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Ghosts of Bara Magna


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IC: Celrys (CelTech workshop, Tajun)

The artificer should have been back already – had Skyra and Del not been so focused on one another, they might have tracked his progress through the fish tank.

Instead, they heard a strange scraping sound, as if something heavy had been pushed across wood, just as Celrys reappeared. In one hand, he held Del's helmet; in the other was a device that looked almost like a metal crown. He proceeded to one of the metal benches without saying a word, placing the crown inside the helmet and using his multitool hand to drill it into place.

OOC: @Snelly @Techn0geist

IC: Cacia (NPC; CelTech reception, Tajun)

"That's no problem at all. Call in any time and bring your diary with you, and we can get something sorted." The condescending customer service smile remained; Cacia knew she was unlikely to see this one again. It wasn't uncommon for someone to come in to get a sense for the place and then change their mind at the last minute, but she wouldn't say anything to put him off, just in case.

OOC: @Toru Nui @Jesse Pinkman

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IC: Selamat - Into the Abyss

Selamat stood stock-still as the elevator shook its way unsteadily down to the canyon below. There had been several moments prior in their journey which had struck him as the point of no return, but this was, without any doubt, the no-returningest of all the points they had crossed thus far. The elevator seemed to him as alike to Charon's ferry, carrying them across the River Styx into the depths of the Underworld. But if he saw the canyon as Hades, then he likewise saw himself as Heracles, the peerless champion who would plumb its depths and deliver Theseus - who, in this strained analogy, he supposed must be the people of Ferrum? - from their imprisonment.

 

He was, perhaps, more of an Orpheus. But, that was a myth he had not read. And so he stood there, waiting for the elevator to touch down upon the sandy rock floor of the canyon.

 

OOC: @~Xemnas~, @a goose, @Nato G, @oncertainty, @Toru Nui

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IC: Xani (Streets of Atero)

Xani offered a polite smile to Jeizmel. "Thank you for the compliment. Good luck with your endeavours, you two. I don't plan on leaving Atero just yet, even if I've already made a profit. Perhaps you two were just the first two customers of the day, and I'll find many more." She didn't believe her own words.

She bowed respectfully to each of them, then turned to her chariot and the Spikit guiding it. The ravenous creature snapped its jaws at her, startling Xani. "Oh, right, I should go buy some food for this savage creature." She calmed herself and took out a whip from the cargo sled, then skillfully lashed at the Spikit several times. The creature whined from pain and bled a little, which seemed to subdue it somewhat. Xani then started to guide it back inside the stable, keeping herself at a safe distance from the twin-headed beast's salivating mouths.

OOC: @That Matoran with a Vahi@Toru Nui

Edited by Daniel the Finlander
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IC: Gayle – Rock Bottom

Ordinarily, Gayle would have relished a view like this. The fresh breeze and open air, the dappled shadows cast by the sunlight filtering down into the canyon, and the promise of adventure that awaited on the sandy floor below.

But today wasn’t an ordinary day, and this wasn’t an ordinary mission.

Gayle was used to working alone, and she hadn’t realised just how easily working in a group could bring down the mood. She saw no smiles on the faces of her companions, no eager anticipation or hopeful enthusiasm for the journey ahead. Most of them weren’t even looking at each other, just staring down at the canyon floor. For a brief moment she contemplated cracking a joke, but the grim demeanours of the rest of the group didn’t look especially receptive to mirth.

The elevator platform shuddered for a moment before resuming its unsteady descend into the canyon, and Gayle’s knuckles went white as she tightened her hold on the gnarled rope at her side. Her other hand shifted to grip the handle of the axe hanging at her side, an irrational instinct that ignored the fact that a fall from this height wasn’t something she could fight off.

“So, where to from here?” She turned to Tueris, asking more to distract herself than anything else. “To Ferrum, obviously-” she added quickly, realising how stupid the question sounded, “-but what kind of approach did you have in mind?”

 

@~Xemnas~, @a goose, @Burnmad, @oncertainty, @Toru Nui

Edited by Nato G
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IC: Maxas (Tajun, Celrys’ Workshop) - Abort Mission! Abort Mission!

“If you’ll excuse me.” Maxas quickly walks out of the workshop, but trying to make it look like he wasn’t walking quickly.

@a goose @Jesse Pinkman

 

IC: Vraek (Streets of Atero, Near the City Gates) - Bystander Syndrome

Vraek was… a little disconcerted, to say the least, by Xani’s treatment of her Spikit. Despite this, she said and did nothing.

Desperate to brush that aside, she turned to Jeizmel. Well. In any case, we should be leaving soon ourselves. I’ll hire myself out to a convoy. I can pay for your transportation, if necessary.”

@Daniel the Finlander @That Matoran with a Vahi

 

IC: Taldrix (Bone Hunter Stronghold, the Tower) - Beware My Stinger Tail!

“...The Sand Tribe.” Taldrix realizes. “But that sort of degradation would have to happen over several generations. According to our Aula Agoria, her lackeys have been dying in mere weeks from this disease.”

@a goose

 

IC: Xyde (Iron Canyon, Elevator) - Ground Floor

Xyde was present on the elevator with Gayle and the others, having made certain that Salwa was fine, and had someone look after Zin and Zyn while they were away. The elevator was buckling a bit, they noticed. How long had it been since it was last maintained?

Interesting how the Fire Glatorian would be the one in charge. Xyde supposed that nobody trusted the Preciperans to guide them through the canyon. For whatever reason.

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

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IC: The Ghost (The Tower)

"Perhaps I spoke too soon." The Ghost's face fell, but the smugness behind his eyes made his insincerity plain. Still, the tension in the room had dissipated; apparently, he was satisfied with her answer.

"You already handed me the very puzzle piece you're missing: she singled out miners. Now, unless things have quite drastically changed since last I checked, child labour is still quite illegal in Ferrum. Miners, therefore, must preclude minors. Just picture it: every adult in Sepulcrus, dead in a matter of weeks. Traumatised children left to fend for themselves, spurned by neighbouring tribes out of paranoia and superstition, with no education, no home to return to. Forced into isolation, forced to become nomads…"

The excitement in his eyes and his voice faded, as if the tragedy he described had quite suddenly struck him and robbed him of the joy of discovery.

"From the ashes of this Dreaming Plague, the Sand Tribe as we know it was born."

He sighed, and returned his attention to the present. "I don't imagine you've heard the story of Sepulcrus, have you? The lost city, swallowed up by the sands; even down here it's all but forgotten, but up north… Well, it's hardly relevant to our discussion. I asked you to prove your worth, and you exceeded my expectations – quite handily, in fact. The only thing we need to address now is the Spice."

OOC: @Toru Nui

IC: Tueris (Staff NPC; Valley of Death)

"We stick to the shade, and we go in as straight a line as the canyon allows. Once the shade is gone, we hope that the Lords have left us a cave or somesuch to shelter in and wait out the heat of the day." As he spoke, he continued to look straight ahead into the canyon, not meeting anyone's eye. "Shouldn't have any trouble with Skopio, so long as we make it to Ferrum before nightfall. That doesn't mean we don't have to watch our step, though; Skopio aren't the only critter likes to hide beneath the sand. I don't know for sure that this is sand bat territory, but I also can't say for certain that it's not, and they don't give a damn what time of day it is. Aside from that, you know the drill: cave shrikes, condors, dune snakes… anything that can kill you out on the dunes, and a few more besides. Watch the sand, watch the sky, watch the walls. Just another day in the Wastelands."

With a creak and a soft thud, the wooden platform hit the ground below. The party was officially in the Iron Canyon.

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

IC: Celrys (CelTech workshop, Tajun)

"Hm?" He looked down at his hands, as if to remember what he was doing. "Oh, yes, the wreath… I suppose I see the resemblance."

His work apparently done, he stepped back from the bench and returned to Del, helmet in hand. "Here you are – try this on for size."

OOC: @Techn0geist @Snelly

IC: Cacia (NPC; CelTech reception, Tajun)

Cacia sighed in relief as she walked back to her desk; the unseasonal uptick in customers was finally over, and she would savour every moment of reprieve. The sound of the door opening, however, cut her impromptu break short before it had even begun.

Wonderful.

"Welcome to CelTech. How may I help you?" Though she forced herself to smile, something about the Agori who had just entered unsettled her. He was clearly on edge, with the hood of his cloak still raised even indoors and his eyes constantly darting back towards the entrance; her finger hovered over the button beneath her desk, ready to alert Celrys if there was trouble.

"I, uh…" He spoke at first in a hushed voice, which he softened even further into a whisper. "I need to speak to Skyra Daring."

OOC: @Jesse Pinkman

IC: (Staff NPC; The Shadiest Spot on Bara Magna)

For perhaps the first time in his life, Maxas had in fact been watched as he left the CelTech building – not from inside, but from the alley opposite.

Kirbraz watched, and waited. The Agori who had just left was shifty – more than once, he thought he caught him glancing over his shoulder. Was he looking for Kirbraz? Just how many assassins had Scodonius hired?

Just how fucked was he?

Once he was confident the threat had passed, he started walking. It was dangerous to go somewhere so public, so exposed, but he had no choice. This, right here, was his way out – based on where that buggy was parked, this was the only place she could be. Skyra Daring:

The only woman who might get him to Vulcanus alive.

OOC: @Toru Nui @Jesse Pinkman

Edited by a goose
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IC: Del - Floor, Celrys's Workshop, Tajun

They did not immediately take the helmet from Celrys, instead peering inside at the new installed "wreath". A perceptive individual would have seen the uniform micro-movements of their eyes and sworn Del was regarding the device with uncertainty.

<<...>>

Perhaps even suspicion.

<<...Maintain awareness.>>

"we gotta have a positive outlook." they mumbled as they reached out to reclaim their headgear; it seemed the right thing to say.

The helmet slid on smooth and fit only a little tighter than before. The moment it settled on the crown of their head the concealed fans whirred to life, dispersing the last of the implant's accumulated heat.

More stretching, and motor control was much closer to acceptable parameters. Del sat now on the edge of the chair, formulating their next query.

"Oh, yes, the wreath?" the Glatorian mimicked with an upward inflection.

 

OOC: @a goose @Snelly

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IC: Lorqua - Training Ground, Outskirts of Atero

On 9/26/2023 at 5:37 AM, Techn0geist said:

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

Lorqua's face fell back to a neutral expression. She eyed Lutenus warily, but said nothing at first, turning back to Mard and Ahmoa. She gave a half bow—without the energy a cheering crowd would expect, but there was only so much she could do—and spoke, "Thank you, gentlemen."

She returned to Lutenus. "I don't mean anything by it, but I have a feeling you wouldn't normally call it after the first legal hit," her brow furrowed, eyes narrowed. "I have a feeling you're giving me this one to get me committed. Alright. I'll take it. Grand Tournament, here we come."

She grins, offering Lutenus her hand.

OOC: @Toru Nui @Techn0geist

 

IC: Escus - Iron Canyon

Escus, raised in the shade, felt a certain familiarity in the canyon's long shadows. He loped away from the platform, planted the haft of his axe in the ground, and settled to one knee. Raising a handful of sand, he clenched his fist and felt the grains flow through his fingers. Same as anywhere else. Taking up the the axe again, he turned back to the party, inclining his head to one side. "Shall we?" he asked, rhetorically of course, for their course was long past set now. Without waiting for a response, he set off into the canyon, hunched, hugging the wall.

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

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IC: Jeizmel, Streets of Atero

...she could tell that her words weren't really landing, were they?

Jeizmel bit her lip a little, tried not to sigh. Granted, it was probably nothing to do with her age in this case - more likely her naiveté - but it still smarted a little to feel like she wasn't being taken seriously. But what could she do? Xani seemed to, if not think less of her work than was warranted, at least feel as though other agori were sure to do so, and the younger woman didn't exactly have the life experience to argue the point effectively.

Lost in such thought, she jumped at the crack of the whip nearby, only momentarily registering that the craftswoman was simply teaching her mount some manners. Even so, the corners of her mouth tugged wide in a wince at each of the repeated lashings. Sure, the spikit was only a beast, but something about her handling of the whip reminded Jeizmel sharply of the way slavers back in Iconox would at times do the same thing to their own 'merchandise', and the ugly blot on all of their honours that trade was. Not that she associated Xani with that business, of course... but what was wrong with people back home, anyway?

As Xani and her battered beast started away, Jeiz turned at the Glatorian's words.

"Oh--" she pulled her thoughts back to the moment. "--I couldn't ask you to do that for me, Glatorian Vraek. I can pay my own way for a little while yet, I promise."

And even if she did have to take the honoured Glatorian up on her offer before all was said and done, Jeiz would absolutely insist on paying back her own expenses once she scored a job in Tajun. Speaking of--

"Where's the best place in town to hook up with a convoy, anyway?"

@Daniel the Finlander @Toru Nui

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IC: (Bone Hunter Stronghold)

The Bone Hunters’ Stronghold. It was, in some ways, what one might expect from such savage residents; there was a crude quality to the workmanship, its stone walls and wrought iron gates clearly made more for function than form. Still, there was a rather intimidating quality to all those sharp edges, and to the scale of it all; the walls and gates were tall, looming things, all the better to prevent slaves from escaping (and, perhaps, to prevent outsiders from getting too close a look inside). A great stone tower stood even taller than the walls – some kind of watchtower, no doubt, given its height – but its central position was more reminiscent of a prison than a fortress. Through the gates, guards could be seen patrolling on Rock Steeds, some of them bearing strange mechanical augmentations; at the entrance itself, there were two guards visible on foot, and more behind crude parapets. It was one of these who spoke as the caravan came within earshot, his voice made unnaturally loud by some unseen augmentation.

“Halt!” Fero cried. “State your business, Skrall.

He spat the word with venom, another reminder of the tenuous relationship between the two offshoots of the so-called ‘Rock Tribe.’

“Barter” shouted Atakus. The tone was stale and sharp - speaking to a misbehaving animal would have warranted more emotion. The agori, who had stood up from his seat at the carriage, turned over his shoulder to look at the caravan. Two skrall [Corv / Oncertainty] had dismounted immediately to provide a defense for any lurking threats. Others, naturally, were still guarding the prisoner. The one most aware of the dangers of the southern lands, however, had yet to make a move.

“Just because you’ve seen this before doesn’t mean you can sit idle,” Atakus sneered, keeping his voice too low for the Bone Hunters to hear. “Get the prisoner on his feet.”

"Time to move, then." Skrall stood, and grabbed the prisoner firmly by the shoulder. This still didn't sit right with him, but the prisoner's initial resistance instilled some hope; Bone Hunters were used to receiving husks, not true Skrall. Perhaps the barbarians were biting off more than they could chew.

At first, Skrall was relaxed but firm, as if trying to shrug off the larger Skrall’s pulling and shoving. He unwillingly disembarked the cart, falling helmet first into the sand. As he was yanked upright and paraded to the front of the procession, the surrounding Skrall could see him shivering.

After hours of empty horizon outside his cramped cage, there was no more barrier between the apostate and his fate. Surrounded by infinitely stretching death, and overlooked by a barbaric temple. Even the dunes had eyes. The Skrall could see that their brother was no longer silent out of spite, but fear.

Atakus cleared his throat, as if annoyed at how slow this was going. Couldn’t this slave hurry up? Delaying was futile.

“In exchange for this prisoner’s blood and sweat, the Great Tirveus, Imperator of the Black Legion, will accept safe passage and fresh provisions for his envoys.”

Subtle.

Fero emerged from behind the parapets, examining the prisoner from above. He waved to someone out of sight, and the gate rose.

"Have your men bring in the merchandise for inspection, and we'll see what it's worth. You and I have business to discuss."

Atakus raised an eyebrow. This truly was a day for firsts. He sat back down and cracked the whip against the spikit’s carapace. The cart rolled past the gate, turning towards the hideout’s ramshackle excuse for a stable. It wasn’t hard to find - the stench was unmistakable.

Within the gates, the convoy was greeted by a bustling marketplace – stalls with various supplies, where Agori bartered and argued with one another in order to get the best deals they could. Only occasionally did their haggling involve blades. In the city of thieves, commerce was thriving and everything was for sale.

There was no uniformity here – every stall, every seller was unique. It was a far cry from the strictly organised military rations of the North, a perfect and immediate encapsulation of the strange economy of the Wastelands. Indeed, the only real difference between this and any other southern market was the goods on display – the black market of Spice and slaves, so well-hidden in the rest of the south, was on full display here, almost a point of pride. The Gatherers were not Skrall, but nor were they some typical southern Tribe, and they aimed to alienate both in turn.

It was challenging to steer the Spikit carts away from the wet market. The onlookers refused to step near the Skrall entourage, likely to avoid the beast’s ravenous appetites moreso than the soldiers. It occurred to Atakus that many of these scavengers had picked similar caravans clean. He tried to avoid thinking about how the legion’s property would be parked in such a neighborhood.

Once the beasts had been tied off near the most rancid trough of slop, Atakus climbed down from the carts. This “business” the gatekeeper spoke of was a surprise to the Skrall leader’s servant. The prospect of the plan changing kept him on edge, and he already hated being here.

“You,” the shrewd agori ordered, pointing towards Skrall. The sand beneath the prisoner Skrall was holding was wet. “You know what supplies we will need for these southern deserts. Get them from the market while I finish our business here.”

Skrall nodded, his face a mask; better not to show the relief he felt at being spared the handover process. Let some other fool bring the prisoner to meet his fate.

“I’ll need a fighter to escort the slave with me for the negotiations,” Atakus sneered, refusing to pick his bodyguard specifically. They were interchangeable anyways. Without skipping a beat, he began to march to the inner wall, where Fero waited in the shade.

OOC: hey @Vezok's Friend @Toru Nui @oncertainty @Burnmad @Nato G et. skral., prisoner escort duty up for grabs, winner takes skrall. Feel free to explore

Edited by BULiK
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BZPRPG Profiles - Ghosts Of Bara Magna Profiles

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IC: Selamat - Iron Canyon

Selamat stepped forward. "Let me go first," he offered to Escus, as he drew the spear from his back. In lieu of explanation, he took up the forward position in the procession, lowering the tip of the spear into the sand in front of them. The technique was one which he had heard from an older Glatorian, a drifter who had visited Vulcanus once when Selamat was young. It served two purposes; while it kept his spear at the ready out in front of him, it also created a disturbance in the sand several feet in front of the traveling group. By moving the spear tip back and forth while walking forward, the disturbance could be made to mimic the movement of a sand snake, one of the favored prey of the larger predators of Bara Magna's deserts. It was insurance; a trick that marginally increased ones' odds of surviving a run-in with the ambush hunters that haunted the nightmares of every tribe's scouts and travelers.

Last Selemat had heard, the Glatorian who'd taught him the technique had been killed and eaten by a pack of dune wolves, which notably were not ambush predators.

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

IC: Skrall - Bone Hunter Fortress

Skrall watched, not moving a muscle, as Atakus walked away from them. He would wait two and a half seconds for one of the younger Skrall to follow him; if none stepped forward by that time, he would.

He would have stepped forward immediately, but the task was not suited to him. His slim frame meant that the prisoner might try, in his desperation, to run, or to overpower him. Either way, he would force once-Skrall to submit, of course, but it would still look bad. Better that one of the younger, broader Skrall do the deed, so that once-Skrall would be less likely to bother trying.

But of course, it was also vital that the Skrall as a whole turn out one of their number for the task, promptly and without speaking. Three seconds of them standing dumbstruck would be unacceptable. Thus, two and a half seconds was the time limit Skrall would wait.

OOC: @Skrall

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IC: Gayle – Iron Canyon

While the two Glatorian jostled for the unenviable duty of taking the lead, Gayle settled in towards the middle of the group’s procession.

The decision was motivated as much by common sense as it was self-preservation. She was one of the smaller beings present, and her axe didn’t offer the greatest range. Taking up a defensive position better-suited to someone with longer reach would only put all of their lives at risk. And in the eyes of any prowling predators, she was the smallest and most appetising snack, so having Glatorian on either side of her would certainly improve her chances.

She left her axe holstered for now. Though she knew the time it took her to draw her weapon could be the difference between life and death, gripping the weapon for hours on end would lead to tired arms, sweaty hands, and cramped fingers, and that could get her killed just as easily.

She angled her gaze upwards as she walked, keeping her focus on the sky and canyon wall above the group. Unexpected attacks from above had ended the lives of many an unprepared traveller, and Gayle had no desire to join them. When she faced death – whether it was today, tomorrow, or a decade from now – she intended to look it in the eyes, and go down swinging.

______________________________________________________________________

IC: Somok – Precipere

The party from Vulcanus had become little more than indistinct splotches of colour shifting in the shadows of the floor of the canyon below, but still Somok stood and watched. At his side stood the captain of the guard, Giltu, nervously turning his spear in his hands.

“What do we do now?” Giltu asked.

“What we’ve always done.”

“But if there truly is a plague-”

“Then we will ensure it doesn’t reach our village,” Somok said, turning away. “Make certain your guards have eyes on the canyon at all times. Inform me the moment they see any one or thing approaching from the canyon below.”  

______________________________________________________________________

IC: Skrall – Bone Hunter Stronghold

The stronghold wasn’t at all what he’d expected.

He’d spent so much time thinking about the cities of The South that he now realised he hadn’t given any consideration to the first destination on their journey. He’d expected a ramshackle camp, maybe some primitive fortifications, but this was a true, thriving settlement. They had infrastructure, diversity, commerce, and far greater numbers concentrated in this one location than he’d expected.

Though they were collectively referred to as Bone Hunters, Skrall had long believed his cousin tribe to be little more than scattered bands of scavengers, undisciplined and drug-addicted. The well-maintained fortifications and organised marketplace he’d just witnessed spoke to something more cooperative and competent... almost civilised. 

As the carts came to a stop and the group disembarked, Skrall’s first instinct was to let someone else shoulder the responsibility of escorting the prisoner so he could explore the marketplace. But a selfish, sudden realisation changed his mind. As intriguing as the marketplace was, it was clearly something the Bone Hunters had no qualms about letting their visitors see. But the opportunity to get a glimpse behind the scenes and learn more about how this place was run… Atakus was only extending that offer to one volunteer. As small a responsibility as it was, as flippant as Atakus seemed to be about it, it was a position of privilege that Skrall was eager to embrace. 

Skrall stepped up behind the prisoner and gave him a firm, forceful nudge with the blunt end of his spear, in the direction Atakus was going. “Move.”

______________________________________________________________________

@Vezok's Friend @a goose @oncertainty @Toru Nui @Burnmad @~Xemnas~ @BULiK

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Embers - A Bionicle Saga - Chapters/Review

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

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: Escus - Iron Canyon

On 11/4/2023 at 1:42 AM, Burnmad said:

"Let me go first,"

"Tch."

Escus turned, perhaps too fast, at Selamat's words. It was a smart move, of course. Evidently the Fire Glatorian knew what he was doing. Escus wasn't going to contest that. Still, there was something about taking point, wasn't there? He could see it in the others' eyes. There had been a brief, spontaneous kind of struggle, and Escus had lost.

But there was something that wasn't lost on him: the Vulcanites outnumbered the rest of them. Tueris was going to side with his compatriot, if it came down to it. Escus would not be self-deluded about that.

So he smiled a grin that didn't spread beyond his mouth, and joined the others behind Selamat. "As you will, then."

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

 

IC: Skrall - Bone Hunter Stronghold

Skrall didn't envy Skrall his task. Well, maybe that was a bit of a lie. Maybe there was a little bit of envy. But for the most part, he would take the freedom over the honoured place. And besides: this far outside of Roxtus, who wanted to do what Atakus told them? Not that Skrall held anything personally against the Agori. As far as Skrall could tell his reputation as a competent, if severe, administrator had some grounds. The Empire's tendency to a certain self-deception about the chain of command did not hold in all cases. Just this: he wanted to see the South. Here was their first taste. Here was life without structure, here was unfettered commerce. Skrall intended to see it for himself, and as quickly as possible.

"This one is bound for the marketplace as well," he said, adopting the traditional tone of deference. Force of habit, perhaps.

OOC: @BULiK @Vezok's Friend @Toru Nui @Burnmad @Nato G

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IC: Lutenus (Outskirts of Atero, Training Ground) - Practice Makes Perfect

Lutenus takes Lorqua’s hand. “I believe we’re as good as we’re going to get for now. I believe if we depart now we shouldn’t have any trouble finding a convoy. How do you feel?”

@oncertainty @Daniel the Finlander

 

IC: Vraek (Streets of Atero, Near the City Gates) - Departures

“Good question. Come with me. I know all the best convoys.” Vraek began taking Xani to a place she knew a convoy would take off from…

OOC: I don’t actually know anything about this, let’s just warp to Tajun and say we took a convoy.

@That Matoran with a Vahi

 

IC: Skrall (Bone Hunter Stronghold, Marketplace) - This Place Reeks of Evil

Skrall had never seen civilization beyond the encampments of the Legion. His contempt was evident.

These people were… disgusting.

Skrall wasn’t quite certain why.

@BULiK @Burnmad @oncertainty @Nato G @Vezok's Friend

 

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

Ah. He was adamant on this. Weaning her off the Spice.

Unacceptable. He would have to die.

“Very well, sir. I will endeavor to abandon Spice entirely.”

@a goose

Edited by Toru Nui
Forgot to bolden Taldrix's speech.
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IC: The Ghost (The Tower)

For the first time in their conversation, the Ghost looked legitimately confused; the expression was ill-fitting on his face, as if it had been turned to a purpose for which it simply had not been designed.

”Abandon the Spice? Lords, no. You're worthless to me in withdrawal. Worse than worthless, even. No, you will continue your use of Spice.”

As he spoke the last sentence, he stood up once again, and walked to the far side of the room. Once there, he opened and closed a drawer; whatever he had taken was small enough to fit in his enclosed hand. “From now on, I am your supplier. I won't have some drug dealer in the outer ring withholding your Spice in exchange for some advantage of your elevated position, nor will I allow some cut substance to rob me of one of the only people in this compound I can trust.”

He placed the object in his hand upon the table, but did not sit. It was an odd little device, a blunt metal hook smaller than the palm of Taldrix's hand. “This goes behind your ear. When you wear it, I hear what you hear; when you don't, it's as lifeless as any implant without a source of bio-electricity, barring a meager back-up supply with only one purpose. Observe:”

He put two fingers to his wrist, as if to take his pulse, and a tiny blue light began blinking on the device. A subtle vibration ran through it, too, enough to slightly shift its position on the table.

“If I need you, and the device is not active, this will let you know. If it is, you will simply hear my voice in your ear, as clearly as if I were standing next to you. When you need Spice, or you're interrogating the Iron Tribe girl, or you find yourself witness to anything else that I should hear, you put it on. Likewise, I will use it to inform you of when, where and how to collect. If you attempt to take advantage of my generosity, I will know, and you will sorely regret it.”

Throughout his speech, his smile had been unwavering, but only now did the menace recede from his eyes. “Now that that's dealt with, is there anything that you would like to ask me?

OOC: @Toru Nui

IC: Celrys (CelTech workshop, Tajun)

“The wreath, yes. It's… how to put it…” He frowned for a moment, then turned to one of the workshop’s many drawers and produced an odd implement.

“This, Del, is called a stethoscope. You put the buds in your ears, like so, and you gently press the disc against the left side of the chest, like so.” He demonstrated on himself, then removed the earbuds and offered them to Del. “Would you care to try it?”

OOC: @Techn0geist @Snelly

IC: Kirbraz (Staff NPC; The Shadiest Spot on Bara Magna)

To the delight and dismay of philosophers everywhere, Kirbraz conclusively proved the existence of the soul to both Cacia and Karak as they witnessed his own briefly depart from his body.

His first thought, naturally, was that this lurking man who he had never seen before must have been an assassin, sent by Scodonius’ secret friend. He was certainly intimidating enough, but as Kirbraz mopped the nervous sweat from his brow, he realised there were a few holes in that theory. Chiefly, that Cacia seemed only mildly frustrated by the terrifying Glatorian, but also the fact that this man had already been inside the premises when he arrived, and the building’s proprietor had yet – to the best of Kirbraz’s knowledge, at least – to invent a precognitive implant. No, this man knew Skyra Daring; he’d seen her come in, or perhaps even come in with her. This was his ticket.

“Y-yes, sir. The driver. Have you, uh, well, I, erm, what I mean to say is, she- is she here? I saw her vehicle parked outside, and I wanted to hire her.”

OOC: @Jesse Pinkman

IC: Tueris (Staff NPC; Valley of Death)

Tueris grunted his assent, falling in at the rear of the procession, the better to keep his eye on all of them. High above, he heard the familiar chatter of the carrion birds – buzzards and vultures, perched upon the edge of the canyon walls. Watching.

Waiting.

“Seems we have spectators,” he muttered. Nothing to worry about for now; it was only when they began to fly away that there would be trouble. If Tueris and the others were the ripest pickings to be found, it meant there weren't any larger predators feasting nearby. It was funny, how the things the ignorant mistook for omens so often meant the opposite of their fears – all the same, Tueris tried to put little credence altogether in omens. He knew already that this journey could only end one way.

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

IC: Skrall (Markets, Bone Hunter Stronghold)

It had been some years since last he stepped foot within these walls. The Stronghold had changed since then, as it had changed each time he had come here, growing larger and more perverse with every passing day. He had spoken on occasion to the Gatherers, a choice which he was swiftly given cause to regret on every occasion, and gleaned from them the source of their continuing prosperity: Iconox. Not twenty years ago, this thriving settlement was little more than a ramshackle fort; slavery was an even dirtier business back then, carried out exclusively behind closed doors. Even the Skrall had little need of their services, with Roxtus maintained only by a skeleton garrison, just as it had been until this past year. The rest of the south fared little better, their whole fragile economy being as reliant as it was on the trade of exsidian. Cybernetics were key to the performance of all the manual labour on which southern society had been built, and the rarer exsidian became, the more expensive it was to work, to live. As harsh as the Wastelands were now, it chilled Skrall to imagine the awful lengths to which the southerners must have gone to survive back then.

It was an Ice Tribe Agori, Metus, who had changed all of that; his discovery of exsidian in the White Quartz Mountains made it plentiful once again, and his open embrace of slave labour made it cheap. Scarcity became saturation, a situation that could have killed the southern economy once again if not for another Agori. Celrys, they called him, though his success sounded to Skrall’s ears more like a matter of luck – a Grand Champion of their annual Tournament was declared, a no-name Glatorian who had been buoyed to success by the artificer’s implants. He was not the only competitor benefiting from the accessibility of exsidian, and Celrys was not the only inventor of combat implants. Just the one who won.

It was an arms race from then on, as arena matches became dominated by fancier and fancier devices, all built by the boy with the reputation for building the device that won. It was a self-fulfilling prophecy from then on; it didn't matter how many Glatorian with a CelTech implant were defeated, because CelTech made all the implants, and every competitor had them. No matter who won, they would have commissioned Celrys. After all, not being implanted would have meant being at an immediate disadvantage, and the arena battles weren't for sport alone. What village would want to be represented by a Glatorian without cybernetics?

Suddenly, exsidian was as much a prerequisite for arena fighters as it was for manual labourers, and the former were far more likely to seek out upgrade after upgrade to stay ahead of the competition. And as the demand for exsidian went up, so too did the demand for slaves. The demand for Gatherers.

That was the messy truth at the heart of it all: though the south nurtured freedom and individuality, its wheels were greased by just as much blood and suffering as those of the Obsidian Legion, if not more. Though he respected the people of the Wastelands in many ways, and perhaps even envied them, one thing was perfectly clear:

Order would have to be brought to the chaos of the south, and only the Skrall could do it.

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

On 10/29/2023 at 4:52 PM, oncertainty said:

"Thank you, gentlemen."

The duo returned Lorqua's bow, Ahmoa flashing another rare grin "Oh no, thank you. You're our first clients of the tournament season; if the field is of this calibre, I believe we're in for a hell of a show." Ever the jovial host.

On 11/16/2023 at 8:44 AM, Toru Nui said:

"I believe if we depart now..."

Ahmoa restrained a sigh of relief. As much as he enjoyed the spectacle the Glatorian provided, he didn't much fancy their continued company.

His partner didn't quite catch himself and exhaled much more heavily than usual. Overcompensating, Mard attempted to mask it with a cheesy smile and a loose salute. "Hate to see ya rush off! Where're you two headed?"

He and Ahmoa both felt they knew the answer, that familiar fear for their rare companion washing through their beings again.

 

IC: Del - Celrys's Workshop, Tajun

On 11/12/2023 at 4:47 PM, Snelly said:

"So, you feeling better now?" 

"Nominal," Del asserted, but quickly reassessed. "Optimal. Thank you, Skyra Daring. Del I always look at the glass as half full, ya know?" Again the driver's words, and returning the thumbs-up, had seemed the right thing. Mileage may vary.

11 hours ago, a goose said:

“Would you care to try it?”

As before the Ferrumite regarded the device Celrys presented to them, now with a measure of analytical curiosity, reaching out slowly and taking the stethoscope awkwardly between thumbs and forefingers.

"you put the buds in your ears," Del repeated in word and act, sliding the apparatus under their helmet and nestling the buds in. They bore a little of Celrys's body warmth.

"against the left side of the chest." Again to the letter, they gently placed the disc. The glass was cold and it radiated out—

Thu-thum, thu-thum, thu-thum, thu—

Del pulled the disc away with a start, trying to throw it away but stopped by the buds in their ears, the stethoscope clattering against their breast. The sound had filled their ears, their skull, startled the Glatorian.

Wide-eyed seconds passed and curiosity reasserted itself. With a hint of caution, they again took the disk and pressed it to their chest.

Thu-thumthu-thumthu-thum thu-thum thu-thum, thu-thum, thu-thum, thu-thum,

The thudding was faster but gradually slowed and steadied and stayed steady.

"What is..." Del struggled for the words, finding no suitable substitute for the sound, "...buh-buh buh-buh buh-buh?"

The obviousness of the impending simile would elude Del, and perhaps Skyra.

 

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

Edited by Techn0geist
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15 hours ago, a goose said:

IC: Tueris

“Seems we have spectators."

IC: Gayle - Iron Canyon

Like Tueris, Gayle didn't view the presence of the carrion creatures as an omen. It was a sad, simple fact of life out here in the wilds: death was the only constant. The only things that could survive were the predators who took life and the scavengers who squabbled over the scraps. 

"I suppose there's some comfort to be found in that," she said quietly. "If they're here waiting for us to die, it means there's not a giant pile of bodies in Ferrum for them to feast on." Unless, of course, the village had already been completely picked clean... 

@Burnmad @oncertainty @~Xemnas~ @Toru Nui @a goose

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  • 2 weeks later...

IC: Karak - Celrys' Workshop

"Hire?" I repeat back to him, and then to the receptionist, before thinking and comprehending the words he'd said. I make the motion of jingling coins together to him, and then I finally simmer for a moment. 

I did not plan on accompanying Del or Skyra for longer, so I point to the room I had already come from, gesticulating my finger to show where they were.

"Might going to wait." I say. "Busy with Metal God." 

I speak the last words with venom, even just recalling Celrys' appearance disgusted me.

OOC: @a goose

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

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OOC: Sounds good to me! I'll just have Jeiz respond now, then follow your lead ^^

IC: Jeizmel, Streets of Atero

"Great! I'm right behind you, honoured Glatorian."

Giving herself a quick check over to make sure her possessions - mostly her money pouch, her new bracelet, and the short sword slung across her back - were all present and accounted for, Jeiz was quick to fall in step with Vraek. She cast a moment's quick look back over her shoulder at Xani, but the craftswoman seemed still busy with her beast... shrugging to herself, Jeizmel put the thought of the other from her mind. Soon enough she and Vraek would be in Tajun...

And then, she'd see where that took her.

@Toru Nui

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Content Warning: internalized victim blaming
a slave | bone hunter stronghold

The not-hunters give less straw to slaves than they do to rock steeds, but drifting in and out of half-sleep on hard ground is something, at least, that you have known for many years.   The sounds of the market do not rouse you, for you know that you will not be required.

Who would desire you, even as a tool?  You have not the muscle power of courier, nothing that passes for good manners in a southern settlement.   You wear the skin of a hated Skrall, yet you lend not even the illusion of honor from being captured in battle.

Your best skills are avoiding notice, which you wish to continue to do, huddled in the corner.

 

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

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And some aren't even on your side.

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  • 4 weeks later...

IC: Maxas and Vraek (Streets of Tajun) - Scum and Villainy

Vraek and Jeizmel arrived with the convoy to Tajun.

“Now, the Village of Water may look serene and peaceful, but in truth, Tajun is…” Vraek made certain nobody else but Jeizmel could hear this next part, leaning downwards to whisper. “Tajun is second only to a Bone Hunter encampment in unscrupulous dealings. This is the centre of the cybernetic conversion craze and various criminal organizations.” She seemed serious about this. “Stay close to me, it should discourage them from stealing from us. Conventionally. They may try to scam us, so don’t buy anything.”       

There was a very nervous Tajunian walking quickly across the street.

@That Matoran with a Vahi

 

IC: Skrall (Bone Hunter Stronghold, Marketplace) - The Simple Solution

Skrall beheld all those he could see. His fellow Skrall - no, not Skrall anymore, now treated with less dignity than a beast of burden. He found himself almost physically ill with rage… but not at the not-Skrall. At least, not this specific not-Skrall. For them, he felt… pity.

“Why does the Legion negotiate with these creatures? He asked the others, whispering. “The Renegades are weak, preying only on those weaker. The full might of the Skrall would destroy them easily.”

@Mel @a goose @BULiK @Burnmad @Nato G @Vezok's Friend @oncertainty

 

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

Oh.

Oh this was even worse.

“Right you are, sir.” She put it on without visible complaint. Couldn’t kill him now, those two goons were right outside, and there was no knowing what sort of strange Great Being powers he might have.

Anything she’d like to ask him, he said?

“If you don’t mind me asking… you ARE a Great Being, are you not?”

@a goose

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IC: The Ghost (The Tower)

”If you don't mind me asking… you ARE a Great Being, are you not?”

The Ghost sighed, and seemed to be making an effort not to roll all four of his eyes.

“I hate that term. The deification of it. There's no such thing.” His eyes were cold, but unfocused; Taldrix herself was not the subject of his ire. “What you call ‘Great Beings,’ I call people. Just… people. As flawed and as fallible as all people must be, but with nigh on inconceivable advantages. Did you know that all the Wastelands used to look like Tesara? A land of trees and water, milk and honey…”

His gaze returned to the present, to his Bone Hunter guest. “It was ‘Great Beings’ that left the world like this. Sand and ash and rubble. Great accomplishments, accompanied by equally great failures. I am not a ‘Great Being.’ I am an echo, the spectre of a people long-dead. A ghost. That's all.”

OOC: @Toru Nui

Edited by a goose
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On 11/18/2023 at 1:35 AM, Techn0geist said:

 IC: Del - Celrys's Workshop, Tajun

"Nominal," Del asserted, but quickly reassessed. "Optimal. Thank you, Skyra Daring. Del I always look at the glass as half full, ya know?" Again the driver's words, and returning the thumbs-up, had seemed the right thing. Mileage may vary.

As before the Ferrumite regarded the device Celrys presented to them, now with a measure of analytical curiosity, reaching out slowly and taking the stethoscope awkwardly between thumbs and forefingers.

"you put the buds in your ears," Del repeated in word and act, sliding the apparatus under their helmet and nestling the buds in. They bore a little of Celrys's body warmth.

"against the left side of the chest." Again to the letter, they gently placed the disc. The glass was cold and it radiated out—

Thu-thum, thu-thum, thu-thum, thu—

Del pulled the disc away with a start, trying to throw it away but stopped by the buds in their ears, the stethoscope clattering against their breast. The sound had filled their ears, their skull, startled the Glatorian.

Wide-eyed seconds passed and curiosity reasserted itself. With a hint of caution, they again took the disk and pressed it to their chest.

Thu-thumthu-thumthu-thum thu-thum thu-thum, thu-thum, thu-thum, thu-thum,

The thudding was faster but gradually slowed and steadied and stayed steady.

"What is..." Del struggled for the words, finding no suitable substitute for the sound, "...buh-buh buh-buh buh-buh?"

The obviousness of the impending simile would elude Del, and perhaps Skyra.

 

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

IC: 

"It's your heartbeat, duh."

 

OOC: phone post 

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IC: Celrys (CelTech workshop, Tajun)

“Miss Daring is quite right,” Celrys confirmed, beaming. “That's the sound of your heart, pumping away, keeping the blood flowing around your body. The stethoscope is used to listen in on it and make sure it's working as it should.

“The wreath is a great deal like a stethoscope, except that it is for your mind. The readings it takes will allow me to check on your brain function, and account for any possible damage.”

OOC: @Snelly @Techn0geist

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On 8/14/2023 at 7:24 PM, Nato G said:

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." 

IC: Luka - Streets of Tajun

"I suppose that's where we come in," Luka said with a grin, "For me, I just can't resist the heroics that can come with being a Glatorian. I know it's not a super common trait, but I dunno. I've always been a helper-type myself. Glatorian are the best equipped to be protectors and heroes, as well as revered athletes and entertainers"

As the blue-armored young man said this, he continued to look out at the shops and people bustling along. Glatorian of all Tribes seemed to grow in number, and they all looked like they had somewhere to be yesterday. Many of them had weapons strapped to them that Luka had never seen before. A remote part of Luka's mind was cowering. Any one of these titanic warriors could be Luka's opponent—and none of them looked friendly. One particularly brutish-looking Fire Glatorian had done a sideways glance toward Luka as he stomped into a nearby weapons shop. He wore the emblem of Vulcanus and had the unmistakable red and yellow hues in his armor.   

Luka had tried to will the rest of his mind and soul to combat this lapse in bravado. Luka knew he could compete—otherwise how had he been spending his time the past several months? Hopefully not a waste of time.

Instead, the heroic hopeful gulped as that towering Fire Tribesman trudged inside and slammed the weapon shop door behind him. 

OOC: @Nato G

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

You’re the boss of this operation."

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5 hours ago, Emzee said:

"I suppose that's where we come in," Luka said with a grin, "For me, I just can't resist the heroics that can come with being a Glatorian. I know it's not a super common trait, but I dunno. I've always been a helper-type myself. Glatorian are the best equipped to be protectors and heroes, as well as revered athletes and entertainers"

As the blue-armored young man said this, he continued to look out at the shops and people bustling along. Glatorian of all Tribes seemed to grow in number, and they all looked like they had somewhere to be yesterday. Many of them had weapons strapped to them that Luka had never seen before. A remote part of Luka's mind was cowering. Any one of these titanic warriors could be Luka's opponent—and none of them looked friendly. One particularly brutish-looking Fire Glatorian had done a sideways glance toward Luka as he stomped into a nearby weapons shop. He wore the emblem of Vulcanus and had the unmistakable red and yellow hues in his armor.   

Luka had tried to will the rest of his mind and soul to combat this lapse in bravado. Luka knew he could compete—otherwise how had he been spending his time the past several months? Hopefully not a waste of time.

Instead, the heroic hopeful gulped as that towering Fire Tribesman trudged inside and slammed the weapon shop door behind him. 

OOC: @Nato G

IC: Avinus - Streets Of Tajun

Heroics? Avinus found herself staring at the younger Glatorian for a moment, her expression one of dumbstruck surprise. Fortunately, his attention seemed focused more on the other Glatorian in the crowd than the one at his side, leaving Avinus hopeful that he hadn't noticed. 

When she'd been around his age all she'd thought about was the fame and the glory that came with a career in the arena. Inspiring people, helping the Agori... that had all come after. It had been incidental, part of the package, and a small part at that. If young Luka had chosen this career out of a desire to help others, then he was simultaneously wiser and more naïve than Avinus had been.

She doubted such a worldview would survive the tournament, but there was no need to say as much to Luka's face.

Innocence was such a rare thing in this world. She didn't want to be the one to kill it. 

"That's a nice way of thinkin' about it," she finally replied. "You should hold onto it. A lotta folks in this line of world are more... cynical. All they care about is winnin' their fight and takin' home their prize." 

I should know... I'm one of 'em.

@Emzee

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  • 3 weeks later...

IC: Jeizmel, arriving in Tajun

And... here they were.

Wiping the journey's dust from her goggles with her tunic, before pushing them up to her forehead, the young agori took her first good look around her. The village's shelter from the harsh desert sun was welcome; its metaphorical stench, less so. But what more could she expect? At its best, ice was the purest of the elements, at least in her worldview; but as corrupted as Iconox was becoming, it should hardly be a surprise that a city based around the melted form of that same element would be suffering a similar moral decay.

"Yeah, I get it. I'd say it's no Iconox, but that's not for a lack of trying on Metus' part, is it..."

Her? Still sour over his whole deal?

Count on it.

Criminal organizations, cyberneticists, thieves and scammers... one of those sounded on the surface decidedly less sinister to Jeiz than the others did, but that was neither here nor there: she got Vraek's point. She adjusted her bracelet, its beautiful purity reminding her of the high standards she held herself to, even in a place like this.

"Now all I need to do is find a job here for a while. Shouldn't be too hard. I imagine any somewhat-decent business around here will be happy to hire extra hands to help out with the tourist rush."

She glanced to Vraek once more, gaze drifting over the passing local without thinking anything specific of him.

"I guess you'll be heading to the arena soon, Glatorian?"

@Toru Nui

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IC: Del - Celrys's Workshop, Tajun

The Glatorian stared unblinking, taking the engineer's brief cardiologic explanation as given, subconsciously connecting word to sound to substance to function. Optimising their understanding of their frame. Del gave a little nod.

On 12/24/2023 at 8:29 AM, a goose said:

“The wreath is a great deal like a stethoscope, except that it is for your mind. The readings it takes will allow me to check on your brain function, and account for any possible damage.”

This explanation was taking a great deal more processing for Del to wrap their head around. The leap from literal to metaphorical was still just a span too far. Del lifted their hand away from their chest.

Clink.

The glass of the stethoscope tapped against Del's helmet. The expected thu-thum, thu-thum, thu-thum was absent; instead the quiet vibration from the cooling fans, running at low speed now, gently sounded into their ears.

<<Query.>>

"Mind... no sound?" In a surprising few ways, this was true.

 

OOC: @a goose @Snelly

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  • 3 weeks later...

IC: Maxas and Vraek (Streets of Tajun) - A Gnawing Feeling

“Call me Vraek, please…” Jeizmel’s vocal disapproval of their leader did not go unnoticed. “But yes. The games won’t start for some time I think…” She then scanned the crowd. “Hmm… no Skrall.” Or Lutenus, for that matter. But he’d be here soon, no doubt. They’d all be here…

Something gnawed at her, and she couldn’t keep herself from asking. “Pardon me, but…you will be cautious without me?” Though Tajun’s own dangers were many, she wouldn’t put it past Metus to try and silence his detractor.

Maxas did his best to integrate with the crowd - a Water Agori in Tajun wasn’t unexpected, after all. No one would dare try to accost or assassinate him in front of so many witnesses…

Wouldn’t they?

@That Matoran with a Vahi

 

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

It was often said that there was some sort of cataclysm that turned a supposed paradise into the wasteland they knew now. ‘Punishment for our sins,’ she had heard it said. Personally, she had thought that the world was always like this and places like Tesara and Tajun were just exceptions. The ‘tribes’ hoarded food and water for themselves, but of course, the Gatherers were the bad guys, for doing what they didn’t need to do to survive, and would do in an instant if they did need to.

What was she doing again? Oh right - learning ancient lore. “Then… what happened, sir? Are you the only one left?”

It was important to remember that this information was not necessarily true, or even accurate. The Ghost was no doubt telling the version of the story where he comes across as the good guy… or, as ‘good’ as a Gatherer would care for. The fact that he seemed glad that his own race was gone disturbed her. Obviously, Taldrix herself was happy to hear that - supposedly - there was no more of him. But these were HIS people they were talking about - HE should not be happy.

@a goose

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IC: Tueris (Staff NPC; Valley of Death)

“They don't like villages. They'd stay away regardless. Just routine. Instinct. Whatever you want to call it. We won't know what to expect until we get there, only that it won't be good.” He knew the Agori was only trying to hold on to hope, but hope was dangerous out here. Better to expect the worst, and come prepared.

OOC: @Nato G and the Iron Canyon Crew

IC: Kirbraz (Staff NPC; The Shadiest Spot on Bara Magna)

Metal god? Could he have meant Celrys? There was no telling how long she might be in there for.

“Uh- say, I don't suppose your services are, ah, for hire? As, you know… as protection. Just until Miss Daring comes back.”

OOC: @Jesse Pinkman

IC: Celrys (CelTech workshop, Tajun)

“No sound, no. Electrical impulses. That is why we need a wreath, rather than a stethoscope.”

OOC: @Techn0geist @Snelly

IC: The Ghost (The Tower)

Wouldn't I like to know…

He watched Taldrix with a renewed intensity. “You have a talent for asking the right questions, but the only people who know that are long gone. I have spent my life picking through the rubble, and still I have no more answers than you. Not yet.”

Something shifted in his expression, as if he had heard a noise somewhere in the distance. “I promised your compatriots power. Weapons. Their desires are… simple, like that. But there is more than just power waiting out in those canyons. There are answers, to the questions that plague us both.”

The Ghost walked slowly to the map table. A square grid depicted, in excruciating detail, the canyons east of the Wastelands, from the Creeps all the way to Ferrum – at least, in the squares that were not blank. The space was strewn with painted tacks and dyed string, deliberate in their placement but without an immediately obvious meaning. A pencil lay close by; the Ghost had been drawing it by hand.

He gestured toward the table with an open palm, encouraging her to look. “This is my search for those answers.”

OOC: @Toru Nui

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

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  • 2 weeks later...

IC/ Skrall/ Bonehunter Stronghold/ Markets/

The crampons on her feet dug hard into the compacted soil behind Atakus as skrall stepped into the path of the wretch. For a moment, it looked like the not-sister was going to challenge skrall for the honor of escorting the prisoner. Skrall thought he detected a twitch in her shoulder, maybe to draw a weapon? But the rest of the posture didn’t match. A comforting hand for the prisoner then in his last quasi-free moment? But whatever movement she’d contemplated, she checked it. Instead, she just waited until the wretch’s eyes met hers once more before she spoke in a low voice. 

“All is as he wills it.”

Not quite a whisper. Just loud enough for the other to hear. But what her words lacked in volume, they made up for in tone - which was that of stone-cold certainty. 

And then she was gone, briskly walking away to rejoin the others in their exploration or just observation of the markets. She shared in her fellow skrall’s general dislike towards the stronghold - but it wasn’t what she saw that made her frown. Despite the chaotic appearance of the stalls littering the area, she could at least discern patterns among it - some kind of method to the madness. 

No, what got to her most was the smell. She’d almost forgotten it - or perhaps subconsciously repressed the memory. Produce and livestock (both animal and sentient), meat and spices, sweat and sewage. Individually familiar perhaps, in some way. But back home, each was confined to its own proper place. But here they formed a rancid miasma that she could have done without. Good thing Atakus had specified fresh provisions. 

She glanced back to where he was meeting their bonehunter contact - just to make sure everything was still going according to plan -  as well at her fellow skrall, taking note of their eyelines to see where their individual attention had been drawn.

“Why does the Legion negotiate with these creatures?” He asked the others, whispering. “The Renegades are weak, preying only on those weaker. The full might of the Skrall would destroy them easily.”

The statement hung there for a moment. Then she replied:

“Like a fist closing around quicksand.”
 

OOC: @a goose@BULiK@Nato G@oncertainty@Burnmad@Mel@Toru Nui

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On 2/3/2024 at 8:15 PM, a goose said:

IC: Kirbraz (Staff NPC; The Shadiest Spot on Bara Magna)

Metal god? Could he have meant Celrys? There was no telling how long she might be in there for.

“Uh- say, I don't suppose your services are, ah, for hire? As, you know… as protection. Just until Miss Daring comes back.”

IC: Karak - Celrys' Workshop

This man's demeanour reeks of cowardice. His eyes flutter around the place and I watch them weakly focus on me as he addresses me. 

"What is it you fear?" My words come out without confusion. 

OOC: @a goose

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

BZPRPG Arc 3 Profiles I GOBM Profiles

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IC: Skrall (Markets; the Bone Hunter Stronghold)

“She is right.”

He had returned without the slightest sound; stealth was easy in this place, so loud and so crowded, and it came naturally to him.

“Do not mistake depravity for weakness. Look around: this is a fortress. Multiple walls, a watchtower, only one entrance and one exit – not to mention that the market means no shortage of supplies to outlast a siege. Not only that, but these Gatherers are disparate; this represents only a fraction of their number, and this location is strategically valuable only in that it can withstand an assault. Those grains of sand would slip through our fingers. Meanwhile, this is our nearest source of supplies outside Roxtus, and they have another stronghold along the route, meaning that they could easily raid the caravans carrying supplies to our army, or even attack our flank. It would be a massacre, and if we won, we would have shown our hand to the South, revealing ourselves as invaders and making enemies of their most powerful Tribe in the process by halting the supply of slave labour for the duration of the siege.”

He looked back to the market; Agori were hauling supplies to the carts in which the Skrall had arrived, carefully avoiding the spikits.

“I have seen to our supplies. Once Atakus is finished with the handover, we will be ready for the long journey to Tajun.”

OOC: @ skrall

IC: Kirbraz (Staff NPC; The Shadiest Spot on Bara Magna)

The Agori shifted nervously, weighing up his options; he had no idea who this man was, and if he was indeed a mercenary, he would have no reason to take Kirbraz’s side. The moment he spoke the name aloud, the Glatorian would know exactly who the highest bidder would be.

“Someone wants me… silenced. I know something they don't want known.”

OOC: @Jesse Pinkman

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IC: Del - Celrys's Workshop, Tajun

The Ferrumite only stared, Celrys's reach seeming to exceed Del's grasp for the time being. Any wariness they felt about the wreath however had slipped away, trust in the artificer reasserting itself.

An electrical impulse, of a sort. He was, somewhere between coy knowing and playful obliviousness, beginning to speak their language.

<<Celrys to perform external diagnostic.>>

"Celrys to perform external diagnostic...?" The tiniest tonal upturn.

<<Celrys to— >>

"—test Del I?"

 

OOC: @a goose @Snelly

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The Writer Formerly Known as Zeal
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IC/ Skrall/ Bonehunter Stronghold/ Markets/

The bone hunters had no army, no regiments. Not even a glatorian presence to speak of (as far as she knew). Yet they survived in the wastes. That alone warranted caution.

She wondered how long the prisoner would last - and banished the thought as fast as Tirveus had banished him. He had been skrall - and skrall didn’t break easy.

Focusing back on the task at hand, she also looked to the wagons. The amount of supplies being loaded gave her a pretty good idea of the length of the remaining trip ahead - If everything went well. She sidled up to skrall and asked:

“What are the odds they will honor the deal? Like you said: They know exactly which routes we can take.”

It wouldn’t be smart to draw the ire of the legion - but they were greedy enough to deal in people. They might well be greedy enough to accept the trade and then try to reclaim the supplies down the road. Caravans disappeared all the time. And bone hunters knew the difference between an ambush and an animal attack. She wouldn’t put it past them to attack and then make it appear like the work of Vorox.
 

OOC: @a goose@BULiK@Nato G@oncertainty@Burnmad@Mel@Toru Nui

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IC: Karak - Celrys' Workshop

23 hours ago, a goose said:

IC: Kirbraz (Staff NPC; The Shadiest Spot on Bara Magna)

The Agori shifted nervously, weighing up his options; he had no idea who this man was, and if he was indeed a mercenary, he would have no reason to take Kirbraz’s side. The moment he spoke the name aloud, the Glatorian would know exactly who the highest bidder would be.

“Someone wants me… silenced. I know something they don't want known.”

OOC: @Jesse Pinkman

I twist the grip on the handle of my weapon on my back once idly. I reach around the language wall, trying to focus on the words and phrases of most use and interest. 

  1. silenced.
  2. Someone
  3. don't want

Hmm.

"Someone? Someone who? Rock Tribe? Agori?"

This language is cumbersome but simpler than first appearance. It can be learned.

OOC: @a goose

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

BZPRPG Arc 3 Profiles I GOBM Profiles

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