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BZPRPG - Ko-Wahi


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IC, Atamai: Echelon's Lair

Atamai made no reaction, but his blood ran cold. Or rather, colder, considering the weather.

His heart continued to sink even further than it already had. Great, we're for sure dead now, he thought to himself. He continued to say nothing, but his eyes darted from his two companions to the two being occupying the hole in the wall.

___

IC, Skrol: Obsidian Outpost

Skrol tipped his hat to Dolbren and Minnorak in polite greeting, then tapped his cane around a bit to find a chair to sit on. "Hopefully you have a plan to sell this cart," the Lesterin said in his slightly gravely voice. "If this tech works as ya say, I'm sure Po-Koro will send people out to find it as soon as they hear it's stolen. Sell it quick, I say."

OOC: @BULiK etc.

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IC (Syrik) [Echelon's Lair]

Silence reigned again for a moment as Savrehn became the new target of Syrik's unblinking stare. Then the Toa smiled, and nodded.

"That's good to hear," he said. "I was worried for a moment there."

He stepped forward towards the closest of the Matoran and held out the roll of bandages and vial of disinfectant.

"Here."

Edited by Ghosthands

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IC: Kreigero [Echelon's Lair]

He's still focused on me? Kreigero thought as Aerus kept his complete attention on her, smirking with a strange intensity in his optics. What does that mean?

Her thoughts shifted back towards Syrik as he spoke again. Kreigero stood her ground as the Toa approached with the bandages and disinfectant. In that split second she was struck with the realization that while yes, something about all of this still felt so so wrong, any action she made beyond the most oblivious would only make it worse. Showing explicit distrust of the Toa would do nothing but cause some unpredictable reaction, whereas taking the offer at face value (as was clearly more plausible than she initially believed before they had returned from the cave with the items in question) had a chance of maintaining the status quo, provided the Toa didn't make any provocations.

All the trapper could do was be careful - watching closely while controlling her breathing and keeping her limbs slightly tensed. The biting cold helped to keep her on edge and alert, but she knew if the Toa made a move there was only so much she could do to react at such a distance. Or if this standoff dragged on for much longer. Her pains were at times sharp and yet constantly aching, but while her senses were numbed by the cold, she could still feel how wet the cloak wrapped around her forehead was.

She reached out and took the roll of bandages in one hand and the disinfectant with the other, then gave a nod of thanks to the Toa.

Edited by BULiK

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OOC: Surdo and Baszlin from Ta-Wahi.

IC: Surdo - Ko-Wahi - Obsidian Outpost

As with the ferry before, the cable car ride was uneventful, although Surdo seemed noticeably nervous as it crossed the ravine into Ko-Wahi. It was, after all, essentially just a box with people in it, suspended high up with a non-zero chance for something to go wrong. It felt like something he couldn’t control.

But maybe he was just paranoid. His worries alleviated once they reached the other side, and a slightly shakier Surdo limped out of the cable car and was met with a wall of cold air that made him shiver, even with his duster on. The Fe-Matoran swore something under his breath.

“Does this bring back any memories?” he asked Baszlin, gripping the head of his cane tighter as another cold wind passed through his body. The Outpost was close by, and Surdo, not wanting to be stuck outside much longer, made his way over. He knocked on a wall as he entered to catch the attention of those already inside.

“Honey, I’m home!”

OOC: @Perp@BULiK

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IC: Baszlin - Obsidian Outpost 

Ah, that age-old back-of-the-throat noise ol’ Bazzie was known for.

“Hmmmmm…”

‘A thinking man; perhaps the only one,’ someone of note had said of him once.

Or not. Who knows? Not Baszlin, that’s for sure.

Scanning the snow-dusted structures around them, the De-Skakdi wracked his brain for whatever images or sensations it could possibly dredge up. ‘Does this bring back any memories?’ Quote of the century, right there. Still, Baszlin tried mightily, steam practically pouring from his ears in the attempt.

Stacked stones. Wood battlements. The ethereal twang of the cable-car lines…

The icy wind bit into him, shards of crystalline water embedding themselves in his face, adding to the craters and pockmarks already present.

Red flags fluttering. Demarcating death. Fortifications aplenty, ramshackle renovations. Scattered barrels and crates, the stink of ill-gotten gains in the air. A distant bell ringing…

Any of this ring any bells?

“Hmmmmmmmmm…”

It was a question he asked directly of himself, now. His effort continued.

Hints of smoke on his tongue. Wisps of black and grey emanating from the apex of thin towers atop barracks of dubious build quality…

Surdo’s path brought them out of the chilling blast, through the stone-lined threshold into a damp volume smelling of spilt ale and the musk of sweat-soaked garments. 

Candles and fire providing paltry light to a dim expanse, the creaking of moulding wood below foot…

Ah, yes. 

His ruminations ceased - his quest for memory complete. He now knew the answer to Surdo’s question.

“No.”

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IC: Karmine Madoc - Obsidian Outpost 

"That's a point - I'm not so familiar with Po-Koro's law enforcement, I do jolly well hope they're not as vigilant as the Ta-Koro guard. The, um, less blood the better, right?"

I do hear the knock before the door opens, and I assist it in opening. There's two men standing outside, a Fe-Matoran and a frightful looking De-Skakdi. I do my best not to look shocked at the Skakdi's scarred and twisted appearance - I'm sure he's friendlier on the inside. In any case, I beckon them both in with a polite smile, picking up my launcher by the door carefully while I'm at it. 

"You're just in time, you two, if you're here for what I think you're here for! Come on into the warm."

OOC: @Nato G@BULiK@oncertainty@~Xemnas~@Tarn@Perp

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IC: Surdo - Ko-Wahi - Obsidian Outpost

“No?” he replied to Baszlin. “Oh, well.”

They were greeted at the door by a Toa of Gravity, who Surdo did not recognize, but was clearly another member of the crew Quoribay was putting together. The Fe-Matoran put on his best impression of a friendly person.

“Yes, right on time,” Surdo said as he entered, one last shiver passing through his body before the warmth of the indoors welcomed him. “I’m an old friend of Quoribay’s, way back,” he explained to the Toa at the door. “And this here is my new friend, and most-reliable bodyguard, Baz. Do not let appearances deceive you, he’s quite the gentleman.”

Surdo then hurriedly limped ahead of Baszlin and the Toa, into the planning room proper. “Now, where is—”

He spotted the other Fe-Matoran and let out a fake laugh, walking over to Quoribay and slapping him on the back—hard. “The man of the hour! The one who will lead us to success, yes?” Surdo grinned as wide as he could force his mouth to go. “What have I missed?”

OOC: @Perp@BULiK@Johnny Blocksville

Edited by Tarn
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IC: Baszlin - Obsidian Outpost, Mess Hall 

Flickering firelight silhouetted Surdo as he passed from the dim anteroom further into the Outpost. Voices from within spilled outwards, reverberating off the damp stones - a note of familiarity picked out from the cacophony. Baszlin canted his head slightly, not unlike the behaviour of an alerted canine. After a beat, and a quick glance at the Ba-Toa who was already half-in the next room, the Skakdi strode impassively inward, following his charge.

Several other beings filled the space; their presence provided a more homely feel to the seemingly decrepit compound, a nexus of liveliness in a place that seemed otherwise abandoned. Though, from the looks of them, they were perhaps not the sort one would typically associate with hospitality.

Not that he was any different.

There was Surdo in close accompaniment with the Matoran they had met in Ga-Koro, Quoribay, seemingly jovial. All appeared to be acceptable for the current moment, and so Baszlin decided not to linger by his client’s side. He took the time to scan the room, washing his gaze over the faces of-

Hmm.

Hmmmm.

Well, that’s peculiar.

He locked his eyes on the visage of the Vortixx behind the bar, taking in every detail and comparing it with what he could scrounge from his fragmented memory. He leant forward, squinting his eyes, trying to get a better look from across the room before his legs decided to take him the rest of the way.

Excruciatingly slowly, Baszlin put one foot in front of the other and closed the distance to the bar. Screwing up his expression as he did so, he again leant forward, his gaze never wavering, never blinking - scrutinizing the face of Minnorak closer than one would deem comfortable.

Hmmmmm.

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IC: Minnorak - Obsidian Outpost

"Yes, right on time." 

Minnorak glanced up at the sound of the new voice. More visitors. This was quite the crew Quoribay was putting together. 

“I’m an old friend of Quoribay’s, way back,” the newcomer said, “And this here is my new friend, and most-reliable bodyguard, Baz. Do not let appearances deceive you, he’s quite the gentleman. “Now, where is—”

If the Skakdi was Baz, that meant this new arrival had to be Surdo, the one that Quoribay had warned him about. Minnorak stared intently at the Matoran as he limped across the room, babbling boisterously as he caught up to Quoribay. He didn't seem especially dangerous, at least not physically. If he was the biggest internal threat this heist was going to face, then-

Movement in Minnorak's peripheral vision made him swiftly realise he'd been focusing on the wrong newcomer. He looked to the side to find Baz had moved right up beside the bar, leaning forward to squint at his face. 

“Hmmmmm.”

Minnorak returned the stare for a few seconds before speaking, "Can I help you?" 

@Perp

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BZPRPG Mercenary Organisation - Description - History - Base

BZPRPG Characters - Minnorak, Kain, T'harrak, Savis, Vazaria, Lash

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IC: Baszlin - Obsidian Outpost, Minnorak’s Face 

The Vortixx’ query went unanswered, Baszlin electing to ignore it as he searched Minnorak’s features for precious, precious recognition. It didn’t take long to find it.

A short silence followed as the Skakdi withdrew to a more comfortable distance. Still, his eyes remained fixed on the Vortixx, jaw clenched and artificial hand unconsciously edging closer to the grip of the bayonet on his belt.

“This one,” he said slowly, chewing each word as it was a tough strip of meat, “has tried to kill me before.”

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7 hours ago, Tarn said:

IC: Surdo - Ko-Wahi - Obsidian Outpost

Surdo then hurriedly limped ahead of Baszlin and the Toa, into the planning room proper. “Now, where is—”

 

He spotted the other Fe-Matoran and let out a fake laugh, walking over to Quoribay and slapping him on the back—hard. “The man of the hour! The one who will lead us to success, yes?” Surdo grinned as wide as he could force his mouth to go. “What have I missed?”

IC: Quoribay [Obsidian Outpost, Mess Hall]

I gracefully did not make Surdo pay for that slap on the back. "Oh, Surdo, you know - just the boring details." I began, glancing towards the heavily armed and armored Skakdi as he continued to steadily march towards Minnorak.

Hmmmmm.

"Now that everyone is here we can get to the fun part -," I continued as Baz and Minno sized each other up.

"Can I help you?"

Everyone was silent for a few moments, not even the two titans seeming to be sure of what their future accomplice was thinking. Then the next big wrench was thrown into the works.

“This one... has tried to kill me before.”

What were the odds a bunch of mercs would have been on the wrong side of a client at some point in the past century?

"Ah, the hallmarks of true friendship," I said, playing it off. I had to undercut it by saying something stranger and less serious, not that I was sure Baz could even comprehend such comedic genius.

The crew disintegrating was the last thing I needed. At the very least, this didn't add much complexity to my problem with Surdo and by extension Baz - if anything it strengthened the reasoning for Minny and I to watch each others' backs.

"'Who among us', am I right?" I continued, tilting my head to Surdo in a shrug before turning to address Baszlin. "How does the Ga-Koronan saying go? 'Let he who has no impurity throw the first Madu'?"

"This gonna be a problem? It looks to me by the fact that both of you are standing there that this situation's already resolved, and it isn't a problem."

"Because if it is a problem then it becomes OUR problem," I said, splaying my arms out in a gesture to the assembled mass of mercenaries.

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IC: Minnorak - Obsidian Outpost

For a long moment, Minnorak studied the Skakdi before him, wracking his brains for some recollection of where they might have crossed paths. He’d tried to kill a lot of people over the years, and he generally didn’t bother burdening himself with the memory of the successes or the survivors.

The answer came to him from the one battle he hoped it wouldn’t.

“Oh. Oh.”

He grimaced. 

“If it's any consolation, we didn't even end up getting paid for that job... and it tanked our reputation so badly that our entire business went bust. I'm the only one left. Joke's on us for taking jobs from Makuta-worshippers."

It was as close to an apology as he was willing to give. 

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IC: Baszlin - Obsidian Outpost, Mess Hall 

Movement of his left hand halted, the metal digits resting lightly on the leather of the scabbard. No further epiphanies came to him - he could not remember the battle of which the Vortixx spoke, only the single detail that had caused him to react so. He remained staring at Minnorak unflinchingly while both he and Quoribay made their statements on the matter.

Another beat played itself out, tension mounting amidst the awkward silence… and finally Baszlin broke the stare, shifting his gaze downward to study his artificial limb instead, raising the hand from where it had come to rest out of instinct moments earlier. Scrapes and scratches etched into the metallic surface caught the fiery gloam of the room, as he turned it over once, twice, then lowered it again, looking upon Minnorak once more. 

“I may need to speak to you later,” said Raaka Baszlin, his voice barely louder than a whisper, and his tone even. With that, he turned and sauntered back over to where he had stood before, giving Surdo a brief sidelong glance as he went.

Edited by Perp
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On 4/6/2022 at 7:33 AM, ARROW404 said:

IC: Priicu - WMA

The librarian nodded, the hint of a smile on his expression. "Of course, just make sure the box and its contents end up back here. Syzygos can make copies, of course, if you need."

IC: Muir (Wise Man’s Archive)

"Much obliged."

Muir smiled back at the Matoran, glad to be returning a little normalcy to his life. Vrill was a whirlwind; Muir had been much like Priicu when he was first swept up, a dedicated young man who was devoted to his job. The lawyer wondered if the librarian would likewise be changed by this encounter, and found that he hoped not. Life had been much simpler before Muir had learned of those who work in the shadow of the law.

The return journey to the back room was quiet, Muir carrying as much of the books and archive material as he could; Priicu had been more than generous in accommodating him and Vrill, and he couldn't bare – quite literally – to place any further weight upon the Matoran's back.

Procuring a seat and setting down the books and box, Muir set at once to studying the old knowledge with his new eyes.

He remembered the plague well. He had been young, so young, only a child, still a Matoran. But even on a child, such events make their impression. In his mind, the plague-houses take on a nightmarish stature – boarded up windows, darkened doorways, the sound of buzzing flies, the smell of death. But for the fact that his parents forbade him to play Kolhii (it was unbecoming, apparently, and no example would dissuade them), his own home may well have numbered among them.

To read the tale in Takua's own notes was enlightening – he became suspicious of the true nature of the Comets after noticing an inky black-green stain upon them. The stain of Makuta's infection. Muir placed a new note upon the corkboard in his mind's eye, unravelled and tied the connecting strings to Stannis' testimony.

 

Dosed him with liquid green malice

 

 

A shade of a Toa-hero, looking feverish and wasted from within … ichor black as tar … from wounds at his hip

 

Let the stuff take its toll on Skorm and take root in the Toa's mind

 

One of Ahkmou's evil pranks

 

Had any Matoran's Kanohi actually become Infected during the epidemic? Not the blotches and the stains, but the rust and the pitted scars? Had the Infection of Kanohi ever spread like that, before or since? There was no report of Kraata in the Nui-Jaga nest in the Quarry, nor even an infected mask left amongst the Comets to spread its cancer.

"Mata Nui. V- Syzygos, it's the Madness. Antidermis is the Madness."

OOC: (apologies for the delay on this one, required a lot of thought and a bit of consultation with our kind GM)

@BULiK 

@ARROW404

Edited by Goose
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IC: Surdo - Ko-Wahi - Obsidian Outpost

“Well,” Surdo said, responding to Baszlin with a more awkward glance of his own. He hadn’t been sure whether to say anything or let the standoff resolve itself, but Quoribay’s threat had seemingly managed to convince Baz not to do anything hasty. Or, maybe he had just decided it wasn’t worth it right now.

“We can kill eachother after the job is done, yes?” he said, looking around the room. He then let out a weak laugh. “Joking. Obviously.”

OOC: @Perp@BULiK@Johnny Blocksville@Nato G

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OOC: This one turned out longer than I expected. Kinda bloated in some areas but worth just finishing up and getting out there at this point. Re: train heist crew, Quoribay coming to wrap up our interaction in Ko in ~days.

Recommended listening:

Spoiler

 

IC: Vrill [Wise Man's Archive, The Backroom]

When Muir returned there was no evidence that in the intervening time, Vrill had even cracked open the book in front of him for a peek. As the Po-Toa studied intently, Vrill's mind was on the perimeter, reaching out with his element, feeling the ebb and flow of the occasional lightstone and heatstone of passers-by. He felt the invisible presence of the minerals as they meandered along what the Cy-Toa knew were the streets outside.

Eventually, however, perhaps out of his own boredom, 'Syzygos' snuffed his cigarette in an obsidian ashtray of his own creation and began to actually do the work Priicu wanted - transcribing The Legend of the Bionicle from one of the archive's books onto Vrill's brand new collection of tablets.

The process was almost an almost meditative affair. Pick up a slate, lay it over a page, and read. He would see the word underneath the clear crystal, and darken the crystal above it to create a perfect replica. Vrill didn't even necessarily need to understand what he was reading, it began to form an instinctual flow. There were no sentences, merely words in an endless fractal chain, much like was seen inside crystal itself. Each spiraling band of recorded thoughts unique, yet adhering to the unifying structure inherent to prose.

Time.

Was Vrill running out of time? When would Cyrix arrive?

Time.

Before.

Did he remember what it was like before? Before the powers of his job? Before the powers in himself?

Before.

Time.

How long had it been since he worked with a partner?

Time.

Vrill would occasionally glance back over his work, the repetition of clauses smoothing over any mistakes until perfection. The phrases had no meaning beyond their uniformity.

 

'In the time before time.'

'In the time before time.'

'In the time before time.'

 

After confirming himself, Vrill moved on to the next phrase to repeat himself again and again and again.

 

'The great spirit descended from the heavens,'

'Carrying we, the ones called Matoran,'

Matoran.

Did Vrill know any Matoran, really?

Korzaa? She was his boss. She was his greatest ally... but was she a friend?

Where did respect end and trust begin? Did trust begin?

He knew her from the system a united Matoran people created.

Matoran.

 

'We were separate and without purpose,'

Purpose.

Vrill fought for the Matoran's Unity. That was his Duty. Preserve the integrity of their Unity.

He had failed before and would not let that happen again.

Was the Onu-Matoran Tarkhan a threat to that unity?

Purpose.

 

'So the great spirit illuminated us'

Illuminated.

Did Vrill shine light on darkness? Or did the shadows only dance because of those who shone lights?

Illuminated.

 

'With the three virtues:'

Virtues.

Was he on a virtuous mission? Or was this all, what, a thrill?

Did Vrill's mission align with those virtues? What they stood for?

Would he be too close to see the line?

Virtues.

~~~

The pair worked well together, in that neither disturbed the other's focus or otherwise interrupted their entirely separate work. In record time, Vrill was keeping pace with the text, creating copy after copy, each mirror image creating a less comprehensible fractal of circular characters. When he was complete, the Cy-Toa aligned the stack of tablets, and his optics reflexively darted their focus across the first page once more as a final check.

 

'In the time before time,'

'The great spirit descended from the heavens,'

'Carrying we, the ones called Matoran,'

'To this paradise.'

 

'We were separate and without purpose,'

'So the great spirit illuminated us with the three virtues:

'Unity, duty, and destiny.'

 

'We embraced these gifts and in gratitude,'

'We named our island home "Mata Nui"'

'After the great spirit himself.'

 

'But our happiness was not to last.'

'For Mata Nui's brother, the Makuta,'

'Was jealous of these honors,'

'And betrayed him, casting a spell over'

"Mata Nui..."

'Who fell into a deep slumber.'

"V-"rill

 

"Syzygos,"

Vrill's mind juggled its focus. His attention was stirred by his names, even moreso by them almost being used in concert. While he was nevertheless confused (annoyed, even) at the slip up, his optics continued to scan the last few lines as he listened to his partner explain.

 

'The Makuta was free to unleash his shadows,'

"it's the Madness."

'And unleash them, he did.'

"Antidermis is the Madness."

"..."

As if broken from a trance, there was a sizeable delay as Vrill silently turned to look Fenn in the optics. His expression was not one of shock or eureka, but a blank severity, like a Kikanalo that was deciding if it should run from or fight a predator.

"Plausible."

His amber gaze flickered to the book in front of him.

'Casting a spell over Mata Nui, who fell into a deep slumber.'

Mata Nui was asleep, or so the Turaga's songs promised. The detective recalled something Stannis had said during Muirtagh's interrogation.

"I would never have claimed to have vanquished... or destroyed... the Makuta. We defeated him. We put him into a place where he couldn't reach us so we could rest. But it wasn't a full vanquishing. Such a thing would have been impossible against something so powerful as Nothingness."

Stannis's recitation of Makuta's words rung through Vrill's mind as if spoken by the lord of darkness himself.

"You cannot destroy Nothing, but Nothing can destroy you."

The madness was no ordinary plague. It was spread not through biotics but by special Kohlii balls hawked by a greedy vendor. Recovery was not as simple as disinfectant or building immunity through exposure. Even after Takua's news, those who ground their Comet balls to dust out of anger did not destroy the toxins. The destruction merely increased the potency, spreading the poison more effectively and making it harder to contain. Once aerosolized into dust, the disease could more easily take root in a Matoran's internals and decay them from within.

By all accounts, it was a sickening way to go. 'Husked'.

"Now... how can one hope to vanquish something so much a part of you? Something that exists in you and in everyone else you know?"

A century later and people still shied away from the condemned quarry tunnel where the most exposed had been entombed. On occasion, Po-Koronans would check to ensure the site was still untampered. Never since has there been such a plague, though some copycats had tried to bring about their own poisonings.

"The people of the world are Builders, but look into their hearts and you will find that they also have the power to destroy."

After a few moments of contemplative silence, Vrill frowned. "Not plausible. Probable."

Like Makuta, the epidemic had not been vanquished. In the end, the solution was that every tainted Kohlii ball in the Koro was rounded up and dumped at sea, their presence removed entirely. Only then did recoveries become the rule instead of the exception.

"You cannot destroy me, no more than you can destroy the sea, or the wind, or the void. "

The Madness, the Comet plague - or really, as Fenn had surmised, the Antidermis - was a force only the might of an endless ocean could salve. It could only be destroyed (as Stannis had described during the extaction from Skorm) by boiling itself away once separated from a host: once it had no outlet for its own destructive energy besides itself. Only Nothing can destroy it.

"It's just as dangerous as Stannis warned; it's Makuta's original weapon."

Edited by BULiK
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IC: Muir (Wise Man’s Archive)

Muir’s eyes narrowed, lenses shifting. In spite of their history, this was a side of Vrill that he had never seen before, as much a mystic as an investigator; the Truth seemed to wash over him, and he simply allowed the current to take him where it may, in every way the opposite of Muir’s active process of pins and thread.

They made good partners.

“Tell me what you see.”

Edited by Goose
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16 hours ago, Tarn said:

IC: Surdo - Ko-Wahi - Obsidian Outpost

“Well,” Surdo said, responding to Baszlin with a more awkward glance of his own. He hadn’t been sure whether to say anything or let the standoff resolve itself, but Quoribay’s threat had seemingly managed to convince Baz not to do anything hasty. Or, maybe he had just decided it wasn’t worth it right now.

“We can kill eachother after the job is done, yes?” he said, looking around the room. He then let out a weak laugh. “Joking. Obviously.”

OOC: @Perp@BULiK@Johnny Blocksville@Nato G

IC: Karmine Madoc - Obsidian Outpost

The sudden smell of ozone in the room leaves your good eye twitching ever so slightly. Your finger begins to gently caress the handle of your rifle, and you cough into the back of your free hand.

"We can kill eachother after the job is done, yes?"

I now instinctively slap my face gently, bringing my smile back and my rifle to my shoulder. Small world with our lot, eh? Nothing to worry about, nothing at all.

"I didn't quite catch your name, friend, but do you have a bathroom I could use before we embark? I had to take the long route here, I'm sure you know how it is." I ask of the Vortixx.

OOC: @Tarn@BULiK@Nato G@Perp@~Xemnas~

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IC: Dolbren - Obsidian Outpost

Dolbren leapt up from his seat, coming forward to stand in line with his fellow Ba-Toa. He breathed in quickly and gave a thin smile. He did find all this interesting; the threats, the conspicuous lack of macho posturing. He appreciated how serious everyone was about the whole thing.

And yet, Quoribay and the newcomer, Surdo, were right. Better to get paid first.

He gave Karmine a jocular nudge,

"Careful pal, last time you were polite and good-natured everyone felt the need to build some tension. Gotta keep things at a nice median of simmeringly hostile civility."

OOC: @Johnny Blocksville @Tarn @BULiK @Nato G @Perp @~Xemnas~

Edited by oncertainty
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8 hours ago, Goose said:

IC: Muir (Wise Man’s Archive)

Muir’s eyes narrowed, lenses shifting. In spite of their history, this was a side of Vrill that he had never seen before, as much a mystic as an investigator; the Truth seemed to wash over him, and he simply allowed the current to take him where it may, in every way the opposite of Muir’s active process of pins and thread.

They made good partners.

“Tell me what you see.”

IC: Vrill [Wise Man's Archive, The Backroom]

Vrill spoke rather openly - at this point the agent didn't care too much that Priicu was still here. They hadn't said anything tying their antidermis tangent to Skorm or the Kalta, so all this did was bring further credibility that Vrill and Muir were on the right side of the law, investigating signs of Makuta's influence, not internal political maneuvering.

"The Turaga's legends never struck me as particularly applicable to my life, especially not my line of work..." the black Cy-Toa began, eluding an explanation of just what his line of work was. Priicu was in the room, after all. He slid his book across the table to Fenn. "But..."

He leaned over and tapped on the relevant stanza.

 "...And betrayed him, casting a spell over Mata Nui'

'Who fell into a deep slumber.'

'The Makuta was free to unleash his shadows,'

'And unleash them, he did.'

"Stannis isn't the first man who wasn't forthcoming with details on antidermis - what didn't the Turaga tell us?"

Vrill leaned back in his crystal chair, letting the thought linger in the air.

"Remember early in the war? Before the Kra-Toa, before Rahkshi, Parakuka - before the First Toa? Forests charred, hives swarming, tunnels flooded with lava, infection spread amongst the Rahi and sometimes even Matoran. It was always about poisoning the land to keep us in our Koros, making us fight the island just to survive instead of bringing the battle to him."

"What if antidermis is the key to how he did that? Makuta always fought with influence, not soldiers. That influence never left - when he was defeated, he must have left behind that weapon for his most devout followers, like giving some matches and a keg of Stralix powder to a child. Maybe they just don't know how to fully use it yet."

"We certainly don't know how to fight it, yet."

Well, aside from Stannis, apparently.

Edited by BULiK
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IC: Karmine Madoc - Obsidian Outpost

I do manage a laugh at this, perhaps a bit too enthusiastically. I unfortunately don't notice myself rubbing the back of my head.

"The old me might well have agreed with you, aha." I spare a glance at Quoribay. "But I'm afraid Mata Nui doesn't smile upon the wrathful."

Right.

OOC: @Tarn@BULiK@Nato G@Perp@~Xemnas~@oncertainty

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IC (Syrik) [Echelon's Lair]

The air was heavy with tension as Kreigero took the proffered bundle of medical supplies, the glacial cave quiet save for the faint drip and gurgle of meltwater. With the handover completed, Syrik smiled and returned the Matoran's nod, though that sharp glint never left his eyes.

"Well, then."

He stepped back to his previous spot near Aerus and the door, and turned back to the travellers once more. He looked slowly to each of them in turn, one last time.

"Safe journey," he said. His tone was superficially sincere, but it carried the faintest undertones of both amusement and threat. "Be careful out there."

 


OOC: @BULiK @Tarn @~Xemnas~ @Goose

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On 4/28/2022 at 10:45 PM, Johnny Blocksville said:

IC: Karmine Madoc - Obsidian Outpost

"I didn't quite catch your name, friend, but do you have a bathroom I could use before we embark? I had to take the long route here, I'm sure you know how it is." I ask of the Vortixx.

IC: Minnorak - Obsidian Outpost

"Minnorak," he grunted in way of greeting. "Bathroom's out the way you came in, down the hall to the left. It'll be the only door that isn't locked." 

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IC: Muir (Wise Man’s Archive)

"The Piraka, Zaktan, had some idea; as did Ahkmou. Whatever was done to Skorm, it didn't need the guiding hand of the Infected Kanohi. We're talking about independent function, something that can turn someone into an agent of the Makuta's will even without Its presence to give commands. Think of how Makuta's banishment affected those under the influence of Infected masks."

"I suspect you're right about Makuta leaving it behind, to be used in Its absence. Infection would otherwise better suit Its purposes, as far as converting and controlling Its servants." Muir stroked his chin, thoughtfully. "We're still missing something, though. If Antidermis infection was rife, we'd have heard of it much earlier, and Makuta's followers have never been in the habit of restraint. They occupied this very Koro for weeks – why didn't they unleash it upon the population?"

Edited by Goose
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IC: Vrill [Wise Man's Archive, The Backroom]

"Maybe they were afraid of creating an army they couldn't control, empowering subordinates who could make a power grab. Antidermis isn't loyalty, it's corruption and decay - that cuts both ways."

Vrill paused.

"... or maybe they just didn't have enough antidermis or time to make their next move. Didn't want their Patero to go off at half pressure."

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IC: Savrehn - Ko-Wahi - Abyss

“Thanks for the help,” Savrehn replied as genuinely as he could. This wasn’t how he thought this situation would end, but maybe Mata Nui was feeling generous today. “We’ll be getting along, then.”

He glanced to Atamai, then turned to Kreigero, placing a hand on the other Ko-Matoran’s shoulder once again. Savrehn gestured his head in the other direction.

“Come on.”

OOC: @BULiK@~Xemnas~@Ghosthands@Goose

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OOC: Change of plans, Quoribay is coming ~monday

IC: Kreigero [Echelon's Lair]

The only thing that surprised Kreigero was that there were no surprises. Syrik even walked back to where he started! Kreigero was relieved as there was more distance between her and the Toa, though it was hard to tell if that was unique, given the way she occasionally quivered from her wounds. She stood there for a moment, glancing to the crippled matoran. What's his endgame?

The huntress felt a hand on her shoulder. She looked to the side, saw it was Savrehn, and then turned around to follow him. She moved all the medical supplies to be under her left arm, then carefully began to walk towards the gap in the icy walls where the Toa's footprints were still somewhat visible in the snow. Kreigero kept her right hand at her belt, even though her body screamed at her to wrap it around Savrehn for support.

They weren't clear yet, she just had to hold out until out of sight of the strangers. Every step blended into the next, the universal numbness partly suppressing the all-encompassing aching shared by every limb. Kreigero's body had yet to completely fail her. All she could do was take one more step after the last, count the crunches in the snow, and wonder what in Mata Nui's name was going on.

Edited by BULiK

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Posted (edited)

IC: Aerus (Echelon's Lair)

Aerus watched the female Ko-Matoran leave, her guard never faltering. There was something intriguing about her, and against his better judgment, he found himself curious to cross paths with her again. After all, Mata Nui was a small place, and coincidence so often ruled the day. But perhaps that was just rationalisation, an attempt to satisfy the empty feeling in the pit of his stomach with the possibility of future catharsis.

"Almost disappointing," he admitted to Syrik, his voice hushed; though their unexpected guests were departed, earshot was hard to judge in the Drifts. "I think I got rather used to chance encounters ending in bloodshed with the old man."

OOC: @Ghosthands @BULiK @Tarn @~Xemnas~

Edited by Goose
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Posted (edited)

IC, Atamai: Echelon's Lair

Atamai had reached out to help Kreigero as well, but hesitated and decided against it. He had already done enough damage for one day. He picked up remnants of the rope that had bound the three Matoran together. He paused before turning his back to the two "hermits"- he studied their faces, their very beings, in case they ever met again. After all, remembered everything.

Atamai did pause for a moment to ponder further what the two "hermits" were really doing in such a hidden area, but he continued to move. Such questions would come later.

Edited by ~Xemnas~
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On 4/29/2022 at 1:58 PM, Nato G said:

IC: Minnorak - Obsidian Outpost

"Minnorak," he grunted in way of greeting. "Bathroom's out the way you came in, down the hall to the left. It'll be the only door that isn't locked." 

IC: Karmine Madoc - Obsidian Outpost

I raise a one of my usual non-verbal thanks, an open palm. Now, first things first, my legs carry me past my new comrades, following the hospitable Vortixx's directions (though he still seemed a bit stone faced). I shut the door behind me with quite a bit more force than I'd usually mean to...

...

You splash water on your face, feverishly scrubbing at your eyelids and your forehead..

...

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Posted (edited)
On 4/23/2022 at 5:29 AM, Keeper of Kraata said:

IC: Cyrix - Cultured Gentry HQ, Ko-Koro

"I wouldn't want to keep you, then." Giving Niici a final nod, he turned to leave the way he came. The less people that saw that he was meeting with Niici the better. He was briefly confused when the ko-matoran approached him instead of the Chairwoman.

"Uh... yes?"

OOC: @Emzee @ARROW404

OoC: Sorry I kept you waiting!

IC: Saat

The Ko-Matoran bowed respectfully at his company, and extended his hand, offering the carefully sealed envelope to the Toa. "A message for Toa Cyrix, from the Wise Man's Archive."

@Goose@BULiK

OoC: Priicu isn't actually in the room, he was in the storage room last you saw him. Also, The Legend of the Bionicle is a full book. I had kind of mentioned that, but I could have been more specific. So Vrill isn't done copying just yet. It contains mostly the story of the first Toa and a number of other important events leading up to the defeat of the Toa at the hands of Makuta and Heuani. You don't need to change any of what you did though, it does begin with the legend at the beginning of MoL. And it ends with "United in Duty, bound in Destiny, this is the way of the Bionicle".

IC: Priicu

The librarian decided to leave the two Toa in the back room, trusting them not to make a mess or things or run off without informing him- at least not without good reason to do so. He had to wait for Cyrix to arrive, so he did so at the front desk, where he usually was. Plus, without Saat around, he had some slack to pick up- not that he minded in the least.

He tried to put all of this... business from his mind, but had trouble doing so. Who could? He wasn't one to take people for granted per se, but after all the evil that happened in Ko-Koro, how could he imagine that the current government could be corrupt? Who could take advantage of the evil of the brotherhood of Ak'rei'an to enrich themselves? Did the Toa know? If they were hand-picked by the establishment, they must. It stood to reason.

He calmed himself by reminding himself that he had yet to see any proof of this. Aside from his business prospects, he had little reason to trust 'Syzygos'. Muir, he had to admit, he liked though. He didn't have any solid reasons to believe him, but he did give off a more honest air. Possibly because he was a lawyer...

He really needed to stop thinking about this. One thing at a time. First, Cyrix had to come visit. Then, depending on what happened, he would either put the matter from his mind, or ask for more answers.

Edited by ARROW404
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Posted (edited)

IC: Cyrix - Gentry HQ

The Toa Kalta glanced at Niici before taking the scroll and reading the message.

”Huh. It appears that our man is back at the Wise Man’s Archive.” He chose his words carefully; he didn’t want to shut the door on the Chairwoman’s face - yet, anyway. Syzygos was back… apparently. Had Priicu told him anything?

Cyrix turned back to Saat, nodding in gratitude. “You can tell Priicu I’ll be back right away; I just need to make a stop somewhere first.”

He didn’t stay to ask or answer questions. The Toa of Air grabbed his crossbow on his way out the door; he didn't have long.

OOC: @ARROW404 @Emzee

Edited by Keeper of Kraata
Fixed lack of formatting

The times, they are a-changing...

 

 

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Posted (edited)

OOC: Busy couple of weeks for me, to say the least...

IC: Kreigero [The Drifts, Crevasse]

Each step brought a bitter sharpness as each snowflake carried what felt like a thousand needles. Kreigero could only tolerate her march due to the utter lack of feeling that grew in her extremities. She never looked back, as if it had never occurred to her that she could look back without seeing the Fa-Toa, even though the winding path had long since obscured the trio from the two strangers.

Kreigero continued to march (or rather, Savrehn continued to carry Kreigero in all but spirit) until the trail of Toa footprints they were following broke out of the glacial wall and into a wide field of snow. The howl of the winds intensified, and it was only then that her feet began to truly drag in the snow. It was only then that she seemed to let Savrehn set her down to rest, not that she could have done anything beyond stubborn glares from behind her Kaukau's visor for most of the journey.

The trapper breathed in a powerful, steadied rhythm, but the exhalations were rasp. It was clear the group could not continue their escape without a reprieve, but for how long?

She reluctantly loosened her grip on the vial of disinfectant, fingers fumbling to unroll the bandage. The shivering Ko-Matoran bit down and frowned in defiance, knowing that before it hurt less, it was going to have to hurt a lot more...

OOC: oh and @ARROW404 apologies for not picking up on the fact that Priicu didn't join them again. Re; the book - I implied that Vrill had copied the entire book during the indeterminate time that Muir was likewise reading Takua's journals. It was only after that did he see the first page again for his eureka moment. If you have more places you plan on going with the book I can elaborate further but I was intending that one copy to be done.

I'll get a Vrill out after another Muir (but no rush)

IC: Quoribay [Obsidian Outpost]

It was as simple as that. Fill a room with a handful of characters who can be enticed to risk their freedom for the chance of a pile of widgets, give them a plump target for said proclivities, and you'll create unity faster than a Turaga's adages. I'm still satisfied by the turnout - it became the biggest crew I had ever worked with. Even if some were... less unified than others, everyone had their part to play.

Each brought a set of skills that we would use to circumvent the layers of security on the Iron Mahi. Each brought a set of weaknesses that I could leverage to keep them in line. It was a delicate balance, putting that many scoundrels in one place. Much like magnets, you get too much of the same in one place, and it rips everything apart. I had to walk that line, play those odds, and ensure that the opposing forces balanced against each other enough to motivate and increase our effectiveness, without losing our cohesion.

Look, what I'm trying to say is it's not as easy as it looks. There are risks. Some you have to accept. 'Specially in this line of work.

But as I was saying - we had numbers on our side:

Me, the fearless, dashingly handsome leader.

Surdo, that mothe- ahem.

Baszlin, the schizo Skak.

Minnorak, the outsider.

Skrol, the listener.

Karmine, the not-so-reformed.

and Dolbren, the old school bad###.

Together, we were The Seven™. No, Quoribay's Seven. Good Company? The Insiders? Shadow Hapaka 2?!??!

Look, I was too busy focusing on the plan to worry about the name. We spent many hours hashing out the details, who would go where and when, and what would happen in which order. We even had the time to make some contingency plans (Not that we would need them or anything). They say measure twice, cut once. We were about to make the cut of a lifetime, so we didn't cut (many) corners. 

When we were confident we'd accounted for all the possibilities, we gathered all the gear we would need and parted ways, travelling mostly separately so as not to raise any eyebrows. Everyone arrived in position at the right place and time, ready to play their role in our grand performance.

OOC: Train heist crew to Po-Wahi. I'll set the scene in a post next week and then we can hit the ground running.

Edited by BULiK
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IC: Savrehn - Ko-Wahi - Abyss

The mountaineer let out a heavy sigh, before setting down his backpack and crouching beside Kreigero. He watched his fellow Ko-Matoran do triage on herself for a moment, then looked out towards the snowfield before them. He was still thinking about their encounter and the people they had met. He wondered where Reyal was right now.

“I’m not saying you can’t do it yourself,” he said, “but do you want help with that?”

OOC: @BULiK@~Xemnas~

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IC: Cyrix - Wise Man's Archive, Ko-Koro

Breathing slowly in the cold air, Cyrix exited the alley to the side of the Wise Man's Archive still under the cover of his mask. It would have been next to impossible to follow him through the twists, turns, jumps and stops between him leaving the Cultured Gentry HQ, his stop, and here. Before he did anything intractable, the Le-Toa did a check of his gear; his crossbow was stored and unstrung, and his disk was firmly strapped to his forearm. He rotated it in its straps until the pair of small lodestones were flush with his arm. Satisfied, he dropped the cloak as he walked through the door of the library and spotted the Ko-Matoran he had spoken to earlier.

"Priicu, I came as quickly as I could."

OOC: @ARROW404

The times, they are a-changing...

 

 

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Posted (edited)

IC: Kreigero [The Drifts, Crevasse]

Kreigero nodded slightly, the motion small not out of her usual stubborn defiance, but instead from her overwhelming tiredness. The trapper began to unravel the makeshift dressing around her head in preparation for a fresh replacement.

She, too, couldn't prevent her thoughts from drifting to what they had witnessed. The dragon, the strangers... it was impossible to avoid using the precious moments of safety they had unexpectedly earned to worry and plan for what was to come. How best to survive against these new factors none had experienced before.

Normally, there was a common wisdom among the stalkers of the drifts, learned through years of practice and the stories and mistakes of others. That institutional knowledge was what let survivalists like Kreigero and Savrehn hike into otherwise dangerous scenarios without nearly as much risk as anyone new to the Wahi. However, there was no such wisdom for evading dragons or bunkers of Toa. That uncertainty carried a risk Kreigero hadn't felt in a long time - she was no longer at one with the Wahi. There was a new worry of what they would find over the next snowdrift. She couldn't help but wonder if they were to become one of the many tales of Matoran who trekked into regions untoward and never returned, only to be found much later on as a frozen warning to others who dared venture further.

But in typical Ko-Koronan fashion... what more was there to say on the matter? Not much, apparently.

Edited by BULiK

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8 hours ago, Keeper of Kraata said:

IC: Cyrix - Wise Man's Archive, Ko-Koro

"Priicu, I came as quickly as I could."

OOC: @ARROW404

IC: Priicu - Wise Man's Archive, Ko-Koro old town

He tried not to look overly nervous as one of the city's sworn protectors entered. He nodded stiffly and stepped closer. "He's in one of the back rooms. There um..." He probably should mention Muir. "There's another with him. A lawyer, he said, from Po-Koro. Also a Toa." He spoke quietly and perhaps a little too quickly. He couldn't get out of his head the thought that this might turn violent.

 

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IC: Cyrix - Wise Man's Archive, Ko-Koro

Cyrix narrowed his eyes as he glanced at the back room. A lawyer from Po-Koro? This was certainly getting complicated. He wondered if Niici had picked up on his hint about meeting him here. The Le-Toa noticed that Priicu was stiff, his words clipped and quiet.

"Don't worry, I'm not going to escalate." Unless I have to, he mentally amended. "And if they try anything, I have backup. And if one of them is a lawyer, he'll know better than to try anything... rash. Thanks for the heads up, by the way; I'm going to talk to them."

He knew he couldn't entirely trust what they had told Priicu, but still, a Po-Koro lawyer was an odd cover story. He was likely either desperate for a lie... or simply telling the truth. The implications of the latter were most unusual. Syzygos had likely visited Onu-Koro, and Po-Koro was one trek away. A patent lawyer to aid industrial sabotage? Possibly. But again: why a toa? He'd have answers, even if they were false ones, soon enough. Cyrix eased on his Volitak to make his approach silent, only ceasing it once he had started entering the back room. Glancing between the two toa, he relaxed and crossed his arms.

"Cyrix, Toa Kalta. I have some questions for you."

OOC: @ARROW404 @Goose @BULiK

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Posted (edited)

IC: Muir (Wise Man’s Archive)

"Maybe they were afraid of creating an army they couldn't control, empowering subordinates who could make a power grab. Antidermis isn't loyalty, it's corruption and decay - that cuts both ways." Vrill paused. "... or maybe they just didn't have enough antidermis or time to make their next move. Didn't want their Patero to go off at half pressure."

“Neither option adds up for me. Those seem like exactly the type of mistakes Makuta’s followers are known to make – after all, the invasion of Ko-Koro was itself a product of hubris and a failure to think ahead. No, we’re missing something… with any luck, the answers are in these pages, but I’m beginning to think that the only person with the information we need might be the very man we’re investigating.”

Still, Muir continued reading, undaunted. Much simply refreshed that which he already knew – how Infection worked, copycat cases such as the well poisoning in Po-Koro some years ago. The latter interested him; it didn’t have the same reach as Ahkmou’s plague, despite the more effective delivery system. A benefit of Po-Koro’s past experience, or evidence for his theory?

 

He had only begun to examine the accounts of Ko-Koro’s invasion and occupation – strange, he thought, that the descriptions of Echelon were so different from others he had read – when Cyrix’s footsteps alerted him to the Toa’s approach.

"Cyrix, Toa Kalta. I have some questions for you."

“Funny,” Muir said, glancing up from his work. He had activated his mask the moment he noticed Cyrix's presence. “We could say something similar.”

OOC: @Keeper of Kraata @BULiK

Edited by Goose
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IC: Priicu - Wise Man's Archive, Ko-Koro old town @Keeper of Kraata@BULiK@Goose

The Matoran librarian sat still, eyes closed and steadying his breathing in Ko-Koronan meditation for a moment, finding his usual stoicism returning. He debated whether or not he should be observing the goings-on in the back room, and ultimately arrived at the conclusion that, yes, he should. It was his library, and he wanted truth. He left his desk and hung the "sorry, we're closed" sign on the door, then called quietly to Osru, the De-Matoran who worked for him along with Saat. Easily heard by the Sonics-aligned individual in the silence of the library, he was soon joined by his employee.

"If anyone is still in the library, please have them leave due to an emergency. If they bought a day pass, refund them. When Saat returns, inform him that the two of you have the rest of the day off." When Osru expressed his concern, he reassured him, "It's more to put my mind at ease than anything else. Toa Cyrix may have to issue an arrest, and I would rather there be nobody in his way if it comes to that." Accepting the half-truth, the Matoran and his boss soon had the library empty, and the front door locked, leaving Priicu alone with the Toa. Satisfied, he hastened to the back room, making a little extra noise so he wouldn't take anyone off-guard.

OoC: This whole process would have taken 5-10 minutes, so continue posting without waiting for me, until I decide to insert- or else have to open the door for Niici.

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