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IC: Vazaria – Hanaloi Forest

“I am Askha, Toroshu of Clan Mashtet. You betray the Empire, trespass on our island, and defile our dead. I name you as you are: honorless traitor.”

It took no small amount of effort for Vazaria not to roll her eyes at her opponent’s preaching. The words, the demeanour, the entitled belittlement… she’d heard it all before.  

It had stopped hurting her a long time ago.

“I'll let you guess the sentence.”

Woman and weaponry alike flashed towards Vazaria, but she didn’t stick around to let the strikes land. Her Kadin sent her flying diagonally backwards and upwards, to avoid both the trees behind her and the attacker before her. 

Life had taught Vazaria her limitations, time and time again. She knew that a straight fight against an opponent with this many weapons to swing around wasn't in her favour. But Askha was angry, and burning elemental energy every second she spent levitating her weapons and flinging herself around. Vazaria had no such limitations in using her Kanohi. She could afford to be patient, to let her opponent wear herself out. No one was coming to help either of them. 

“You people still don’t get it, do you?” Vazaria sneered, as she flitted to the side then flew back down to earth a short distance away. She wavered slightly as she landed, feeling a twinge of pain in her lower leg as she put weight on it; one of the swinging blades had clipped her during her escape. “Honour and clans and titles… none of it matters. We bleed the same. Who you were born to doesn’t make you better than me.”

@Keeper of Kraata

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BZPRPG Mercenary Organisation - Description - History - Base

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

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OOC: Absolutely massive thank you to @Krayzikk for this jam, I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did.

IC: Caana (Hanaloi, Forest)

Caana felt the Rahkshi’s touch in her mind, wasting precious time that would be better spent on action.

Your Mistress did not tell you? Fine.

I will show you.

* * * * *

"I DEMAND AN AUDIENCE."

The Ronin was already covered from head to toe in gore, literally standing atop the demons she had already slain. As another screamed, she loosed her arrow with pinpoint precision; the charred husk was dead before it hit the ground.

"Call off your dogs, already. Let's talk."

“... a fine thing for a dog to say,” whispered the wind. There was no other way to perceive it, to pin down from where the words were uttered. They simply began, fully if softly formed, in the Menti’s ears. They came not from one direction but seemingly from every direction, all else incomprehensibly still. The dead upon the ground stared sightlessly, accusingly, at their killer; Zataka’s true Sons, or so some of the Menti had come to know them. “A rabid dog, without manners or courtesy.”

“But you speak. And though it is within my power to silence you, I am… Entertained. Had the dog an audience, what would it say?”

"I would say that I have come here as an ally." Caana's tone was even and carefully measured, even as her eyes scoured her surroundings for the source of the sourceless. "Not a dog, but a warrior. Your Sons are impressive – they have already accomplished much, and changed the face of the Archipelago. But a well-trained dog is still a dog, and it can only follow. Your war needs leaders."

“Better to join the winning side?” The wind said, perhaps scornfully, after considering the words. “I have Seen through their eyes, Menti. Daughter of a clan now gone. I have watched merchants barter for their lives when begging fails. I have witnessed the passing of warriors braver than they, drowned in a tide of the creatures I possess. The war has a leader. I am winning.”

“What then do you bring? What boon, what prize, to make you worth keeping?”

Caana smiled and shook her head, perhaps quite genuinely amused.

"If you have Seen through me, then you know already that I am not interested in your cause because you are winning. Neither am I here to bargain for my life. I told you already, I am impressed; you took a static, stagnating society, and you changed it by force." Her smile fell, then, her expression now stoney and resolute. "The boon I offer is my loyalty. Loyalty born not from fear or from control, but from passion, from dedication to a cause. Your cause."

"I am worth keeping not only because I am not worth discarding, because there is no reason to throw away a tool that could be of use, but more importantly because of my mind. The Dasaka are learning to fight back, now; your focus will be divided, the effectiveness of brute force and the advantage of numbers reduced. You need people capable of decision-making, who can adapt – people who do not need you to order their every move. You need me because I have the ability to think for myself, and because my belief in your cause means that I will not use that ability to betray your interests."

“Perhaps.” Gone was the metered sting, the carefully chosen scorn, that had been meant to provoke the Dasaka as surely as Caana’s very approach had provoked the voice. It had served its purpose. She had been pushed and held. She did not retreat, bargain, or plead; only stated what she had come to say, and refused to be moved. A soft, reverberating susurration echoed on the air. Laughter.

“Courage you have. Skill, as well. It would take greater work to kill you than to use you. Since you have my attention… What is it you seek in return for your loyalty?”

The ghost of a smile was on Caana's lips again, the Ronin pleased with how the conversation had evolved.

"I have no interest in power, nor in favours; only in seeing to it that your work is done. All I ask of you is a direction to walk and a goal to accomplish, until the next."

“Very well, clanless. A path you shall have. A goal at its end. Come through it intact and victorious, and you will have your place in my service. The first, and favored, of my servants here in the Archipelago.” The Rahkshi that had been gathered, waiting patiently at the periphery, parted and moved away. “Perform well enough and I may yet send you on to do my work on foreign shores where your kind have fled.”

“Go  to the island of Hanaloi, and discern what is happening there. My Sons may See but their understanding is… Limited. Go and find those who hide there, and what gives my Sons such trouble. See that I am not troubled by that island again.”

Caana inclined her head. "It will be done, my Lady."

* * * * *

Caana searched Falki’s mad dash for signs of a feint, and found none. She had angered the Dashi, no doubt by maiming her companion, and now the girl had chosen to ignore Hambra’s orders and try instead to cripple her.

It would have been an excellent strategy, had Caana still been contending with Hambra, Semraed and the Kualsi-wearer, her attention split and the Dashi’s approach covered.

Alone, as Falki’s comrades retreated to the branches above, it was suicide.

There was a genuine sadness in Caana’s eyes as she leapt up, using the Dashi’s momentum to place herself behind her and her own gravity to stab down with her staff. She had liked the girl.

It was a shame that she would die here.

OOC: @Mel @Keeper of Kraata

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[BZPRPG PROFILES]

Nikarra - Kaelynn - Ronan - Muir - Donal Aerus - Montague - Kira - KouraLearu - Alteora - Fuacht - Caana Nessen - Merrill

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On 6/19/2022 at 6:31 PM, Keeper of Kraata said:

IC: Ahri - Abandoned Village, Oki

 "Greetings, Ilkyazu. I am Mashtet Ahri, and I am in the company of-"

"This is Koizumi Yuna and Raika. We are helping a nearby group of refugees, and would appreciate your assistance as well."

.:I ask you stick to speech when talking to us; Yuna is... special. She cannot perceive Idealtalk unless Willhammer is used:.

23 hours ago, Lady Takanuva said:

IC: Raika, Oki village (not so abandoned)

 

.:I am Raika. A wanderer, though that's probably not as uncommon these recent days.:.

21 hours ago, The UltimoScorp said:

IC Yuna Koizumi - Not so abandoned Oki Village:

"Did you see what happened here?"

IC: Yoka - Oki, Abandoned village

Yoka's eyes passed from one member of the trio to the other as they were introduced, and made quick mental notes of which was which. She had no precise intentions, but the odds were, they could help one another.

The male- Ahri's- use of Vulgar Taa gave her pause. She had to repeat what he said to herself after he said it before she registered the words themselves. How long had it been since she had heard her language? It was a slightly different dialect, subtly different vowel sounds, but recognizable, and more than a little nostalgic. She wasn't sure how to react to that, and she couldn't communicate with Ikyazu without potentially giving herself away.

The one called Raika spoke next, breaking Yoka from her train of thought. She nodded in response. Another wanderer. Then the last one asked the question Yoka herself had been wondering.

She shook her head. "No, I arrived here last night and took shelter." She glanced about the empty settlement behind her, then back, eyes resting on Ahri once more, the gears turning in her head. His garb was in even worse shape than hers, no clan alignment discernible. Was he Taajar, then, to speak their language? He lacked the accent, though. Should she ask? She needed more time to think, before the silence could grow awkward.

Ikyazu folded her arms pensively. In her ghostly state, she had been unable to follow the Ideatalk portion of the brief exchange.「Ask them about the refugees,」she suggested.

"You mentioned refugees?"

OoC: I just realized I confused myself. Ikyazu was actually the one who was supposed to be in control. It's too late to change now though, so I'll roll with it.

 

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If I go AWOL for a while, feel free to contact me via Discord

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On 6/18/2022 at 4:22 AM, Ghosthands said:

IC (Ageru Kilanya) [Fort Kizuno, Odaiba]

"Good," Kilanya replied, nodding once. She shifted her posture a little, allowing her body's weight to settle as she prepared to turn her focus to the mental plane. "I am not only a Soulsword: I am a Willhammer also. With your cooperation, I can use that power to bridge our minds. Then, we may each perform our summoning, and the other will experience the process through the link. I will be able to see the flaws in your technique more directly, and you will be able to understand the principles of mine more clearly."

She paused.

"I don't offer this lightly. To enter another's mind is the most intimate of intrusions. Your thoughts, your feelings...you may reveal more to me than you mean to. But in this new and dangerous world of ours, you need to find your strength, and this will grant us both insights that I believe will be invaluable to your training.

"So. Are you willing to begin?"



OOC: @Razgriz

IC: Ageru Shiki (Dastana Republic Odaiba Encampment - Fort Kizuno)

I can hear the severity in her tone, and despite the sorry state of my training, I'm more than aware of how well-founded it is. I've only ever heard of the Eiyu clan, who are generations-old specialists in Ideatalk, sharing a mental state like this— to forcibly link a consciousness by utilizing the Willhammer is a tall order, if she intends to leave me with any agency. I know that my mental defenses would be strained at best right now if I were to resist.

So.

"Yes, Toroshu-dono." I bow my head deeply and close my eyes.

I won't.

I understand that even in accepting such a grasp upon my Mind willingly comes with inherent risk. I could easily begin to lose my sense of autonomy if she overreaches even slightly, and with her Mind taking Root within mine... she's correct.

I could well share more than I mean to, simply thanks to her access to the unfiltered flow of Thought. There is great import in the naming sense of our disciplines, after all— "Willhammer" hammers the will, not the declarations that ring within our heads. Emotion, intent, memory, association, action— all are brought to heel by the art, and all are known to the practitioner the very moment they're known to me.

What's more, the participant's capability needs careful monitoring, too. If something goes awry, I could be pushed too hard for my own training, or even my own wellspring of energy. If in her demonstration, the Action were to accidentally leak into me, as though orders sent to the wrong ship in the Navy, I would begin helplessly watching my body try to forge an alien blade— something so wholely unfamiliar to my Soul that Rejection would swiftly recoil into me, as though I failed the dangerous internal steps.

Altogether, I have to acknowledge those risks, just as she has.

"If I can feel the difference, I'm sure I can start on the right path. I want to be able to pull my weight."

Like Mom did.

If this is my way forward that I've been incapable of finding this whole time, I accept them.

I won't lie.

I, like anyone, have my misgivings about baring my being like this, when there's the possibility of correcting the issue without such an intrusion onto my fragile, faltering Self. Even when you invite it, the entry is forceful. You wouldn't want anyone, even your best friend, kicking down your door. 

But as she said— we don't have such a possibility. For Ageru Shiki to continue as she has been now, I would never be up to speed in time to protect the people I care about. This is the only option that gives me the chance to fight. If there's even a hope for a miracle, I have to seize it. I might not be safe for the duration— but if I were to flounder endlessly, I wouldn't keep anyone safe for as long as I live.

One in a thousand, or one and never.

That's all there is to it— so it's fine.

A breath escapes my lungs as I sit in seiza, helping the bundle of tensed muscle that is my shoulders slack and rest.

"I'm ready when you are."

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IC: Suzume - Sado Streets 

Beneath her robe, invisible to the others around her, she was clutching her shinobue.

What was plainly visible, outside her robe, was her face - specifically the expression plastered on it, which was still a far cry from ‘reassured’.

The one heading up the patrol - Toroshu Morie - shifted her attention from Suzume ever so slightly, though clear enough to the alert youth that she noticed. In response, the physical demeanor of the Menti under her command shifted a likewise subtle degree. Their changed posture, positioning and movement sparked a battle in her mind - the battle cry of one side bleating ‘Danger, retreat!’ and the other ‘Safety, surrender!’

She ignored both in equal measure, and gripped her instrument tighter.

“What about my mom?”

OOC: @Mel

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OOC: Recommended listening.


IC (Ageru Kilanya) [Fort Kizuno, Odaiba]

"Very well," Kilanya intoned. "I shall begin."

She closed her eye, breathed deeply, and reached out through the mental plane towards the mind in front of her. She extended her Will with well-practiced intent; a discipline that could harm or heal the mind it touched, according to the wielder's desire. Kilanya had done both in her time.

Shiki began to feel the Toroshu's 'tell', the idiosyncratic manifestation of her Will, questing at the borders of her mind. It was the image and sensation of a great tree, strong of trunk and graceful of bough, its many roots slowly probing into the soil of her mind: not violent, but inexorable nonetheless, with the slow strength that makes paths through earth and stone and tears walls asunder, given time.

The roots found their purchase, and stopped. The pressure on the barriers between her and the rest of the mental plane relaxed, replaced by a sudden calm clarity: a presence, a mental space placed beside her own, as if a shoji had been drawn aside between two adjacent rooms so that one might look through from one into the other.

:There.:

The voice in her head was not Ideatalk, not an echoing signal to be plucked from the mental plane. It was immediate, directly in her mind, gentle yet sonorous with power.

:We are linked. I hope you do not find the experience disorienting.:

Though Kilanya's single eye was closed, Shiki felt that the Toroshu's gaze was on her nonetheless — perhaps in a truer way than mere eyes were capable of. Through the doorway in her mind she felt something emanate forth: a readiness to begin, a determination to ensure progress was made...and then an expectation. A question. Was the student able to sense what she needed to?


OOC: @Razgriz

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IC: Hanaloi

The blue-silver Rahkshi began to focus its power upon Fanai to crush her, but shrieked as Murasaki's soulsword bit into its shoulder. One of its arms fell to the ground, limp and useless. With its remaining arm, it pulsed power through its staff, repulsing Murasaki and lifting itself into the air with one movement; in seconds, it was flying back to the fortress, disappearing into the treeline. Although the Rahkshi was gone, the threat wasn't; Murasaki scarcely had a moment to savor her victory before the demon was replaced with several infected kavinika, circling her in a hungry pack.

Snarling, the aqua rahkshi was not fazed by the soulwhip; its greatest danger was to its allies, not itself. It was, however, pushed back by Mari's staff as the blade sunk in; however, instead of recoiling, it only grasped the staff, preventing the Dastana from pulling it back. The reasoning came quickly enough: the kavinika were upon them, and several snapped at the Menti while her hands were on her stuck weapon. Several howled at Rina, still ruled by some semblance of instinct beneath the madness. Meanwhile, Lana had already scaled the tree she had nearly shattered her back against, hazing her image as she scanned the battlefield with her Akaku. .:Watch yourselves, those slugs are all around us. Our scouts are on their way to assist.:.

Vazaria's pet kraata retreated back into the cover of the infected Dasaka's armor when Askha telekinetically stabbed at it with her knife; Vazaria's flight kept her away from the main blow, but every dodge was a moment that Vazaria or her pet weren't attacking. "You think I don't know you? I know who you are because I was you. I've seen the gutters of this rotten Empire, and I've begged, I've killed, and I've suffered!" The Mashtet released her rahkshi stave to grip a more familiar weapon, her saber.

"My mother taught me that power is only something you have if you can fight to keep it. The years as a sellsword taught me that you find who's there for you, and you keep them close, because nobody else is going to be there for you. But your master? Zataka taught me that even when everyone else is brought down to our level, we still have each other." She had the staff feint a long thrust, then moved forward under cover from her falcata's heavy blade, bringing the tip of her sword down in at a deadly velocity at the hand holding Vazaria's own sword.

Despite the lack of reaction from the mind-reading Rahkshi, it seemed satisfied. It extended its mind reading, taking in the presence of the Dasaka in the vicinity. It moved in, watching the pattern that Riko laid out when she used her Kualsi. It twitched and raised its staff; a heartbeat later, the Kaazi's blow was blocked. The scarred rahkshi didn't move in for a followup, only continuing to watch, content to occupy the younger Zrupgar.

Exhaling, Hambra's Pakari glowed as she sprang towards the melee, her arm outstretched. No illusion, no staff, no extraneous matter to get between her and clotheslining Caana.

Somei had to drop the illusion around Murasaki, but it wasn't enough. She had never been a Menti. The last piece she had worked on was restoring a courtyard statue of a smaller clan on Oki; she had demanded solitude, and had applied the varnish and sandpaper with only the gentle noise of cicadas and songbirds. It was louder than it had been on Hanaloi, even with her small workshop. Now, there were no cicadas or songbirds, only shouts, shrieks, and snarls. Her illusion must have wavered for an instant with her memories; the kavinika pounced. The Datsue shouted in fear, but the rahi did not tear into her. Instead, they pinned her down as their passengers slithered down, seeking Somei's face. She shrieked as Darkness came over her mind, worse and more total than even the most forceful Willhammer; endless night.

OOC: @Mel @Nato G @Goose

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The times, they are a-changing...

 

 

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IC: Vazaria – Hanaloi Forest

“Life taught us very different lessons, then,” Vazaria sneered, raising her sword to parry the incoming Rahkshi stave, only for the thrust to resolve into a feint, leaving her arm outstretched and exposed. In the time it took for Vazaria to realise her mistake, Askha was already taking full advantage of it, moving forward, her sword scything towards the hand holding Vazaria’s own blade.

In the split-second she had left to react, Vazaria did the only thing she could do.

She activated her Kanohi once more, but instead of trying to fly away from Askha, this time she hurled herself directly at her, the falcata and sabre scraping savagely across her torso and sword arm as she slammed into them. Her intent was simple: to get past Askha’s weapons and seize her in a tackle, hopefully breaking her attacker's concentration… and getting the kraata on her shoulder as close to the other woman’s Kanohi as possible. 

She didn't much care if the creature chose to infect the mask or melt a hole in it. 

@Keeper of Kraata

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BZPRPG Mercenary Organisation - Description - History - Base

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

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IC: Sydelia - Sado, Gardens

The menti narrowed her eyes, but disguised it with a smile. "Atramentous," she said, rolling the name around and savoring it. She could tell that his words were measured, possibly in respect to the others around her. Very well, she could have words in private with him.

Sydelia focused her Sighteye on the ronin, her illusory self making a show of examining him. She was not a subtle illusionist, and the illusion bled colors around it like a watercolor painting. "I get the sense you have something else to say. If you'd like to meet in private, I can call in someone to cover me and we can meet in the city."

OOC: @Umbraline Yumiwa

The times, they are a-changing...

 

 

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IC: Ageru Shiki (Fort Kizuno『Shiki, Daughter of Sasaki』)

I see her eye close as she begins to reach out to me, and in turn I close mine. With the process beginning, there's no sense focusing on the world outside ourselves— distractions would take away the time we already don't have. Already, I feel the first probing tendrils of her Mind finding a path into Mine through my natural barriers, the sense of raw self that exists beneath even active shielding. Slowly, carefully, the sensation of Other advances through my tiny shell of Me, towards my mind. 

It's a little hard to put into words. 

My breath barely defeats the urge to hitch, only because of my self-control. Or maybe only because Kilanya-Toroshu Renshi Shishou Sensei is doing so less forcefully than she could, had she no care for my well-being. I suppose it’s egotistical of me to talk myself up in the face of this inexorable force upon my mind—

"Ngh."

I feel the probing stop, settling into me. Somewhere, a door opens. I look inward, rushing to greet my guest. Or perhaps I’m beckoned. I don’t know. I just know the urge moves me to my inner self.

:There.:

I fall upon the scene that fills me, deeper than sight, sound, and scent. It's not a memory. It's something etched into my Mind on a level deeper. This is where I am. The house of the soul is deeper still, but this is the world I call mine, rather than a snapshot of the world I live in.

This is my inner world, presented before me once again. The lake of light that is my Soul, my inner Power, has settled into placid waters now, some fifty bio away from me. The surface, if anything, is more a boundary to the paths I take reaching it— like a well carved into my mind, reaching down into the energy of my soul. Already, I can see faint glimmers of the energy I had formed into a blade brightening the surface from a still navy to a gently rolling azure. The grass surrounding the waterfront is charred. That fire has burned me. It's burning me now. It burned so many that I can never forget, no matter how hard I try—

But trying is sacrilege upon the holy gift I was given by the Sisters, and by the will of those who were sacrificed when I was spared.

I have more to focus on, though. This landscape, and the rolling plains it's nestled between, are nothing new. I've always smelled the ash, and tasted the grasses upon the wind, green, brown, or black. My Toroshu is making contact now, her roots settling and passively drinking what she cannot Watch from even this state. My feelings carried in my body shake through the earth, unchecked thoughts on the wind and water. Our consciousness, that which Dictates and Thinks and Considers, is only so much of even the minds of the Dasakan people, so in tune with the planes of mental space and energy.

I have to look at it. I cannot avoid that. For them, I can't. For Mom, I can't.

What is there always has been, and always shall be. I cannot ignore it— just as I cannot ignore Her, newly set within. I just hope there is nothing she discovers that preturbs her, as I turn my inner gaze upon my most honored guest.

I feel my searing eyes tear themselves away.

An old, winding Willow Tree in the Lakefront plains, swaying gently in the wind that carries her voice of Thought all through me. This is… an alien sensation. As though I’m feeling the crashing wave of thunder through my boots and into my chest, rather than a distant storm’s rumble. It’s wholly divorced from Ideatalk. That is people showing their hands to the table— this is grabbing and shaking mine. wholly different, and very surprising.

:We are linked.:

The wind rolls, the branches creak, and the roots… I feel beneath me, yet Within Me. It is a careful, gentle, and clearly restrained Voice of Dominion, but even that rocks me to my core. I shudder, my mind shaking off the tingle of foreign presence within the paths that it she has carefully dug. 

:I hope you do not find the experience disorienting.:

The sway of the curtains of leaves... feels apologetic, despite being composed and serious. Behind me, the lakebed stirs, then stills. I offer a wan smile— her hopes have gone less than answered, but I'll start adjusting to it soon. I'm already getting used to feeling the tethers, so I suppose it's of little worry, ma'am. Small price to pay for how worryingly easy that was for you—even though I'm not necessarily resisting, didn't it take all you had just to not punch straight through me?

No.

I snap myself of that train of thought, even as the feeling inevitably rumbles through the earth and ripples through the waterfront behind me. I walk forward, or maybe I float through the tailwind, or maybe slide along the grasses, or maybe I don't know at all, but regardless— I bring my mind close to the splinter of hers that she has, feeling an eager buzz among the leaves and a certain resolve in the steady push of the wind upon me. Making this form of contact, I remember, is only the first step— establishing the link that lets us get anywhere at all.

A leaf breaks away from its branch and lightly settles onto my brow, brushed there by the wind. With it, a questioning sensation, not quite worried, but needing to be sure. Needing to hear, feel, Know my confirmation. "I'm getting through, aren't I?" would be the words, "If you can't hear or feel this, then we're going nowhere." the unspoken chance she is pretty confident she's avoided.

I smile, appreciating all this, and make my las few steps forward, placing my hand on the knurled, winding bark. It quietly hums with the mental energy she is holding away, the sense of "another" that I feel on my mind— Just as the soil, grasses, and lake are Ageru Shiki, the mighty old Willow and all its winding branches are Ageru Kilanya. For a moment, I remember another with this sort of gentle strength— And for a moment, all I can see is Sasaki.

It passes, and I return. I don't even know if I truly went anywhere.

Memories are fickle in this place. Can't let them get in the way.

"I hear you."

:I'll manage.:

Edited by Razgriz
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[Hanaloi, Observatory Entrance(Fanai)]
The gravity-wielding rakshi temporary dealt with, Fanai shifted her Perception to a wilder field, pinpointing the poison consciousnesses of the kraata in the trees.  She brushed against the influence of the mind-reading creature, but retreated for now.

Her own ability to remain concealed on the mental plane seemed to be working in her favor—the kavanika seemed totally focused on Murasaki, allowing her to fell one with a well-placed jab of her staff into its neck.

[Murasaki]
Murasaki saw the opening that Fanai had created and went for it.  Calling upon the power of her mask, she leapt into the air, springing off the dead Kavanika’s head and landing shoulder to shoulder with Fanai.

The two Plangori warriors stood back to back, weapons up as they moved toward their allies.  Surrounded as they were, Murasaki’s machete wouldn’t be effective for much more than killing kraata, and the kavanika were now very aware of Fanai.

 

[Mari]
Mari had trained her body hard, learning the physical fitness that supported the power of her discipline, but she had never relied on just her hands.  She let go of the staff as soon as she felt it being pulled out of them.  Calling upon her mindarm, she added her will to the momentum driving the creature backward in one sharp push.   The staff, already stuck in rakshi, drove it back and threw it off balance.

As the rakshi recovered, it bought Mari a precious second to deal with the kavinika.   Using the full power of her mindarm, she threw the darts out in a spray.   Two of the bou shuriken found their mark in the eyes of the hounds, while others struck less vital but equally painful places.  A normal rahi would have been sent yelping away, but these hounds were driven something else.

Mari didn’t wait to ponder the effectiveness of her method.  Her second staff was already in her hands, positioned so one end pointed to the rakshi and the other to the group of kavika. She backed away towards her clanswoman, eyes darting between the enemies on either side of her
.

 

[Rina]
Rina’s soulwhip had its disadvantages when facing a single, powerful opponent.   For one, she had to hold back, for fear of the flexible, wide arcing weapon injuring one of her allies.

She had no such disadvantages when faced with a horde of ravening beasts.

With a thought, the end of her whip became razor sharp, cutting through the air.  The kraata riding one of the infected creatures died before it had even time to comprehend it, cut in half as the entire upper jaw of its steed slid off with it.  Another snap and one of the kavanika fell forward, its left front leg severed.

The invisible figure cut a whirlwind of light and gore as she moved to protect Mari.

Bad doggy.”

 

OCC:  @Keeper of Kraata oops, got a little too enthusiastic there.  I've edited the post, and ran it through the mods first to ensure it's up to snuff re-how mindarm matches up to the physical capabilities of the rahkshi

@Goose I’m going to be working on a post for Falki and Semeraed, but it needs GM approval for some things I will be describing.   Thank you for your patience as always. (Also--hello @Nato G! I feel we might be better acquainted soon.)

Edited by Mel
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There's a dozen selves inside you, trying to be the one to run the dials

[BZPRPG Profiles]

Hatchi - Talli - Ranok - Lucira - FerellisMorie - Fanai - Akiyo - Yukie - Shuuan - Ilykaed - Pradhai - Ipsudir

And some aren't even on your side.

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IC: Mitsuri (Shinku) - Oki Village

There's a flicker in the sky, a spark being thrown, then a blaze, accompanied by a piercing cry as a maroon bird plummets toward the group. Before they ready to defend, the Sakl spreads its magnificent wings and golden plumage, slowing its flight far above before wheeling in for a landing a stone's throw away. The bird regards the four, tentatively hopping closer; one claw gripping the remains of some poor rodent.

A strange arrival, and stranger still behavior. And then, seemingly from the bird, a single word is projected to the mental plane.

.:Help...:.

OOC: Did someone call for a Vilda? @Lady Takanuva @Keeper of Kraata @ARROW404 @The UltimoScorp

Edited by Click
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[Hanaloi, Forest (Semraed and Falki)]

There is a misconception many new fighters have about rage.   The idea is that if you make someone angry, they will be stupid, take risks, make mistakes.   This is only half true.   Rage dulls the higher reasonings, leads to split-second decisions that have no regard for the future.  In a fight of life or death, however, these are the only decisions that matter.

Thus was Falki’s mind clouded by rage.   She did not consider the closing kavanika, the window of escape that was rapidly disappearing.  All she was focused on was fighting Caana, and yet her rage did not make her any worse at this.  Caana was fighting opponent smaller than her, already inside her range.  In any other situation, a polarm would have been a superior weapon, but in this one it was not.  Whatever the speed of thought, jumping was always a risk.  Gravity kept her own time, and in order to get enough height to go over Falki’s head, Caana telegraphed her jump far in advance.

Falki did not look up—that would be asking for a staff through the forehead.   She waited to move until the very last second, stepping a fraction to the left, just as Caana’s staff came down, the wind of it caressing her shoulder as all the momentum of Caana’s strike embedded the blade in the ground.

Falki had already stepped back, as her right blade whirled around to bite into the armor just below Caana’s knee.  It chipped as it collided with the scale mail, but the broken edge still carried enough force to cause a bruise that would bother Caana for weeks.  Then one of the kavanika leaped forward, its open maw straight at her, and Falki had to step forward to meet it, her blade loosing purchase before she could attempt to strike again.  She drove the blade in her opposite hand up into its jaws, straight through the roof of its mouth and into its brain.

But Falki’s rage had already led her astray, not to death at Caana’s blade, but to the kraata that leaped from the dead rahi onto her mask.   She tried to slash at it, across her own face, but its body shifted and flattened.   The blade met empty air, and then fell to her side as the hand holding it went limp.

The cold darkness that drove into Falki felt none of the surety of belief that had been present in Vazaria.   Nor was there any purchase in her rage—it was too unselfish, too wrapped up in her love.   There was something beneath it though, a festering desire that it lighted upon: the sadness in Caana’s eyes, the laughter in Imperial mentis’.   No matter how much her clan gave her, she would never be respected.   She would always be seen as a mere girl, a saihoko playing at a menti’s job.

They will respect you, said the cold infinity.   And then they will die.

Falki had never heard the stories that Hatchi had, never been warned of the poison that lurked at the top of Mount Koshiki and in the depths of all living hearts.  She felt only the cold certainty of power, power that had been hidden from her.

No longer.

Semeraed’s shot went into the already dead Kavinika as the kraata twisted impossibly out of the way.   She had another arrow knocked, but she couldn’t shoot the creature without hitting Falki.

She tilted her head from side to side, trying to judge distance with her one good eye (her one good eye skies and seas she was never going to see with two eyes again) ready to shoot just as soon as it detached.

But when she saw Falki’s face again, a cold dread stilled her hand.

Falki’s eyes had always been a warm orange, the color of glowing coals around a beach firepit, but now they were blood red, hard as a ruby blade, and with a cold and unholy darkness behind them.  In the fleeing moonlight her noble miru appeared to be streaked with strangely symmetrical lines of rust, like warpaint or dried tears.

Falki looked up at Hambra and sneered.   The kavanika flowed around her.   She was part of their pack now.

So eager to die for Imperials.  Let me help.”


OOC: @Goose @Keeper of Kraata Well, quite a situation we have here.  Now if you'll excuse me, I have a profile to write--after all, Makuta deserves his murder-hobbits too. : )

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There's a dozen selves inside you, trying to be the one to run the dials

[BZPRPG Profiles]

Hatchi - Talli - Ranok - Lucira - FerellisMorie - Fanai - Akiyo - Yukie - Shuuan - Ilykaed - Pradhai - Ipsudir

And some aren't even on your side.

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IC: Caana (Hanaloi, Forest)

The Ronin felt a fleeting instinct to protect the young Dashi as the Kavinika leapt at her, but it gave way to curiosity as she saw the effects of the infection take hold.

Not quite as stupid as you look, then; she thought, glancing at the Rahkshi which was now fighting the Kualsi-wearer, before finally setting her sights on Hambra.

Her mask afforded her a moment to evaluate the damage of Falki’s attack – her armour had protected her from the blade, but she still felt the sting of the strike. For now, she was unharried by it; the real pain wouldn’t set in for minutes or hours, not until the bruise began to form. She was still mobile enough to handle the Jahagir.

 

She had done most of her analysis on how to fight the mountain of a woman earlier, when they had first met. Hambra was huge, so wide that she wore Rahkshi spines as pauldrons, with the height to match – which meant she was top-heavy, easily thrown off-balance, as Caana had already done earlier. Her Pakari was formidable, especially at close range. And here she was, Pakari glowing, rushing Caana with every intent to knock her off her feet. The strategy was obvious: stay out of melee range. Use her momentum against her. Aim the staff and let the bear-woman impale herself upon it.

Her staff, however, was currently embedded in the dirt, and freeing it would waste precious seconds. Seconds that Caana could not afford to lose.

Readjustment, then; her Tonfas were now in-hand. She may not have had a Pakari, but she didn't need one if she could make her hits land nearly as hard. Next step was avoiding Hambra's arm. She could have gone for the simplest option and simply reversed the clothesline attempt, using her foot and her opponent's momentum to instead knock her over, but it was far too easily anticipated, not least because she had swept Hambra's legs from beneath her mere moments earlier. That left two options: side-step, or duck.

She settled into a fighting stance – fists locked into position at her sides, feet shoulder-width apart. Made a semi-circle motion with her foot, her ankle ready to turn. From this position, she could easily twist out of the way of Hambra's arm.

She didn't.

Her foot took her into a twist into a crouch into a punch aimed squarely at Hambra's exposed side, the Tonfa and the Jahagir's own speed turning a simple strike into a blow powerful enough to break ribs on impact.

OOC: @Keeper of Kraata @Mel @Nato G

Edited by Goose
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[BZPRPG PROFILES]

Nikarra - Kaelynn - Ronan - Muir - Donal Aerus - Montague - Kira - KouraLearu - Alteora - Fuacht - Caana Nessen - Merrill

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IC: Raika, arrivals from all sides 

 

.:Help...:.

 

Raika immediately dropped back into a ready stance, head snapping back and forth. By the sliver of an instant they halted their hand before it closed on the hilt of their last dagger.

 

But how to warn the others… all of the others…

 

Focusing their communication on Yuna, they sent out a message in Ideatalk. It would be fainter to the others, but would still be easily discernible here.

 

 .:There was a voice, just now. Calling out in Ideatalk.:.

 

Turning to Ikyazu, they resisted the urge to add an interrogative one of your friends?

 

Truth be told, Raika was spiraling a bit. Missing not one, but two people in their sweep. It was a good thing they no longer dealt in espionage.

 

.:I think our conversation may no longer be private.:.

 

OOC: @ARROW404 @Keeper of Kraata @The UltimoScorp @Click

Whatever mountain you are climbing, you can do this.

                                       BZPRPG character masterpost

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                      "Just promise me something... don't let me go."

 

 

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IC (Ageru Kilanya) [Fort Kizuno, Odaiba]

:Good.:

Suddenly, and without any sound at all, a figure stepped out from the willow's trunk as though it were no more solid than the surface of the lake. This image of Ageru Kilanya appeared much as she did in the Real: tall, graceful, and marred by war. Here, no band of cloth concealed the damage the Rahkshi staff had done: her left eye was uncovered, showing the full length of the deep scar in mask and flesh that marched unswervingly up through the eye socket. But where in the Real there would have been only a dark recess where once had been an eye, there was a point of light, the same piercing white-blue as the Soulsword she wielded. Shiki could sense that in this place, it saw just as clearly as the yellow orb of its erstwhile twin.


Rather than her armour, that mix of well-worn crystal and reforged rahkmetal, this Kilanya wore a long and flowing kimono, immaculate, patterned with the shapes of willow leaves. Its movement in the wind that blew through Shiki's mindspace was the same as the swaying of the branches of the tree above.

The woman that was the tree stood beneath the tree that was the woman, and looked down at the girl that was the lake, then beyond, at the lake that was the girl. She cast her gaze across the waters, across the grasses in their troubling colours, and from her Shiki felt a hint of curiosity mixed with concern, but it was soon superseded by the same sense of purpose as before. One problem at a time. The lesson would come first.

The avatar of Ageru Kilanya knelt on the grass of the plain, settling into the same seiza her body still lay in in the Real. In both her forms, she rested her hands on her knees and turned her palms upwards. Shiki felt a moment of concentration, of drawing forth a well-known thought, like a poem memorised until reciting it was second-nature, more trance than effort. In the training ground on Odaiba, nothing happened; but below the willow by the lake, a shape appeared above Kilanya's open palms. It was a sword: a katana formed from a tracery of lines, infinitesimally thin, perfect in their detail, drawn on empty space. It was the idea of a sword, the knowledge of a sword, a frame, a receptacle, inert, empty, but ready to be filled.

:The shape.:

Kilanya's mouth did not move; once again, her voice came from the great willow, emanating from the creaking of its trunk and the sighing of its countless leaves.

:Next, the Soul.:

Shiki felt Kilanya reach within, to a reservoir deep within her Self. It was a wellspring of energy as blue as the summer sky; it was the power at the woman's core; it was the sap at the willow's heart. Her Will did not push or pull at it; it did not need to. The two were in harmony, united in purpose; where the Will led, the Soul followed. Unstoppered, it flowed out from its reservoir through an intangible channel defined by Kilanya's intent, connecting it to the waiting shape.

:And now, the joining.:

The Soul reached the Sword. Above Kilanya's right palm a brilliant blue light appeared, surging out until it met the boundaries of the shape that had hitherto existed only in the Toroshu's thoughts. In the Real, it seemed to spring forth from nothingness and take shape of its own accord; in the world of the mind, where the tracery of Kilanya's design was visible, it was like water filling a glass. It formed first a grip, then a rounded tsuba, and at last a long, curved blade. The instant the final point at the tip of the blade was filled, the flow of energy stopped. Where the empty shape had been, now lay a true Soulsword: a weapon of cerulean light, fierce yet stable, calmly incandescent.

Kilanya raised her palms, presenting the sword for Shiki's perusal. The gesture was in itself unnecessary; Shiki had felt every moment of its forging, the creation of its every detail. But symbols and mnemonics held power in such spaces nonetheless, and the act of presentation might in turn spur acceptance, and so help the lesson sink in.

:Do you see?:


OOC: @Razgriz

Edited by Ghosthands

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IC: Ahri - Abandoned Village, Oki

Ahri pointed up the coast. "There's an encampment of refugees up the coast; we're trying to patch up one downed ships so we can move them to Sado. We would-" Ahri's attention faltered as a sakl rahi lighted down a short distance away; probably a common sight on Oki. "... We would appreciate your help; more hands I think would make for lighter work. Or at least, safer work."

.:Help...:.

Ahri's attention was once again called to the bird. He was silent for several moments as he grasped at memories, making sense of the incongruousness of a bird using Ideatalk, before it clicked. "... It's not calling for help, its master is. Vilda are renowned for using their birds as scouts, this must be one. We are on Oki, after all; the fact we haven't run into a Vilda yet is strange."

Giving one last glance to the other visitor, then back to the rahi. He layered his speech with Ideatalk, just in case. When he had fought in the Fursic Rebellion, a Vilda ranger had been on the relief forces sent to bolster Hanaloi against the Fursic invasion; she had been taciturn, and the Toroshu had ordered her own sighteyes to keep an eye on her and her bird, but Ahri hadn't interacted with her one-on-one, so he didn't know exactly how the two had been linked. "Show us where your master- you, are, and we'll do what we can. Can you tell us what's wrong?"

OOC: @ARROW404 @Click @The UltimoScorp @Lady Takanuva

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The times, they are a-changing...

 

 

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IC: Mitsuri (Shinku) - Oki Village

The bird regarded the group with an understanding in its eyes beyond its Rahi brain, and then on Ahri's instruction, promptly turned and began fluttering and hopping up the deserted street before looking back again as if beckoning them to follow. Meanwhile, the same smooth yet pained Dasaka voice radiated from it across the mental plane.

.:Trapped... for weeks... everyone gone... thought I'd die here...:.

OOC: @Lady Takanuva @Keeper of Kraata @ARROW404 @The UltimoScorp

Edited by Click
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IC: Raika

 

 

 

Conflicting emotions warred in the menti's brain. A willhammer, and a powerful one at that. Make that two and Raika's only method of defense would be gone. Completely.

 

But what was the option? Leave her fellow Dasaka to die in isolation and fear, with their last gasp of hope gone?

 

Abandon Ahri and Yuna? Prove how much of a piraka they really were?

 

A woman's voice. Sobbing, begging for her love to wake up. In the moment it had almost sounded like her old friend's voice.

 

How she must have felt seeing her home razed.

 

A survivor. Trapped, alone. Fearing for her life.

 

Shame once more filled Raika's throat like bile. Who were they, deciding if this person deserved to live or die based on their own convenience? 

 

No. They were a monster, a killer. They could barely look at themself already.

 

They would not subject another to their own torment.

 

 

Too ashamed to even look up, at risk their racing thoughts might be read through their eyes alone, they focused their mind on the small bird. Struggled to keep their voice as calm as possible.

 

.:You won't die here. I promise.:.

 

Raika was sometimes glad that their voice was entirely mental. It was easier to mask the full-body trembling while communicating than with speech.

 

.:Just keep breathing. We will be there soon.:.

 

 

OOC: @ARROW404 @Keeper of Kraata @The UltimoScorp @Click

Edited by Lady Takanuva
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Whatever mountain you are climbing, you can do this.

                                       BZPRPG character masterpost

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                      "Just promise me something... don't let me go."

 

 

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Posted (edited)

IC: Ageru Shiki (Fort Kizuno『Shiki, Daughter of Sasaki』)

:I do see.:

And yet I don't.

It's not just sight.

It's feeling too, but... How to describe it?

How do I even register this?

...

I grumble, and a settling of the earth passes through the roots, shaking branches above and sending waves through the still water behind— I need to get a handle on this before the lesson is wasted. 

:It's...:

putting words to an abstraction.

It's less tactile and kinesthetic, and more ephemeral, experiential— The arc of Will a brushstroke upon the canvas that is the world within my Mind, the unrestrained flow of energy, direction, and meaning that passes through the lines it drew—her soul flowing from the reservoir that is Her, into the Space that is Me. It's not how I've always accessed my own.

It's not charging deep within ones' own body as conduit from Mind to Soul— it's not driving an augur and spigot through the weepy willow's bark. Instead. it... I can only say it flowed. There was no impetus. It was like a natural path had always existed, not carved through the trunk but instead flowing like spring water. I felt the energy move as she indicated, rather than pushed— its guidance connecting it to the frame her mind drew, and allowing it to permeate until it reached the boundaries. I couldn't see this. But I could sense it. I could feel it, even if I couldn't reach out and touch it.

And yet I nonetheless do. There she is, right in front of me, plain as day with sword in hand. She's wearing an elegant kimono where once stood practical, unfrilled armor, its willow-leaf patterning gently rippling in the winds that shook the branches above, mirror images of the same woman. Her eyepatch is gone, instead a sky-blue blaze sitting in the socket. I realize it's the raw energy of her Soul, the same we forge our swords from— and as it is Her, it fills the gaps that her body can't. I'm meeting her gaze in full for the first and only time. The picture etches itself somewhere beneath the bed of the lake, where faces and names are kept.

And then I look down upon the blade I've never made, but know as its maker does—

And yeah, I see everything. The whole of what was visualized, the Understanding that the soul filled— I can trace it with my eyes as her palms lift, bringing the sword into full view.

It's, plainly put, a masterwork (O-wazamono). Everything about it I see is definite, reasoned and intentional and not a hint out of place, as it quietly hums with power inside my mind. I know that its edge is honed through enough that the errant leaves in the wind might fall upon the blade and be cut. I can read the gentle curve of the structure, the sugata, from tsuka to tsuba to kissaki— hilt, guard, tip. The blade itself mimics metal on closer inspection, its hada appearing in the minute channels of Soul that fill the boundaries— a pattern akin to her fingerprints, to the many rings 'round the trunk of the willow.

Most beautifully of all, those tiny channels, streams of Self, converged down the length of the cutting edge, estuaries conforming into the mighty river of her blade's hamon. The pattern within the lines was a rippling wave of mist, specks of pure white within the stable cerulean field, like dust made of diamond caught in the current. They lend the cutting edge a greater luminosity than the spine. They are the seat of the blade's most important refinement— raw force turned into a precise instrument.

It's everything I need to emulate, in pragmatic terms. That's what I know to focus upon. The process I've felt, the framework being drawn from memory, and the easy filling of that frame with energy, water into a vase. It's a world away from what I have been doing. I feel the difference— it lacks pressure, lacks force, lacks the turbulence of ambivalence crushing the structure. I felt it all through her process. I need to be able to feel it without her guiding hand. That's the priority of this exercise.

But...

I can't help myself.

When I see the creation before me, I can only think it a work of art. The culmination of countless hours refining skill, precision, clarity of that which resides deep within ones' being, brought into the fore through pure expression. It's a painting, it's a sculpture, it's... a sword. Beautiful simply in how it's shaped like itself. Metallurgic arts and Psionic arts occupy the same slot in my head, when I am confronted with craftsmanship like this. There's beauty in the skill, in the exactness of proportion and fine detail, in the purity of the form.

That kind of crystal-clear image is one I've beheld only...

"Hold tight!" echoes Sasaki, in far-off thunder.

Once.

The lake ripples again, and embers rise and fade away again from the charred grasses.

With a thought, I motion my hands to rest upon the flat from beneath, between Kilanya-renshi's. It's not a real manifestation, and real ones are unable to be wrested from the Menti who produce them. Those are long-understood rules of the Disciplines, the nature of our connections with the weapons. They are our souls borne into the without, but they naturally must be linked to the within.

What's happened here isn't that.

It's more like recalling the process, I believe. The way you know how to do something you've done a thousand times, down to the smallest elements, without actually needing the tools in your hands or a stance to stand in. A feeling your mind, body, and soul all remember perfectly. It's so much more efficient than my own, in this way.

What she holds is an image of everything I've said. It is the memories, it is the process, it is the sap, it is the Soul. As much as she is the tree, the blade is her representation. A painting she cannot forget the strokes for, a carving she sees in the grain of all wood.

While we are in the recesses of the mind, an image like that holds tangible weight, value you can know and feel.

And I take it into my own grasp, rising to meet the boundaries of the Imagined Soulsword with ginger reverence. I am holding something priceless here— and if her hands deign to fall away, I know letting it drop would be a slap in the face to all the work that led to its creation.

We are in the mental realm. This is the only place I could hope for a chance to so thoroughly interact with an Image like this.

If allowed, if able, I: have to do it properly.:

 

Edited by Razgriz
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IC: Yoka - Oki Abandoned Village

The former Taajar glanced at her body's original owner. She couldn't hear the IdeaTalk coming from the bird, and must have been confused about their reactions. Fortunately, Ahri gave an explanation that provided Ikyazu the information she needed.

She nodded to the others, though there was little resolve in her eyes. "I will go with you." It was more for lack of any other options that she said so. Ikyazu looked at her with approval. She fiddled with her glaive subtly, in a sign she and her 'sister' had agreed on, a subtle offer to switch positions.

「FIll me in on what I have missed,」Ikyazu said, before drifting toward their body.

Yoka slipped out, their shared body's eyes growing momentarily vacant, until its original owner was once more in control, Yoka now the one floating along invisibly. She began immediately to relay information to her. This close to the others, she hadn't wanted to risk someone picking up on the targeted IdeaTalk that would have been required to fill her in otherwise.

「The male, Ahri, speaks Vulgar Taa,」she finished.「It would be best if I remained in our body for now.」

Acquiescing, albeit with a little annoyance, Ikyazu switched back. At least now she had been brought up to speed.

@ARROW404 @Keeper of Kraata @The UltimoScorp @Click@Lady Takanuva

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IC: Hanaloi

The mind-reader Rahkshi shifted slightly to avoid a harrying stab from Kaazi Riko before she blinked away again. It paused, bringing its staff to bear, the ends emanating an insidious power. It read Riko's thoughts; her desperate stalling attempt while her Jahagir dealt with the traitor so she could get assistance... her strategy. The Son of Zataka knew Riko's thought's as well as she did. The scarred Rahkshi jabbed its staff behind it at empty air; it didn't stay empty. Like it had been rehearsed, Riko appeared and without a breath to spare, was impaled. The Rahkshi payed the gravely wounded Taajar no mind as it withdrew its staff from Riko and turned its attention to the melee between Caana and Hambra. She wasn't dead, but she was useless in a fight. If she died, she did not deserve its Mother. If one of the Kraata infected her, she could be healed upon return to their lair in the Mashtet castle.

 

Askha hadn't expected a charge, and while she was able to bring her saber and falcata to bear to protect herself, the force of a dasaka in full armor forced the Mashtet onto her back foot; she was able to fend off the blades, but in what was surely an instant seemed to stretch on as she realized that Vazaria's charge had more to it as the kraata leapt from her shoulder directly at her mask. She still had her staff and dagger held with Mindarm; the former was useless, but her dagger... that would do the job. But the slimy form of the leaping slug overtook Askha's vision, and she realized there wasn't enough time to slice it before it reached her face.

"Askha? It's your move."

The young Dasaka turned back to the shatranj board. She had been distracted by some of the dashi in the courtyard carrying in a stripped trunk. Though she would have given her mask to be elsewhere; she hated these 'teachable moment' games her mother forced her to play. Everybody in Sado played Stones; only islanders like the Mashtet or the Fursic played Shatranj. And of course, her mother was one of them. She scanned the board; outside this room, it and the pieces would have been considered priceless treasures. Each was a particular Mashtet Carving; instead of wood or crystal carvings they actually portrayed a battlefield and miniature warriors.

Her mother, Toroshu Mashtet Kaetyo, had moved up her Ship and, next turn, could take her Toroshu, which would put her Rora in check. Furrowing her mask, Askha slowly placed her hand on her Soko piece to take her mother's Ship.

"I thought you were keeping your Soko there because in two turns you could put me in check?"

Oh Zuto Nui, it was her 'lesson' voice. "Well... yeah, but I need to take your Ship, or else you'll put me in check." Her mother was right, though, she couldn't use that piece without abandoning her play to finish this boring game.

"What about your Ship? It can't take mine, but it can block off that line, so I have to take it if I want to get past it quickly.

Askha saw what Kaetyo was getting at. "... which means my Taajar can jump in and take your Ship. But I need my Ship, you already took my other one."

"Askha, how do you lose this game?"

The Dasaka sighed, moving her position on the floor. "You take my Rora, or you take all my other pieces."

The Toroshu nodded. "I have a dagger aimed at your heartstone. No matter our cunning, our plans, our trickery, sometimes it will not be enough. It will not be about winning, it will be about not losing. And sometimes, you will have to sacrifice to make sure of that. Because unlike Shatranj," she whispered, emphasizing her point by knocking over their Rora pieces, "If you are Toroshu and you die in battle, you don't shake hands and laugh; you are dead. The Clan needs its Toroshu to guide them."

The flash of the memory faded as the slimy Kraata hit Askha's mask, but she knew what to do, even if she had to power through her reflex to shy away. Her knife came down on her mask and sliced down. Blinding, bloody pain shot through her face on her brow to her cheek. Thank Zuto Nui for Kanohi, she might have lost an eye. As it was, she couldn't see out of her eye anyway, it was left covered with ichor as the two halves of the lifeless kraata dripped off her face. The traitor was wearing her family armor; its plates could be pierced; cutting was right out. But while she had never worn it, she had seen her mother wear it many times; she knew that the illusions also served a practical effect, covering chinks in the protection. She pushed the bind of weapons towards Vazaria, freeing her off hand. Her dagger darted to her hand and stabbed at the collar of the fallen Menti.

 

The Kavinika weren't the only ones focusing on Murasaki and Fanai. Somei lifted herself with Mindarm, and she hovered amongst the trees. She had given everything to the Mashtet, and these worms came to... what? Claim their bones? She knew they were all dead; she had known it in her bones when she first heard that everyone had disappeared years ago. But She had showed her that she didn't need her clan, only submission. All those years of her life, wasted in service to those that didn't deserve it. She wanted to wash it all away. And Somei would help her. The corrupted Datsue focused her Sighteye on the Plangori. Drown in it.

 

The heat-resistant Rahkshi used the break in attacks to back off, dislodging the stolen staff from its shoulder. It flashed a hateful stare at the two Dastana, but continued to back off. Despite the bright colors of the rahkshi's carapace, the twilight seemed to swallow it; darkness was its ally, and it could afford to hang back for now. As the two Dastana Menti moved to protect one another, a yellow-orange kraata dropped from the trees before it, and the entire area, were cloaked in darkness. It didn't go for either mask, but dropped into the center; it's brothers would do the rest, hanging onto the slavering Kavinika.

Kaazi Lana cursed; not only had she lost the Demon, but now the two mainlanders were in a globe of darkness her Akaku couldn't penetrate. Her tree was safe, she had already checked. She drew her shortbow, whistling a warbling call as she strung it; the Kaazi's distress call. As she took aim at the rahi nearest to the globe, several whistles responded to hers; the Koshi Zrupgar scouts were near. She smiled as she put an arrow into the neck of the kavinika she had been aiming at.

 

Hambra also heard the calls. Unfortunately, they were too far. There was angry buzzing in her mind; Riko was dead, or near to it. Riko, who before this; had been her laziest Zrupgar; when the tribe had taken losses, had been as fierce as the ancestors. Then, Caana's tonfa hit her in the side. It struck true; had she not woven Demon carapace into her lamellar instead of crystal, it would have shattered. Spittle flew from Hambra's mouth, fogging the air. Hambra wouldn't be able to move as fast with this sort of injury, and it would hurt like Zataka if she ended up walking away. But Caana had opened herself; her tonfa were close-quarters tools, able to augment unarmed techniques. But now, Hambra was closer than close quarters. Snarling through the pain, the rage, Hambra channeled her chosen form, but with no illusion; no, her Pakari glowed, and she embraced Caana in an Ash Bear hug.

OOC: @Mel @Goose @Nato G

Edited by Keeper of Kraata
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The times, they are a-changing...

 

 

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IC: Vazaria – Hanaloi Forest

The moment of impact was a blur for Vazaria. Somewhere in the scuffle was a searing pain in her sword arm as she slammed into the weapon that had been slicing at her wrist. She felt her own blade fly from her grasp, felt her opponent’s other weapons scraping against her chest and stomach, only her new armour sparing her from further wounds. But through the haze, one delightful detail shone through: the sight of her kraata companion scurrying forth to latch onto Askha’s Kanohi.

For that furtive, fleeting moment, Vazaria felt the thrill of triumph. Even when Askha’s accursed dagger fluttered forth to strike the squirming serpent, Vaza held to hope, the ichor spilling from the creature’s corpse making it difficult to tell if it had succeeded in infecting the mask or not.

Her hopes were dashed as Askha shoved at the weapons pinned between their two bodies, giving herself room enough to free her hand and telekinetically pull the dagger into her grasp. As that hand brought the dagger darting towards Vazaria’s neck, however, it was met by Vaza’s uninjured arm, hand seizing wrist and holding firm as it deflected the dagger away from her flesh.

In the same moment, Vaza’s injured arm swung towards Askha’s own neck in what looked like the beginnings of a desperate, clumsy punch… but proved to be something else entirely as she finally tapped into her own elemental energies, pouring all of her fury and focus into an attempt to simultaneously summon and stab her soulsword directly through the other woman’s throat.

Throughout the fight she’d held back on using her abilities, offering no reason for her opponent to believe she was anything more than a powerless, untrained saihoko, savage and stupid and unskilled. It was what most people thought of her, what she let most people think of her, and this self-proclaimed Mashtet matron had seemed no different.

Hopefully, she was about to die surprised.

Still, this wasn’t the outcome Vaza had wanted from this fight.

But her kraata was dead, and with it the only measure of mercy she may have offered.  

This woman had made it clear she wanted to kill her; she wouldn’t risk her own life trying to take her alive now.

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BZPRPG Mercenary Organisation - Description - History - Base

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

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  • 2 weeks later...

IC Yuna Koizumi - Definitely Not Abandoned Oki Village:

The situation kept getting stranger by the minute. One thing was for certain, though. This village was not nearly as abandoned as it seemed. There were survivors here. By some grace of Zuto Nui, they'd held out long enough for our merry band of misfits to find them.

Which was nice, but it also meant more people I now had to lie to about myself.

I was beginning to wish I hadn't started doing that.

Like it or not though, I'd do my part to help. I followed along, though I did notably linger near the rear of the group.

 

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IC: ??? (Shinku) - Oki Village

The maroon bird hopped a few steps, then a few more, stubbornly clinging to the prey in its claw as it led the motley group on through the village. Slowly, the ruined huts gave way to splintered trees, the road to dirt path braced with wood. They were leaving the village proper and going to the outskirts, huts hidden in the trees beyond the view of the watchful Raika, but from the damage clearly not beyond the reach of the serpentine invaders.

And so very close, a lone Dasaka wiped a tear from her good eye as she watched them approach through the eyes of her companion. It had been weeks... the place she had called home lie crumbled around her, creaking and groaning and seemingly only a matter of time before it gave way entirely. She was afraid to dig out, afraid to waste this second chance she had been given... but there was an even weightier burden that kept her from trying.

Mitsuri didn't even glance at the hole she had ripped in the floorboards with her bare hands. She knew every tear-soaked splinter by heart; it would never leave her mind, nor would the one buried in the soil beneath the hut. Her name had been written there, delicately traced out in shards of a pale crystal, now unrecognizable from the Hau they once were. 

But her visitors did not see this yet. As they arrived at their destination, a hundred bio or so into the forest, Shinku fluttered up and perched on a lone standing pillar in what otherwise looked like merely rubble. All was quiet for a moment, the bird just staring down at them as if pondering how to explain why it had brought them here, and then an audible wince as dry, scarred skin twisted and warped for her mouth to utter,

"I'm... in here."

 

OOC: @The UltimoScorp @Lady Takanuva @ARROW404@Keeper of Kraata

Edited by Click
...reinstating the old post
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On 7/6/2022 at 7:18 AM, Razgriz said:

If allowed, if able, I: have to do it properly.:


IC (Ageru Kilanya) [Fort Kizuno, Odaiba]

:Yes,: Kilanya replied. Unlike her own precise and deliberate contributions, the girl's words were unstable, shifting in their intensity as they brimmed forth from surface-level thoughts, only half intended to be voiced. :I sense that you have understood the process. This is good. And you also see that the understanding is not the same as the doing. That is also good.:

She released her hold on the psionic energy. The azure brilliance dissolved into a shimmer of stardust, and Shiki was left holding only the shape it had filled, the fine web of white lines drawn on nothingness, tracing the form of a sword.

:The first step is to crystallise the shape of your sword within your mind. Memorise it. Make the recalling of it second nature. It must exist whole within your mind, to be brought forth without conscious effort.:

Kilanya reached out to take the shape back and held it on her palms once more, looking down on it with a hint of a nostalgic smile.

:This is the shape of my family sword,: she said, grasping the hilt and turning it over in her hands. :My mother passed it down to me after I graduated from the bokken. I was forbidden to use such an heirloom for sparring practice, of course.: She chuckled. :But I meditated on it every night, until its every detail was internalised. You must find the shape that is right for you, and do the same.:

She glanced at the girl.

:Unless, perhaps, you already have?:

Edited by Ghosthands
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IC: Ahri - Oki Village

The Mashtet heard the voice; faint, quiet, the bird the only clear indication that the ruined building was the source. Ahri took a preparatory breath, exhaling forcefully. Closing his eyes, he assumed a stance to steady his breath. He had to let the energy flow freely through him; focus all of his will into Mindarm. He pictured a giant, invisible hand lifting the central beam of the collapsed hut, and the dilapidated, half-destroyed wood began to life away from the ruin.

"Ladies," Ahri said in a strained voice, "I can only pick up so much at a time, I'd appreciate some help." As he spoke, he edged closer to the ruins, physically touching some of the rubble he shifted, careful not to upset the delicate balance and bring what was left down on the unfortunate inhabitant.

OOC: @The UltimoScorp @Lady Takanuva @ARROW404 @Click

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The times, they are a-changing...

 

 

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@The UltimoScorp @Lady Takanuva @ARROW404 @Click@Keeper of Kraata

IC: Yoka - Oki Abandoned Village

「I will help,」Ikyazu offered.

Yoka thumbed at her glaive in agreement. Ikyazu's specialty was Mindarm. She would be of more use than her, who used it with only middling skill. She stepped out of her body, and Ikyazu returned to her home with practiced ease, the process taking less than second.

"You have it," she told Ahri, stabilizing the rubble as he shifted the most important pieces.

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IC: Raika

 

Raika was not built for strength. A polite person would call them willowy.

 

A blunt person would call them scrawny.

 

But they were wiry. Their half-wrapped hands scrabbled, hauling boards free and scraping rubble to the side.

 

They worked like a being possessed. After a few minutes, their questing fingers felt something like crystal.

 

Re-invigorated, they started clawing debris away desperately. Dislodging a pair of shattered timbers, they saw a figure hunched in the enclosed space. Their arm wrappings catching and pulling on the shrapnel, they scrabbled the opening wider until a shaft of light struck the face of the trapped individual, refracting into a tiny rainbow through the clear crystal.

 

OOC: @ARROW404 @Keeper of Kraata @The UltimoScorp @Click

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Whatever mountain you are climbing, you can do this.

                                       BZPRPG character masterpost

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                      "Just promise me something... don't let me go."

 

 

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IC Yuna:

I wasn't able to mind arm rubble away, and Raika was two steps ahead of me in the physical clearing department. By the time I got down to help out, she'd already revealed the face of our newest rescue.

I gave her a a half grin and the other half of a wave, "Heya!"

She looked pretty awful, but then, who wouldn't, being trapped under a building for Zataka knows how long?

I worked with Raika to clear enough debris so she could fit, then reached down to her.

"Grab hold, sister, we're gettin' you outta there."

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IC: Mitsuri - Oki Village Outskirts

The heavy beams that had been her prison creaked and shifted, and for a moment Mitsuri was sure this was it, she would die here under a pile of wood and rubble. But then, they lifted, as if carried by invisible behemoths. Mindarms...

Shattered wood and shingle shifted and moved aside, and for a moment, a pair of beams from the twin suns cut through the dusty air, blinding her with a kaleidoscope through her mask. She put up a hand, covering her sensitive eye and blindly reaching toward the voice until she grasped a hand firmly and started pulling herself out. Bits of rodent skeletons fell from her armor as she rose until finally her verdant armor, tarnished by scratches and dust but resplendent all the same, caught the light in the open air.

Mitsuri blinked hard, trying to let her eyes adjust to unfiltered light... and found herself nearly mask to mask with another Dasaka, their lavender eyes wide with shock beneath their Volitak. It took Mitsuri a further moment of taking in the freckles on purple skin, fading as a blush began spreading through them, before she remembered how her own face must look, and she quickly turned away, bringing a hand up to shield her face. But in that brief moment, her saviors had seen the blood-soaked wrappings, clearly once part of a fine gown, that spiraled around her face and covered her right eye, a soft blue crystalline Calix doing little to conceal them. Long, jagged scars radiated out from her right cheek down her neck and chest, giving a hint at what lie beneath the wrappings. As she put up a hand, they could see her fingers were similarly wrapped in stained finery.

Mitsuri shifted shyly, stepping out of the ruins with long, slender legs quivering with exertion, relying heavily on Yuna's grip to prevent her from collapsing entirely. Only once she could limp aside to an open patch of yard did she let go, standing there like a puppet on its last string with face turned down. And with her aside, the shafts of light caught on another pile of crystal barely peeking out from splintered wood, looking very intentionally placed. But she was certainly a sight enough on her own. Muscles torn to their last fiber and caked in scar tissue pulled, her atrophied vocal chords humming as she tried to force air through them when it had been everything she had to just keep breathing, and she uttered a single syllable.

"Theng..."

Her voice died out as pain overwhelmed her, and she stumbled for a moment before righting herself again. Bracing herself, she tried again with the voice that came almost more naturally than her physical one.

.:Thank you for saving me. I... truly could not escape on my own. I feared no one was coming back here, or worse still... that I was the only one left. Tell me, with ruin as far as the eye can see, where do you plan to go?:.

 

OOC: @Lady Takanuva@The UltimoScorp@Keeper of Kraata@ARROW404

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IC: Raika

 

The small figure shifted to try and help Yuna pull the newcomer to safety. But the same arms that had hauled nets so easily were plenty capable of pulling the injured Menti free.

 

Rai felt frustrated helplessness well in their stomach as they gingerly slid a skinny arm beneath the figure's other shoulder.

 

The willhammer began to speak, then doubled over in agony. Raika's grip tightened. Their scarf shifted, caught in their grip, and in that moment their lavender heartlight was revealed, flashing with panic.

 

Then a voice sounded, clear as a bell, in their head.

 

.:Thank you for saving me. I... truly could not escape on my own. I feared no one was coming back here, or worse still... that I was the only one left. Tell me, with ruin as far as the eye can see, where do you plan to go?:.

 

Where DID they plan to go? Raika had not thought that far ahead. They had just seen a gaping, horrifying future where they fought to live on this island, completely alone. And they couldn't bear the thought of it.

 

.:It's okay.:. they said, wincing slightly at how rough their own ideatalk felt in comparison. .:We don't have a clear destination, exactly.:.

 

Raika made an effort to look this new arrival in their one unbandaged eye. .:But I promise we will not leave you. You are not alone now. I promise. I promise…:.

 

To their shame and dismay, they felt their hand shaking like a branch in a gale as they spoke. Worse still, they felt some of their worry over the state of their new arrival leak into their ideatalk. How must this seem to someone so… refined? And they were babbling too…

 

Their shaking hand tightened around Mitsuri's arm.

 

.:I promise you we will not abandon you.:.

 

OOC: @ARROW404 @Keeper of Kraata @The UltimoScorp @Click

Edited by Lady Takanuva
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Whatever mountain you are climbing, you can do this.

                                       BZPRPG character masterpost

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                      "Just promise me something... don't let me go."

 

 

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6 hours ago, Click said:

Mitsuri blinked hard, trying to let her eyes adjust to unfiltered light... and found herself nearly mask to mask with another Dasaka, their lavender eyes wide with shock beneath their Volitak. It took Mitsuri a further moment of taking in the freckles on purple skin, fading as a blush began spreading through them, before she remembered how her own face must look, and she quickly turned away, bringing a hand up to shield her face. But in that brief moment, her saviors had seen the blood-soaked wrappings, clearly once part of a fine gown, that spiraled around her face and covered her right eye, a soft blue crystalline Calix doing little to conceal them. Long, jagged scars radiated out from her right cheek down her neck and chest, giving a hint at what lie beneath the wrappings. As she put up a hand, they could see her fingers were similarly wrapped in stained finery.

Mitsuri shifted shyly, stepping out of the ruins with long, slender legs quivering with exertion, relying heavily on Yuna's grip to prevent her from collapsing entirely. Only once she could limp aside to an open patch of yard did she let go, standing there like a puppet on its last string with face turned down. And with her aside, the shafts of light caught on another pile of crystal barely peeking out from splintered wood, looking very intentionally placed. But she was certainly a sight enough on her own. Muscles torn to their last fiber and caked in scar tissue pulled, her atrophied vocal chords humming as she tried to force air through them when it had been everything she had to just keep breathing, and she uttered a single syllable.

"Theng..."

Her voice died out as pain overwhelmed her, and she stumbled for a moment before righting herself again. Bracing herself, she tried again with the voice that came almost more naturally than her physical one.

.:Thank you for saving me. I... truly could not escape on my own. I feared no one was coming back here, or worse still... that I was the only one left. Tell me, with ruin as far as the eye can see, where do you plan to go?:.

5 hours ago, Lady Takanuva said:

.:It's okay.:. they said, wincing slightly at how rough their own ideatalk felt in comparison. .:We don't have a clear destination, exactly.:.

 

Raika made an effort to look this new arrival in their one unbandaged eye. .:But I promise we will not leave you. You are not alone now. I promise. I promise…:.

 

To their shame and dismay, they felt their hand shaking like a branch in a gale as they spoke. Worse still, they felt some of their worry over the state of their new arrival leak into their ideatalk. How must this seem to someone so… refined? And they were babbling too…

 

Their shaking hand tightened around Mitsuri's arm.

 

.:I promise you we will not abandon you.:.

IC: Ikyazu - (Mostly) Abandoned Oki Village

The former Eiyu glanced at Raika, almost smiling at their resolve. It was shaky, but still they made such a promise so fervently. She felt they had more strength than perhaps they appreciated. Amid this hopelessness, such a warm and kind declaration felt like a warm hearth fire to Ikyazu, warming bones she hadn't realized had grown so cold. She wondered how Yoka might react if she could hear it.

She took a step forward and placed an approving hand on Raika's shoulder, though she kept her face turned to the one they had just rescued. "I promise the same. Here." She unhooked her waterskin from her hip and knelt over her, "The rainwater barrels nearby are still fresh, so drink as much as you need." She uncorked it and held it close to her lips for her, in case she lacked the strength to hold it herself. She had questions, but she trusted the others would ask them.

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[Hanaloi, Forest (Falki)]

There was little use getting fancy in battle if simplicity would do.   Hambra, in her focus on Caana, had let Falki slip from her mind.

They always do.

Falki sheathed the damaged katar in one smooth motion and drew her kukri.   The blade, a matte turquoise crystal, cast no light as she ran forward.   She had fought enough sighteyes to estimate how much deeper she would need to cut at the ash bear’s exposed calves to reach true flesh.

As she cut forward with her weapon, the kavinika surged forward, leaping to bite at limbs, ready to bring down this large prey like they had so many before.

[Semeraed]

Semeraed was straddling a thick branch like a wooden Soko, bow drawn and ready to shoot.   But she couldn’t shoot Falki, despite the cold and unholy darkness that had taken hold of her beloved’s heart.

As the mind reading rakshi skewered Riko, she knew with a surety that it must be her target—but she would only have one shot.   Forcing herself to breath naturally, she turned her single sighted eye back and forth, judging the distance and preparing.


[Hanaloi, Observatory Entrance(Fanai/Murasaki)]
Fanai recognized the pressing feeling and the rush of water for what it was, an illusion.   Still, it was a struggle against the feeling, even if she knew that the sighteye had no power to actually stop her breathing.   Murasaki was panicking.  Murasaki was not breathing.

::Breath.:: Murasaki’s consciousness was luckily used to small intrusion of Plangori-style willhammering, but Fanai couldn’t mislead a sighteye like she could another willhammer, only calm the frantic racing of Murasaki’s mind.

Luckily, the sighteye had seemed to use all their energy on the auditory and tactile senses, and the Plangori warriors could still see enough to stumble away from the pursuing kavinika and their kraata riders, toward their allies.

Fanai sensed something else, a familiar and yet twisted mind beyond the trees.

::An enemy illusionist above us::

The keen arrows of the scouts would be welcomed here.

[Mari]
Rakshi dwelt in shadows.   They clung to them, found safety in their embrace.  Despite their Zataka-given cunning, the shadows were a comfort that they could often not resist.  Usually, this was a place where Menti feared to tread.  Unfortunately for every rakshi that had faced Dastana Mari, this place of comfort held none of the safety they were used to.

The menti’s eyes were almost completely closed now.  She could picture every texture etched in stark relief, and the visual spectrum was more of a distraction at this point.   The obscuring darkness of the cloud was simply non existent.

The cloud evaporated, its conjurer pined to the ground by a mindarm-aimed dart.

Mari spun her spear, slicing a kraata in two as it attempted to jump for her.  The creature had been counting on surprising her—but it was instead the one on the end of a sharp surprise.  She had no doubt the rahkshi would attack again once it realized the kraata’s trick had been ineffectual.

[Rina]

Crack!

The other end of the pack was also having a bad time.  The hated weapon of light and pain seemed to be everywhere, biting and slicing, forming shimmering arcs that bisected any who dared attempt to get close to its wielder.

And the wielder herself was concealed from their eyes, seeming to bend the light and slip into a space where darkness could not reach.   They could sense something there, a mask to infect, but it was too vague for them to do anything but jump in the vague direction what they detected, driven by the greater will that compelled them.   Ironically, it was they who where in the dark.  The more intelligent kraata held back, hoping that their mounts could get close enough.

The brief window of darkness lent them the boldness to actively attack.  Rina felt a slimy texture smack into her right shoulder, even as a Kavanika’s jaws closed inches from her left ankle.   (She knew she had picked the Huna for a reason.). She didn’t have the time to bring her whip around, so she instead snatched the kraata with her left hand.   It dissolved in her grip, frantically teleporting out of her hand, but Rina was ready this time.   She whorled her whip in a circle in front of her own face, hearing the satisfying sizzle of psionic energy dissolving slug flesh.

Then the light came back, along with a seizing pain in her muscles, spasms that made her stumble and…

A familiar force pulled her back, out of range of the kavinika’s bite.   A strong arm pulled her up.


::Don’t get greedy.::

Of the eight or so kavinika that had attacked the pair initially, only four remained, one missing its teleportation kraata rider courtesy of Rina, and one limping from a half-severed paw.  The menti readied her weapon, paying particular attention to the blue and red creature that had given her the nasty shock.

::Oh, but we’re Dastana.::


OOC: @Keeper of Kraata @Goose  I have darkvision blindsight an Arthron. :] @Nato G

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There's a dozen selves inside you, trying to be the one to run the dials

[BZPRPG Profiles]

Hatchi - Talli - Ranok - Lucira - FerellisMorie - Fanai - Akiyo - Yukie - Shuuan - Ilykaed - Pradhai - Ipsudir

And some aren't even on your side.

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IC: Caana (Hanaloi, Forest)

Caana had many advantages; Hambra's attack, which would have been clearly telegraphed regardless, was rendered in slow motion not only by Caana's mask but also by the Jahagir's injury. In addition to this, she had Falki nipping at her heels – or, more accurately, at Hambra's.

Even so, it took her a second to comprehend her opponent's perplexing choice.

She fights like a wrestler. Caana had seen such techniques before, Tajaar brawlers who fought hand-to-hand for sport. Such matches were rarely to the death; in many ways, it was glorified sparring. But the bear hug, the clothesline attempt – these were all attempts to immobilise her, attempts that would have been much more successful in the enclosed arena in which they belonged. Interrupting and preventing Hambra's attempt to crush her was child's play, once she realised her intention.

She swiped her hand sideways in a simple chop, bringing the flat of her tonfa down upon Hambra's chest injury – not with remotely as much force as before, which hardly mattered now. The bear-woman had made the mistake of exposing her side yet again by raising her arms enough to grab Caana.

Near simultaneously, she headbutted Hambra, the simplest and most effective way to disorient an opponent in such close quarters.

Finally, with her other hand she punched the Jahagir squarely in the solar plexus. With the benefit of the tonfa, it was more than guaranteed to knock the wind out of her.

 

The onslaught was perfectly tailored to leave Hambra defenseless: winded, discombobulated, and in severe pain. There was no dodging Caana's attacks at this range; the Jahagir would need at least a moment to recover, and would not be nearly as much of a threat once she had.

Caana only needed a moment.

At long last, she summoned her bow and arrow, her tonfas returned to her hips. To those around her, they seemed to appear almost instantly, the mental effort hastened by her mask. That same mask allowed her to aim with unnatural precision, and let loose her arrow – not at Hambra, but at the bow-woman in the trees. If she had the wherewithal to have noticed Caana taking aim and evade, there was only one route fast enough:

Whether the arrow hit its mark or not, she would drop.

And Caana had not shot to kill, but to maim and immobilise – aimed at her target's kneecap, the pain alone would leave any opponent screaming. Easy prey for the Kavinika, and an excellent distraction for the expedition.

.:Vazaria, it's time to retreat; their reinforcements are growing near. Let the remaining Kavinika cover us. Falki – with me. As for the eavesdroppers-:.

She tore her staff from the ground.

.:Come pick up your Jahagir and return to your tower, lest the wolves reach her first.:.

OOC: That arrow is aimed at Lana. @Keeper of Kraata @Mel @Nato G

Edited by Goose
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[BZPRPG PROFILES]

Nikarra - Kaelynn - Ronan - Muir - Donal Aerus - Montague - Kira - KouraLearu - Alteora - Fuacht - Caana Nessen - Merrill

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IC: Ageru Shiki (Fort Kizuno『Shiki, Daughter of Sasaki』)

Quietly, I listen along, scrutinizing the lines that pass between our palms even as the thoughts and impressions beneath her retelling trickle in, scents upon the gentle breeze. There's a great warmth to it all. Unspoken fondness that carries through even deeper than tone, for we are linked more directly than speech, washes over our little congregation, tree and lake and field and master and student. I can't help but mimic the smile that flickers across her face. It's a comforting feeling, a joy to be privy to.

Reassuring, too, to share. I've got fond memories too.

They're the precious few things I have left. I had a home, the strip of cloth, a few lessons, and just like my esteemed superior, fond memories. Really, I cherish them the most.

At her question, long having passed over the wireframe of her family blade back over, I close my eyes. Such is impossible to do in the realm of a mental landscape, if I get technical, but that sensation fills me, and in turn the world around me seems to fade away as though I had. Within that dark void, not quite black but not quite blue... a scene appears.

It's one I've always seen— for what time "always" entails for me.

A torrid mess of orange, red, and black surrounding the field of my view, seeming as tall as three we had sat against moments prior and carrying untold heat, pain, fear. A wild curtain drawn around me, a wheat field up like tinder... No, that is what it was. I didn't forget. I couldn't. Even with the darkness encircling the blaze that encircled us, no detail had gone neglected.

That voice, once carried in faraway echoes like a distant storm, rings clearly in my ear. It was always so strained in most of our days together, but here it can't be mistaken as anything but clear and strong. This was her real voice. It was there to cut through the roar of wildfire.

My own throat, rough, ragged, and full of unspoken questions my lungs simply couldn't fuel. 

A splotch of green, tinged with gray. I know it was soft. It still is. It's around my arm now, instead of her neck.

I even recall how the sky above was a blanket of orange and grey, only realizing long after that the puffs where oncoming rain, and not the pluming smoke. I remember the acrid scent of burning mixed with the inimitable odor of rain.

I remember it all well, having seen it daily. It was a moment, frozen in time's constant unyielding stream forward. A rock in the river, polished until I could stare at myself upon its sheen.

And shine it does.

In the center of such a terrible scene, I could never forget that perfect, grand blue. In my heart, I'm convinced that those are the contours I've been replicating this whole time. The razor edge, the robust tsuba, the delicate filaments of ultramarine that flowed through its length, through her hands, through her soul—

Like painting a blade out of the summer sky.

:Something like that,: I breathe, nostalgic smile ending up a touch wistful as we return to the scene of my self. That image might have shimmered along the waters of the lake behind as small waves lap up the shore. In this space, there's every chance I could have pulled Kilanya in by mistake. I realize it now— and ponder, ever briefly, if she'd have put the face to the name. You could certainly have caught the edge of her jaw, or at least her Rode. :Mom... Left me more than I could ask for.:

I wonder if I could pull it from the water behind us.

Something stirs deep beneath. It sends a heat through the water. A glimmer upon the shore.

:It feels like I see it whenever my eyes shut. If what you've shown me is true, what you told me about what I've done is true... Maybe that's the only reason I got as far as I did?:

It feels like hedging, given the sorry result and my clearly wayward method, but it makes sense to me. Even with that opinion, I know that it's just as likely to be taken as or something reasonably considered glossing over the mistake. But I'm playing host in my own mind here. I don't like lying already— I doubt I could hide the feeling if I wanted to.

If I'm wrong, let me be wrong honestly, so I can learn honestly why.

So there I sit, patiently awaiting the lecture I'm probably going to have sparked.

Edited by Razgriz
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helo frens

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On 6/26/2022 at 7:10 AM, Keeper of Kraata said:

Sydelia focused her Sighteye on the ronin, her illusory self making a show of examining him. She was not a subtle illusionist, and the illusion bled colors around it like a watercolor painting. "I get the sense you have something else to say. If you'd like to meet in private, I can call in someone to cover me and we can meet in the city."

IC A ronin | Sado, Gardens

Sighteye was just one of the four major Menti arts for most Dasaka, but for the ronin it was a forbidden fruit within tantalyzing reach, a prize so close be could smell its essense, and yet so incredibly distant he could naught but look at it. For so long this ronin had pursued this art and despite all his efforts and energy expended to his ambitions they remained equidistant. Once, when he was in the nominal employ of the Fursic war machine, he was given the barest touch of its power, yet all that begot him was the ability make the sound of a pindrop in a quiet stadium. To him, Sydelia's display of Sighteye, roughcut and unsubtle though it was, was awesome. He hated how much he longed for that power. 

She knew he was not what he presented himself to be. Good, he thought. For an instant he considered telling her in her mind's eye who he was and what he was looking for, divulging his mission to her with a direct interface of mind to mind. His optimism that maybe Sydelia would understand his circumstance and open her mind to him as he would to her, but that juvenile idea was quashed quickly as he settled back into his cautious self. She knew he wanted something more clandestine and was receptive to it. That was the objective for this interaction and it was foolish to ask for more so soon. 

The wide brim of his hat bobbed as the ronin nodded. "I will await you at last summer's best-rated saké brewery ten years running. Time is of no consequence to me. Take as long as you need, Fursic Sydelia."

And with another tip of his jingasa he was gone. 

@Keeper of Kraata

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  • 2 weeks later...

IC: Ahri - Oki destroyed house

The Menti opened his mouth to speak, but his breath died on his mask as he saw Mitsuri's bandaged face. The brief sensation of a kanohi cracking under his hand, digging into flesh. The scream, the burned metal and viscera, thankfully those were absent from his memories. When Ahri came to, he realized his fist was clenching. To recover, he took his fist in his palm and bowed.

"Mashtet Ahri, ma'am. There is a nearby refugee village, we were salvaging a boat to take them to Sado when we heard your bird. Who do we have the pleasure of rescuing? You are Vilda, if I recognize the technique."

OOC: @The UltimoScorp @Click @Lady Takanuva @ARROW404

 

IC: Hanaloi

Askha's mask stung, and she couldn't see much out of her right eye; whether it was just covered with slug guts, blinded, or just out of pain was a matter for later. Vazaria moved to push away Askha's face, but was abandoning her weapon; as training with her father had made abundantly clear, she would do well to be wary of Menti that entered a fight without a weapon.

Even as she reclaimed her birthright, Askha had never been a true blue Imperial. There was a reason she had survived years outside the castes as a mercenary, an undesirable in the churn with all the other scum of Kentoku. The Vilda and Dastana provided more lumber, the clans of Iki and Sado were better artists, and the Fursics were better at politics. Being a Mashtet meant that, when the stakes were high, sometimes you had to fight dirty, to walk away, to cut off the limb in a trap.

A cheap shot to the vitals was out of the question, there was too much armor for that. But, that armor also slowed down the infected Menti, and she was new to it as well; that diminished of fine control could be manipulated. Askha relinquished her telekinetic grip on her weapons, focusing on shoving aside Vazaria. She felt the heat of a soulsword forming by her face; she used the second she had before a very large hole appeared in her mask well, twisting her held arm and kicking at the side of Vazaria's leg, buoying herself with Mindarm as she spun away from her attacker.

When she was free, she used the spare moment to call her weapons back to her as she backed off into the underbrush. .:I'm falling back; sounds like they are as well, let them, fall back to the Kaazi.:.

Only by virtue of the strength her mask gave her did her knee not buckle, but the Kaazi Jahagir staggered back, flickering in and out of view, as if the struggle to see through the pain was reflected around her. Obviously, the traitor Imperial was not one to be used as a weapon. A sharp pain erupted from her leg as the infected Koshi Zrupgar sliced into her calf; reflexively, Hambra kicked out, then pulled back as she solidified her invisibility. She needed to rescue Riko; she couldn't lose another Kaazi, not like this. And if the Koshi Zrupgar was any indication, there were worse fates than death that awaited the fallen today. Hambra inhaled deeply, the scents of the forest poured through her mind: loamy soil, decaying wood, her own blood... wait.

A tree, rotten but whole, lay on its side just off the clearing. Both sides were calling for retreat; Hambra decided to give them a little more encouragement than her scouts' arrows. She grasped the log and grunted; her feet sank into the earth as she lifted it off the ground and flipped it to her other side, so that it faced the attackers. She charged again, this time using the log as both weapon and shield, sweeping the clearing. As she approached Riko's fallen form, Hambra tossed the log, cloaking herself in invisibility as she scooped up the fallen Zrupgar and used her augmented strength to leap into the trees.

Lana reacted barely fast enough to turn away from the fiery arrow, which struck her in the shoulder; she twisted off the branch and landed in the undergrowth, thankfully with her arm intact; her lamellar had taken most of the damage. Her drawstring had snapped, regardless; she futilely held the bow to fend off the jaws of a kavinika, but one of the incoming Koshi Zrupgar saved her by putting an arrow into its eye.

As her victims saw past her illusion, Somei considered sowing confusion into the ranks of the Kaazi, but decided against it; while it would be satisfying and please Zataka in the short term, she did not serve to please her master. Somei was a tool, and to break her now was not in her plans. She cloaked herself and set herself down onto a waiting kavinika, which took off towards the Mashtet fortress. She strained as she reached out to her new allies, her true family, her voice echoing to them without broadcasting to the Dasaka they faced: "Caana speaks true. I will meet you and Zataka's sons at the fortress."

The mind-reader Rahkshi glanced at Semraed as it fell back to avoid Hambra's log, its staff still dripping blood. As the Kavinika ran around it, it remained still, inviting the Taajar to take their best shot.

OOC: @Mel @Nato G @Goose

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The times, they are a-changing...

 

 

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IC: Vazaria – Hanaloi Forest

Vazaria cursed under her breath as Askha managed to kick away from her, using her mindarm to put more distance between them. Still, Vazaria felt her soulsword connect, striking Askha’s Kanohi.

As Askha spun away, telekinetically pulling her weapons back to her, Vazaria flicked her soulsword across into her uninjured hand and tensed to fling herself at her foe once more, only for Caana’s voice to cut across the mental plane.

.:Vazaria, it's time to retreat; their reinforcements are growing near. Let the remaining Kavinika cover us:.

She almost protested. On principle, she wasn’t one to take orders from some stranger who’d just shown up out of nowhere. But more specifically, Askha clearly wasn’t going to give up and go away after this one brief battle. The woman had deemed herself jury and judge for the empire’s justice on this island, and was determined to retake what little remained of her home. Nothing short of death seemed likely to dissuade her.

.:I'm falling back; sounds like they are as well, let them, fall back to the Kaazi:.

But it seemed even she had had enough for one night.

Vazaria’s let her soulsword dissipate, and stooped down to snatch up her fallen family sword off the ground. Her every instinct still screamed to strike now, to finish off the enemy while they were still scattered and weakened, but she saw the sense in Caana’s instruction. The forces of Zataka were every bit as spread out as their foes were, and the tide could quickly turn if there were indeed reinforcements on the way.

Besides, Vazaria’s side had the benefit of a fortress to regroup in, and a Quick-Healing Rahkshi to help them recuperate, while their opponents not only had to recover their dead and tend to their wounded, they also needed to deal with the spot-fires the Plasma Kraata had sparked while blasting at Askha earlier, lest they lose the lumber they’d come so far for. By the time the empire’s lackeys were ready to retaliate, the new lords of the Mashtet Fortress would be well and truly ready to repel them.

.:You can still set the terms, Toroshu:. She projected, watching Askha’s receding form disappear into the underbrush. .:Are the lives of your friends and followers truly worth more than a long-fallen fort and some firewood? Or are you determined to see them all die for your pride?:.

She didn’t expect the words to change Askha’s mind, but perhaps it would be enough to shake the confidence of some of the others. They’d come a long way from far safer shores to find this fight. Maybe some of them would see sense and leave while they still had the luxury of a guaranteed retreat.

After all, there was no telling what terror tomorrow would bring. 

She turned away from the clearing and took to the air, sticking close to the cover of the treetops as she swept back towards the fortress.

@Keeper of Kraata @Goose @Mel

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BZPRPG Mercenary Organisation - Description - History - Base

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

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IC: Kenji Kono - [????????]

Your boat lays adrift. Fog has engulfed the ocean around you, to the extent you have no reference points for where are you are, and where you might be soon. The moon above you is the only thing that seems to penetrate the encompassing cloud. It is eerily huge tonight. You can make out the details of its surface, and you wonder for a moment what creatures may lay upon the silver floor of that ghostly orb. You consider whether they might be staring back at you. Your gaze eventually directs itself down, as your feelings are pricked. Something passively watches, you know that much.

The front of your canoe draws your eye. Perched atop the edge is a small winged Rahi, perhaps a variety of Gukko, though not one you've ever observed. It moves somewhat erratically too, its wings flapping intermittently but never carrying it up. You know better than to approach it, you don't wish to scare it off. 

"A little late for a seabird to hunt, no?" The words carry off your lips hoarsely, but softly spoken. The first you've spoken in a stretch of time you don't even know the full length of.

"Quite alive looking for a Kono." The bird squawked back, much to your shock. Despite the direction of the voice being unmistakable, you scan the fog anyway, looking for a non-existent source. Your gaze has to settle eventually, back to the black winged Rahi. It flaps its wings futilely once again.

"You must be mistaken." You reply, the boat gently rocking as you shift in stance slightly. "What are you?"

The Rahi tilts its head.

"Dull question." It decides, hopping along the edge of the canoe closer toward you. "What are you?"

Your eye twitches. The irony of you being frustrated at its evasiveness is entirely lost on you. You watch it closely, feeling the missing space between your teeth with your tongue.

"If I am dead, I'd like to be judged soon, please." You say, finally, sitting back down. 

"Don't you know where you're going?" The bird replies, hopping down onto your knee.

"I'm not so sure I care." You say, at least a partial lie.

The Rahi stares you down, before seeming to shrug. 

"Sounds like you've been dead for a while." It says. "But no judgement comes. That's up to you. Nobody else."

 

...

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