes widening, pupils dilating as if he had just exited a trance. The scared Lesterin shivered and wobbled as if he had lost his balance despite leaning against the wall. His arms uncrossed instinctually, reaching out to either side to balance himself.

"WAIT, what did you- why did you say-? What???"

Edited by BULiK
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IC: Jolek

"Yeesh, is that what that looks like in real time? Steady. Steady." he blurted openly, bounding off the wall to plant a hand onto the staggering Lesterin's shoulder. Though concern flitted across the features of his Pakari, it was marred by confusion and consternation in equal measure. A melange of tight frown and narrowed brow that couched his eyes as he took in the sudden outburst from what was formerly a tight-wound stoic of a man.

"Maybe I should be glad I've still been in the dark— So that's you remembering this Seprilli and Zay-Kazz place for sure. Really is everyone..."

Except him.

If the names were enough to trigger it, then by now, he could prove that this had nothing to do with him.

Well. In fairness, he already knew that. Just ruled out something unlikely.

But still, that was then, whatever had happened. Compared to this, happening now, it was a mercy to forget.

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IC: Myhruk [Ta-Koro, Alley]

"I don't- I just said that but I don't know why I don't- why did I say that. I don't know it, but I know it's it, you know?" the flustered and scared Lesterin rambled. He took a few deep breaths with closed eyes, deep in a concentration as frustration grew on his brow.

He let out an irritated grunt and looked the samaritan in the eye.

"Ever forget something you were just thinking about? Get distracted once and it's gone but you remember that it's gone, and that's more annoying and you wish you forgot that you forgot? It's like it was there and now it's gone again..."

He lamented further, slowly reeling his emotions back in with a gritted jaw. I had a dad? Have, a dad?

After a few moments, he picked up on what treeman had mentioned.

"You're a washup too?"

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IC: Jolek

"Yeah."

He nodded simply. Speaking again, he answered the questions, all rhetorical until the last, in sequence.

"Yeah. I have, but not for this."

Inscrutable. Focused more on listening along than clearly conveying.

"Yeah. I am."

Edited by Razgriz
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IC: Jolek

...

The pause hung, churning in the air.

He had approached this one every which way— come to and left each conclusion.

"Hard to say."

Seeing what had happened to him? No, not really. To reconcile half a childhood with an entirely different half a childhood, an identity and personality forged from the void, however nascent, with whatever had entered it and experienced dissolution... it all looked like it was twisting his new acquaintance in a knot. Like the synthesis of was and is was as torturous as it could ever be considered cathartic.

...Seeing the house he'd been living in, and remembering the faces of those that had claimed him theirs? Yes. To know who he was to them, to feel what they felt when they'd all but burst into tears at the relief of retrieving what they thought irrevocably lost. To understand the ties that bound them to him, and he to they— the network of pulls upon his person, links of life and memory that had been in one swoop shattered. To know, and be whole in knowing. To look upon his blood, and share their joy.

But it never seemed like that was going to matter.

"More like I haven't known enough now. You know? Memories."

Forget those lost.

Where were those he should have made?

Edited by Razgriz
Officer J01.3-K. You ready? Let's begin.
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IC: Myhruk [Ta-Koro]

"Yeah."

Probably why the fella brought it up - he'd seen the signs from others. Whispers. Reminded him of whatever past he wasn't getting back. Had to be frustrating.

"Dunno if I'd want to go back. There's always a 'somewhere' for folks like us, but knowing that somewhere isn't nowhere isn't any better if I'll still never be there. Is what it is, y'know?"

A sigh. He pushed himself off of the away with a clenched fist, standing up straight with a nod of thanks for helping keep him stable earlier. The stone was familiar. Reminded him of something... what had they been talking about? Oh yeah.

"Maybe we should punch the ocean."

Hard to say if that was a joke or not.

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IC: Myhruk [Ta-Koro]

"Yeah, can't swim either."

...

...

...

"Well, I think? If what I said was true, then... hmm..."

...

...

...

"What if swimming is just punching the ocean hard enough?"

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IC: Jolek

"It's..."

Oh lord. This guy needed help.

"It's more like scooping it. I never got anywhere punching water."

...

Well.

It'd been a few years.

It might feel good.

Lord knew his armor could use a break from soot.

"Honestly, you oughta never punch like you're swimming. Don't think swimming like you punch* is too good either."

*Unless very bad at punching, but fix that.

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IC: Myhruk [Ta-Koro, Alley]

He nodded pensively. He would take the jungle-raised's word on what things were like outside of the caldera.

"Say, these guys who've started to remember things - any of them remember where to find this Seprilli place? How far away it is?"

I guess the distance didn't matter that much if he couldn't swim in the first place. But if it was close enough, all he had to do was learn how to swim a little bit, right? Just point him in the right direction, and keep at it for a few hours? Surely he could learn to swim that long if he tried, if he had a good reason to. Maybe practice swimming instead of punching walls as an outlet for his angst?

Edited by BULiK
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IC: Jolek

"Well," he began, running back over what he'd known. "Just today I had a girl blaming some Pirate named Lokhar for getting from there to here."

It was a name that'd popped up a few times before Hakari, but not so often that it seemed like he was the end-be-all answer to everything. If his pugilistic cohort recognized him, then it'd speed along the same lines as last time— maybe Jol's last name would help him out here too. If not...

"Point of order being that it sounds like it's pretty far— past that fog you see way out on the cliffs. Need a ship for sure to get there."

Back to general terms. There was only so much help he could give here, and not simply due to his own gaps in knowledge, either. More to the point—

"That'd mean taking a hike to Ga, same way I sent her." he conferred. "It's not like we've got much of a port, let alone any Navy— couple of docks, really. The naval minded are packing their things and going north. You..."

There were a few guards he could send this guy to to compare notes, but he'd not known any of them well. Gyrahn, A Skakdi of Earth, had invited him for drinks wiuth the fellas once, but been politely rebuffed as the fa-Toa was walking home. They'd not spoken three words since. Lasavra, a normally flighty wind Lesterin, seemed to close off whenever he caught her muttering about the sudden memories of Seprilli, like she didn't trust him listening in. The Rumbling Brothers, a Fe-Skakdi that Fought as much as he Drank and a Fe-Lesterin that Drank as much as he Fought, already didn't seem to like him— "too quiet. It's weird that he doesn't make a fool of himself a little." he'd overheard, before both gave him the side-eye as he'd ambled through the training area, before returning to packing their bags.

Effectively, he didn't think any of these weirdos would help, and the others would barely know his name if the man dropped it.

May as well just go the more direct route, in Jolek's opinion.

"Your chances are much better if you swing up there and get through an actual crew."

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IC: Myhruk [Ta-Koro]

As his brother in spirit continued to speak, the Lesterin slowly realized that swimming all the way, while not only being infeasible, was bad for another reason. One of his greatest fears was being on a boat and it sinking and him drowning like he did in his dreams every night. Swimming was like doing that, but skipping the boat part and bellyflopping right into the drowning part, and with no flotsam to cling to before hypothermia set in. That wouldn't do at all.

"Hmm..."

By comparison, a boat, as devilish a contraption as it may be, may be tolerable. As long as he didn't have to get close to the water. Like, maybe a big boat. If he was in a big boat with walls and there weren't windows, who's to say that wasn't the same as being drunk while being inside of a cramped building? And he did that all of the time in Ta.

"Maybe."

His hand clenched into a fist, but this didn't come at his advisor at any speed. The fist lingered in between them, ready to be bumped in classic Toa fashion. That's what all the Toa did, right? He'd be used to it.

"Thanks bro."

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IC: Jolek

"No worries, bro."

It felt familiar, his rock-hard knuckles tapping against a friend's of similar mindset and conditioning. Once, this had been a daily occurrence.

Once, it had been the signifier of a promise, just as much as this one was a friendship. The Lesterin seemed to have clear heading now— the fog of confusion that had knotted up his face no longer seemed to cloud his bearings. What the man had said was non-committal, sure—

But this wasn't the first time Jolek had seen a renewed purpose and drive alight in the direction of this "Seprilli" even today. He'd find his way there, doubtless. He'd dig up whatever past was worth finding from the new memories and shape his future with it. 

Learn. Grow. Experience. 

This would be a journey in far more than mind, far more than miles—

The kind that he was supposed to go on, before he began spinning his wheels.

What the karz had happened to that?

"Good luck."

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IC: Myhruk [Ta-Koro]

"Likewise."

The exchange completed, he strolled out of the alleyway, passing a gallery of dents along the way. After quickly grabbing a Infernavika burrito at one of his favorite stands, he snagged a seat on an Ussal-driven cart that would take the Hura Mafa trail to Ga-Koro.

Myhruk left the frustrated kid back in his home of Ta-Koro. In that alley with all the scrapes he'd made. Myhruk saw how he had been holding himself back. To find out who he was, Myhruk needed to be someone else. Someone strong. A player of games, a bystander no longer.

As he ate, Myhruk wondered when he'd come back to his home city. When he got back from Seprilli it'd be pretty awesome if he could tell -

Wait.

What was that guy's name?

He'd never asked his name.

####.

OOC: Myhruk to Ga-Wahi

Edited by BULiK
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  • 3 weeks later...

IC: Jolek {Returning to Familiarity}

And without a word more, the winds carried dust out to sea.

The gray man watched silently as his erstwhile accomplice vanished into the grid of the city's footpaths, towards self-enlightenment. No waves or extended farewells this time— if he had to guess, the Lesterin felt much the same as he regarding the gestures. Ornamentative, unnecessary. Somehow out of place within the understanding they shared, men of similar trade, similar ambition.

He let his gaze fall back to his knuckles as the dabbling brawler rounded the bend and left his vision altogether. Still tingling from the alien sensation of striking solid rock, however lightly, he could sense his own body yearning to go somewhere, just as that guy's was.

The second he'd sent off towards the shimmering waters to the north of here today— he didn't claim to have ever kept track, but that had to be a new record. The scenery of a city always had some small changes in that way— faces arriving and leaving. He'd not even caught the other fighter's name, or even really placed whether or not his was a face standing out as familiar in the formless mobs of the village's citizens. But he understood that feeling, the one that drove him to test his knuckles against something firm.

That strengthening oneself made the difference, in lieu of those miracles like this "Seprilli". The need to lose oneself in the rhythm, and stop worrying about the worldly troubles that plagued your head, filled your thoughts. He'd done it millions of times. He'd do it a million times more. After all, he'd taken to the evening streets with that very purpose— meeting his fellow man and sending him on the journey (that everyone seemed to join these days) was... incidental.

I'd better head out before night. He concluded with a snort, expelling acrid air from the musty atmosphere brough on by high inner-city walls. Ash's thick today. I'll barely get any moonlight to work under.

And so, the more things around him changed...

He started off again, back out east towards the gate at a steady run. Built-in road work of getting to the proper scenery was certainly an extra boon here— all the slacking had made his endurance feel like it'd dipped. Hard work beat the stuffing out of hardly working, when it was a match between this and trudging around the residences. Elly had more than once looked at him crosswise for looking forward to this at the end of the day...

But this stuff just kept his head on straight.

Small plumes of ash kicked up in the wake of his staccato footfalls, he surged out the gates, off for the trees.

 

—————

 

The forest, like always, was still. A field of gray glowing softly crimson as the lava floes gained more prominence as the light above dimmed, and streaked with jagged black lines of burnished trees. to think such an explosive scuffle'd occurred here, just a few hours ago... You wouldn't have imagined it, really. In Ta-Koro, the scene would have lasted well into the night— investigative procedure would see to that.

Guards filing papers of after-action report, conducting interviews with bystanders to get a read on the situational play-by-play, cleanup of whatever damage it had wrought in the aftermath, all that and the kitchen sink. It would have dragged on ages, whereas here...

He breathed in deep, staring down the medium-sized trunk some arm and a half's length ahead, and settled into a familiar stance. His right foot sliding back and away from the left, around a shoulder's width. His arms rising in turn, hands closing into loose fists in front of him. Rear projected slightly in front of the brow line, guarding, catching, parrying. Lead extended forward by half, rising and falling subtly with his breath. There to probe, to flicker, to frame, to punish.

...Here, things melted away once they finished. There was no aftermath, there wasn't real follow-up, no sense of lingering question. It just was, and then was not, as things settled again into the quiet equilibrium around him.

He needed that these days. In truth, he might have liked it every day and just not known it, back when it was the simple way of things and all he knew— but he was here now because that had ended up anything but. Today was different. The past months were different. Two people chasing the memories he'd never regained in one day. Two people off to forge new self-perspectives. Two he'd sent on the exact kind of mission he'd told himself to set out on, before all this. Over and over, that sense circled through the empty hallways of his mind, in a way nothing had yet been able to shake. He was growing real tired of thinking like this, of suffering through that same feeling of watching beneath still water as the surface rushed by.

He ground his lead foot in a short arc against his "flooring", pushing loose ash, soil, and debris to the side.

THONK.

"Ssssh. Hrmf—"

And a dull, hollow thudding rung through the stillness, setting the air astir with the sounds of eight limbs striking the stern bark of the tree, chased by a Fa-Toa exhaling his turbulent thoughts into the void.

Jab.

Follow with a Cross.

Should I be here?

Rock back onto the rear leg, sling the hips over until on the ball of that foot. Lead leg follows through, arcing high.

Head kick.

WHAP.

Well, yeah. This is good. Iron out the kinks. Never a bad time to condition.

Ride the rebound once it's sunk in, rechambering the leg into stance. Hitting with the shin's of no consequence, since this isn't full speed and your dense bones are long numbed to anything less, only registering the impact instead of pain. Let it carry you forward as your guard raises again, folding it in tighter—

THUD.

Elbow across the jaw with the rear arm. While in this close, reach out with that hand to the side of the trunk. Your lead was already there to guide the strike, so take it just a little above that hand—

Not here. More like... Here.

Picture the Skakdi from this afternoon, and knee his ****** nose in. Getting a second or third in isn't bad at all— tree ain't going anywhere. But if we consider this a clinch... break it on your terms.

Shove away as you fade back into open space— Eh. Could have pivoted there too, maintained a dominant angle.

Let that idea slide off so long as you keep it in mind as an option. Front kick to the trunk while you're this far away, then. Control distance if you're gonna think. Two lead leg, last rear—

I don't take your meaning.

Jab too. It's your safest weapon, and pretty long in it's own right. Stepping into it felt good, so follow it up—

Yes you do, Jolek.

His cross elicited a deep, cracking report as it landed, a ramrod rear straight that made the 1-2 such a deadly staple in fighting. The tree shook wholly as his knuckles dug into bark and bark dug into knuckles, a pained shudder running through the length of its many branches and shaking leaves loose.

As the fist shot back into his guard, he idly noted how it throbbed and clicked his tongue, electing to double check just how deep he was sinking his hips into the hook to the liver that instinctively followed. He did need this, then— either to remind himself how to have total control of his weapons... or to get whatever the karz had snapped in there all the way out of him.

He continued on.

Let the flow of technique into technique into technique dictate things. All you need to worry about is your power, your placement, and your potential. This is the best you can manage for it here.

It was all there was in the world, and all that he needed.

Past and future do not exist.

Just optimize this present moment, find its frame, and embody it.

The thudding impacts continued to ring out from the man and the tree, in this world all their own. One could scarcely fault him for failing to notice anything else.

OOC: You know the drill.

Edited by Razgriz
"As for the Way of the above style of martial art, by endeavoring to put it into practice morning and evening, day in and day out, your mind should broaden itself... Passing this onto the world, I write this down for the first time in the five chapters."
  • Like 4

helo frens

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