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IC: Sohmak - The Battle of Fort Garsi

Had the forces of Fortress Razorfish;Vaa been permitted to engage at a closer range, Sohmak would feel rather more optimistic about his present circumstances. As they stood, the bruiser could've spent a thousand years in the ring and not one second of it could have prepared him for the carnage unfolding; the Spineless Slugger finally found himself in an arena of combat that rendered him almost perfectly useless. The old clubhouse may as well have been in another universe.

On 7/2/2022 at 7:54 AM, ARROW404 said:

"Lookout," she called for her Skakdi of Air companion- the one who had been harassing Jojax earlier, but was looking quite serious now- "Find me a target on the walls."

He nodded and sprinted off to the side, then stopped, staring intensely at the walls, before quickly diving back to her side. "Stone Skakdi on the ramparts," he told her, pointing to the spot on the walls.

His Sonics-attuned hearing found Gashril and Lookout above the cacophony of explosives, firearms and eye beams, and he anchored himself to their efforts.

Sohmak was almost perfectly useless, and he loathed the ways he could be useful. Any ability of his that didn't involve his raw physical prowess hadn't been exercised in years, rather by choice. Given the current situation, he would have to forgive himself the stain on his honour later, assuming he was still alive to do so.

The Bite of Irnakk's Tooth screwed his eyes tightly shut, trying to remember how to flex this particular muscle. At once a wave of nausea washed over him, his eyelids snapping open to reveal tones of deep dark blue, temperate yellow-greens and fiery reds. He looked up towards the ramparts, wavering on his feet, and saw at once why Zanakra's Cordak missiles had fallen short; blistering white-hot lines cut through the air, ending in puffs of crimson where the projectiles had been prematurely detonated. Tracing directly back to Krex.

"THEY'VE GOT HEAT VISION!" Sohmak shouted sort of at Zanakra, sort of at Gashril, sort of almost in a panic. "SETTIN' OFF THE EXPLOSI-OH IRNAKK'S PIS—" The brawler about keeled over, throwing his body to the ground in Gashril's direction in a vague attempt to take cover from the onslaught, his vision fading from Thermal to regular spectrum as he fought and won to keep days of fruits and Miracle Cactus down.

"Oi… Shrill Blade," he finally managed to heave out between breaths, unaware her perspective was elsewhere. "You're a noisy rotter too, eh? How's about we flush the heu:nii out?"

OOC: @ARROW404 @good grief there's a lot of us huh?

Edited by Zeal
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The Writer Formerly Known as Zeal
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[Fort Garsi, Environs (Ipsudir)]

Ipsudir couldn’t see very well in clouds of smoke and dust that were shaking the battle field, but her warriors lower down in the fort informed her that the would-be-invaders were unloading with their full firepower on the area around Fort Garsi.   Their approach was anything but tentative, as assaults on the fort usually were—some Heui:nii trying to sneak through the ocean of traps before opening the fortress from the inside.

In a way, these whelps were doing better than usual.   They were effecting things, setting off traps and blowing vast holes in the landscape.   This was the joy of battle: making a mark on the world around you.  Yet Ipsudir knew better than anyone that some marks took time to make.   Time, and a plan.   And Zanakra the Hammerblunt clearly had no plan.  Ipsudir didn’t just have plans, no, she had contingencies.

It looked like for once she wouldn’t have to use one just yet, however, for the Razorfish “warriors,” in their quest to set off every last trap, had succeeded too well.

The hillsides around Fort Garsi (ah yes, hillsides) were honeycombed with traps, tunnels and trenches.   Even a skakdi with x-ray vision or a lesterin with an akaku would have trouble parsing the shear amount of defenses.  Some of them had been carved out of the bedrock itself, but most had been constructed of loose boulders and gravel.  Add an incline just slight enough to not stand out but just steep enough to have momentum, and you had the recipe for a multi-stage trap.   For the overcautious, there were plenty of traps and hidden sensors, and for the trigger-happy well…the hill wasn’t just filled with traps.  The hill was a trap.

And the little welps were ever so enthusiastic.   Gravity, prematurely exploded grenades, wide shots, vision powers, Zanakra’s hammer…there was just so much force working on the hillsides.  Something had to give.

Only the sonic skakdi were able to catch the minute rumble underlaying the roaring sounds of battle.   The rest of the warband had precious less time to throw themselves behind T’harrak’s wall, which couldn’t have been constructed too soon.

With a groan growing to a roar, the landscape in front of them shifted.  A few of the skakdi throwing vision powers at the ramparts couldn’t move far enough before they were buried under several tons of gravel, bolders, barbed wire, and energy hounds, some of them somehow still living.

The wall shook with the weight of the debris that hit it, but remained firm for the time being.

The skakdi in the iron cage who had released the hounds hand been exposed by the mass of debris sliding off the hill.  He gave his nakihl rifle one final polish before cocking it and fixing the bayonet.   He knew he probably wasn’t going to survive this one, but he’d give these Heau:ni something to remember.  He’s served the Garsis for hundreds of years, and the blood he spilled would be a passage to the hall of his ancestors.



Back inside the fort, Ipsudir turned on her radio, which luckily hadn’t been effected by the crystal shattering that had taken part below.

“Kirik, would you ever so kindly get the cycle going?   I think our guests are looking a little sleepy.   Perhaps they need a little jolt to wake them up.”


OOC: Be careful with fireworks, fellow people. @Nato G @Zeal@ARROW404 @Snelly @Smudge8 @Sparticus147

Oh and @Visaru ? Fire up the hog...😈

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On 7/2/2022 at 10:02 AM, NorikSigma said:

IC: Vekus - Spineless Bay

"What personnel will the Broker be providing for the mission, if you know?"

IC: Kihr [Spineless Bay]

"He'll provide enough." Kihr answered. After another deep pump of his internal respirator shifted into a low whine, he elaborated. "You'll see when we reach the rendezvous."

As they continued their solitary eastward trek, the greenery melted away to the more typical mix of dried and dying grasses. Plants slaughtering each other in a constant struggle for the scarcest of resources. Becoming crueler. Growing thorns. Besieging aquifers to starve their neighbors. The fertility of the spineless bay was a facade of normalcy that tired the eyes. Reminded one of what life was supposed to be, instead of the reality it had become.

Kihr held a deep appreciation for this dichotomy between a pastoral history and present's desert of the living.

Edited by BULiK
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IC: Jojax-Fort Garsi Assault

As the squad of energy hounds grew closer Jojax snered. It was time to try one of the moves she'd been working on. She channeled her Elemental power into her gloves. She raised her hands into the air and left the ground with a jerk, carried by her hands. She rose over the hounds and took a deep breath, ready to shout her battlecry as she dropped into the pack. 

Then the ground erupted. Jojax reactivated her gloves, dangling over the rockslide like she was holding onto a pullup bar. Once the ground looked somewhat stable she dropped back down and surveyed the scene shouting "Boss! You alright?"

IC: The Wanderer-The place

The wanderer followed briskly. Keeping a smile on his face, and a sharp eye out for trouble. 

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Six Kingdoms Characters: Mazor, Jephro, The Janitor, Informant

 

 

 

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IC: Kirik [Assault on Fort Garsi]

On 7/3/2022 at 9:02 PM, Mel said:

Back inside the fort, Ipsudir turned on her radio, which luckily hadn’t been effected by the crystal shattering that had taken part below.

“Kirik, would you ever so kindly get the cycle going?   I think our guests are looking a little sleepy.   Perhaps they need a little jolt to wake them up.”

Kirik had been waiting to hear those words for hours. Finally, time for bloodshed. This is what he was made for.

“Time to gift our guests some shock and awe!” His cry turned into a howl as Kirik raised his two good arms above his head: one arm ending with a knife-like prosthetic in lieu of a hand, the mark of an old battle like the one about to commence, his remaining hand clutching the hilt of a rare technological device, its owner slain long ago by one of the Fort’s earlier guardians. 

Meanwhile, his two mechanical limbs clumsily twisted the handlebars of his motorbike Lante, revving its engine with a crackling roar. Behind him, calls and shrieks answered his own, as a small squad of other Skakdi riders mounted cycles and barely tamed Rahi to follow their temporary commander. 

In front of them, attendants heaved on heavy chains to pull open a metal door, revealing the smoking battleground ahead. Now that the hill was collapsed, there was a trap-free path from the gates of the fort to the position of the embattled attackers buried in rubble below. A path that Kirik would make use of before his opponents could.

Without another unnecessary word, he shot forward down the slope of boulders, followed by the others. One crashed spectacularly on the rocks, the slope too treacherous for her vehicle’s wheels, but Kirik stabilized his own handlebars with his good arms and Lante’s spiked wheels kept their traction on the rough path, spitting pebbles behind it as its mounted skulls rattled menacingly. 

Kirik pulled ahead of the other riders and veered to the side, stretching out his one remaining hand and using his knife-hand to push a button on the hilt it held. With a hum and a crackle, a shimmering transparent blade-shaped field burst into being, and it was swiftly filled with a swirling blue-silver substance that hissed and fizzled dangerously.

Kirik’s bike hit a bump and he veered to the side. As he did, his outstretched blade passed through a metal fencepost sticking out out of the rubble, and electricity surged down the conductive post, the buried wires attached to it, and over to the still-standing fence nearby. Kirik’s teeth rattled as he veered to the other side of the path and electrified the fence on the other side of the collapsed hillside too, creating a crackling barrier between the attackers and the fort. Although the barrier was broken by the rubble from the small avalanche, some of it was buried below the broken rock and dirt, with electrified strands not far below the surface.  

As Kirik swerved pack into position at the front of his crew and barreled straight for the mostly buried defensive wall that T’harrak had erected, he shouted out a chant in the ancient Skakdi tongue: “Raa Kihl:Jin!” Although many of the warriors behind Kirik who joined in the chant didn’t know it, they wouldn’t be surprised to find that it translated to something like, “Taste my lightning!” 

OOC 
TLDR: Kirik is riding a motorcycle, armed with an Electrochute Blade, and accompanied by a few other Skakdi on mounts of various kinds, all charging towards the defenders (although they haven’t reached them yet.) Kirik used his blade to electrocute some of the metal fences ringing the fort on his way there.


In case it helps, here’s a super beautiful map (not to scale) of how I’m imagining the battlefield right now. Please correct me if I got something wrong!

========================Fort=Garsi=Walls============================

                                                       O o O o O o o O O

                                                   O Collapsed Hillside o O

- - - - -Electrified fence- - -   O O O o O o O o o O O o o O  - - -More Electrified fence- - -

                                               O o o O |Kirik and crew| O o O       

                                             o O o O o o O o o O o O o O o O o                                                     

                                            o O o O ==T'harrak's wall== O O o

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--------------   Tarrok | Korzaa | Verak | Kirik   --------------

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IC: Nahikl Ahuum (Spineless Bay - Fort Garsi)

Power coursed through the Nahikl as they tore a path in the metal-littered landscape. With a wide-craven grin, they were for a moment lost in the euphoria of it all, till a stone shot from the battlements struck them in the shoulder, with a harsh crack sounding from the impact. Immediately, Ahuum lost their concentration and scrambled to cower behind their fellow Skak. Gritting their fangs, the old Skak snarled as they remembered what they are now and not what they were once before. They weren't a warrior; they're a conniver, a manipulator, a torturer and a shrewd wretch.

They had just rushed to the front of the line like some sort of brazen champion, and for what? A broken collarbone and not a single howl of agony yet? 'Pity!' Ahuum thought as they pressed their left hand to the broken bone, gripping the two ends into alignment as they channeled their strength into mending it. For now, a misaligned collar was going to be a much better alternative than a broken one.

Looking back up towards the battle at hand, or at least what Zanakra might call a battle, Ahuum witnessed as, just in the nick of time, T'harrak erected the massive bulwark that had just saved herself, the other Skak, and Ahuum as well from being buried. It was thankful that there was at least one Skak here who could think beyond bludgeoning the nearest thing. Clawing back up from the ground they were sat upon, they peered through the window T'harrak had left for what they had to presume was the other Skakdi's sake and saw what was rapidly approaching. Bikes.

"Bah~Ahuum said allowed. They never liked the use of vehicles or firearms in battle, it made it so much less personal, took away the visceral edge of it. Regardless though of their feelings about them, Ahuum still recognized the threat that a gang of them can be... And the tremendous weakness they shared as the old Nahikl looked towards the iron wall they hid behind. With their fierce, thin grin returning to their face once again, Ahuum jumped up towards the side of the iron Skakdi and practically snatched their wrist with hardly a word, only their subtle, yet forceful will making it clear what they wanted as they pressed their hand to the barrier.

Though it would not be immediately noticeable to the squad of bikers, as they got closer to the iron wall that faced them, the outcome of the Nahikl's actions would become all too clear, as there was little way for them to keep from crashing over themselves as the wall, now made into an oversized magnet, snatch at their metal vehicles to draw them close.

OOC: @Nato G @Visaru @ARROW404

Edited by Sparticus147
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  • 2 weeks later...

IC: Zanakra - Fort Garsi -

The hill itself rose against the warlord, or at least that's the way Zanakra saw it as the earth began to violently move and shift. If Zanakra felt fear in that moment she certainly didn't show it. Perhaps she was truly as insane and fearless as she looked.

A Zanakra slammed her hammer into a rock that was flying towards her, destroying it, before using her impact vision on more debris coming her way as she scrambled to find cover. She only had moments to figure out something.

Zanakra quickly slid towards a large boulder that was sticking out of the ground, sliding behind it as the massive wave of landscape came crashing down, even the boulder wasn't big enough to not get swallowed by the endless amount of rock, gravel, and other debris, but it shielded Zanakra from the worst of it. The warlord used her impact vison to try and stop the mass from burying her but eventually she was covered. 

Once everything had settled it was eerily silent where Zanakra had once been. Was this it? Was this how the young warlord would meet her end? 

The loose debris of gravel and rock began to stir, before there was a small explosion of flying debris. Zanakra slowly climbed out of the newly made hole, thanks to her impact vision. She was blooded, bruised, and scratched, but very much alive. She slowly stood up as she surveyed the new landscape, she rested her hammer against her shoulder, grinning despite her injuries. 

Ipsudir was a cunning warlord, with plans, contingences, and schemes no doubt. It was clearly she'd become a warlord through strategy and intellect, using her wits to outsmart her enemies, Zanakra could respect that in a way. 

But that wasn't Zanakra, she didn't get to where she was through planning, she had subordinates who could do that sort of thing for her. No, she was a woman of action, of strength. She showed her dominance through sheer force and strength of will. Perhaps someone like Ipisudir would find her to be a fool, but it had gotten her this far, and she was willing to see how much farther it would take her. 

She looked towards the fort where Ipsudir was most likely watching, at the electric fence and Skakdi on the cycle and sneered. She gave the nastiest grin she could as she simply raised her hand and gestured for her enemies to come at her, taunting them. 

OOC:  @ARROW404 @Smudge8 @Nato G @Zeal @Sparticus147@Mel @Geardirector@Visaru

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@ARROW404 @Smudge8 @Nato G @Zeal @Sparticus147@Mel @Snelly@Geardirector@Visaru

IC: Gashril

The bruiser with the arms covered in metal, Sohmak, offered to make some noise with her. She had been so fixated on her damaged voice that simply using her element had slipped her mind. And here was a fellow Sonics Skak:Dii. It had been a long time since she had battled using pure, unaided elemental energy, the idea brought a grin to her toothy maw. "That sounds-"

Before she could answer though, the world turned upside down. Having little choice, she released her vision power to try and get an idea of what was happening. The ground had given way beneath them- another of Garsi's defense measures, no doubt. She gripped the arm of the Skak:dii of Earth who was piggybacking her, and the two reached out quickly. Mixing Earth with Sonics in this situation wasn't ideal, but it was a sight better than fire, plasma, or lightning.

The collapsing earth all around them slowed, screaming as it did so. She kept the sound in the lower frequencies, but presently in the middle of tumbling head over heels, she couldn't keep the sound to a lower level. All attempt to communicate would have to wait until she and her partner finished their manipulation, but the landslide was now no longer deadly at least. They held their position for the moment, letting their allies caught in the trap get themselves free before they could start to pack it all together safely.

Those closest to the fort had been hit the worst, the partnered-up plasma and lightning Skaks trapped underneath the now slowly shifting rubble. Through the irritating sound, they managed to blast their way free though, a little singed and banged up, but raring to go. The others were taking care of the oncoming bikers, but someone had to handle the grenades, rock launchers, and other projectiles headed their way, so they got right back to it, laying out their mixed powers like a shield between the fort and their allies once more.

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IC: T’harrak – The Battle Of Fort Garsi

For a brief, beautiful moment, T’harrak felt her tension trickle away, replaced by a growing sense of confidence and control. No longer was she fluttering from one frantic thought to the next; now she had something clear and concrete to focus on.

She’d done something. She hadn’t wasted time waiting for approval, or overthinking herself into being too doubtful to do it. She hadn’t wasted her breath pitching ideas to allies too busy chasing personal glory to contemplate working together. She’d just trusted her gut and done something. Something that would help more than just herself.

“Thank you,” she said to Seeker, turning towards her newly-made window onto the battlefield… just in time to see the entire surrounding hillside come crashing downwards, cascading over the combatants. Dirt and debris and the dreadful roar of roiling rubble filled the air, and T’harrak squeezed her eyes shut, throwing up her arms to shield her face as she braced for impact.

But it never came.

She lowered her arms.

Cracked open an eyelid.

Blinked through the drifting dust.

The window before her was spiderwebbed with slim fissures, with shards of shattered lightstone and tangled tufts of wire, crushed between rock and dirt, all pressed up against the barrier… but the wall had still managed to hold.

But the ever-relentless pace of the battlefield offered her little opportunity to dwell on her small victory. The next envoys of strife were already on their way, in the form of rahi riders and sonic cycles careening over the canvas of carnage.  

T’harrak loaded an empty zamor into her launcher, then flipped open her satchel and sifted through the compartments within that housed the pouches of powders she used for ammunition. Salt… dirt… metal filings… lightstone powder… No. She sighed. We’re past the point of warning shots and non-lethals.

She picked out a pouch of najin powder, and poured it into the zamor sphere.

The warriors coming her way were going to fight to kill.

She had no choice but to return the favour.

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IC: Jojax-Fort Garzi Assault

Jojax heard the rumbling of engines as the battlebikers headed towards Jojax's position. "Oh yea!" She shouted as she began to charge. "Now this is more like it!"

But instead of running foreward she began to slide backwards along the ground. Before she could react Jojax tripped and went hurtling back towards the magnetized wall, eventualy impacting with a thud. "You've got Karzin friends on the other side of this wall!" She shouted to no one in particular. It took some effort to peel herself off of the wall and...Stand Up? This was dissorienting. Under the infuence of the magnetic field the wall had become the floor, the collapsed hillside was a wall, and a collection of Skakdi and Bikes were falling out of the 'sky'. Jojax smied and deployed her floating gloves, getting ready to repeatedly punch the next opponent to get in range. This was going to be like when she used her impact vision to shoot Makuta fish in an aquarim that one time.

OOC:  @ARROW404@Nato G @Zeal @Sparticus147@Mel @Geardirector@Visaru @Snelly

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Six Kingdoms Characters: Mazor, Jephro, The Janitor, Informant

 

 

 

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IC| Kirik

As the riders barreled down the slope of jagged rocks toward the invaders, not one of them realized at first that the slight boost to their speed was caused by an unexpected magnetic force pulling them toward the bunker. 

A red Skakdi warrior with a missing arm was the first to notice. He pulled his vehicle around an especially large boulder, and found that his ability to pull himself back into formation was heavily hampered by the invisible magnetic force. So instead of heroically just barely dodging the jagged metal beam sticking out of the dirt, he instead shot himself right into it, breaking his vehicle in two and impaling himself on the pointy edge of the spike. His scream was barely noticed, but then another rider found their vehicle out of control, they hit a rocky dip wrong, their front wheel turned sideways, and they crashed spectacularly. Another rider leapt of his vehicle as it began to crash, but wasn’t expecting the magnetic force to pull his bike into his back and pull him toward the bunker. More fell as projectiles sent by the enemy slammed into them and their bikes. But no matter. They were warriors. Casualties were expected. 

As Kirik felt the strange force tug on his vehicle, he immediately gave up trying to save it and dropped off his bike, sliding through the pebbles on all six limbs, letting his bike skid sideways as the magnetic force tugged it forward. He waited until he had just enough momentum to keep up on his feet before shifting himself into a stumbling, erratic run as he weaved and hopped across the rubble toward the enemy, electro blade and metal knives raised. Seeing him, some of his other fellows did the same maneuver, avoiding their bike crashes. Those that survived their crashes were back on their feet fast, limping toward their enemy with none of their vigor for battle emptied, the magnetic force helping pull them forward despite their injuries.

The few riders on the backs of beasts carried on almost unimpeded. Their mounts, Zakaz-native tiger-like Rahi accurately dubbed Daggerclaws, made their way along by gripping the boulders with their muscular bladed claws, resisting the pull of the magnetism until they reached the still recovering forces with ferocious pounces. Not far behind were the remaining riders, now on foot. Some lost their footing and found themselves pulled straight toward the magnetized bunker and Jojax’s waiting fists, but others managed to leap over the bunker, escaping the magnetic field and landing among their enemies. 

Kirik did not waste his time. He saw Zanakra’s taunt, saw her crawl out of the mountainside alive, and knew at once she was the most glorious combatant on the battlefield. Without dropping to a speed slower than an outright run since leaving the gates of the fortress, he threw himself off the top of a large boulder, leaping through the air straight toward Zanakra, each bladed arm aiming straight for the upstart warlord.  

 

OOC: So some (changing the percentage to be unspecified for Mel to decide) of the NPCs have been taken out by crashes and projectile fire or ensnared by the magnetic field, the rest have reached the invaders and are fighting with something to prove! @Snelly @Smudge8@Nato G @ARROW404 @Sparticus147 and everyone else involved in this battle.

Edited by Visaru
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--------------   Tarrok | Korzaa | Verak | Kirik   --------------

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IC: Sohmak - The Battle of Fort Garsi

If not for Gashril and her companion, the earthen onslaught would have almost certainly buried the brawler; their slowing of the collapse gave Sohmak a literal fighting chance, batting away the smaller rocks with his mighty Protosteel exo-gauntlets and throwing devastating (if panicked) haymakers at the larger boulders that bore down on him, decimating them to more manageable chunks that piled around his feet.

Still he didn't escape unscathed, battered, bruised and a smidge bloodied. But no less fighting fit; it would take more than the earth swallowing him up to keep the Sonic Striker down. Sohmak clanged the Sluggers together, sparks flying as he roared with a furor he'd not displayed before, in or out of the ring. As much an intimidation display as a desperate attempt to mask his growing terror.

Dealing with the wretch in the ramparts would now have to wait, however. As Ahuum's magnet-trick on T'harrak's bunker threw the motorcycle assault into disarray, one of the riders-come-runners found their trajectory veering off from their squad, in an uncontrolled sprint towards Gashril and co. The two Tahtorak campers otherwise occupied with cleaning up the collapse, Sohmak allowed himself the focus of a singular opponent.

And at once was his mind clear. No mad trapmasters, no imploding hillsides, no bloody fortress politics. A Skakdi, and another Skakdi, and a great violence building between them. The Sarke champion relished the feeling. This was bliss. This was--

Not Sarke. His mind clouded over again with new feelings. Dread and disgrace. Sohmak had seen what the Sluggers could do to great boulders and thick steel. He'd thought sparingly about what they'd do to flesh and Protodermis, what the act of killing, of breaking the second of the only two rules he'd ever lived by would feel like. He had about six seconds to consider the possibilities before the Garsi rider closed the distance.

Sohmak planted his feet firmly, winding back his arm. The exoskeleton supporting the hulking metal fist whirred with menace, a metallic chunk sounding as the armature locked into place. The bruiser zeroed his foe, his mad dash leaving little room for evasive manoeuvring... and closed his eyes.

As he loosed the ruinously powerful punch with a frightful yell, he wondered if the mechanisms would translate his holding-back-the-blow at all.

OOC: @Mel @Geardirector @Visaru @Snelly @Nato G @Sparticus147 @Smudge8 @ARROW404

I didn't miss anyone right? 😅

Edited by Zeal
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[Fort Garsi, Environs (Ipsudir/NPC)]
Somak did well to understand this was not Sarke, but not well enough.   War was more than learning to kill your enemies, it was learning to see them not as individuals, but as obstacles, and right now Sohmak one obstacle that the stone skakdi on their bike was not keen to run into. They couldn’t exactly swerve around with the force pulling them towards the wall, but they could do one thing.

They could go faster.

The skakdi gunned the throttle about two seconds before impact and leaned to the left, sending them at a slightly different angle to the wall, straight past Sohmak, straight towards the group that lay huddled behind it. There was no turning back now.   The skakdi braced for impact, but they kept their eyes open.

Sohmak opened his eyes to grit and dust and empty air.

Ipsudir was going to have to give Kirik a stern talking to, she thought.   Probably with some fist thrown in.   She had told him to corral the invaders, drive them into the waiting mouth of the trap that had been rehearsed many a time, but instead he had leaped at the first opportunity to prove himself worthy by fighting Zanakra.

It was a pity she could not have raised Zanakra under her wing, as one of her own warriors.   The welp had the ambition certainly, and the skill and toughness needed.   No warlord, but a warrior certainly—one that would have to be taught a few lessons after she inevitably tried to take Ipsudir’s place.

But that was not to be.

Ipsudir was a thinker, not an intellectual.   She had never dwelt on the intricacies of art or pondered the fabric of the universe.   She knew the way the world worked; it was built of iron and blood, as it should should be.  As one battlewife had found out at the cost of her eyes, Ipsudirs habit of strategy did not mean she could not fight.  Ipsudir was a warlord, a warlord did not let subordinates do the thinking for her.  That was asking for knife in the back, as she would know, having been the holder of the knife in times before.   Zanakra could not lead by example, for her lackeys were Crieb:dii and fools, more enamored of their own unblemished skins than the battlefield.

Ipsudir loved Sarke, but she understood what it was.   It was a game, played with fist and blade instead of stones, and it was a hobby dear to her.   But a hobby of warriors was the profession of fools.  Ipsudir did not teach her warriors with Sarke.   She did not teach them to fight.   She taught them to kill, to kill and to kill, to turn your enemies into rahi before you on the glut of your slaughter.   This was war, this was the glory under which Lamo-Lyco-Zakaz was won, Irnakk:Dii’s blood price.

This was not Sarke.

The companions of the Tatorahk camp fought defensively, each according to their skill, as they had been taught.   But no matter how much they shoveled out, the ship was sinking.   This was not spineless bay, where the cover was plenty and the waters murky, easy to slip into and away from a fight.   This was the badlands, and it did not like to spit out what it had already swallowed.   Earth and stone mixed here, making the construction of a barrier made of only earth slow and laborious.

Lugnoz, pulling herself upright, started to cough.   He didn’t stop, the blood poured out of the wound in his throat and drowned his lungs and he kept coughing and coughing until there was no life left to cough out.  The shot echoed around the canyon, but it followed the bullet, too late to change the outcome.

In exposed cage on the hill, the old skakdi reloaded his najin rifle, and cocked it again with a smooth, practiced motion.

Ythrok frantically grasped for power that was not there, the next grenade was not halted.   She soon joined her partner on the ground, torso caved in and distended.

“CRIEB:DII! THIS LAND IS NOT FOR THE WEAK-SEEDED!”

The skakdi of plasma who had originally crashed her bike had recovered, and managed to draw the attention of with her loud yelling and equally loud orange and pink armor.  She was currently embroiled in a struggle with a large sundew plant, which was attempting to simultaneously drown and strangle her. But her hand was free, and that was all she needed.

BANG! Her shotgun siphoned a small amount of her latent elemental power, coating the shell and almost melting it as it streaked through water, evaporating it, and blew off the shoulder of the skakdi of water who was half of her current predicament.   As she fired, she charged her lazer vision, aiming straight for her opponents head.

This was not Sarke.
 
Three skakdi were pulled to where Jojax waited on the wall—one grabbed the other’s wrist, turning the skid into a controlled glide as their powers of earth and stone worked upon the landscape around them.  The tips of their short, basket-hilted lances gleamed as they advanced, the beginning of vision powers gleaming in their eyes.   These were not the blunt weapons of Sarke—they were designed to kill, and kill fast, without the added trouble of having to strangle someone.

The third party member did not go as smoothly down the slope, but despite an obviously sprained ankle and dented bone white armor, his mouth was open in a malicious grin, swinging a rotating chain sword in her direction. All the skakdi’s weapons were pulled by the wall too, but they let them move, drawing closer, all pointed at Jojax’s chest.

She had been right, in a way.

But she was the fish.


Two skakdi sprinted forward on their daggertooth mounts, one blue shot with silver, the other deep gunmetal and black.  Fasil and Kerigor, they were called, and they had been hand picked by Ipsudir for their intelligence and ferocity, as well as the particular way their powers complimented each other. Fasil rode in front, her spinning razor-lined shield occasionally deflecting a beam from the attackers’ vision powers.   Kerigor had weapons too, a well made najin shotgun that he been using to splatter the brains of any of zanakra’s coterie that got too close.  He holstered it and put a hand on his spiked mace as if to draw it, but it was a ruse.

As they charged toward the wall, Kerigor took a hold of Fasil’s elbow instead, and their powers ran together and bloomed.   This was no frantic grab at anything that could give them an advantage—this was practiced, rehearsed.  Electricity and magnetism (true magnetism, not a facsimile forged of gravity and iron) ran together, supporting and strengthening each other.   A sphere of deadly force formed around the riders, flickering with ice-blue streaks of light.

Fortunately for Jojax (and indeed, the people who were intent on impaling her), the iron wall was not designed to conduct electricity the way the fences had been.   They felt only a diffused buzz as the remaining wall not submerged in dirt buckled and split, allowing the two riders to leap down into the clump of Zanakra’s forces, carrying their deadly aura with them.

“Krex, stay up on the wall with Srednak.   You know what to do when I give the word.”

Ipsudir headed downstairs.   It was time to deal with this herself.

OOC: Hoo boy, so I know this was a lot.  I generally prefer to ask forgiveness rather than permission when it comes to combat.   If the staff ask me to edit, I will, but otherwise I’m going to stick to my guns. @Snelly and @Visaru, you're on your own for now--have fun.

@Smudge8 @Nato G @Sparticus147 @Zeal I know a lot is happening and the urge to post is great, but please let @Geardirector have a turn posting as Krex before responding to all this that is happening.   I also have several things to point out as well.

1) @ARROW404 Think of it this way, you don’t have to come up with so many npc names now. :]

2) Ipsudir’s warriors are trained and experienced, they have taken apart fortresses before and have defended against attacks much more organized than this one.    They are trained just not in strategy, but in tactics.   They know how to react to changes in situation and have systematic ways of dealing with you.   If your character try to blunder their way through danger with only pro-wrestling experience, they will not be saved by luck.   They will just die.

3) Power joining has been a thing for a while.   As a hope you saw, your enemies can do it too, and they practiced with it as well.

4) The forces of Fort Garsi have a home turf advantage—they know the terrain, which is quite different from what you are used to, and they have technology and powers suited to it.

5) Consider running away—after all, Zanakra is the only one who is really committed to this battle, and there’s more of you than her. :] Also, you might find allies in the strangest places.   I think there’s a certain lady to the east with a very personal stake in seeing Ipsudir die, as @Palm can attest to.  One even might say that running into each other, both broken and licking your wounds, would be a great story moment…

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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  • 1 month later...

IC: Krex (Assault on Fort Garsi)

It had been a lot of activity in just a few moments for Krex. She often had a problem going even a day or two without wishing for a real fight to break out so the days would pass by a little bit faster. Testing her perimeter defenses could only provide so much amusement for a day or two. She didn't regret wishing for that now that they had someone foolhardy enough to actually put the fort's reputation to the test, just that she hadn't done even more tests.

As Kirik rode out to lead a bike squadron on an intercept course, Krex had been piling fire and the occasional explosive onto the main scene of the action she saw. That was rapidly proving less and less effective, the attackers were pairing up, using their elemental powers to respond and keep the damage being sent towards them well out of reach of them. Krex privately wished she could have that sort of ability just by herself.

The walls were getting hammered. Not much was sticking, but the shockwaves of the action coming upon the ramparts and the piles of churned and upturned earth and mud and dust were almost burying it, if it kept up like this.

"Right, boss" Krex andswered to Ipsudir's command. Her mind was already taken with an idea that she was formulating.

"Srednak," she barked, "help me out here. The Skadki of Iron she had been left beside nodded, and they approached each other, purpose clear with just a few gestures from The Fuse.

The large boulder that Zanakra had used as cover for the landslide earlier shook and wrenched itself loose, rising out from the dirt, and was tossed right at her.


OOC: @Snelly @Visaru @Smudge8 @Nato G @Sparticus147 @Zeal @Mel @ARROW404 here we are. Apologies for the long wait. Do absolutely let me know if anything here needs to be fixed up.

Edited by Geardirector
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IC: T’harrak – The Battle Of Fort Garsi

It took a few seconds for T’harrak to make sense of what happened next. The ranks of incoming riders began to skitter and slide, falling – or flying? – from their saddles. The sight made slightly more sense when Jojax came slamming into the wall a second later, shouting all the while: Ahuum and Seeker were magnetising the barrier.

It was a small disruption to the enemy advance, but it forcefully brought an unwanted degree of extra enemy attention bearing down on the barrier, and came nowhere close to turning the tide. At this point, T’harrak realised, nothing would. Zanakra had flung her forces into the fray without any kind of plan or preparation. They didn’t have the numbers or firepower, and certainly not the coordination, to turn this slaughter into a success.

Already, some of the dismounted riders were clawing or clambering over the wall, leaping down upon those sheltering behind it. One toothy Ta-Skak started to leer over directly above T’harrak, brandishing a brutal blade, and she fired her launcher on reflex, wincing as warm wetness rained down on her as a result. She had only a split second to process what she'd just done before the sounds of screeching tyres and scraping dirt caught her attention as one of the cycles circled wide, away from the worst of the magnetism, screaming past Sohmak’s attempt to intercept it and veering around the wall towards T’harrak and her companions.

She flung herself out of its path, meeting with a bruised face and a mouthful of dirt as she dived headlong into the hard ground. She dazedly heard cries somewhere behind her as the bike collided with other Skakdi – her allies or her enemies, she wasn’t sure. The sounds were already being drowned out by the bending and buckling of metal as more Skakdi attackers broke through a section of the barrier further along, a pair of rahi riders wreathed in an aura of awful.

As she forced herself to her feet, T'harrak's bleary eyes spotted Seeker among those still standing. “Get to Gashril and Sohmak,” she coughed as she staggered over to him, pointing past the barricade to where the two De-Skakdi were positioned, “We’re leaving. Without Zanakra.”

For a brief moment, she looked into the Fe-Skakdi’s eyes, searching for some sign of judgement or indecision. She didn’t know him, didn’t know what to expect. She didn’t need to be told that her command was a craven one, a betrayal of everything they’d all agreed to when they’d entered Zanakra’s service. Her words were scarcely spoken, but already she could feel the guilt and shame of her disloyalty welling within her. But even those feelings were drowned out by a far stronger conviction, an unwavering certainty that this was the only chance for herself and the others to escape.

T’harrak knew Zanakra well enough to understand that she was never going to give an order to retreat. Preoccupied as she was with her personal battle, she probably wasn’t even aware of the dire plight of her pawns. But someone had to make the call, or everyone here was going to die. And leaving the battle’s instigator to be captured or killed by the fighters of Fort Garsi was likely the only thing that might keep them from cutting down the others as they ran.

“Retreat!” She called through the chaos, ducking as a wayward blade swung her way from one direction, crying out as a stray blast of something snagged her shoulder from another, scorching her armour, “Full retreat!”

She hoped someone could hear her.

She hoped they would listen.

She didn't want to run alone. 

 @Smudge8 @Sparticus147 @Zeal  @ARROW404 

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IC: Sohmak - The Battle of Fort Garsi

Sohmak was a fighter, sure, but a warrior? Far from it.

The brawler stood stock-still, panting heavily, dreading the wretched and bloody sight that would greet him once he dared open his eyes; a Skakdi soldier, or at least part of one, wrapped around his cursed iron fist. And yet, when he finally dared, there was nothing to see. Sohmak snapped out of his stance, turning over his shoulder to see the rider barrelling at increasing speed towards his comrades cowering behind the wall.

On the far side more riders, of bike and beast alike, began to scramble over and engage. Jojax stood on the far side - on the far side - fighting with the fury of her forefathers. For a split-second Sohmak felt something like amusement, and perhaps a little swell of pride, before drowning in dread once more. Fort Garsi were giving far better than they were getting and the Spineless Slugger was stuck right out in the open, anticipating getting his head scooped off by a stray rock or explosive any moment.

He looked to Zanakra out of a desperate hope that she would begin actually leading her thrall, reverse their rout and turn the tide of battle. Instead he found the warlord engaged in single combat with some four-armed maniac, thoroughly uninterested in the un-progress of their assault.

Blinded by her bloodlust. Utterly insane.

His gaze found T'harrak now, wagering she was the only Razorfish;Vaa Skakdi managing to keep her head amidst the chaos, and knowing that was a tall ask at best. She was... giving orders? to Seeker, who turned in their direction. Sohmak hoped the both of them could read his face from that far away, looking from the two back to Zanakra, the crazed warlord who lead them to this slaughter.

This ain't worth our lives! She ain't!

This was too much.

Simply too much.

It took everything he had not to just fall to his knees.

His elementally attuned ears pricked up, finding a voice under all the havoc.

On 9/13/2022 at 11:16 AM, Nato G said:

“Retreat!” She called through the chaos, ducking as a wayward blade swung her way from one direction, crying out as a stray blast of something snagged her shoulder from another, scorching her armour, “Full retreat!”

Another day, Sohmak told himself. You can be a warrior another day.

Before Seeker could even begin to fetch them, he had turned to his companions. "Gashril! Lookout! We're gettin' outta 'ere!" Without looking to see if they had chosen to follow or stay and fight, he broke into a sprint, in a direction halfway between "towards T'harrak" and "away from Fort Garsi". Even with the Sluggers strapped to his body, he could still outpace just about anyone in a short burst.

Sohmak fought down terror and shame in equal measure, and prayed he'd escape to reconcile them both.

OOC: @Snelly @Nato G @ARROW404

Edited by Zeal
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IC: Jojax- Battle of Fort Garsi

The sounds and explosions of battle asaulted Jojax's ears. She had gone into this hoping to prove her worth after her previous Sarke failure, but this was nothing like Sarke at all. Bloodcurtling screams replaced the cheers, the battlefield kept shifing under her feet before she could adapt. Dad had always described combat as a complex dance, by comparison this was a bunch of Kinderskak's screaming and chasing each other. 

Jojax rapidly fired her impact vision, disorienting the foes falling down on her, giving her enough time to dodge the two spears. The third skakdi swiped at her with his sword, cutting a gash across her torso. Jojax grit her teeth and activated her mask to enhance her streingth. She grabed the chainsaw skakdi by the wrist and flung him at the two with spears. 

Suddenly a call came from over tha wall. "Retreat! Full Retreat!"

What?  Jojax thought to herself. The fight just started!

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IC: Zanakra - Fort Garsi -

Time seemed to slow as Zanakra watched Kirik leap at her with all abandon. Now that was a warrior she could respect, one without fear. She grinned even as she fired her impact vision right at the warrior's chest. 

Zanakra didn't have time to enjoy the results however, as the large boulder she had used for cover previously began to float in the air, before being tossed right towards her. She acted on instinct and muscle memory as she quickly swung her hammer at the boulder. As her hammer made contact a shockwave coursed through the rock, causing it to shatter into many pieces and chunks. They flew in all directions, some smacking into Zanakra, and most likely hitting Kirik as well. 

Zanakra barely felt the rocks hit her, though they most certainly gave her some more scrapes and bruises, injuring her further. Her adrenaline and bloodlust simply prevented her from noticing the pain. She stood her ground, still holding her hammer in both hands as she panted.

Zanakra may have been focused on the battle in front of her, but the absence of aid from her 'allies' did not go unnoticed. As crazy as the warlord was, she could not blame them. Even she knew there was a good chance she wouldn't come out of this alive. But she hadn't made it this far in life by being careful, if you wanted to put your mark in this world you had to take risks, do what no one else dared. 

Whether or not she lived or died was no concern, she just wanted to win this fight. Kirik having help wouldn't discourage her, in fact it did the opposite. 

"Come on then warrior..." She said between breaths. "...let's dance." 

OOC:  @ARROW404 @Smudge8 @Nato G @Zeal @Sparticus147@Mel @Geardirector@Visaru

Edited by Snelly
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  • 3 weeks later...

IC | Kirik | Fort Garsi Battlefield

Kirik grinned into the dust where he lay face down on the battlefield, battered and bruised from the impact vision and the shower of rock shards, welcoming the challenge. He had been waiting a long time for a dancing partner like this.

Kirik dug each one of his claws and blades into the ground, raising himself up just enough to look up at Zanakra and make his eyes glow. He shot a zigzagging blast of laser vision at her, which took an unpredictable course of sharp random angles, out his control but in his enemy’s general direction. Blinded by the lasers emitting from his eyes and unable to see whether he had even wounded her or not, Kirik pushed off the ground and charged forward, barely slowing enough to keep himself from wheeling forward right back into the earth, swinging his bladed prosthetic and reigniting his shadowy electro chute blade.

OOC @Snelly and everyone else in the fight!

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--------------   Tarrok | Korzaa | Verak | Kirik   --------------

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IC: Nahikl Ahuum (Spineless Bay - Fort Garsi)

“Retreat! Full retreat!”

And thus, the potentially epic tale of the warlord Zanakra has been undoubtedly put to an end. If not yet with her confirmed death than at least implied with her certain death. Regardless though, this would not be the end yet for this Nahikl. They had left too many of their fellows to die to fall now, especially with such a lovely piece of cover besides them.

With their hand still gripped upon Seeker's wrist, Ahuum quickly shoved the Fe-Skakdi with as much strength as they could muster towards the approaching foes, making themselves scarce as they scampered on all fours behind T'harrak, hoping to overtake them. At the moment, all that mattered was getting out of sight as soon as possible, then they can slip away into shadow once more and wait the chaos out. They just needed to get away first.

OOC: @Smudge8 @Zeal @Nato G @ARROW404

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OOC: Don't think I'll ping, pretty much everyone who checks the thread is relevant here!

IC: Gashril

The screaming earth swirling about the battlefield quieted slowly, then lowered in pitch. It seemed to form words in the seconds after the battle had been completely turned upside-down.

#*** THIS!

The Shrill Blade called her vision back to herself and yanked on her partner's shoulder, dismounting. He, and the remaining members of the crew- her crew, for Zanakra had never truly held their loyalty- took the burst of sonics energy for the signal it was. It was over, there was no point in continuing. Amid the earthen mailstrom, each pushed against the tide, weapons raised over their heads, and fought to make their way as far from Fort Garsi and its host of traps as they possibly could.

Seeker took one step toward retreat, then was flung backward with surprising strength by Ahuum. "Wait, I'm-" His words were cut out as something struck him from behind. Joint elemental attacks finished the sentence, and his life, as he was ripped to shreds against the barrier of his own making.

The screaming finally ended as Gashril reached the edge of the pit. "Miraule," she said, finally revealing the name of her Earth-aligned companion. She looked back and found the Plantlife one just behind them. "Yavonna, combine your powers. Put up a barrier, and get the rest of us out."

They nodded and reached back, earth and roots combining to form arms that dragged their still surviving companions from the debris, and through a freshly erected barrier that would at least buy them the time to get way. A blue Skakdi of Water- "Okulmo, good," Gashril nodded. A purple Skakdi of Gravity, and Lookout, the Skakdi of Air last. And Gashril personally extended an arm to T'harrak, who had been close behind her as well. "Smart move, sounding the retreat." She nodded to Miraule and Yavonna, "Get Sohm-" She turned and spotted the Slugger right by her and nodded.

Yavonna looked away, her X-Ray vision having guided the rescue thus far. "Lugnoz, Ythrok, Gutuor, and Seeker all fell," she reported with a heavy heart.

"Where's the creepy one?" Gashril asked quickly, gritting her teeth at the loss.

"Running our way." She had been busy at the moment of Seeker's betrayal, as had everyone else in the crew.

"Get him- them?- and anyone else both alive and retreating out. Anyone dumb enough to stay, stays."

A last vine-laced arm of earth reached for Ahuum to drag him to the safety of their position as well.

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  • 3 months later...

[Fort Garsi, Environs (Ipsudir/NPC)]
The skakdi of earth’s impact vision fired off just as Jojak’s own hit, setting their eye beams off into the sky—they swore as their shoulder made contact with the wall.  The skakdi of stone, however, had a bit more restraint and awareness.   She was able to turn her stumble forward into a pirouette, back to the partially destroyed wall in the position that Jojax was once in.   She didn’t waste time, however.   Her lazer vision scored across both Jojax’s midsection and the face of the skakdi that the wrestler was attempting to chuck at the two of them.

Key word—attempt.

Throwing a guy at another guy, as absolutely as sick as it looks in a sarke bout, is not a very practical option in a real fight.   Also, despite Jojax’s enhanced strength, grabbing the offending skakdi by the wrist gave her little to nothing in the way of leverage.   She might have gotten him more than a few feet had she had time to spin him in a circle, but as it was he slammed to the ground instead.

Through the searing pain of the lazer strike, through his now very broken legs and shattered pelvis, the skakdi of ice had still somehow managed to reverse the hold and get his hand around her own wrist.   His eyes gleamed, his x-ray vision boring into her despite its lack of damaging potential. “Look at you,” he rasped, weak but still full of a hysterical battlefury.   “Using a mask.   Like a little lesteri:nii.

Fasil and Kerrigor were cleaning house.   Now that most of Zanakrah’s forces were broken and retreating, any stragglers were quickly run down by the two commanders and their ball of death. They didn’t break into a full on chase to route T’harrak’s contingent, however, opting to stir their mounts into a languid stride.  Its job now done, their power-linked sphere of magnet-enhanced static retreated, and Kerigor rearmed his shotgun, while his partner charged her laser vision. It was time for a little target practice.



As Zanakra blinked dust away from her eyes, the silence settling over battlefield was broken once again.   The portcullis on the side of the well-defended Fort Garsi facing  her creaked into motion, protesting against long-unused mechanisms as it rose.   From within the yawning interior, Ipsudir began to speak, her drawl magnified by a simple megaphone.

“If we are quite done with greetings, allow me to personally welcome you to Fort Garsi.”

OOC: @Snelly @Visaru @Nato G @ARROW404 @Smudge8 @Sparticus147 @Zeal Apologies for the amount of time this took to get out.   I think a few more rounds should wrap this up however.  One way or the other. : )

Edited by Mel
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[BZPRPG Profiles]

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

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On 7/4/2022 at 1:24 PM, BULiK said:

IC: Kihr [Spineless Bay]

"He'll provide enough." Kihr answered. After another deep pump of his internal respirator shifted into a low whine, he elaborated. "You'll see when we reach the rendezvous."

As they continued their solitary eastward trek, the greenery melted away to the more typical mix of dried and dying grasses. Plants slaughtering each other in a constant struggle for the scarcest of resources. Becoming crueler. Growing thorns. Besieging aquifers to starve their neighbors. The fertility of the spineless bay was a facade of normalcy that tired the eyes. Reminded one of what life was supposed to be, instead of the reality it had become.

Kihr held a deep appreciation for this dichotomy between a pastoral history and present's desert of the living.

IC: Vekus - Spineless Bay

The Ba-Skakdi could only nod in response. She tried to get her head into the moment, focused. She found herself looking over the plants too, though she was looking for tracks and marks. Perhaps she was looking for something else, too, away in the distance.

It took most of the day, and they had trekked for quite a while by now, curving northward. Presently, the Kvere;Ivi loomed into view, its dead waters reflecting the sun's light, a perfectly normal body of water, yet chilling in its the void of its reflection.

Vekus looked north, watching the smoke that, earlier, had seemed like fog, now coalesce into a blanket of dark grey, a fuming mass hanging in the air, its acrid smell jolting the senses awake. The Burning Steppes was seldom crossed, and even those who knew their way around the island preferred to stay away from that den of flame and Tahtorak. And the ruin that Kalzok had located just so happened to be along its edges.

It was not mere chance that allowed him to locate it, Vekus realised. Close to Kalzok's old stomping grounds, the preserved ruin's surface entrance had until a year ago been part of the Burning Steppes. The unseasonal rain and monsoon last year had shrunk the lake and coast-side edges of the Steppes, putting out the unquenchable fires. Or perhaps the ******able weeds of those areas had finally well and truly burned out.

Either way, with its entrance only recently becoming conducive to Skakdi habitation, and being situated along the accursed Abyssal lake, it was only a matter of time and patient record-keeping until someone with a dangerously small sense of self-preservation, like Kalzok, finally located it.

They were close to the flames now, and Vekus had to pull her cloak around her and adjust her filtration mask. Pillars of smoke as far north towards the horizon as one could see, but even so, Vekus could see the land immediately around her had burnt out. Some grass grew here and there in tufts, but by and large a layer of ash and charcoal covered the land, blowing in the wind.

They turned eastward again, towards the lake. A light breeze wafted towards them, mercifully blowing away some of the choking smoke. She glanced at the old Lesterin, wondering if his respirator would finally give out at this moment. It was a strange sensation: a shifting breeze on one side of largely clean lake evaporation and the itching, warm embrace of the smoke on her left.

After a few more hours, the pair reached a downward slope. Vekus could see a set of bare hills seem to rise out from the low land ahead of them, a series of strange, low stone (crystal?) outcroppings surrounding it. At the centre of those shapes was the bare side of a hill, and a small group of figures.

Wordlessly, the pair continued downhill, steeling themselves to reach their target and the wonders, or horrors, within.

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IC: Kalzok - Outside Lahi-Lore-Soka

The Thaumaturge wrapped himself in his overly-loose robes, watching the sun go down on the other side of the Steppesmoke.

The ruin was as untouched as he had left it. It was truly a marvel. That anything survived above ground after the destruction the Ancient Skakdi must have wrought on it, and the centuries-long inferno, was nothing short of a miracle. He wondered if the water-laden air currents of the lake evaporating so close to the Burning Steppes might have had a role in quenching some of the thermal stress. Probably not, but it would be delicious to discover that the Lake the Skakdi feared so much had a hand in preserving one of the hated enemy's vaults.

He looked back to the lake, a small rowboat bobbing in the shallow waves. Kalzok was not one given to fear driven by tradition, and so when he had to avert his gaze from the waters, he knew it was from personal experience. It took all he had to remain calm as he and the Lesterin on the team took the boat as a shortcut to the ruin. At least they might have an emergency exit. If the Abyss allowed them.

Perhaps the things that dwell beneath might spare me, if the lack of spines meant anything to Them.

One of the excavation team called out to the others, and Kalzok peeped out from under his robes and hat. Even from this distance he could recognise Vekus' stride, and the old Broker agent with her.

It only took a few minutes for them to reach the ruin. He dusted off his robes and stood up from his seating position in one fluid motion.

"Glad to see we have all made it in one piece. Perhaps introductions are in order?"

OOC: @Ghosthands@BULiK@Rahisaurus@a goose

Edited by NorikSigma
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IC: Krex (Fort Garsi, at the walls)

"Run, run like the Heu:Nii you are!" Krex loudly encouraged the retreating fighters. They could run, but they would not get far, not if she had anything to say about it.

Zanakra had made it through the boulder-toss, but it had let Kirik gain an opening. Krex's job there was done for now.

Her first target was the cloaked runt who had shoved the one called "Seeker" as a distraction, to shield themselves with the body. From her vantage point up on the wall, Krex saw and knew better.

Ahuum disappeared from sight quickly, but Krex knew this terrain, it was her who knew where all the nasty surprises were hidden. She fired her heat vision at several spots in the immediate area they had disappeared in, detonating four mines.

The rest of the would-be escapees had been a bit smarter. They barrier that Miraule and Yavonna erected to cover the retreat was not so vulnerable, but there was only one exit from it they were guiding their comrades to. Krex grabbed her launcher and opened fire on the conjured arms, pelting them with kohlii-sized boulders.

OOC: @Mel @ARROW404 @Sparticus147 @Visaru @Snelly @Smudge8 @Zeal @Nato G

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IC: Zanakra - Fort Garsi -

Zanakra rolled forward, narrowly evading Kirik's laser vision. Kirik had already started charging forward, without bothering to see if his laser hit his target. Zanakra admired this warrior's somewhat reckless behavior, he had guts, unlike some people she knew.

Perhaps a bit too reckless. Zanakra didn't have time to dodge Kirik's upcoming attack, but she had her hammer in her hands. She swung at Kirik, the jets on the back of the hammer activating to increase the speed of the swing. Kirik would be able to strike Zanakra with his prosthetic, no doubt, but he would in turn be struck by the full force of Zanakra's impact hammer as well.

Zanakra heard Ipsudir speak, it was hard not to with how loud she was. She would have said something in response if she wasn't already dealing with Kirik. 

OOC:  @ARROW404 @Smudge8 @Nato G @Zeal @Sparticus147@Mel @Geardirector@Visaru

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IC: T’harrak – Fort Garsi

Faces swam together in a bleary blur as T’harrak ducked and stumbled through the melee. Were the footsteps behind her retreating allies or pursuing enemies? Were Jojax and Zanakra still alive, fighting on beyond the barrier? She didn’t know.

And then any possibility of finding out was dashed as shifting earth and writhing vines formed a fresh barrier behind her, giving the survivors a momentary reprieve from the ferocity of Fort Garsi’s defenders.

It brought little relief to T’harrak. She’d already watched one wall fall.

She stumbled to a shuddering stop, her heart feeling like it was try to hammer its way out of her ribcage. A familiar, friendly face came into focus as she tried to steady herself. “Smart move, sounding the retreat,” Gashril said.

T’harrak didn’t reply. What was she supposed to say to that? What were the right words for a situation like this? She didn't feel smart, just scared. Between her panting breaths and addled mind, she wasn’t sure she could string a sentence together anyway.

“Get Sohm-” Gashril was saying, only to break off as the Skakdi in question joined the retreat.

“Lugnoz, Ythrok, Gutuor, and Seeker all fell,” the Bo-Skakdi who'd helped form the new barrier spoke up.

Seeker? T’harrak finally cast a glance behind her, x-ray vision searching through barriers and bodies for some sign of the Skakdi who’d been right beside her less than a half-minute ago. She saw nothing she recognised. How? He was right there...

What she saw instead were the two rahi riders, who had dispelled their summoned energies and were reloading their weapons, liking planning to ride down the survivors as they retreated. They weren’t alone, either. Already, more explosions were rocking the surrounding landscape, and a volley of boulders fired from the fort were peppering the barrier.

T’harrak’s panicked mind scrambled desperately over the possibilities. If they cowered behind this barrier they’d simply be overrun again, but if they broke cover they’d be gunned down as they ran. They needed cover, but not another wall. They needed… a smokescreen? No, they had nothing to burn, and no Ta-Skakdi to light it. 

Her thoughts instead turned to the mists that sometimes formed on the seas surrounding Fort Razorfish:Vaa, and her eyes looked back to her remaining allies, “Water… air...” she mumbled numbly, pointing at Olkumo and Lookout as she forced out the words, “We need fog!”

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On 1/25/2023 at 8:36 AM, NorikSigma said:

IC: Vekus - Spineless Bay

After a few more hours, the pair reached a downward slope. Vekus could see a set of bare hills seem to rise out from the low land ahead of them, a series of strange, low stone (crystal?) outcroppings surrounding it. At the centre of those shapes was the bare side of a hill, and a small group of figures.

Wordlessly, the pair continued downhill, steeling themselves to reach their target and the wonders, or horrors, within.

IC: Kalzok - Outside

One of the excavation team called out to the others, and Kalzok peeped out from under his robes and hat. Even from this distance he could recognise Vekus' stride, and the old Broker agent with her.

It only took a few minutes for them to reach the ruin. He dusted off his robes and stood up from his seating position in one fluid motion.

"Glad to see we have all made it in one piece. Perhaps introductions are in order?"

OOC: Recommended listening:

IC: Kihr [Burning Steppes, Outskirts]

As Vekus descended the slope, Kihr slowed his pace. The jingle of each spur lingered in the air longer after each step, the tempo of the rugged Lesterin's military march slacking now that he had lead Vekus to where she was meant to be. He stopped several bio away from the crew, taking a seat on an outcrop of lifeless stone padded by ash. Upright in nearby dirt, he fixed the end of the cane that had been kept furled in his arm during most of the journey. From afar, the approaching spurs had been the more prominent sound, but with his closer proximity and stiller movement, the compression cycles of his lung pumps had become the dominant indicators of his presence.

The husk blended into the soot of the steppes. Had the group not seen him arrive, they might have mistaken the Ga-Lesterin for a newly uncovered archeological artifact. The shemagh around his neck danced in the breeze, shaking off dust like a Burnak after a swim. Thusly it became clearer that it had once been blue as the sky, and his antique armor was long ago a navy blue befitting the ocean depths. Time's cruelty had dulled their boldness to the point of each being faded cousins of grey. The layer of ash that had floated onto Kihr from the alpine winds and shadowed light from the murky sky amplified his colorlessness tenfold.

It was thanks to this sky's contrast that Kihr's torso skylined the hilltop. Silhouetted by the rays of burnt orange light brave or foolish enough to pierce the wildfire's clouds, the only color on the figure was from the alien glow of the lights cut into the center of the agent's torso, and the lime optics that overlooked the assembled crew behind his Arthron. Some of them he had met, some he hadn't - and yet he knew all of them with the intimacy gamblers had of their favorite dice.

He was as much a mystery to them as the ruins that temporarily wove their fates together, or the patterns of the blinking and static colored lights where his heartlight should have been, and yet the enigma was calmingly understandable on the surface. A facilitator, Kihr's business was known, and he needed no introduction. His mechanical breathing continued to announce his presence and attention in the background - which said all that needed to be said.

Edited by BULiK
minor grammatical stuff
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[IC: Zassani]

An oddly-coloured Lesterin of Iron sat on a rock in the black dusty terrain next to the entrance, leaning his back against the ancient stone of the doorway itself, eyeing the rest of the group from a slight distance. He wasn't particularly comfortable with gang the Broker had picked out, having never met any of them before, but since this operation wasn't supposed to be high-risk (as he'd been told) he decided to afford them a little trust by not keeping his plasma launcher trained on them while they waited. Instead, he sat with one leg over the other knee, using it as a workbench of sorts to nonchalantly tinker with the launcher, checking the tuning and idly wiping away the bits of black ash that continued to accumulate.

He had stubbornly refused to wear any kind of mask to help with the sooty air, preferring to keep his speech and peripheral vision unobscured, so he sat with a perpetual grimace on his face, breathing shallow sips of air through his teeth, spitting black-stained saliva onto the nearby stone every few minutes when he started to taste it. He quietly hoped the air inside the ruin would be less dirty.

Noticing the appearance of 3 new silhouettes on the ridge nearby, 2 of them continuing into speaking range, he growled up another gob of black spit, then spoke up in his gruff voice. "Oi! Bout time you lot dragged yer sorry arses out here.  Been sittin' here breathin' soot for two goddam hours."

He hauled himself to his feet, holstering his launcher, and plodded over to the newcomers, his jet boots clunking metallically with each step. 

"Perhaps introductions are in order?"

"Too right," murmured Zassani, scowling up at the distant figure still standing up on the hill, "Especially if one of em's too good to come down and make it 'imself." He pointed at Kihr. "What's 'is deal?"

He gave a raspy huff of a sigh, cut short by another choke of ash that he spat out. "Name's Zassani, by the way. Not much of a treasure hunter, but Broker said I could take a cut for keeping you all alive. Or most of you."

ooc: @BULiK @NorikSigma @Ghosthands @a goose

Edited by Rahisaurus
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On 1/29/2023 at 6:50 AM, Rahisaurus said:

[IC: Zassani]

"Too right," murmured Zassani, scowling up at the distant figure still standing up on the hill, "Especially if one of em's too good to come down and make it 'imself." He pointed at Kihr. "What's 'is deal?"

IC: Kihr [Burning Steppes, Outskirts]

Needing not bother with pleasantries, Kihr casually extracted a cigar from a case that he subsequently stowed again. The cutting device followed, which sliced the cap straight off with an offhand squeeze. If the husks of plants around them had still been burning, he may well have lit the cigar off one of them. However, in the present circumstances, the nearest source of fire was his own.

The lighter that flicked open was perhaps the only piece of metal on Kihr that could still reflect the dull sunlight. Well polished, one could be mistaken for believing it was a reproduction and not the antique that it truly was. The insignia engraved on its side was impossible to make out from such a distance, not that any of those present were ancient or well-studied enough to know its meaning. Then again, this was a group of archeologists and treasure hunters. However, Kihr presumed that even if they could recognize it from a book, they would never have respected the creed. To them, history was a linear sequence of inevitability. With the hindsight of the current desolation, none of them would have understood that the hope it once stood for was real, or that the blood that spilled in its name had accomplished anything.

Not that Kihr was foolish enough to think that either. However, an old man was allowed his sentimentality.

Having lit his cigar with a few mechanical puffs, the lighter and its revealing flame disappeared uneventfully. The red embers at the end of the cigar poked out from the the hilltop Lesterin's silhouette, joining the constellation formed by his lime optics and and the occasionally blinking lights on his chestpiece.

Edited by BULiK
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IC: Aden (The Burning Steppes)

The Ko-Lesterin, one of those already waiting at the site, had her collar popped and her shoulder to the wind, the better to protect her face from the ash and smoke. Her eyes, though, still peeked out from above it, in what could perhaps have been a weather-induced squint, but was almost definitely a dismissive glare.

“I’m Aden, the Broker’s ‘expert.’” Cold, condescending eyes scanned the other members of her party; she seemed unimpressed. “So which of you brutes was it that found this place, and how much damage should I expect inside?”

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IC: Gashril and the crew

Yavonna grit her teeth with frustration as she saw the boulders impact the ground. "Cover Ahuum," she said quickly to Miraule- but not quickly enough to respond to the mines that had been set off. "Son of a ****!" Her eyes pierced to root, earth, and stone to see if Ahuum had made it. In the meantime, she continued to reel... whatever was left in with Miraule. The hail of stones cut off a number of their arms, which brought another frustrated scoff up. "Thicker," she said to her partner, and the two shifted to quality over quantity, single large 'tentacles' of root and earth quickly proving too thick- and most importantly, too soft- for the stones to have much impact, lodging themselves in the writing limbs without managing to pierce all the way through.

Dividing her attention, she relayed what was going on to Gashril, who growled. "Looks like that offer of mercy was worth ****-all then." She nodded at T'harrak, and her lackeys understood, combining their powers to quickly shroud the group in a growing blanket of fog. Meanwhile, Gashril mentally clicked her vocal blaster on and tilted her head up toward the fortress.

"WE GET IT ALREADY, WE'RE LEAVING!" she power screamed, keeping it short and sweet. She only had so many uses before she had to recover. She hoped the one hurling stones at them was just one trigger-happy loose cannon who would stop once the message got across.

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IC: Jojax-Fort Garsi

Jojax snarled at the Skakdi on the ground as she grasped her side. His words hurt more than any physical attack.  "This is my heratage! #####################" Currently ignoring the two others who were actualy a threat, and kicked the ice Skakdi.

 

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On 1/30/2023 at 11:19 AM, a goose said:

“I’m Aden, the Broker’s ‘expert.’” Cold, condescending eyes scanned the other members of her party; she seemed unimpressed. “So which of you brutes was it that found this place, and how much damage should I expect inside?”


IC (Broker NPCs) [Burning Steppes Outskirts]

"Expert in breaking and entering, maybe."

These snide words and the dull jangle of metal rings announced the approach of another of the more specialist members of the Broker's expedition: a gaunt Fe-Skakdi, cloaked in black Nakihl robes adorned with a wide collar of similarly sable corvine feathers. He carried a staff of what looked like driftwood (jabbing it into the ash-coated ground as he walked, but not seeming to need it for support), its upper half pierced in many places by metal rings or hoops of varying sizes: some as wide as a splayed hand, some small enough to be worn on a finger. Each one was engraved with lines and runes that, to a trained eye, encapsulated a variety of spells. Further such rings hung from his robes in places, together making up a motley metallic assortment that clinked against each other as he moved.

"But I think you'll find that I am the Broker's expert in matters of artefacts, magicks, and history," he continued, clearly making no effort to keep disdain from his voice. "And make no mistake, I shall be representing his interests in these areas."

This was Rhuvok, the Raven: a Nakihl the Broker kept on retainer as his personal specialist in the occult. Rhuvok had long ago forsaken the community of the northern Fortress to pick over and assess the more esoteric items acquired from the Broker's nefarious activities. It was a small price to pay for the generous research resources that came his way (provided that his work regularly produced results that could be turned to his employer's profit), and distance from the bickering and backstabbing of his peers was frankly a plus.

He looked around at the gathered beings, green eyes alighting on each of them with varying degrees of distrust or disdain. Only Kihr received a respectful nod.

"My...esteemed colleague may be leading this expedition," he sneered, gesturing in Kalzok's direction, "but as you all know, the Broker is funding it." The Raven's voice was made even more like the caw of his namesake by the ash-choked air in his throat. "The equipment and personnel he is providing represent a significant investment, and as such, he expects a full return."

He glared particularly at the more mercenary members of the group.

"As per your contracts, you will be paid well for your efforts. As per Kalzok's contract, the Broker will receive all finds. Every item worth recovering goes back to the Warrens, where I will assess their value personally. You will take no spoils, no souvenirs, nothing. I'm sure I don't have to warn you of the dangers of incurring our employer's displeasure."

He turned his beady green eyes back to Aden.

"To answer your question, the outbuildings have long been exposed to the ravages of wind and flame. But I have already personally inspected the entrance to the tomb itself, and I believe it remains fully sealed and intact. Provided that we can open it without causing any unnecessary damage, the archives within should be perfectly preserved."

He gazed back towards the bare hill with hungry eyes. Set into the hillside was a monolithic doorway: a trapezoid of sandstone, sides sloping smoothly upwards, its surface blackened and blasted by the fires of the Steppes, but unbroken by them. Like the walls of some of the ruined outbuildings scattered around, its surface glinted blue and gold in places where the layer of soot coating it had been brushed away, revealing reliefs of crystal inlaid into the rock, filigreed with precious metals, carved with intricate patterns and lettering. It was a sight both tantalising and foreboding, an austere monument to the pride of the ancient Lesterin, rising from the ash that had once hidden it, no longer guarded so jealously by the inferno that still filled the sky beyond with smoke. This forgotten repository, both library and grave, lay waiting for them.


OOC: @a goose @NorikSigma @BULiK @Rahisaurus @BBBBalta

Edited by Ghosthands
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