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IC/ Skrall/ Roxtus/ Barracks/

She suppressed the urge to roll her eyes. Not at skrall though - but at skrall. The spec ops one, that is. The way he talked down to them told her much of what to expect from this one. She’d seen the cloak about before. Apparently there were multiple ways to be a loner amongst skrall: Through circumstance of birth - or by being insufferable. 

A thoroughly unimpressed sounding “Noted.” was her only reaction to his ‘lesson’.

“It is about time we spoke to the general. Once we’ve got our orders you can ask him what he does and does not remember directly.”

OOC: @Nato G@Toru Nui@Burnmad@BULiK
 

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IC: Skrall - Roxtus Barracks

He frowned. "I am sure that he has better things to do than reminisce to his subordinates. But, you are correct that we should hear from him rather than continue to dally here. Let us present ourselves to him." He withdrew from the map, and started for the exit.

@Nato G @Toru Nui @Vezok's Friend

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IC: Skrall - Roxtus (Barracks)

If there had been any uncertainty about the cloaked Skrall's intention, his eager agreement to speak with Tirveus dispelled it.

Another contender.  

This was good, Skrall decided. He was different to most Skrall warriors. The cloaked one was different to most Skrall warriors. The female was different to most Skrall warriors. Variety and individuality would be as valuable as any other weapons when they entered the tournament. 

The rigid, regimented training of their army had its place, but in a series of one-on-one fights, predictability was a weakness. If the Skrall all entered the arena with the same tools, the same training, the same tactics and techniques, then any foe who proved formidable enough to best one of them would have the knowhow necessary to best all of them. Such an outcome was unacceptable. 

The sameness of the Skrall was a strength. But so were their differences. 

He finished off his rations and followed the other Skrall. 

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IC: Skrall - Outside Roxtus Barracks

Skrall leaned against the wall of the barracks, adjacent to the entrance, travel-dusted but still watching the horizon. He felt something moving on his shoulder, and blinked to disable his cybernetics. With a soft click the layers of nictitating membrane receded from his eyes and returned to their repository in his brow.

After a moment to reacclimate himself to his ordinary vision, he looked to his should. Across it crawled a small beetle, armoured with a black and red carapace. Skrall smiled.

"Hello, little brother."

He plucked the beetle from his pauldron, and held it aloft before his eyes. Six tiny legs waved in the air, as Skrall turned it about and inspected it.

"I must have picked you up while I was out scouting. Don't worry, I just want to get a look at you. Your armour isn't so different from mine."

He knelt to the ground, and placed the beetle there. It scuttled quickly away from him.

"Safe travels, little brother."

He returned his gaze to the horizon. With any luck, he would be on his own travels soon. He was happy to do his duty, but just scouting out the thresholds of routes south, and making note of the comings-and-goings of Bone Hunters and Vorox and Skopios and other denizens of the desert felt empty, somehow; especially when he was so close to being able to show the Southerners his strength for real.

It had to be soon. Skrall was quickly reaching his limit.

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

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IC: Dornak and Lutenus (Atero, Red Star Inn) - Rush Hour

“Dornak.” He said, abruptly. “I just, uh, heard about Ferrum, and I, uh, wondered if any of you knew what happened? If-if it’s a sensitive subject I-I can just… leave.” He offered, already sort of shuffling off his stool.

Lutenus chuckled. “Oh yes - soon the caravans will be departing en masse south. That many Glatorian and armed Agori should deter any would-be attackers. Even Vorox know better. And if I’m wrong, well… nothing like a little live combat to prepare you for the arena. Going early to avoid the traffic sounds tempting, until you realise you’ll be going all alone.

@Techn0geist @Snelly @Morgan Yu @oncertainty

 

IC: Skrall (Roxtus, Outside Barracks) - Measuring Contest

Skrall joined Skrall, Skrall and Skrall as they exited the barracks and began making their way to speak with Leader Tirveus, catching sight of Skrall.

He was not confident, especially not in the special operations class Skrall. Why did every conversation devolve into petty infighting, concealed or otherwise, in a contest to see who was the most Skrall of Skrall?

He knew why. He just did not like why.

There was something unusual about Skrall - the one with the unusual physique, which is what was unusual. Skrall were individuals united, there was room for deviation because there logically had to be. But this was different. Irrelevant - he was Skrall.

You see, Skrall had not seen enough females in his life to be able to notice.

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

 

IC: Taldrix (Bone Hunter Stronghold, Outside Somnii’s Cell) - The Right Arm

Well then. Perhaps the Ghost didn’t quite command the loyalty she had thought he did from Crucius. What was he up to?

“As you say - and the second thing?”

@a goose

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IC: Tirveus [Roxtus, War Room]

The assorted Skrall found their general where was expected - at the war room, conducting his business. Two honorguard Skrall stood outside the basalt bunker's sole entrance, and their glaives crossed to block the entrance as the ad-hoc contubernium approached. Around the corner behind the ceremonial guardians of the Skrall leader, an Agori walked into view. They could tell that Tirveus's office was occupied from the muffled sounds of pained grunts and fists finding their target, although Atakus looked calm as ever despite the scuffle inside.

"You have business with the Imperator?" he droned.

OOC: @ skrall

Edited by BULiK
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IC: Skrall - Roxtus, War Room

Skrall craned his neck down to make eye contact with the Agori which was acting as Tirveus'... secretary? Doorman? He did not know, but he was keenly aware that this was not an Agori meant for punting. "Yes," he said with a respectful nod. "We intend to answer our liege's call for ambitious Skrall to show the Southerners our might in their own arenas. We wish to consult with our liege before departing-- should he will it."

@BULiK @Nato G @oncertainty @Toru Nui @Vezok's Friend

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IC: Lorqua - Red Star Inn

Lorqua met Lutenus' amusement with a brief exhalation of air from her nose. She had seen Vorox attack a caravan before, it wasn't something she was rushing to see again. When it was your job to fight them off it added a further layer of negative emotion to the thing, but it wasn't pleasant for anyone. Easy for Lutenus to say. Still, he was right that going early to avoid the traffic sounded tempting.

She nodded for a moment, setting her jaw in thought.

"Should see if I can find anyone who's leaving soon then. If I'm going, I'd rather get on with it, I'm not much one for sitting around here."

She looked throughout the busy floor of the inn. She guessed that almost everyone she could see was going to the same place as she was. It wasn't a feeling she had often. She looked back to Lutenus.

"When are you leaving for Tajun?"

OOC: @Toru Nui

 

IC: Skrall - Roxtus, War Room

Skrall, upon seeing the group of Skrall heading for Tirveus' war room, had simply faded in among them. Based on what he could hear of their conversation, they were heading south, and he was sure they would accept another arm to wield a blade. Not that he had asked, but so far none of them had seemed to take much notice of him, so he would cross that bridge when he came to it.

The older Skrall, special forces apparently, seemed to have elected himself speaker for their group. As he spoke with an Agori at the door, Skrall glanced among his fellows. A strange group he had fallen in with, evidently. The older one, plus the quiet one with the odd physique, plus two others; one wiry, one less so. Perhaps this was a good thing. If these were to be the vanguard of the Black Legion's southern conquest, then Skrall felt more optimistic than he had in some time. The Skrall would show the Southerners that they were not an unchanging monolith. Of course, it would be too late for the Southerners. Already they had failed to prepare adequately for what was coming.

As the older Skrall said why they had come to Tirveus' door, Skrall nodded vigorously.

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

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IC: Crucius (Bone Hunter Stronghold)

"The Ghost has tasked you with watching over the Aula Agoria in my absence. See to it that she is properly fed and watered, and record any changes in her condition." He stopped where he stood, and turned to look directly at Taldrix. "I put your name forward for this personally – few Gatherers are as fastidious as you, and it's my belief that you will fulfill this task admirably. Do not make a fool of me."

 

IC: Skrall (Roxtus; War Room)

A lone Skrall watched the procession seeking Tirveus with great interest, but made no move to join them. Not yet.

OOC: @Toru Nui and @ skrall

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IC: Skrall [Roxtus, War Room]

stinging aching pressure pressure PRESSURE

IC: Tirveus [Roxtus, War Room]

"Ah yes, there are some details to work out, aren't there," Atakus replied, tone showing that he had expected (and probably warned Tirveus of) something exactly like this. "Let them pass."

The Honorguard pulled their glaives back. It was the closest thing to an invitation the fellow Skrall would get. Atakus turned and swiftly lead those who decided to follow to a deeper chamber, not bothering to check behind to see if any got lost in the stone halls of the bunker. The whole situation was boring to the rock triber.

As the group got further in, the sounds from within escalated. Something smacked one of the walls. They emerged into the war room to see the lime-armored skrall leader pinning Skrall against the barren wall with one hand, the chokehold lifting the smaller Skrall off his feet. Skrall's weapons were on his back, his hands grasping against the titan's grip in vain.

Atakus coughed. "Sir, volunteers for your arena campaign humbly ask for your consultation."

Tirveus broke his stare with Skrall, turning his head to see the the strange mix of soldiers standing at the entryway. He frowned, both at seeing them and at his untimely interruption.

"Well? I don't have all day."

Skrall squirmed.

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IC/ Skrall/ Roxtus/ War Room/

Thankfully the discussion with Atakus didn’t last long, even with spec ops seizing the role of speaker and using ten words where one would do. Fortunately, the general was much more to the point. Seemingly unfazed by the ordeal of the warrior pinned to the wall, skrall spoke up:

“We are ready to head to Iconox, Tesara or directly to Atero. Either as one, to make a statement, or in teams - one for each arena - to broaden our presence south. Where would you have us begin, to best serve your strategy?”

 

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

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IC: Skrall - Roxtus (War Room)

Skrall opted to keep his mouth firmly shut, content to let his newfound companions do the talking for now. He'd already made a fool of himself once today trying to speak on matters he didn't fully understand, and he had no desire to earn Tirveus' ire and become the Leader's newest chewtoy. 

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IC: Skrall - Roxtus, War Room

Skrall stood there casually, attempting to conceal the mixture of elation and fear he felt that the female was doing the talking. Elation, because for even the most well-spoken Skrall with the most justification, having to speak to a superior so far above him as Tirveus was like navigating a skopio nest while reeking of raw meat. Fear, because even Tirveus knew the terror of interacting with females, and the risk having to witness the Skrallic Imperator squirm like the comparatively tiny Skrall he was even now absentmindedly choking against the wall was far more dangerous than merely having to speak to him.

Still, Skrall did not himself squirm. Controlling one's squirm reflex was integral to surviving among the Skrall, as squirming was a display of weakness, and thus only advisable in the occasional circumstance that your superior wished to see you squirm, which they typically made clear through a variety of nonverbal markers. In those circumstances, you wanted to squirm out of respect for your interlocutor's attempts to make you squirm. In the absence of such markers, however, neglecting to squirm was a reassurance that all was well; that there was no reason for anyone to be squirming. This circumstance was clearly an instance of the latter case.

And so Skrall was very careful not to squirm, and he hoped in the pit of his churning stomach that Tirveus similarly repressed his squirm reflex. It was, he reasoned, a ******-shoot. After all, when one occupied a position such as Tirveus', most of the consequences of squirming were felt by the people who saw you squirming, and so, depending on his mood, Tirveus could squirm as he liked.

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IC: ????? - Red Star Inn, Atero

On 2/20/2023 at 7:13 AM, Snelly said:

"Skyra Daring, the best driver you'll ever see. I've heard you want to go to Tajun to find...Celrys, is that right?"

The Glatorian's gaze settled for a moment on the driver, Skyra. Expressionless as ever, but for once one could tell there was activity behind their eyes.

<<Analysing scenario.>>

On 2/20/2023 at 7:33 PM, Toru Nui said:

“Dornak. I just, uh, heard about Ferrum, and I, uh, wondered if any of you knew what happened? If-if it’s a sensitive subject I-I can just… leave.”

Mard shrugged. "Not a clue, and you won't be getting much out of our friend either."

<<Ahmoa. Mard. Skyra Daring. Celrys. Designations. Names.>>

"You know anything about it we don't?" The Jungle guard pressed, leaning towards the Agori as he shuffled away.

<<Name. Function of identity.>>

A firm red hand rested on Mard's green shoulder, Ahmoa intervening. "Is everything alright, chaps?"

<<Identity. Function of self.>>

"Buddy here's asking about Ferrum." He again turned to the inquisitive Agori. "What's it to ya anyway?"

<<Self.>>

"He's likely just curious about the goings-on there, same as anyone." the crimson guard rationalised, trying to reel his partner in.

I love you, Del.

"He's right though, it is a sensitive subject," Mard protested, shrugging Ahmoa's hand off and glaring angrily at the anxious Agori. "If our friend's like this because of what's going on in Ferrum, if they're traumatised-"

"i love you del."

The guardmen's heads snapped towards the Iron Tribal, now looking down and through the gathered group. Synapses long unfired began to glow like a bed of embers.

"i..." The Glatorian looked up again, around at everyone. "...Del." Their voice was quiet, but had never sounded more certain of anything. Slowly they raised their hand, extending their finger and turning it up to their face.

"Del. I."

 

OOC: @Snelly @Toru Nui

Edited by Techn0geist
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IC: Salwa (Precipere)

"Y-yes. Yes!" I answered, at first hesitant and then in a hurry to answer. It was never a good idea to seem too doubtful about one's instructions in Somok's presence.

"If you give me a few moments I can meet you there"

OOC: @Nato G @Toru Nui

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IC: Dornak and Lutenus (Atero, Red Star Inn) - I Spy, With My Robot Eye…

“Very, very soon, I think - once the caravans start going. I don’t possess a vehicle of my own.” Well, in truth, he had been forbidden from operating his own vehicle following an incident several years ago - ‘a danger to himself and others,’ he believed the exact words were.

It was time for Dornak to leave. He wasn’t wanted here, and he no longer wanted to be here. Ah, I see I’ve upset you - I’ll leave, I’ll just-” He did indeed leave, powerwalking towards the exit.

Lutenus noticed that Lorqua seemed a bit sceptical. “Personally, I believe going solo is more dangerous, given you’ll have no support if things do go wrong. It-” His attention was suddenly grabbed by a very nervous Fire Agori walking swiftly to the exit…

And tracing his direction backwards, Lutenus spied an Iron Glatorian.

“Hmmm…” The aperture of his cyber eye whirred as its telescopic zoom function activated, getting a closer look. That’s interesting…

@oncertainty @Techn0geist @Snelly @Morgan Yu

 

IC: Skrall (Roxtus, War Room) - You Can’t Fight in Here, This Is the War Room!

Why was Leader Tirveus strangling Skrall? Had he failed or disgraced the Skrall?

Not his place to question.

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

 

IC: Taldrix (Bone Hunter Stronghold, Outside Somnii’s Cell) - Feed Her and Water Her and DON’T Take Her Out for Walks…

Taldrix would like to think that Crucius wouldn’t need her help with making a fool of himself, but in truth, she would have to admit that Crucius was no fool - and only a fool would endeavour to fail him.

This meant making sure Somnii kept ticking, but that shouldn’t be a concern. Just throw scraps of food and bowls of water at her every once in a while, job’s done. She’d have to mark these scraps and bowls in her notes, of course.

“I’ll keep her in prime condition, not to worry.” She then took out her notes, specifically the one she had on record for deceased Gatherers and their manner of death. “Alright… Tera… died during spice hunt… body not recovered… cause of death… let’s say…”

Spice.

Her fingers trembled a little, causing a little inkblot smudge on the parchment.

“Uh, how does ‘failure to properly dismount Rock Steed’ sound?”

@a goose

 

IC: Xyde (Precipere, Guardhouse) - Hello, Floor

“Can I have a few moments as well?” Xyde piped up. “I’ll need to, uh, do things.” Things like lie down in their bed and wallow for a minute or so.

Though maybe not the bed, necessarily. The floor of the guardhouse was looking pretty inviting right about now.

@Nato G @Geardirector

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On 2/12/2023 at 5:48 PM, Toru Nui said:

IC: Vraek (Streets of Atero) - Points in Calligraphy

“Oh! Is there something I can do for you?” Thank the Ice Lord, something else to take her mind off it. Perhaps there’d be no need for the inn after all… “If it’s an autograph, I’m afraid you’ll need your own ink and parchment.”

IC: Jeizmel, Streets of Atero

"Oh, I--"

It was only as she skidded to a stop before the Glatorian that Jeizmel realised that she hadn't thought through just what she was going to say. Mostly, she had just been happy to see a familiar face, and the thought of autographs - or even of asking anything particular - had been the furthest thing from her mind. Still, it seemed rather too presumptuous for a young Agori like her to march up to a famed arena champion and just assume they could chat as if they were old friends.

But, confidence, Jeizmel. Don't look like some lost kid.

"I was mostly enthusiastic to see a fellow ice tribeswoman. It feels like an awfully long way from home here, and--"

Don't say you're homesick, that just makes you sound like a child--

"--I thought it would be good to catch up with tribe news."

That was suitably smooth, right?

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IC: Lorqua - Red Star Inn

There was no question in her mind that going alone was more dangerous, she knew that as well as anyone. She wasn't thinking of going alone. Rather, the speed which the larger caravans would be going would be intolerable. If it could be avoided, by a braver driver perhaps. And such a person might be willing to pay for an experienced blade, like Lorqua, to provide protection on the trail.

She began to interrupt him,

"No I agree, I'm not thinking of travelling alone, just that—"

And then she stopped short, as Lutenus' cybernetic eye focused past her, and he remarked on something she couldn't see. She turned around quickly, entirely insensible to propriety, and tried to see where he was looking.

"What is it, what do you see?"

OOC: @Toru Nui

IC: Skrall - Roxtus War Room

Skrall continued nodding vigorously. He was in complete agreement, and even if he wasn't, in this particular case he was happy to have other Skrall occupying Tirveus' attention.

OOC: @ skrall

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IC: Somok - Precipere

"Hm? Yes, yes, do whatever you need to do." He mumbled, already turning away to begin the slow walk back to his residence. 

@Toru Nui @Geardirector

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IC: Wolf (Atero; Red Star Inn)

"Call me Wolf." A pause, then. This man was clearly broke, but if he had allies who weren't… "What takes you west?"

IC: Crucius (Bone Hunter Stronghold)

Crucius' eyebrow rose, and the faintest hint of a smirk played at the corner of his lips. Surprise was not a terribly common expression for him, and yet…

His estimation of Taldrix was shifting by the moment.

"Give her something slightly more heroic. A little self-sacrifice, perhaps – I'll leave the details to you. And try not to overcorrect with the AA; it's the effects of this disease that the Ghost is interested in, and he feels those will be best understood by making sure she is otherwise healthy. In fact..." His brow furrowed in consternation. "Do you have a blank page to hand?"

OOC: @Wotz @Toru Nui

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On 2/20/2023 at 12:55 PM, Vezok's Friend said:

IC/ Skrall/ Roxtus/ War Room/

“We are ready to head to Iconox, Tesara or directly to Atero. Either as one, to make a statement, or in teams - one for each arena - to broaden our presence south. Where would you have us begin, to best serve your strategy?”

IC: Tirveus [Roxtus, War Room]

The general looked to the Skrall of the five that spoke up in answer, his glare pulsing deadlier upon examining just what was asking him the question. Inconceivable. He almost forgot the question, merely staring with discontent for a few unsettling moments.

Skrall writhed against the wall.

"Heading directly to Atero is foolhardy and pointless. The southern tourneys are not built equally - what matters strategically is the Great Tournament, and before the Great Tournament can proceed there are the exhibition matches. The first of which is in Tajun."

"The fastest route is by way of Tesara, but -" Tirveus looked to Skrall, whose squirming was slowing down, the pace of panic simultaneously calmer yet twitching with more vigor. "You will go by way of Atero."

His massive hand loosed its grip and Skrall slid down the wall, violently gagging against his own drool in a fight for breath. The pathetic crumple of armor didn't dare raise a finger. Head against the floor, he looked up at Tirveus with reverent fear.

"Skrall here abandoned his watch, and many more paid the price of his incompetence. He is a danger to the strength of the Whole, and must be expunged."

"Follow My River south past the Dark Falls until you see a lone mesa to your east. You will sell Skrall there to the Bone Hunters in exchange for safe harbor, fresh water, and future commitments. My Ordinarius will accompany you to project my will and make said arrangements."

Atakus bowed.

"You will continue southward until my river is truly dead, and you see Sandray Canyon to your west. Beyond that lies Tajun, and your first victory."

"Requisition the necessary rock steeds and Spikit carts from the war stables, and leave without delay. There is a Skrall outside who has scouted these territories, he will be your guide through the wastelands."

Tirveus kicked Skrall towards the five others, the disgraced warrior rolling on the granite floor.

"Dismissed," he snarled.

Edited by BULiK
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IC: Skrall - Roxtus, War Room

Like an automaton, Skrall stepped forward and hauled once-Skrall to its feet, pushing it towards the exit of the room just softly enough that the pathetic creature did not lose its precarious footing. "Thy will be done!" He somehow managed to simultaneously shout and whisper the confirmation as he moved, not wishing to stay in Tirveus' presence one moment too long after having been dismissed.

While he waited - it seemed an eternity - for the sack of flesh before him to make its egress, he looked to each of his peers in turn, as if to make sure that none of them were so paralyzed in fear as to need a similar push towards the door.

OOC: @a goose @BULiK @Nato G @oncertainty @Toru Nui @Vezok's Friend

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IC: Skyra Daring - Red Star Inn  -

"Del..." Skyra sounded it out, it wasn't a very long name, and Skyra appreciated that, made it easy to remember. "Nice name!" Skyra finally said cheerfully, completely relaxed in contrast to the two shocked Agori guardsmen. 

Skyra's attention was then drawn to the nervous Fire Agori who fumbled over his words a bit before quickly leaving. "Kay, bye...whoever you are." People were sure acting weird around Del, and Skyra couldn't really figure out why.

 

@Techn0geist @Morgan Yu @Toru Nui

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IC: Skrall - Roxtus, War Room

Skrall was glad the older Skrall of their motley group had taken charge of the disgraced one. He did not like to think about his disgraced fellow, much less look at or touch the poor wretch. Part of this was custom: one ought not take too much time with such types, they weren't worth the sand on his heel.

Another part, smaller perhaps but still present, was aware of just how easily he could be in that very same place. He could not say why the unfortunate one had abandoned his post, but Skrall had by times thought of doing the same. Boredom, often, called him to go elsewhere. If duty had not held him back, perhaps it would be he who was being sold to the Bone Hunters.

Pushing this thought from his mind, he gave a tense and silent salute to the general, and turned on his heels and began walking towards the door.

He would be twenty paces outside the war room before he let his breath out.

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

Edited by oncertainty
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IC: Skrall – Roxtus (War Room)

As Tirveus gave his orders, Skrall offered a nod of acknowledgement to the female warrior and the cloaked know-it-all; they’d been right about following the river. More than right, given their orders were now to follow the river all the way to its end.

Tajun. Almost as far Southward from Roxtus as possible. Only Vulcanus and Ferrum were further, but not by much. As far as Skrall knew, Tajun was more or less where the known world ended. Every map Skrall had seen stopped at the sea of liquid sand. Do even the Southerners know what lies beyond it? 

It wasn't the only thing he was wondering about. He wasn't fool enough to speak his doubts aloud, lest he end up the next disgrace sold into slavery, but Skrall was still struggling to make sense of the mission. He understood the orders, but he didn’t truly understand them.

Exhibition matches… tournaments… why did the people of the South treat battle like a game? And why was Tirveus so determined to see the Skrall not only play that game, but win it? There had to be more to this than merely upstaging the Southerners. So what was Tirveus' true intention? 

But the answers to such questions were beyond his station.

All that mattered was winning.

All that mattered was earning his name.

Bowing respectively in deference to the green-clad Leader, Skrall turned and followed his companions and their new charge out of the chamber. 

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IC/ Skrall/ Roxtus/ War Room/

 

Tajun. Interesting. She hadn’t expected to go that far south, but it ultimately made no difference to her. Follow the river, sell the exile to the bone hunters, resupply in Atero, then Tajun. Closest to the sea of liquid sand. She was curious to see it. It seemed straightforward enough for a plan. It most likely wouldn’t stay that way but they’d deal with it.

 

Selling the disgraced skrall didn’t sit well with her. But she was skrall still, no matter how much Tirveus glared at her, so it had to be done. 

 

She didn’t say anything else, just slammed her right arm audibly across her chest, like a smaller version of the sword-against-shield salute, then turned to follow the others.

 

Outside the war room, she went straight to the scout she’d seen waiting earlier. 

 

“We’re heading out. You ready?” She stated.

 

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

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IC: Skrall (War Room; Outer Chamber)

Skrall sighed. "Moreso than you, I would wager. Is this all of you?"

He examined the party – misfits and outcasts all, her most of all. Still, perhaps that could be to their benefit; the Wastelands were not kind to rigidity and traditionalism.

It occurred to him quite suddenly that he had been staring at the female, and he quickly averted his eyes in shame. Her appearance seemed to stir something in him, a strange sensation somewhere in the pit of his stomach that made him feel uncomfortable and exposed. Perhaps this was an example of the Sisters' vaunted magicks.

Either way, he would be glad to be rid of this motley crew; Skrall had enjoyed his solitary existence in Roxtus, beyond the watching eye of Tirveus and the mindlessness of the Legion. Loneliness suited him.

OOC: @ skrall

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IC: Skrall - Roxtus, War Room Outer Chamber

He huffed once at the scout's confidence. Still, it was true. Skrall had tasted more of the desert than any of his fellows, but even he had barely been further south of the Falls than one could throw a stone. If this scout had been as far south as Tajun, his experience would be invaluable.

"This is all of us, yes. We are to requisition supplies for the journey. What do you estimate we shall require?"

OOC: @a goose @Skrall

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IC: Skrall (War Room; Outer Chamber)

His eyes narrowed.

"You seem pretty confident in yourself, Skrall. You remind me of the men in my own unit. Are you familiar with what became of them?"

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IC/ Skrall/ Roxtus/ War Room/

 

Skrall noticed the scout’s eyes lingering on her. The other common reaction to her presence. She smirked, ever so slightly.

 

She brushed past him and started heading toward the stables. As she did, she flashed him a look that said it all: Too busy staring to count? 

 

Raising her right hand, she signaled the rest of the team her intent to move out.

OOC: @a goose @skrall 

 

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IC: Skrall [Roxtus]

Skrall stumbled forwards at the prompting of Skrall, paying no attention to Skrall and Skrall infighting. They wouldn't get it.

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IC: Skrall - Roxtus, War Room Outer Chamber

Skrall ignored the scout's attempt to chastise him. If he thought his status as sole survivor marked him as anything but the luckiest weakling, he was dead wrong. "Matter of fact, I am confident, Skrall. At least as far as my own skills are concerned. When I am outside of my element, I defer to others who know better, as any good soldier had ought to do. So, I ask you again: What supplies will we need for our journey, Skrall?"

He saw, in his peripheral vision, the female's attempt to signal them away to the stables. He did not acknowledge it. He did not take orders from equals, and certainly not from a female.

OOC: @a goose @Vezok's Friend

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IC: Skrall (War Room; Outer Chamber)

He glanced over his shoulder at the female, already moving on. His hope that these Skrall might fare better may have been misplaced, although the overconfident one had at least one survival skill most of Skrall's old unit had lacked.

He made to follow the female, and spoke as he walked. "We will need one Spikit-drawn carriage at least, preferably two. I know already that any attempt to advise Atakus against a Rock Steed will fall on deaf ears, but the rest of us will need to travel further than a steed could safely carry us."

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IC: Skrall - Roxtus

He kept quiet as he followed the others outside.

The cloaked one was already doing far more talking than was required.

If he was intent on abrasively asserting himself in every conversation and encounter, this was going to be a long journey. 

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IC: Lutenus (Atero, Red Star Inn) - Person of Interest

“There’s an Iron Glatorian. He explained, pointing in their direction. “Hmm… this may be significant. Of course, they might have been elsewhere when the calamity hit… something to keep an eye on. So to speak.”

@oncertainty

 

IC: Vraek (Streets of Atero) - Bearer of Bad News

Vraek bit her tongue. There wasn’t much in the way of good news.

“I’m afraid we’re still… dealing with the Bone Hunters.” Vraek spoke. “And taking their… merchandise. She hissed, her contempt for the practice evident. “It’s not something I take pride in.”

@That Matoran with a Vahi

 

IC: Skrall (Roxtus, War Room, Outer Chamber) - Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho, It’s off to War We Go…

Skrall was confused - they were to sell Skrall? If he abandoned his watch, then he must be punished. But… seeing him on the floor like that… to be sold to the Bone Hunters…

Irrelevant. Tirveus was their leader, his thoughts were their actions. Failure cannot be tolerated. Weakness begets failure, weakness cannot be tolerated. Doubt begets weakness, doubt cannot be tolerated.

So why were Skrall’s comrades all trying to undermine another with words and faces? Did this not show that they doubted each other?

He knew why. He just did not like why.

Of course, now he was doubting them in turn. This was unacceptable.

He followed the scout.

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

 

IC: Taldrix (Bone Hunter Stronghold, Outside Somnii’s Cell) - I Hate This Job

“Yes.” Taldrix handed Crucius a blank page of parchment. At least Crucius understood the importance of her work, most Bone Hunters Gatherers likely weren’t smart enough for that. Most of them probably couldn’t even read.

She’d rather not have to do all this. She’d rather still be doing her job and getting paid for it in Roxtus. But that wasn’t an option anymore.

And if the only options were either die in the wastes, be treated like dirt in Atero or go about on a Rock Steed killing, robbing and enslaving those not strong or smart enough to resist them… really, was there an option? Was there any doubt at all where the only path to survival lay?

Still, she’d rather not have to deal with a man like Crucius, nor try to keep someone like Somnii alive, who lucked into an easy lifestyle and gained total power over her people with scarcely a wrinkle on her face. No, she wasn’t jealous, what gave you that idea? There wasn’t much to be jealous of, presently…

@a goose

 

IC: Xyde (Precipere, Xyde’s Hut) - Rest and Recrimination

Breathing a sigh of relief and exhaustion, Xyde exited the guardhouse, entered their hut, and lay face down on the bed while groaning. “Uuuuuurghhhhhh…”

Let’s see: failed to have retrieved herbs and worried Somok for nothing, had a bad interaction with a Vulcanian on the way back, and was no doubt on their way to have yet more bad interactions with Vulcanians so they could potentially save Ferrumite lives.

The Games season was not off to a good start for them, was it?

@Nato G @Geardirector

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IC: Skrall  - Roxtus, War Room -> Stables

Skrall nodded wordlessly to the scout, before turning to follow the rest of the party to the stables. Having secured the information he desired, there was no reason to converse further. Moreover, the others were already growing testy. For whatever reason, most Skrall preferred to frown on the one who speaks much, rather than on the ones who necessitate the speaking.

As for the information itself: It suited him well enough. Skrall hated rock steeds; better for them to be carried across the desert by their own feet. Even the foolhardiest of Skrall were at least marginally less temperamental than rock steeds. He was still trying to decide whether the opposite was true of intelligence.

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IC: Lorqua - The Red Star Inn

Following the line of Lutenus' outstreched finger, Lorqua could see the Glatorian too. Yellow-orange armour. The floor of the Inn was well-trafficked, but even with her unenhanced vision she could catch glimpses of the Ferrumite and a few others. Gathered about were a couple of Agori from a couple of different tribes, a Glatorian in pink and red that she definitely didn't recognize, and a green-and-black-armoured Glatorian who she thought she might.

"Seems like they've gathered something of a crowd already. That's Skyra Daring, I think, can't get a perfect look from here. Of course, I imagine you already clocked that."

She glanced at Lutenus' eyepiece, and chuckled reflexively.

"I can't say I recognize any of the rest of them. I don't know if you were just planning to keep on looking, but as far as I'm concerned there's one good way to find out more."

She slid out of the booth, rising to her feet.

"Shall we?"

OOC: @Toru Nui

 

IC: Skrall - Roxtus, Towards the Stables

Skrall liked rock steeds, he always had. Spikits, well, they could be temperamental. One had taken a chunk out of the back of his leg once, and he still had a small scar. Even so, he was happy to take the company of any animals over more interminable discussion. Still, he couldn't malign the older Skrall too much: the lone survivor had chosen to try and assert dominance before answering the question. The question which was, frankly, a completely natural one. Of course, he had heard the southerners were worse. By times, the south couldn't even decide who was meant to tell them what to do. They had conclaves or councils or some other sort of thing like that. The Skrall were not afraid to dispense with such barbaric tendencies.

As they drew closer to the stables, a question of his own occurred to him.

"Which one of us drives the carriage?"

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

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IC/ Skrall/ Roxtus/ Stables/

 

The stables were easy enough to find, even if one didn’t know their way around. They just had to follow the smell and sounds. Skrall did know the way well however. She also knew the first leg of their journey, having spent quite some time outside Roxtus herself. The scout wasn’t the only one used to solitude, something she suspected he wouldn’t recognize them having in common.

 

She waved down one of the beastmasters on duty. His implants were extensive and showed the dangers of the profession. Spikit bit the hand that fed them. Often enough they did worse. He eyed her and the other skrall filtering in wearily, but still waited for them to speak and make their request.

 

Hearing skrall ask about carriage drivers, she interjected: “We’ll need two.”

 

Plus rock steeds and enough supplies for both beast and skrall to complete the journey. That’d be a lot. She figured five days worth, but it could easily be more. Though it was unlikely they’d be completely unable to resupply along the way. The plan definitely called for it it at the bone hunter’s and in Atero…but there was no guarantee. If all went flawless, they could probably reach the mesa within a day or two and Atero within a day after that. Then a few more from there to Tajun. The keyword being flawless. But things had a tendency to go south when going south. Better to have reserves. 

So she turned to the scout again. She wouldn’t put up with any nonsense, but deferring to expertise was the smart thing to do. They had a job to do, so she asked: 

 

“How many days‘ provisions for us and the beasts, plus contingency?”


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

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IC: Crucius (Bone Hunter Stronghold)

Crucius immediately set to writing a short series of instructions on the page, and then signed it.

"If her condition suddenly deteriorates, or takes a steep downturn from the rate your notes suggest, you're going to have to inform the Ghost yourself. In that situation – and only in that situation – you show this to the guards at the Tower, and they'll let you pass."

The old watchtower – increasingly known simply as 'the Tower' – had long been a fixture of the Stronghold. What generations ago had marked the border of their settlement now lay well within its bounds, in a remarkably well-preserved state. Its condition had only improved since the Ghost had begun uniting the Gatherer clans; its renovation appeared to be something of a pet project for Him and his most trusted disciples, and it was well-known by now that it was where He resided.

Just what it was that He actually did in there, however, was as much a mystery as the man himself.

IC: Skrall (Roxtus; Stables)

"Three days' worth should be more than enough to get us to the Stronghold. And we all drive: take it in shifts. That's the fastest and safest way to get to where we're going."

OOC: @Toru Nui@ skrall

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