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IC: Tailua — Onu-Koro Marketplace

Ussal crabs, Husi, and Matoran with wheelbarrows and crates bustled about in the central commerce section of the underground city. There were even a few Toa, Skakdi and Vortixx milling about. Tailua kept to himself as he navigated around the gaggle of shoppers and sellers, focused on the one thing he was here for. He knew the route to this weaponsmith very well. He was the one who got him the short sword that was attachable to his arm. It had attached the same way his hook and metallic barrel attached to his arm: where his right hand had once been. 

By this point in Tailua life, it had been so long since that terrible night that the Toa of Fire wasn’t even sure if he could get used to having an actual right hand again. Having a weapon or tool in its place just felt natural to him now. 

A few minutes later, Tailua had found the shop. The owner had once again moved locations since Tailua had last been in Onu-Koro. Grinning with pride, Tailua walked into the shop, ducking slightly under the head jamb. 

“Well, well, if it isn’t the Fiery Pit himself!” a rugged voice called out. It was the shopkeeper himself, wearing his purple Volitak with pride. His collection of weapons and armor was as bountiful as ever, lights dancing off the shiny, polished metal as they rested with phlegmatic poise on red drapes upon a table, guarded by a larger wooden gate. 

“Onozan!” Tailua heartily said back to the Onu-Matoran. “Business certainly hasn’t left you in the dark!”

“What can I say? I never stop. What the folks here want, I get it to ‘em,” Onuzan cackled, “So, what’ll it be?”

“Well, I happen to be in the market for a Patero launcher. You happen to have any Toa-fitted one in stock?"

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

You’re the boss of this operation."

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On 1/20/2022 at 4:26 PM, Emzee said:

When someone disappeared in Onu-Wahi, they were often gone for good.

 

Just then, bright lines severed Ra’lhen’s scrambled thoughts. It literally looked like a singular bright light at the end of a dark tunnel. The Toa of Lightning sat calmly at the Ussal taxis reached their terminus at the mouth of the tunnel.  

IC Stannis | Onu-Koro

There was a hastening in the clattering of their ussal mounts as the crabs knew they were close to their home paddock and the promise of treats that came with. Stannis glanced back at Ra'lhen to see what feelings he had about the city ahead and whether it was doom or indifference, and then looked back ahead at the growing glows of Onu-Koro's veritable constellations that spilled with effervescent illumination through the corridors that fed the city's cavern. 

For Stannis, the city of earth was one of his lesser-visited locations and there was not as many memories formed there. He'd sojourned through it before, of course, once as a matoran and once again as a Toa Maru, but they were only momentary occasions. Still, perhaps his lack of lingering there was borne in part from his irrational discomfort in the vast underground wahi, something, he figured once after much meditation on the exact matter, that likely had to do with the dichotomy of light and darkness in the depths of the earth. Stannis relished in investigating mysteries and uncovering fantastical things but the suddenness of illumination in obscurity and the vastness of things unseen and unknown unnerved Stannis, for while he delved in the unknowns like a form of personal currency he nevertheless found the myriad of frightening contrasts of things in the labyrinthine wahi to be overwhelming for his powers and senses. He was glad to have Ra'lhen's companionship for this journey, or else he was not likely to undertake the mission with as much determination. 

Musical Interlude

All at once, they emerged from the tunnel and into the vastness of Onu-Koro's vaulted chamber and were greeted by the cacophony of industry and enterprise. Forges glowed all around and lamps dotted the streets and ceilings, washing them in artificial light that came in all hues of yellow and orange, and the hum of machinery bustled like a low choral. They'd arrived, and it all looked even more majestic than either of the toa had remembered the city to have been before, a far cry over the relatively humble and rustic aesthetics of their own hometowns. Suspicions of its prosperity were all but confirmed—Onu-Koro had done well for itself, indeed. Fortunately for the ambassadors of Po-Koro, they were not ones to be wooed or influenced by materialism. They, like the evil entity they marched to oppose, did not care about wealth or power.

"We're here," Stannis said as they dismounted, a statement mostly to himself. After handing the reins to the ussal handlers they collected their small luggage belongings and set into the city proper. The journey's ride had left them sore and battered and they longed for the opportunity to rest their backsides and ears from the battering they'd received. 

"First things first: I need a break and a good drink. I think there's an inn here with good Yalp reviews—the Loampool, or something like that. From there I can send a message to my brother, Sulov."

@Emzee

 

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 IC: Tailua — Wares Onozan?, Onu-Koro Marketplace

"Aye, sorry partner," Onozan said frowning, "Supply is getting scarce and I've been fighting with the big-wig merchants over some more of those, among other things. Somehow, I keep getting muscled out. Vendors won't even sell those to me without downright insulting fees"

Tailua nodded sympathetically. "Blasted high-class merchants with their shiny masks riding on their high Ussals. I know the type. Can't believe they still let that happen"

Tailua neglected to mention that he had just traveled with someone who may or may not have a hand the cartel-like exclusively that benefitted the richest merchants. And while the thought of it disgusted him, there was a small part of Tailua mind that considered the option of getting Onozan an in Toa Niici. It would give him the clout and the money, but in exchange for what? One's soul?

"Here, how 'bout this?" Onozan said, handing Tailua a small stone slab with Matoran letters carved into it.

"This is where you'll find the Po-Koro Tech Emporium," Onozan explained, "They got everything you could need and more. I don't know if their prices are as competitive as mine, but I know they get stuff other there in Po-Koro".

Tailua took the stone and looked it over, rolling it around in his left hand. 

"Po-Koro?" Tailua said. "I guess that works out. Ostia's my final stop"

"Tell 'em I sent ya.  Never know -- it might help!" Onozan said with optimism in his voice.

Tailua nodded with appreciation and reached into his pack. He then turned his back to Onozan, pulled out a small sack of coins, and tossed it nonchalantly over his shoulder. All the while, his Sanok gave that all-familiar glow. The sack landed with a satisfying metallic jingle on the counter directly in front of Onozan, who appreciated the gesture, but was hardly impressed.

"Ya never get tired of that, do ya?"

"Never, man," Tailua said. "Take it for your troubles. I'm coming off a big payday, and you deserve a little more for all your hustlin'"

The shopkeeper raised an eyebrow, but nonetheless took the money. "Safe travels, Toa"

Tailua nodded and again and made his way back out into the city.

IC: Ra'lhen — Onu-Koro

On 2/6/2022 at 6:59 PM, Umbraline Yumiwa said:

"First things first: I need a break and a good drink. I think there's an inn here with good Yalp reviews—the Loampool, or something like that. From there I can send a message to my brother, Sulov."

"Yes, I'd say we've earned that much," Ra'lhen said, stretching his back a bit. "I like how this city has grown, I'm up to take a tour"

Ra'lhen got out of the way of the bustling travelers who were disembarking or getting ready to leave with an Ussal taxi. Once they ventured deeper into the main part of Onu-Koro, Ra'lhen couldn't help but grow more enamored with the lights and the activity. Far gone were the days of a village cloaked in shadows, sometimes having to depend on candles if the lightstone vault was inaccessible. Onu-Koro had lightstones for days, and the Toa of Lightning felt at ease. 

"Say, wasn't that your famous halberd I saw back there?" Ra'lhen asked, now remembering the severed weapon, "Must've been quite a fight, unless of course you just stepped on it or something. I wouldn't judge"

OOC: @Umbraline Yumiwa

Edited by Emzee

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

You’re the boss of this operation."

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IC: Nika | ???

Occupied as he was with trying to load his rifle, Nika didn't even sense that hunk of earth aimed for him before it was knocking him barrel over buttstock onto his back. That his gun had clattered out of reach probably would have been an issue, but given the rapid change of plans by Pae, it wasn't proving to Nika's greatest obstacle. He simply wiped the dirt from his eyes and raised both hands above his head.

"Yeah, yeah," he grumbled. "I surrender, too."

I sure hope you know what you're doing, Pae.

OOC: @Palm @Snelly @ARROW404

-Void

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3 hours ago, Void Emissary said:

IC: Nika | ???

"Yeah, yeah," he grumbled. "I surrender, too."

IC: Onepu - Onu-Koro city limits

The Ussalry commander breathed a sigh of relief at the surrender. Toa were hard targets to catch, and he honestly didn't even know what these two had been up to, other than that it had been violence. He again ran over some possibilities in his mind- gang violence, vigilantism, a botched assassination attempt, mercenary work... Of course, they had ran when the authorities showed up, so he figured it must have been criminal in nature.

"Book 'em, boys!" he called. "Delgo, read them their rights."

The Toa of Gravity named Delgo floated down to the two soon-to-be detained Toa. "Your crimes currently stand at resisting arrest and injuring Ussalmatoran." He recited. "An investigation for the reason of your flight will be conducted, and any further crimes discovered will be added to your sentence. You will be tried fairly before a jury of your peers after a thorough investigation is conducted. You have the right to contact a lawyer if you have one, otherwise one will be provided by Onu-Koro. You are to remain silent during the process of detainment, and may plead your case once you are incarcerated. Know that you cannot be turned free until- at the soonest- the investigation is concluded, which may take upwards of 24 hours. However, any defense you make for yourselves will be noted and taken into consideration."

OoC:

If you want to try something, feel free to interrupt the above spiel.

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IC: Montague (The Unfortunate Fikou)

Montague's eyes were alight. They wrote frantically as Savis spoke, and the scratching of their fevered pen all but overwhelmed the sound of the Lesterin's voice, so great was their excitement. Montague, as ever, seemed entirely oblivious to the room at large, and it was quite readily apparent that their mind was hard at work. They approached the quandary with a certain delight, as one might a particularly tricky crossword puzzle, as if solving it is to be in conversation with its maker, each unexpected twist an in-joke delivered by a beloved friend.

"Say, Gorro – I understand, of course, that it is a question of rather a personal nature, but I do believe that we may have stumbled upon a connecting factor. I- naturally, of course, I should not get too ahead of myself, but I do wonder… Have you, too, experienced some traumatic event in relation to water?"

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IC: Oceanna Gallywix  - Onu-koro - ??? -

Oceanna lowered her staff and sighed as they surrendered. She hadn't fought that hard since she went Rahkshi hunting, which felt like forever ago now. Muscles she normally didn't use started to ache as the adrenaline in her veins died down.

"F### me..." She muttered as she caught her breath, this was exactly why she preferred being a guitarist over doing heroics! 

OOC: @Void Emissary @ARROW404 @Palm

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IC: Nika | ???

"Yeah, yeah," Nika said, walking right up to this jumped-up crab######er, hands still up and gaze as cold and steady -- one got the distinct sense that this was the same look in had in his eyes while looking through the scope of his rifle, searching for a killing shot. "Let's just get this over with."

OOC: @ARROW404 @Snelly @Palm

-Void

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On 2/8/2022 at 8:25 PM, Emzee said:

IC: Ra'lhen — Onu-Koro

"Yes, I'd say we've earned that much," Ra'lhen said, stretching his back a bit. "I like how this city has grown, I'm up to take a tour"

Ra'lhen got out of the way of the bustling travelers who were disembarking or getting ready to leave with an Ussal taxi. Once they ventured deeper into the main part of Onu-Koro, Ra'lhen couldn't help but grow more enamored with the lights and the activity. Far gone were the days of a village cloaked in shadows, sometimes having to depend on candles if the lightstone vault was inaccessible. Onu-Koro had lightstones for days, and the Toa of Lightning felt at ease. 

"Say, wasn't that your famous halberd I saw back there?" Ra'lhen asked, now remembering the severed weapon, "Must've been quite a fight, unless of course you just stepped on it or something. I wouldn't judge"

IC Stannis | Onu

'Famous' halberd, Ra'lhen had said. Stannis' mouth tilted in a skewed smirk that could be either a frown or a thin smile depending on the angle one viewed his face. He hadn't heard of his toa tool referred to like that, but he supposed it was normal. He was a Maru, and it was his god-given weapon, though he still thought it amusing to consider it or anything associated with him 'famous.' For a man of vast renown he shirked the limelight and shrugged the attention given. Come to think of it, what was with that ussal master? Did she look at him with recognition? Was there any overt sign of emotion? Stannis realized he hadn't even noticed, but he wasn't sure if that was a fault of his lack of observation after a long and noisy journey or whether the matoran hadn't made any indications. 

"It's my halberd," he confirmed to his friend having no reason to hide the truth from him, out of embarrassment or subterfuge. "And yeah, it was a fight. You know the saying, 'You can lose the battle but win the war?' I think that's what happened. I won—but I also lost, and now I have his sword.

His voice dripped with mourning. The arrest of Toa-Protector Brykon still stung at his heartlight. It was a fight he didn't want and it came at a cost he didn't wish to pay, yet he was to carry the burden of its victory on his back regardless. The greatsword, the massive weapon called Ice, was the trophy he didn't ask for and served as a reminder of the losses suffered, and more than just his halberd was lost. Mata Nui lost a powerful toa in the defanging of Brykon's abilities, and the Massif was deprived of a dedicated guardian, both of which were sore losses for an island already thin of truly determined and fierce fighters against a growing darkness that stirred somewhere beyond sight. Part of Stannis wished he could restore Brykon's elemental abilities but he knew doing so would be a fruitless gesture that would only serve to reconcile his own stresses. No, better to shoulder the pain of it and carry on until the time was right, and only Mata Nui knew when, or whether, that would ever come.

They walked in some silence until they came to the inn and he tapped the wrapped cloth once before walking in. "You know this sword," he said at last at the doorstep. "The other dude did, at least."

@Emzee

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  • 3 weeks later...

IC: Pae - Onu-Koro

Pae tried his best to give a knowing look to Nika, but was as stone-faced as ever. After a moment of staring, Pae uncrossed his arms and instead placed them behind his back so the Toa of Gravity could cuff him. He spoke quietly, but just loud enough for his soon to be captor floating nearby to hear, but not the crowd gathered below, "We're here on business with Angelus, Ta-Koro's Captain of the Guard."

"We'll cooperate," Pae said calmly, wishing that it was Jin here doing the talking.

OOC: @ARROW404 @Void Emissary @Snelly

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IC: Tailua — Onu-Koro, Memorial Site

The former Toa Kodin had the exact spot of Olaki’s final resting place memorized. As the site was underground among maze-like tunnels, one had to follow the right directions to arrive at the correct section of the cemetery. Tailua knew exactly which passages to take in every fork in the tunnel, and in a short 10 minutes on foot, Tailua had arrived.

The grave had looked like it always had. Time had made it look older, to be sure, but the tombstone never looked decayed. The resilient slab held up, as did the carvings upon it. Symbols that matched the ones seen on Onu-Koronan flags decorated the edges of the gray slab. On the top were 7 circles which were supposed to represent their team, plus the Toa who founded their team. One of the dots had a scraggly line drug diagonally through it, and Tailua instantly knew what that represented. Contrary to popular belief, Tailua did not commit this act of vandalism. He actually did not know who marked one of the circles, but he knew that he wasn’t the only one carrying the scars of traitor Toa which the crossed-out circle represented. It really couldn’t have been anyone on their team... or outside their team. While not terribly known nowadays, there were a few who remembered the Infected Toa’s far-gone past. It was certainly plausible for them to feel a similar level of betrayal.

Finally, Tailua’s eyes rested on the bold words that laid in the center of the headstone:

Olaki — Toa Kodin of Earth, hero of Onu-Koro

By this point in Tailua’s life, there wasn’t as much lingering pain. Tailua had long come to terms with what had happened. So had Makua. What laid before Tailua was simply another casualty of the foolhardy pursuit of heroics, a pursuit that had been pressured upon them along with all other Toa. To Tailua, both Makua and Olaki were brothers to him. They had understood Tailua and each other in a way that the rest of the Toa team couldn’t or wouldn’t. The ideological barrier that split the Toa of Kodin in half was no secret.

Tailua knelt down in front of the gravesite and bowed his head in reverence.

“This world could not contain you, brother,” Tailua said in a low tone, “You were too ****** for it”

After several minutes, Tailua rose to his feet — more stone-faced than ever. He had places to go, but he was glad he made the effort to stop and pay Olaki a visit.

Ra'lhen -- The Loampool Inn

"I... do?" the brawny Toa raised an eyebrow. He moved his eyes over the clothed sword again -- carefully this time. It took a moment for him to reach back into his twisted memories before the vision came to him.

It couldn't be... could it? Ra'lhen thought.

"Is that Antrim's sword? The protector of the Massif?" Ra'lhen asked Stannis as they both walked inside the Inn's lobby. Before them were chairs, sofas, the bar area to the left, and the check-in desk to the right. It was a humble-looking place, definitely budget-friendly, which Ra'lhen appreciated with his Sentinel salary. 

Naturally, Ra'lhen proceeded to ask the next logical question, even if the answer seemed a bit obvious. Ra'lhen wasn't sure he wanted to potentially bring up a painful loss, but Ra'lhen did not want to make any assumptions. Being essentially locked away at Ostia meant that Ra'lhen missed out on a lot of important news. 

"What happened to Antrim?" the Vo-Toa asked. 

OOC: @Umbraline Yumiwa

IC: Tailua — Onu-Koro, Ussal Station

Tailua walked past the Loampool Inn on the way to the station, focused on reaching his next destination in Po-Koro. He still had the business card that Onozan gave him. The name of this tech facility certainly intrigued Tailua, and he hoped that they would have the inventory that he was looking for without costing him an arm and a leg. Some of these traders could be quite greedy, and some have even been foolish enough to try and scam the towering Toa of Fire. However, Onozan had never led Tailua astray in the past. So he they got this Onu-Matoran’s endorsement, the Tech Emporium was worth checking out at the very least.

Tailua got on the next available Ussal taxi and rode the crab through the dark, meandering tunnels, heading east into the desert region.

OOC: Tailua moving to Po-Wahi

Edited by Emzee
split Tailua post. hehe

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

You’re the boss of this operation."

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On 3/4/2022 at 9:08 AM, Palm said:

IC: Pae - Onu-Koro

Pae tried his best to give a knowing look to Nika, but was as stone-faced as ever. After a moment of staring, Pae uncrossed his arms and instead placed them behind his back so the Toa of Gravity could cuff him. He spoke quietly, but just loud enough for his soon to be captor floating nearby to hear, but not the crowd gathered below, "We're here on business with Angelus, Ta-Koro's Captain of the Guard."

"We'll cooperate," Pae said calmly, wishing that it was Jin here doing the talking.

OOC: @ARROW404 @Void Emissary @Snelly

IC: The Ussalry bunch

Up top, Aar had managed to crawl out of his mech's cockpit, and now ran to the nearest destroyed window to get a look below. It looked like it was over, thank Mata Nui. He'd been the firsthand witness to the two Toa's resourcefulness though, so he did the only thing he could- watch the proceedings suspiciously, four Stralix grenades on hand... just in case.

Onepu urged his crab forward, and began to scale the side of the building, some others doing the same ahead of him at his command. By the time Delgo had finished reading them their rights, he was just cresting the edge of the roof- just in time to hear what was being said. "Angelus?" he echoed, "And you didn't think to mention that earlier..." He sighed and shook his head, "Well if that's the case then this should be over quick. You'll have to surrender your masks until then though." He extended a hand, the other holding his own throwing disk, poised to use it as a shield if need be.

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IC: Pae - Onu-Koro

Pae gave a side-long look towards Nika, then back to Onepu. Pae recognized him, years ago living and killing in underground fighting rings meant it was important to learn the face of the officials of the town. It was rare that Pae's thoughts would be betrayed by his expression, with his face more still than stone - even now.

He reached up wordlessly, and removed his Kakama, handing it to the Ussal chief.

OOC: @ARROW404 @Void Emissary @Snelly

Edited by Palm

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On 3/9/2022 at 7:53 PM, Emzee said:

Ra'lhen -- The Loampool Inn

"Is that Antrim's sword? The protector of the Massif?" Ra'lhen asked Stannis as they both walked inside the Inn's lobby. Before them were chairs, sofas, the bar area to the left, and the check-in desk to the right. It was a humble-looking place, definitely budget-friendly, which Ra'lhen appreciated with his Sentinel salary. "What happened to Antrim?" the Vo-Toa asked. 

IC Stannis | Mudpool Inn

"Hi, welcome 'Inn,' I hope you find our service is down-to-earth," a chipper voice came from the matoran manning the concierge's desk, which doubled as the restaurant host's kiosk, who capturing the attention of Stannis and Ra'lhen who looked in the desk's direction. The attempt of a bad pun flew over both their heads, a joke imperceptible for anyone but the teller and amusing solely to its originator; it was probably a canned phrase listed as one of several in the employee's handbook of customer service. The matoran host who spoke was also severely mismatched to the tone, though it could be supposed that the happy-go-lucky tone was a farce as well, a lie of character pressed into service like a waiter's uniform that did not agree with the wearer's personality in the least. The host seemed uncomfortable, and upon closer inspection as he spoke it was clear the words and tone were uncomfortably regurgitated. Glassy eyes of doldrum lurked behind a mask curled up in a mockery of cheeriness everywhere. Stannis suspected he was not well paid. 

"What will it be, toa-misters? Dinner? Drinks? A room?" he asked of them.

"All three. Dinner first, but we'll need lodging as well," Stannis replied.

"No problem! Dinner service will resume shortly but have a seat anywhere you'd like for drinks first. I'll save a room for you and your husband!"

Stannis was already headed to a table at the corner of the bar area when the concierge's mention of 'your husband' dawned on him, but when he turned around to correct the host's presumption the desk was empty and all he saw was Ra'lhen's bemused expression. He laid his small arsenal against a neighboring chair and sat such that he could easily monitor the inn's entrance. Only then did he sigh deeply and let a melancholy frown grow across his lips. "A while back Antrim was assassinated, presumably by the villain Ambages, though none are sure how it was managed. His badge of office was transferred to a certain man named Brykon, though recently his criminal past caught up and rendered him became unable to perform his duties so I took possession of the weapon for the interim."

@Emzee

Edited by Umbraline Yumiwa
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On 1/26/2022 at 4:15 AM, Krayzikk said:

IC:

Stepping into Ussalry HQ was no different than it had ever been. But that wasn't how it felt.

Tarnok couldn't remember the last time so many faces had looked at him in surprise. He had been here, doing his duty, for... A very long time. Longer than many of the faces he saw. In that respect he had become a part of the background, a fixture largely unnoticed until it was absent. And he had been absent for a long, long time. Long enough for everyone to recognize something strange had happened, wonder at what, but not quite long enough for anyone to feel the need to stop their little group. Even if Leli was drawing even more odd stares.

"Major Leli, Ussalmatoran Tarnok, and a guest," The Matoran said coming to a halt in front of the Akiri's secretary. "To speak with the Akiri. Urgently."

@Geardirector

IC: Akiri Nuparu (Ussalry HQ)

The dispatch arrived at a moment when the Akiri's perpetually active mind was, for once, for want of something to occupy it. It didn't happen often, but if it did, it was also easy to put a stop to.

Urgent, was it? Very well, he'd come to them.

Nuparu came through the entrance to the Ussalry building flanked by a pair of guards, who promptly dispersed and left him to do the formalities on his own.

"I was told you needed to speak to me, Tarnok" he said to the Ussalmatoran, and he sounded a touch nonchalant, but his expression was awake and attentive.

"I assume we'll need some privacy? I can deal with whatever's available right here if you're in a hurry"

OOC: Sorry for the wait, @Krayzikk

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IC Stannis | Mudpool Inn, a Pool Resort

Shortly after they had seated themselves, a member of the waitstaff came out and placed a ceramic pitcher of ale on the table and said something about it being "complimentary" before whizzing off to another table and providing other patrons with a similar pitcher. Perhaps some sort of local holiday? Stannis wondered, then slowly proceeded to serve himself and Ra'lhen the beverage as he tried to recall the regional festivals of Onu-Wahi. 

The beer was green.

"Cheers."

@Emzee

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IC: Gorro - Onu-Koro, The Unfortunate Fikou

Composure wormed itself up first from the pit of young Gorro’s stomach and soon began weaving its tendrils into the folds of his brain; the tremors which had so wracked his limbs oscillated now less and less, coming closer to a standstill as inward ruminations dissolved under a solution of outward attention and newfound curiosity. The new-comer to the small abode of queer Montague began their recounting of events, triggering a new fit of literary engrossment within the host of this absurd, ephialtic triumvirate - their host now again scribbling madly in the diary which had so repulsed dear Gorro. A trance-like fascination overcame the young Toa of Crystal as the tales of shipwrecks and memories far removed from typical recall were uttered forth by Savis. The distinctive similarity between his own circumstances and those of the Lesterin kept him rapt, specifically the fact that Savis had awoken upon- Gorro’s lip was trembling with the urge to request more of the speaker - more tales or terror so that Gorro could find further common ground, grasping desperately at the idea that what had afflicted them all was exactly that - an affliction, and not a flight of madness coincidentally shared by an unlikely pair. Afflictions could be cured, he told himself in uncertain affirmation. He could be cured. 

Alas, Savis’ tale wound down before anything further could be revealed, and the brief rapture Gorro had enjoyed was broken, a spell of despair washing over him like a tide UPON A-

    "Say, Gorro – I understand, of course, that it is a question of rather a personal nature, but I do believe that we may have stumbled upon a connecting factor. I- naturally, of course, I should not get too ahead of myself, but I do wonder… Have you, too, experienced some traumatic event in relation to water?"

Saline blood drained from the young Toa’s face and composure likewise retreated back into the abyssal bowels from which it had emerged. Sickness seemed to take him, threaten to extinguish his consciousness here and leave him vulnerable in the dim light of Montague’s room. Only by squeezing his fingers into the flesh of his palms and screwing shut his eye-lids for some seconds after Montague had completed their request was Gorro able to ward off the prospect of fainting. Hoarsely, he opened his mouth and recounted his experiences after minutes of dreadful silence…

“I, um… It was a long time ago. I don’t keep track of- of how many years it’s been since… I used to take a lot of drugs. I used to party. I didn’t really have anyone around me other than some others whose n-names I’ve forgotten…”

Like beasts creeping from the depths of the earth did Gorro’s hands now emerge from beneath his covering, the digits spasmodically quaking as they uncoiled themselves. All could now see the pure terror that had penetrated deep into his psyche and buffeted the fortitude of his mind as waves do upon stone, wearing them down over the course of aeons. His bulging, staring eyes which had been turned down towards the dusty floor were at once covered by the palms into which were delved deep impressions of nail-marks from where his fingered had pressed moments ago. His head now rested upon his hands and his elbows planted above his knees, the gospel continued:

“I - I… I went too far one day. I t-took too many. We were out on Lake Kanae. I… I think we were in a boat, or a canoe, or some-something like that. I don’t really remember. We were looking up at the stars, and… and I remember how they twisted and intertwined, and spelt out messages. The Red Star… it - it stared into me like an eye, or… or like a red-hot poker, stabbing into my chest and boiling my organs…”

A pained, though measurably quiet wail of terror broke through the story and briefly gave the young Toa pause. Composure could do nothing but ensnare itself in his gut, providing meagre comfort, but just enough for him to continue.

“The next thing I remember… I felt wet. And cold. And heavy… I couldn’t breathe. I c-couldn’t feel anything… just sensations… I was sinking… The… the next thing I really remember is… is… c-c-coughing up s-seawater. The salt, it- it stung my lungs, my throat, lit m-me on fire from the inside. I was… weak. I could barely m-move, but… I felt the heat on my face, just breaking through the chill… the sun was rising, that was where the- the heat was coming from, and I… and… and…”

With incredible speed, Gorro’s head shot up from its organic pedestal; wide, bloodshot eyes staring through Montague’s, an expression of deathly terror overriding all other senses warping his features into a pallid, corpse-like countenance. His next words, sputtered forth through a quaking jaw, were a terrified whisper.

“I awoke upon the shore.

 

OOC: @Goose @Nato G

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IC: Ra’lhen — Onu-Koro, Mudpool Inn

Yellow eyes widened behind his pearl white Hau as Ra’lhen began to remember distant memories from back in his Matoran days. Before his centuries of terror, Ra’lhen had worked as a blacksmith, and this green beer that sat before him took him back to annual nights of awesome camaraderie and terrible decisions.

What kind of night were Stannis and Ra’lhen about to have?

“I had forgotten they make these this time of year,” Ra’lhen said, raising his mug. The fond memories of his blacksmith days had almost made him forget about the dispiriting news the Stannis had revealed just minutes earlier.

“I’m sorry about Antrim. I remember that battle with him. I remember it better than I should,” Ra’lhen said, “That could’ve been the end of me. But you saved my life, despite knowing that I — or he — would hunt you. I can’t thank you enough my friend”

Ra’lhen this raised his mug. “To Antrim. Our savior and protector, in this life and the next”

OOC: @Umbraline Yumiwa

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You’re the boss of this operation."

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IC Stannis | The Mudpool Inn, a Poolᵀᴹ Resort — The Loam Lounge

"To Antrim," Stannis cheered flagons with somber enthusiasm as he wondered what life would be like if the man was still alive to govern the Massif and call the strays home; for starters, his duel with Brykon would have gone very differently—if it happened at all. But they didn't have the benefit of his presence just like they were deprived the bounty of the turaga's wisdom, all thanks to the machinations of one dark matoran, so it was up to people like Stannis and Leah and Wokodin and the akiri to be the beacons of hope for their people. It was a hefty responsibility, one that would require—

"More ale!

It would be a night of losing track of how many pitchers were consumed. 

@Emzee

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On 3/16/2022 at 11:46 AM, Geardirector said:

IC: Akiri Nuparu (Ussalry HQ)

The dispatch arrived at a moment when the Akiri's perpetually active mind was, for once, for want of something to occupy it. It didn't happen often, but if it did, it was also easy to put a stop to.

Urgent, was it? Very well, he'd come to them.

Nuparu came through the entrance to the Ussalry building flanked by a pair of guards, who promptly dispersed and left him to do the formalities on his own.

"I was told you needed to speak to me, Tarnok" he said to the Ussalmatoran, and he sounded a touch nonchalant, but his expression was awake and attentive.

"I assume we'll need some privacy? I can deal with whatever's available right here if you're in a hurry"

OOC: Sorry for the wait, @Krayzikk

IC:

"Not in a hurry, but it is something we should discuss urgently. Privacy, of course, is up to you." The Matoran paused a moment, thinking. "I don't think what we have to tell you can be kept quiet long. And it shouldn't. But you may wish to have discretion in how you break the news. Where would you prefer to speak, sir?"

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

 

 

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On 3/13/2022 at 5:36 AM, Palm said:

IC: Pae - Onu-Koro

Pae gave a side-long look towards Nika, then back to Onepu. Pae recognized him, years ago living and killing in underground fighting rings meant it was important to learn the face of the officials of the town. It was rare that Pae's thoughts would be betrayed by his expression, with his face more still than stone - even now.

He reached up wordlessly, and removed his Kakama, handing it to the Ussal chief.

OOC: @ARROW404 @Void Emissary @Snelly

On 3/13/2022 at 6:08 AM, Void Emissary said:

IC: Nika | Onu-Koro

"No mask for me, I'm afraid," Nika said, shrugging as far as his manacles would allow. "Vortixx don't believe in them."

OOC: @Palm@ARROW404@Snelly

-Void

 

IC: The Ussalry - Onu-Koro outskirts

Onepu gave an insincere smile to the Vortixx. "Weapon," he said simply, holding his hand out. He nodded to the Toa though, as he handed his mask over to the Toa of Gravity. "Your cooperation will work to your favor. If you are who you say you are, then you will be compensated appropriately for this mix-up."

On 3/15/2022 at 1:36 PM, Snelly said:

IC: Oceanna Gallywix - Onu-Koro - 

Oceanna looked confused. 

"Huh?"

Onepu looked up at the flying Toa and gestured with his head to the Toa of Gravity who, Kakama in hand, floated up toward her. "Thank you for your help in this situation. The Ussarly would be happy to repay you for your volunteer heroism."

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IC: Akiri Nuparu (Ussalry HQ)

"I see. My office, then" Nuparu answered, and he turned on his heel to walk out again of the building he had just entered.

The Akiri's office wasn't far from the main office of the Koro's guard force anyway, he just wanted to keep his options open. He took the lead in a brisk walk to his own desk, instructing the attendant outside to bring him some extra chairs. Nuparu's office was a bit less cluttered than usual, and he was quick to find himself seated behind his desk.

He had his head spinning on the way. Tarnok was a semi-familiar face, one that he knew had been with the Ussalry a long time, and had a good record. Anything urgent he had to share was definitely worth the Akiri's time.

"Take a seat, please."

OOC: @Krayzikk

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IC: Ra’lhen — Onu-Koro, Mudpool Inn... hours later

“No no no, I’m talking to absolutely no one tonight,” Ra’lhen said to this regal-looking Ga-Toa, his tongue tripping over itself in embrassing fashion.

“People are crazy out there and I’ve had enough bad experiences since Makuta’s defeat,” Ra’lhen drawled on. “‘has nothing to do with you, I’m sure you’re great.” The heavy weight of a glass mug made his right arm feel like an old Proto-Knuckle was attached to it. The thought made him briefly uncomfortable. The half full mug was eagerly raised to the Toa’s lips. Perhaps relieving the mug of its contents would make it feel less like a weapon used to bash in dissidents’ skulls.

“So yeah, don’t take it personal-”

Ra’lhen blinked a few times and realized the Ga-Toa had vanished. As if shaken from spell, Ra’lhen began to look around him.

Where’d Stannis go?

OOC: @Umbraline Yumiwa

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IC: Montague (The Unfortunate Fikou)

Montague was quite suddenly and quite uncharacteristically still, their silence hanging heavy upon the room.

"Yes… yes, I suppose that makes sense."

They scratched their chin. There was a fear in their eyes, now, restlessness replaced by reticence and anxiety, but they knew all the same that this was the time and the place.

"Your experiences were rather, ah, rather more distant than mine, in terms of time." They made to drink from their teacup, but found it empty, and sighed. "I am sure you both remember the occupation of Ko-Koro. Well, my sister and I, we were living there at the time. We witnessed many horrors, but none quite so acute or so personal as…"

Montague took a deep breath, preparing themself to dive into their memories.

"We were being evacuated. One of the fiends cut us off, and the Toa with us told us to run. The only escape was over a frozen lake, and we could not afford to tarry. Carelessness. That was what it came down to. My sister, she took a wrong step and the thin ice shattered beneath her. She called for my help – she was freezing, drowning. I had to act.

"The event had rather a profound impact on me, and I have since read a great deal on the topic. You see, you should not attempt to save someone who is drowning until they have become still; to do otherwise is to be pulled down with them in their panic, and so it was for me. My sister… she went limp, just shortly after she dragged me under the water. It was terrifying. The water had been churned so much that I no longer knew up from down, and though I managed to grab her, I knew my sister was dying in my arms. I forced myself to remain calm, to let the water grow still, and at last I saw the light coming from what must surely have been the surface. It was so much further away than I would have thought, but I knew that I had to reach it. My legs were so cold that they had turned stiff, but I forced them to kick. I kept my numb arm wrapped tight around my sister. And the light grew closer, and I realised that we would make it."

Montague stood, seemingly unable to go on any longer without satisfying their anxious tic. Their next words were spoken with their back to the others, as they poured themself a fresh cup.

"It was fate's cruel jest. You see, in all the turmoil, we had drifted away from the hole in the ice through which my sister had fallen. I pounded upon the ice until my hand bled, but it was like running through treacle, the cold and the water robbing me of any strength. It became difficult to keep my eyes open, and the corners of my vision grew dark and red. I scarcely even felt my sister slip out of my grasp as my body ceased to obey my commands. After that…"

Their tea in hand, they sat back down and drank deeply, their hands shaking. "After that, all I recall is waking, coughing up water upon the snow. The Toa had found us, pulled us from the water himself. Lying next to me was my sister, pale and still. I reached out to take hold of her hand between my shaking fingers and found it… cold. The Toa pounded desperately upon her chest, begging her to breathe. That was when the other Toa found us. She moved him aside, gently, and I saw that he was crying. The new Toa, she smiled at me, and put her hands upon my sister's chest. I could almost see the heat that radiated from her, and her mask began to glow – healing, I suppose. Anyways, it did the trick. She… she saved my sister's life. Or, rather, she revived her, pried her back from death's cold grasp.

"The two Toa helped us escape after that. And then, recently, the dreams began… swimming through cold water, trying to reach the light of a surface that only grew further away. And below me… that thing, that- that monolith…"

OOC: @Perp @Nato G

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IC: Savis – The Unfortunate Fikou

Savis felt it all as Montague described it.  

The world becoming dark.

Cruel cold crushing their lungs.

The mass of murky water roiling around them.

The surface, dim and distant, beyond any hope of reach.

The story was almost comforting in its familiarity, and the thought filled Savis with disgust and dread in equal measure. The Matoran’s story was so much like their own, so much like Gorro’s. There was some connective thread tangled in with their shared suffering… but how? Why?

“What of your sister?” They finally asked, forcing their focus back to reality, “Does she… dream as we do?”  

@Goose @Perp

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IC: Montague (The Unfortunate Fikou)

“Not… exactly.” Montague’s face was pensive, their brow furrowed; they seemed almost to be untangling their thoughts, searching for the thread that might best explain them. “She says she does not share in them, and advised against this expedition, but she has been ill at ease recently… in a manner all too familiar. Out of nowhere, she will get the strangest of expressions, as if she has witnessed something that has deeply disturbed her – but when I follow her gaze, there is nothing to be seen. At other times, she seems distant, unfocused, as if her mind were somewhere else entirely. So, you understand my suspicions.”

OOC: @Perp @Nato G

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IC: Gorro - Onu-Koro, The Unfortunate Fikou

Rocking gently back and forth with eyes fixed upon the stained tiles of the floor, young Gorro listened intently to the tale uttered by Montague. The biting cold of the black water flowing in a verbal tapestry from his host’s mouth lapped at the soles of his feet, sapping the flow of blood and numbing his extremities. He embraced himself, anchoring his elbows sharply into the ridges of his ribs and crisscrossing forearms in front of his chest, beneath his garments. Little was accomplished through this, and scarcely any comfort returned. Montague’s words grew distant across the gulf of consciousness, for Gorro continued his contemplations. His mind was on the cusp of being cleft in twain - he must either reclaim his faculties, or burst from the door of this room, never to return!

Neither of these options came to pass, a deadlock still preventing rational thought for the time being. A pang of sudden, inexplicable familiarity struck the Cy-Toa without warning, demanding his attention return to the other two beings in present company. No epiphany jumped out and strangled Gorro upon the conclusion of Montague’s tale and Savis’ subsequent query, but the niggling sensation remained in the pit of his psyche, sticking there and slowly sinking in the same manner as honey down a parched throat. Montague continued, detailing the circumstances of their sibling until an uttered word brought him to rapt attention.

“Expedition… expedition! Where do you plan to go? What do you hope to- to find? The cause?”

Simultaneous with Montague’s lungs filling in preparation of response, whiplash struck Gorro with enough force to cause him to nearly faint. Dread. 

Dread! Washing over him. Just like in his-

“...W- wait. What… what monolith…?”

OOC: @Goose @Nato G

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IC:

The Onu-Matoran nodded, pulling out a chair and settling into it.

"Major Leli I'm sure you know. This, sir, is Kellin Santos." He indicated both of his fellows in turn, posture rigid and formal. What he had to say must be said but every word came with reluctance. "Three, perhaps four, months ago the three of us were approached by a Ta-Matoran that informed us there was something we needed to do. Something on Mata Nui's behalf. Six of us in total were told to meet at the Kini Nui. From there we were brought to a place I have never seen on any map. Without guidance, I think, no one could ever find their way back there."

"We were transported to the Kentoku Archipelago, there to solve the riddle of the Vault. It protected a... Sort of portal system. A more robust version of what brought us there. But when we unlocked it on the other side, it..."

The Ussalmatoran steeled himself and looked at his Akiri frankly.

"Makuta isn't dead. And opening the Portal let him out."

@Geardirector@sunflower@Razgriz

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

 

 

  Breaking Point: An OTC Mecha RPG

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

IC: Nika | Onu-Koro

Nika raised the corners of his lips up and bared his teeth, in what someone who had never seen the real article before might have referred to as a "smile." To say that he mistrusted these cops would be an understatement -- if it weren't for Pae and for the mission at hand, most of them would be dead by now. But his partner seemed to have a plan, and that meant that he needed to play along. So, reluctantly, he handed over his rifle, and his two daggers, into the waiting hand of the closest guard.

OOC: @ARROW404@Palm@Snelly

-Void

 
 
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On 4/3/2022 at 4:42 AM, ARROW404 said:

Onepu looked up at the flying Toa and gestured with his head to the Toa of Gravity who, Kakama in hand, floated up toward her. "Thank you for your help in this situation. The Ussarly would be happy to repay you for your volunteer heroism."

IC: Oceanna Gallywix - Onu-koro -

The young guitarist wasn't one to let an opportunity like this slip by. She gave a thumbs up. 

"No problem! Repay me all you like!" 

@ARROW404@Palm@Void Emissary

Edited by Snelly

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IC: Akiri Nuparu (Nuparu's Office)

Nuparu gave a nod to the other two to acknowledge their presence, and then he turned his attention to Tarnok, watching attentively as he gave him the important news.

If there was the expectation of a shocked outburst, Nuparu didn't oblige it. Instead he averted his gaze, looking around the room, muttering under his breath.

"Three or four months ago... yes, that's about when I first felt it... I should have known..."

He seemed to return to the here and now, and addressed Tarnok.

"I understand. I suspected something was looming on the horizon, Tarnok. Everyone here has just seemed a bit on edge without explaining why, recently. I dearly hoped it wouldn't be because of this, but I suppose that was a fool's hope."

He paused again, and pulled over an iStone to look through some notes he had taken earlier that day.

"I of course understand this can't be kept secret for much longer. I agree, I'll figure out how to tell the citizenry. Do the other Akiri know about this?"

OOC: @Krayzikk @Razgriz @sunflower

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IC:

"Akiri Hahli undoubtedly does already. She probably has informed Akiris Jaller and Kongu." The Onu-Matoran shrugged slightly, frowning. "The Dasaka may not know in as many words what has happened, but anyone they talk to will likely understand very quickly. I would expect most of Ga-Koro to know before the day is out, and it will spread from there."

He paused.

"Once I've answered your questions, sir, I'll report to Commander Onepu for any discipline he- and you- feel proper for my negligence and absence."

@Geardirector@sunflower@Razgriz

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

 

 

  Breaking Point: An OTC Mecha RPG

 

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IC: Leli

For the majority of the conversation Leli felt fit to stay silent, she had her input on the whole crazy situation, of course, though she felt it appropriate that Tarnok deliver his report uninterrupted. The three of them were all there, and he was better equipped than her to present the events in a... unflavored manner.

But at his last remark she bristled, and her mind raced.

"Not going to happen," Leli interjected, with a bit more fire than she meant for it to have. She turned to Nuparu and gave an apologetic motion, "Sorry, Akiri. Ussalmatoran Tarnok was under my command, any dereliction of duty was under my purview; not his."

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IC: Montague (The Unfortunate Fikou)

Montague's eyes flickered back to life, so suddenly as to be uncanny and more than a little disquieting, as if the grim sobriety with which they had just spoken was always lurking beneath they enthusiasm. Their manic energy was what forced the dark thoughts down under the water, holding them there and laughing as the trauma tried to surface, gleeful as it drowned. All at once, in the slightest shift of perspective, the Matoran's bubbly demeanour had revealed itself to be something altogether more troubling.

"The cause? No, my dear Gorro, no, not the cause. The source." Montague was on their feet now, flicking wildly through their journal, until at last- "Aha!"

The thump with which it landed on the room's small coffee table was more than enough to make the more skittish of their company jump. Stuck across two pages and now unfolded was a map of Mata Nui, covered in sprawling, hand-written notes. Along the coast of the island was a constant series of circles and question marks, all crossed out so violently that some tore at the page. All but one.

"Right there," Montague announced, positively beaming with pride. They had set their finger down upon the map, indicating a circled spot just off the coast of Onu-Wahi. Above it, in shaking, chicken-scratch penmanship, Montague had scrawled: H̴̺̫͎̦̱̲̿̓̔̃̍͒͊́̊̆̿͘͝ͅE̶̢̳̺͋̽̀͐̀̒̚R̶̪͗̌͌̾̓͜͝E̵͕͊̃̓́͛̿̈́̎. "This- this shared experience, it may be an affliction, but it is not a sickness. It's a message. It's… it's an invitation. If we are to have any hope of being free, we must follow its directions. We must return b̵̡̖̻͑͛e̷̖͝l̵͕̮͕̓̑̾ọ̷̡̬̃ŵ̶̧͛̚."

OOC: @Perp @Nato G

Edited by Goose
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IC: Savis - The Unfortunate Fikou

"An invitation..." they repeated numbly, following the trail of scribbled circles and quivering questions marks around the map until they reached the spot Montague had indicated. How long had the Matoran been searching? Was this diligence research or demented obsession? 

"How can you be certain this is the right place?" Was the only question they dared voice, though it was asked more out of curiosity than doubt. 

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IC: Montague (The Unfortunate Fikou)

"At first, I worked by simple process of elimination. I made meticulous notes in my dream journal, recording every element that did not match my own experience; first, the expanse of water, too wide to be anything but the ocean. The Monolith, too; I found no record of anything like it on the sea floor, which meant that anywhere well-documented could be eliminated. The real breakthrough came when I noticed the reef." Montague's voice took on a surprisingly matter-of-fact, even scholarly tone as they explained their methodology. "From there, it was further examination of written accounts of divers, and then interviews. It was those that made me certain; not only was this the last site that no one had witnessed, but those who had drawn near to it spoke of a feeling of dread and apprehension that grew in intensity near it. Some even said that in the days after swimming too close, they suffered bad dreams…"

OOC:

@Nato G @Perp

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 4/19/2022 at 4:03 AM, Snelly said:

IC: Oceanna Gallywix - Onu-koro -

The young guitarist wasn't one to let an opportunity like this slip by. She gave a thumbs up. 

"No problem! Repay me all you like!" 

@ARROW404@Palm@Void Emissary

IC: Ussalry bunch

The Toa of Gravity smirked at her enthusiastic reply. In spite of her heroism, it seemed she wasn't the noble paragon type. "Give us a day to handle processing these... people, then swing by the Ussalry Headquarters, and we can figure out a payment for you. Oh, we'll need a name, of course."

Onepu nodded as things proceeded, and gestured for the Ussalry crowd to disperse, save for the Toa, five ussalmatoran on crabs, plus three who watched from a distance. The weapons and mask were taken by another ussal rider, who went ahead, the prisoners and their keepers beginning the trek to the HQ at a slower pace, Onepu leading the train.

Aar sighed as the Howler sparked and lurched lower as the section of wall it had fallen onto crumbled further. It would take days to repair it. He'd probably get them off as he waited, which was... alright. He really liked that suit though. And the mechanics weren't going to be happy at how trashed it had gotten. Could be worse- and they would eventually realize he hadn't acted recklessly so none of it was his fault. But it wouldn't be pleasant. He sat on the edge of the roof and waited for whoever was supposed to come to tow it to the workshop.

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IC: Gorro - Onu-Koro, The Unfortunate Fikou

Deathly still, remained the youthful Toa of Crystal, his face a pallid bust of contorted lines arranged into a visage of pure terror. Truly the trembling affliction which had so plagued him previously was progressed to such a gross degree that it was replaced entirely with the morbid placidity of a corpse. His wide-eyed glare bore into the stone flooring and watched the mild patterns shift and twist in the motion of waves stretched across the surface of seas. When he finally found his voice, it was but a whisper:

“I have seen it...” The other two beings swiveled their heads to look upon Gorro, though he did not meet their gaze. “I h-have seen that… monolith… in my dreams. Dark and towering and awesome and terrible! I could- I could not look at it for long before it started to- to speak to me… to whisper in my mind…”

Clapping his hands up to his temples, the iridescence of his slender digits paled as if they were mere bones, he snapped his eyes shut. The world was beset by darkness, though the watery patterns remained visible on the back of his eyelids. His hands squeezed vice-like upon his head, as if to dispel the entoptic illusions by pressure alone.

“Must we t-travel there…?” he murmured.

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