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BZPRPG - Kentoku Archipelago


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OOC: This post begins during the initial Rahkshi attack as described in the wrap-up topic, since I wasn’t able to write up the Ageru response at the time. Many thanks to @sunflower for the use of Viitkha.

IC (Ageru Kilanya, Ageru Enali) [Mahuika, Odaiba]

A stunned silence filled Clan Ageru’s council chamber in Mahuika Hall.

All of them?” asked Toroshu Kilanya, ashen-faced.

The Menti, still wheezing from pain and exhaustion and clutching broken ribs, nodded morosely.

“Yes, Toroshu. The demons that came down the mountain, they...they were too fast. Too powerful. They wielded...sorcery. I cannot explain it. They tore us apart. I only survived because Tohuko told me to run, so that one of us would survive to warn you…”

“How many were there?” Kilanya asked firmly, trying to keep her voice calm.

“Hundreds. Thousands. I don’t know...I’m sorry ma’am…”

“No need to apologise, Menti. You’ve done well. You may go, please get yourself some medical attention.”

As the scout left the hall, Kilanya took a deep breath, feeling the expectant eyes of her courtiers upon her. She was Toroshu, and they looked to her for leadership. She could already sense the magnitude of the crisis. If the reports of this Menti and the other scouts were true, then the recent Dastana secession was a mere historical footnote compared to the horror that had erupted from Koshiki.

The Toroshu rose to her feet.

“Mobilise all available Menti. I want patrols sent to all the outlying farms — get the Dashi inside the walls. Deploy scouts toward Koshiki — only our most stealthy. They are not to engage, only to report enemy movements. Dismissed!”


***


When the order to evacuate came, it was somehow both a shock and an inevitability. The losses they were taking were unprecedented; the monsters fought with a demonic power unlike anything Dasaka forces had faced in recorded history. They had evacuated every village and farmstead they could, but with each one more Dashi were cut down as they fled. Wave after wave descended upon the fortifications of Mahuika, claiming Menti lives every time. The losses were untenable.

All the same, that the Rora would choose to abandon the Empire...to leave Kentoku to these monsters...

And then there were the practical problems. Kilanya didn’t need to have her administrators run the numbers to know that there were nowhere near enough boats to evacuate the entire Ageru clan.

“They can carry a third at most, Toroshu,” Hinue, the Datsue responsible for scrambling the Ageru’s hastily-assembled evacuation fleet, reported shakily.

A third. Two-thirds of her clan, her people, left on Odaiba at the mercy of the demons. And that wasn’t counting those who had already fallen.

Kilanya knew what she would do almost without thinking. Her peers might choose to flee, to seize ships from the Saihoko they had always disdained and to leave those deemed non-essential behind; a “necessary sacrifice”. But for all the teaching of superiority that came with a noble upbringing, Kilanya had always loved her people, and felt deeply her responsibility to care for and protect them. Perhaps this was the test and the true purpose of that responsibility: the forgotten price to be paid for the riches and respect bestowed upon a Toroshu by the virtues of Order and Power. That when the underworld itself reared its head and came to consume her people, Honour demanded that she wield all of her Power in their defence. To stand between them and oblivion.

But there was no denying this was an enemy that might wipe them out. She could not take that risk — and not just for the clan, but also for…her.

Is it finally time? Now, at the end of the world?

...Yes. This is the only way.


“Take as many as you can to the boats. One third, as you say. Do not discriminate; Dashi, Ringti, Saihoko, enough Menti to provide escort. Take the Matriarch, and…”

She rattled off a list of nobles that would make for a suitable provisional council on the distant island.

“...and Viitkha will join you shortly. First there is something we must see to.”

“And what of your entourage and property, Toroshu?”

“I am not leaving, Hinue,” Kilanya replied, ignoring the Datsue’s expression of shock. “I will remain here, and defend my people.”

She looked to the scarred old warrior.

“Viitkha, with me.”

The Menti snapped a military bow, and fell into stride behind her Toroshu as they exited the Hall. They walked swiftly across the bridge. Shouts echoed through the night air as the refugees were selected and hurried towards the road south, but no sounds of battle; the Rahkshi had retreated for now, but they would be back.
As Kilanya led the way through the streets of the town, Viitkha spoke up.

"If I may speak plainly, my lady, I do not understand. You are sending me with the refugees? Would I not be best placed at your side, if you are to fight these demons?"

“There is no warrior I would rather have by my side,” Kilanya said. It sounded to Viitkha as though the Toroshu spoke through a lump in her throat. “But I have a higher need for you. There is something...precious to me, that cannot stay here, that I wish for you to protect.”

They came to a stop in front of a small house: just well-constructed enough to belong to a Menti, but a modest one. Kilanya knocked sharply on the door.

It was opened by a young, scared-looking Dasaka. Viitkha recognised her from the Yards: Ageru Enali, a student she had occasionally taught and who had recently been earmarked for further Soulsword training. She was an intelligent child, from what Viitkha could tell, but a shy one, and somewhat lacking in direction and slow to develop her powers. If she recalled correctly, Enali had been orphaned in a Kanohi Dragon attack as an infant; it was possible that the loss of her blood parents at such a young age had stunted her development somehow.

Regardless, the Blademaster was at a loss as to why her Toroshu had brought her to the house of this unremarkable young Menti when the future of the clan was at stake.

“Enali,” Kilanya said, looking down at her kindly. “May we come in?”

“O-of course, Toroshu,” Enali mumbled, hurriedly pulling the door fully open and stepping back, clearly just as surprised by the Toroshu’s visit to her house as the Blademaster was. She already didn’t really understand what was happening; she’d heard the Menti talk about demons coming down from the mountain, and terrifying sounds from outside as she hid inside her house: explosions, shouts, and distant, inhuman, bloodcurdling shrieks. And now, amid all this chaos, Toroshu Kilanya and Blademaster Viitkha were on her doorstep, asking to come inside.

They entered. Enali stood in the middle of the compact entrance hall, looking timidly up at the two women and fiddling with her clan-cloth sash. A small cat-Rahi stood at her feet, looking warily up at the two unfamiliar beings.

Kilanya stepped forward, stooped to bring her gaze level with the girl’s and gently pulled her hands from the sash to clasp them in her own. In the Lightstone-light, Viitkha could see the glimmer of tears in her Toroshu’s eyes. Enali, looking into those eyes, saw a terrible sadness in them, and something else that she could not place.

“Enali, listen to me,” she said, with a quaver in her voice that neither the girl nor the warrior had ever heard before. “There is so much I wish I could say to you, but there is so little time. I am so sorry that I haven’t...that I could never…”

Kilanya closed her eyes, pushing the tears out to trickle down her cheeks as she composed herself. When she opened them again her gaze and voice were stronger, but no less filled with emotion, as she spoke the words she had yearned to since before she became Toroshu.

“Enali, you are my daughter.”

Enali felt as though her heart had stopped. For a moment she thought she was dreaming. She felt her knees wobble. She couldn’t speak. She couldn’t process the words the Toroshu had just said.

“T-Toroshu, I…” she stammered. Kilanya fought to suppress a wince as the girl used her title. “I d-don’t understand…”

“I know you were told your parents were killed,” Kilanya said, the quaver returning to her voice. “It was a lie, told to protect you, and me, and the honour of the clan. You were born out of wedlock. They let me name you, and then I let them...”

The Toroshu cut off the sentence as she fought back a sob.

“I had no choice. For the Toroshu’s heir to…to bear a child in that way...the dishonour would have been unconscionable. That’s what my family said. So they covered it up, and they took you away. And all these years, I have tried to bury what I feel, to serve my family and my clan with all my heart as is my duty. But every day I have yearned for what I lost. For you. To be...your mother.”

With those words, Kilanya pulled her into an embrace. Enali felt the shock within her change, to a feeling she could not name. It was...a warmth, welling up inside. There was still a confusion to it, and a sadness, but it was...comforting. Slowly she raised her arms, to cling awkwardly to the warm presence that seemed to surround her. She spoke almost without knowing she was doing so.

“M...Mother…”

Enali felt her Toroshu’s — no, her mother’s embrace tighten for a moment, as Kilanya’s back was wracked by a sob that contained at once the brightest joy and the deepest sorrow.

For a moment they held each other tightly. Then Kilanya pulled herself away, but clasped Enali’s hands again.

“All these years, I could not be your mother,” she said, her voice beginning to steady. “And I cannot undo the past, and give what should have been given. But I can give you this.”

She let go of Enali’s hands, drew herself back to her full height, and breathed deeply. When she turned back to Viitkha, she was the Toroshu again, her face calm and with all the sternness of her authority despite the wetness of her eyes.

“Blademaster Viitkha, as Toroshu I command you bear witness to my decree. I acknowledge Ageru Enali as my first and only daughter, and thus name her as my heir. I charge you with her safe transport to Mata Nui, and thereafter her protection, care, and education as Toroshu-in-waiting until she is of age. Do you understand my command?”

Viitkha, ever the professional, did not show her amazement at what had just taken place.

“Yes, Toroshu.”

“Good.”

She turned back to a breathless Enali.

“Enali, the Rora has given the order to evacuate the Archipelago to Mata Nui. I am sending you there, in Viitkha’s care. It is a place strange to us, but you should be safe there. I must stay here, to defend those of our people who remain. This is the only gift that I can give you now: I will safeguard our clan and our family, either through victory here, or through your survival across the ocean. Do you understand?”

The young Menti was still for a moment, then nodded tremulously.

“There is one other thing,” Kilanya said. She closed her eyes and breathed deeply out. “There is a man on Mata Nui. His name is Ageru Dakte, and he...is your father.”

If Enali’s eyes could’ve widened any further, they would have.

“Find him. I cannot say how he will respond, but...he has a right to know. He — ”

Kilanya was interrupted by the sound of urgent shouts from outside the hut, followed by a distant chorus of monstrous shrieks, and the boom of a much-less-distant explosion.

“They are here,” Kilanya said grimly, her gaze turning steely as she looked to Viitkha, then to Enali. “I pray to Zuto Nui that we may be reunited. Now go!”

Viitkha took the young Menti by the shoulder and hurried her outside, Kilanya following. The demons’ shrieks were clearer now, and closer. In the town’s outskirts, beams of energy were lancing down from dark shapes that flitted through the sky. From thatched roofs, flames were rising, and the dark shapes were coming closer.

“GO!”

Viitkha pulled Enali into a run, towards the street that would take them to the makeshift evacuation centres, and from there to the south road towards the coast. Enali tried to look back over her shoulder, for one last glimpse at the mother she had never known until today, but her vision was too blurred by tears and the pace they were running to make out Kilanya’s figure. Through the blur, all she saw was the brilliant blue flash of a Soulsword, unsheathed from the mental plane and raised high, in defiance of the shadows beyond.


***


Kilanya sighed, looking out across the water towards the open ocean, hands on the gunwale of the barge. The planks beneath her feet rocked gently with the the oarstrokes propelling the boat away from Sado and its camps and councils, back to the battlegrounds that had once been the idyllic fields of Odaiba.

This war demanded her all. But every day, she found a moment to look back on that most bittersweet of meetings and farewells. It kept her fighting — and also kept her human. She knew well that the reunion she'd prayed for that day and every day since might never come. But as long as there was even a glimmer of hope, she would hold onto it with all the strength she had.

She turned her gaze east again, towards her war-torn home, and steeled herself as she always did after these moments of melancholy, becoming the Rakumetsu Toroshu once more. There was no more time today for wistfulness. She had a war to win.

 

Spoiler

 

 


 

 

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IC: (Dastana Republic Odaiba Encampment - Fort Kizuno)

Sweat's beginning to form on my brow. It's coming in beads, like the morning dew that gathers upon the grasses out through all the holes I've been looking through. It's a sad thing to think about— we used to call those grasses home, used to walk and frolic and play and cultivate among them with what felt like no care in the world. 

And now, it's as if one of those demons could slink out of the fields at any time. 

I wipe my brow, letting out a puffing breath as my clan-cloth helps to dry somewhat my slick forehead. How long have I been at this, grinding and scraping and chipping and growing and grinding away?

I've gotten most of the way through the eastern face of the wall by now, I know that much. When I stare up at the sun, my eyes burn—

Better not do that.

—When I shield my eyes with a hand and gauge the cresting sun against where I remember it more or less being when I started, I'm honestly a little surprised. I still took a good while, that much is certain, but even something on the order of three hours is very good pace for the progress I've managed. Lucky me, I must be getting used to using my Kanohi in this repetitive manner...

I guess that means the wall's training, too.

Heeeeeeey! That's something!

My vigor redoubles after I realize that, and I smack the cheeks of my Miru-shaped Kiril to bring my focus back to the fore, striding over to the next tear in our defenses, but a voice makes me stop and turn. I'm greeted with the sight of a robust Ringti, a Dashi that I keep biting back my urge to swear, almost to her face, as having  gone straight over to becoming a Datsue, regardless of whatever physiological processes it violated. Her arms, well-corded even for their relative small size, were folded sternly over her heartlight, and she was pinning me less with a glare and more of a gaze, one that was telling me to put my tools down and listen.

"It's good to see you're raring to go, Shiki. I need your best today, hear?"

I blink.

"Not that I won't, but... Why today in particular?"

It seems like putting the cart before the horse, what my forewoman's telling me. I know she's an upright and exacting sort, and I earned it by coming in later than usual, but I'll say one thing for sure— I'm a person that sees things through. Not that I've talked much about it, but that's just about the only way I can get things done, as it happens. I can't rely on a talent or a wellspring of ability or a quick, sudden insight. 

My learning style isn't that thoroughbred. A lot of the things I've picked up come from stubbornly grinding them out of a starting point of nowhere.

And I mostly don't resent that, either— All that time poured into getting it all exactly, painstakingly, excruciatingly right means I have a sure idea of what I'm doing every step of the way.

"That's because our sentries have caught eye of the Toroshu's masts on the horizon. We need this as good as it's gonna get."

And now I am suddenly faced with a very, very good reason to go back over all my work that I was certain I left at a very high quality. The Toroshu was not only our head of clan, but she was also one of the main commanders of the remaining military forces on the Archipelago. At the very least, she ruled the roost here on Odaiba. This was her fort, and although battle scars were unavoidable, any structural weakness needs to be stamped out before she, or the enemy, see it and move in.

"I'll double check every patch, ma'am." I probably sound much more agreeable now...

It's not lost on me that the rumor is she's also coming to survey the fighting shape of the current Ageru forces here— without the usual Yard to train within, and without a hard taskmaster like Shishou Viitkha to drill the necessary discipline into recruits, training seems very unstructured... Maybe the word I'm looking for is "disparate"? I'm not sure. Regardless———

"Haah. Let's get you fixed up, then..."

——— even my sunny demeanor can't escape the fact that if she's looking for potential new recruits, people to graduate into the upper echelons of their Soulsword training, having mastered the basics...

That isn't me.

Not yet.

I don't understand what it is about invoking the energy of the mind and cramming it into form... that eludes me.

I was trained no differently than anyone else.

I'm just missing something.

I'd perhaps pick the Toroshu's brain, but she's got more important things to worry about than little old me. To begin with, Mom was a little eccentric, and from what I could tell, had stayed in her own lane and not meddled with the dealings and doings of the Ageru inner circle. Not the kind of person who could reasonably demand time of the head during a war like the one we face, and her adoptive daughter even less so.

That's a shame, but it's fine. Just a part of this life I have been given. I can't complain.

I won't complain.

I set again on the wall, planting a pair of shards in the ragged wood along either side of the large gash torn into it, thankfully still too small for anything threatening to reasonably get through.

I've gotten this far with the potential I have, haven't I?

Edited by Razgriz
Post of the Rising Sun (I can see the night brightening up new years tradition completed)
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helo frens

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IC (Ageru Kilanya) [Fort Kizuno, Odaiba]

The sound of horagai from the gates heralded Kilanya's arrival. It wasn't long before murmurs passed between the other soldiers and workers reached Shiki's ears: the Toroshu was making a personal inspection of the fort's defences, and it would likely not be long before she reached the eastern wall on which the young Menti had been toiling away.
 

***


Based on the most recent scout reports, no significant Rahkshi attacks were expected in the coming days. But, as Kilanya knew well, that did not mean they would not happen, and the likelihood of smaller raids or skirmishes was harder to predict. All in all, to be complacent in these times was to invite death. The current reprieve offered an opportunity to prepare for the next battle, nothing more: to ready the troops, to bolster the defences, and to generally make her presence felt among her long-suffering people.

That last point was particularly important to Kilanya's personal philosophy. Even before the invasion had eroded the barriers between the many rungs of the Imperial hierarchy, Kilanya had made a point of interacting personally with her people. She still spoke and acted with all the authority of a Toroshu, of course, but she listened too. She had always felt it was important to make clear that she belonged amongst those she ruled, and to treat them, not necessarily as equals, but as individuals worthy of respect and compassion. And now more than ever, they needed her. Morale was on a constant knife-edge: they needed to know that their Toroshu would live among them, fight among them, and if it came to it, die among them.

And so, she made her way through Fort Kizuno, checking the state of the fortifications and supplies, but also speaking with those who defended and maintained them. So it came to pass that she happened upon a young Menti she did not recognise, working hard to patch the rents the Rahkshi's otherworldly powers had torn in the eastern wall. She held her hands crisply behind her back as she approached, casting her eyes over the repair work the Menti had been performing. It had a somewhat unorthodox look to it: crystal rather than wood plugged the holes, and it looked as though it had been grown out to fill the breaches rather than affixed over them. The visual effect was a little odd, but it certainly seemed sturdy.

"This is good work," she addressed the young Menti. "What is the technique you use?"


OOC: @Razgriz

Edited by Ghosthands
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IC: (Dastana Republic Odaiba Encampment - Fort Kizuno)

Sounds from behind that match up with striding boots, like that of a military commander, inspecting the state of her walls. As I've been working, the whispers around me from other workers and some milling people that reside within our fortress of our honored Toroshu's return have grown into a low, incessant murmur. It's like a roar to my ears, because even though I normally focus wholeheartedly on my work, I can't help but feel a little pressure in spite of my confidence in what I've done. I don't think I've ever spoken to someone with status like the Rakumetsu Toroshu's in my entire life. I normally speak a little earnestly, but to make a bad first impression by bombing out on etiquette here would really be not very good at all.

I can feel her presence as she stops, quietly overlooking my progress over my shoulder as I'm kneeling down, chipping away at a diseased-looking strut. The work of the green-armored demons, attacking our green clan of farmers with poison. There's irony there. For a moment, there's a period of us simply studying what the other does with this situation— she inspects my work while I get my balance beneath the weight of her authority.

"This is good work,"

I quietly take in a breath and steel myself as she speaks. I just realized I didn't greet her properly, so this is just going to go how it goes now.

"What is the technique you use?"

Standing up straight after I place my tools to the ground, I turn.

Without a doubt, that's her. Toroshu Ageru Kilanya. I understand that she's a more hand-on ruler than most, in that she makes a point of speaking frequently with as many of her people as she can, but it's impossible to deny who she is. Tight, controlled posture, well-fitted crystalline— no, even metal armoring, a clan-sash of clearly extremely fine quality, and most of all... her eyes, noble in bearing and sharp as a katana, searching me.

...She's a little taller than I expected, too.

I bow stiffly.

"It's an honor to meet you, Toroshu. I'm humbled by your praise."

As I rise, I allow one of my hands I'd pinned at my sides to lift with me, pointing to my mask as I launch into my explanation.

"I use my Kanohi Kiril, milady. Because we have regrettably had a difficult time at sourcing new lumber in recent weeks, I have taken to using fragments of crystal to patch the cracks in the ramparts—"

A thought strikes me mid-sentence. I did just get started on this section, after all, and trusting my body was a little easier than trusting my tongue. I'm sure to hold my gaze evenly, though I don't want to take the posture of challenge by accident.

"Actually, would it be preferable if I demonstrated as I talk through the process?"

Edited by Razgriz

helo frens

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IC (Ageru Kilanya) [Fort Kizuno, Odaiba]

"Please do," Kilanya replied with a nod. "I have never seen a Kiril used in this way. Most would simply regrow what was damaged, but it seems that you replace it with something stronger."

There was a kind of beauty to the patches and streaks of translucent blue. It reminded her of kintsugi. Her mother, teaching her to repair her favourite teacup with glittering lacquer...

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IC: Askha, Hambra, Somei - North Hanaloi

Somei composed herself, dropping the illusion from Fanai. Hambra shifted slightly as she did so to note the new appearance, but did not react with surprise as the other Kaazi did. The Datsue noted a softness in her expression that was quickly covered up again.

The Jahagir shouldered her staff glancing up the path to the cove before turning to the Dastana. "My last zrupgar is watching your ship. Myself, three zrupgar, and less than a score of koshi zrupgar are the only forces the Kaazi have, and many more that we must defend. We are not leaving our home, not again. Zataka's sons, as you mainlanders are calling them, haven't pressed us since we tore apart their assault force in reprisal. The demons that have returned to Hanaloi have not tried to seek us out. But with your arrival, as well as Clan Kuychar on our southern shore, that might indeed change."

Askha opened her mouth to object, then shut it to consider her response. "Jahagir, Hambra, you must have seen the destruction these creatures, the Rahkshi, have wrought on the other islands. These fiends have no other objective than to kill us, to drive us to utter destruction."

The imposing Taajar crossed her arms, staring down at the younger Mashtet. Askha returned her defiant gaze. "Truly? That is not what we have noted. These Demons struck centers of possible resistance before sweeping across the land. In their wake, the land itself turns on survivors; savagery not seen in Rahi for an epoch seems to have been renewed. And certain places are fortified. We have recorded the movements of these Demons before we harry them; they are keeping us out of certain places on the island, just as they are protecting the peak of Mount Koshiki."

The Mashtet Menti scrunched up her mask in confusion. "Protecting? What are you talking about?"

A grim look came over Hambra's kanohi. "Rahkshi are going in and out of your old Mashtet compound daily. We don't know why; I dare not risk my scouts to find out."

Askha let the silence hang while she thought. If this was true, it was a troubling development. She turned to Fanai and the Dastana Menti. "We need to get to the Observatory. It was on our list of things to secure, but it's probably the best spot to see what's going on."

OOC: @Mel

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The times, they are a-changing...

 

 

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IC: Long Hyan-Fei - Odaiba - Western Wilderness, heading south
For a while they journey on through the easy foothills in amiable silence.  Having never really traveled south before, Hyan-Fei takes the slow ride as an opportunity to observe the beauty around her.  The river beside them twinkles brightly in the sunlight, the grass gently bows against the breeze, and Kahu flutter cheerfully through the sky.  It is sights like these that make Hyan-Fei glad to wander, and sad that they are under threat by some new evil.  Her shoulders slump under the weight of these new thoughts.

She is just about to try distracting herself by asking Kura if i is too early to learn a fancy riding trick, when she notices her friend also seems upset about something.  "What's wrong?  Are you still worried that you're not going to find who you're looking for?" she asks.  "You shouldn't be."

OOC:
@Palm

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 [Hanaloi, Near Old Kaazi Compound (Fanai/NPC)]
Dastana Mari’s eyebrows slowly grew more creased as she observed Hambra and Askha’s conversation.  She had lead this expedition to secure lumber, not to solve mysteries.  Still, this could be a breakthrough in understanding the creatures.

“I’m not going to tell you how to run your clan, nor ask you to risk your scouts—but if you could bring us to this observatory and make sure no true demons jump us I would feel a lot more comfortable.”

Fanai nodded, and spoke out loud for the first time since they had encountered the Kaazi.  “I can recognize the difference between your minds and the rakshi, so there is no chance that we should come into conflict by accident again.

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

"Ah, that's really out of necessity, milady." I reply with what looks like and probably legitimately is a bit of a pained smile, as I turn back to the tear of deformed, sickly green-black in the wall. I take hold of my chisel again, and begin to chip it out, scouring as much of the diseased wood as I can at a time without outright overdoing things. If i go too hard at it, I risk the chance of cracking along the grain of the post itself, and actually making things a whole lot worse, so I'm careful with it.

Doubly so that she's looking over my shoulder now as I do it. Even though I'm not the type to really wilt under her gaze, as I just reaffirmed for myself a moment ago, I refuse to bungle something while explaining it to anyone, let alone the head of the clan.

"Because of the wood shortage, it's easiest to just use the crystal fragments as patchwork than source the material for new stakepoles— and even if my Kanohi could regrow organic material like it, crystal's got a more definite structure. I've seen wood do weird stuff, ma'am. Crystal grows the same way every time, and that means it's easy to chip into shape once the hole is plugged. And with rot like this, regrowing that would ask for trouble."

Kirils are a little rare, I'm told. Maybe i'm a little weird for doing things like this and just don't know it because I've never met anyone else like it. Regardless, I forge on. By now, after I spent so much time prattling, I've cleared the discolored portions amply. The green ones make for the hardest work, because the plague they spit spreads far already, even before the rot sets in on its own. 

"Actually, I do this because wood's weird." I say after I wedge my chisel in for one last time, exposing what my nose confirms is the fresher stuff beneath. "My mother got hit with a pretty severe illness in her last few years, so I ended up fronting a lot of the work to keep our home in shape from that point on—"

I relay it calmly, but a hint of warmth might have hit my tone. I'm not a good judge of that, but even though that woman becoming weakened was something of a sad thing, I have fond memories of seeing her smile and praise me for working hard. It was what it was. I try to not get too lost in the reminiscence. Her thing was always about living in the present and not the past, and freeing oneself of attachments.

But the recollections I have to my name, thanks to what happened, are so very few compared to even my peer in Yumiri. I can't help but treasure what's there.

One day, I may not even be able to remember her voice.

"—and I noticed how some of the old nails when I was replacing some boarding in our roof seemed to be stuck."

I place another fragment of crystal within the center of the void rent in our protection, and take a moment to gaze out at the grass through the hole.

...

The moment passes, and I activate my Kiril, a soft ultramarine glow covering the edges of my vision as the crystalline fragment expands in a familiar, geometric pattern to roughly fill things up in a three-dimensional starburst. It looks like a cerulean explosion, frozen in time and glittering against the midday sun. Pretty, but the real important stuff is hidden from view.

"I took a look at those holes because I was curious. Turns out the wood fibers kind of grip around things that puncture them— I basically just learned why nails work, now that I say it out loud." I furrow my brow but, keep my face hidden behind the back of my skull as I watch the hole fill with luminescent blue. "Anyway, I figure the same principle would work here. Since we're in a pinch with the wood, we need something to plug our gaps if we want to hold these walls. If I do this, that patch is threaded into the rest of the structure—"

I bring my chisel a centimeter or two above the base of where the outcropping is flush with the wall. My mask dims, and the haze of blue around the corners fade with it. Time to take this down to size so it doesn't scrape anyone trying to pass through. I take a breath, focusing. If you waver with this part, it becomes ragged, and twice as hard to sand down.

Remember the yard. Commit to the strike, and make sure you make it all one swift, stern motion.

I raise my palm high, and hammer it down onto the back of my tool, snapping through the geode with a deep, splitting crack.

"And that makes it hold up to much more stress than something that could be knocked back inside or pried off." More cracks resound through the air. If I listen for it, I can usually hear the noise bouncing off the opposite walls and back into my ears, but it's usually drowned out by my continued downsizing of the patch. It usually takes a few to really get as much mass as I can off of things before scraping and sanding the rest of the way down.

"It's a bit roughshod, a bit slapdash, but it's what I can do, Toroshu-san."

I wipe my brow again. Concentration must have gotten after me, huh. I stand up, self-consciously dusting off bits of wood and rock from my form, and fighting the urge to pick one out of my grey-green clan band on my wrist, the fragment of my Mother's sash. It'd be impolite of me to not make eye contact by this point.

"I'm sorry for prattling so much and wasting your precious time, but that is the general idea. After this I just grind the crystal flush with the wall, so as to smooth it out and not poke anyone on the inside of here while we are all sharing the fort's space."

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IC: Chand Kura - Odaiba - Western Wilderness

"I'm not worried," I began, face straight forwards. It was a lie, of course, but I broadened the topic, "I think if my people had been all killed, I would have found more evidence of that by now. They were master Soko-women after-all. They should at least have speed on their side."

I turned to look past Hyan-Fei, and further up Koshiki, "I wish I could say the same for the temple," I paused for a moment. The shiver I felt at the mention of what had become of the Long people - a people I was only half of - had become subdued, but it was still there. I would never forget it for as long as I lived. I still remember it to this very day, "Though I have little interest in going back there now, with those beasts crawling around up there. I doubt there's many pieces left to pick up. So much history, destroyed in a single night, like it was never there."

OOC: @capMARVELOUS

Edited by Palm

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| BZPRPG Profiles |

 

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IC (Ageru Kilanya) [Fort Kizuno, Odaiba]

Kilanya remained silent as Shiki explained her methods, not out of any indulgence (there was no time for that), but genuine interest. The principles the young Menti was explaining were useful ones, on levels both practical and philosophical.

The scar becomes part of the wall. It is marred, but stronger for it.

As she often had to, she suppressed the impulse to raise a hand to her face and rub at the furrow that now ran up the left side of her face. She could not show that vulnerability in front of those it was her duty to lead.

 

On 1/12/2022 at 2:23 AM, Razgriz said:

"I'm sorry for prattling so much and wasting your precious time, but that is the general idea. After this I just grind the crystal flush with the wall, so as to smooth it out and not poke anyone on the inside of here while we are all sharing the fort's space."


"There is no need to apologise," Kilanya replied, with just the hint of a smile. "Your ingenuity and enthusiasm are commendable, especially in one so young."

So young...barely older than Enali, she realised, and the memory sent a pang though her heart. She fought to focus instead on the moment at hand, but that was little better. So young...the proud Dasaka Empire now relied on their children to patch their defences and guard their walls. How had they come to this? This young woman should be in the Yards, studying literature and training in the Menti arts, not working on her hands and knees on a front line that could erupt into deadly conflict at any moment.

That, at least, was a pertinent point. Young or not, Shiki would need to be ready to fight if the walls she worked on were breached. Kilanya had made sure all able-bodied Menti (and not a small number of Dashi) were receiving combat training whenever their time (and that of the instructors) could be spared. Out of necessity the training was much simplified, even crude compared to the elegant, refined martial arts taught in the Yards, but it was certainly rigorous and eminently practical.

"You use your Kanohi with some skill. What is your Discipline?" she asked. "You are training with the same focus and dedication, I hope."

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

"That's..."

Ugh.

I talked big about picking her head moments ago, but what I hadn't considered was the possibility— scratch that, the inevitability of addressing the starting point. If I were to proudly trumpet out that I was seeking guidance on a skill I'd barely made any headway upon through my own merit, I think my old teachers would have grounds to cut me down where I stood. If nobody else, I can only imagine Viitkha-renshi standing above me, glaring down with the fire of a midday sun.

I get why they would be frustrated. Hours upon hours have been poured into me, but to no avail— in the end, we faultlessly return to the same conclusion.

They get tired of beating their heads against a wall I know much better than they. Effort can only get so far without the necessary knowledge.

Putting it simply, Ageru Shiki is talentless.

I am a being with no aptitude for the Disciplines that extend beyond my arm's reach. I can't bend minds or trick senses, nor can I push concrete objects around with my Will. I have neither the learning, nor the innate sense for such matters. If I'm to do anything like that, it's physically so or bust. As I can't even muster the basics, the things taught to Menti who barely scratch half my age, I have never been through much in the way of theory. There exists no path for me. The doors they attempted to show me, expecting only the slightest nudge ajar, were simply walls of hard stone.

I am talentless. I am not a woman who can change the world with her Will.

"I am training, Toroshu-dono." I reply after a moment, making sure I address her respectfully as possible. "This... this is very easy, compared to my studies."

I cannot lie. I don't have a reason to. The praise is making me a little uneasy... or rather, the comparison between the two crafts is. The act of repairing a wall is nothing. Necessary? Absolutely. I recognize that, and I'm not going to cut corners or run into the work in front of me half-baked. If she says I use my Kanohi with some skill, then maybe there is an argument for it.

But I am not even remotely training with so little dedication as this.

I am talentless. I have no room for that.

I don't want to denigrate the effort of those that tried to get things through my thick, hard skull in that manner.

As a Menti, we are continually locked in a battle between our wills, mind, and souls, and the world. This is one of the concepts we are taught first, before even discovering how that is expressed. Within those of us born into the warrior caste, there exists the energy of the mind— beyond that which can almost passively be utilized for Ideatalk. It's like the air in your lungs— you doubtlessly use it for speaking, but you're much more worried about your breath control when you run or jump or swim. It's like a great pool that exists within you— the Power of your Life, given Order by the Mind.

Life is something that the world holds, too, and on far greater scope than any one Menti could dare challenge.

Speaking bluntly, what life energy we release is paltry, in the face of the All that Lives of the World. It goes without saying that more energy outmuscles less. Therefore, we seek not to challenge Everything, instead focusing tightly our energy upon the ways our Will can layer a suggestion over it. Honor your Disciplines, and you can use your energy in spite of being an ant before a dragon. Our battles are not with the world, but they are battles with ourselves.

At this, I am bereft of talent. Nothing has come from any attempts I have made to meld my energy around the ambivalence of the world, or that of others. It was proven clearly in aptitude tests, ever since I began my training.

If I could not even manage to nudge a pebble, I am no Mindarm. If I could not even convince an abiding Dashi to blink, I am no Willhammer. If I could not even paint a white flag red in someone's gaze, I am no Sighteye.

All that Ageru Shiki can look into and draw out is Herself. That alone is her path. As I am talentless, someone who lacks natural fluency, it simply comes down to what I can only do.

Not only I can do. I can only do.

I've no other recourse than this— the only method open for me.

It is said that every Menti can manage at least one of the four disciplines through diligent training, that there exists at least one that they are naturally fit for. I've heard it referred to as a couple different things, depending upon my teacher. They call it a Menti's "Origin", "Tendency", "Kankaku", "Alignment"— but the general rule of thumb is that we all hold a certain Awareness (I suppose that's my name to add to the list for it now) for one Discipline or another, one existing on a level beyond the realm of talented or talentless.

A drop of potential, however meager.

For me, it came as a puddle of sweat, ragged breathing, and a burning mind that drove down through my back to create a sparking, sputtering glob of blue, untamed force in my hand—and fading like morning mist, the moment my focus faded.

"I am pursuing the Soulsword, as my Mother before me had." I say, unable to color my voice in any appreciable way. I fear if I do, doubt may yet creep in. It's gotten ahold of me in the past, and feels like a demon's claw around the throat. I believe in becoming someone like her, someone who can do what she had for me———

 

It was peerless in its construction.

Perfectly formed from blue that belong in a summer sky,

and honed to a razor's edge that slashed through the flames themselves before cutting the grain.

It was a victorious promise.

An assertion inarguable as it parted fear, death, and fate with the ease of a real blade through soft silk.

It convinced me of its certainty.

I could not doubt that blade for a moment.

 

———But from where I stand, and when I look back upon my many failures, that seemed an impossible summit. My diligence being whatever it was from the viewpoint of an unbiased judge, rather than myself, I was barely even beginning  the climb. As though I kept stumbling upon a stone beneath the grass of the first slope, I could not even fathom where I was stepping wrong, no matter how many times my aforementioned instructors tried telling me where to shift my weight.

"Whenever I don't work, eat, or sleep, I try to understand it better. Every night, before I rest, throw my head at my blade... Regrettably I don't often get far. Not even to the point where I understand my failure at a corrective level."

It's a little hard to meet my honorable Toroshu's eyes at this point. Here was as fine a warrior as any our clan had produced since the time of Gethseru herself, a living master of our shared Discipline— and all I had to show for myself was a sheepish admission that I could scarcely shape what energy I thrust out from my person. Regardless of our differences in experience, status, natural ability, all those logical things that would make a rational person sigh and murmur that it couldn't be helped, I feel it all the more frustrating. A bitter smile wants to flicker onto my face, but I do my best to force it down.

"I suppose it's best I just persevere, even if it takes me forever."

It's not a matter of choice.

No matter what, I need to become the kind of person Sasaki was.

If we both hold swords within our souls, I can never measure up until I do.

Edited by Razgriz
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IC: Askha, Somei & Hambra - Hanaloi Northern Forest

Hambra nodded, looking back into the forest. She whistled sharply and made a sweeping motion with her hand; "Move out," she spoke in Vulgar Taa, "Keep a perimeter around the outsiders." Her warriors, both big and small, nodded and spread out around the visitors, ranging far. The two Dasaka took up similar Rahkshi forms as before and prowled ahead while Hambra lead the outsiders and Mashtet through the underbrush, leaving the path behind.

As they walked in silence, listening out for any signs of movement, Askha noted that Hambra's trail intersected and followed game trails every so often; there had been rumors in Sado that a strange madness was starting to come over rahi; were the local kavinika safe? As the underbrush gave way to mossy stone, the incline of their trek steepened.  Near the peak, she spotted the distinctive grove that surrounded the Observatory.

::That cluster of old growth, there; we're close.::

OOC: @Mel

Edited by Keeper of Kraata
Adding in @, doesn't work on Firefox for some reason
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The times, they are a-changing...

 

 

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IC Yuna Koizumi - Oki Refugee camp:

Enough boats for everyone?!

"I uh.... I mean I guess I've seen a few more here and there, but it'd take some doing to get them water worthy again."

I gave a brief glance to some others at the camp.

"I don't think some of these people would be able to make another journey, though."

@Keeper of Kraata@

Edited by The UltimoScorp
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IC: Raika, Oki refugee camp

 

. . .

Brush snapped and twigs clawed as the Dasaka tumbled and staggered through the undergrowth. Cut twigs smoldered and the smell of burnt sap followed them as their daggers, clutched in a death grip, heedlessly cleaved through the greenery.

 

It was all for naught.

 

They stumbled slightly, then it was all around them. The trees had given way to the smoldering remnants of their home village.

 

They choked as smoke filled their lungs. Tripping on the arm of a fallen Dashi, they twisted onto their back and scrabbled for their dropped weapon.

 

It loomed over them. Firelight glinted off of oily red, metallic armor. The smell of fire and ash and charred organic tissue flowed around Raika until the tormented Dasaka felt ready to vomit. Two slitted, smoldering eyes stared back at them.

 

Raika scrabbled for their blades, but the further they reached, the further their weapons were from grasp.

 

The thing's face opened, and the Wraith's ears filled with a piercing Dasakan scream…

. . .

 

Raika bolted upright, their throat clenched tight in terror. with trembling hands, they felt the ground around them. Not grass. Tarpaulin.

 

The smell of a fire was in their nostrils, but a simple wood fire and not the charnel bonfire of their nightmare.

 

It hadn't been one the last time. But that time they had managed to fumble upon the still-heated blade.

 

They had plunged the blade into the thing's open faceplate. And then done so again. And again. And again. And again…

 

They had not stopped until the façade of their village had dissipated. Until the creature's armor was punched through in multiple places. Until the reek of burned Dasaka was replaced with the acrid, burning tang of the creature's tissue.

 

Slowly rising to their feet, the still-trembling figure made their way, wordlessly, to Ahri and Yuna. They gestured noncommittaly in lieu of actual speech. They feared that if they opened their mind now, all that Ahri would hear was screaming.

(OOC: @Keeper of Kraata @The UltimoScorp, )

Edited by TL01 NUVA
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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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[Hanaloi, Near Observatory (Fanai/NPC)]
The Dastana warriors and their Plangori allies began to spread out slightly, although both Fanai and Mari stayed next to Askha.

The later loosened the weapons on her back with her mindarm, eyes and mind alert for the signal from the willhammer next to her.   Rina flickered out of sight once again, seeking to get lost in the undergrowth.

Fanai walked forward, all senses psychic and otherwise focused on perceiving.

OOC: @Keeper of Kraata

Edited by Mel

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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GM IC:

 

“Better.”

The simple word slipped through the air soft and sibilant, reverberating just as much in her servant's brain. Her tone spoke of dispassionate satisfaction, the pleasure that one might feel when a new tool works as it should.

“No need for ceremony now, is there?” The dark Spirit turned away, her form already melting away and back to the metallic carapace that had been changed to bear her image. There was no mouth from which the words could issue any more but they continued as a whisper in the Dasaka's own mind. “Go. My Children besiege the city, but they whisper to me of a troublesome island. Hanaloi. See to it.”

@Nato The Whisperer

 

IC:

 

Hahaha f—

 

In the part of her brain where the most basic elements of socialization lived Nihonei wasn't ready. There were certain niceties, tenets of respectful practice, to be observed before any bout began. Obviously that wasn't going to be the case. Fortunately she was, at the end of the day, still a Menti. And a Toroshu at that. Whether her conscious mind was fully engaged or not reflex actions drilled into her on the most basic level were.

”The thing you have to lock in, my Lady,” The Battlemaster knelt in front of her, one hand on either knee. If she thought it strange to be called 'my lady' at her age— and her diminutive size compared to her instructor— Nihonei didn't show it. “Is that every clan in the Empire, and every band of Tajaar too, has their own opinion on how to fight best. And most of them have a point because there isn't a single right answer. There are wrong ways to do things, of course, but there are just as many right ways. And that's because the most dangerous warrior isn't the one with the right style, or the most expensive weapon. The most dangerous warrior is the one that, deep in her bones, knows she's dangerous.”

No time to move back, but moving back was a lie anyway. Moving back was a fear reaction, and fear lied. The Toroshu stepped in with her rear foot and pivoted sideways to her opponent. Nihonei was quick, but Lii was still quicker; her heel caught the edge of the Menti's shifting side hard enough to promise terrible things if it landed properly. But it hadn't this time, and her outstretched leg presented an opportunity.

The Toroshu brought her right hand chopping down on the Tajaar's injured thigh. Hard.

@sunflower@Razgriz@Bjorkway

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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: Long Hyan-Fei - Odaiba - Western Wilderness, heading south
Hyan-Fei knows she should probably say something to comfort Kura, tell her that the people of the Long temple are going to be okay, but it would be a lie coming from her.  Even if they are her clan, she feels little goodwill for them beyond the standard vague desire that they somehow survive.  Her much stronger desire for them is that they change.

Flashbacks of her time with the temple mothers dance across her brain- always chastising her for never sitting still, never having detrimental levels of discipline, never staying "rooted."  The people of the Long temple dedicated themselves to sitting in one place all their lives, and where did it get them?  A front-row seat for the apocalypse.  She cannot help but feel a sort of condescending pity for them.  Can their rigid discipline hope to stand against Zataka's chaos- if it is truly Zataka?  Maybe this will be the wake-up call she feels they desperately need.  Maybe this will open their eyes to the need to fight chaos with chaos, and leave the refined behind.

Of course, these thoughts are wisely left unsaid.  Hyan-Fei settles for a vague, "Like I said, you shouldn't worry.  I have a feeling that everything's going to turn out fine, in some way or another."

OOC:
@Palm

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IC: Ahri - Oki Refugee Camp

The Menti crossed his arms as he followed Yuna's gaze. "You're right, but I'm worried they're not going to have a choice."

This fishing village was clearly over capacity; people were sleeping in shifts, and something told Ahri that even if an invader never showed up, disease could rip through the village and kill more than if they were routed. His thoughts came to a halt when he spied Raika making their way towards himself and Yuna, shaking. As she gestured, he took his eyes off her, scanning the treeline.

.:Raika, what's wrong?:.

OOC: @The UltimoScorp @TL01 NUVA

 

IC: Askha, Somei & Hambra - Hanaloi Observatory

As the group approached the grove, the disguised Kaazi broke formation, searching around the trees, or resting against them. This was the boundary of one of the Mashtet's 'forbidden places,' and Hambra had commanded her warriors that she wasn't about to be the first leader to break it. It was unnerving seeing a rahkshi leaning nonchalantly against a tree trunk. The expedition Menti strode past them into the grove; there wasn't much in the way of undergrowth, as it had been choked out by the large trees. Scattered rays of sunlight dappled the carpet of leaves, and Fanai could make out a path of stepping stones leading to a massive central tree. The base of the massive tree could have held a comfortable Sado apartment; indeed, the path ended at a portal with a Dasaka-sized stone door.

Askha turned to the others, smiling sheepishly. "Now, uh, just to let y'all know, in the old days we never told anybody about this. The Royal Executioner and the Empress were the only non-Mashtet to know about this place; normally, if anyone found out about this place, we threw them to the Kaazi, who then fed them to the kavinika."

Behind them, one of the disguised Kaazi reached her arm past the tree that she leaned against, holding out a thumbs-up.

"But," Askha resumed, "Desperate times and all that. Just try to keep this close to our chests. I know you're gonna tell your Toroshu, but if I could keep the secret through my cross-island tavern crawls, I like to think this can remain on the down-low."

Somei cleared her throat. "Askha, can you help with with the doors?"

"Oh yeah, coming!" The Menti spun on her heel and approached the door. The door was split in half down the middle, and in the center was a small slot. Sighing, Askha retrieved her Mashtet token, glancing at as she remembered when her mother had first taken her to view the observatory. She had only recently begun her training, and had been gravitating away from the Carver path the young Dasaka were started on. Her mother, the Toroshu, had told her that she would see the true power of the Mashtet. She remembered how her mother opened the door, and did likewise: she placed her token inside the recess in the door, sliding it back until the gear teeth caught on the backside of the token. Satisfied, she stood back holding out her hand as she focused her Mindarm; she twisted the token, and the mechanism ground slowly into its unlocked position. She and Somei braced themselves, and telekinetically eased open the doors, which rolled away to either side. Still with her Mindarm, Askha returned her token to its pouch on her belt.

Askha once again picked up her aunt on her back. "Lotta climbing," she said as she cocked her head towards the steep, rail-like stair carved into a spiral through a partially-hollow trunk. "That's the only door through, so someone else can take the lead. We didn't leave traps, so it should be safe. I think."

OOC: @Mel

Edited by Keeper of Kraata
Fixing @s

The times, they are a-changing...

 

 

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 [Hanaloi, Observatory Entrance(Fanai/NPC)]

Mari sighed.   “I hope whatever you’re keeping there is worth telling my Toroshu about,” she said.  “If we’re going into a dark tunnel, it seems only obvious that I take point.  Rina will be behind me—she knows my fighting style.   Aska, you and your elder stay in the middle—we can’t afford to loose you.   Fanai, you take the back, inform us of the mindscape as we go. ‘Saki, support her.”

"My name is Murasa--" the Plangori soulsword fell silent as her complaint was clearly ignored.  Fanai simply nodded.  Privately, she spoke in Askha’s mind.  ::My cousin instructed me only to keep you safe and see you through your mission.   She will be told only what is necessary.::

OOC: @Keeper of Kraata

Edited by Mel

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: Raika, Oki Refugee Camp

 

The wanderer cursed inwardly. They needed to either get their tells under control or stay invisible more often. Shivering like a child, what kind of imposing figure were they now? Even as they considered the answer, they saw the worried expression on Ahri's face superimposed on hisnface the day the Wraith had returned from the kill. Could they really, truly trust that face?

 

Bad dream, they signed shakily but legibly, still not trusting their ideatalk. That… they made a pair of gestures that roughly translated to 'serpent-thing,' did something to my mind. 

 

They kicked themselves. Imbecile. Now he thinks you're a mewling coward as well as a useless fighter.

Should have seen the other guy they added halfheartedly, too humiliated to meet Ahri or Yuna's gaze.

Yuna. Zuto Nui, that's right. She'd think the two were conspiring or something.

 

The Dasaka's face was unscruitable beneath their mask's visor as they composed their thoughts.

 

.:Bad Dream.:. they said, forcing a smile through their visor. .:But i-it's over now...:.


Was it, though? Those memories were all still real. They were still a murderous… well, they deserved this torment, all things said. Probably for the best they reasoned darkly, stewing in the poisons of involuntary insomnia.

OOC: @Keeper of Kraata @The UltimoScorp

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Whatever mountain you are climbing, you can do this.

                                       BZPRPG character masterpost

20220406_234727.jpg

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

 

 

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IC: Askha & Somie - Observatory, Hanaloi

Askha and Somei fell in behind the Dastana as they climbed the length of the tree. ::Thank you, Fanai. I don't think we should be expecting anything, we never trapped the Observatory before; not many knew of it in the first place. But it was years before the Mashtet disappeared the last time I was here, they might have changed protocols.::

The rest of the climb was in silence, stopping only to rest wearied limbs; by the time the twisting ladder opened up, everyone was tired from the long climb. It opened into a wooden deck built around a round central table with several cabinets built into the walls. Great limbs of the tree had been built into the structure, and the side facing the rest of the Archipelago was built with a long viewing port, along which was a long-disused telescope mounted on a rail and stabilization platform

Stretching as she set Somie down onto the deck, Askha audibly popped her back. "Alright auntie, you're up. Work your miracles."

The former Ringti chuckled as she pulled several cleaning cloths and ointment from her satchel with Mindarm. "Let's see what the damage is. I'd suggest not looking directly at the work until I'm finished; if you're not trained, the process can be unsettling."

She crawled up onto the table, looking it over. Hexagonal wooden tiles were set into the surface, each carved into a rough shape. She blew away the dust, and wet the first of her cloths with the specialist ointment, and started polishing each tile to a sheen. As she did, she focused her Sighteye on the precise inlay of crystal in each tile; these were a lot more precise than the some of the larger-scale carvings, even more precise than the carvings on her and Askha's tokens. They were meant to convey the exact same memories and thoughts, rather than a suggestion up for interpretation. She felt the vertigo as memories of the initial carvers wore against her psyche. She had long grown used to it; poor Sydelia had never been able to do it without throwing up. Not all Mashtet could be Carvers.

As she went about her work, Askha went about checking the other features of the Observatory; she verified the telescope worked (after picking out some natural debris that had built up along the railing), and looking through the scroll logs. "The observers here kept logs which were transferred into the tunnels under our compound every month; looks like there are only a week's worth of records left," she explained. Reading though the last one, it seemed normal. Recording shipping movements from Kozu, Sado, and Iki, no unusual reports. Midday, the observers were recalled to the homestead by order of the Mashtet Toroshu, before normal observations resumed for several hours.

"This was a few days before I projected here last and found them... I think my mother may have known something was going on."

Somei was too busy to reply. Had her younger sister truly known the truth? It was unusual to recall observers, true, but it had been done before. Even just for a change of protocol. She had almost finished with the table; the hexagonal tiles had transformed into a full topographical map of Kentoku, projecting above the simple contours into a full three dimensions, with labels included. She sighed; the map was out of date, but there were plans for this. She opened a small cabinet on the side of the table and retrieved several replacement tiles; breathing life into each, she replaced Sado and Hanaloi. Their replacements depicted that Hanaloi had fallen, and that Sado was besieged.

"This was our war room. The defense of Hanaloi when Clan Fursic fell upon us during their last uprising, troop movements, new constructions, we tracked it all here. Askha, I'm going to need your help with the camouflage walls."

Askha looked over the table. "One last thing," she said, and started rummaging around in the cabinets for a token, she came out with a small one and handed it to Somei, who renewed the simple Mashtet carving on it, which projected text above it.

The Mashtet frowned as she set the miniature down on the peak of Mount Koshiki; bright red letters projected from a blank flag: UNKNOWN

OOC: @Mel

 

IC: Ahri - Oki Refugee Camp

"I wish I could say the same."

The amnesiac furrowed his Hau and crossed his arms. The creatures that Raika had referred to earlier; thanks to her mental picture, he had a good idea of what she was talking about. It was totally unlike anything he had heard of; if they were rahi, the closest equivalents were mythical beasts like the fabled Artakha Bulls. But apparently, these were all too real, and much too clever for any rahi. "These creatures... do we know anything else about them? Where they came from, what their goals are? These don't sound like any normal creature under the sun."

OOC: @TL01 NUVA @The UltimoScorp

The times, they are a-changing...

 

 

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On 1/22/2022 at 7:46 AM, Razgriz said:

"I suppose it's best I just persevere, even if it takes me forever."

IC (Ageru Kilanya) [Fort Kizuno, Odaiba]

"No."

Kilanya's whole aura had changed. Gone was the gentle curiosity, the gracious if detached praise. Now her single eye looked down upon Shiki with the stern and steely gaze of the Rakumetsu Toroshu.

"You do not have forever. If the Rakushi come over these walls tomorrow, you will need all the power of a Menti to defend yourself and our kin. 'Forever' is a luxury none of us can afford."

Her face softened. Obviously the girl knew the urgency of the situation the Dasaka found themselves in. She needed encouragement and advice as much as dire warnings.

"Perseverance is essential, but effort without progress suggests something is blocking you. Often it means there is something simple, yet fundamental, that has eluded us. 'A scythe wielded backwards cuts no stems, no matter how hard one reaps' ."

The quote was from the philosophies of the Ageru Tenshuu-ryu, the venerable school of swordsmanship that was arguably the root and heart of Clan Ageru's reputation for Soulsword prowess. The Tenshuu-ryu claimed direct lineage from the techniques and philosophies laid down by Gestheru herself, a claim underlined by the Ageru ruling family's close ties with its masters. Kilanya knew its teachings well.

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

Ah.

"You do not have forever. If the Rakushi come over these walls tomorrow, you will need all the power of a Menti to defend yourself and our kin. 'Forever' is a luxury none of us can afford."

I've gone and done it, haven't I? The Toroshu's one working eye is full of steel, glaring at me like I've just made an obscene gesture in her direction. Her shoulders have tensed, and all of a sudden that pressure that I've been buffeted by this entire time has redoubled, as though blasting my spirit itself—

She's really mad at me.

It's not unreasonable, either. The entire island is in grave danger every waking moment while those things still prowl out there, and a troubled student like myself is the last thing our last remnants of clan territory need in light of it. For as much as a girl like me is starstruck in the presence of such a fine warrior, and humbled by the praise I'd received so far, this was the exact thing I'd worried about coming up— and the exact way I'd worried my troubles would come across.

I've earned that hostility, even if I wish I didn't. It's a chill, running down the core of my spine.

I'm not proud to admit it, but it's got me mildly panicking, and I scrounge up what defenses I can.

"Well, that's not to say I'm helpless in battle, that is— I've been training my body pretty religiously, and practicing my strikes with the bokken to hone my form. Even if I can't force my blade out well by will, I can still fight—"

She's upset by my words.

But also...

"Perseverance is essential, but effort without progress suggests something is blocking you." 

Her face softens, ponderingly and... it almost seems apologetic.

She's worried, too.

"'A scythe wielded backwards cuts no stems, no matter how hard one reaps'."

I then stop in my tracks, as the toroshu's sagacious recitation hits my ears. They are a core tenant of the clan Koryu's first teachings.

I know these words well.

I've heard them before, many times— but there is one I can't help but recall.

It was under my time as a trainee beneath our next most honored warrior, Ageru Viitkha. A long day of mutual frustration had taken hold of us both after the first few hours when we progressed beyond simple kata and uradachi drills with bamboo shinai. I remember her brow twisted up in a knot, totally at her wit's end while I stood there, body every bit as ragged and worn as my brain felt. I had barely managed to hold my soulsword together long enough for a single swing, time and again. No matter how many times we both tried to bring the discipline to heel... something wasn't clicking.

After some shared silence, I saw my instructor's gaze turn away from me. Away from the grounds.

If anything, it was away from anywhere on the island, and out into the evening sun.

She had found her stupefaction to be everywhere I was, I imagined. 

With that contemplative face, awash in the tawny reds, pinks, and oranges of fruitless day's end, she muttered those same words quietly.

I could barely hear it beneath the breeze, I remember. Whether or not I was meant to, I still don't know.

She then, much truer to her usual character, she grumbled a few curses upon my previous teachers openly and to my face, before calling it a day.

Come to think of it— it was also the last time she trained me. When we next met, she only gave a cryptic expression that seemed to say I was a puzzle she wasn't sure what to make of.

I'd not questioned that until now. I respect Viitkha-renshi's skill, experience, and knowledge wholeheartedly, but we were like oil and water as teacher and student. Had we been born in the same generation, or not shared the mutual goals we did in my time as her student, I kind of suspect that she'd class as a natural enemy of mine, and I similarly for her. It felt completely incompatible.

But if she and the Toroshu have both arrived at those words... I have to ruminate upon them. I can feel it in the pit of my stomach, in the back of my skull. That I can offer no rebuttal to them is proof enough that there's something to it, before I even think about how different their personalities feel in spite of shared experience and schooling. If every teacher I meet sees the same problem... I would be wrong to not consider it.

"...I do not know what is held wrongly, ma'am." I speak at length. "Even now, practicing hard every night, I am a leaf in a whirlwind."

It's a bitter taste in my throat.

Like days-old medicine, that I can't even wash down with tea.

But.

My mind is made up. I won't have an opportunity again, not today, maybe not ever.

She is leading a war against a threat not of this Earth— I'm supremely lucky to just have this audience alone.

"What would you have me do?"

Edited by Razgriz
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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.

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IC: Suzume, Sado Apartment

Weeks ago. 

“I’m leaving, Suzume.”

There was no reply from behind the closed door of Suzume’s room, neither vocal nor through Ideatalk, save for the trilling high notes of the young Dasaka’s shinobue, filling the otherwise quiet air of the mother and daughter’s apartment with the third movement of Kitamura’s The Flower Dancer. Though the piece didn’t call for any percussion, Hiromi freestyled a single drumbeat by closing the front door a bit too forcefully as she left. Suzume didn’t falter, and barely noticed the anomalous addition - it was the same story morning after morning. Her mother was off to the Yards again - to Arohi specifically - as she did every day, even during her off-days. She’d long since stopped trying to force her daughter to accompany her, since doing so with Suzume being as old as she was would be more embarrassing than just allowing her to keep out of public perception.

Hiromi knew her days were numbered. She knew there was going to come a day where the gossip would reach exactly the wrong ear and bring all of Zataka’s wrath down to bear on her household. Her career would be over. The only reason why a second stolid pile was not festering in her home - a pile of sake bottles - was because she didn’t allow them in in the first place. As soon as she did, they’d become yet another career-ending problem, and about the only thing she did like anymore was her job as a Willhammer instructor.

Take the information gleaned thus far as you will.

Suzume, on the other hand, was content as often as she could be, with the exception of when she got dizzy from dehydration, or when her stomach growled more loudly than her flute could drown out. There she sat, day in and out, either playing or practicing a sonata, studying her sheet music books or the biographies of their composers, or perusing the latest charts. Right now, however, she was immersing herself in the bright, energetic overture of Kitamura. The proverbial flowers budded, blossomed, wilted and faded away before long, and at last Suzume put down her flute when it was finished, some time after her mother had left.

She got up, crept from the golden rays of her sun-lit room and figured on getting some breakfast from the kitchen. She’d bring the meal back to her room and continue playing before long.

Her mother did not return at her usual time that evening.

* * *

IC: Suzume

Two weeks ago.

♪—-♫ ♪—-♪ … 

ˢᵏʳᵉᵉᵉᵉᵉᵉᵉᵉᵉᵉ 

Some seriously weird noises were interrupting her practice session this afternoon, and they were worse than the ones of exasperation that emanated from her mother’s general direction within the apartment.

Not that those latter noises had intruded upon her concentration like they usually did - her mother mercifully hadn’t bothered her with a “Do your laundry! You can’t wear the same clothes for five days in a row!” or a “Come here! It’s time you learned something useful!” or some other rambling diatribe that served only to distract her and sully her mood for the day. In fact, she hadn’t really set foot in the house for a little while when Suzume was conscious, to the best of her knowledge. She figured that her mother was probably getting up really early and coming home from the Yards really late, as she sometimes did when she was in one of her moods. It wasn’t uncommon for Suzume to sleep for an inordinate number of hours and miss either of those events during their regular schedule, anyway.

Well, as long as the water was still running and there was food in the fridge.

In the distance, she heard what sounded like fireworks and… screaming? Cheering? Hard to tell what they were other than an annoyance. In a huff, Suzume put down her instrument and stormed off to the kitchen, hoping that the goings on of Sado would quiet down when she returned with a plum or two.

* * *

IC: Suzume

Four days ago.

There was nothing to eat.

She didn’t mean that in the “There’s actually plenty of food but I can’t be asked to cook anything” way. There was quite literally nothing left to eat in the house because she’d exhausted every last option. Both the fridge and the cabinets were empty, and the garbage and sink were full in their place. In her room, the shinobue and her stomach played a duet of high lofting notes and deep rumbling vibrato. Suzume did not care for this other instrument, constantly barging in and braying like an oxen and throwing her rhythm off with off-tune and inappropriate soloes.

It was time to rectify the problem that had clearly slipped her mother’s mind. Well, one of them. She completely ignored the dirty dishes and the garbage piling up - wasn’t her department.

Breakfast could not wait any longer. Her robe was fetched from where it was draped haphazardly over a bundle of clothes in the corner of her room, thrown on unceremoniously (the wrinkles and stains going unnoticed by the young Dasaka donning it) and fluttered in her wake as she strode to the front door, grumbling as she went. Looking back over her shoulder was an afterthought, but in doing so, she spied that the door to her mother’s room was closed. What day was it? Suzume couldn’t remember; perhaps it was one of her mother’s off-days and she was still asleep in there. Weighing in her mind for the briefest of moments whether it was better to leave her to rest or to wake her up to declare that she was leaving the house, she decided on the former and took her leave immediately after pillaging the contents of the decorative bowl on the credenza next to the door for a handful of crystal dragons.

Exiting the similarly-crystalline building into the streets of Sado was a bit of a surreal experience - Suzume truly hadn’t left the apartment in a little while and the first thing she noticed was just how quiet it was, especially considering how loud it had been earlier in the week as the bustle of the city was briefly accompanied by sounds uncharacteristic of daily life. It couldn’t have been that early in the morning - the sky was just losing the milky-rose blush imparted by the rising sun and giving way to the same brilliant blue that so dominated the Archipelago. And, like the sky, there were just as many people on the streets as there were clouds above.

None.

For the first time in who-knows-how-long, the young Dasaka truly pondered if something had gone terribly wrong, or perhaps she was dreaming. However, the all-too-real growl of her gut ripped her back from her ruminations. Pocketing the coinage that she had pilfered from the doorside stash, Suzume finally trod the streets of the city once more, after a lengthy hiatus, in search of a venue her mother had taken her to often when she was in her single-digit years. It wasn’t too far, if memory served - just a short walk (not that she did much of that so any jaunt was a rather lengthy one by her standards) and around the corner from the apartment.

Still, her thoughts drifted back to the odd serenity of Sado as it stood looming around her, broken up only by lines of shrubbery, trees and miscellaneous foliage carefully maintained by Dashi working throughout the day, none of whom were visible now. In the distance, Suzume thought she heard shouting from some distant point, but it could just have easily been the squawking of a family of gulls or perhaps even the roar of a dragon high up on Koshiki. Once again, these thoughts didn’t remain cranium-bound for long as she rounded the street corner and spied the old joint, immediately displacing concern with lust for warm tamagoyaki or maybe those fluffy little pancakes she so fondly remembered…

* * *

IC: Suzume

Now.

She sat there, cross-legged, in the middle of the living room, with the faded calendar splayed out before her. Suzume was studying it intently, trying her dаmnedest to remember the exact day her mother had left and not returned. She’d determined that it was, in fact, more than four weeks ago, that much was certain. Certainty was another thing - she’d purposefully stayed up the entire night to be certain that she was not actually missing her mother’s theorized nightly/daily creeping to and from the house - that it was definitively not occurring outside her realm of perception or conveniently only when Suzume was incapacitated. Not to mention that, judging from the smell of fermenting garbage and the piles of soiled dishware creating its own miniature replica of Sado in the kitchen, she had not been back to the apartment in a long, long while. To learn any of this after so long would embarrass any other Dasaka living within the Empire, but this is Suzume we’re talking about and the concept of “shame” was not one she cared to learn about. The stench was actively hampering her efforts to focus on determining just how long her mother had been missing and no amount of silken wadding could stop it from, at the very least, tickling her sinuses and making her gag.

Eventually, she gave up on the task at hand and, with an anguished groan, forced herself up on her wobbly, malnourished legs and steeled herself for the task at hand.

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. This girl is ready, at last, to do A Chore™.

The first thing to tackle was the garbage. The grimace contorting her features threatened to split her cheeks from the rest of her face as she hauled the bags of refuse out into the street and deposited them in their waiting receptacle. Whether anyone would swing by to collect them, Suzume could not care nor reasonably theorize, her senses overwhelmed by the pestilential odor emanating from the pile. She looked down in horror at her hands, begging that the stench not be permanently soaked into them. It was a hard thought to ignore as she set her mind to the second task, and that was dismantling the castle of porcelain that she had turned the kitchen countertop into. At least the water was still running, but it seemed like no amount of scrubbing could rid the cutlery and dishware of the blackening stains plaguing them. Admirably, she soldiered on, however poor her attempts were. Gold star for effort, though.

Her reward at the end of all this was to open every single window in the tiny corner apartment and let the fetor dissipate into the cool air of Sado, hopefully never to haunt her again. Regardless, it made the atmosphere within the abode tolerable enough that Suzume could think and pace around without feeling the need to vomit. As much as she just wanted to retreat into her room, forget about the strangeness that had disrupted her life so much that she had to actually do something for once, and play her flute, she knew that that was no longer an option. Something had happened, not just to her or her mother, but to the world as a whole, and it was time for her to figure out what. With enough determination that might make her absent mother even the slightest bit proud, Suzume scrounged up whatever money remained within the house (not much) and some important essentials (basically just her shinobue) and, after donning her robe which she had decided to scrub at the last minute, took a good long look at her home.

She hoped to be back here soon. She hoped that whatever had happened was something mundane or just some brief anomaly that would sort itself out without her. But Suzume was, admittedly, terrified. She didn’t realize just how much she depended on her mother, and needed desperately to find her.

Closing and locking the front door of the apartment behind her, she strode out into the streets of her home city, determined to find out what in the name of Zataka’s rotund аss was happening.

OOC: Worst Girl open for interaction.

Edited by Perp
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IC: Raika, Oki refugee camp

 

Raika shook themselves from their poisonous musings.

 

.:'m not sure. I've been a little isolated of late.:.

The wanderer yawned, disconcertingly carrying on their running mental dialogue even as they did so. 

.:Here is… what I can remember, though. I've faced two of these creatures. They looked like… well, like serpents that had grown legs, with these blades crests along their spines. One was a sickly pale green, and its blood stank like sweet poison when it did bleed. The other…..:.

 

It was a solid thirty seconds before Raika spoke again. 

 

.:It was red. Bright red, like a boiled shellfish. Its spines looked like flames or tendrils. It…:. They gulped. .:...It made me see things. Things that weren't there.  Things from my memories. I… saw the thing's face open… :.

 

Here they paused, even longer. How could they describe the nightmarish sight? That… thing's carapace splitting, the hideous, roiling mass of flesh? The green one had been too dangerously corrosive to peel and study, and… by the time the red one had finished, all Raika could do was run. And run.

 

It had taken every scrap of will they had not to dive into the ocean when they reached the shore of Oki. Just to swim and swim until arms turned to lead and their lungs filled with seawater and they drifted down, down, perhaps to whatever ****** had spawned these things.

 

Their hands trembled slightly, and while their visor hid most of their expression, Raika's glowing eyes were twisted in relived fear as they spoke to their companions.

 

OOC: @Keeper of Kraata @The UltimoScorp

Edited by TL01 NUVA
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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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  • 3 weeks later...

IC:

The ocean waves were gentle, washing over the shore with the comforting touch of a trusted confidant, smoothing over its secrets and its scars – the long gash, cut by a rowboat dragged along the shore, the bruises left by the single set of footprints that accompanied it, all to be wiped clean inch by inch. The sand would be healed, the only evidence left the rowboat itself, now veiled by foliage.

Hanaloi did not feel haunted; it felt lonely, deeply and irreparably. To the woman clad in silver scales, these seemed mutually exclusive – at least if the island truly was crowded with all the ghosts of Clan Mashtet.

It would not occur to her until much later that death is a lonely thing, and it is lonelier still to be left behind, unable to reach out to another, unable to leave, never again to touch or be touched.

Ghosts, then, must have been very lonely indeed.

 

Caana had stayed clear of the Rahkshi, when at all possible. They were formidable beasts, as she had learned for herself when clashing against them, and they seemed almost to patrol the jungle. It seemed best not to interrupt them.

She wondered how much of their intelligence was their own – when fighting them, she had taken notice of a certain predatory shrewdness, but their application of overt tactics seemed inconsistent. It could of course simply be that some were smarter than others, but they were also quite clearly acting under orders. So which thoughts and plans were their own, and which were merely dictated to them?

A question for another time, perhaps. For now, Caana's immediate goal was clear: to reach the ghost-village of the Mashtet, and learn what she could from the site of Hanaloi's most famous mystery.

OOC: @Keeper of Kraata

Edited by Goose
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On 2/6/2022 at 9:23 PM, Razgriz said:

"What would you have me do?"

IC (Ageru Kilanya) [Fort Kizuno, Odaiba]

"That is a difficult question to answer," Kilanya replied. "Clearly you must find whatever it is that blocks you, but that is easier said than done. Introspection and meditation may help, but...sometimes an outside perspective is needed, to see in oneself what the self cannot."

The Toroshu rubbed her chin, frowning not in displeasure but in contemplation.

"When is your next training shift?"

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IC: Chand Kura - Odaiba - Western Wilderness, heading south

"I hope you're right," I said simply, giving Hyan-Fei another reserved smile. After some time as the sun began to set, and with some searching we found a place that seemed suitable for a small camp - amongst a small stand of trees stood a long pointed boulder which would provide shelter from rain and a little from the winds, so long as it came from the north like usual. The trees weren't many and they weren't tall, but it would still obscure them at least somewhat, so long as nobody spent too long staring anyways.

As Hyan-Fei brought Naiana towards the rock, I touched my ribs, and flinched a little. They were still sore, but close second was my feet. Hyan-Fei had been right though, the pain wasn't as harsh as it was just this morning. I turned my attention back to my companion and put out a hand to take for stability, "Don't underestimate the dismount. First time I fell off the Soko was at the end of my first day of riding."

OOC: Sorry about the long wait @capMARVELOUS I was ready to post and then the forums went down lmao

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IC Yuna Koizumi - Oki Refugee camp:

"I managed to get away from one that was.... I dunno, it was stretchy? A tan one, I got away from it in the water, but when I tried to attack it the thing just bent around my blade, and nothing I did seemed to do anything to it! Not until I started throwing water at it, anyway. That at least kept it away from me so I could escape."

Internally I froze. Why in the world had I said that?! Throwing water?! No, it's fine. I'm just...... a Mindarm? Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah, a Mindarm. Who can..... only grab liquids. Totally a thing.

****** me, I'm doomed.

@Keeper of Kraata@TL01 NUVA

 

Edited by The UltimoScorp
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IC: Raika, Oki Refugee Camp

 

As soon as Yuna mentioned having faced one of the serpents, a subtle but clear difference came over Raika. A little bit of focus returned to their eyes as they turned to the fisherwoman.

.:You… you faced one? You fought it off? Are…:. They trailed off, then added in a softer tone inside of her head, .:are you okay? I just… they're terrifying. I know what it's like to face one. If… if you need to talk… or h...h-help…:.

 

Raika's cheeks were flushed with panicked emotion. It was the most open they had been with anyone in recent memory. And… they felt the idea of rising panic at being alone again. No. They'd done the solitary thing, and… already, they could feel that this felt more… right? Besides, Yuna had saved them, and found a way to fight another with… water? Maybe it was a Mindarm trick, though the ability to conjure more than a splash would take considerable skill. Yuna certainly seemed to have a feel for the water. 

 

They fought back a tiny pang of jealousy. Their cloaking ability was more a gimmick than being able to manipulate a physical object. But they mentally shook themself. No. They needed to be there. For their friend.

 

OOC: @Keeper of Kraata @The UltimoScorp

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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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OOC: Jam between me and Mel

IC: Hanaloi Observatory

“Pretty, but nothing I would feed someone to Kavanika over,” Mari said, arms crossed as she examined the map.  She looked to Fanai, who was carefully examining the telescope, and then back to Somei. “How far can you see from here?”

Askha shrugged as she pulled out a length of silk rope from her satchel. "Supposedly, all over the Archipelago, minus Mount Koshiki's shadow. That part was filled in by our Saihoko and their escorts back in the day." Tying the end of the rope into a loop, she telekinetically lifted the loop around Somei's waist and gently cinched it.
She lowered Somei out the window to begin her work camouflaging the blind surrounding the Observatory. "Also, I'm pretty sure we did feed someone to Kavinika at some point over this. I'm not sure if my mother was being literal or metaphorical, its a... popular form for Kaazi warriors." Mari was not listening to Askha--all of her attention was focused on yanking the elder mentally up at the slightest indication of danger from Fanai.

Outside, the Datsue slowly rappelled along the side of the arboreal construction. Fortunately, the outside camouflage paneling was less intricate, as well as weatherproofed more. It required only a slight realignment of the shards in the wood and overview of the embedded illusion; these were very crude and up for interpretation; no artistry or suggested form, simply the suggestion of tangled branches matching the foliage around them. As she went about the work, shimmying along the line, she softly hummed an older tune popular back when she was a proper Ringti. .:The wood has held up, fortunately. Might need to replace a few planks, there is some sort of growth on some of the planks.:.

Askha broke the silence. "Mari, are we going to need to make contact with that band of Taajar that camped out along the south edge of the island? If your Toroshu wants lumber, there's only so much the Saihoko and us can do. "

Above them and out of sight, something waited. In the darkness of the branches, the gold and black of the slug was hidden from the light, the danger. But below, it sensed movement; voices. Prey. It slithered through the roof, leaving behind vile weeds in its trail, and unattached itself from the ceiling, right above the Dastana.

OOC: @Mel


IC: Ahri - Fishing Village

The older Dasaka put a hand on Raika's shoulder to reassure them. "You... threw water at it? With an oar, or a bucket, or...?"

OOC: @TL01 NUVA @ultimoscorp

 

IC: Hambra - Hanaloi

Her koshi zrupgar had been correct - there was another outsider on Hanaloi. Kaazi Hambra watched silently under the cover of invisibility as the strange Menti passed beneath her perch in one of the trees. Hambra recognized no clan insignia, but she was plenty unique, with her silver mail. She had already evaded the old traps as well as the new arrivals on the south of the island; she had a mission. And, judging from her direction, there was only one place she could be heading. The Jahagir frowned; she couldn't let this outsider get to the Mashtet's estate. She would be torn apart by the demons that guarded the place, even if her honor would allow Hambra to break her vows to the Mashtet clan. She shifted in the tree as she considered her options; her other zrupgar were still at the Observatory. Maybe it would serve her to be direct this time.

Hambra slipped from the branch, landing several yards behind the Menti. As she rose from her crouch, she traded her invisibility for her ash bear form, snarling and standing at its full height.

.:You have intruded on Hanaloi at a bad time, interloper. Leave.:.

OOC: @Goose

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The times, they are a-changing...

 

 

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IC: Caana (Hanaloi, Jungle)

Caana's hands were at her hips the moment she heard the landing behind her, already grasping the handles of her tonfa. She turned slowly – eyes, then head, then body – and then raised her hands in compliance, her weapons still holstered. The act served multiple purposes – allowing her to show that she meant no harm, while also bringing her hands closer to the weapon better suited to the potential confrontation. Better to make use of the staff's greater reach; getting too close to an ash bear was ill-advised.

Still, there was no sign as yet that her precaution would be necessary. Whoever this person was, they had chosen to intimidate her, not to attack – which suggested that they, too, did not want this encounter to turn violent.

.:My name is Caana, and I suspect that I am here for the very reasons you seek to warn me away. There are strange forces at work on Hanaloi – I wish to understand them, and to stop them if necessary. Are we at cross purposes?:.

OOC: @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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