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IC: Pirok (The Fowadi)

"Respectfully," Pirok said through gritted teeth, "I disagree."

He eyed the Po-Toa with some suspicion; something about what he had said, or perhaps how he had said it, rubbed him the wrong way.

"This would be for the living. What Echelon did to those people isn't right; their loved ones need to know that they're not rotting in a Necromancer's cold storage. Add to that the fact that, as you yourself pointed out, the base poses a danger to anyone who finds it – it's better that someone who can resist that temptation tracks it down and destroys it now, before someone more vulnerable stumbles on it someday."

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IC: Makua — Deck of the Fowadi — Ta-Wahi Coast

Makua nodded dutifully to Krayn as he listened to the discourse.

"Say, Pirok's got the right idea. With the old ****** dead, he can't have anything too spicy for us. And we'd be doing some real good for the folks on Mata Nui. So what's the bounty?"

OOC: @Krayzikk @a goose @Void Emissary @otter @Snelly

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"hey girl: here’s an idea, but… it’s up to you:

You’re the boss of this operation."

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IC:

"Are you that person?"

Krayn had listened, scratching at his chin as he thought it over. His first, immediate impulse was that Pirok was right. He was an investigator, he was a guard; no one would ever know how many lives Echelon had taken, and no one would ever know how many bodies he had stolen. But his lair was the one place to find some. Some of those people could be brought home, and some of their loved ones— if any still lived— could have that closure. But it was more complicated than that. Not knowing was awful, but time had a way of providing its own closure. Not every missing persons case was resolved. Not even most. The jungle was a harsh place when Makuta reigned, and many of those that went missing were lost somewhere in its depths. If anything was left to find it wasn't recognizable anymore.

And a great many of Echelon's puppets were likely in a similar shape. The Necromancer had been infamous, and in his infamy stories had spread; he was always merely content with a puppet, he wanted puppets tailored to his purposes. Even those that could be recovered might not be... Intact. Sometimes knowing specifics was worse than accepting that you wouldn't know.

"I can't fault your wishes," He said slowly. "And you are of course free to do what you want. So is Makua, here, as is Skyra. But I think Rynekk is right, and I would urge you to consider that he might be. Ko-Wahi is a deeply inhospitable place. A few months of snow and ice may already have hidden it, and a few more will for certain. You may not be able to find it. You risk your own lives just looking. Even if you can find it you don't know what's inside. If you find it and there are no traps to be dealt with, how will you get those victims to civilization? How will you get them to their families? The cold's preservation will not last as soon as you leave the Wahi."

He shook his head, slowly and not without sympathy.
 

"And Makuta is back. If he wasn't I would be more encouraging. But braving the wastes, the Rahi under his power again, and trying to return an unknown but sizable cargo... Sometimes it's best to let the past stay buried. It won't return the dead to their families. You can help them better by keeping them from losing any more."

@a goose@Emzee@Void Emissary@Snelly

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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, Charred Forest]

"Dock before sundown," he repeated, furrowing his brow for a moment before cupping it in the arch between thumb and pointer finger. "Right..."

All things said and done; the claims sounded bold. "Bigger than the villages" was one thing, given that their conversation technically hit that mark already, being between two members of differing military forces... However tenuous it might have been on Jolek's end, after admitting to himself how ready he really was to quit. It still met the mark. Anything he offered there counted.

...Yeesh, though. Listen to that. Since when did he care for technicality? If the point was the same either way, that was what mattered— and it was.

"Bigger than the island", though?

That didn't register. Didn't make sense. The island was their world, right? Their people, and the reach of the threats they consequently meant to face. There wasn't anything of the sort...

Unless...

Unless this offering of an alternative hadn't come to him directly in the wake of sending two Lesterin bound for their home, this faraway land of "Seprilli", simply by coincidence. A journey the likes of which would take them to parts unknown, as they found more of who they were, once lost beneath the waves...

He had already turned an offer down once. Why do that again?

...Hold on, what did that even mean? where'd that thought come from—

Mata-Nui, his head was spinning here. First things first, before any decisions.

"What... Time is it right now, actually? I wasn't kidding earlier. I've been here all night?"

Edited by Razgriz
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On 1/28/2023 at 9:53 PM, Silvan Haven said:

Kale Ironshaper - Docks - Fowadi

IC: "We're stopping here to top off our supplies before we set off on a months long journey into the unknown. As well as one last stop for anyone that might want to leave or join the crew."

IC: Myhruk [Beach Outpost, The Fowadi]

"By 'the unknown' you mean Seprilli right? Do you even know where you're going?"

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IC: Skyra Daring - Fowadi, Ta-Wahi Coast, Rehu Cove -

I understood how Pirok felt, not so long ago I probably would have felt the same way, ready to rush into danger without really thinking too hard about the dangers or potential consequences, good or bad.

Since Ko-koro however I had promised to change. Not just for my own sake, but for the people I cared about as well. I couldn't afford to be reckless...or well, as reckless.

"I understand how you feel Pirok, really I do. But Rynekk and Krayn are right, with Makuta back we need to focus on the big picture. As much as I would love to raid a necromancer's lab." Actually, I really didn't. I wasn't thrilled with the idea of stumbling across the zombified corpse of my old body, or whatever the f### was done to it. 

"Plus, we're about to be leaving the island. Got this whole voyage planned and all." There was no way in h### I was missing it either.

@Krayzikk @a goose @Void Emissary @Emzee @otter

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IC: Dehkaz [Ta-Wahi, Charred Forest]

Unconsciously, the Toa of Magnetism’s gaze flicked upward, as ineffectual an endeavour it was given he was met only by the perpetual smokey haze which obscured the sky above. Save for the faint glow diffusing the surroundings, there was little indication beyond whether or not the sun was burning in the sky or dipped below the horizon. Even then, the lava flows which frequented the area made the presence of light not a sure indication.

 "Midmorning," Dehkaz stated, mentally recounting his trek to this spot and the day's events thus far.  "I would suggest some rest, Highwind. Think on it."

With that, the Captain gave a nod of farewell, and turned towards the main path once again, leaving Jolek alone in the clearing once again with his battered tree.

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IC: Pirok (The Fowadi)

Pirok sighed in resignation. He wasn't surprised – he knew this had been a long shot, but he had still hoped…

"I understand. You have responsibilities, and I know it's all pretty high risk." Then he turned his attention from Skyra to Krayn. "I know what I can resist, and I know what I'm risking, but I have thought this through. I have a Tryna, and my powers will keep me and any aid I have alive out in the Drifts – and, of course, come in handy when I burn that evil hellhole to the ground.

"That is to say, I'm going, with or without your help or your approval. If you don't have a lead on where I can find Merror, then my next stop is finding a guide in Ko-Koro. The longer I leave this, the more chance of Echelon's lair falling back into the wrong hands."

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IC: Rynekk | The Fowadi

"Echelon the Necromancer," said Rynekk, glancing over to Tekmo. "One of Makuta's most infamous lieutenants. Dead now, as you've probably guessed; but we all thought he was dead years before, too...."

He then looked back to Pirok, finding himself scarcely able to contain his frustration with the young man: a foolish, head-strong Toa far too assured of his own power and rightness to see the danger he was careening towards. The Makuta would make a meal out of him -- as He had once made a meal out of Rynekk, all those years ago. His frustration suddenly turned to sorrow and a fresh pang of regret.

"Spiritspeed to you, if you really intend to go through with this," Rynekk said, his eyes hard but his voice as comforting as he could manage. He reached down to his belt and twisted from it a handaxe. It was visibly ancient, its wooden shaft worn from countless hands, and its blade was inscribed with a half-dozen hexagonal runes of a language that Rynekk doubted even a Rau-wearer could discern. But its blade was sharp, and that's mattered. As well as...

"Take this; it might help you down in those depths," he said, holding the weapon out to Pirok. "It's been touched by some kind of magic; too far beyond my pay grade to guess at. But it'll blunt in the hands of an enemy, which might buy you a moment that could save your life."

OOC: @a goose

-Void

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IC:

"I don't know that Merror ever even found Echelon's base," I spoke up, once it was clear that Pirok still intended to go through with this plan. "Before we got separated in a storm, I had been with Merror and Agni trying to find Echelon's base. We had a Matoran with us who had been working for that madman—but he managed to run off from us after we made it to Ko-Wahi, and there was no way to track him, and with him went our only lead." Probably for the better, though; had we been able to find Echelon's base while he was still alive, I'm not entirely certain the three of us would've stood the best chance.

Two fire Toa with morals, and one ice Toa without the power crutch I'd gotten used to using in fights like that, versus Mata Nui only knew what sort of power Echelon had to call upon by that point.

"Agni's the only other one who'd have had any idea, and he just told me over in Ga-Koro that as soon as he and Merror made it back here they split up. There aren't any leads we can give you." Good as his intentions seemed to be, I hoped that the bluntness might help dissuade him at least a little bit. "When you're out in the drifts, keep an eye out for any shelter you can find if the weather turns bad, don't think your element alone will be enough to save you, and don't pick any fights with Muaka. If you find any bodies, don't try to drag them along with you—retrieval is more trouble than it's worth unless you've got a Kualsi or a Kakama, and that's gotten more than a few stuck in a position where they were lucky not to freeze."

OOC: @Snelly@a goose@Void Emissary@Emzee@Toru Nui@Krayzikk

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i'm a south american giant otter now

 

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On 2/10/2023 at 8:25 AM, a goose said:

IC: Pirok (The Fowadi)

Pirok sighed in resignation. He wasn't surprised – he knew this had been a long shot, but he had still hoped…

"I understand. You have responsibilities, and I know it's all pretty high risk." Then he turned his attention from Skyra to Krayn. "I know what I can resist, and I know what I'm risking, but I have thought this through. I have a Tryna, and my powers will keep me and any aid I have alive out in the Drifts – and, of course, come in handy when I burn that evil hellhole to the ground.

"That is to say, I'm going, with or without your help or your approval. If you don't have a lead on where I can find Merror, then my next stop is finding a guide in Ko-Koro. The longer I leave this, the more chance of Echelon's lair falling back into the wrong hands."

IC:

Krayn wasn't so sure of the other Toa's estimation of his will. He didn't think the man lied, or that he doubted his own estimate for a second. The trouble was that after everything he had seen, and been through, he was less certain. It seemed in his eyes that even the best could fall to temptations less virulent than whatever the Necromancer had unleashed in Ko-Wahi. But he'd had his say, and he hadn't been swayed.

"If you're set on it, there are a few things you should know." He directed his eyes towards the Mangai, and the cable car he knew would lead to Ko-Wahi. "The Rahi are much more aggressive than they have been in a long while. Muaka have been prowling the Wastes again. Fire doesn't scare them off the same way. Be careful of that. If you find the lair, and it connects to tunnels, you should stay out of them. The Darkwalk is more dangerous than it was."

"Best of luck."

@a goose

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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: Pirok (The Fowadi)

He wanted to refuse the gift – he wanted to refuse it out of politeness, yes, but moreso because of the look in Rynekk's eyes. He did not believe Pirok would come back from this, and Pirok wanted to prove him wrong. ****** his charity, and ****** him.

But that same look did not beggar disagreement, and Pirok knew in his heart that these Toa were right to doubt. Hesitantly, he took the hatchet.

"I'm borrowing this," he promised, with as much confidence as he could muster. "When you return from your voyage, I'll be here to give it back to you."

With that, he directed his attention to Praggos. "I won't burn the bodies – not without a thorough recording of them at the very least, and even then only if I don't believe I can return them to Ko-Koro. Aside from that… everything burns."

The lie was shockingly easy to tell; he almost believed it himself. What Praggos did not need to know was that Pirok already had a contingency; if he could not take the bodies, then he would still take a trophy – the same trophy Echelon had taken all those years ago, when he first set foot in the limelight.

"One last thing... tell me about the Matoran."

OOC: @ fowadi folks, but primarily @Void Emissary and @otter

Edited by a goose
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IC: Jolek [Ta-Wahi, Charred Forest]

In the wake of that hulk's departure, a silence hung again beneath the intermittent breeze through the ash...

Only, eventually, to be punctuated by the soft brush of armor on mask, as a beleaguered groan floated from Highwind's mouth.

"...Seriously?"

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  • 3 weeks later...

IC: Skyra Daring - Fowadi, Ta-Wahi Coast, Rehu Cove -

I let out a sigh as I listened to Pirok talk between Krayn, Praggos, and Rynekk. Honestly what Pirok was attempting didn't seem too far off from what I would have done, left to my own devices. Luckily for me I had friends that would pull my leash when necessary...that was kind of a weird analogy, but whatever. 

If I didn't have prior commitments already I probably would have offered to go with Pirok, just to make sure he didn't die out there in the snow. I couldn't say I wasn't at least a little worried about him. But it wasn't like we could stop him from going. 

Since I was just listening at this point, I started doing some stretches. Once I got through the basic set I did a few hand stands and other aerobics like that.

@Krayzikk @a goose @Void Emissary @Emzee @otter

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IC: Makua — Ta-Wahi Beach, Deck of the Fowadi

No quips emerged from Makua as he continued to listen; a rarity for Makua by any measure. He slowly looked to the side and noticed Skyra Daring in the throes of some sort of stretching exercise.

I suppose she can never stop moving for too long, Makua thought. The Ko-Toa wasn’t all that surprised—it seemed like all Toa of Air were like that. Wokapu was jumpy too.

Makua who had been more or less stock-still for the last few minutes, took a few steps back and to lean comfortably against the ship’s railing.

OOC: @Snelly @Krayzikk @otter @a goose @Void Emissary

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"hey girl: here’s an idea, but… it’s up to you:

You’re the boss of this operation."

[BZPRPG Profile] [Ghosts of Bara Magna Profile]

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

IC: Jolek [Ta-Koro]

It had been a while since the lonely wooden halls had seen the activity of the past hour or so.

Typically, all they'd beheld was little more than a haggard, worn ghost of silver floating in from the street and into one of the side rooms, to not be seen until the next dawn. If lucky, the kitchen would see use— salad ingredients fished out from a larder and tossed together in one of the ceramic bowls, or a pan given the prestigious duty of searing off fresh game meat. The lava rat from a night ago, for instance, after being dried first against the ambient heat of the mask-maker's forge. It had seen its browning, once cleaned a little more thoroughly, in a pad of butter while the chef busied himself with rolling a few kinks out of his neck. That kind of simplicity and quickness— fittingly hearkening back to the days of having spent all further energy on surviving the hunt and leaving little room to indulge the finer culinary knowledge that lay in the mind. Surviving the day had been enough.

Things differed now, as a whirlwind had come to ransack the many shelves, closets, and drawers quietly collecting a film of fine dust every unremarkable evening. A hunter's yes had scanned them, purposeful hands had at times plucked out key contents after wiping away the grey— as if ensuring they could correctly read what they were snatching, before unceremoniously returning everything else to the stillness. A collection of pencils, accompanying blank pages bound in leather. They'd never before been touched by his hands, yet now seemed to call their entangled kin within the recesses of his mind. A bundle of cloth from a stale closet, left for the moths that would never survive the ambient ash. He had hardly bothered with much more than his armor and uniform, but they seemed worth having, spare fabric if nothing else. Off the shelves that the wall of shields had stood silent vigil, a single tome written by an author that meant nothing to his ears— but a favorite tale of Perkahn's, held in esteem for a portrayal of a calm and righteous warrior. A conceit that even made the man doing it scoff. He was no reader. Not even close— but there had always been something to the way it evoked fondness from a man that so often shared his son's rough-around-the-edge nature.

His eyes wandered, settling onto a sharpening stone. Keeping knives on one's person was like the training— further than something so wishy-washy as feeling "right". It was a necessity. Not there to be skipped. Such a primal, simple, utilitarian tool for life as it, a thousand uses known and a thousand more to discover, he couldn't imagine not keeping one on his person. It was survival. It needed to be maintained.

Across from the stone, they wandered again... And fell upon the promise he had made, at the start of this. Even in the low light, cast in orange upon its razor edges by the faint embers within the fireplace, its blade seemed to gleam in the silent vigil it held. Unmarred even by the stagnation, by the rest against the house, by the slow march of time after its story had, by all accounts, drawn to a dignified close. He wasn't gathering much. Wasn't ever gonna be. The weight on his back would be familiar, plus, if his larger counterparts' words were true, a weapon would be more than handy. You'd be hard pressed to find one more proven.

...

A grimace, then a huff as the head shook, scar on the cheek warping as the grimace pulled tight at the corners of his mouth.

He couldn't.

Wouldn't count.

All this was to finally fix the reason he'd put it down in the first place—

You don't get to use something to earn the right to hold it. Makes no ****** sense.

He'd renege on the promise he'd made. He'd kill the point of making it, be worse than useless.

He'd pack light.

He'd figure it out.

He wouldn't be made into a liar to Rebellion— it had chosen to wait, just as he'd let it.

Their day in the Sun together would come when he was ready. No sooner.

Promises were important.

...

Inevitably, he looked out towards the front door, Ta-koro's incessant bustle along the grids locked away behind the barrier of a home. Separated. Those were the streets he'd pledged to patrol, bereft of anything else. There was where more promises lay. Drinks with Balian, the mask-maker, met only yesterday but pleasant enough. His strength to Angelus, waning and unused in the tension that never wanted to boil over within the fortress city's walls, a friend of similar cloth and concept that was harder and harder to pull out from his own promises to the desk.

To Tarex at the gate, to grow, to rematch at the height of their powers and the height of his Self. 

Older than any. The start of everything he could call his own.

...

And now to the newest of them. Dehkaz Khyrilik. Docks before dusk.

Another path to fight "the good fight". "Bigger than the islands".

Another cause to pledge to?

Or the path forward, a road not taken?

 

"Nah,"  he said after a moment. "I ain't that interesting."

 

He had ignored these things before.

Where did that get him?

 

"You ready to play distraction?"

 

Where would going leave them?

His teeth grit, his hands folded the ends of the burlap pack in over on themselves in a simple square knot, his mind swam.

He rose, contents for travel light as a feather in the tight-knuckled grip of his right hand. He really never did pack much. Nothing to put his name upon.

Barely a trace of his passing left upon this home, both his and imperceptibly not.

..."hhh."

The gunmetal wraith named Jol Highwind marched off to that same side room as always, setting the bag down upon the floor in that same familiar destination all carry-on items found themselves, and flopped back-first onto the bedding in the same way, arms behind the head and knee leisurely kicked up, staring a hole through the plain ceiling in the undecorated room.

His head rolled over to the side.

Golden eyes narrowed.

The pack sat there, loose around its meager contents, but still undeniably packed.

... I should sleep on it. Mom always says to do that before decisions. They probably did it before deciding to skip town on me.

A deep yawn, pulling his jaw wide. A curtain of darkness closing round his vision, as the last of the fatigue left to feel sank him deeper into the cusion.

Yeah. Sleep'll be good. I'll know after that.

...One way or the other.

Edited by Razgriz
"In this way alone, if you do not take a broad field of vision towards what is true, it will be difficult to become an accomplished martial artist."
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  • 2 weeks later...

IC: Balian the Mask Maker - Kanohi Dragon Forge

Mask-making was an art. Of course, even a lava farmer would call his trade art, but Balian would dare anyone to come up and say it wasn't so of his trade in particular. A beautifully ornamented Mahiki sat finished before him, the product of two weeks' work, not counting breaks to focus on other commissions. Protodermic base, as with all masks meant to be worn, gilded at the edges and along the raised surfaces, set with gemstones from Onu-Wahi, truly a sight to behold. Maybe even a contender for his best work.

The finishing touch laid, he sat back in his rocking chair, joints creaking, and simply observed it. It almost was a shame this beauty wouldn't stay here. But the act of giving his masks to the buyer was an essential step in the ritual that was his daily life. It kept him humble, preventing him from amassing his pride around him. No, his place was dingy, covered in soot, and sparse in terms of decorations. It got cleaned once a month by a maid, and he didn't entertain much. Anyone would see the place and think 'a humble man lives here'. Balian didn't know if he could really be considered humble, but at least he didn't show it outwardly, except in his care and finesse in his craft.

"Thank Mata-nui I'm a mask maker," he sighed with a contented smile. He gave the arm rests of his chair a pat and lurched to his feet, took the mask off its stand and placed it in a safe until its commissioner would come to collect it, then went up to the living area of his shop, to bed.

OoC: Just a reminder there's a mask maker in Ta-Koro.

Edited by ARROW404

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  • 3 months later...
On 2/24/2023 at 7:09 AM, a goose said:

"One last thing... tell me about the Matoran."

IC: Rynekk | The Fowadi

Rynekk didn't like it, but the boy was stubborn; and, Spirit blast it all, he knew stubborn. Better to give him the best chance of making it out of that pit alive and unscathed -- if such a thing were even possible. Just another one dead by your hand, said S̷̪̀t̷̩͊͋e̴̖̎̕ṅ̷͚͝d̸̼̀ͅh̴͝ͅa̵̪͔̒l̶̨̳͐̈'̸̰̝̎s̸̭͒ ̶̩̔̑v̶̲̤̎̚ö̶̢̫̕í̶̛͕͕c̴̢̦̀͒e̵͚̓ ̸͔͕̈̑i̶̦̗͛n̵̤̞͗̏ ̸̛̛̣͜m̶̰̽̍ͅy̵̥̽̚ ̶̩̕h̶̤̗̍͐e̶͕̅a̸̦͊ḋ̴̺͂.̴̤̯̒͊

"Hard to say much about the Necromancer's... victims," he said, the word sour in his mouth. "Most of them were people who lived on the outskirts of society -- outriders, trappers, merchants, mercenaries, transients. People we don't have many records on; people who Echelon knows would fall through the cracks. However many we know about, there's beyond to be at least twice as many more. And that's being conservative."

He gave Pirok the scant names that he knew off-the-top of his head -- which, he knew, were already more than enough to raise eyebrows, but he didn't much want to let his reputation kill this boy if a missing piece of information cost him dearly. He glanced over to the man who must have been Praggos, raising an eyebrow: Did I miss anything?

Even if Praggos couldn't answer, at least Rynekk didn't have to look at Pirok.

He didn't think he would be able to keep the grief out of his eyes.

OOC: @a goose@otter Sorry for the wait!

-Void

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IC: Dehkaz [Ta-Wahi, Charred Forest]

The final stretch of stone path which brought Dehkaz to the gates of the city proper were comparatively uneventful and blase, a thoughtful silence that accompanied him through the remainder of his trek. It wasn’t much longer until the treeline of dead trunks broke, the looming basalt mass of the village’s massive stone gate completely dominating the landscape ahead. Carved from the solidified fortress of stone that surrounded the Koro on all sides, nonetheless a few words exchanged were sufficient to grant him entry. There were plenty of guards stationed at the archway, and he was more than certain many, many more were within the immediate area in far less obvious positions. Outwardly, far cry from the state of the village what had been a short time prior when tensions on the island were unthinkably high.

While it was still only midmorning by his best approximation, a glance down to the Onu-Koroan tablet which he lifted partway from his coat pocket to consult confirming this estimation, the ash-infused sky above prevented anything but the dull haze of an indeterminate hour to filter down from the sun above. Still, plenty of time.

Stepping into the Koro proper, he moved to join the busy foot traffic that occupied the mainstreet of the village. From Matoran to Skakdi, merchants to guards, and all manner of beings between, it felt as though all moved with a renewed sense of weariness. As if the news of their dark adversary's return had permeated the otherwise mundane day to day.

Or maybe it was just his own sense of it coloring the busy Koro.

* * *

Compared to the rush and cacophony of activity that occupied the inlet dockside along the volcanic beach earlier in the day, the quiet calm that had replaced it was practically deafening. Broken only by the lapping of the waves on the shore and the low notes of the ironclad gently rolling with them at anchor. Dehkaz himself had returned from the village of Fire some hours before, and by now the sun was beginning to slip behind the crests of the jagged obsidian peaks that punctuated the end of the shoreline, leaving behind a brilliant orange glow as sunset progressed.

Of course, it was not to last. Crew began to filter onto the deck once again, following unheard and then very much heard orders, as preparation for their vessel's departure started in earnest. Lines were cast off, sails unfurled, and the last few remaining loose pieces of equipment stowed. The wind at their backs, the ironclad began its journey once more into the Endless Ocean, pulling away from the shoreline with renewed spirit.

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IC: Jolek [Ta-Koro Docks]

The sun had sunk low as time continued on through the day, heedless of both the bustle and then the following stillness of the homestead. As it passed overhead, hours ticking by, it had only spared its attention it did for anything below its warmth— the cool golden glow that passed through the ashen haze slowly lengthening out into long lines of fiery red, orange, and pink. These lines filtered through the west-facing window slits and painted the halls within, now ghostly quiet once more after the passing of the whirlwind from hours prior. The only audience to the slow shift in hue stood solemn in the hearth, made the centerpiece by placement as it leaned against the stone that tamed a once roaring flame. His edge, still razor-keen, caught the dying filaments as they crept up to reach, spinning them into points of diamond.

He would not be moving. When his owner was to return, however much time that would take, he would wait patiently. It had been decided, just as the placement of the spare key had been decided— for much longer than the man who decided had realized. For the record, there was a crook you could fashion between a loose floorboard and the potted plant that usually hid it tastefully from any prying eyes, neighborly or not.

Until the time came when a worthy man had need for his strength, Rebellion would find his watch of the halls undisturbed. 

As it should be.

...

...

Frowning around a straw in one's mouth was a surprisingly dexterous expression to be compelled to make. Before today, Suvala hadn't ever fully managed it, no matter how regularly the busywork of a Ta-Koro Guard pencil-pusher could prove inane and aggravating. The plasma toa was already proven as nothing much of a fighter when her lot was drawn from the pool of reservists in her district for paramilitary posting, so it was desk jockey or logistical work— she, in her ignorance, had chosen to work with paper and codes of conduct instead of supply crates and sore backs. It nominally was the better choice, to be fair: easier hours, more structured routine, dealing with the dumbest people in the Wahi on an impersonal bureaucratic level rather than being stuck gritting her teeth through befriending them and trusting them with heavy duty equipment, longer lunch breaks, the list was fairly expansive—

Until one such lunch break brought her back from a smoothie courtesy of Jungle Jerval's into something that registered as an oncoming nightmare. She recognized a Form 2389 pretty quickly— guard-submitted request to be considered for Warrant Officer, filled out in a hasty scrawl that only her heavy experience with Salamander's kept legible. That much was fine, if annoying. The Guard often dangled these around barracks and break rooms as bait for the members that were in it for bigger reasons than hers to go out and spread the Ta-Koroan ideal of justice instead of protect home, blah blah blah, be a state sanctioned bounty hunter with a cool name. Few ever really made the cut. Judging from the chicken scratch, this PFC probably wasn't smart enough to be left to his own devices in other Koro.

No, what gave her pause and started unconsciously ratcheting up the temperature of the hand clutching her once-frozen treat was the accompanying badge and sword. These were classically calling cards of a guard who'd Quit, not one looking for More Work. Already, this was looking like a kick up the line at the very best— just how in the karz was this one going to process? Was he raised by kikanalo? You couldn't even apply your jurisdiction without the

Smoke rose from the cup, and a tight, clenching pull was already forming at the base of her skull. she glanced around— Gronar, a reedy Skakdi who usually worked her shift, hadn't yet returned.

Executive decision— He could deal with this.

...

...

The bartender on duty at the Pumice Pord's Pub, like most any of those to don the bowtie and waistcoat, was good at getting people to pay more than they bargained for for drinks. A smooth tongued and attentive conversationalist, he fancied he could read a brewing fight, a budding romance, and an exploitable friendship all about as easily as the morning news. People were colorful, but you noticed patterns within the palettes. In the realm of art, balancing your hots and your colds was a skill coveted by ****** near anyone, generalship of positive and negative going hand-in-hand. Everyone had their personalities coloring them that way, if you knew where to look.

The bag of widgets had a decent heft in his hand. Probably half the monthly salary of the man leaving— A man who was a dull gray, like any canvas sold in this ash-caked town. On one hand, this was the easiest money he'd ever made. On the other... He hated seeing guys like that walk through his doors. He'd only gotten this much by the grace of the Great Spirit, raw luck and none of his careful craft. When you couldn't even really feel if there was a person at all in there... nine times out of ten there would be nothing but trouble. The tenth was usually too stuck up to drink, and here for no reason that could be pleasant.

He considered it.

Well, this was a tab made quite pointedly in the name of a regular, Balian. He'd been told to pass along an apology that the drinks wouldn't be shared between the gray man (literally as well as metaphorically, he might have been a De-Toa) and the wizened mask-maker. Having never seen this guy before in his life, it was a mystery as to how he'd known that talkative old coot came by—

But he'd have to take him at his word, because it was too blunt and plain to be a lie.


...

...

His eyes drank in the dull orange glow, as he stopped just ahead of the docks, and Thoughts from before came flooding back into his empty head. Truth be told, his connection to Ta-Koro had long been strained. Even before he'd sublimated into the regimented guard grind, his days of vigilantism in the back alleys and rough footpaths were, save the day the Lavapool fell, every inch as aimless. The people there had been the point.

It felt like they'd been long gone, now. Lost in the gears of the machine like he was, part of him argued that these conflicting feelings that assailed his thoughts were putting the cart before the Kane-ra— could you abandon the folks you never saw any more? Who had, for whatever reason, seemingly let you go? As much unfairness as it seemed to have... things went both ways, too.

After all that work to pick a direction, make a decision, what was it that compelled him to turn back, away from that impossible fortress of steel that rocked upon the moorings? Towards the cage he wanted to escape?

The orange dimmed into an ombre from a glow, as the sun behind the curtain slipped lower than Mangaia's jagged peak. He was supposed to be here before dusk, so it was cutting things close as it got— and he'd already seen what he was in for. If he wasn't out here to fish every once in a while, the pugilist would have found himself wondering just when the karz they'd built a fortress out by this port they couldn't care less about.

Metal was dense, heavy. It sank

Even so... Nothing that size went up in a week. This had to be what the visiting dignitary and his clipped northern accent wanted him to see. This floating citadel, wrought from the forge and defiant of the waves.

He stood yet, wondering which path would have proved correct— He did owe Angel, owe Balian, owe his rediscovered family. They weren't nothing.

Maybe it was that this choice was wrong, too selfish, that served to answer why the dying light over Ta-Koro tugged at his lapel even now. As if his old chains were making one last effort to tie him to the duties he'd thoughtlessly taken on—

Rolling through the valley, the echo of a far off beast, proclaiming its strength to the world through steam and brass, startled him out of his cyclical diatribe. The clarion call was throaty, big—

He whirled.

—and coming from the bay.

The impossible ship was moving, the thin lines that had been attaching it to Ta-Koro's lone pier hanging at its side as a great blanket of white caught the wind from a mighty spire at its center. Leaving him behind, like so much had already. "Before Dusk" had passed. It was just "Dusk" now. Already, the metal boat was a dark spot that had begun to meld into the purples of the approaching night. Another opportunity.

Except...

The wind was at his back, too. On it was ash, smoke, sulfur— Ta-koro itself, telling him something.

One last push.

"Karz..!" Jolek Highwind swore under his breath, as he took off in a dead sprint, running after his last chance like he was good for little else.

Edited by Razgriz
"Passing this onto the world, I write this down for the first time in the five chapters of Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, and Emptiness."
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IC:

 

"You know, I do believe he's going for it."

Krayn almost didn't realize he'd spoken out loud, so caught up was he with a sudden curiosity. He had been watching the coast, what little of it there was to look at. It was still a part of Mata Nui, and he had been dwelling on the great journey that loomed ahead far out into the Endless Ocean. Far away from home. The gray Toa there on the docks had only caught his attention as a matter of habit; Krayn had watched him look to the sea, to the village, and back enough times to recognize someone trying to make a decision.

What he hadn't expected was the Toa to turn and sprint like Makuta himself was hot on his heels.

Was he really trying to catch the ship? That was his best idea? He wasn't wearing a Kakama, or he'd have made it already. Curiosity, and a little amusement, brought his focus into the present more than anything else. He shook his sleeve a little, a motion he'd been practicing, to make sure it was clear of his new grappling hook. He thought maybe he would have to go fishing, soon.

See what he caught.

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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-Koro Docks]

The gunmetal and silver glimmer on the docks felt his lungs burning as he surged out onto the rickety wood of the pier, reinforced by enough steel to handle the thudding impact of each stride without giving in where it cracked. He'd had extra ground to cover even before the horn sounded, cluing him into the ship setting off— by the time the balls of his feet had touched dead tree and not ash, the ship was already well on its way out. He was gaining that ground back, certainly, but there was only so much time left before the hulk slipped out of the "port" entirely— 

A strained baring of teeth on his face, a wordless snarl, as he skid to a halt, shoulders rising and falling like much rougher seas. A chip of wood knocked loose by the sudden stop fell into the drink. Dully, he heard the splash beneath, eyes still affixed.

The ship continued on, slinking further into the murky night that approached. Unlike him, it didn't need to stop with the dock.

He didn't have a Kakama. He'd been far enough to still see a glimpse of Ta-Koro through the haze when the horn hit his ears— Now, as it sounded again, it seemed to have a clear message, one that rung between his ears rather than within them.

This is a test, the hulking vessel's retreating form seemed to say in Khyrilik's voice, If you don't want it, I don't want you.

One breath.

Two.

It was leaving.

The third.

Something. Anything. It wouldn't stop for him. He couldn't stop either, then, or he'd go back home, tail shamefully tucked between his legs.

The Fa-Toa unslung his pack from his shoulders, untying it and drawing the knife from his belt. His eyes flickered across the sea, at the receding stern, at the edge of the pier, calculating distances.

Now or never.

His mask glowed, surging impossible strength through his muscles as he reared his hand back, gleam of steel catching the last embers of evening light—

His first, last, only chance.

— and every fiber fired in accord as he launched the knife, payload hastily tied off to the handle, at the rear mast. It streaked through the air in a high, fast arc. If nothing else, he was pretty sure he'd at least get his stuff aboard. He couldn't wait to track it the whole way, didn't have time, had to get going after it—

Pulling back two, three, four strides, Krayn would see the curiosity he'd clocked take no more than two lungfuls of air, before that Pakari sent him sailing forward in a running dive for distance of his own, slicing through the placid surface in the ship's wake.

Edited by Razgriz
punched up the frantic vibe a bit
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He's really trying it.

His Pakari throw— for that was clearly it— wasn't perfect, but with such an improvised payload it was a little impressive that it reached the deck at all. Not that some of the sailors nearly clobbered by it agreed. For a village so new to sailing they nailed how a sailor spoke very quickly. Maybe Ember's work? In any case, with his belongings aboard the lunatic— he'd had too much success to simply dismiss as stupid— dove in with equal strength.

Despite his time aboard Krayn was not an experienced sailor. He'd asked once how fast the Fowadi could move and the answer had been unintelligible. Why a ship needed to be measured differently than anything else was beyond him, but rather than solve the mystery he was content to leave sailing to the experts. Close enough to shore with objects for reference, though, and he could eyeball the speed just fine. This Toa was moving fast, father than he could in the water. Not as fast as a Kakama would allow but sheer force, it seemed, behind each stroke made a difference.

He'd taken too long, though. It was only a few moments of indecision at the end of the dock but Krayn suspected those moments to be crucial. The Fowadi, unlike this desperate swimmer, was still accelerating. Without thinking too hard about it Krayn slipped his foot underneath one of the cleats on deck; it was meant for tying things down in the event of a storm, but it'd hook on his foot just fine. Strictly speaking whoever this was shouldn't be allowed on board while underway, especially not without clearance. But if Dehkaz really didn't want him on board, they could just drop him back.

He released a short length of slack and swung the hook in circles to build momentum while he watched, and waited, for the point that the Toa would get closest to the ship before it began to pull away.

Not quite.

Not yet.

There.

He released the hook, casting it out at the sea with every bit of precision his Sanok allowed. It'd make contact with the water an arms length ahead.

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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-Koro Docks]

His muscles were aflame, but the raw power the Pakari put through them was making up for the buildup of fatigue— that said, they were sorely out of practice. It was unavoidable, after being posted up in Ta-Koro for so long. The resigned notion passed through Highwind's head as he churned through the blackened water, sharply breathing in with each stroke that carried his mouth above water. It wasn't like he'd had nearly such easy access to the coast, nor so hospitable an inlet, as he did back in the jungles to the south. Swimming was a primal movement, a great stress-test of the cardiovascular systems... but it was too a skill. And skills, you either use or lose.

Right now, as the wind picked up around him, Jolek was, for all his effort, losing. Karz, there wasn't any way the wind was that strong yet, to move a vessel that size. He was being pummeled by unexpected currents beneath the surface, too, ripples that didn't make sense to come from even the wake of a ship this big. What on earth... did they have a Ga-Toa helping them set off? That'd make sense, but more importantly—

A rough bark on the next exhale spoke the volumes of his straining frame and pounding heart. Whatever the mechanism Dehkaz's ship was using to accelerate, it could keep at this for a good long while, even longer than Jolek's conditioning allowed the front crawl from—

A wrenched himself over in a sudden barrel roll, as something fast and metallic shot forth from overhead. His knife? Had they tossed his knife back at him?

He scanned the water ahead, finding a black line that hung low from one of the side railings, terminating in...

There. A hook, just wider in its curve than most Toa's forearms. Tracing a look back up the length of the line, his eyes met those of the silhouette, tall and lean, that braced it against deck, looking at him expectantly. He'd half believed this a reprisal for chucking a knife at them out of the blue when the glint had caught his eye between breaths—

But even if they're mad about that, this far out I don't have much other choice. Take the line, get on the boat, and whatever response I've earned I deal with.

Through grit teeth, he kicked furiously to make up for the distance he'd let slip in getting his bearing, one more spurt to force out of his screaming back and legs. In short order, his hand closed around the metallic stem of the (thankfully mostly dull) multi-pronged hook, lacing his arm through the inside, and gave two distinct tugs, like a trout on the line.

Edited by Razgriz
bro is so dumb his thoughts aint italicized
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"If I remember right, he was a Matoran of...Lightning, I think," I replied to Pirok's questioning. Evidently, he didn't care to take any of our warnings into account. "He wore a Komau, and the name he gave us was Aerus. His health wasn't the best, and eventually we lost him. I don't really remember when, specifically—there were other things on my mind at the time than just Echelon and his people." If he wouldn't listen to reason, so be it.

I had other things to do anyways, before the ship eventually left again. First, though...

"Skyra, if you fall on your head, I'm making you heal the old way."

* * *

Eventually, dusk did come, and it was time for the ship to leave. Between my own search and what I'd asked Skyra to find for me, my cabinets were well-stocked for the coming trip.

But, as I peeked back outside, I had to wonder if I'd be using my mask and supplies sooner than expected.

"I didn't take you for a fisherman, Krayn. Want help pulling him in?"

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"You know, thought I'd see what I caught."

For a second Krayn throught he would have to reevaluate the Toa's intelligence. What in Nui's name was he waiting for? He was about to shout when the idea seemed to register, and the swimmer grabbed the hook and gave two distinct tugs.

"Grapple's going to do most of the work," he answered, double-checking his foot's purchase beneath the cleat before he triggered the reel-in. He wasn't concerned about the weight, the only challenge was that he was supposed to be the object remaining stationary. He would have liked to brace on the railing with his left, but... His arm didn't hang uselessly at his side, but it did remain purposeless. It wouldn't help. "Just make sure I don't go over instead. Lunatic weighs more than I do right now, I think."

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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-Koro Docks]

As tension slowly threaded itself back into the line via some unseen mechanism (maybe pulling from further back? No, too steady and too smooth), Jolek took a moment's rest as the hook dragged him along through the darkening waters. They were chatting up there, words he could quite make out yet, but it was readily apparent that he had more than one witness to this stunt with piqued interest. That much he didn't mind...

But he was, growingly, conscious of how far he'd now run himself out onto open water at night. For all he could boast of experienced swimming and comfort borne of the crystalline shallows that hugged the southeastern corner of Le-Wahi, that very same experience quickly reminded him that he was a karz of a lot like bait on this ad hoc fishing line, as far as anything big that made its home in these waters may have been concerned. He'd faced down predators before, sure... but he'd always made sure to do it on solid ground, where he was born to move upon. The sea was a place he visited. From the day his memories started, the day they had kicked him back onto shore, that was a relationship he made sure to respect.

All that being enough time to catch a breath or three. His left hand reached forward, further up the line. Taut as it was now, pulling himself along would surely speed things up. He set to it like so many vines in youth, a steady progression of hand over hand, pulling with the back. By his own measure, he wasn't the biggest guy in the world— even for as thin as the crewman high above seemed (it might have been the stark angle playing weird with his height, who knows), Jolek doubted he was going to do anything ridiculous like pull him overboard.

If I do, then his buddy in white over there better be dense enough for both of us.

Edited by Razgriz
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Somehow, I didn't think that would work out very well, but I decided to just nod and keep my mouth shut for the moment. At least whoever it was Krayn was dragging in had started dragging themselves along the line, rather than just be dead weight getting pulled along. That was good; it meant there was less likelihood I'd have anything to worry about. Content with the situation for now, and knowing that Krayn wasn't so stoic or prone to understatement that he'd let himself be taken overboard without calling my attention back, I turned to look back at the deck.

I'd heard something land before I came up, and I wondered what it—

"Huh."

There was a knife buried almost to the hilt in the deck near the rear mast. With a pack tied off to the handle. I turned back, squinting out at Krayn's catch.

"You sure we need any of the disk launchers if he's got an arm like that?"

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IC Luten - Ta-Wahi bay?

With a signature tinkling of crystal, the tiny mask spirit appeared on the railing next to Krayn, sitting precariously on the edge of the railing and kicking her legs back and forth.

"Hi Mr. Krayn, hi Mr. Praggos. Whatcha doin'? And... who is that...?"

@otter@Razgriz@Krayzikk

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"Depends if he knows how to throw anything other than luggage." He'd shifted position a little, lifting his right leg to brace his foot on the railing. It wasn't nearly as difficult as it looked; the forces wanted to pull his body that way anyway. All he had to do was make sure his foot was hooked properly and allow, just for a second, that pull to gain a little ground. Much stronger position to keep. "Not sure yet, Luten."

It really didn't take long to pull him in. The grappling gauntlet was meant to pull things in fast, even with the extra resistance from the water. It was a matter of moments before the swimming Toa was dangling against the hull, another moment before he was at the railing. The Toa's hands were on the cord, naturally keeping it from retracting the whole way, so he took the Toa's wrist and heaved him over the railing pretty easily. He was a little denser than Krayn was, but the relative mass didn't matter nearly so much without the winching mechanism involved.

"Evening, there," He said, tone reasonable, to the dripping Toa. "Something we can do for you?"

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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]

In the moments where his arc over the railing offered him respite from the exertion and adrenaline, Jolek realized that these desperate, prodigious bursts of explosion and speed left his lungs feeling like they'd been filled with sand— and he spent the first couple seconds breathing ragged, deep, filling himself with fresh air again. Or, well, as fresh as air got downwind of an active firepit.

"Yeah... You can... tell me something." whether by stride or by stroke, a sprint was a sprint, and he felt it through the whole body even after he'd gotten enough wind in him to get some words out. Golden eyes flickered between the assortment of bodies he was confronted with— the more seasoned fighters among them (and they were seasoned. everything about this was way more placid than normal people would be about the knife thrown at them and the charge sent their way, even after they'd gotten the cards all over to their table by hauling him up and surrounding him) likely to recognize the direction his brain was going on automatic.

The tall one who hauled him up was, height aside, every bit Khyrilik's opposite. Gaunt, too much for his frame, and favoring his left arm. Not a person that exuded command or raw power, but...

Highwind pulled himself to a seat, legs crossed and hands planted on his knees. From the base of his spine, something flowed through each nerve as he locked eyes with his interrogator.

"I'm here for the job offer. Does this boat have a Dehkaz Khyrilik on it?" he spoke again, all but a moment later, his breathing cadence recovered. It had taken a little time to reset, but he wasn't sparing much thought for it beyond the sense that it'd be necessary.

Despite appearing a wounded animal, the Toa'd coolly kept him well out of the distance where his superior condition (to say nothing of technique) would break him in half. He was reedy where Jol was lean, but similarly rough around the edges. Injured where Jol was in proper fighting shape, but no less efficient in the mechanics of hauling him up, in moving the weight around, or in keeping his presence of mind through any of this budding exchange.

A hungry wolf was a vicious one. An animal that knew it was wounded would be twice as ready to keep itself safe.

Calmly accepting him aboard was more than it looked on its face. 

"Not like I'm spoiled for choice when it comes to 'dock at sundown', but he's hard to miss and I don't see him."

Edited by Razgriz
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"Keep behind me." I stepped around a little, to hide Luten away from the view of our newcomer before he could be pulled fully up onto the deck. Best not to have anything too abnormal shocking show up on his first time aboard, especially if he did have the wrong ship. Besides, it was becoming more and more evident that Krayn wouldn't need my help at all—he was too smart to let his own winch pull him into the water.

And of course, the new one rapidly proved he had the right ship.

"Well, he knows how to throw names around, at least," I replied to what Krayn had said a minute ago. "Better conditioning than half the ship, too. He ought to give them all swimming lessons." Hoping that Luten would either follow along behind me or stay out of sight for a moment, I stepped away from the edge of the ship, walking over to the bag he'd thrown and unhooking it from the knife.

Best to check it, even if he already didn't seem the type to try to smuggle anything aboard that really would be untoward. Obfuscating Stupidity was a tactic that everybody kept in their back pocket. Of course, opening it up and rifling through it, I couldn't help but frown. There wasn't much of substance. Not much of use, certainly out in the wilderness.

"Packing light must be more of a goal for you than most," I observed, pulling out a small leather sketch kit. "But I really do question what constitutes 'preparedness' to you."

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IC: Jolek [Ta-Wahi, Fowadi Aft Deck]

"I got a good nap in before heading down this way." Jolek offered in counter, tracking the Ko-Toa's ambling over to the knife he had, thankfully, managed to get onto the flooring— but refusing to let the other man leave view. Bunch of injured guys on this ship, he was noticing— though he moved pretty well on the subtly wonky surface provided him (even boats this big could rock a little, evidently), he wasn't able to conceal the hitch in his stride. Assuming he even meant to.

"Wasn't a lot to bring to begin with."

Edited by Razgriz
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I set the sketch materials back in his bag, an oddly cold feeling trying to work its way down my spine. There was nothing threatening in the bag, nothing even outwardly threatening about the Toa himself. I wasn't sure what it was.

I turned back at him, my eyes narrowing. He was an observant one.

"Quit that," I demanded, perhaps a bit more sharply than I really ought to have. "Only I get to look at people like that on this ship, and I'm not looking for an assistant yet."

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IC: Jolek [Ta-Wahi, Fowadi Aft Deck]

"Works for me."

His eyes held for a moment, as if waiting for posture to shift with the new position, but returned to the fisherman with a blink. Nothing he could do to catch him by surprise that far out he couldn't have done anywhere on the ship, Jolek reasoned, and no way he'd get close enough to do anything else quick enough to catch him cold.

Best watch the other for now.

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helo frens

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IC: Skyra Daring - Fowadi -

For the past few minutes I'd been watching Krayn fish out a man that had been desperately swimming towards us. As far as evenings go this one was one of the more entertaining ones I could remember having in some time. I'd been sitting next to Destiny up on her perch, observing everything. 

Of course, now said man was on the deck, and it was no longer interesting to merely watch. "Alright..." I forced myself up, yawning slightly as I stretched. Then I jumped down to the deck myself. 

I walked past Praggos as I got a good look at Krayn's 'catch'. "Hmmm..." I inspected him thoroughly, circling the man before turning my head towards Krayn with a sigh.

"Krayn we can't eat this, throw em back in." 

Edited by Snelly
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My Bzprpg ProfilesGhosts of Bara Magna

Skyra | Hakari | Oceanna | Taleen | Arisaka | Zanakra | Kaminari | Drakkar

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