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Ghosts of Bara Magna


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IC: Cacia (NPC; CelTech reception, Tajun)

As she returned to the reception, Cacia saw that the customer was still examining the device.

"Anything catch your eye?"

OOC: @Toru Nui @Morgan Yu

IC: Celrys (His office, Tajun)

"Has this happened before? The singing?"

Celrys' voice was barely more than a whisper, as if to avoid disrupting the Ferrumite's reverie. There was a tenderness to his expression, along with a strange sense of melancholy.

OOC: @Snelly @Techn0geist

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2 hours ago, a goose said:

"Has this happened before? The singing?"

Celrys' voice was barely more than a whisper, as if to avoid disrupting the Ferrumite's reverie. There was a tenderness to his expression, along with a strange sense of melancholy.

IC: Skyra Daring - Celrys' Workshop, Tajun -

Skyra shook her head. "No, not really anyway. Del tried to copy my singing on the drive here, but I wouldn't have called it singing exactly."

@Techn0geist @a goose

 

 

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Skyra | Hakari | Oceanna | Taleen | Arisaka | Zanakra | Kaminari | Drakkar

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IC: Selamat - Precipere

Selamat was not supposed to speak during this interaction. One of their number had been designated to do the talking, and that one was not Selamat.

Nevertheless...

When Tueris stopped speaking, he piped up. "Excuse me, honored one," He began, addressing Somok, Precipere's elder. "Did you say that the other member of your tribe who was to join us had fallen ill?" His concern was only halfway buried beneath honorifics and social etiquette.

@a goose @Nato G

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IC: Somok - Precipere

Somok stared at Selamat like a beast caught in the path of an incoming vehicle, gripped with a fear that hadn't existed just a few seconds earlier. Was the young Glatorian right? Could Salwa have- 

No, she couldn't. 

The rationality and reason that came with decades of rule rose up, pushing away the panic. Salwa hadn't reported going to Ferrum, and she certainly hadn't reported encountering any one or thing from there. The same was true of the other scouts and hunters. 

"This plague you're investigating - if it does indeed exist - is far from the only illness in existence," he replied, his tone firm but not entirely dismissive. "Our scouts and hunters often spend days at a time away from our village. They sleep on the dirt or in caves, they search the dens and nests of animals, they eat food prepared in unsanitary conditions. The canyon is an unclean place, and there are many ways to fall ill."

That was what the logical part of his mind insisted, at least. His life had long ago taught him that chance and coincidence were far more common than conspiracies, especially out here, away from the politics and scheming of the larger settlements. Still, it was prudent to be prepared, and take possible threats seriously.

"Though of course, we will take precautions all the same." 

@Burnmad @a goose

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Ghosts Of Bara Magna - Ash Tribe - Precipere - Kehla, Somok, Skrall, Gayle, Avinus, Zha'ar

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IC: Celrys (His workshop, Tajun)

"How curious." His thumb brushed absently against his lips, as he began pacing slowly towards Del. "Perhaps with the implant rendered temporarily non-operational, we're getting-"

Celrys, who until that moment had appeared almost to be in a trance of his own, seemed suddenly to remember he had company. He massaged the back of his neck as he turned back to Skyra, smiling uncomfortably. "My apologies, Miss Daring. Just… thinking out loud."

OOC: @Snelly @Techn0geist

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IC: Lorqua - Training Ground, Outskirts of Atero

Lutenus was strong, that much was clear. She ought to only fight people who didn't speak her language.

As it was, she had two options. If she held on to the javelin, he would pull her right over. With an expiration of air, Lorqua let go.

"Alright," she murmured, with a tone that could entail either defiance or resignation. She stumbled backwards, scrambling to draw a third javelin.

OOC: @Toru Nui @Techn0geist sorry for the delay y'all, I was waiting for another character to need a post and lost track of time

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IC: Del - Celrys's Workshop, Tajun

"and there's another crowd to drown in crying eyes"

Under Celrys and Skyra's dialogue they had missed a whole mumbled pre-chorus. Del continued.

"and see how that light you love now just won't shine"

<<...Temperat-t-t-tures within op-p-erational range. R-R-Reinitialising. Caution advised.>>

"there might just be another star that's high and far—"

Abruptly the singing stopped, and a worrying few seconds passed.

<<Analysing scenario.>>

Del blinked twice and their eyes began to again rotate in their orbits, finding their surroundings, then finding faces. First Skyra Daring's, then Celrys's.

<<No present threat. Maintain awareness.>>

The ice against their head staved off any further thermal spikes as they ran an assessment of the last few minutes. Pinpointed the moment the implant began to experience that hideous heat climbing.

<<Helmet removal correlates with increased thermal output and catastrophic shutdown. Wearing helmet correlates with ideal thermal range and optimal performance.>>

"Take that helmet off... let me get a proper look at you..." They rolled Celrys's words over slowly.

<<Retrieve.>>

The Glatorian's slack muscles struggled and ultimately failed to remove them from the chair, motor control faculties taking their time to return; their legs dangled over the edge and their torso sat at an awkward angle.

<<...Request. Politely.>>

"Helmet... please?"

 

OOC: @Snelly @a goose

Edited by Techn0geist
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IC: Maxas (Tajun, Celrys’ Workshop) - Quick, Pretend You Know What You’re Doing

“Hmm. Hmmmm. Maxas pretends that he’s examining the machine carefully. “Yes, yes… ah… do you have anything…” He had to think of something that wouldn’t seem out-of-character, in case Celrys’ secretary reported his activity to Scodonius or Berix. “Anything that can reduce dehydration out in the desert?”

@a goose @Morgan Yu

 

IC: Lutenus (Outskirts of Atero, Training Ground) - Enemy Weapon Get!

Lutenus flips around the javelin now in his hand so the sharp end is pointing at Lorqua, and throws it at her.

@oncertainty @Techn0geist

 

IC: Taldrix (Bone Hunter Stronghold, Outside Somnii’s Cell) - I Knew That Would Happen But I’m Still Mad About It

Oh, of course. It took all of Taldrix’s willpower to not sigh wearily or roll her eyes or otherwise demonstrate her failure to be amused. Well then. I’ll see you some other time.” Taldrix takes her leave… and makes a note to record her dreams from now on.

Just in case.

@a goose

 

IC: Xyde (Precipere, Guardhouse) - Medical Emergency

“While under ordinary circumstances I would help in these precautions…” Xyde replied to Somok, and then turned their head to Tueris, addressing his concern. “I believe the Iron Tribe is in greater need of medical attention. At present, it appears only Salwa needs help, but I can look her over before we leave. Another minor illness contracted from scouting I should imagine, as the elder says.”

@Nato G @a goose @Burnmad @~Xemnas~ @oncertainty

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IC: Lorqua - Training Ground, Outskirts of Atero

As soon as Lutenus started the javelin's spin, Lorqua could predict what came next. Not that she could do anything about it. The missile impacted her shield, sending a jolt of pain all the way up her arm. Her hand seized, and she dropped the shield to the floor of the arena. No sense trying to the scramble in the dust to get it back. No time for that.

"Good throw," she barked, as she freed the last javelin from the sheathe on her back and brandished it underhanded like a spear.

OOC: @Toru Nui @Techn0geist

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IC: Tueris (Staff NPC; The Precipice)

Tueris, who had until that point been – if anything, too – forthright in his warnings, seemed remarkably unbothered by the development regarding the sick scout, even as the tension was rising in the rest of the room.

“Very well, then. See to your scout; the rest of us will wait for you by the elevator.”

He turned his eye back to Somok, and ever-so-slightly inclined his head. “Thank you for your time, Elder.”

As he walked out the door, he did not wait to see if the rest of the party followed. Some small part of him hoped that they might not.

OOC: @Toru Nui @oncertainty @Burnmad @Nato G @~Xemnas~

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IC: Gayle - Precipere

Gayle, who the writer definitely hadn't forgotten about had been waiting quietly while the others conversed. She wasn't normally one to hold her tongue, but political negotiations were far from her forte, and she still felt like she was treading on soft enough sand as-is, being the only Agori in the group. 

The only Agori until the Ash Agori had signed on, at least. But they were a medic, making them significantly more useful than Gayle herself, who contributed little more than "driver with no vehicle" and "has an axe". Still, she didn't want to be sent back to Vulcanus after already coming this far. Best to keep quiet and not make a nuisance of herself, lest she give Teuris an excuse to send her packing. 

She followed the Fire Glatorian back outside, waiting for the others to join them. 

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BZPRPG Mercenary Group - The Outsiders - Description - History - Base

Ghosts Of Bara Magna - Ash Tribe - Precipere - Kehla, Somok, Skrall, Gayle, Avinus, Zha'ar

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IC: Lutenus (Outskirts of Atero, Training Ground) - Appreciation!

“You noticed!” Lutenus jokes, before becoming serious again - ACTIVATE - and attacking Lorqua with his axe. Aiming without any intent to seriously wound, of course.

@oncertainty @Techn0geist

 

IC: Xyde (Precipere, Guardhouse) - Exit, Stage Left

“OK, let me see what the damage is this time… Xyde went off to look over Salwa…

@Nato G @a goose @Burnmad @~Xemnas~ @oncertainty

Edited by Toru Nui
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On 6/25/2023 at 6:25 PM, Nato G said:

IC: Avinus - Tajun Streets

"Certainly shows ya where people's priorities lie," she said, winking at a passing group of gawking Agori, "A lotta these folks aint gonna watch us fight a regular match when it's over vital supplies for Tajun, but kickin' butt in the name of village pride and braggin' rights really brings in the crowds." 

IC: Luka — Streets of Tajun

"Sure does," Luka said, "I enjoy seeing the new faces passing through here. Makes things interesting, aside from the fights that break out."

Luka paused for a moment, appearing to ruminate over past conflicts he's witnessed. It almost always happens at some point, and it wasn't too surprising with how disparate the different tribal cultures are. Combine that with your typical competitive spirit and...

"You ever come across some particularly passionate patrons having a slugging match?" Luka asked.

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

You’re the boss of this operation."

[BZPRPG Profile] [Ghosts of Bara Magna Profile]

 

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IC: Avinus - Tajun Streets

"More times than I can count," she chuckled, "The way I see it, lottsa folks dream of bein' a Glatorian. Most just aint brave enough ta try. But once the crowd and competition gets people's blood pumpin' and the alcohol and spice gets involved, all that fear's forgotten. Along with common sense." 

@Emzee

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BZPRPG Mercenary Group - The Outsiders - Description - History - Base

Ghosts Of Bara Magna - Ash Tribe - Precipere - Kehla, Somok, Skrall, Gayle, Avinus, Zha'ar

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IC: Jeizmel, Streets of Atero

"No price is too high for such craftsmanship."

Maybe she shouldn't have said that, Jeizmel was well aware, if she didn't want to encourage Xani to raise the cost on her right then and there... and even if she was happy with the amount, she could practically feel her wallet cringing as she extracted the required currency from it. She could afford it, sure, but it would leave things a little tight for her finances if she didn't find some kind of job soon--

But, again, Jeizmel was enough of an odd-jobs woman to be confident that some paying opportunity would cross her path soon enough: either here or in Tajun. She had no need to be worried.

She slid the currency into Xani's hand, then busied herself with arranging the glittering trinket perfectly around her left wrist. She nodded her approval with how comfortably it settled into place; then, in the name of keeping the conversation rolling, she glanced to Xani again.

"Were you thinking of heading to Tajun after this? I know you said you're not a fan of the sport, but I'm sure you'd find a lot of customers in the tournament crowds."

@Daniel the Finlander @Toru Nui

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IC: Xoros (NPC; Creep Canyons)

The mountainous Bone Hunter heard the approaching wolves before he saw them, the rumble of their engines carried by the canyon’s echoing walls.

“Gatherers!” He roared, spittle flying from his mouth. “To arms!”

IC: Wolf (Creep Canyons)

“Take out the riders first; leave the pack leader to me."

Wolf's narrowed eyes were alight with something colder than vengeance and more blistering than hate, as if she carried in her countenance the burning soul of the desert itself. The roar of her Kaxium was a thunderous war-cry, one that shook the sands beneath its wheels almost as much as the pounding feet of the Rock Steeds. The Bone Hunters were holding position, forming up with the riders in front. They intended to form a roadblock with the bodies of their Steeds, forcing the wolves to a stop; the riders would use the height advantage to strike down at them, while the Hunters on foot would flank the bikes and box them in. It was a standard tactic, one that had spelt the end of many a caravan, but it was not without flaw.

The Kaxium's roar grew to a scream as it continued to accelerate, and Wolf locked furious eyes with Xoros.

OOC: @Wotz

IC: Somnii (Bone Hunter Stronghold; Somnii's Cell)

Somnii breathed a long, tired breath, one she hadn't even realised she was holding. She could feel what little strength she'd called to arms leaving her, exhaustion weighing heavily upon her shoulders. Her negotiations had taken more out of her than she anticipated, but the important thing was that she would soon know her captor. Once she knew who held her leash, she would be one step closer to securing her freedom – or so she hoped, at least.

OOC: @Toru Nui

IC: Cacia (NPC; CelTech reception, Tajun)

“Of course! If you’ll allow me?” She held out a hand, gesturing for the return of the device.

OOC: @Toru Nui @Morgan Yu

IC: Celrys (Workshop, Tajun)

Celrys held his head in his hand and laughed. “Of course. My apologies, Del. Miss Daring, look after Del for a moment while I get their helmet.”

Without waiting for a reply, the artificer began making his way back to his office.

OOC: @Snelly @Techn0geist

Edited by a goose
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IC: Xani (Streets of Atero)

Xani nodded gratefully and gave Vraek the shimmering crystal necklace. Her remark about Iconox was so relatable it made her chuckle. "Thank you, thank you. Maybe this trinket will give you luck in battle."

Then she turned to face Jeizmel, pleased to see she was already admiring her bracelet. "Thank you as well. As for Tajun... well, I haven't been there in a while, so maybe I should revisit it."

Of course, she had no reason to go to a place that did not participate in slave trade. But maybe they'd appreciate her works as much as these two did. Already, she was fantasizing about returning to her old life. But these two felt like exceptions. Who could say if she'd find more good customers like this? At least, there was always demand for slaves. Always.

At the very least, this "vacation trip" to Atero had already turned out better than she had expected, she thought as she counted the money. Now she could take it easy.

"So, I suppose that's everything? You probably have places to go to or things to do. When's that tournament starting, anyways?"

OOC: @That Matoran with a Vahi@Toru Nui

Edited by Daniel the Finlander
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IC: Maxas (Tajun, Celrys’ Workshop) - Unfortunately, Time Is Not on My Side

Maxas cautiously handed the device back to the receptionist. OK, this wasn’t working, he needed an out… “Erm, would it be possible to schedule the surgery at some later date? I don’t want to miss the Games.” And it’s true, being the most widely attended event in the wastelands, no one would dare try to have him killed surrounded by so many witnesses.

@a goose @Morgan Yu

 

IC: Vraek (Streets of Atero, Near the City Gates) - Fortunately, Time Is on Our Side

“There’s no cause for concern. So long as we leave sometime today, there’ll be more than enough time to prepare for the Games.” Well, Vraek wasn’t entirely certain of that, but they were in no danger of showing up too late for the matches at least.

@Daniel the Finlander @That Matoran with a Vahi

 

IC: Taldrix (Bone Hunter Stronghold) - I’m Taking It up With the Management

Taldrix made her way to the chambers of the Ghost. Screw Crucius - if this dream disease was real, the whole stronghold needed to know about it.

@a goose

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IC: Kast & Trem (Staff NPCs; The Tower)

The old watchtower had stood for generations, a marker of the Gatherers' unstoppable expansion. Once it had marked the border of the Stronghold; now, it lay well within them. Though well-preserved, it had fallen into disuse over time; after all, what good was a watchtower so far from the walls? There were simple parapets by the wrought iron gates that marked the entryway to the Stronghold, and those more than sufficed. The old watchtower became nothing more than a landmark, and an imposing feature of the Stronghold's silhouette.

As with so many other things, it was the arrival of the Ghost that led to the change. It made a certain sense; between its intimidating height and the Ghost's reclusive nature, it allowed Him to stay separate and above the rest of the Gatherers, while still at their heart. Its restoration seemed to be something of a pet project for the Ghost and His chosen few. As a result, the past few months had seen a constant buzz of activity around the site, which had only recently settled and solidified into a small guard presence.

So it was that when Taldrix arrived at the Tower, she was met with only two sentries standing at its doors. Kast and Trem – true believers, who had sworn themselves to the Ghost's service from Crucius' clan. As was increasingly typical of those favoured by the Ghost, they bore the clear scars of cybernetic augmentation, and both men held in their hands a strange spear, wires coiled along its length. As their fellow Gatherer approached, they crossed their spears to block the door and glared at her in silence. If she had permission to enter, it was up to her to prove as much.

OOC: @Toru Nui

Edited by a goose
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IC: Taldrix (Bone Hunter Stronghold, Outside the Tower) - Guards!

Oh no, not these two. These two might actually be able to read. The paper Crucius gave her would only let her pass if the Aula Agoria was dead or dying, and that unfortunately wasn’t the case… but then, these two would likely never go near her cell. By the time Crucius got back from meeting with Metus, he’ll likely be too busy being bossed around by the Ghost to question how precisely he got the info about the disease.

She wordlessly flashed the signed paper from Crucius at the two. “My papers are in order. I have important information from the boss, extracted from our most recent item.”

@a goose

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IC: (The Tower)

As Taldrix produced her papers, Trem immediately looked to Kast, who was squinting at Crucius' signature with a furrowed brow. It might just have been a matter of literacy; however, the anxiety in Trem's eyes – in both guards' eyes – suggested otherwise. This, it was clear, was quite definitely not standard procedure.

Kast looked back to Taldrix, making no effort to disguise his suspicion or his hostility. He seemed just about to say something when, instead, he moved his spear aside, and Trem followed his lead as he turned the handle and allowed the metal door to swing open. The way was clear.

The first thing that hit Taldrix was a wave of cool, stale air. As she entered, the door was slowly shut behind her, leaving nowhere to go but forward, up the steep, spiralling stone staircase. It wasn't merely cool inside – it was cold, cold enough to make her shiver, as if she had stepped back into the frigid North where the Skrall had made their home. Metal pipes wound along the walls, encrusted at their joints with a thin layer of ice. There were no windows in this part of the tower; the Ghost's first order upon making it his home had been to have them bricked up. Instead, the stairs were bathed in a sickly yellow glow from some dull light source far above. All that was left now was the climb.

As Taldrix ascended, she noticed salt on the stairs, crunching underfoot. It was a typical Northern solution to snow and ice, and despite the frost upon the pipes, it kept the stone steps from being rendered any more hazardous than they already were. The cold seemed less fierce the further she rose, perhaps in part because she was growing accustomed to it, but the ice on the pipes grew thinner and dripped with condensation. The light, too, was brighter this close to the source; she was almost at the top. 

And there, at the summit of the stairs, was another metal door. Before she had even had the chance to knock, she heard a voice call out to her from inside:

"The door is open; please, do step on in."

The man who spoke stood at the other end of the room beyond, his back to her. Far from the oppressive heat outside or the stifling cold below, the temperature within seemed perfectly tuned, if just a little on the cool side. The room itself seemed fit for an emperor, with chairs and tables of Tesaran wood scattered around it. One seemed to be for eating, another a desk, another again set aside for a board game, and finally there was a chairless, long table with a map draped across it.

"Please, please sit – I've just put the kettle on." His voice was soft and warm, and as he turned he gestured towards a square table, across which two comfortable chairs faced one another. Semi-opaque drapes hung over the window, and the sunlight that filtered through was rendered warm and dim. Even with her eyes having adjusted to the dull illumination of the stairwell, the man's dark skin and garb made it difficult to discern his features. He didn't look all that different from any Agori – taller, certainly, but he would still come up short against most any Glatorian. His most striking feature, however, was only accentuated by the murky light:

As Taldrix looked upon the Ghost, four glowing blue eyes looked back at her.

OOC: @Toru Nui

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IC: Lorqua - Training Ground, Outskirts of Atero

One more javelin. Just the one more.

Lorqua, sensing somewhere deep in her psyche that she couldn't go on much longer—one way or another—did not retreat from Lutenus' assault. Instead, she stormed forward in turn, twisting her body to obscure the path of her thrust. Already once-chastised, the thrust wasn't as strong nor as well-aimed as it could have been.

At least she gave them a show. Their audience of two bored Agori, at least one among whom obviously thought that she and Lutenus had some kind of angle in being there. So be it.

OOC: @Toru Nui @Techn0geist

 

IC: Escus - Precipere, Outside the Guard Post

Escus, already standing, fell into step with Tueris.

Outdoors, as the party make their way to the elevator, he watches the few Ash Agori who go about their business in Precipere. A furtive bunch, so far as he could tell. In his own way, Escus encouraged their mien. The Doctor had already made the majority view on Tajunites clear enough. Who was Escus to disprove the stereotype? He gave a small, wolfish smirk to any who met his eyes. Let them tell one another of his passage. Let them call him the organ-hungry Glatorian of Water.

OOC: @a goose @Toru Nui @Nato G @Burnmad @~Xemnas~

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IC: Lutenus (Outskirts of Atero, Training Ground) - Spear Me the Gory Details

Unfortunately, while the cybernetic implant lodged in Lutenus’ cranium could think faster, his body had to move at regular speed. As such, though it was predicted, he was unable to evade Lorqua’s attack. The javelin hit him in the side of his ribs, but did not go in very far. Graagh!

@oncertainty @Techn0geist

 

IC: Taldrix (Bone Hunter Stronghold, the Tower) - The Management

Oh.

Taldrix sat down, as instructed.

“Sorry to disturb you, erm-” Was ‘boss’ too informal? Was ‘my lord’ not formal enough? “Sir, but it’s about the item Crucius retrieved from outside Ferrum.” She offered her notes for his inspection.

@a goose

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IC: The Ghost (The Tower)

The Ghost took a seat opposite her, accepting the proffered notes.

"Interesting. Thank you – Taldrix, isn't it?"

Even as he spoke, his eyes were scanning the papers. At first, Taldrix was left with the uncomfortable feeling that she was still being observed just as closely, as if he kept one pair of eyes on her while the other read, but it wasn't long before the notes had his full, rapt attention. His singular focus was a strange thing to behold; the speed at which his eyes moved, the slightest twitchings of his mouth as he read, it looked as if he were in some kind of manic trance. As detached from the world around as if he were dreaming, but as awake and attentive as a dune-cat eyeing its prey.

This close, she could see that her initial assessment was even more accurate than she might have expected: his face was uncannily like that of an Agori, barring the most obvious difference. The eyes were real, there was no doubt about that – even that mad artificer in Tajun had yet to create a mechanical eye that could so convincingly mimic the real thing – and there was no scarring or stretching of the skin to suggest surgical implantation. He was real, flesh and blood… and metal. His hands, she noticed, were black metal, intricately built and meticulously maintained, a far sight from the jury-rigged chrome of his followers' augmentations.

"This… this is… Lords. A full accounting of the progression of symptoms… fascinating, but…"

Whatever he had intended to say next, the whistle of the kettle cut him off. 

"Ah. Pardon me for just a moment." As he stood, he left the notes upon the table. "Say – would you care for a cup? Tesaran tea; good for the nerves."

OOC: @Toru Nui

Edited by a goose
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IC: Taldrix (Bone Hunter Stronghold, the Tower) - First Impressions

Tea?

Whatever Taldrix had been expecting, it was not this. He was too… polite. Far too polite to command the respect of the likes of Crucius, Kast and Trem. There had to be something quite vicious concealed behind it.

She’d better drink his tea, or suffer his wrath, probably.

“I wouldn’t say no to some, sir.”

@a goose

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IC: The Ghost (The Tower)

As he sat back down, his smile was warm and his eyes were calculating. He was taking her measure – more than that, he wanted her to know that he was. He slid Taldrix's cup and saucer across to her, and took a sip from his own.

"That ought to keep any jitters at bay, for the moment. How long since your last hit?"

OOC: @Toru Nui

Edited by a goose
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IC: Taldrix (Bone Hunter Stronghold, the Tower) - Teatime

Taldrix shuffled nervously. She almost always had her spice on her, but - oh, he meant tea.

He did mean the tea, right?

How would he even know-

“I cannot say for certain, sir.” Taldrix tentatively takes a sip of the vaunted Teseran tea.

@a goose

Edited by Toru Nui
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IC: The Ghost (The Tower)

The corners of his mouth twitched briefly downwards, but the icy glare with which the Ghost met Taldrix was unwavering.

“Would it surprise you to learn that Crucius speaks rather highly of you?” He did not leave her time to answer. “He tells me you’re fastidious, intelligent, trustworthy. Such traits are in short supply around here, as I’m sure you know. Better yet, you’re a born sceptic – a quality I greatly admire.”

He took another sip of tea; his eyes did not move.

“Mindless obedience has its uses, of course; still, I have a great deal more respect for those who show real initiative. The nerve to question orders, to question authority, is something I consider to be invaluable. Crucius knows this about me, and he has – on more than one occasion – suggested you be brought into our circle of trust on exactly that basis. He believes you are able to think for yourself; you and I, of course, know better."

He stood, still holding his teacup, and walked to the window as if to gaze out upon his kingdom, though the drapes still obscured much.

"I know everything that happens in this compound, Taldrix. See everything. Were tea your only vice, you would likely have found yourself up here much sooner. So I ask again:"

He turned and fixed her with four cold eyes, any pretense of a pleasant smile abandoned. His voice, though just as soft as before, became a shard of ice which pierced her and held her, frozen in place.

"How long has it been?"

OOC: @Toru Nui

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IC: Lorqua - Training Ground, Outskirts of Atero

Lorqua is not cruel, as a rule. She likes to win. She likes the profits of victory. She just has no time for causing suffering, and rubbing it in. Even so, she can't help but smile when her strike hits home. If, after Lutenus' cry of pain, it makes her look like a barbarian.

She begins to press the assault, before hesitating. There's supposed to be a procedure to these things, isn't there? Arena combat strikes again.

Lorqua levels her javelin at Lutenus as he stumbles back. "Do you yield?"

OOC: @Toru Nui @Techn0geist

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IC: Lutenus (Outskirts of Atero, Training Ground) - The Problem With Writing Competent Characters Is That YOU Have to Write Them

DEACTIVATE.

Clever girl.

Now, Lutenus could say ‘I do not’ and continue… but he needed to be in ideal condition for the actual fights. He had already taken a spear to the chest and other miscellaneous minor injuries, liable to increase even if he did win the bout.

His profession as a gladiatorial combatant would be far simpler and easier if he didn’t have to bother about…

“I do.” He said. His cybernetic eye squirmed a bit as he said this.

@oncertainty @Techn0geist

 

IC: Taldrix (Bone Hunter Stronghold, the Tower) - Spice

“...Three days.” Taldrix confessed. Even admitting that there was a problem was like pulling out one of her own teeth, but she suspected that the Ghost would do something far worse than impromptu dentistry if she wasn’t straight with him.

“It doesn’t affect my work, I promise.” Which was technically true, Taldrix made sure to destroy anything she wrote down under the influence of Spice before it could be read or distributed.

He wasn’t about to… tell her to stop, was he? She needed the Spice. The Spice must flow.

@a goose

Edited by Toru Nui
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On 9/2/2023 at 1:20 AM, Toru Nui said:

IC: Maxas (Tajun, Celrys’ Workshop) - Unfortunately, Time Is Not on My Side

Maxas cautiously handed the device back to the receptionist. OK, this wasn’t working, he needed an out… “Erm, would it be possible to schedule the surgery at some later date? I don’t want to miss the Games.” And it’s true, being the most widely attended event in the wastelands, no one would dare try to have him killed surrounded by so many witnesses.

@a goose @Morgan Yu

IC: Karak - Celrys' Workshop

A firmer grasp on these people's language would do me a lot of good. For now I have to rely on his body language and intonation, was he aiming to leave? The word 'Games' taps against the previously discussed arena. One word in a puzzle I was struggling to put together.

For now I glance away. He was leaving - and if his intent was to stalk he had gained little from his excursion here. Best not to follow into a prepared trap, if there indeed was one.

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“No. Sorry, kid, that’s the one thing you can never do.”

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IC: The Ghost (The Tower)

A fresh smile flitted across his lips for the briefest of instants, but it was not the practised facade he had worn before – there was a hint of wryness to it that made it seem almost real. His eyes changed, too, bearing a spark of what might have been admiration (or perhaps just amusement) as he began to re-appraise her.

"Three days… and here you are, lucid, articulate, and without any obvious physical symptoms of withdrawal. There may be hope for you yet; I had anticipated your affliction would be much more severe." As he returned to his seat, his false smile was back in force. "And it is an affliction. I don't hold with those who believe addiction to be a weakness of character – it is an ailment, though perhaps closer to a handicap than a disease. So you see, when I turned down Crucius' recommendations, it wasn't personal; it was merely pragmatic. I would no more trust an addict than send a lame man to walk the perimeter."

He explained himself so matter-of-factly and with such easy confidence as to make his words feel obvious, a simple matter of common sense; it was easy to picture him standing before an audience of nodding heads and murmured agreement.

"I believed the risk outweighed any potential value you might have as an asset, but I am not afraid to admit when I am wrong. So… prove me wrong." His perfect smile struggled to resist the urge to become a smirk. "There are gaps in the information you have provided me. I need to know everything she told you – especially if she gave examples of patients. Did she mention any age groups? Or anyone who wasn't afflicted?"

IC: Cacia (NPC; CelTech reception, Tajun)

Cacia smiled, a tad condescendingly.

"Oh, we're already fully booked until the games are over. The earliest appointment I have is for two weeks after the closing ceremony."

OOC: @Toru Nui @Jesse Pinkman

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IC: Mard & Ahmoa - Training Ground, outskirts of Atero

On 9/18/2023 at 12:31 PM, oncertainty said:

"Do you yield?"

On 9/23/2023 at 5:04 AM, Toru Nui said:

“I do.”

Wincing at that last spear blow, glancing but painful-looking as it was, the referee took up both his and his partner's spears, the dull clank-clank-clank of Mard bashing their heads together poorly emulating the proper ding-ding-ding of some arenas' bells.

"Cease! Lorqua of the Jungle Tribe wins!" He bellowed.

"That was good fighting, you two! I trust you'll bring that and more to the Grand Tournament!" Ahmoa restrained a chuckle at how Mard rolled his eyes; this was a line oft-used by him after a training match, meant to congratulate the victor and encourage the defeated.

The duo had not seen such a bout, or indeed any bout, for a time now; so entertained were they by the prowess and ingenuity of the two combatants that their supposed ulterior motive had almost slipped their minds.

 

IC: Del - Celrys's Workshop, Tajun

On 9/24/2023 at 1:54 PM, Snelly said:

"How you feeling Del? Hanging in there?"

The Ferrumite processed the question.

<<Colloquial. Status update requested.>>

"...Nominal."

A pause. Slowly the weight of their legs dragged them down.

"...Thank you."

Another, gentler thud as their torso slid off the surgery chair and to the floor. Del seemed not to notice, nor mind.

After a short time and some experimental wriggling and stretching Del was able to somewhat right themself, sitting on the floor with their back against the chair's base, holding the ice to their head.

"Hanging in there?" They queried, looking up at Skyra. The intonation did not betray if they were asking for the meaning of the phrase, or a status update in kind from the driver.

 

OOC: @oncertainty @Toru Nui @Snelly @a goose

Edited by Techn0geist
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  • 2 weeks later...

IC: Jeizmel, Streets of Atero

Jeizmel hummed slightly in acknowledgement of the merchant's response, not really sure what else she could add. Having never been to Tajun personally, she couldn't exactly sing the place's praises... besides, she was sure it had nothing on the frigid beauty of Iconox, at least when her home settlement wasn't up to its armpits in the debasement of the slave trade. Still, she couldn't imagine beauty like that of Xani's craft not finding an audience there too.

"Well. Anywhere you go, I'm sure you'll find people who will appreciate such purity of craftsmanship."

Vraek had already replied on the subject of when then needed to leave; so she simply appended her own answer.

"I'm travelling with the honoured Glatorian as far as Tajun, so same for me. I'm not part of the tournament; but I have confidence that I'll find someone who's looking to hire an extra pair of hands to help during the tourist rush."

@Daniel the Finlander @Toru Nui

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For that is the way
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IC: Maxas (Tajun, Celrys’ Workshop) - Conspiratorial

That look! It was obvious - she was in on it! Whatever it was - it was bad!

“Oh. Well, I’d have to check my calendar if I’m free around that time…” He trailed off. He made a suspicious glance at Karak, then realized that his open suspicion would make him suspicious and stopped. “I don’t want to take up any more of your time, I’ll be going now.”

@a goose @Jesse Pinkman

 

IC: Taldrix (Bone Hunter Stronghold, the Tower) - Oh Right, My Boss Is an Alien

“No, it appears that the disease afflicts all demographics. Let’s face it, there’s not enough biological differences between us and the Iron Agori to say it only affects them…” She paused for a moment. “I’m not sure how different yours would be to ours, though. I wouldn’t take any chances. She also mentioned that Ferrum’s telegraphy station was ‘malfunctioning’ at the same time, apparently they weren’t able to get word of this out to the other Atero tribes. I doubt that was a coincidence. Apart from that-”

I watched nearly a dozen miners succumb to this plague.

“...Miners. She singled out miners in particular. Many in Ferrum are miners, but… nothing like this dream disease has ever been recorded before. Perhaps the source is underground? But, er, that’s mere speculation, sir.”

@a goose

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IC: Tueris (Staff NPC; Valley of Death)

Tueris glanced around with his one good eye, making sure that the whole party had reached the elevator; the medic, of course, was the last to arrive, but that was to be expected. He nodded to the lift operator, a sturdy Agori approaching middle-age, who began the apparently quite gruelling process of turning the iron wheel that put the various pulleys and gears into motion. If it was this difficult to send a group of this size down into the canyon, he felt a pang of relief knowing the operator would not have to worry about lifting their whole group up again. The wooden platform shuddered beneath their feet; the party was on the move.

OOC: @Nato G @Burnmad @~Xemnas~ @oncertainty @Toru Nui

IC: The Ghost (The Tower)

The Ghost's eyebrow quirked upwards as she mentioned his biological differences, but he said nothing. Still, as Taldrix continued to speak, his eyes lit up; when she finished, he released a soft chuckle.

"Oh, you really are something, aren't you?" He grinned as he spoke, but the glint in his eyes had turned sinister, the compliment undercut by… what? Anger? Condescension?

Both?

"Crucius undersold you, my dear. You're more right than you know – that said, you needn't worry about identifying the source or the means of transmission. Those, at least, I already know. Still, you did miss one crucial detail: this has happened before." The grin had soured into a sneer, though his voice remained warm, almost encouraging. "We've already seen one tribe laid low by some mystery malady that robbed them of their minds, after all, and you've proven yourself smart enough to join the dots."

OOC: @Toru Nui

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On 9/26/2023 at 4:37 AM, Techn0geist said:

"Hanging in there?" They queried, looking up at Skyra. The intonation did not betray if they were asking for the meaning of the phrase, or a status update in kind from the driver.

IC: Skyra Daring - Celrys' Workshop, Tajun -

"Always! I always look at the glass as half full ya know? Even if we all end up with the plague we gotta have a positive outlook!" Skyra gives a thumbs up.

@Techn0geist @a goose

Edited by Snelly
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IC: Del - Celrys's Workshop, Tajun

The Glatorian cocked their head a couple degrees, holding Skyra's gaze. A droplet of cool water rolled down the side of the bag and dripped off the corner.

Lords only knew what buzzed around Del's head in those moments, those thoughts entirely disconnected from the Ferrumite raising their curled hand to return the thumbs-up. Their little finger stayed tucked in this time.

 

OOC: @Snelly @a goose

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