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BZPRPG - Kentoku Archipelago


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

OOC: Sorry to keep you waiting

IC: Yoka and Ikyazu

She failed to note the expression of the bird, focused more on the rescue for the moment. The tonfas, she assumed, must either belong to her, or to someone she knew, and would be returned when she regained consciousness.

"Whichever requires more help," she answered Ahri's question.

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

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IC Yuna Koizumi:

Right.

"Well, I'm gonna need at least one other Mindarm on the surface while I work from under water. There's only a couple holes to worry about, but they're pretty low down so we have to get it up pretty high out of the water."

@ARROW404@Click

Edited by The UltimoScorp
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IC: Mitsuri - Oki Village Outskirts

"I'm afraid I won't be much use lifting the boat, but Shinku can keep an eye on things from above or in the smaller crevices." The Sakl bird perked up at mention of its name, and Mitsuri raised her arm, clad in a soft leather glove, for Shinku to swoop down and perch on. She staggered for a moment under the weight of the large bird, but remained steady and almost dignified as Shinku chittered meaningfully in her ear.

 

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

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IC: Ahri - Oki Village Outskirts

The Mashtet paused and turned back to Yuna. "Good point. I suppose Raika can grab some sleep at the village; there are enough abandoned dwellings. I should be able to help after I tuck this one in." He adjusted Raika to a more comfortable position, glancing at Yoka. "I don't think I got your discipline, Yoka. Sure would be easier with three of us."

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

The times, they are a-changing...

 

 

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IC: Vazaria – Mashtet Fortress

Upon closer inspection, the room Vaza had found looked to have once been someone’s personal quarters. The layout was modest and utilitarian; not the extravagant bedroom of someone of great import, but decent living quarters nonetheless.

The ragged remnants of a bed occupied the centre of the chamber, its frame falling apart and its mattress mouldering, with a rusted storage chest sitting at its foot. Tattered, threadbare tapestries clung like cobwebs to two of the walls, while a cracked closet was slouched against another, the clothing within faded and moth-eaten. Mashtet illusions still sputtered on some of the surfaces, adding colour and texture to the walls and floors, but the projections were ailing and disjointed, from age and lack of maintenance. On the far side of the bed was what looked to be a display cabinet of some kind, though the glass was so dense with dust that Vaza couldn’t discern what was inside from where she stood.

Scuffing away the years of dirt, detritus, and rahi rodent droppings as she walked, she made her way inside, her soulsword casting an ethereal blue-white light over the old wood and stone. She made her way over to the closet and started rifling through the rotted rags still hanging within, hoping to find an intact sheet or blanket tucked away inside. Finding nothing, she settled for clearing a spot on the floor to rest. It was better than nothing, certainly better than her sleeping arrangements had been while hiding out on Odaiba. Merely having a roof over her head was more than she’d had a few days ago.

As she moved past the display case, she paused to brush some of the dust away and peek through the grimy glass. Its contents looked to be souvenirs of some sort, pieces of jewellery and intricate ornaments, all different types and styles. None of it seemed especially interesting, and Vaza almost continued on her way before something caught her eye. She squinted at it for a few moments, puzzled, her subconscious screaming while her tired mind struggled to catch up.

Then recognition set in.

And gave way to rage.

She ripped open the case, slamming the lid against the wall so ferociously that the glass cracked. Her quivering fingers clawed around one of the objects within, raising it tentatively towards the light cast by her soulsword. It was something familiar yet almost forgotten, a mundane piece of her history that she’d thought lost long ago. Something she’d never expected to see again, let alone here of all places.

It was a simple pendant, a diamond-shaped piece of green crystal with gold filigree coiled across it, forming the serpentine figure a Kanohi Dragon. The style and materials were all too familiar to Vazaria; the ancient sword slung across her back had a blade made of the same crystal, a handle adorned with the same gold, and was emblazoned with dragons in the same design. The two objects had come from the same place, been created through the same techniques.

Every craftswoman in Vazaria’s clan had been required to make a pendant like this one as part of her training, to wear with pride as a showcase of her skill. They’d been a common sight during Vazaria’s upbringing, though of course she’d been too young to make her own at the time, and Destiny had denied her a chance to ever learn. Still, she understood enough to know that each pendant was unique. Irreplaceable. Valuable beyond words, but only as a memento to its maker. No self-respecting crafter would have ever sold or bartered her pendant away. To have wound up this far from home it could only have been taken by force… and there was only one night that could have happened.

The soulsword dissipated in Vazaria’s grasp, plunging the room into darkness as she cradled the tiny piece of crystal in her shaking hands. Unbidden tears welled in the corners of her eyes as realisation crashed down upon her like a tidal wave.

The warriors who’d wiped out her clan had undoubtedly done so in the name of the empire, but they hadn’t worn their allegiance openly. They’d carried no colours, borne no banners, bringing only cold knives and hot torches.

It had taken decades for Vazaria to recover, train, and accrue the confidence and currency required to investigate her family’s fate. By then the leads had long gone cold. Still, she’d searched, always hoping she would find something, a whisper or a witness that could lead her to answers. Though plenty of clans supported the empire, fewer of them would have been willing to wipe out another clan merely for the crime of speaking out against imperial rule. She’d investigated each clan as best she could in the months before her fateful trip to Odaiba, but never found any evidence to link them to her family’s fall.

Now she understood why she’d never found anything.

Her clan’s killers had met their own fate before she’d even started searching for them.

A howl of wordless rage wrung itself from her throat as she brought her clenched hands crashing down on the case, showering the floor with wooden splinters and glass shards. With bloodied hands she shoved the shattered cabinet aside and slumped against the wall, sliding slowly to the floor as she sobbed.

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[Hanaloi, North Cove (Fanai/NPC)]

The exhausted expedition boarded the ship with the same grim silence that now hung over the island.   Even the crew, who knew nothing of what had transpired, could sense the miasma of fear and despair that hung over the place.  Fanai stayed by the side of the fallen Kaazi as the expedition leaders discussed sailing plans in urgent, hushed tones.

In the space of a few minutes, the crew pulled anchor and hoisted sail, absent the usual conversation and colorful curses that normally accompanied an undocking.  The expedition boat caught the night breeze, bringing it up an away from the cove.  Then the helmswoman turned the wheel, the steady splash of oars began, and the vessel swung around to the south, to where the last of the Kaazi lay caught in a terrible choice.

OOC: @Keeper of Kraata

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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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  • 2 weeks later...

IC: Hanaloi

Hambra took the canteen back, taking her own swig. She'd miss the Hanaloi spring water; it was a curious thing to miss, out of all she had lost, and yet more she had yet to bid farewell to. "Please, Koshi Zrupgar; we have let our own paranoia isolate us from our true kin. Say your piece, we will listen.

 

Somei continued with her work coaxing a twisted form of animation back into the castle's carvings. Once, the halls had been tastefully subdued, imitating the Gardens of Sado or views of an idealized ocean. Some of these returned, but were twisted and darkened with Zataka's vision of what an idealized Kentoku looked like. Others were replaced by an oppressive darkness. The castle represented something of the past; she would remake it into something of the future.

OOC: @Goose @Nato G @Mel

The times, they are a-changing...

 

 

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IC: Caana (Mashtet Fortress)

Caana was no stranger to death; she had watched the light fade from her own mother's eyes when she was only a girl, and she had still to reach adulthood when she slew her aunt.

Those deaths, those killings, were as bloody as they were personal. They inured her to what would follow; war was a relief, compared to what she had already experienced. A battlefield littered with corpses was a kind of death that was indifferent and anonymising, and as such could never compare to the horrors of the Ronin's childhood.

Yet still, she found herself as unnerved as she was moved by the sight that awaited her beneath the well. To the world above, the Mashtet had simply vanished; how many times had their surviving kin walked upon the soil above, oblivious to the mass grave that lay beneath their feet?

It dawned upon her only then that she had been mistaken; Hanaloi was haunted, and it was its loneliness that made it so. These catacombs were an underworld, forever hidden from the land of the living by only a thin barrier of dirt and stone. On Hanaloi, the living and the dead lay inches apart, close enough to touch, and still alone.

She suppressed a shiver and moved on, walking with purpose into the bowels of Jigoku.

OOC: @Mel @Keeper of Kraata

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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[Hanaloi, Mashtet Fortress (Falki)]
When Caana found her way into the chamber of imprisoned kraata, Falki had already started work.   The koshi zrupgar was systematically wrapping the stones in cloth bandages and stuffing them into her pack and clothing, seemingly heedless of the heat.

OOC: @a goose

[Hanaloi, Kaazi Camp (Semeraed)]
Semeraed looked at the assembled Kaazi, her one remaining eye fixed ahead as if she was seeing something else.

“Listen to me cousins, when I say I know what you are loosing.   I watched my home burn in the distance as we fled, the only home I had ever known.  The Kuychar lost much that day, but we survived.  Houses can be built wherever there is land to stand on, but we can not have homes without people.  If you leave, you will leave your houses, but you will carry home inside of you.   If you stay, they will take everything from you, all the people you love.”

Her voice quavered as Falki’s face, horribly transformed, flashed in her mind, but she pushed on, forcing it to grow louder.

“We are not Imperials.   We need not follow their order, submit to their power, or die for their honor.  We have only one virtue.  We survive, survive and continue our stories.  When your ancestors came here, it was out of that hope.   It was not so you could die for their choices, but to live on to continue their legacy.  We have already lost so much.   Let us not loose more.”

OOC: @Keeper of Kraata

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: A̴͕̺͐͝ġ̸̡̖̝͔ë̷̠͎̫̠̈́ṙ̴̖̚u̴̻̅̾̀ ̴͇̻̹̏͊̍̿͜Ś̸̭͛́h̷̘͎̝͆̕i̵͇͓̦̱̓͆̑̀ǩ̸͇́̾̃̓ͅi̷͓̺̖̖̝̕ (F̴̧͇̩͚̦̓̄̿́̂ơ̶͉̎͊̊̕ŗ̴̯͛t̴̘̗̦̜͊̅̈ ̴̤̞̾̄̾͝K̸̨̲̔̿͂i̶͔̞̫͜͝ż̵̡̢͎͙̰̾̎̈́u̴̥͕͇̝̟͗̾͂̓͋n̵̥̗͌o̶̫͈̳̽̿̎『S̵̲̣͒̐̎̍̀̌̈́͝͝h̸̨̥̖͖͈̼̻̰̯̹͎́̒͋̈́̒͂̌̀̒̐͌͝͝į̷̨̻̹͔̠̤͖͍̈̈̆̈́̈́̈́͂́͘ͅk̸̼̮̋͆̊͛͘̕i̵̧̖͍͓͕͇̝̱͖̼̳̤̣̾̌̈͐,̸͓͉̭̗̾̔͒̍̔̍̇̕ ̷̫͈͖̦̹͉̞̲̔͗̌̾̑̋͆́͆ͅḐ̷̤͔̪̞͖̭̜̮͖̩̦̫̪́a̵̡̧̭͕̙̺͖̖̻̖͕͛̂̃͛̑̔͘͝u̵͈͓̖͕͇̱̦̣͚̹̓g̸̳̻͚̙̗͇͑͛̆̌͒̈́̓͋̍̿̓̚h̷̜̞̩̬̣̥̅̋̿͛̈́̉̍̓͝͝t̴̖͉͖͋͂̋̊̈́̇͘e̶̛͇̝͗͛͐͆̎̔̈́̋̈́̂̐̂͠r̸̙͙̗̻̉̅̔̉͒̏̽̿̑̐̿̎̚ ̴̡̣̝̝̦͔̆̊̈́͂̕͝ͅͅͅo̷̧̱̬̩̤̬̞̦̹̟͔͈̱̭͙͇͑͂̿̈́̆̿̕̚f̸͕̥̠̱̺̀͛̾̀̆̽̚ͅ ̷̛̪̮̥̥̳͍̼̤͉̺͚̿̐̆̋͂͆̀̐̐̋̕̕͝S̷͙͓͚̫̘̗̣̯͔͋ä̷̡̝̰̮̤̪̩̺̀̋̽̊̈́͌s̵̤̩̳̗̹̪͓̝͍͑̈́͂̊͘̚͠a̴̧̨̼̱̲͚͍̭̝͖̬͈̲̟͈̞͆̅̃͛̊̇̏͛̚k̷͔͇͉̫̣̝̈́̋́̍̌͝ï̵̼̤̦̤͎̱̤͔̦̌̏̔͒͘̕͜』)

 

————————————————————————————

————————————————————————————————————

————————————————————————————————————KKKKHHHH!

 

 

My breath...

I can't—

It's the thunder.

Each rumble is like a hammer on the brain in my skull, each flash of lightning within a spike through my nerves. The pressure is enormous. I can't think straight, and each time I try and right the ship, the inky darkness that's choking the sun, choking me, topples me over. It pours from the earth, from the lake, from the sky, from the shade of our willow, enveloping all that has become of who I am— 

"Kahkh—!"

Somewhere to my right, in a ring around me around our willow and lake, I feel an unseasonable heat. The corner of my vision is tinged with red. The pain? Blood from the pressure? It's hard to tell. But...

A crackle, audible. It's familiar, too familiar. I know what that sound is. But I know no rain is to come and save us. 

Fire... That was the source.

However.

:Kila...n...ya...:

No matter where I look, the inky shadows are snuffing the light.

All light.

As it comes from the blaze, as it comes from our eyes, as it comes from the heart... it's all being choked, same as me. A thick, coiling darkness— like smoke, it's blanketing our surroundings until only a dim glow can pierce the haze. A dull crimson line in the distance, errant and sporadic enough to make the smoke dance. Shadows beneath a cracking flame...

I can't see her. I can, through my swimming, disoriented mind, make out the patch of blue within the dark, and try to crawl towards it. But I can't see her form, her face, her reaction. The blanket of black continues to expand, and with it, the pressure. I'd already doubled over from seiza in that instant it hit us, but...

:...-ren...shi...:

It's no use. The weight of the void pounds me flat, threatening to crush my skull to a pulp if I try and force more motion out of my body. I can almost feel it sinking into the firmament, the Earth that Is Me, as my mental self is pressed into the soil. Thoughts erupt, unbidden, with each smidge of dirt uncovered...

y̴̫̝͚̟̦̤̫̎̈́̉̈́̈́ǫ̷̡̺̘̠̗̹̝͈̦̟̤͒́̊͜͜u̶̧̧̢͕̱̤͉̖͇̖͚͚̣̜̪̻͑̑̋̄̈́͝a̵̳̩͔̙̜͇͙͔̘̲̎̉̀͋͑̆͆̂̅̂͌̔̀͑̒̚͘ŕ̸̢̛̬͎̙̮͇̺̝͚͍̰̔̾̍̑̾̾͝e̸̤͒͑̒͌b̸͖̺̣͕̭̗̣̾̐̅͌͝ú̷̧̧̡̝̻̬̳͍̥̣̥̮̥̖̻̑̋̐͐̈́̑̅̾̏͛̌͠ͅţ̵̢͎͓͙̼̣̼̯͍̠̭̥̬̞̰͖́̇̂͛̄́̑̐̉̍̈́̚͝a̸̘̿͊͂̈̀͊̓̓͒̒͘̚͝͝ś̵͈̆͗̄̽ḭ̵̹͎̺̞̟̋̌̔̀͂m̵̨̧̠̼̗̬̺̼̰̹̙͙͎͈̬̟̾̾̌̽̾̍̓ͅp̶̢̱̭̰̮͈̦̳̮̖͍̟̳͚͚͗̾̍̋̉l̸̯͌͒̂͌̊̂̆̎̕e̶̡͕̞͓̟̜̍̅̍̈̉̊t̸͇̝͖̱̻͗̐͗̊͑̓̓̔͒͘͠o̴̧͕͓̫̝̭̥̫̮̤̎̅̚o̶̝̙͈̫̿̈̏͐́̈̎͂͑͂̈́͌͝͠ľ̷̜̗̗͖̪̰̯̼̯̤̪̰̋̇̽̅̈̆͝y̸͚̙̌͂̈́̽́͝͠͝o̶̡̧̖̖͚̤̥̮͂̀͐̂̎͗̋͐̈́̍̄̄̑͋̈͝͝ų̴͕̞̻̮̝̭̀̀͛̀̅͆̎̌n̴̙̹̬͖̞̭̹̓̉̍̈́͗͐͒̀̓̄͒͘͠g̶̣̞̯̈͜ṁ̵̡̛̘̪̬̜̠̠͌̓̍̃͊̅͆̊̂͠ì̵̘͇́̔̑̏̏̔͜͝͝s̷͙͋̒̏̎̈́͛͊̀̽̾̍͂̈́̽̏͛t̶͕̔̀̓̂̃̒͋̈̃̑̍̕ͅą̶̨͖̘͇̥̠̳̯̲̬̳̘͎̥̂̅̒͝k̶̡̫̜̹͚̺̠̣̲̦̙̭̉͛̚ȩ̶̡̜̖͓̟̬̯̣̠̪̖̘͇̈̒̆͗̉̓̒̑́̆̈́͛̍̄́ͅn̸̠͔̘̰͉̣̩͇̝̊ͅa̴̡̠̥̱͇̭͙̠͔̪̗̼̠̜̍͒̓̽̽͗̏̆͑̊̿̈͘̚͝u̸͙̜̓̔͐t̵̡̡͍̺̤̥̆̾͑͌͆̃̾̏̑̇͂͂́͐̚ô̸̪̙̘̞͚͔͝m̶̛̛̤̟̯̩̖̩̯̩̰͖͉̗̳͒̎͂́̑̿̍͒̉̑̂̇̚ͅa̸̛̼̝̯̺̮̪̾̔̑́̚͘̚̚͘͠t̴̢͖̳͓̫̼̜͙͉͓̳̺̻̬̹̻̅̈́̈́̽͛̄̐͌̒̿͒͜͠͝o̴̼͇͐͑̽̀͆̍̋̾̎͐͗̊͝n̴̙͍̗͚̰̪̘͇̙̻̥̄̀͜t̸̙̻̳̬͕̣̲̗̯̪̯̫̥̻̬̗͖̃͒͆̄͗́̇̓̾̓h̸̖̫̮͓̜͚̝̼̤͑͝e̵̡̗̽͛̆̅̈́͒̎̄̈̂̋͋͘ṟ̶̇̓̇́̌̓̈̕e̴̡̪͙̺̗͖͙̘̙̙̖̜̩͗̐͋̓̽̽͜͜i̴̳̬̰͇̤̝̱͕̍̾̀̂͊̈͜ͅs̴̢̱̞̪̰͉͇͙̮̀͝ͅṋ̷̢̛̦͎̩̟̪̫̼̬́̊̍̆͒͘͝͠ǫ̴̙̘̟͕̝̝͋̈́͊̇͜ͅs̸̜̫̼̲̰̄e̷̡̢̧̲̖̗̤̯͍͖̞̜̳͎̿̈͆l̵̡͚̲̫̜͓͑ͅf̸̡̨̢̛̛̪̱̠͙̳̼̼̩̭̄̈́̍̌͒̀͑̈̇̑̆̀̕͝b̷͕̣̜̖̘̽̓̄̈͒̔͒͌̿̔͝ͅę̴̱̪̩̮̅̏͑n̶̢̬̹̝̯͖͇͔̘̱̫̺͕͕̱̰̞̈͒̈́̂́̓̐͑̀̿͘͠ȅ̶̘͜͠͝ą̴̠̟̫̼̟̠̲͍̲̙̱̰͚̠̅̉͊͜ṯ̶̢̢̛̪̳͎̮͕͇̰̰̭̒̽́͌͗̎̎̋͒͆̎̾͗̽͘̕ḩ̶̨͉̱̘̳͖̳͖̲̆̊̉̄ÿ̷̨̞̺̗̣̮̬̲̙̞́͒͑ǫ̴̝̟͕͕̤͈̦̼̬͒̓̇ư̷͈̜̫̻̈͂́͂͊̔͒̈́̈́̓̕̕͠͠ṟ̸̡̯̼͔̇̋͋͆̆̐̌̆̆͛̀̌͐̓̚͠m̴̛͕͙̟̠͓̞̟͓͍̦͎̒̓͒̐̉̒̐̿͑̕̕͝͝͝ͅị̶̢̛̗̣͌̐̈̇̒̿͂͜͝ͅn̸̢̼̠͕̥̠͓̮̬̳̳̺̝̱̦̦͉͑͛̓d̷̘̠̳̰͕̞̗̞̹́̀́̈́̆̓͌͌̽̚͝

But I can't decipher them. I don't think I really want to. That's beside the point anyway— I don't really think. I can't manage that.

I'm never going to reach my Toroshu. Not like this.

It's only through my link with her that I know.

I know what this is.

I know... ẃ̷̧̩͖͈̺̞̙͍̟͎̭̥͊̌̓̃̐̈́̿̿́̏̿͘̕͠h̸̡̢̟̭͍̮̹̫̦͎̻̠̞̒̀̊͑͗̈́͠͝͠͝ȍ̶̹̠̣̮̲̫̼̥̻̭͎͉̻͉̐̂̂̊́͋̎̐̓̀̅̕͘͝ this is.

It wasn't Her problem whether or not I did, but this is my Mind. All that happens here is something I feel.

I felt this arrival. I feel its pressure. I feel its weight— and I feel its power.

I feel Kilanya through this link, so carefully forged between her. I can feel her fear, her anger, her worry, but most of all... I can feel her knowledge, terrifying in its surety, flowing through me in a way she would never allow if it hadn't become this.

The wind is not hers any longer. It buffets like a storm, carrying the smoke into my face into my nose, into the tight throat and lungs I'm clutching at, trying to get the vicegrip off.

It doesn't take. Even this effort is clouding my vision further with red.

I can feel my heart hammering, a thousand taiko in procession. The curtain of blood slides over my sight, growing thicker and then receding back into formless black with each pulse. It's like a dye spilled into the ocean, melting within the murky depths.

My body knows this feeling.

Something terrible is watching me. Something I can't escape, no matter how purely my body comprehends the danger. It's meaningless. The threat is within me. What can I do, against a foe that has breached into my Soul?

A languid Kanohi Dragon? No.

I am a field mouse, caught in the gaze of a lurking viper.

I am prey.

I don't want to admit it, but I can't do anything.  I'm spellbound. Paralyzed.

The pain has eclipsed pain, and melted into numbness. Dye in the ocean. Over and over.

I am not a sapling. Kilanya is not a willow.

We are leaves in the tempest.

 

:::Ageru.:::

 

At once, my blood turns to ice.

The Quenching Dark... She speaks with a voice like a landslide above my head.

The flickering of the blaze ends.

 

:::Kilanya.:::

 

The flames have not ceased. Their dull, blood-colored glow is constant now. The mind's eye of my Mind's Eye... I imagine them to be as carvings etched into wood. A capsule of a single moment.

The heat they brought has frozen too. All they serve to do now is... lengthen the shadows.

A hope I know she can rip away, the moment it stops amusing her.

Why here?

Why like this?

 

:::It's time we spoke, O Rakumetsu Toroshu.:::

 

My muscles are numb. My mind itself is numb. I can feel a dullness that my inner light, however esoteric and faint, has never had to fight through.

And still.

"——————"

My numb lips name her, and I feel every character.

She is the  Shadow that brings Final Night when we Die.

:::Time you became useful.:::

Zataka.

And I go alight, realizing against my wishes, against my most desperate prayers, what I'm up against.

The pressure, the terror, the immense sense of imminent dread that cakes my every thought and action hasn't receded at all. If anything, it's even stronger now. I had previously believed the worst case scenario was in utterly failing my Toroshu as a student— but now, it very well could be that I get her killed instead of disappointed in me. 

That I can't allow.

That I can't abide.

That I can't even acknowledge as possible. 

Her voice may speak the nom de guerre Kilanya has earned for herself as a taunt, yes, like a schoolyard bully sneering a nickname back in your face— but I know all too well what it really means.

Every night, those walls I repair have stood firm against this primordial Dark's sons, and every morning, I see to it that they stand firm the next. I know that my fight can't compare to theirs. To the walls. To Kilanya, a hero in the catacylsm our noble empire has suffered, who takes the fight to those enemy demons. She may mock what they do, what they have done—

But it's because of them that the threats are held at bay, long enough for people like me, like Yumiri, like the forewoman, like the diaspora of Chand, Long, and countless other people of Odaiba... Long enough for us to see a tomorrow. Even through the dark and cold nights. Those who stayed and fought to protect, guide, and save those of us who could do nothing but stay and fight...

:Ngh.:

Pushing out of the numbness and back into pain, I grit my teeth as my fingers close around this concept, written on the grass beneath me. I'm still being choked by the thick smoke, still carrying the weight of an entire dominating presence upon my own.

But I know the feeling now. It's not a surprise anymore, so I can fight it.

—She didn't earn such an unannounced visit out of unimportance.

I know that much. 

My other arm, without nearly the strength to do so, reaches out and grabs the next patch anyway, dragging me along. Like an inchworm I continue, forcing down an urge to vomit from the terror I'm... Am I even ignoring it?

No. I can't.

That's why I'm moving.

I'm terrified of what will happen if I do, but also terrified of what will happen if I don't.

She said she would make use of her. 

If she waited until now... something here was making Kilanya vulnerable. Malleable. A card had fallen from her hand, to be used against her in this moment as opposed to all others. Something that'd have her dance to the darkness's tune. I'm pretty dumb, I know that— But I don't need to be brilliant to figure out why now is different from any other time since Odaiba erupted.

I reach my hand forward— and feel it. Gnarled bark, long swept smooth by wind, rain, and water, extending high into the gloom.

My undignified dragging on the stomach has finally taken me to the source.

I know, deep down, that it's me. I'm the reason this move was made now, after so many weeks of detachment. I'm a bargaining chip... and a bridge into a mind so carefully guarded. It has to be that, right? If that weren't the case, then this kind of attack would have happened far before I entered the picture. But with such a link between us established, that creeping umbra could step through the partition.

And while she was stuck projecting here... Kilanya would be unable to properly defend herself.

She had too good a heart. I can feel it.

The devil would use me... so she could make use of her.

Something hot rises up within me again. The red returns to the corners of my vision. An explosion, pushing out on all sides against the heavy blanket of instinctive terror.

I can't help myself, even though I know it's foolhardy.

:Do not... make me... a hostage... in my own... head!:

If it makes me mad, I have to fight it somehow.

Stretching myself to the absolute limit, I press my hands against the bark of the willow and push.

I know I'm not the important one in this scenario. That's the whole point. It's my Toroshu the twisted darkness wants, I don't matter.

So if she can't get her, I've done more for the fight than any training could ever allow me.

Edited by Razgriz
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IC: Caana (Beneath the Mashtet Fortress)

The Ronin took a breath and steeled herself against the heat before she entered the main chamber. Oppressive though the temperature was, showing weakness would be unwise.

"Falki. You left before we had a chance to speak."

OOC: @Mel

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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 Yuna - Oki Village

"Okay, I'll get it up from the mud, then you guys pull it ashore. Then we can get it emptied out and patched up. Just uh... Will hammer me when you're ready, I guess?"

I shrugged, then turned and stepped into the water before anyone could question me about it.

I was about to do the hardest thing I'd ever done with my abilities and I hoped to Zuto Nui that it wouldn't seem too out of place.

A surge of bubbles erupted from my mask as I drove under, a few easy kicks propelling me down to where the ship was entrenched in the sandy mud of the dock.

I floated serenely for a moment, letting the subtle underwater currents wash across me and soothe my mind and body.

And then I got ready.

 

Edited by The UltimoScorp
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IC: Ahri - Oki Village

The sole male in the group of misfits occupied himself while everyone else got ready by finding a suitable place for Raika to rest; someplace shaded, but also visible enough from the beach. After he had gently laid down Raika, Ahri wandered closer to the shore near the capsized vessel they were salvaging, stretching; even using Mindarm in concert with the others, lifting an entire waterlogged boat was still quite a feat. Waiting on the dock, Ahri began deep breathing to center himself; he didn't want to tire himself out.

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

Edited by Keeper of Kraata

The times, they are a-changing...

 

 

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[Hanaloi, Mashtet Fortress (Falki)]

It seemed Falki’s pack was full.   She shouldered it, examining Caana with her hard, ruby eyes.

“Did we need to?”

OOC: @a goose

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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 (Beneath the Mashtet Fortress)

She stepped aside, so that Falki might lead the way. So shortly after their last confrontation, and without a firm grasp on how the tarnish upon the masks of her allies worked, she had no intention of leaving her back open to the Dashi.

"Yes, we do. I wish to discuss your… potential."

OOC: @Mel

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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: Yoka and Ikyazu

She laid the tonfas, as well as her excess baggage and glaive down a ways up the beach, before wandering closer to the wreck they aimed to salvage. She wasn't optimistic about its future use, but- as seemed to be becoming a habit now- she went along, seeing no better alternative. Ikyazu's invisible form drifted under the water, curiously observing Yuna, as well as the boat they were about to lift.

Yoka steadied herself with a breath, widening her stance, and closing her eyes. She let her mind calm, then reached out, stirring the air in front of her with her Mindarm in an elemental equivalent of a warm-up stretch.

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

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  • 2 weeks later...

IC: Chand Kura - Odaiba - Western Wilderness

With a long sustained breath, I blew the sparks into flames, watching them jump from the dry grasses to the kindling as Hyan-Fei approached, bearing three fish in hand. I looked up to see a curious expression on her face, one that I knew mirrored my own. For a moment, I thought it was best to ignore this, and I said with a smile, and little wink, "If all the clans were as skilled as you with that fishing rod, Odaiba would elude the need of farmers and hunters. They could retire easily." But I felt my smile evaporate, and after poking at the flames and watching the light catch her expression again, I changed my tune. If there was doubt in her mind, and in mine, maybe it was best that I stop pretending, and instead make an effort to understand one another. And to tell the truth.

"Hyan-Fei, I made a mistake..." I began again, "I've kept my true purpose and feelings from you. I've been afraid that if you knew, you might choose to leave, and the fear of being alone out here led me to lie. But if you hear the truth now, and we part ways, I won't stop you, and think nothing less of you." I put my hands together and bowed my head in respect, "I only ask you give me the chance the be honest now, and make up for my mistake from our first meeting."

OOC: @Zasshu ok i'm actually back for real this time LET'S GOOOOO

Edited by Palm
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| BZPRPG Profiles |

 

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IC (Ageru Kilanya) [Fort Kizuno, Odaiba]

By rights, a mighty tree anchored by deep-sunk roots should have been immovable to the strength of a girl. But even intruded upon by two far more powerful presences, one benign and one decidedly otherwise, this mindspace was still Shiki's, and it was her will that defined its rules.

The gnarled bark shuddered momentarily against her touch, then shifted. The earth split and crumbled as the willow's roots were tugged upward, their pale brown limbs beginning to peek through the loam. The tree creaked and swayed in protest; the eyes of Kilanya's avatar widened as she felt a challenge to the grip of her Will — not from the Shadow, but from the girl. Then confusion gave way to clarity.

Of course. The link. It's using the link.

The willow's hold on the earth loosened. Shiki's push stayed firm. The tree moved further upwards, shaking soil from its roots as they were torn one by one from the hillside, until—

Tree and lake and hill and Shadow were gone. Kilanya's eyes snapped open, and were greeted with the same sun-drenched clearing her mind had departed mere moments (minutes? seconds? the passage of time was hard to gauge in such spaces) ago. The air was calm, bearing only the sounds of her training soldiers and the faint rustle of wind in the trees. All, it seemed, was as they'd left it.

She looked across at Shiki: eyes still closed, face still taut with the desperate concentration it had taken to break the link between their minds, and with it, the backdoor that had let the dark presence in. Getting back to her feet, the Toroshu reached out with one hand to squeeze the girl's shoulder.

"Well done," she whispered.

Well indeed. Kilanya marvelled for a moment at how quickly the girl had realised the nature of the intrusion — more quickly than she herself — and how bravely she had mustered her will to stop it. Her instinct had been right: there was more potential to this seemingly laggard student than met the eye.

But this wasn't over yet. The psychic link was no more, but an intrusion of such power could not help but leave a ripple on the mental plane, a broken thread she could trace back to its source. Her gaze was drawn across the grass to the trees at the clearing's edge, to the darkness of their branches...where she found shapes. Lithe, sharp-edged, spiked and spined. A hint of purple amid the dappled shadows. A glow of serpentine eyes, fixed on her.

The attention of every Dasaka in the training ground, no matter how deep in meditation or locked in sparring, was seized by their commander's bellow.

"RAHKSHI!"

Edited by Ghosthands
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  • 3 weeks later...

IC: Raika

 

The small Menti opened their eyes. Sunlight, golden and soft, washed across their face. Stretching, they climbed out of bed and wrapped themself in a simple lavender yukata. Tying the sash clumsily, they pushed the door to their room open. They dashed down the hallway into the kitchen…

 

This was not the kitchen. It was the weathered and pungent insides of the village's tanning hut. Lance butts pounded on the house's door. The sunlight, butter yellow, now flickered and was accompanied by choking smoke and unspeakable burning smells.

 

A single figure braced the door, a glimmering shield of psionic force laid flat against it. The figure turned toward the robed dasaka and called out desperately,

 

"Reiun! Run! Run and don't look back. Run, I'll find you. I'll find you-"

 

Reiun knew what would happen next. A blade punched through the door, blazing with psionic force. They could never recall if the blade had actually speared their dearest friend, the wail had been hers after all. 

 

But it always was in The Dream.

 

They ran. They turned, and in cowardly fear sprinted towards the hut's rear door. Towards escape…

 

But when they turned around, the room was gone. They were back in the forest where the serpent had nearly overcome them.

 

The serpent lay before them. Dead. Multiple semi-melted gashes in its armored hide oozed sizzling green-black ichor.

 

There was a sound from behind them. It was as familiar as their own heartbeat.

 

It was the sound of sandstone scraping against crystal.

 

As they turned, they realized their daggers were not strapped at their waist. They were still wearing their lavender yukata, hem now catching on weeds and brambles. 

 

Seated cross-legged behind them was a figure. It wore gold and azure armor. A tattered red scarf was wrapped around its neck. Its gaze was fixed on the slender, delicately curved protocrystal dagger it was carefully honing with its whetstone. A flask of water and a strip of greyed but clean linen lay to one side.

 

The figure looked up, its eyes glimmering behind its mask. 

 

 

Like the eyes of a Muaka through a midnight forest.

 

"Best wake up, little Menti," it spoke, its voice like silk across a stiletto's blade. "Plenty enough demons in the waking world."

 

 

 

Raika sat bolt upright, gasping. Their heartlight strobed frantically as panic slowly released its hold on their body.

 

Scrabbling onto hands and knees, they dragged their mask from their face and let out several ragged, gagging coughs. Had they any food in their stomach it would have poured onto the ground. As it was, their throat and mouth burned with the acrid taint of bile.

 

Still shaking slightly, Raika forced themself to calm down. Slowly, the room around them came into focus. Surprisingly, for the first time in several days they also felt their heartlight beginning to slow as they calmed down. 

 

After a minute or so, the wiry menti lowered themself into a sitting position. Taking a flask from their scavenged satchel, they used a sparingly small swig to rinse the bile from their mouth. After spitting this on the ground they forced themself to take a longer swig to quell the burning in their throat.

 

Calm now. Take stock. 

 

Judging from the sun, it seemed they had slept somewhere between three to five hours. Enough that their mind was no longer spinning, or their bones aching feverishly anymore.

They looked around their chaparral surroundings. They had been laid down on a bed of soft, silvery leaved plants that smelled very slightly of sage as they warmed in the sun. They idly lifted their mask and, more carefully, placed it once more over their face. Relief, and the usual intoxicating buzz of warmth and confidence from this action,  was enough to banish the final demons of her bad dreams.

 

Looking towards the shore, Raika saw their other party members working to repair a ruined seafaring vessel. They bit their lip contemplatively. Well… They had sought out traveling partners in the remaining panic of the serpent's attack. At that time the fear had felt like a living thing, slowly tightening its claws around her throat. Now, they were thinking much more clearly. 

 

And realized just how dangerous their situation had become.

 

Karzahni. Ahri, he's heard my voice before. If he remembers… well, he has one of my swords and my staff. I'll have to…

…what? Kill him? No, never again. Never. He… he trusts me. Maybe… everything's gone to blazes anyway. Maybe the old alliances won't matter. And besides, they chuckled to themself, who would suspect a spindly little thing like me to be the Wraith?

 

Raika strapped their dagger back to their waist, and slung their pack over one shoulder as they stood up. Pausing a moment to scrape some sand over where they had spit, the tiny menti made their way to the group by the shore.

 

Stepping quietly next to Ahri, they spoke as calmly as they could: .:Good afternoon, Ahri. Are things going well?:. 

OOC: Still massaging past names, sorry for any inconsistency.

 

@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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  • 2 weeks later...

IC Yuna Koizumi - underwater - ruined Oki Village:

Okay, here goes nothing.

I stretched out, feeling the currents and eddies around me. 

All I had to do was make one of my own. One that would dislodge the boat from the mud. Without breaking it any further in the process.

No sweat, I could do that.

The water swirled around me, something I chose to believe was because I was preparing myself, and definitely not an attempt to calm my nerves.

I blew out a stream of bubbles, and pushed.

Wood creaked and groaned as the wave of water heaved against it, slowly shifting the vessal free from the muck of the seabed.

That accomplished, I changed positions, and began drawing water out of the ship through the holes in the hull, which in turn drew air in through the section that still remained above the waterline. Hopefully between the natural buoyancy of the now less waterlogged ship, and Ahri's Mindarm mastery, the raising of the ship should be simple.

@Keeper of Kraata

 

Edited by The UltimoScorp
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IC: Ahri - Abandoned Oki Docks

The Mashtet had assumed a wide stance to center himself, but was physically straining. Distribute the mental load, let your muscles get the blood flowing so you don't have an aneurysm. The lessons taught in the Yard at Sado for Mindarms lifting heavy objects. He was a man; he was expected to be better with brute force, and while his daughter had certainly surpassed his Mindarm skill the last time he saw her - when was that? - Ahri wasn't used to lifting large objects. But a memory flickered like a candle in a darkened room, illuminating another forgotten moment: assisting the loggers on Hanaloi, he had been helping move individual pieces of timber. He had concentrated his Mindarm on a single point and let the rest move around his focal point.

Raika's voice whispered in his mind, and he noticed her in the corner of his vision. "I think... just... hold on." Ahri shifted his mindarm to a central beam of the derelict fishing boat, and from a combination of Yuna draining the water and the other mindarms at work, the majority of the vessel rose from the water, trailing seaweed.

"Bring it up into shallower water, carefully! We need room to start patching it!"

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

The times, they are a-changing...

 

 

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[Hanaloi, Mashtet Fortress (Falki)]

Falki raised an eyebrow, a cold smirk warring with the desire to remain in control of her face.

"What would that potential be?"

OOC: @a goose

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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 (Beneath the Mashtet Fortress)

"Combat, naturally."

It was a topic Caana had given a significant amount of thought, since realising the Dashi would now be fighting alongside her.

"You're skilled, clearly well-trained, and yet I believe you are capable of more. I suspect you do, too. By rights, I lost to you in our encounter; I made a critical miscalculation, and left myself at a disadvantage that you should have been able to press. Tell me: what was your mistake?"

OOC: @Mel

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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: Yoka and Ikyazu

Ikyazu, beneath the waves, drifted through the solid mass of the ship, evaluating it as best she could through the murkiness and low light. As the mass began to move, she flitted out and into the dry air, where Yoka had begun to aid the other mindarms. [There is a sturdy central beam that could make for a good fulcrum,] she informed her partner silently.

Yoka made no overt sign of having heard, but Ikyazu knew she had. The Menti in their shared body had felt Ahri's mental elemental energy coalescing around a section of the beam, and was able to further stabilize and aid with the movement by gripping it farther down, distributing the pressure of their effort more evenly.

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

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IC: A̴͕̺͐͝ġ̸̡̖̝͔ë̷̠͎̫̠̈́ṙ̴̖̚u̴̻̅̾̀ ̴͇̻̹̏͊̍̿͜Ś̸̭͛́h̷̘͎̝͆̕i̵͇͓̦̱̓͆̑̀ǩ̸͇́̾̃̓ͅi̷͓̺̖̖̝̕ (F̴̧͇̩͚̦̓̄̿́̂ơ̶͉̎͊̊̕ŗ̴̯͛t̴̘̗̦̜͊̅̈ ̴̤̞̾̄̾͝K̸̨̲̔̿͂i̶͔̞̫͜͝ż̵̡̢͎͙̰̾̎̈́u̴̥͕͇̝̟͗̾͂̓͋n̵̥̗͌o̶̫͈̳̽̿̎『S̵̲̣͒̐̎̍̀̌̈́͝͝h̸̨̥̖͖͈̼̻̰̯̹͎́̒͋̈́̒͂̌̀̒̐͌͝͝į̷̨̻̹͔̠̤͖͍̈̈̆̈́̈́̈́͂́͘ͅ)

 

I strain.

I strain.

My mind, body, and will, all far too meager for such a task. Unable to stand against the alien invader, corrupted Night. Unable to stand against even the benevolent roots that firmly dig into the soil of Me that stands beneath me.

This is a desperate measure for a desperate time. Ability doesn’t matter—

Necessity takes all precedent.

“Ngh—“

I strain.

I strain…

…And feel the link sever. My Toroshu has realized now what my intent is, has realized what our third wheel wants. The earth is rent free as the roots retract, dusting into the maelstrom. The weeping willow, now like a beacon on the shore, disappears behind the storm, behind my skull. One way or another, she made it out. I’ve done what I can, so all that’s left is to reap the whirlwind.

Dragging myself to my knees, I feel crushed by contempt from the Force I am now alone with.

For a moment, I stare into a yawning abyss.

… And then the link rebounds, smacking me dead in the face. It’s like a cord pulled taut until just before the breaking point, then let go at the last moment. I’ve always figured that was more dangerous. The snapping would release some of the tension outward— here, I get hit with the full brunt, and the blackened world goes white and fuzzy.

Imagine sleeping on your leg. That tingling, shapeless numbness that always comes when you restrict too much bloodflow— that is what washes over my mind like tsunami.

Tingling, tumbling, end over end. There’s no boundary, shape, or solidity to it. A cloudy mess that can only come when your mind is barely working at all, when it needs to redetermine itself…

I may yet still be alone with the Goddess of the Abyss, but I won’t know unless she shows up of her own accord. The first thing I feel again instead of a presence…

“—ahkshi!”

Grass. Soft, cool grass.

I’m on my side. 

How did I end up here?

There’s a hint of salt on my… tongue? Nose?

I can’t tell. There’s no time—

“Uuuuurgh…”

a limb moves towards my mask, cupping the brow in a way i can almost feel on either end of the equation. It’s not really in any appreciable pain, not by my standards, but the sensation is probably worse.

i can send a message, but reading them is hard.

I can’t feel if i can flex my digits right yet. I can tell them to try, though, and my palm can feel grass.

if i pull myself, something drags behind me on two tracks, so my legs are both still here. in a great effort, I crane my head forward, off the ground—

Past me, other trainees and garrisoned soldiers are rushing ahead in a whirlwind of motion. I see crystalline axes, polearms. Soulswords of all stripes are sparking to life, bands of deadly aquamarine against the deeper blues of late evening.

That’s right.

Zataka. Rahkshi. Those aren’t rubies bobbing through the tree line. Not for a long time has there been occasion for bon odori

They’re coming for us. They’re coming for us, and I’m defenseless. On the best day, I’m limited as a military asset of any stripe—

But right now, if I stay here, as I am? I am liability.

It would be so simple for them to march right up and stab me. That’s going to be a concern on all my fellows mounting the defense here. Distracting. Deadly. I can’t do anything to curtail any of their foci— I need to move.

So, grimace on my face, I scrabble away. The movement is affecting my vision, which must not be fully back to me. Each scramble sends the picture swimming, but I can’t sit and wait on it. If my fingers are starting to get feeling back, my eyes will surely steady. 

Reaching wildly as I claw my way off, I feel my hand close around something sturdy and wooden. From the grip alone, I can tell it’s got a fair weight to it… 

Bokken.

A wooden sword is far from much— I don’t believe I ever heard of anyone, even the mighty Kanabo wielders off the coasts of Kozu, clubbing a Rahkshi to death.

I grunt and growl, urging myself on a half-cotton tongue upwards as I plant its tip into the earth. If nothing else, it’s a good cane to get me on my feet.

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[Hanaloi, Mashtet Fortress (Falki)]

Falki snorted.  “I know what you want me to say.  That I lost sight of the rest of my opponents when I focused on you.   But if I hadn’t done that—if I had hung back, I wouldn’t have seen the truth.   So no, I don’t think I made a mistake in that fight.   But I get the little lesson you’re trying to teach me, menti.  I used to care so much about those around me, about what I could see and hear and touch, and now I see that is a hindrance to the greater goal of ridding the archipelago of this pestilence that is the imperial state.”

She cocked her head, voice too flat to be mocking and too dry to be completely sincere.   “Is that enough?  Have I passed the test?”

OOC: @a goose

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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 (Beneath the Mashtet Fortress)

Caana chuckled wryly, shaking her head. “I fear you do not understand me quite as well as you may think, Falki. The test is a simple one, one that my own teacher gave me often; the goal is not to say what you believe I want you to say, but to introspect. In offering your own perspective on the fight, you reveal something of yourself, and open up further discussion.”

The Ronin paused for a moment, and then sighed.

“It is unwise to so readily dismiss what you were before. You have an opportunity to become greater than her, and greater than you are now, but only if you embrace both aspects of yourself: original, and opposite. Let them do battle in your mind. If one is weaker, consider how she must change in order to succeed; if they fight to a standstill, find what both have missed that could have led them to victory. You have a rare opportunity, Falki – my advice is to use it. Take both these versions of yourself, and use them to become something stronger than either could be alone.”

The moonlight above was visible, now; Caana had hardly noticed the bodies underfoot as she had walked with Falki.

“That is all I had to say. Take it or leave it, as you will, and I will respect your decision. I cannot force you to heed my words, nor would I want to; your path is your own to chart.”

OOC: @Mel

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[BZPRPG PROFILES]

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

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 9/2/2022 at 12:14 AM, Mel said:

[Sado, Streets(Morie)]
Outwardly, Morie remained as stoic as ever, but she was keenly aware of the aches in her joints, which were becoming ever more noticeable in lieu of Suzume’s dilly-dallying.  Surely this menti realized her mother was dead?   Then again, all clues pointed to common sense not being her strong suit.

Morie decided to advance stealthily, betraying only a hint of her annoyance in her tone of voice.

“What was your mother’s name?”


OOC: @Perp

 

IC: Suzume - Sado Streets 

The psionic abilities of Menti warriors meant that they didn’t need to physically strike their targets in order to cause damage. Each Discipline could accomplish this feat in their own unique ways. Soulswords could conjure weapons out of thin air; Mindarms could deliver a blow with a thought. Sighteyes could even trick people into hurting themselves.

For just a moment, Suzume wondered if Toroshu Morie was a Willhammer. It was a single one of her words that did the trick, finally driving that stake of fear all the way into Suzume’s gut. A single word that pierced through the fog of her swirling thoughts, bowling through her confusion beneath, and shattering whatever was left beyond that. The word in question?

‘Was.’ Not ‘is.’

Was. 

Her mother’s name?

She could barely get the words out.

“D-daikura Hi-hi-hiromi…”

Maybe it had been a slip of the tongue. People mixed up their words all the time. Was she reading into it incorrectly?

Didn’t matter. It was the seed crystal for panic, growing and growing and growing deep in her chest, threatening to overwhelm. If she didn’t get the words out now, it might be too late. That fear would travel up to her throat and stop up anything coherent.

“S-s-she… she’s an instructor at A-arohi…”

The small band of Menti accompanying Toroshu Morie seemed to grow in number, their ranks closing around her. Suzume could not help but feel trapped. Something was very, very wrong here. The primal instincts of fight or flight were becoming too strong to ignore, the animal part of her mind bidding her to act, despite the violent shivering that wracked her limbs and body.

As if it was a real choice between fight or flight. Could she even lift her arms? Probably not, and even if she could, there was no desire for confrontation, no minuscule mark of violent impulse etched into her soul. She could only do the one thing she had done her whole life – escape, and preferably before her knees buckled beneath her.

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IC: Long Hyan-Fei - Odaiba - Western Wilderness
Her cheeks color once again at Kura's compliment; to hide her blush, she puffs her chest out and adopts a proud expression.  "Hmph.  Have the farmers and hunters grown so incompetent that even I could bring home more food than them?" she boasts.  "For shame."  Her pride dissolves almost immediately after and she shares a chuckle and a smile with Kura, but as she kneels down to begin the process of gathering her equipment (mentally, she kicks herself for forgetting that she had a frying pan earlier) and cleaning their dinner, another silence stretches between them.  Not an amicable one like before, but a tense one, heavy with things unsaid and revelations begging to be shared.

Kura turns out to be the braver of them; she breaks the silence first, confessing to a hidden motive.  At this, Hyan-Fei frowns deeply.  Her good-natured annoyance with her companion evaporates, replaced by genuine frustration.  "That's no excuse," she says, pointing an accusing finger.  "If things really are as bad as you say they are, then there's more than enough fear about already.  You don't need to go adding to it by so obviously keeping things to yourself and then springing them on others like this.  You should have been honest from the start."  She pauses, letting her face soften slightly, before continuing.  "But I suppose... it's good that you're doing this sooner, rather than later.  What is it you want to tell me?"

OOC:
@Palm well that took... much longer than it probably should have lol

 

Edited by Zasshu
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IC: Chand Kura - Odaiba - Western Wilderness

At first I simply bowed my head lower while Hyan-Fei spoke, feeling some shame for my mistake. She was right, though, it was no excuse, and when she was finished I raised my head again, feeling the warmth of the fire on my face, "I am looking for survivors, that much has been true. But I have really been looking for my mother, a soko-woman, who I have not seen in many years. The last time we saw one another, we fought - worse than we ever had before. I said so many horrible things; she was weak, small-minded... I told her I hated her. My own mother, who raised me, taught me how to ride, how to smith crystal, weave - fight!" I looked up at the Mountain, and for a split second, I thought I saw some dark silhouette pass its visage, but relaxed when it seemed to only be a bird, "I thought I could live with my regret, that one day I would prove her wrong, return to her, that she would apologize and everything would be settled," I put a fist into my open palm, opening it and wiping two-flat hands together as if our conflict itself would wipe away as simply as that, "But now, I fear I will never have that chance, that she has been killed. And every day that passes, my fear grows. I have not had a restful sleep since the Mountain died, and I know she hasn't had a restful sleep since I said those things to her."

I paused, listening to the crackling of the fire, the hissing of moisture being chased out by the flame, "It took me far too long to leave the slope, and far longer I've scoured the horse-lands. My fear has kept me near this new danger, and now it's keeping you here too," I bowed my head again, "But most of all, I fear that she went looking for me all on her own, to the last place she knew I was going, all those years ago-" I pointed to the peak of mount Koshiki. This time, when something crossed it in the night sky, my heart skipped a beat, and I cut myself off. Was it really a bird I saw? I looked back to Hyan-Fei, with a worried scowl on my face.

"You didn't see that, did you?"

OOC: @Zasshu welcome back!

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| BZPRPG Profiles |

 

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[Hanaloi, Mashtet Fortress (Falki)]
“Fine,” Falki said, struggling not to sound petulant.   She was not Vazaria, so easily cowed and concerned with being the tip of the spear.   She knew how to fight, needed no fancy sword to prove it.  She had sensed that she had at least that in common with Caana.   Koshi zrupgar were forbidden the elaborate, flame bladed kris daggers.  They could not afford to be sentimental about their weapons.   They were weapons.  Her armor though, that was something…

She glanced sideways at Caana.  I admired her once, thought her a warrior that I could learn from.   Perhaps that part of her past self could be recovered.  She could learn from Caana, and Caana would learn from her.

And together, they would take this archipelago apart.

She offered a hand to the outcast Imperial menti as they both climbed out of the well.

OOC: @a goose

[Sado, Streets(Morie)]

::Daikura Hiromi? Do any of you know of that name?::

Morie’s idea-talk bounced around the motley crew of various menti.

OOC: @Perp

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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: Suzume - Sado Streets 

Pure thought bounced this way and that all around her, orbiting around the minds of the assembled Menti and slingshotting themselves in myriad directions, forming a criss-crossing web of call-and-response, a miniature cosmos of comets in a graceful dance. Suzume, as the gravitational foci around which these thoughts were redirected, only observed these pseudocosmic impressions as they passed – adding her own mental voice to the cacophony could only produce disharmonic eddies. She was too absorbed listening to the ideatalk, anyway. Notions of familiarity with her mother’s name sparked here and there, but no more than that. No spark of recognition, no memory of having crossed paths, not within the last week. Suzume’s chest grew tighter with every thought that passed between the Menti and herself and ultimately terminated when it reached Toroshu Morie. It took considerable effort not to shed tears.

They all knew nothing. Out loud, they said nothing. She said nothing.

The numbness began to creep into her limbs, extremities the first to succumb. Soon, she’d feel nothing.


OOC: @Mel

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IC Yuna - Oki Village:

Between the three of us, it all came together quite nicely, and soon enough the ship was beached high enough to keep it from slipping back under the water.

I popped up to the surface to give it a better look in the light of day.

"Well... She's definitely seen better days but I think we can get her floating again. Let's see... There, one of those shacks should have some basic supplies. We'll need the laquer at least. Might have to scavenge some material off the houses if there's not something to cover the holes with. Worst case, we start weaving a patch with the reeds."

@Keeper of Kraata  @Lady Takanuva @ARROW404 @Click

 

Edited by The UltimoScorp
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[Sado, Streets(Morie)]
“Her name is unknown to anyone here,” Morie said, abruptly and out loud.  “Should she still be alive, we can consult the other Daikura at the palace and find her.   Should she be dead, I have no doubt she would wish you to be safe.”

Her tone of voice indicated that, indeed, there was some doubt.

“Now, let us go.”

OOC: @Perp

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: Long Hyan-Fei - Odaiba - Western Wilderness
She sits with her brows drawn together and her hands folded in her lap, not moving beyond the occasional nod of acknowledgement as Kura tells her story.  Her companion seems strangely jumpy, yet at the same time relieved to unshoulder this burden.  For Hyan-Fei's part, the story tugs at her heartstrings enough to chase away some, but not all, of her previous frustration.  Kura's goal is a noble one, not worth hiding, in her opinion.

At Kura's sudden inquiry, Hyan-Fei follows her finger, gazes at the Mountain silhouetted in the fading light of day.  Perhaps it is just the dark closing in, but she sees nothing in the air that would be cause for concern.  "No, I don't," she says.  "What are you talking about?"

Her own inquiry given, she allows another silence to stretch between them; in that time, she unpacks her smoking pipe, fills it with tobacco, lights it with a piece of kindling snatched from the campfire.  The plume of smoke she exhales forms a wide halo over both of their heads.  "And you thought I'd reject your motive... why?" she asks.  "Did you think I'd consider it selfish?  Well, I do, but I have no problem with that.  It's okay to be selfish every now and then.  You're searching for your mother because you want to ease your conscience; that's fine.  But you're also searching for her because you care about her, and I don't think anyone would have a problem with helping you do that."

She turns to look at the Mountain again.  "Well... maybe just one problem.  You should have said that you wanted to head that way in the first place; now it'll take us longer to get there."  She shakes her head playfully.  Chand Kura truly is a silly girl.

OOC:
@Palm

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IC: Chand Kura - Odaiba - Western Wilderness

"Sorry. Surely, it had only been a bird," maybe the same as the first one before, I decided. Just saw it at a weird angle. I was reminded once again of my lack of sleep, "I'm still on edge, I don't want to meet any more of those Rahkshi again."

I alternated between poking the fire with a stick, and watching Hyan-Fei pack her pipe. After she blew a ring into the air, I watched her gaze rise up to Koshiki's peak, "I thought you should have the right to refuse something as crazy as this mission - and to do that, you have to know the truth about why I will do it. But I did not give you the truth until now," she turned back to look at me again, the flickering of the flame between us lit her dimly while she shook her head, "But I will be glad to have you, even if there is little fishing to be done on the slopes. It will be dangerous. More dangerous than riding the plains, as unsafe as they already are..."

I looked at the pipe held in Hyan-Fei's hand, "You know, I've never smoked tobacco before."

OOC: @Zasshu

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On 2/11/2022 at 12:10 AM, sunflower said:

IC: Lii [Odaiba, Outskirts]

She felt the blow land more in the impact felt through her bones than any sort of indication of pain or disruption of her inner balanced flame, adrenaline and the voracious fire of Rage doing much to dull what senses were liabilities.

Or maybe it just hurt about as much as it could already.

Even so, the impact of the Toroshu's bladed hand against her thigh deflected the remainder of the momentum in her kick downward, and Lii snapped her foot downward. The Imperial's step had closed their stance, and there was a brief moment where the two facing mask to mask, Lii's eyes locking to Nihonei's for the fleeting fraction of a second that it lasted before Lii's forward momentum carried her past.

Her right foot now firmly back on the soil, Lii picked up her left in a roundabout arc backwards that carried her body clockwise to once again blade her stance towards her opponent at an off angle. Not that it lasted long, as her left foot hardly tapped the ground before snapping upward again into a roundhouse which came at a sharp angle up towards the Toroshu's ribs.

IC:

Nihonei was not a person of violence. Despite being a part of the warrior caste, despite her training, despite her intellectual understanding of the necessity a sense of violence wasn't really in her. Her resolve was strong. Her commitment to her people was unwavering. But something inside her, some instinct, some block inside her kept her from wishing injury on another. It made her hesitate. It made her reluctant to go for the jugular, to go into a fight willing to disassemble her foe if it came down to it.

But that had been before the Rahkshi.

That had been before she saw so many of her friends die. Brilliant minds driven mad, driven to despair, or simply extinguished in the face of a foe they could never have prepared for. That was before her places of peace and contemplation were smashed, her people were driven from their home to uncertain safety and she had spent weeks trying to survive. She had been pushed so far. There was so little left. So little hope.

And that something in her broke in the moment her eyes locked with the Tajaar.

Every Eiyu was a half, a part of a whole. Complete on their own, perhaps, but not truly whole without that other piece. Nihonei only wanted to work out whatever issue this Lii had. She hadn't realized until this moment how angry she was. How much of her own rage had bubbled under the surface, how much she had held it back, forced herself to continue being the Toroshu of a clan that might no longer exist when all she really wanted to do was scream her pain loud enough to raise the Spirit that had so clearly abandoned them. She didn't want to communicate, she didn't want to understand, she wanted to fight. She wanted to win. The hunger for violence flickered on the mental plane, along the bond that she shared with her sister, and she leaned into it. Enveloped herself in it. Asked herself, without conscious thought, what Saritsu would do.

She would fight. She would cheat. There was no fair fight. You were trying to win, or you were playing and Nihonei was not playing and she was not tying her hand behind her anymore. She would go until Lii was on the ground, she was, or the old Datsue called the bout.

Her ribs cracked ominously, even slowed by the force she exerted with her sister's discipline. That should have been alarming. Should have hurt. But that thought was pushed back, distant, and she wrapped her arm around the leg that struck her. Held it fast. She slammed her bladed hand down on the Tajaar's knee and knew absently that a full throated roar was tearing its way out of her mouth.

She released the Tajaar's leg and, to Lii's eyes, simply disappeared.

@Void Emissary@Razgriz

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

 

 

  Breaking Point: An OTC Mecha RPG

 

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IC Ronin | Sado streets

The midday sun beat down on the Dasaka capital and, in the absence of much greenery that had been wrecked by the attacks from the previous season, the rays bloomed in intensity from the crystalline buildings. High summer was hot enough already and the towers turned into mirrors that shot the light into the streets of the residential districts, making the most unprotected stretches into unbearable ovens. Most dasaka had determined it was better to sidestep those stretches and stuck to more shaded streets, and even under the considerable protection of his wide kasa the ronin hastened across these areas to avoid heatstroke or burn. Dwarfed by the towering skyscrapers and under the oppressive weight of the heat it could make even the boldest Menti feel like an insignificant ant under a loupe.

The ronin muttered a few lines under his breath and caught a glint of inspiration. Perhaps he’d pen a poem bemoaning high imperial architecture becoming a hazard to its own people when laid bare to the elements? Yes, he quite liked the idea, and continued to mutter possible stanzas to himself as he subconsciously quickened his steps.

He was being watched.

It was less something he saw than something he instinctively knew, a niggling pinprick at his nape placed by an observer’s focused gaze, and by the time he noticed that his spine tingled with the sensation of being watched he was already looking this way and that for the hidden spy. He clutched at his obi’s knot to assuage his panic as his mind suddenly whirred from dreaming lines of poetry to possible reason for his onlooker. Had he been followed from the Garden? he worried. But no, he didn’t think so, he hadn’t been feeling the pinprick for long. His overt scanning served to unwittingly summon further attention to himself, and he suffered it as soon as he turned the corner to a shaded street. A squad of five menti, all wearing the clan markings of the current Confederate regime’s guards, lie in wait for him, and at the head of it stood a particularly stoic soldier with the twin-star badge of a sergeant.

These streets are now off-limits for public safety,” she sternly admonished, mentioning the ordnance for the first time to the ronin. “And Menti soldiers are needed to fight the demon menace elsewhere. Identify yourself,” she barked, hands clasped at her back in an at-ease power pose.

The ronin fretted at first, then sullenly accepted his ill luck to be at last confronted by the city guard at an inopportune moment. “I am a ronin,” he replied, humbly bowing and clutching his hands under his kimono’s sleeves. “My dishonored name is too insignificant to share.

Your name and your allegiance,” the guard changed her choice of word to meet the ronin’s clanless status and demanded anew, more severely this time, with hands now at her hips in confident dominance of the situation. “And tell me why you are not fighting on the frontlines—for Honor—ronin.

Because the battlefields for redemption are here in Sado,” he said, then, as if he'd spoken out of turn to a better and looking for an ounce of forgiveness, he bowed quickly and added, "With humility, lady sergeant."

Your name,” she barked, taking a stride forward and grasping at the shackles at her waist before the ronin cut her off.

People learn my name before they die. So much as lay a hand on me and I will kill you,” he said almost regretfully in a voice just a hair over a whisper, soft yet dangerous, like a snake coiling to strike on a bed of fine satin sheets.

The guard scoffed, a sneering chuckle escaping her lips joined by the amused chuckle of her squadmates as she drank the threat in. Was that his dare? she wondered, To fight to the death over his name? “I don’t think so. There are four of us and one of you. Four of the Republic’s finest guards against one ‘dishonored,’ injured ronin.” She nodded at his bad hand. “Not good odds for you, mister, so: Kill us how, exactly?

Two, four, forty, it's all the same,” the ronin said matter-of-factly as he slowly shrugged; his neck cracked as a joint audibly fell back into its socket. “If you strike me you’ll be breathing your last breaths an instant. Let me pass.

For an instant, the sergeant’s eyes twitched with hesitation as she measured the delivery of this ronin’s warning. There was no malice in the sentence, no burning urge to hurt another, merely a statement of fact. He may as well have been an itamae holding up his chef’s knife and telling his eager audience of restaurant patrons “this blade is sharp.” That casually murderous energy disturbed the officer but she was bound by her own intact honor to do her job, and by that point she had assessed—accurately— two things: First, that this ronin was hiding something, and second, that she was not going to get more information from him, and as a result she determined an arrest was warranted. Her honor demanded she detain the ronin, and her honor would prove to be her undoing. She nodded, mentally giving the order to her team, and the one guard closest to the ronin reluctantly moved in for the arrest.

The man sprung into action when she was a pace away, closing the gap just as she took her next step and meeting her with a blindingly fast grapple. Her momentum was seized and he tossed her to the side in a smooth manipulation of leverage; to her credit, she rolled away and was back on her feet again, a little frazzled mayhaps but otherwise uninjured. The ronin regained his composure and slowly adjusted his hat back into place.

The sergeant gave her tussled officer a worried glance but she shrugged back at her commander, looking more confused that she had not been hurt than anything. It seemed as though the ronin had thrown her aside as a demonstration of his skill; or, the sergeant feared, as a game. “Assaulting a peace officer of the rora?” the sergeant chuckled, but the facade of confidence was wearing thin. “Now that is an arrestable offense.

The ronin shook his head slightly in disagreement. “Arsix is no rora,” he said. “Claiming squatters rights when the Umbralines weren’t around doesn’t make her a rora. She is a toroshu, and not my toroshu.

The clanless and casteless are subject to every toroshu’s laws, Ronin,” she spat with disdain and took a step forward to him with her shackles out and ready. “Even a saihoko weaver can claim purpose in life, but you… you shirk the sliver of duty your body gave you. You will mind your place, ronin, for you will have no purpose as a stranger.

He dismissed her with a shrug. “My purpose is fighting,” he said flatly. Then his eyes darkened as he added, “And it seems I’ll have it now.

Four menti total—the sergeant, who carried two katana at her waist and wore a Huna; one officer with a warsword and a Hau, and the last two with naginata and a Kakama and Miru—would be challenging for almost anyone, and the guards began to move in with the expectation that they would be sufficiently powerful to bring a rogue menti down, skilled or not. Of the squad, only the sergeant had an inkling of the risk they took in attempting to apprehend this menti, and she shared her thoughts of concern with her women as they moved in on him. They drew their weapons and tiptoed forward like cats, one foot in front of the other, step, by step, each guard from a different angle of attach. As their leader urged caution they circled the ronin, vying as a unit for the best instant and angle to strike, trying to find the first opening to come in and cast themselves upon him, but they still knew so little about their quarry, far too little to see the difference between a weakness and a featureless wall.

(OOC | Musical queue)

The ronin, for his part, stood lazily still with hands held leisurely at his side but cast at the advancing guards glances this way and that, like a bird of prey choosing which morsel to pounce on first, and it was as he spun his head from one to another that they came in. The sword-wielder came in first with a shout, giving a fierce shout as she dove in with her blade in a burst of incredible power. The ronin’s spine tensed under his kimono as she gave the yell, and at that instant he turned his focus on a different guard and darted away instead, leaving the sword-wielder bereft of quarry just as her blade arrived where the man was supposed to be.

She as well jumped at the opportunity to charge at the ronin and was not prepared for him to do the same at her. She angled her lance at him, seeking to intercept him, but he ducked low and avoided its point. In a panic, the guard stalled her steps and jumped as she activated her Miru, which would prove an error as she was suddenly pummeled by the ronin’s potent Mindarm abilities. Like an October leaf caught in a typhoon, the airborne guard was blown away, thrown against the nearest building’s wall with such great violence that her spine broke and she fell to the ground as a crumpled doll. Suddenly, the guards couldn’t help but acknowledge their own potential mortality and the tone of the battle shifted. One of them cried out in anguish at the abrupt severing of a soulbond.

Without hesitation the ronin moved to the next target. He returned to the place he stood previously to deal with the sword wielding guard. Her warsword cleaved the air this way and that, each strike more emotional and desparate than the last, but the ronin deftly avoided the first, second, and third strike before crossing swords on the fourth. With calculated precision a nodachi sizzled into azure life from the ronin’s hands, halting the warsword in its sweep. In a dancelike maneuver the ronin pirouetted swiftly on the balls of his feet, stepping away to disengage the menti only for his weapon to flick back at her like a whip from a pace away. The menti’s Hau protected her in a lifesaving reflex, she activated the kanohi just in time for the nodachi to glance off her shoulder and avoided what would otherwise have been a dissecting hit. The ronin did not linger for a riposté, instead repelling himself from the ground and bounding away before the guard could muster a follow up. He landed near the sergeant, who unsheathed her blades in a blinding flash worthy of his respect before she vanished from sight. He turned his attention back again to the original guard.

The remaining guardswoman, who had until that point been suffering from the sudden death of her soul-bonded sister, was wrested from her mind’s abyss by her sergeant’s mentally shouted orders to snap out of her trance and come back to her senses, she was needed in the fight, her sister would need to be mourned later. It was blunt, the sergeant’s limited knowledge of Eiyu Twin-Souls bonds doing little to soften her reprimands as a consequence of knowing the benefits of the bond without ever quite grasping its drawbacks, but the lack of finesse finally worked in stirring the frozen menti. It was no use, however: She came-to just in time to witness her other squadmate lose a contest of Mindarm strength and speed, then be cut across the heartlight, and she was seeing clearly when her comrade fell to her knees then gasped in shock as the nodachi’s blade impaled her through the chest, driving air and the life it sustained out from her.

In no time, the ronin was upon the last of the three. She threw her naginata at him, but the ronin disintegrated it with a pulse of raw psychophysical energy, turning it to atoms mid-flight. She activated her Kakama and ran at the man, shackles in hands, hoping to bind him with speed on her side, but the attempt was half-hearted at best as she truly simply wished to cast herself upon him and avenge her sisters. That emotional imbalance in the wake of such devastating loss, however, was part of the ronin’s gambit. She thought she was being unpredictable, but the irrationality, the conflicting desires to follow her leader’s commands or to drive her dagger into the man’s heart, made her fall right into the man’s trap. Speed or not, her momentum was turned against her and her legs were swept from under her. She fell in a heap, her armor grinding across the pavement and leaving white streaks in its wake, and then the lasting she was aware of was the ronin’s shadow descending upon her, his open kimono the fluttering tendrils of a spirit of death and his long blade a scythe that extracted her life as well.

It was the sergeant’s turn at last and she struck from concealment. Her blade sliced at his clothes and left perfect cuts in its fabric, and though none bit through his armor there was telltale glitter as newly carved fragments fractured to dust. The ronin deftly weaved his giant blade this way and that in defense, unable to pinpoint where his assailant and making every attempt to seek her out. Finally, he heard a grunt and a clatter as the katana appeared and clattered to the ground. The sergeant materialized a moment later several steps away, crimson streaks down her right arm from a deep gash at her shoulder. The ronin’s seeking blade had found its mark, and he sauntered over to finish the job.

::Stop::

The ronin ceased his walking despite his better senses. In his mind’s eye, the sun grew ever brighter and his vision became blurry as everything became washed out by the light. He was keenly aware that this was not reality, but he remained unable to move because his mind was being raided.

::You have proven yourself. My women are dead now... because of you. You’ve won. Your purpose, fulfilled. So what now?::

The ronin did not want to answer yet felt compelled to by the forced willpower of the sergeant. “I will continue where I was headed and have lunch with a new friend.

Its callousness was equally chilling as it was insulting, and the mention of a ‘new friend’ in particular made her heartlight drop as she took issue with a murderer being able to have anyone as a friend.but the sergeant managed to maintain her composure.  But composure meant control, and what little control she could maintain could mean the difference between dealing with this dangerous man or perishing herself. Borrowing from her past education among the Kyoshi beast-tamers, she treated the ronin as a dangerous tiger, wooing him to stillness while she moved in with her snares. She could not move too quickly to all control would be lost, and she saw it as her solemn duty to take the dangerous ronin in. Willhammer as a discipline required a careful balance of subtlety and efficiency—too bold and the psychic hold became brittle, too quiet and it would be lost. For the man, the world continued to grow hazier still, and his mental defenses had long since been sliced through so he remained at the guard’s mercy, if only just. It would take a while yet for his mind to fully combat the probe and by then it could be too late. He was aware that the competition of wills had a countdown.

::It’s just the two of us now, ronin. Let’s talk more, shall we? Sit.::

He did as commanded, folding his legs and settling on the pavement. “There is nothing for us to talk about,” he said, seeking to compartmentalize his thoughts by maintaining a narrow focus: The sergeant, the attempted arrest, the hot summer sun; all things that were not the ronin himself. “What, then, do you want to say?

::Where are you from? A Menti of your skill would not have been left adrift.:: she asked, doing the opposite what the ronin attempted. She maintained her focus on peeling his layers apart and knowing her enemy. Erstwhile, she carefully inched closer to the man, hands dangling over her waist in preparation to grasp her manacles… or her wakizashi. Only a handful of steps more. If she managed to maintain her mental domination for just a little bit more, she could have him, she could…

The ronin chuckled mirthlessly. “Oh. You have noooooo idea.

The purr of a cat happening in her mind caught her off guard. It wasn’t coming from the material world, they were not near the Gardens anymore, yet the presence of a great tiger somehow loomed threateningly and grew stronger by the second. Another one came from the other side still, unseen yet unerringly near as if it were right behind her. A worried creasing if her forehead told the ronin she knew he was in her mind as well now.

::Two can play at this game, sergeant.::

::No! Wait—NO! How!?:: she shouted silently, realizing her miscalculation too late. Too focused on the ronin and maintaining her domination on his wills, frustrated that she could not puncture his mental barriers fully yet, she completely overlooked the possibility of a retaliatory probe. ::You’re a… a battlemaster?::

::I was, once. Now I am a Ronin.::

The den of cats seemed all around her now, yet they all came from the one menti staring at her in the flesh. Suddenly her grasp on him faltered, flickering like a dying lamp’s flame. No! Just a pace more! But it was too late, detention was not an option anymore, this man was too powerful to arrest after all, and yet her duty powered her forward to take one more step as she sprang for the—

::Knife.::

Her fingers coiled around the wakizashi’s grip and pulled it from its scabbard, half because of her own volition, but the other half made her feel twisted, sick, sick to her stomach—

::Stab.::

Pain, pain beyond belief snapped what remained of her Willhammer focus. She looked down suddenly and gasped in horror at her own blade buried deep in her bowels, gripped firmly in her own intertwined hands, and fell to her knees. Blood seeped from her wound onto the hot concrete and sizzled lightly. Her knees ached from the heat, but she did not cry or show fear even in the face of a senseless death.

The ronin got up and paced around her, a taunting cat circling his defenseless prey. “Do not fret, my lady sargeant,” the ronin assuaged, his tender voice like aloe to her burns. “You fought well and with great courage, but the time to rest well is now.

She bit her trembling lip to still it as she glared up at him. “Before I die, tell me, finally… who have I lost to?

The ronin considered giving the reward for her efforts, then acquiesced. “I am Inokio.

You live?” It was more a statement than a question, uttered by someone awed at the confirmation.

I have a great tenacity to cling to life, and that’s no fault of yours.

Her thoughts swelled in a sense of twisted, contented pride at being bested by a famed warrior as Inokio’s Soulsword nodachi cleaved her head from her shoulders with a single sweep. As his weapon dissipated, he looked around him at the deaths and shook his head in sadness at it all. They were good menti, good soldiers who didn’t at all deserve to die that day or any other. He scooped up his hat, fastidiously affixed it back on his head and, after a moment of repose, reverently collected the sergeants knife and scabbard from her body.

And then, as before, he walked away.

 

OOC | @Keeper of Kraata Still on for sushi?

Edited by Umbraline Yumiwa
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IC: Hanaloi

There were nods among the Kaazi; some wore determination on their masks, others shame. Hambra stood with the supplies. "Well said." Turning to her tribe, she continued. "We have faced crisis before, and now we face a crisis again. And we can adapt again. This is not a betrayal of our allies and ancestors; if they were here today, they would come to the same conclusion. Today, we adapt and find a new path for our people. Maybe we cut our losses and withdraw from Kentoku altogether, maybe we stand and fight with the Imperials and our Taajar kin. But we choose."

There was no cheering, too much tragedy had occurred the determination could be felt like a ripple. Within the hour, the entirety of the camp was packed and was bounding south. The Kuychar were startled when an entire tribe of Kaazi emerged from the forest; while depleted of much of their warriors and not a large group to begin with, it was still larger than they knew to be on the island. By the light of the moon and a few lightstones, the Kaazi joined the Kuychar in preparing canoes to once again leave; soon, the expedition's ship was there.

One of the saihoko aboard the vessel served as ship's doctor; Askha had screamed while they scrubbed her maskless face clean of kraata ichor with saltwater to avoid infection, and the cut was now bandaged; her Iden still bore the scar, but it was still intact; under it, only one of her eyes shone, as the other was covered. Beneath decks, Riko had been stabilized and bandaged as well, but had passed out from the pain.

"We have some logging equipment, we can lash together rafts and get out of here."

In the former Mashtet fortress, Somei had taken a break from remaking the built-in illusions and viewed the forest. She knew this would be the last time she viewed the forest as it was; still, Caana's orders were not annihilation. It would be transformed, much like she was doing to the fortress now. She glanced at the moon, at its apex.

OOC: @Mel @a goose

 

IC: Ahri - Abandoned Oki Village

Sweat poured off Ahri, washed away by the tide. He caught his breath as he slowly approached Yuna and the hull of the fishing boat. "I can get us wood from the forest, but it won't be best until prepared. Scavenging from the houses seems to be the best solution, since it would have already been treated against seawater."

He looked over the wreck. "It can hold most of the refugees for a quick trip, but the rest would either have to wait for a second trip or we tow them on rafts or canoes."

The Dasaka looked up the coast towards the refugee encampment. "We should probably bring them over here to help; they can help work on it with some direction, plus put together rafts so we can tow the rest. And I think we're going to want some rowers with oars anyway.

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

 

IC: Fursic Sydelia - Sado

Sydelia shouldn't have been surprised the place was still running despite the ongoing disaster; some of the clientele were rougher, now that most of the Umbralines had fled and Dastana had taken up their posts in the palace, but soldiers still needed a place to relax. Fortunately, the brewery still operated with a degree of dignity; its customers, mostly displaced aristocrats and Dastana officers, kept the place in business wanting to buy respectability by eating refined. Most of her Fursic comrades would have scoffed at the 'new money' eating here, but Sydelia was surprisingly restrained.

After all, she was intimately familiar with trying to be seen as someone of different, higher status.

OOC: @Umbraline Yumiwa

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The times, they are a-changing...

 

 

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IC: Caana (Rising From the Well)

Caana gladly accepted the hand that was offered to her. She could see that something had shifted in the Dashi's eyes, that her transformation had begun.

She was honoured to be a part of that process.

Far above them, the moon had risen higher in the sky. The hour of action was fast approaching.

"See the Rahkshi healer, as I have already, and rest yourself. We reconvene at midnight and I want you at your best." With that and a curt nod, the Ronin departed. She would find her own shelter, and meditate until the time had come to make Zataka's victory known to all.

-    -    -    -    -    -    -

“Have you ever seen one, mother?”

“Seen one? No, my dear. Nobody has. But…”

“But what?”

“But I did hear them, once.”

“Really?”

“Really.”

“What happened?”

“Well, I was only a little older than you are now, and I’d had a big fight with auntie Caris.”

“What about?”

“Nothing important, dear. Sisters fight sometimes; you’ll learn that when you have daughters of your own. Anyway, I ran out into the woods beyond our village, and before I knew it dusk had fallen and I was terribly lost.”

“Did your mother find you?”

“Not at first. I was on my own, in floods of tears, scared out of my wits. I thought I would never see my home or my family again. I prayed for guidance from Zuto Nui, and promised that if She would only show me the way out, I would forgive my sister and never fight with her again – and that’s when I heard them.”

The sound of bells surrounding her; glowing green eyes gliding through the leaves above.

“I followed the sound, and it led me right to my mother and Caris. I was despondent at first, but after I got home, I told them that it was the sound of bells that had guided me to them, thinking that it was one of them who had been carrying them.”

“But it wasn’t?”

“No, Caana, it wasn’t. And the most curious part of all… was that they hadn’t heard a thing.

A little green body, like a withered leaf, shivering on the ground. Dying. Its green eyes staring into hers. Her green eyes staring into mine. My face wet with tears, my hands wet with…

Blood was all around her mouth. She was choking on it, drowning in it. The strong hands which had held me when I cried seemed so frail now, so weak. And those big, green eyes, always so full of love, always so kind. I saw my own reflected in them; the eyes of a scared little girl, lost in the world.

My eyes, or hers?

She opened her eyes. The moon had reached its zenith.

Time to go to work.

OOC: @Nato G @Mel @Keeper of Kraata

Edited by a 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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