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

After the brief flurry of conversation, Fenn and Vrill returned to their own studies. They each had much to think about. Vrill numbed his mind with a final review of his copy. A second pass, seeing the evidence he had already copied with fresh optics. He occasionally corrected a mistake. Vrill knew all about those. He wondered how many of his he could ever correct. People were never as easy as words. For all its incongruities, even language followed a set of rules. The same couldn't be said for those who spoke it, or the actions they performed.

For a brief moment, Vrill tensed as he felt a sliver of empathy at the thought of a Toa who had failed so greatly being given a second chance.

Like a cramp, eventually the sharp twinge of pathos subsided as Vrill refocused himself on his work. He finally compared the last page with his last tablet.

'United in Duty, bound in Destiny, this is the way of the Bionicle.'

'United in Duty, bound in Destiny, this is the way of the Bionicle.'

Duty...

Exhale. Look up. Push feelings down. Let senses rise in their place. One with the structures around him. Something new.

Vrill felt a new lightstone and heatstone. Someone was in the lobby.

The Cy-Toa closed the book in front of him.

The crystals were moving closer.

Vrill stretched his neck with a satisfactory pop. He looked to the door, waiting for the footsteps to arrive and for Cyrix to follow.

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

“Funny, we could say something similar.”

"He's my lawyer," the obsidian-armored Toa said. The face behind the crystal arthron-shaped Kanohi was blank, his gaze only deviating from being locked with Cyrix when he initially glanced at the Le-Toa's equipment.

Edited by BULiK
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IC: Cyrix - Wise Man's Archive (Back Room), Ko-Koro

When the Po-Koro toa's mask lit up, Cyrix met his gaze. Some sort of sensory augment kanohi. He wasn't scanning him for hidden weapons like an Akaku user would, despite the shape, and there were no rapid eye movements he'd associate with someone with Perception. He thought through the possibilities; Elda to see if anyone else was hiding possibly He doubted it was a Rau. It likely wasn't a mind-affecting mask, given that he could both tell it was on and that he was having these thoughts and didn't recognize any of the telltale signs like Vakua's Suletu; if the lawyer wore a mask of Truth, it would be ironic. Knowing this island, that gave it a pretty good chance. Be careful with what he said; give him nothing. Same deal as normal.

"Convenient. Well, Mr. Po-Koro Lawyer, I'm acting in my capacity as guardian of Ko-Koro; I'm investigating your client, but I have no official warrant from the Sanctum." He shifted his right hand lower on his arm, closer to the lodestones behind his shield. "I'm pretty sure that takes care of at least one of your questions."

Truth.

His man, 'Syzygos', was there. He was looking at the door before he entered, so he had to have been expecting him; some sort of alternate detection? Perhaps that Arthron was being put to use, but the door had been closed. His armor was unusual; it didn't look to be metal. As he spoke, Cyrix shifted his weight to his other foot and cocked his head as he finished, seeing how the black-clad Toa's armor reflected light differently. It was all wrong for any metal he knew, more like... glass? Or crystal. He was familiar with it from when he had rescued Soraph, but this one didn't look like a Dasaka. Something Casanuva had told him when recovering was that he had briefly traveled with a Toa of Crystal that had altered her armor to mimic a Dasaka. His eyes darted back to the Po-Koro lawyer as he finished speaking.

OOC: @BULiK @Goose

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Posted (edited)

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

"Questions..."

In an unexpected turn of events, 'Syzygos' spoke. His diction was precisely slow, tone surprisingly aloof. Like Cyrix's own words had reminded him of some trivia long forgotten. This wasn't Vrill.

"You said you had questions?"

Edited by BULiK
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IC: Cyrix - Wise Man's Archive Backroom, Ko-Koro

He let the pause settle into the room. Far more than any of the other Koros that Cyrix had visited, the silence that Ko-Koro fomented was unique. The three in the room could even hear any customers in the library leaving across the hall, and it was scarcely but a whisper and a scraping across the floors.

"... What were you doing at the Sanctum before coming here, then leaving Ko-Koro earlier?"

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

"The Sanctum?" 

Vrill appeared almost confused by the question.

"Was there some kind of... security incident?"

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IC: Muir (Wise Man’s Archive, Backroom)

Muir tried to enjoy the reprieve from doing the talking – Vrill, it seemed, had finally taken back the helm of his own investigation. But the room was a powder keg, and that well-honed Guardsman instinct refused to allow the lawyer to let his guard down.

He wasn't quite sure what he had expected of Cyrix, or indeed what he made of him; but then, there was the benefit of observation. He was quite sure he'd get a chance to cross-examine once Vrill was done. In the meantime, he'd just try not to think about how badly he needed a smoke.

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

He's goading you, don't fall for it. Don't get into the weeds.

He needed to set the theme. He sighed, pacing the room to close the space, as well as catch a glimpse of what the two had been working on.

"Syzygos, I'm looking out for the interests of Ko-Koro."

Truth.

"I clocked you leaving the Sanctum. There was no record of you, or of anybody fitting your description, visiting the Archives; you're not a regular, I know them. You visited this library, agreed to enter the employ of Priicu, lingered here, and then left for Onu-Koro. And then, I presume, to Po-Koro," he said, glancing at the Fa-Toa. He had realized it as he moved; black underpinnings, and not much in the way of a harness for the axe on his back, not unlike his fellow Kalta, Casanuva.

"And now you're back."

Truth.

"I know what you're doing. All I need to know is why."

Lie.

OOC: @BULiK @Goose

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

The Cy-Toa contemplatively cocked his head to the side for a moment, poorly hiding an irritated yawn. He didn't need to look to Muirtagh - his gaze only drifted to the table's contents that Cyrix had been eyeing, all the while the gears turning in his head.

If Cyrix didn't know why Vrill was doing what he was doing, there was a snowball's chance in Ta-Koro that he knew what Vrill was doing. Him being seen leaving the Sanctum? Plausible. But at the very least, this meant Cyrix hadn't been snooping in on Korzaa's office close enough to hear Vrill's tasking. That was what he needed to know. Even if Vrill's intuition was wrong (not that it ever would be) Fenn could verify it all later in more detail.

The wonderful conundrum of bringing a Rode user along was Vrill needed to be extra careful of which truths he withheld - while he was about to lie to Cyrix's face, and could continue to do so all day, the agent was careful about his wording so as to not spin the wrong lie in front of his partner.

After a small, disappointed sigh, Vrill looked Cyrix in the optics and gave him a straight answer.

"You know why - the widgets."

Vrill had been on one end or the other of enough interrogations to know that spinning Kane-Ra dung about innocence only locks the 'gator (As they sometimes called each other in the business) in more. Sometimes, you gotta tell them what they want to hear. Plainly speaking - Vrill had admitted to nothing, but perhaps that admission was the first step in getting Cyrix to make another slip.

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

Cyrix met Syzygos's gaze. Nothing; he saw nothing. By this point, Cyrix had reached the opposite side of the room in a slow circuit around the table where the Cy-Toa sat. "I don't need a Kanohi to know that's a lie. Two reasons; there are plenty of mercenary Toa on this island. Great Spirit knows I had enough of them shooting at me when we took back Ko-Koro," he said, gesturing around the library.

Truth.

"You're running errands. If someone wants some research done, they can hire a matoran for far less. You're gathering information because you need it for something, or its dangerous. Maybe both. But call me old-fashioned, but something about a Toa choosing to just be a traveling scribe rings hollow. We're Toa, Destiny is part of who we are. Even for those without the moral fiber to fulfill their Duty still end up somewhere; mercenaries, assassins, thieves. And those are just the conventional options; your lawyer here," he said gesturing to Muir, "Can back me up. He's a lawyer. Nobody's favorite, but he's still defending someone, even if it's you. Even Stannis Maru wanders, right? You and I both know he doesn't do it for the exercise."

Truth.

By this point, Cyrix was leaning on the table; he pushed himself off and backed off. "Also, your lawyer isn't saying anything, which tells me that either he's not your lawyer, or he knows that both of us know you are lying. And dodging my question: Why were you at the Sanctum?"

OOC: @BULiK @Goose

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IC: Savrehn - Ko-Wahi - Somewhere

Savrehn grunted and stood to full height again, taking the bandages and applying the disinfectant to the wound. Sorry if this stings. He then got beside Kreigero and began the process of wrapping them around her head, slowly and carefully.

“Can I be honest?” he asked, not actually expecting an answer. “Back there, I thought we were all going to go inside. And I figured we were all going to die.”

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Posted (edited)

IC: Kreigero [The Drifts]

Kreigero bit down, stubbornness futile against her nervous system's natural reaction as the disinfectant purged the surface of the gash on her head. She exhaled just as sharply a moment afterwards, the cloud of warm condensation being swept away into the wind. The Ko-Matoran's hands were clutched dangerously close to the opening of her heatstone thermos.

Savrehn hadn't expected any response, but just when he figured his prediction to be accurate, Kreigero began to murmur.

"Honestly? I'm worried part of us already did."

She wasn't staring off into the distance this time or swearing at deities under her breath. Kreigero was revealing the gaping wound that Savrehn could suspect but the defensive woman would have never let him see, were it not for what they had just been through together.

"How can I do this again. How can - how can we do this again? Even if... when we make it back, we're finished."

One of her white hands left the searing hot crystal to point at the snowfall outside of the glacial, delta-like opening they were nestled in. The blizzard was slowly abiding. The last bounces of sunlight filtered through the horizon with an otherworldly orange glow. Darkness reigned above - the dark twilight sky did not pierce through the clouds, save for angelic shafts of moonlight made visible through the luminescence of the falling snow in their wake. Their return trip would have to be in the freezing night, lest risking their camp being caught.

"This! This is what we live for. This is where we live, how we live, why we live. How can we ever go back knowing that they are lurking out here? That they know our faces, where to find us, and that they won't give us a third chance. Nobody will believe us, nobody will help us, we're alone - we have nothing."

The distraught Matoran had balled her hand into a tight fist, squeezing herself long after it began to hurt. Her azure optics fluttered, blinking away frozen tears.

"We just lost our lives."

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

There was a tension in the room as Vrill took his time to slowly ponder his options. He frowned at the table in front of him, then looked at Muirtagh to gauge his instincts. After a disappointed sigh, the Cy-Toa shifted his focus back to Cyrix.

"He's not," Vrill succinctly admitted. "If I'd brought him here to defend me, I wouldn't have said a word to you."

It was clear the shifty Toa was going somewhere. He slowly reached into his armor and pulled out a pack of smokes. He shook one out into his dominant hand and stowed the box as he brought the loaded cylinder to his lips. Vrill pointed his left index finger in the air, once again holding the room's attention hostage, and the tip of his finger began to glow red as it was covered in heatstone. He brought his finger up to the end of his cigarette, and it lingered for a moment as the paper began to burn. After a swirling puff of smoke had wafted in the meager lamplight between the interrogator and Cyrix, he continued.

"He's more than my lawyer - he's my partner. We're private investigators, hired by Akiri Renaka on account of... Makuta's return."

Vrill winced - it was a touchy subject. It felt disgusting to say the words out loud. He took a pause to wash the taste of that word away with charred herbs and igneous tars.

"She's worried about the proliferation of a dangerous substance called antidermis. That's what brought us to the Sanctum, and here. Thats why we brought you here - you have firsthand knowledge of the effects this can have on an honest Toa."

"When Makuta uses it against us again, we need to know how to fight it. That's why we're here. Because as my partner implied earlier - he has some questions for you, too."

The stage had been set. Vrill nodded to his partner, knowing next solo would be Fenn's forte.

Edited by BULiK
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IC, Atamai: Ko-Wahi

Atamai had been staring out into the distance, contemplating on the terrifying encounter- or encounters, plural, if he counted the dragon.

"No," Atamai said, turning back around to the other two Matoran. "No, you haven't lost your lives. Not yet." He knelt down next to Kreigero. "Those two living in that... bunker of sorts. It's a very suspicious circumstance at best, nefarious at worst. I was also afraid that we were going to die. Those people seem dangerous, but why would they let us live instead of killing us right there? I think I know. It's because they're going to abandon their base now that it's been found

"Think about it- if they were to kill us, there's a chance that a search party could come out searching for us, which increases the chance of their bunker being found a second time. By letting us live, they're betting on us not telling anyone of what we saw. But on the off chance we do tell someone- like those new Toa you have in the village, the Kalta- and they go and find that bunker, it'll be empty. It's a calculated move, and one that involves us being alive.

"It doesn't mean that those people will be out hunting for us. If they're smart, they'll move to a different Wahi. The only threats that will be out here are the ones you already know of- and dragons now, I guess. Now that we should probably tell someone about."

OOC: @Tarn @BULiK

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IC: Savrehn - Ko-Wahi - Somewhere In The Drifts

Hrm,” Savrehn said, having finished covering the wound on Kreigero’s head. Her words had weighed heavy on his heartlight for a moment, but Atamai’s had brought him back to reality.

“Hate to say it, but I think the chronicler’s right.”

Savrehn dug through his backpack, finding his still half-full flask and handing it to Kreigero. “Us finding those folks has put them in danger. They thought they were well-hidden, I bet. A couple of Matoran stumbling on the place by accident must have shaken them a bit.”

He let out a sigh. He was trying to back up Atamai, and be just as reassuring, but Savrehn wasn’t sure he was believing his own words at this point. “It’s like when you cross paths with most Rahi, yeah?” He said, gesturing towards the other two Matoran. “You scare eachother more than anything, then go your separate ways.”

The mountaineer then paused, rubbing the chin of his Tryna.

“Speaking of the dragon…”

He trailed off, looking outside at the falling snow. Something else seemed to be occupying his thoughts now.

OOC: @BULiK@~Xemnas~

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IC: Priicu - Wise Man's Archive [CLOSED]

"She's worried about the proliferation of a dangerous substance called antidermis."

Priicu gently opened the door to the back room as Vrill began to explain himself. Antidermis... he couldn't say he was familiar with the term. He looked around the room as he entered, frowning at the sight of a cigarette in the library, but saying nothing for the moment. His eyes wandered briefly to the completed crystal tablets on the workbench. It looked finished. Pleasing as that was, the tension muted his celebration. Remaining close to the door, he simply observed quietly, looking from one Toa to the next, and feeling very small.

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IC: Muir (Wise Man’s Archive)

"I don't have to be your lawyer to advise you that smoking in a library is dаmned stupid, Syz." Muir's poker face had been resolute throughout the exchange, barring a smile when Cyrix seemed set to call his qualifications as a lawyer into question.

Karz, he could really do with a smoke just about now.

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9 hours ago, Goose said:

IC: Muir (Wise Man’s Archive)

"I don't have to be your lawyer to advise you that smoking in a library is dаmned stupid, Syz."

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

Vrill frowned at Muirtagh's jealousy, but his face straightened out when he noticed Priicu had a similar expression. He silently snuffed out the roll in a crystal tray he formed in his hand that he set down on the table. The Cy-Toa leaned back in his crystal chair.

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

The Le-Toa's eyes hungrily followed the dark-armored Cy-Toa as he pulled out the cigarette pack and furrowed when the cigarette was put out. It was a lot to take in; he thought back to the first time he had been at the library, trying to find out what Syzygos had been researching; it had been right there, stories about Skorm.

"Yeah... yeah, alright." Honestly, this was a best case scenario. "I'll answer your questions as best I can. Antidermis has been something the Kalta have been looking into. Ask your questions."

Truth.

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IC: Muir (Wise Man’s Archive)

Muir's relief was palpable; whether it was being back in control of the conversation, Cyrix's co-operation, or just Vrill putting out his cigarette, the lawyer straightened up in his seat and clasped his hands together.

"Well, to get straight to the point: I'd like your account of the effects of Antidermis on your colleague, Skorm."

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Posted (edited)

IC: Kreigero [The Drifts]

Kreigero fell silent, staring at the mushed footprints in the snow and avoiding meeting the gaze of her companions as Atamai knelt down. The trapper was taking her time reworking through the same steps Atamai explained. It took her a bit longer than she hoped for it all to make sense - she had just suffered from head trauma and a not insignificant level of blood loss. At Savrehn added his input, Kreigero was content unscrew the lid on his flask and begin drinking. Kreigero didn't pause to listen - her optics strained to view her fellow Ko-Matoran while her head was tilted back so far.

After a few seconds of the bottom of the flask being pointed to the clouds above without a pause for more air, Kreigero finally set the container down, barely holding back a burp. She handed Savrehn the empty vessel with a sharp nod of thanks, then looked to Atamai. For the first time, she looked grateful of the scholar's calculations. On the other hand, perhaps the alcohol was already kicking in.

"You're right," she admitted. The Ko-Matoran stood up intently, then rapidly reached out to steady herself against the ice wall. She waited for the world to stop spinning and the darkness on the edge of her vision to recede, then continued.

"If they're leaving, we don't have time to lose. Let's move."

She took out her compass and began to walk out into the field of snow, then stopped as she remembered Savrehn was still talking.

"What about the dragon?"

Edited by BULiK

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IC: Priicu - The Wise Man's Archive back room [CLOSED], Ko-Koro

The librarian smiled gratefully, first at Muir for pointing the cigarette out, then at 'Syzygos' for being so gracious as to put it out. The back room did have a lot of paper lying about it- unbound books, unfinished manuscripts, and the like- so fire was a serious hazard... even with three Toa to deal with it.

His relief grew exponentially as the room's tension dropped. It seemed this antidermis matter was in fact something the two sides could calm down and agree about. Still, that hadn't been the story the Toa had told him before. What did this have to do with government corruption? At ease as he was, he still remained, by the door but not making any effort to be hidden from sight, hoping to find more of the truth. He guessed that was Muir's mask power, and not for the first time, wished he was a Toa... or maybe more of a Turaga.

 

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Posted (edited)

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

The Le-Toa stood still a moment, reflecting on that he hadn't told the full story to anyone except Aelied months ago, and this would be the first outsider he talked to. He pulled out a chair and leaned on the table, but did not speak. Instead, he shut his eyes and inhaled deeply. The distant sounds of the street muffled to only faint vibrations in the floor as Cyrix pulled in the air in the room, leaving it in a shell of vacuum.

"What I'm telling you I haven't fully accounted to anyone outside the Kalta. I hope you don't plan on using this information to harm the Kalta, Ko-Koro, or Skorm." He looked at Muir. "Because you will never see retribution coming."

Cyrix leaned back in his chair, letting the air circulate before putting up the vacuum shell once again. "I've witnessed three instances of antidermis being used. First, you need to have a picture of Skorm before this happened, because as far as I'm concerned, he was the real victim. We don't remember much from before coming to the island, but our training is intact. Well, my training; Aelied kept me mostly separate from the rest of the Kalta during training. So even when we met, the others didn't know much about me, but Skorm and I had a bond the others lacked. He never knew why he was picked before he touched his toa stone; after, he felt like he had a lot to prove.  Had some interpersonal problems with Casanuva, who was the only person who could match him in weapon sparring, elemental control, you name him. Cas could be, uh... polarizing. Very confident, but could be a bit of a bully, and Skorm was not overflowing in the confidence department. He went from someone small who was pushed around a lot to someone twice the size of us who could could bench press his own body weight, under heavy gravity."

With another deep breath, he cycled the air again before it got stale. "We actually hit it off; both of us were outsiders on the team. When we woke up on Mata Nui, everyone else was trying to find each other; I knew where they were. Aelied had ordered me to keep an eye on them. I caught up with Cas in Le-Koro, and when he had left for Ta-Koro, I stuck around to shadow Skorm doing the same thing." He averted his eyes. "Then Skorm had a run-in with a green Skakdi. I later found out it was Zaktan. Of the Piraka. Zaktan was doing something with some of the local bugs; Skorm snuck up to investigate, and was splashed with a greed liquid that Zaktan had on him. He dropped and convulsed; Zaktan used a similar liquid to infect the insects which turned ravenous, started to devour whole trees. Skorm was back up pretty fast, he looked... a lot more sure, but that's when his mask started appearing stained. He started using his Huna when he moved; it was nearly impossible to track him, so I wasn't able to keep a direct eye on him; he passed through Ta-Koro, and to Ga-Koro."

"I... figured something was wrong, but I didn't know how wrong it was. I was never able to keep on him for long in Ga-Wahi, he was always moving. I didn't witness what went down in Ga-Wahi when he found Kalyss, Cas, and Vakua, but I heard afterwards. After that, I had totally lost him, and I reported in to Aelied in Ko-Wahi; we had regrouped there after the Legacy took Ko-Koro. The next time I saw him, I had infiltrated occupied Ko-Koro and he was sent by Aelied to meet me; he had already been cured. He had been changed; he was sure of himself, and especially of his Duty. I don't know if it was what Stannis did to cure him, if it was because he had to face what he had done under the antidermis, or both. He told me later he remembers everything. He remembers his choices, and how it felt like they were, at the time, logical and entertaining. But there was a lot of pain, too. The arguments with the rest of the team, they became these points of hatred he could use to focus his thoughts, clear the pain. He told me that, somewhere deep down, he knew that he was broken."

The air was silent save for Cyrix cycling the air again. "Even before he was literally broken. He was running with a few Vault-seekers, and they ran into some of the Piraka and something called the Abettor. He mouthed off or something and the Abettor smashed him up pretty badly. He was able to ask Zaktan what happened to him, and he said that... his head had been cleared. But it was precious, and that he wouldn't waste more of it on an almost-dead wretch."

Cyrix sighed again, dropping the vacuum shell. The air around them popped as the air rushed back together. "I was so close... I had him in my sights. A bolt wouldn't have put down Zaktan, but I could have suffocated him, something." The anger and despair in him manifested in an edge to his voice as he spoke. "I could have captured Skorm, brought him to help. He carried me out of Ko-Koro during the liberation, literally on his back, and I wasn't even the only one. He did it without thinking, without hesitating."

Pausing, he pulled a flask of water from his gear and took a sip, the ice-cold liquid briefly biting. "And the worst part is that he wouldn't blame me."

Truth.

OOC: @Goose @BULiK @ARROW404

Edited by Keeper of Kraata
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IC: Muir (Wise Man’s Archive)

Muir was silent throughout Cyrix's testimony, his expression grim. All of this seemed to confirm what they had gathered so far, except-

"Wait… the bugs, do you mean the Entropy Beetle infestation? That was Antidermis?"

OOC: @Keeper of Kraata @ARROW404 @BULiK

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IC: Priicu - The Wise Man's Archive back room [CLOSED], Ko-Koro

He stepped away from the door, slightly alarmed as he felt the vacuum forming halfway over the spot he had been standing. His heartlight flashed quickly for a moment, but he didn't interrupt. He felt like a fly on the wall that shouldn't have been there, as one of the protectors of his home Koro spilled his secrets to the few in the room. Still, a part of him took note of the events as they were described, committing them to memory. A future biography of the Toa Kalta maybe. With permission of course.

He didn't allow the thought to distract him, though, taking in the raw emotion of the story in silence. Was this how Takua felt when he chronicled the Toa?

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IC: Niici — Ko-Koro, Cultured Gentry HQ

The ice Toa watched the interaction between the Matoran and the Toa of Air — at first with curiosity. Niici’s demeanor changed when Cyrix turned back to Niici.

”Huh. It appears that our man is back at the Wise Man’s Archive,” the Toa of Air said before turning back to the Matoran.

“You can tell Priicu I’ll be back right away; I just need to make a stop somewhere first.”

And with that, Cyrix was gone.

Things had moved a lot more quickly than Niici had anticipated. She wondered how long the so-called copyist had been there. Maybe he was hiding from the Toa Kalta before. At any rate, she was still going to lend her hand and help Cyrix investigate at the Wise Man’s Archive. Though this could be a task best delegated, Cyrix was clear that this would be a personal favor to him. Such personal ties would be useful. An ironclad (and likely clandestine, given the Gentry’s negative reputation among the lower classes) alliance between the Cultured Gentry and the Toa Kalta would be invaluable. Niici grew more optimistic the more she thought about the pending meeting with Aelied.

But first, Cyrix needed her help.

She briefly glanced behind her, back into her office, where her crystal-mounted staff rested against the corner behind her desk. She had little reason to believe there’d be conflict, but one thing she wouldn’t do is leave her personal safety in the hands of another Toa. For this alliance to work, Cyrix and the other Toa needed to see she was just as capable as a Toa — worthy of being called “Protector”. After all, it’s part of why the board of directors gave her back this job after the takeover of Ko-Koro.

Her Matatu glowed slightly as the crystal-mounted staff wiggled, and then rose into the air. An instant later, it glided through the air and Niici caught it in her left hand with grace before twirling it and slinging it across her back. Then, she briskly walked down the hallway and up to her secretary’s desk.

“Aelrie, I have some action items for you,” Niici said with the smile. The Matoran quickly reached for her tablet and chisel in anticipation.

“What will it be, Madam Chairwoman?” asked the secretary.

“Another feeler,” Niici replied, “Syzygos. He’s a Toa of Crystal wearing a Great Arthron. Lean build, black crystal armor, looks a little like the Toa of Air you talked to earlier. May have been a mercenary at some point. Forward this info to our best guys. You know who”

“Sure do,” Aelrie gave a wry smile. Operations like this were hardly new to the wealthy organization. “Anything else?”

“Yes, please draft a letter to begin setting up a meeting with Aelied of the Toa Kalta. Cyrix told me he was interested in meeting me, so I want to get that snowball rolling, if we can”

“Absolutely” replied Aelrie.

Just then, the main hall erupted in what sounded like applause and cheering. With one eyebrow raised, Niici turned around to see many finely dressed Matoran handing out glasses filled with what Niici immediately recognized as their best wine. In an instant, Niici’s left hand was holding the bottom of the bowl of a wine glass. The aroma let Niici’s sensors know immediately that this was a well-aged, and very strong wine.

“We just closed a deal with the East Le-Wahi Trading Company!” cried out Pecaroe, a bubbly Miru-wearing Ga-Matoran who was also holding a nearly-empty bottle of red wine. In her other hand was a filled glass of that very wine. While she was a newcomer, she both very ambitious and very skilled at forming alliances between the Gentry and other wealthy companies. Apparently, not even the shrewd trading company to the south could resist Pecaroe’s genial demeanor and well-spoken diction.

This was a big deal. They often had the biggest ships on Mata Nui, and while that made them prime targets for pirates, their top-notch security and sharp tactics allowed them to either avoid or repel attacks, especially in the last several months.

“A toast to a job well done, and to many more deals to come!” Pecaroe said before she and everyone else in the lobby down their glasses.

“Anything you’d like to say, madam chairwoman?” Aelrie asked the Ice Toa who had not drank from her glass. Niici was hesitant to down her wine so quickly, given how strong it was. But she could at least say something.

“Congratulations, Pecaroe, and to the entire Outreach Team. Ambition and communication like this will help bring the Cultured Gentry back into the good graces of everyone on Mata Nui. With a partner like the ELTC, I expect it will be even easier to convince other merchants to become members of our group”

Niici hesitated for a bit, looking down at the dark red liquid in her crystalline glass, before looking back up to her employees.

“Next time, we need something a little lighter,” Niici said gently, still wearing her congratulatory smile, “We’re professionals and one of Ko-Koro’s sworn protectors was just here. We have to look good in front of the new Akiri and protectors. It’s very important we stay sharp — especially if they’re around”

Niici then raised her glass and looked right at Pecaroe, “But again, congratulations on a job well done”

With that, Niici downed the wine. It was as smooth and sweet as Niici expected. Pecaroe certainly did not skimp. But this was also a wine that would be felt for a while.

Front steps of Cultured Gentry HQ, Ko-Koro

Niici walked outside, the coldness barely affecting the Ice Toa. A transport Ussal crab was nearby and the Toa waved it down. A lot of those taxi cabs were around the HQ, given the demographics of both employees and visitors. There was often a lot of money to be made for them around here.

“Where to, madam?” the driver said, gingerly taking Niici’s staff and fastening it into the back compartment.

“Wise Man’s Archive, please”

“You got it!”

And with that, the taxicrab pulled off and into the snowy fields of Ko-Koro.

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

The Le-Toa wrinkled his mask. "Uh... I think so. I didn't really connect those two together. I haven't been back to Le-Wahi since then, and I had a lot on my mind doing recon for the team in Ko-Koro."

He leaned foward again, more attentive. "It wasn't the last time that Skorm and I encountered Antidermis. In fact, its how we know what it's called; a Dasaka dignitary that had been travelling with the Kalta was captured by the Legacy - don't ask, both of us thought it was a bad idea and Aelied only allowed it because he figured she would sneak off and do it anyway, and we mounted an extraction. By the team we had showed up, though, they had latched the poor girl with a Parakuka and, according to a Legacy clerk we were coercing, the parasite had been injected with Antidermis. It had grown to huge proportions, and what we know about Antidermis is largely a result of the... hasty interrogation we performed. We had to leave the clerk behind, an Onu-Turaga, but one of them found and freed him before the Legacy withdrew into the Dark Walk. According to him, Antidermis was known amongst Makuta's forces to induce... mutation. Grant new or enhanced abilities; we didn't have a lot of time, but most of the Legacy leadership was enhanced in this fashion, including Echelon, but not Eisen."

He leaned back, glancing into nothing as he organized his thoughts, like mentally pulling forward a map. "One of the reasons I never engaged Zaktan was because he could... disincorporate at will. Turn himself into thousands, millions of particles and reassamble himself again. I think Antidermis may be the source of that ability."

OOC: @Goose @BULiK @ARROW404

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Posted (edited)

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

Vrill looked back up at Cyrix. He hadn't planned on taking the reins back from Fenn... but memories of an old case brought forth an interjection. A coincidence from the past that never sat right with him.

"Are you aware of any other abilities related to antidermis exposure? Side effects, adverse reactions?"

Edited by BULiK
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IC: Niici — Ko-Koro, Old Town

The ride through the Old Town was a peaceful one, if not a bit nostalgic. It had been years since the Toa of Ice ventured through here, as she felt much more at home in the newer, richer expanses of the west side. The taxicrab slowed to a halt as it reached the entrance of the tranquil establishment. Niici became puzzled when she saw a throng of patrons leaving the library. To the Toa of Ice, the Wise Man’s Archive appeared to be closing down. Nonetheless, Niici paid and tipped the driver so that he could go on his merry way.

What sort of shenanigans is going down over here? Niici thought with consternation. With her staff safely fastened to her back, she walked briskly up to the entrance of the library. Lightly brushing past the crowds of Matoran exiting the place, she frowned at the sign that read “Sorry, we’re closed”.

“Must be Cyrix’s doing,” Niici presumed. She rapped on the door and listened closely for any movements within the library.

OOC: Knock knock @ARROW404@Keeper of Kraata@BULiK@Goose

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On 5/24/2022 at 1:07 AM, Emzee said:

“Must be Cyrix’s doing,” Niici presumed. She rapped on the door and listened closely for any movements within the library.

IC: Priicu - Wise Man's Archive [CLOSED] back room, Ko-Koro Old Town

Some of the things they brought up had cropped up in his research, but many gaps remained. He was puzzled, but satisfied that the Toa were all cooperating, and seemed to even be making progress, putting their respective puzzle pieces together. He almost missed the knock at the door, and for a moment was confused- people didn't knock on library doors. But as he turned and opened the door, he remembered he had had the place closed. Glancing back, he wished he didn't have to miss part of this potentially historic meeting, and so hurried to the door. He was surprised to see a very prim and proper-looking Toa on the other side, once whom looked familiar, but not enough to be recognizable. Socialites did frequent the library from time to time, but those who did were usually regulars.

"I beg your pardon, madam," he mumbled hastily, "There is Toa Kalta business being taken care of inside, so I must keep the shop closed for the day."

OoC: Feel free to cut off his sentence at any point if need be. I can edit it.

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IC: Savrehn - Ko-Wahi - Somewhere In The Drifts

“Nothing,” Savrehn said, tossing the empty flask into his backpack. “Just thinking out loud. Between the dragon, or whatever it was, and that shady hideout…there just must be a lot we still haven’t discovered out here in the Wahi. That’s all.”

He retrieved his backpack, shouldering it with a grunt, and started following Kreigero outside. Already, she seemed to be doing better, even with her injury. Getting away from that…place had probably done wonders for her spirit.

“Sorry if it seems too soon, after all that’s happened today, but I would like to come back out here. With you,” he said, gesturing his head at Kreigero. “After you’ve healed, of course. If the chronicler wishes to come with us again, I won’t stop him.” He glanced back at the Ta-Matoran and nodded. “But, despite everything…”

The familiar chill of the Wahi brushed past his Tryna. Savrehn shut his optics and breathed in the cold air.

“…I’m not done. Not with this place. I want to see what else there is to discover—what other secrets the snow is hiding.”

He looked to Kreigero, keeping pace right next to her as they walked.

“After all, it would take more than a couple of strangers in a cave to scare you off, right?”

OOC: @BULiK@~Xemnas~

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Posted (edited)

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

The Le-Toa shook his head. "We haven't exactly had a large sample size; I'm unaware of any other side effects. Skorm's blood turned oily black and he started bleeding from his eyes; his Kanohi is still stained, but with Soraph and her parasite, besides what healers have told us is a much longer coma than usual and the Parakuka's size, it doesn't seem to be out of the ordinary."

He heard, faintly, the sound of knocking. It wasn't his backup, they wouldn't knock. Another customer, possibly, but someone he had a good hunch had been coming was Niici.

"You know, I really wish you had approached me with this earlier. One of the theories I had been operating under was you were a mercenary spying on our industrial dealings. I... may have conferred with others and shared that conclusion."

OOC: @BULiK @Goose @ARROW404 @Emzee

Edited by Keeper of Kraata
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Posted (edited)
On 6/1/2022 at 2:03 PM, Keeper of Kraata said:

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

"You know, I really wish you had approached me with this earlier. One of the theories I had been operating under was you were a mercenary spying on our industrial dealings. I... may have conferred with others and shared that conclusion."

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

Syzygos shrugged.

IC: Kreigero [The Drifts]

“…I’m not done. Not with this place. I want to see what else there is to discover—what other secrets the snow is hiding.”

When Savrehn glanced to Kreigero near the end of his train of thought, there was something different just beneath the surface of her cerulean optics.

“After all, it would take more than a couple of strangers in a cave to scare you off, right?”

Kreigero's face twitched into... a smile? Despite their many hours of journeying through the drifts together, some of which even included bits and pieces of what might be considered a conversation, it was an entirely new phenomenon, at least insofar as Savrehn had ever observed on Kreigero.

The shockingly genuine smile, the lowered shoulders, and the slack in her step gave away that Kreigero was about to respond - but then Atamai spoke up.

"Let's stay focused on getting back to Ko-Koro. Can't really start planning another trip if we haven't finished this one yet."

Kreigero released the breath she had been holding before the Ta-Matoran's unintentional interruption. She swallowed, and for a split second afterwards, the smile to Savrehn visibly flared up before being instantly buried under her normal quiet intensity. Just like that, the brief moment was gone again. At least, externally.

"Right." She agreed in the verbal equivalent of two simultaneous handshakes. "Let's go, Sav."

Kreigero and Savrehn resumed laboriously trudging through the snow side by side in large, focused strides. She nervously winced during an inaudible chuckle to herself that she was just experiencing a side effect of the head trauma. The huntress kept her mind distracted from the urge to ponder by counting each of the deep breaths she took as they marched across the tundra.

Edited by BULiK

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Posted (edited)
On 5/25/2022 at 2:52 PM, ARROW404 said:

"I beg your pardon, madam," he mumbled hastily, "There is Toa Kalta business being taken care of inside, so I must keep the shop closed for the day."

IC: Niici — Ko-Koro, The Wise Man’s Archive (Outside)

The Toa stood tall in her immaculate armor and worked to remain pleasant and cordial to the Matoran attendant. 

“If it’s the Toa Kalta of Air you’re referring to, I believe he is expecting me,” Niici said, a sharp but calm smile decorating her face. “We are supposed to meet for important business. I’m sure he’s waiting for me”

Niici was impatient to get whatever investigations done so that she could get back to work with the massive Kane-Ra dump that was the papers and documents and lists that were left behind by the former chairman and his staff. Niici was busy, and she wanted to be efficient with her time. On the other hand, Niici also realized that building a strong relationship with the Kalta would be one of her best chances at further establishing the Gentry as a staple of Ko-Koro. Public opinion often quivered from time to time because of the profusion of wealth often talked about by the tabloids and reporters. In order to combat excessive sentiment of elitism, the Cultured Gentry would also put on events and charities open to the public to remind the people that they were for the people. Unfortunately, it had been awhile since the organization had done anything like that, and negative sentiment began to spread again once people noticed Niici’s community getting rebuilt much faster than most of the other districts in Ko-Koro.

As a result, Niici quickly reminded herself that she needed to be kind. More than usual. Matoran had excellent memories, and their perceptions would last for decades. Niici needed to make sure that this attendant remembered her positively. As a result, her smile became warmer and more welcoming.

“That’s not to say you’re doing anything wrong, of course,” Niici said, “If you can see if the Toa Kalta of Air is still expecting me, I would be much obliged”


OOC: @BULiK@Goose@Keeper of Kraata

Edited by Emzee
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6 hours ago, Emzee said:

IC: Niici — Ko-Koro, The Wise Man’s Archive (Outside)

“If it’s the Toa Kalta of Air you’re referring to, I believe he is expecting me,” Niici said, a sharp but calm smile decorating her face. “We are supposed to meet for important business. I’m sure he’s waiting for me”

...

“That’s not to say you’re doing anything wrong, of course,” Niici said, “If you can see if the Toa Kalta of Air is still expecting me, I would be much obliged”

@BULiK@Goose@Keeper of Kraata

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

The librarian's eyebrows rose in mild surprise. He hadn't expected such a well-dressed Toa to be involved. She wasn't a fighter, not a member of the Kalta. But he supposed she could still be a personal contact of Cyrix's. He had expected backup, albeit more combat-ready. "Oh, no, please enter," he welcomed, opening the door wider and stepping back. "Apologies for delaying you." He left it at that, and ushered her into the darkened library, showing her the way to the back room.

 

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Posted (edited)

IC: - Ko-koro -

A roar was heard across the village of ice, coming from the sky. It wasn't like a Gukko or other type of bird that you'd typically hear, this was different. Much more bestial in tone. A shadow formed as a large figure flew in circles around Ko-koro, and it became clear that it definitely was no bird. It appeared to be a large, lizard-like creature. It was quad pedal, had massive, white wings, and was covered in blue scales. 

Kaminari landed with a big thud on her four legs in the center of the koro. She looked around with her large head at all the small creatures staring back at her in surprise. 

"Hmmm...the elders we're not exaggerating when they said you were small ones." 

OOC: Open for interaction to literally anyone and everyone. :)

Edited by Snelly
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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, ARROW404 said:

 

"Oh, no, please enter," he welcomed, opening the door wider and stepping back. "Apologies for delaying you." He left it at that, and ushered her into the darkened library, showing her the way to the back room.

IC: Niici — Ko-Koro, The Wise Man’s Archive

“You’re too kind”

Niici smiled again and walked past the Matoran attendant. In an instant, Niici was welcomed by the warmth of heatstones by the entrance. She didn’t need directions in order to find which back room Cyrix was in. The entire library was so quiet, one could hear a pin drop. However, what perturbed her was the fact that she heard more than one voice, and they sounded rather calm.

The Toa of Ice paced forward, crystal staff safely strapped to her back. She made a direct line towards the backroom and found herself in a room among old books, manuscripts, and papers.

To say nothing of the three armed Toa sitting in the center of the room, with one of the Toa matching Cyrix’s verbal description of Syzygos pretty closely.

“I see we have company,” Niici said, that businessman-like smile reappearing on her face. She then placed a hand on her heartlight after giving Cyrix a quick sideways glance.

“Niici,” the Toa said, doing a quick bow. She then rested her hand on her side. “I’m here to meet with Cyrix on… something. I wasn't expecting the whole place to be closed.”

Her gaze naturally flitted between Syzygos and the unknown Akaku-wearing Toa for a split second when she said ‘something’. She then looked to the Toa Kalta of Air.

“Did you find what you needed?” she asked Cyrix. 


OOC: @BULiK@Goose@Keeper of Kraata

Edited by Emzee
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Posted (edited)

IC: Muir (Wise Man’s Archive)

Muir's eyes narrowed. The chairwoman of the Cultured bloody Gentry.

"Muirtagh Fenn. Lawyer." He glared at Cyrix, then turned his attention back to Niici. "I must admit, I expected my first meeting with a member of the Cultured Gentry to be in court. Preferably with said member in the dock."

OOC: @Emzee @BULiK @ARROW404 @Keeper of Kraata

Edited by Goose

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