The entire southern fourth of Mata Nui is green with the life of Le-Wahi and its vast swamp. Riddled with marshes and shallow lakes that expand over the vast majority of the region, Le-Wahi also rises to the skies with huge, thick trees. Flocks of birds of all sorts sing from the branches; joined by the howling of other Rahi, the constant chatter of Le-Wahi is both enchanting and frightening. Many large and dangerous Rahi also inhabit the area, though the Gukko Force usually keeps jungle trails safe. Other landmarks of the area include:
-The Fau Swamp: A marshy area that extends through most of the jungle floor of Le-Wahi. The swamp is full of sinkholes and thick mud, so only travelers with careful feet survive there.[/font]
-Kanae Bay: A large bay in southern Le-Wahi. It was here that Toa Lewa's canister washed ashore.
-Lake Pala: The largest lake in the Wahi. The remains of Pala-Koro, a failed fortress settlement, remain on its southern shore as a reminder of the days of Makuta’s rule. Only a shattered curtain wall and the rubble of a few huts have endured.
-Xa-Koro: What used to be the “seventh Koro,” a boardwalk city that was a conglomeration of thieves and sinners, was sunk into the ocean during the days of Makuta. Now, it is a treacherous submarine place to the south of Le-Wahi, full of secrets to be discovered by any brave enough to dive into the unstable, undersea ruins.
-The Suva Nui: a tall, dark stone obelisk that towers in the middle of a clearing in the jungle of Le-Wahi. It defines the site of the Great Hive Battle, as the Suva Nui was contained within the Nui-Rama hive before it was razed. It is also the site where the Toa Maru were transformed from Matoran to Toa. The Suva Nui is an entrance to Mangaia.
-The Dark Walk: One of six large tunnels dug by Makuta’s Rahkshi during the final days of his rule. Large enough to encompass a walking legion, it runs directly from the doorstep of the Koro down into Mangaia. Exudes a definite aura of odiousness, and is generally avoided.
Led by Akiri Kongu, the village of Le-Koro hangs in the trees directly above Lake Kanae. The airy city, a sprawl of tree houses, consists of beehive-shaped huts and shops strung together by vines or branches. Walkways are carved into the thick wood and grafted on the tree trunks, making a network that weaves in the treetops and casts a neat glow at night. Some treetops were flattened to make room for plazas and Kolhii stadiums. Music rings from this village as drummers and flutists fill the air with joyful noise.
Within the Koro, several complex systems of chutes, built by Onu-Koro’s engineers, wind and twist about the trees. These chutes run to and from different sections of Le-Koro, and can easily transport Matoran by a mix of air pressure and gravity. Smaller chutes are also used as quick delivery systems for letters and small packages. Each access point is a small “chute station” where the users might choose their destination and chute accordingly. The largest chute station is near the Le-Koro marketplace.
The village of Le-Koro is more strictly presided over than in earlier days, and the only way into the Koro is through elevators accessed by a bridge in the lake, or through landing pads where the approaching traffic is screened beforehand. Those entering via elevators are questioned about their business coming to Le-Koro, and the elevators are operated from secure places in the treetop city. The chute system has very few openings on the ground.
Le-Koro is the fastest trading Koro on Mata-Nui, employing air delivery systems which are much more efficient and timely than the trading methods applied by other Koros. This has made Le-Koro a valuable merchant partner, and they often work as a middleman for other villages' trade.
IC Srach, Fau Swamp
Srach stalked through the forest, keeping an eye out for the occasional Ash Bear. He had once confronted one defending its territory, it took him 4 whole minutes to subdue it with his Battle Ax. Srach sat down and leaned against a tree. He still couldn't understand why he was supposed to assassinate a Matoran? Toa were his thing. And more importantly why the Shadowed One had to command the help of the infernal Jakax? Srach pondered these many questions as he aimlessly fiddled with a Rhotuka.
Fix me, said the doctors.
Kiss me, said the flirts.
Catch me, said the cops.
Kill me, said the rest.
Don't kill me. They need me. They needed a bad guy. Someone had to be the bad guy.
Someone needed to do it.
It was so easy: swoop in, be comely, grab Utu, swoop out. Bonus points if we nicked one of Echelon's arteries. A medal if we nicked all of them. It was almost that easy.
"What's his name? What do we got? Jeez, is he gonna make it? Look at those ribs, they're completely battered in...like something smashed him..."
'Course I'm gonna make it. What does Captain Cheekbones do when he's neck deep in the ? He doesn't give up, no sirree. He transforms into a literal giant stud and digs his own way out, with five hundred pound blocks of ham-shaped true grit for fists.
God, I'm pathetic; we were all so pathetic. Joske, especially. God, Joske. I didn't see what happened to Joske.
It was supposed to be so easy. Swoop in. Be comely. Grab Utu. Swoop out.
It had all went so wrong.
Stalking along the forest floor, Hasil, last of his tribe, yet now second among the Rama Riders, sighed. Out all day, and yet with no idea of what he was looking for. Not far from him, Saran was either buzzing in the air or crawling along the ground, following the scent of some small animal. Lucky Saran, thought Hasil - that creature at least knew what it was he was searching for. Hasil, meanwhile, had no idea.
He turned his eyes, again, down to the trail at his feet. It was one he had walked over many times before, though the jungle kept no lasting record of one's passage; now he could see only the prints of a Rahi's paws, or the tracks made by a young, wild Gukko. As the jungle kept records only of those beings that had passed by recently, and not of any who had passed by longer than a day ago, so too it kept no records of what Hasil might be searching for.
He shook his head. This was a useless pursuit, to be out here, chasing some phantasm or specter of his imagination, when he could be back in Le-Koro, doing some good. So he had told himself multiple times, and so he told himself again. Useless. Frivolous. Irresponsible. Arrogant, even, to put his pursuits above those of the Koro, above those of the squad that he was a part of and helped to command, now, in a minor way - he could lead a small group of them while Karata led the others, he could provide orders in battle. Those four words described well Hasil's thoughts on his being out here.
And yet still he was out here, searching, seeking, for what, he did not know. For some time alone? He had more than enough of that. For some until now hidden revelation? He doubted that - he was neither a philosopher nor a prophet, and there was no epiphany likely to come upon him. For hidden treasure?Hasil snorted at that thought. He was neither a child nor a fool, to look for such a thing.
The tall Toa looked again to the Nui-Rama near him, fastening his eyes upon its glossy, dark green exoskeleton, so thoroughly blending into the surrounding foliage - aside from the stripe of orange running down either of its sides. It did, at least, do Saran some good to come out into the forest like this, thought Hasil. That Nui-Rama was not one to idly wait for something to occur. Saran was energetic, strong, highly curious and intelligent, and a creature like that could not long be held caged or chained. He needed the time away from the Koro. Hasil only wished that he could say the same about himself, as it would be so simple an answer to that question which plagued him.
Hasil stopped for a moment, thinking. The trail branched somewhat, here. Off to the right was the way he - and, it seemed, most others - normally went, as it circled around, leading back to the Koro. Straight off, the path was said to hit a dead end, where an old hive of Nui-Kopen had once been. Nobody normally visited that place, thinking that Makuta's taint still remained there, near the husk of a burnt-out hive. Still...Hasil wasn't afraid of either Rahkshi or Nui-Kopen, nor the taint of a long-gone shadow, and perhaps he just needed a change of scenery. Laying a hand on the hilt of his longest sword, and lifting up the other to push some overgrown foliage out of the way, Hasil continued along, Saran, after a moment of confusion, coming as well.
The walk to the end of the trail, while not particularly long, seemed to be so; and Hasil could see why this trail was avoided. The trees were dense, in this area, thick branches intertwining, leaves letting very little light through - so little that it almost seemed to be like an Onu-Wahi tunnel, sparsely studded with lightstones. As they walked, Saran seemed to grow more and more agitated. The smell of a Nui-Kopen's nest was strong to him already, it seemed, and combined with the shadowy nature of this part of the jungle, Hasil could understand why the Nui-Rama might be so anxious. Still he continued on, unwilling to cut his journey short just yet.
Eventually he came into the clearing where the hive had been, and he could see what was left of it. A small hive - only large enough for maybe ten or twelve Nui-Kopen - hung in the branches, cutting off some of the extra light to be found in the clearing. Parts of it were rotting away, from where it had burnt before, and other parts of it were hanging down nearly to the ground, fibrous strands woven into larger mats, but thin and flexible - and easy to tear or crack, since the naturally-produced glue that held the sheets of it together had long since broken down, everywhere except for the hive's central portion.
Dead bodies lay about - some Nui-Kopen, others half-chewed Matoran, the remnants of meals - though for more recent scavengers, or prey of the old Nui-Kopen, the tall Toa could not say. What interested Hasil more, though, was the central part of the hive. It was large, blackened from fire, though still somewhat held together; almost no light reached it, and yet Hasil could still make out shapes within it. Of eggs, of dead larvae, a few more Nui-Kopen bodies standing guard over the future generation, a futile gesture.
Behind him, Hasil heard Saran hiss in anger and displeasure. Both at the Nui-Kopen, but at something else that the Toa could hear. He turned, hand still on the hilt of his sword, to see a Parakuka slithering along the ground, gaining speed as it moved for him. He whipped out his blade, the sharp edge of it easily cutting through the young Parakuka's back, not yet hardened with age, and after a moment, into the soft earth beneath.
"Makuta's taint lives still," he muttered, shaking his head. So the Le-Matoran had a reason for staying away - what had once been a hive of Nui-Kopen now seemed to be the home of an entirely new and completely more disgusting creature - or, if Hasil guessed correctly, a group of those creatures. Still, kill one and the others will know to stay away, was his guess.
Stepping over by the stream that ran at the edge of the clearing, Hasil frowned beneath his veil. The water was no longer clear - it looked almost to have a layer of oil over it, inky black and at the same time iridescent with reflected light, what little came in. Floating atop that, as well, was ash, and crumbled pieces of the hive - some small, some larger, almost fully sized sheets floating in the water, as slowly the remnants of a short terror to the Matoran was carried away.
And as ash was found on the water, so too was it found on the ground, or even in the air. A remnant of this hive's destruction - whether by the Matoran as they struck back, or by the Makuta as he removed an unruly group, Hasil did not know, nor did he care; it was a scene of devastation, of death and decay, and thoroughly unappetizing to any member of the living, to any who followed the light.
Yet Hasil did need to rest - he had been out all day already, and hadn't taken a moment to get off his feet since he had left. Keeping his sword out, he settled down on the bank of the stream, closing his eyes - though after a moment he opened them again, hearing the sounds of angry movement coming from Saran, followed by a quick hiss of annoyance and disgust.
Once the dust and ash cleared, Hasil could see a Parakuka on the ground, chitinous plates on its back ripped away, and half-chewed meat lying on the ground next to it...and the large Nui-Rama that had made the kill moving towards the stream itself, looking thoroughly annoyed.
It seemed that Parakuka did not make good eating. Hasil shook his head, closing his eyes again. He would take some time to just sit and breathe, and perhaps then he might come to learn just why it was he felt so compelled to keep walking out this way.
IC: Arjun, Le-Wahi
As a Le-Toa of air, Arjun had always been attracted to the sky. Having not been blessed with the gift of a Miru or Kadan, however, the sky was always elusive. The closest he'd ever come was sitting utop the tube station rings.
Now he was flying.
It wasn't an easy journey. Hashara had fought him most of the way. By the end of the first day, he had managed to stay atop his mount for a second before being bucked off. By the end of the second day he had managed a full eight seconds. It wasn't until the end of the third week that progress was being made. His shoulders were scarred and his knees bruised, but at this time he had finally managed to stay on his mount. Apparently that was the turning point for Hashara, because at that time Arjun had been able to give commands, and exert some level of control over him. No more than a week after that, Arjun was making successful rounds around Le-Koro, and was soon able to venture away from the village and do patrols. He distinctly remembered his first real patrol. It was just him and Hashara buzzing through the afternoon sky. That feeling you get when you're a hundred feet off the ground and the wind is blowing by you? Priceless. It was the sort of exhilaration Arjun was hoping to feel when he signed up for the force that fateful day, and it was that day when he truly felt he had made the right decision. He commemorated the moment by (very carefully) tattooing Hashara's tail with an arrow insignia. His insignia. Their insignia.
(It even kind of matched the scar in his shoulder!)
Arjun realized that perhaps he was thinking too intimately about a creature who most certainly did not reciprocate such feelings. If it came between Arjun's life and Hashara's safety, he had no doubt which one the creature would chose. Nevertheless, thinking of his mount as a bond made him enjoy the experience more, and he even felt like it made him a better pilot. Even though it probably didn't.
Shaking his head, Arjun snapped himself back to reality. He could romanticize the Rama force later when he was exaggerating stories in the bar, but he had a job to do right now. In the last few weeks, strange creatures had been roaming around the island, thick spined and with disturbed grins. Arjun certainly didn't want these creatures showing up and hurting anyone in Le-Koro, so he had taken it upon himself to fly a few patrols now and again. He would probably be reprimanded for going solo, but he needed to know that someone was looking out for the village in these times. Besides, he kept his bow with him. What could happen?
Arjun scanned the canopy below with his scoped Matatu. He hung around the spot for a few minutes, but saw nothing of interest. Making physical and auditory commands to Hashara, he turned them both around and moved toward a different sector to scan. Painstaking work? Maybe. Maybe even a little dull. But if he could spot trouble before it arrived then it would be worth it. That was, after all, pretty much his job now.
OOC: Suggested listening
IC: Tuara Drigton - Le-WahiControlled breathing.In.Out.In.Out.Each motion was a conscious one, each step a step of purpose. In the darkness a mumbled silhouette made it's way along the mossy grounds, stopping every so often to turn slightly to search for anything of importance. Upon closer inspection, this silhouette was actually a drop dead gorgeous Toa of fire, with the burden of a not so gorgeous Toa of ice on her muscular back. They were alone in the fog. Blood trailed the pair, the life-liquid being of two colors. One was a crimson red, the second a sickly sweetened red: Almost fuchsia.Tuara was single-handedly shouldering Utu's bulk with the use of her Pakari. The massive Toa of ice was dragging his feet along the jungle floor. Partially because the man's body was broken beyond belief, and partially because the man was as unconscious as he was murderous.She grimaced as she stopped at the edge of a small outcropping over a particularly swampy area. The Toa of fire reached across her abdomen to feel for the wound that hadn't stopped bleeding since she had gotten stuck with it. Utu had proven to be a little less cooperative than the group had expected. If Utu's sudden outburst as she left the cave with the Mark Bearer wasn't enough, when the way behind her collapsed Tuara had given Utu a good shot in the face to "allow him designated nap time" before pushing on her way to the only place she could properly get any help.None of this was anything Tuara Drigton wasn't capable of handling. The main problem lay within the fact that in the dead of night, this explosion had woken up a nest of particularly nasty Nui-Rama.Tuara dropped down the outcropping into the swamp, finding that the water was only a ways up her shins. She twirled with Utu Kotore's mass and shoved him up against the wall as the buzzing continued. She frowned as she looked at the Toa of Ice she was sworn to protect. He was dead weight at this point and nothing more. He was dangerous. More importantly, he was a danger that she hated a lot. Bad history. She took a moment from her heavy breathing and wound clutching to look at Kotore. She'd broken his Kakama. Whoops. The hot Toa smiled as she crouched over the man. She'd leave him behind if it wouldn't ###### off Joske. Or Agni. Or Cael... Dorian couldn't give a ######.Why couldn't it just be those two dealing with these problems? Shaddix and Drigton. Buddy cops. Both were bad cop. Bad hot cops. Sounded like fun. And hot. Dorian was hot.Great time to consider such information.The buzzing was getting louder. The bugs would be almost there. Tuara quickly returned to her senses and scrambled for her pack. After a while of fumbling around with the contents of the bag Tuara pulled out wrapping for her side. Bandages, only to stop the bleeding. Wheezing, and covered in sweat, Tuara rolled out the bandages and leaned against the dirt wall, feeling the cool soft mud on her back and neck as she bit off just as much as she'd need.With anger in her eyes and pain in her side, Tuara Drigton began to wrap her abdomen tightly.All she needed was a minute. After that Tuara would be breaking more than a couple of looking-good laws this evening.
OOC: Well, given that Lear was paired with Tuara as a guard... I guess I better get in on this jazziness. Also, those interested in the Kumu Islets, PLEASE see my blog. Thank you. ~Kughii
IC: Lear, Le-Wahi
The night was filled with the grisly cries of vengeful men. Men who had their faith torn down by the chosen few, taunted by a crimson jester with flashy companions. Small rahi slinked into the undergrowth and bogs, desperate to escape the growing storm. The shifting buzzes of Nui Rama filled the night with deadly noise, all the more fear inspiring in the darkness of the new moon. A great uproar came from behind, the cave echoing the torment and ferocity Makuta's few remaining followers.
He vaulted, landing in the mossy turf deposited on a lower bough from centuries of rest, a hand flat against the wood to balance his sudden stop. Lear scanned the area frantically, pulse thudding in his chest. It had all gone so wrong. The sudden explosions had been a distraction all right, but for the secretive operative covertly working from the shadows it had spelled disaster. His target was gone. And cultists weren't the only thing filling the air with poison tonight.
"Where the karz?" Lear swatted a blood sucking fly from the his shoulder, and weighted the risk of a little more light. Reaching into his hip packs, he retrieved the small lightstone and held it aloft like a torch. The shadows lengthened, revealing a thin trail of blood. Dropping, he splashed into the marshy floor with a squelch of mud and stench for a closer inspection. There were two trails. His target couldn't have been more than five minutes ahead, given he couldn't hear her but the trail was still slick and wet. Setting off in the direction, Lear kept the lightstone aloft as he sprinted after the trail.
Finally he found her. She was knee deep in the murk, rushes hiding all but her head from the peering eye. Stooped and busy with tending to her wounds, Lear paused to calculate. Tuara Drigton was a grounded gukko, all the more fiercer for her wounds. Gripping the lightstone tightly, he lobbed it into the air, letting the stone sail without his control of the kanohi sanok. With a crack it lodged into the tree above her head. Now came the hard part. Slinking through the blackness, he came to the edge of the light. Warily, Lear slogged into the yellow light, his hands held up in a gesture of peace.
"Tuara Drigton, I am from the Gukko Force and I'm here to help."
IC (Cael) When the Toa of Water came to, everything was dark. She lay quietly for a long moment, simply breathing, and took stock of all the physical sensations she was feeling. She was cold; there was a buzzing in her ears; her whole body ached, though the pain seemed to be concentrated in her left shoulder; and there was a pressure on her abdomen and lower body. She struggled to sit up, and, as she did so, the pressure disappeared, accompanied by the clattering of pebbles. Though it was difficult to see much in the dim light, it appeared as though she'd been half buried in debris. Her head pounded briefly, then settled into a headache. If these sensations had been reported to her by a patient, she would have told them to lie down and get some rest. But there wasn't time for that. Cael pushed herself to her feet, doing her best to ignore the resulting flare of pain in her shoulder, and started walking, choosing a direction at random. That was the first sign that she wasn't operating at one hundred percent: Cael never did things at random. She always weighed her options and chose the best one. The second sign was when she felt something wet on her fingers, looked down, and realized that blood was trickling down her arm from her wounded shoulder. “Karz,” she breathed, a rare curse escaping her lips as she realized that she was alone in the middle of the jungle, at night, wounded, with no idea of where she was or where her friends were. Worse than that, there was no way of telling if one of Echelon's men was following her even now, waiting for the chance to finish her off. Maybe tagging along hadn't been the best idea. Both Joske and Dor had been adamant in their refusal: she had no combat experience; Echelon wouldn't hesitate to use her to control her friends. But every time she let Joske out of her sight, something happened, and she hadn't wanted to risk that again. So she'd followed them, and witnessed the battle firsthand. Her memories of the clash were blurry, dulled by her headache and recent return to consciousness. She remembered Echelon's leering face; she remembered Dor screaming; she remembered Joske throwing her free of the cave as a violent explosion ripped through everything, turning the world dark. If she could just find someone, then it wouldn't have been a mistake. The buzzing in her ears wasn't going away; it was getting louder. The healer frowned, but continued on, each footstep splashing gently in the water that came halfway up her shins. Water... and blood. She could sense it: with each step, her elemental sensitivity warned her that the water wasn't pure. Without meaning to, she was following a trail. But was she following a friend or a foe? It turned out to be both. The Toa of Water splashed into a clearing where an unconscious Utu was sprawled, and a startled Tuara leaped up, her abdomen half-bandaged. The fear on her face was evident in the bright light of a lightsone perched in a tree, but it wasn't directed at Cael. Instead, she was warily eyeing a Toa of Air who had his hands raised in surrender. "Tuara Drigton, I am from the Gukko Force and I'm here to help." That remained to be seen. Cael stayed behind the strange Toa, but allowed Tuara to see her. She moved silently, using her powers to keep her footsteps from making noise in the water. If this man turned out to be trouble, she'd have the element of surprise. Though it hopefully wouldn't come to that: the healer still considered herself a pacifist, and would hate to break her streak of non-violence over an imagine threat. Her shoulder ached. The buzzing grew louder.
IC: Tuara Drigton - Le-WahiTuara's fear was quickly blinked out of her eyes. She made a threatening advance, one maybe two steps at the most before speaking. There was an intensity in her voice that was unmistakable: Ta-Koro was in her tone just as the fire was in her eyes. Tuara didn't flicker her gaze to Cael when she came into view. Avoiding giving her away, Tuara allowed herself an inner huge sigh of relief.Thank God Cael made it out alive."If you're with the Gukko Force, why are you out here alone," Tuara puffed out her chest, "I know Kongu doesn't like it when his men are without companions," she eyed the darkness suspiciously as she placed one hand on the hilt of her longstaff, stepping defensively in between the mysterious Toa and Utu behind her, "How do I know you aren't one of Echelon's."
Lear smiled calmly in the wavering light. The tide had turned as he'd feared, and every second brought the menacing horde of insects and cultists closer on the bloody trail to revenge. Hoping to appear less threatening he kept his place, hands moving to behind his head to rest on the back of his kanohi sanok. If it came to it, he would retreat to the shadows and do his best in the night as yet another prey for the fiery predator before him. A flicker of his eyes toward Utu gave him the knowledge of the unconscious companion's condition. Without a mask, the shell-creature was a threat not worth accounting for with death on the doorstep. Standing like a martyr in the swamps, he spoke with the fluid lilt of his people.
"I was assigned quick-fast to safe-guard you on Akiri's secret-order. My good name is Lear. If you want solid-proof take a look at my chest. See? Gukko."
IC: Tuara Drigton - Le-WahiTuara scowled hard. Kongu assigned a guard to her? What sort of danger was she in that she didn't share with the other members of the group? She flexed and relaxed her hands around her fingerless gloves, pulling her longstaff with the hammer-head on the end and held it at her side. She nodded to Cael in a relaxed manner before turning back to Utu, "Ok Lear," Tuara raised her voice to address the Toa of fire, "Cael," she raised an eyebrow as she stepped back to Utu, "In about 30 seconds we're going to have that swarm we off fly right into our little camp-site here," after she repositioned Utu's broken body against the edge of the swamp water she wiped her brow, trying to press away the blood, "Do either of you know what happened to the other-" Tuara stopped as the buzzing suddenly grew much more erratic. They simply didn't have time.We've got a specialist Forceman, a pacifist, and a might-as-well-be-dead mountain. Not bad all things considering. We could've had nobody."Cael, take Utu. I want you and Lear here to take him as far as you can out of here," She stepped towards Lear again who appeared to be checking out the surroundings, "Lear, you watch over Cael and the Toa of ice," Tuara seemed to address him absentmindedly as she snapped. Sparks and small flames burst from the striking of her fingers like matches, "I'll use my fire to draw them away while you two make a break for it. We'll need both of you intact if you're going to carry that chunk of flesh anywhere. Get out of the hive's radius and then send for help."Tuara wondered if Lear would object, considering what Kongu's instructions were. She sloshed to the edge of the swamp, lighting up again a flicker of a flame on her left thumb, her hammer end longstaff held tight in her opposite hand.
IC: Skyra Daring - Le-Wahi Jungles - Deep into the night -
The jungles were restless tonight, the normal actives from the rahi and other wildlife had seemingly been interrupted, the sounds I should have been hearing weren't there, replaced by much more aggravated cries. You wouldn't normally be able to tell the difference, unless you'd lived here your whole life, and didn't really have a life.
But seriously, something was up, and I had a pretty good idea what was up. Echelon... He was rumored to be out here, so close to my home. The nerve. More than likely, Team Joske and friends had found them. When I had returned from Kini-Nui they had already set out, I had decided to go look for them...well mostly Merror, but still.
My mind dwelled upon the Akiri's meeting as I leaped from tree branch to tree branch, heading closer to the source of the disturbance. The meeting had gone surprisingly better than I'd expected it too. In the end the Akiri had decided that the idea of war really sucked and that they should all just be buddies again. With lots of hugs and kisses they all made up.
At least that's how I remembered it. The point is war between the koros wasn't something anyone had to worry about anymore. Which was quite a load off my chest.
Clearly I had enough to worry about as it was. As I went deeper into the jungles I could hear faint buzzing...my eyes narrowed. "Nui-Rama..." That was never a good noise to hear, especially if it was a lot of buzzing.
A loud squawk too me by surprise as I nearly lost my balance on the tree branch that was currently supporting all my weight, I grabbed a whole of the trunk before I could fall. "Destiny!" I whisper loudly behind me, the Kahu was currently perched above me on a higher branch, looking at me with beady eyes. "I told you to stay! Stayyyyyyy!" She squawked in response, I sighed loudly.
Ignoring my ever-so-faithful companion, I leaped off the branch and began to rapidly descend toward the jungle floor. As I fell past a branch both my arms reached up to grab it, using the momentum to swing forward I let go of the branch, causing me to fall forward as well as down. With my powers I created a cushion of air as I landed on the ground, making my landing perfectly painless.
I started moving with due haste toward the buzzing, it became louder and more ambient with every step. I drew a katana, the Nui-Rama were nosy, but that didn't mean one couldn't sneak up on you if you weren't careful.
There was a sudden bright light that caught my attention, I stopped dead in my tracks and took cover behind a tree, more than likely the source of that light was a lightstone, judging by how it didn't seem to flicker like fire did. The current problem however was I didn't know who was over there, they could be friends, or enemies. I could hear voices, though over the sound of the buzzing I could not make out what they were saying, or even recognize the voices.
Carefully I began to move in closer, using the fauna as cover. I gripped my katana tightly. Please be Merror....please...
Lear lowered his hands as Cael strode past him. The toa of water had been surprisingly quiet sneaking up behind him, no doubt using her element to stifle the ripples and splashes. It was a technique Lear wouldn't forget. Gripping a disk from his leather thigh holsters, he tapped the weapon in thought while the buzzing grew closer. Utu was a goliath, and it was going to take more than just a wounded toa of water and a sniper to move him any great distance. Beyond this, there was Tuara: a toa of fire used to doing things her way, rashly, and without any real forethought. Lear blinked and counted the number of trees before darkness. There were three, a four hiding in the ephemeral realm Night's shadow and his lightstone.
"I propose a smarter fast-plan," Lear stated. "We have a healer, yes? Why not smart-use our abilities? I cannot break-end my orders from Akiri Kongu. While you are heal-cure I can sure-throw my disks at any buzz-flyers who get close. Then we can move to song-bright Le-koro as a unit." He watched Tuara begin to protest, but the cracking of underbrush caught his attention. Dropping instinctively into a throwing stance, he glared toward the sound's origin.
"We are not alone."
OOC: By permission from staff... Karzahni is about to break loose.
The beach near the edge of Le- and Ta-Wahi was as peaceful as ever. Hoi turtles scuttled amongst the rocks and the skies were alive with the song of Fishing birds occasionally diving to catch fish. It was midday and the sun shone directly from above, bathing the beach in light.
A small, frail boat washed ashore. It carried within it a Matoran hated and feared by many. Long ago she had attempted the ultimate crime: murdering a village leader, an Akiri, in cold blood. She had failed and paid the price of it: a death penalty in the form of being exiled from the island forever, doomed to die at sea.
However, for the first time in a long time, her blue feet touched the sands of the island of Mata Nui. Mere footsteps, some may say, but ones that would mean something very bad to the inhabitants of this land.
They humiliated me... exiled me, she thought. Hahli thought she had seen the last of me. How wrong she was.
Surina was back.
Back for revenge.
OOC: This was fairly important CD, so I thought I'd repost it.
LICK (Merror and Korero)
Merror rose early, kicking off the sheets and splashing cold water from a basin onto his maskless face, his well-trained body clock having woken him an hour before the sunrise. He returned the Calix to its place, and the mask regained its rich burgundy colour as he clipped his armour on. Slinging his sword sheathes onto his back and buckling his belt on, he left the Inn, dropping his key on the bar as he walked out into the virtually empty streets.
In the pre-dawn hour, even the village of parties was quiet and dark. The occasional lightstone lamp poured its honey-coloured glow onto the walkways, but the dim blueish twilight filled most of Merror's vision as he made his way towards the Gukko Force's gym. The door was unlocked (clearly Korero had his own key) and he pushed it open gently, stepping into the large room.
The Toa Maru was alone in the gymnasium, and it would have been hard to miss him even if it were crowded. His lithe green form span and swung in graceful arcs as he soared through the air, hands gripping two wooden gymnast's rings suspended by rope from the ceiling high above. The skill with which he used them could not be the product of practice alone; clearly, the First Toa's essences were not purely spiritual gifts.
Seeing Merror enter, he let go of the rings near the peak of his swing, his remaining momentum carrying him in a parabola up, level, and then down to land in a crouch only a few feet from the Toa of Fire, who nodded with an impressed smile as Korero straightened up.
"You look like you've been practising," he observed.
Korero gave a grunt-laugh, the corner of his mouth tugging up.
"Ever since I got here," he said. "I come here most mornings."
"Even so, I've never seen someone get to this level of skill in that time," Merror replied. "You must have some talent."
"Huh, well, I can thank Lewa for that."
"No," said Merror deliberately, "you can thank Mata Nui for that. Even with Lewa's essence, your achievements are your own. Don't live in your predecessor's shadow - you're more than he was."
Korero's smile became a little more relaxed.
"Heh," he said. "Thanks, Merror. That's a good way of thinking about it."
"Any time. So, what did you want to meet for?"
Korero breathed in, nodding and scratching the jawline of his mask.
"I want training," he said frankly. "You're right, I've made a lot of progress. But there are some things you can't teach yourself. I asked around a bit, and...well, there's not many people on this island that can fight like you. I want you to teach me."
Merror folded his arms, eyebrows raised in a slightly skeptical look.
"You're a Toa Maru, Korero," he said. "And you're looking to an old Toa like me to teach you to fight? You and your brothers outfoughtMakuta."
"Come on, Merror, you know that's not how it works," he said. "I've got the raw...power, I suppose, of a Maru. But before I became one, I was just a little scholar. The others, they were all in militaries as Matoran. Even Stannis was in the Guard once. They've got the experience, the combat hardening - things I just don't have, even from Lewa."
Merror nodded, allowing him to continue.
"But you do," Korero pressed on. "You've got years of experience more than all of us. You're a veteran, Merror. That's something no fancy destiny can buy."
"All right," Merror conceded, "I suppose I can help you in that respect."
"Thank you," said Korero. "Now, I don't need much. Lewa's imprint gave me good enough reflexes and basic fighting ability, and the Guard gave me some training - I've got the foundations. I know how to fight. But you can teach me how to win."
Merror stared pensively at Korero for a short while. He hadn't taught anyone for a long time, much less the kind of skills Korero was asking for. But there was something about the young Maru...sure, he was one of the island's destined protectors...but there was a drive in his eyes and his voice, a determination, and it reminded him more than a little of himself.
"Yes," he said at last. "I'll teach you."
And suddenly, without any warning, Merror's fist was shooting at his gut. Korero instinctively moved to dodge, but nonetheless he was caught off-guard by the out-of-the-blue attack and it caught his side, winding him and knocking him away.
"What?!" he gasped, trying to pull air into his emptied lungs as he staggered away.
"Lesson one," said Merror, striding calmly towards him. "Be prepared at every moment, on every side."
Korero was ready for the next punch, ducking out of the way and grabbing Merror's outstretched arm, bringing it into a lock from a classic Mata Nui martial art, while shifting his weight to properly counter the Toa of Fire's. He smiled defiantly at Merror, less than a foot between their masks.
"Lesson two," the veteran continued. "Never expect your opponent to play fair."
Stars exploded in Korero's vision, and he fell back, clutching his head. The older Toa had headbutted him.
"What the karz are you doing?" he asked in shock.
Suddenly, strong hands were helping him back to his feet. As his vision returned, he saw Merror's face smiling apologetically at him.
"I'm sorry," he said earnestly. "But that was an invaluable lesson, and there are few other ways to teach it. Besides, it's out of the way now. Do you think you've learned it?"
Korero though for a moment, still frowning a little at Merror.
"Yeah," he said, his expression becoming calm once more. "I understand. And I won't forget that lesson in a hurry."
"Good," said Merror, smiling, and picked up a flask of cool water from nearby, handing it to Korero. "Take this to stop it swelling."
Korero pressed the flask to his forehead. Merror's 'lesson' had been a shock...but now that he thought about it, it was exactly what he'd asked for. This was certainly going to be an interesting morning...
Half an hour later, the two were sparring with Merror's swords - maskless, for greater gain, but more casually. Merror had already shown Korero half a dozen techniques the latter would never have thought of on his own, and was now describing the best ways to incapacitate members of various species.
"Toa, Turaga and Matoran are obvious," he said, parrying one of Korero's lunges. "Go for the mask."
Korero nodded as he writhed out of the way of Merror's riposte.
"Skakdi, aim for the spine," he continued. "Vortixx tend to rely on their tech to help them - find a way to disable it."
"What about Lesterin?" the younger Toa asked, sidestepping another jab.
"No powers, but they can use Kanohi and sometimes have foreign tech," Merror replied. "If they do, go for that first. Besides that, you just fight them the old-fashioned way."
"Right," said Korero, his quick mind absorbing the information as his body automatically blocked and followed up.
As the sun rose, the Toa took a break from their intense training, sitting on the edge of the platform that supported the gym. The last half-hour had covered various martial arts moves and tactics. Merror was summarily impressed with Korero. The ex-historian's fantastic memory seemed to have a physical side that had lain undiscovered as a Matoran; every motion, every technique that Merror demonstrated was absorbed and replicated with amazing precision. The Toa Maru of Air was the fastest learner he'd ever seen.
"Now, that mask of yours..." he said, as the two bit into meat-filled sandwiches as breakfast. "I've heard the basics. Give me the details."
Korero explained the workings and strictures of the Hiko as they ate; how he could control his orientation but not his momentum, could take up to twice his weight with him...et cetera, et cetera.
Merror grinned, shaking his head in what was more admiration than envy.
"Oh, the things you could do with that mask..." he said.
"Haha, you're telling me," Korero replied. "I've come up with some pretty interesting uses for it."
"I'm sure you have," said Merror, "but have you tried......."
Korero's eyes widened in comprehension.
"Ahhhh," he said. "Now that's an idea. And then I could..."
Merror nodded in approval. Korero had taken his idea and run with it in a way he hadn't foreseen. This boy would go far.
Over the next hour, they worked on throwing skill, tactics for multiple opponents, stealth, and element use. With every moment that they trained together, Korero's respect for Merror grew and grew. The myriad skills and strategies he'd picked up over the years were an edge in combat that was difficult to match. He felt uniquely privileged to have had them shared with him.
As for Merror, he was simply astounded at the speed at which Korero had picked everything up. Certainly he'd need to practice them again later, and he had a lot of strength and conditioning to build up, but the Le-Toa had retained every detail immediately. He hadn't had to repeat a single demonstration; everything was instantly ingrained in Korero's memory.
By the time other beings were arriving in the gym, the duo were already heading out of the door, towels over shoulders, definitely tired from the intensity of the session but far from exhausted; Merror had been saving a lot of energy in preparation for the likely confrontation the day would hold, and Korero was running on adrenaline. He turned to the Toa of Fire as they made their way back towards the Bright-Star, the platforms of Le-Koro already bustling with life and music as the day got underway.
"I can't thank you enough for that, Merror," Korero said.
"I think you may have earned it when you saved the island," he replied wryly.
"Well, when you put it that way..."
Merror nodded, giving Korero a comradely bump on the shoulder.
"I trust you'll put it to good use," he said. "I can see what kind of person you are, Korero. People with power as great as yours are rare indeed...and those with the spirit strong enough not to let their fight corrupt them are even rarer."
Korero was about to thank Merror for his words, when there was a tug at his elbow.
"Toa-hero Korero, Akiri Kongu wish-speaks your presence," said the Force messenger, with a salute.
"Where is he?" Korero asked.
"Heading to the Bright-Star Inn, I would think-believe."
Without further ado, Korero clapped a hand onto Merror's shoulder and activated the Hiko - and one white flash later, they were standing in the Inn's foyer, just in time to see Kongu address Joske and Cael.
IC: Tuara Drigton - Le-WahiTuara would have dropped down as herself if it wasn't for the sudden outburst of Nui-Rama swarming into the clearing, "!" The Toa of fire didn't have time to enact the original plan. She threw up her left hand, sending a pillar of fire above her head as she pulled back towards the group, the fire still coming forth. After pulling herself to the apex of the small clearing Tuara realized just how terrifying the image before the three-not-counting-Utu really was. The constant flurry of wings and claws spun around the pillar of fire like a tornado. She grit her teeth and readjusted her grip on her hammer which was covered in swamp water and sweat.
IC: Skyra Daring - Le-Wahi -
The buzzing was becoming more intense, coming from all around me. As I took a peak into the clearing ahead of me Nui-Rama swarmed in by the dozens. I had little time to process this as a huge pillar of fire shot toward the sky. The fire brightened the area even further, allowing me to see everyone present in the clearing. I immediately recognized Tuara, Cael, and was that Utu!? The ###### appeared to be unconscious. The last one was a Toa of Air that I had definitely seen before, couldn't remember his name, just knew he was on the Force.
I didn't have time to think about this however as I stepped into the clearing, holding my katana more purposely than before, I stretched out my left hand and unleashed torrents of air meant to push as many Nui-Rama as possible into Tuara's pillar of fire in order to set them ablaze. The less we had to fight the better. The others seemed quite surprised to see me, but there wasn't anytime to say hello, we had Rama to fight.
"Is it just me," said Kunitu as the veteran guardswoman dropped down from a canopy to where her minion protege colleague was sitting, "or can you smell the smoke too?"
IC:A Toa of Air flew through the sky, barrel rolling in sheer euphoria. He entered into a power dive, the jungle below zooming towards him, a green fuel for the adrenaline rush that powered his love of the skies.
"Freedom like this," he thought,"is what I live for."
As the jungle grew dangerously close, Cyclonis, the Green Tornado, pulled up sharply at the last second, flying parallel to the canopy, disturbing a flock of birds that had landed nearby.
There was a series of clicks and whistles between them and another, who fell in alongside Cyclonis. A Gukko flew, not quite keeping pace with the raw power of Cy's Kadin. On it's back, a Toa of Sonics rode along, a friend of both bird and beast. He smiled, shouting to be heard above the rush of the wind, "You should quit scaring the birds, my friend."
Kivar turned his attention back to the jungle he loved, taking in what never ceased to amaze him-the beauty of the jungle. From the flowers to the fruit, from the leaves to the stumps of the forest floor, from the insects to the insectivores-he treasured them all. A rich canopy of noises flowed from each and every places, quiet and beautiful, but never too loud for his sensitive ears.
Below, a darker being lurked, anticipating the return of his friends. A very small gap in the canopy of the rainforest revealed the passing Gukko to him, and he dashed forward with such vigor that one could have scarcely believe their eyes, if there had been anyone to watch-such was the nature of the Calix, that said to be the Mask of Fate. The energy of the run became a series of impossible leaps as he bounced between two trees, his power rendering him of such little weight that he have done so without any effort at all. Reaching the canopy, he sprung up and above, it impossibly high were it not for the fact that he was a Toa of Gravity. He floated gently down onto the back of Echo, the Gukko Bird of whom Cy and Kivar were both fond. He sat back to back with Kivar, and he didn't speak-he didn't need to. Vorok was a man of many words only when the occasion called.
Kivar smiled warmly. "Good to see you, friend."
"The same to both of you, my fellow Toa Phantoka. Where to today?"
"Wherever the winds of Destiny take us, my brothers, and wherever the sound of Duty calls." Cyclonis answered.
OOC:Curious as to what's going on with Tuara, Cael, Utu, Skyra, Lear, etc.-it seems to be the only major ongoings in this topic at the moment. May I ask a summary? If it involves lots of Nui-Rama angry-buzz, then Kivar is ever-sure to hear it.
OOC Tabby, our little situation is happening at night, so it looks like our timelines are off. :c Sorry!
(not to mention we've already had a couple people randomly jump in so any more would be too much Daedra Syndrome for me to handle. next time though!)
“What are you doing?” Cael shouted. “They're not infected!”
The air filled with the stench of burning Rama as the loud buzzing was quickly overwhelmed by the shrieks of dying insects.
Her shoulder hurt; her head was pounding. The healer was in no shape do anything more than cower behind the Guards, but she didn't. She reached out with her mind, feeling and testing the water that made up the swamp they were standing in. They were surrounded by her element, and, even in her current state, that meant she was powerful.
She took hold of as much water as she could, then pulled with all her might. Her gut wrenched as the water answered, and as she threw out her arms, the water beneath her feet mirrored her actions and threw itself into the air in a mighty wave. The airborne tsunami crashed over the swarm, knocking them out of the air and carrying them to the ground with an enormous splash, dousing them in the swamp.
For a moment, all was quiet, save for Cael's laboured breathing. A series of coughs wracked her body, and the last one brought forth blood.
“Let's get going before their wings dry,” she managed. “It won't be long.”
IC: Tuara Drigton - Le-WahiTuara had frozen in place, drenched in swamp water from Cael's sudden onslaught of water. She looked unexpectedly at the Toa of water with an odd look in her own eyes. Tuara took a couple strides towards her and shoved past the gentle Toa, gripping Utu by his collar, "Sounds good to me," She turned on her heel and began dragging the Toa if ice in the water to the edge of the clearing. The group continued on for a good ten minutes, Tuara in the lead. It was all about moving out of the Rama's radius.After a moment Tuara stopped. She needed to catch her breath, and the bleeding was soaking through the bandages. ###### field medic work. She tossed Utu against a tree and dropped down against her own. Her lungs where working far too hard and her heart was pumping more blood out her side than was probably healthy, "Did you see if any of the others got clear Cael?"
Amongst the lush vegetation of Le-Wahi, a small camp stood. Made hastily from leaves and branches, it was still enough for Surina. She could not afford to visit a village at this point of time. She didn't know how well-known her previous assassination attempt was, but Le-Koro was the last place she would like to venture to. Viima, her ex-boyfriend and now-enemy, lived in that village and if he spotted her...
I need to find camouflage, Surina thought. A new mask maybe, and maybe do some colour changes. Otherwise I will never be able to do anything on this island without having to worry about the consequences.
Surina considered herself fortunate to have made it back at all. Now, it was all a matter of patience. It would not do to rush into action like she did last time. She had learnt from her past mistakes. She knew there would not be a third attempt at killing Hahli.
In her mind, Surina made a list of the actions she should take. It started from altering her colouring so she would not be recognized while buying a mask.
Surina started walking away from her camp. She knew what she was looking for. From Viima she had learned long ago that a species of berries called Kuja* appeared in various colours; and better, could be used as paint to change colourings for short term.
It did not take long for Surina to find Kuja berries. They were fairly common in Le-Wahi, after all. As Viima had told her, there was a myriad of colours in which the berries came in. Deciding that her best bet was going to Ta-Koro, Surina chose the red-coloured berries and experimented with them for a while, until she learned how to cover her entire body with the sticky Kuja juice without seeming off place.
After an hour or so, she was ready. Now completely bright red, she would pass as a Ta-Matoran easily. Surina felt a flush of pride as she looked at a reflection of herself in a puddle of water.
Now... I'm ready.
OOC: *Yes, homage to the great epic Time Disruption by Xccj.
OOC: This post contains a flashback-jam between me and Gravity, and is much longer than I originally intended
As he regained consciousness, the first thing relayed to Merror by his senses was the feeling of a dusty, gritty floor against his face. His bare, maskless face. With a restrained gasp, he shifted his weight slightly and opened his eyes. He was met by pitch blackness. Where was he?
He blinked and shifted again, muscles sore and slow to respond, trying to raise himself into a sitting position - and immediately registered that he felt a great pressure against his legs. Trying to move them, he found it impossible. He managed to prop himself up on one elbow, coughing (his throat felt like it was coated in sandpaper), and raised his other hand to conjure a small flame. The sheer effort it took to perform even such a small elemental act could not be down to lack of mask alone; his energy reserves must have been drained.
As the tongue of fire flared into life in his palm, its light danced over his surroundings, illuminating a rough-hewn tunnel, strewn with boulders and scree; all of it cold, grey rock. It prompted memories, and Merror closed his eyes and sighed. Of course - the battle with Echelon. Things had not gone as planned; with the Dark Toa they rarely did. It had got ugly, on both sides...the Toa of Fire winced. Some of those details he'd rather have forgotten. For his part, he'd gone to engage Echelon personally, but found his way barred by an all-too-familiar colossus...
Two burning orbs, their depths seeming to be crafted from glass spheres of blood, gazed down upon the silver-armored warrior from atop a hulking mass of muscle. They regarded the Toa Astha of Fire with an unsettling gleam of intelligence.
“Toa Merror,” Onuzek rumbled in his thunderous, gravelly bass, the title of Toa sounding more like an insult than a term of respect that it normally was used as. “A pity we should meet under such circumstances. A tragedy, one could say.”
Merror's grip tightened on his twin swords, the flames that rippled along them brightening slightly. He met Onuzek's gaze with a frown of stern defiance. "I thought I rid you of that thing," he replied, clearly referring to the rusted Kanohi on the massive Toa's face.
"A minor setback, yes," Onuzek said musingly, as if conversing with Merror on something slightly amusing, "Though I should probably thank you and your team, I suppose. If it weren't for your valiant efforts, I would never have found this replacement. Wild Kraata are so much easier to control than those under the sway of the former Master of Shadows. The Kanohi are less... commanding."
Merror's mouth curled into a grimace of disgust and anger. "Who were you, Onuzek?" he asked, still holding his ground but with his swords held ready. "Before this? How can that mask still change you even when its master is dead?"
"A puppet without strings is very much still a puppet, Toa Merror."
Considering the situation, the massive mountain of a Toa was still very much relaxed, in fact he seemed uncharacteristically unconcerned. He was not still, but nor was he moving in any major way. His oversized arms were crossed neatly over his broad chest, while his equally huge broadsword was still sling across his hunched back. Onuzek hadn't made a single threatening move as of yet, though it surely made one with Merror's experience even more cautious than if the brute had taken a swing at him.
Merror began to circle around Onuzek, moving left and slightly forwards with each step, his gaze never leaving the Ba-Toa.
"Will you, Toa Merror?" The hulking Toa of Gravity asked, "Are you so blinded by your self-proclaimed righteousness that you believe that I am worse off with this than I ever was before? Do you think yourself better than I? Who are you to decided whether or not I should be saved. What gives you the right to choose such a life for me?"
Onuzek gave no time for a reply, for moved into action like a statue suddenly springing to life. With a single fluid motion, the Toa of Gravity uncrossed his arms, levelling for a moment his rifle in his hand, which had been hidden beneath his bulk, before slamming a Pakari-enhanced fist into the ground. The resultant shockwave shook the walls around.
Merror barely managed to keep his footing (with help from the Calix). Was Onuzek trying to bring the ceiling down on them?! He raised his swords, palms fitting perfectly around the time-worn leather grips, and broke into a run.
So had begun a duel of bodies and wits; Onuzek’s huge brute strength and uncanny intelligence against Merror’s speed, agility and dexterity, with more than a few bursts of fire and gravitic energy. It was made no easier by the Infected Toa’s taunts; evidently Echelon had told his ally more than a little of their history. But he’d steeled himself against it, and fought at his very best; there were as many moments when he was millimetres from unmasking Onuzek as there were when the latter was moments from crushing him.
Opening his eyes again, Merror sighed at what the tongue of flame’s light revealed in front of him: everything below his waist was trapped beneath a large piece of rubble. The armour on his torso was scratched and coated in rock-dust, with the occasional dried trickle of blood. A brief check of his injuries revealed nothing life-threatening; a few cuts, and lots and lots of bruises. That didn’t, of course, account for the rock he was stuck under.
He muttered a curse against Echelon as he ran his eyes over the stone. He should have seen it coming; the Necromancer always had something up his sleeve, especially when he’d had time to prepare. Obviously he’d done just that.
There’d been a break in the fighting between he and Onuzek as both heads were turned by screams that rose above even the sounds of battle around, coming from the centre of the cavern.
Agni, eyes closed, lying motionless on the cold stone floor.
Dorian, floating in the air, limbs twitching in agony.
Echelon, fist outstretched, vindictive hatred twisting his features.
Then Onuzek had taken advantage of his distraction and beaten him back, gaining the upper hand and pressing it. Moments later, there was a flash of orange, again at the cave’s centre, and another scream - this time Echelon’s - as the Dark Toa hurtled back, cloak ablaze, towards the cave’s exit. Casting the burning cloth away, Echelon had raised his hand once more. Merror had glimpsed his face, bearing a narrow-eyed cross between a furious grimace and a triumphant sneer -
And explosions had erupted through the hollow space, blasting the rough stone pillars into shards and filling his senses with light and noise. He’d staggered back as the cavern began to shake, dust and stones falling from the ceiling, soon followed by larger and larger pieces of rock. Echelon and his associates had disappeared; he helped a fallen Cael to her feet and pushed her in the direction of the others and the way they’d entered, with only the shortest of shouted instructions over the din of the collapsing cave: go, get out, run.
He’d been the last to reach the entrance to the winding tunnel that had led them into this mess - by then, even that had begun to fall apart as well, and moments later, everything had gone black.
The roof of the tunnel had fallen in on top of him, it seemed; a falling rock must have dislodged his mask and knocked him into unconsciousness. And now here he was, alive and kicking. Except not the latter, thanks to this accursed boulder. Time to remedy that.
Slipping his hands beneath the chunk of rock, he heaved with all his might. Nothing. He relaxed, gathering his determinations, and tried again - and again, his exhausted muscles could not move the rock an inch. A third time he tried, face contorted in effort, before falling back to the ground, coughing, defeated.
Looking back, he saw a patch of red among the piles of stones - his Calix, lying only a few feet away. If he could just reach it, he was sure it would give him the strength to free himself…he stretched out his arm as far as he possibly could, desperately twisting his back for greater reach; but his fingers grasped at empty air, tantalisingly close, and try as he might he could not reach it.
He closed his eyes and let his arm go limp. He couldn’t move the rock. He couldn’t reach the mask. He couldn’t escape.
OOC: Please don't rush in and try to save Merror; I've already got interaction planned
I wish I could say I was visited by three spirits of Naming Days past, present, and future to help me regain consciousness. I wish I could say that something in my heart kickstarted my vital systems all at once to wake me up. I wish one of my friends had been here to shake my shoulder a little and rouse me - I wish my Kolhii star had been waiting by my bedside all night, like a friend should. Like I would do for him. But alas, what finally brought Dorian Shaddix back to the land of the living?
The persistent dinging of my handy-dandy, patented Hot-Nurse-a-Tron 3300.
"Shaddix, Dorian," she said to the patient record she was currently poring over, with a coy smile that reminded me of another cute doctor. "Feeling chipper after your latest brush with death?"
"Crawl under the covers and find out?"
"Awww. I'm taken."
"Well, that makes two of us, then."
She laughed and stood up, closing my folder and tossing it onto my chest. Something about her walk was a little familiar, but I disregarded it and shrugged it off after a second; no point in dissecting the walk when I could just watch it happen. She turned around and said, "I'll be sure to let the doctor know you're doing okay."
"You're not gonna come back for me yourself? I'm a wounded hero," I pouted.
"I would love to," she sighed sadly, with another flirty smile and an exaggerated wave, "but I'm out for lunch with my twin. See you around, Shaddix, Dorian."
She's a twin?
"Fraternal or identical?" I called out, while she was still just outside the room.
"Wander into another explosion!" she called out, laughing. "If you survive long enough to get here, maybe I'll tell you."
She reminded me of another girl, now: a cop this time. But Tuara was gone; they all were gone, weren't they? Who else had gotten out? Joske had thrown Cael and come back for me...God, what had I done, I was so stupid, I'd thought...I'd just tried...I'd...what had I done, again? The explosion was so big, so bold, it had sucked up everything in sight and Echelon had flung me like a Kolhii ball trying to outrace it, and I'd hit ground and...it was about something.
Utu. It was something about Utu. I'd tried...
It didn't bear thinking about. No doubt one of the others would love to remind me what exactly it was I did that got them all killed. Oh, right, they couldn't, not if I'd gotten them all killed. The thoughts hit me in full motion, again, ideas and concepts and conclusions without evidence or memory to sustain them: Echelon had gotten away and it was all for nothing, it was all for Utu, Utu had gotten them all killed, I'd gotten them killed, Cael hadn't made it, Agni burned alive, Merror had never gotten his revenge, Tuara was gone, Tuara, Tuara, Tuara...Joske. Joske had to have made it out, Joske couldn't be dead, Joske would come for me, Joske loved to save people, didn't he? He couldn't be dead. He was my Kolhii star.
I should have died with him.
The fight left me at once and I slumped down in bed just in time to hear someone laugh brokenly in the cot next to me. A walking bruise, shades of purple and mottled green and a noble build, a noble profile. Distinctive profile. He muttered something to do with "You're looking more broken up than I am. That's new." and I blinked a couple times at the voice as I slumped back down.
Finally, it hit me as he turned his head: I knew this particular walking bruise. A stone hit me in the gut and began to sank.
We looked at each other for a long moment, and then turned back to the ceiling. Our sins floated in the air, dark and thick, with nothing around to clear them away.
IC: Aerus (That Place In Which The Battle Took Place Where Everyone Else Is Except For The Ones Outside, Le-Wahi)
I can't feel my hand.
I think it's my left. I'm not sure. I can't see it, I can't confirm it. It's so dark. God, it's so dark.
Everywhere is sore, apart from my lower arm. I can't feel it at all. Is it still there? I can't see.
In, and out.
My shoulder hurts. I'm pretty sure it's my left. It must be my left hand I've lost.
The numbness will wear out. For now, you just have to breathe.
No one is coming for me. I'm going to die here. They left me.
You have to get yourself out.
What's the point? How can I escape? Why bother?
I try to stand, but my good arm gives out beneath me. It's pointless.
No it's not. You can make it.
Suddenly, a flame flickers slightly further along, offering some illumination. I don't look down at my arm. I can't bear to.
Get to the light.
I push myself up, ignoring the pain that sears through my right arm. My left hangs against my side, dead weight. I may as well have a block of wood attached to my elbow.
Not too much further.
I steadily approach the Toa who is holding the fire. My thoughts are becoming less disjointed -- the panic is flowing away.
His mask is on the ground. A red Calix. I think he's seen me. What was his name?
His hand is stretching out toward the mask. I look down at it, then back to him.
Hand it to him.
I pick up the mask, placing it into his hand. The lower half of his body is trapped underneath rubble. We're in a cave.
There was a fight.
Echelon was there.
He destroyed the cave. They had a plan.
They left me.
They always leave you. They always will.
Is he expecting us to follow through?
On the defection? Maybe. Let's try our hand at making some decisions for ourselves.
No. I'm done. I'm tired of hurting people.
I stand over the Toa, freed from the burden of Elax's presence once again. A short moment of weakness, nothing more. Still, I avoid looking at my left arm. I'll keep that for once we're out. The Toa shouldn't be suspicious, not after I helped him; he'll just think I'm in shock, or something to that effect.
Maybe I don't have Joske to tail, but Echelon's favourite nemesis will be a suitable substitute until the time when the team is reunited.
Of the small band, Lear was the only one not gasping for breath at the end of their sprint through the marsh. His lower body reeked of bog water, but more pressing issues held his attention. The first on a long list was his companion's wounds.
"Cael," he started, trying to find the best way to ask the exhausted healer. "Please sana-heal yourself if you can. Tuara too." He glanced sympathetically at the two women, then reached for Utu's unconscious body. Tuara held on tightly, unsure whether or not Lear really was on their side after the catastrophe in the Legacy's cave and defiant to release the cause for all their troubles.. "I'll strong-carry him. Don't you worry-fret."
The buzzing of more nui-rama in the night seemed to make the decisions for the trio, Lear pulling out a sharp throwing disk preemptively with Utu lounging on his shoulder like the goliath of grain sacks. Falling into his mind, the sniper felt the wind currents, searching for the signs of danger in the dark sky as disruptions in the air. There were plenty, and as his eyes flickered open from the meditation, he waved with the disk toward Cael. "Please heal!"
Merror opened his eyes with a jolt as he felt cold metal press against his palm. The sight of Echelon's emissary standing over him did nothing to alleviate his tension - but he relaxed when, to his surprise, he realised that the object Aerus had placed in his hand was none other than his Calix.
"Thank you," he managed to cough out through his ragged-feeling windpipe. He placed the mask back on his face, feeling strength and energy flow back into him even as its colour brightened back to a healthy burgundy. Fixing his eyes on the boulder with new determination, he slid his fingers under it and heaved once more. With a scraping sound, the rock began to budge upwards. Soon he was able to get a forearm beneath it, then two, and then shove the whole thing down parallel to him with an echoing thud.
He rose to his feet, wincing a little as pins and needles sparked down his legs as blood rushed back into them. He took a few slow, unsteady steps towards where his swords had fallen nearby, and turned to face Aerus as he sheathed them on his back, leaning against the wall of the tunnel.
"Thank you for helping me," he repeated in as calm and friendly a voice as he could muster given the state he was in. "What was your name?"
IC: Aerus (The Cave, Le-Wahi)"Aerus," I smile weakly, feigning shock. I don't want my emotions to seem out of place compared to how shaky I am. "You're Merror, right? I remember Echelon mentioned you."
Merror returned the smile, but followed it with a raised eyebrow.
"Did he now? I'm sure he had lots of nice things to say about me."
He pushed himself away from the wall and drew one of his swords (not threateningly), and conjured flames along the blade which he then held aloft as a torch, the brighter flames illuminating further down the tunnel. He peered down it into the blackness, then looked back down to Aerus.
"Why did he abandon you here?" he asked. "And why did you help me?"
The questions weren't aggressive; they were obvious questions given their apparent respective allegiances, and Merror's voice was tinged with an understandable hint of wariness.
I walked to the door of the building. I poised my hand to knock.
Do I really want to do this?
A clear resounding yes echoed in my head. It was a bit more muffled than I would have liked it to be.
I knocked on the door of the Le-koro Gukko Force recruitment center.
OOC: Matrixa is open for interaction. Those of you who thought that I could not make a character that was lawful good, please pay in you bets now.
IC: Aurora -- in a prison cell
I repetedly tapped my foot on the bars of the cell, while staring at my new mask. It was a powerless version of the one I once wore, but it still held one thing in common with it. The infection. I carfuly took my finger around the edges of the mask looking for some sign of infection. After a good amount of time, I found a nice rust spot. I placed my powerless mask onto my face.
I wasn't going to be here long. Better annoy the other inmates while I still could.
OOC: So, I am going to play as a guards women, WHILE playing jailbreak.
Aurora open for interaction as well.
IC: Skyra Daring - Le-Wahi -
While we had escaped the wrath of the Nui-Rama for now, their constant buzzing in the far distance reminded us that we weren't out of the woods...or jungle, as it were.
Cael and Tuara were wounded and needed medical attention. I knew basic first aid, and a few things Liara had taught me, but when it came down to it I wasn't a field medic.
"My Kahu is perched in the trees somewhere around here...she could carry you two and Utu back to Le-koro..." I said, speaking for the first time since I'd stumbled into this mess. First priority was to get the wounded to safety obviously, then I'd go back and look for the others.
Only problem was, if I called for Destiny, I would most likely attract the attention of the Rama, or something even worse.
"Tuara, let me see."
The Toa of Fire grudgingly allowed the healer to inspect her abdominal wound. As far as she could tell, it wasn't deep enough to have cut into any internal organs, but it was still bleeding badly. Her hands were already crimson.
Taking a deep breath, Cael activated her mask and allowed her energy to pour into Tuara's battered body. Before her eyes, the torn flesh began to knit itself back together, each ragged muscle gradually becoming whole. The wound, previously red, began to glow a gentle blue, turning Tuara's skin a weird shade of purple. The glow sputtered as the healer's energy flagged, but she pushed through until the injury sealed shut. It was far from perfect: an ugly, half-formed scar marked the place where Tuara had been cut, a far cry from Cael's usual healings, which, ideally, erased all sign that an injury had ever existed. But these were hardly ideal conditions.
"That's all I can do," she gasped. "I don't have anything else. Even if I did, I can't heal myself."
Her shoulder throbbed; her mouth tasted unpleasantly metallic. The outpouring of energy had been necessary, but she wasn't doing herself any favours. If she pulled any more stunts, she'd be lucky to stay conscious.
Surina spent the rest of the evening preparing herself for a trip to Ta-Koro. The Kuja paint had made her a very convincing Ta-Matoran, but she knew it was only permanent. If it started to rain, or if she rubbed against vegetation too much, the paint would fade. She had to be careful.
Surina had a small bag with her, left over from her exile in the boat. It had contained supplies then. Now it contained a healthy stock of Kuja berries. In her hand, Surina now carried a hastily sharpened spear, made from a sturdy-looking branch. Not a formidable weapon, but better than nothing.
Surina knew that buying a new mask in Ta-Wahi meant one new problem - money. Surina didn't have any widgets with her. Back in Ga-Koro, she had been very rich, but there was no doubt her hut had long ago been sold to someone else. Her money had probably been added to Hahli's reserves or the Ga-Koro Bank.
That was why her next target was the beach, once again. Surina had to get something to sell to merchants in Ta-Koro. There was only one thing in the jungle she could think of that would provide sufficient profit for a Kanohi. Looking underneath rocks and crevices, Surina searched feaverishly for Hoi turtles. Their shells were worth something, she new.
As night set on the island, Surina continued her hunt for turtles. It was a rough start, but it would all be worth it in the end...
OOC: Eventually... Surina to Ta-Wahi.
I hate you, you hate me, let’s team up and...I don’t know how to finish that but that’s my relationship with Vohu in a nutshell. Hate hate hate and more freaking hate. Every step of the way, this big, sadistic, downright HIDEOUS monstrosity has taken the glamorous opportunity of attempting to turn me into a bloody carcass. Near-death experiences? Got plenty of ‘em now. Can’t count how many times my life’s flashed before my eyes but it’s to the point where the big man’s getting tired of putting the same thing on replay so instead, he’s turning me clairvoyant. Honest. Seriously though, just picture me, Alfon, the greatest prophet Mata-Nui’s ever known, preaching about the end times ‘till I’m running my very own cult. The island will worship me and women will adore me.
Nope, too awful to think about. Point being, I’ve tried to kill Vohu, he’s tried to kill me but our attempts were pretty darn vain. Which is why we’ve come to grudgingly accept our partnership at one point during our loveless career together. Doesn’t mean we don’t fight and yes, I admit, murderous plots nearly come to fruition at times on both accounts yet compared to before, it’s been relatively smooth sailing. Over time, we’ve become accustomed to each other, efficient in our work and I find myself thinking less and less about what he’d taste like in a stew. Dare I say, we make a good team.
Which is why today, I’m not afraid to take him out for a spin. Wait, that was poor wording. What I meant to say is I’m not terrified. Even as I stand on the other side of his pen, the subdued rage in its vibrant blue eyes sends a shiver down my spine. I unlock the gate and walk towards the beast, cautious in my approach. Vohu’s wings buzz alertly, his posture shifts, poised to strike, and his hands claw absent-mindedly at the floor as always. Not a moment too soon, I’m sitting on his back and I can feel the tense, awkwardness that never seems to fade between the two of us.
Together, we fly out into the sunlit sky, soaring high above the trees until nothing can touch us. No matter how many times I leave the ground, my heart’s left pumping like mad and adrenaline courses through my veins. For the briefest of moments, I feel free as can be. We roam the Wahi, patrolling its sectors as it is our duty though a rapid blur nabs my attention. From afar, it appeared to be any ordinary Rama but something protruded from its back. Another Rama Rider. I steer Vohu in its direction until Arjun comes plainly into view.
“Arjun!” I call out, steadily closing the gap between the two of us. “Ooooh Arjuuuuuun!”
OOC: If you don't want Alfon around, just shoot me a PM and I'll edit that last bit.
Arjun's scanning yielded nothing. Aside from a few Nui Rama buzzing about, the jungle below seemed calm this afternoon. Sure there might be a few questionable goings moving around down there, but without a mask of X-Ray vision there would be no way to see through Le-Wahi's thick canopy. As he turned around and scanned toward the direction of the Le-Koro tree, he caught a speck coming toward him. Another Nui Rama? It looked like it. Zooming in with his eye piece he picked out that it was being ridden by another Toa- it was Alfon! The two hadn't talked much since training started, and Arjun could only imagine why. If Alfon's training went anything like Arjun's, he spent too much time fearing for his life to engage in small talk.
"Okay, Hashara, we're about to have some company-"
Hashara wasn't a (completely) stupid animal- he knew when another Nui Rama was in his airspace, and he didn't care much for it. Before Arjun could finish his sentence, the insect shot up in an attempted lunge, practically throwing Arjun from the saddle. Fortunately Hashara frequently attempted this move, and if there's one thing Arjun learned it was how to hang on and stay on. Sure enough, after getting an uncomfortable amount of air, he plopped right back into the saddle, where he proceeded to give Hashara a smack.
"You buck me I hit you," he said. "That's how this is going to work." Hashara just buzzed. Typical.
He called out to the Toa as he approached. "Alfon! Like mine I see your mount hasn't succeeded in killing you yet. Here's hoping they keep failing." When he got closer, he offered a mock salute and, with a more serious tone: "I guess you're out here patrolling as well? I've been in the air a good part of this afternoon and haven't seen anything, at least in this part of the island. Any news from the Koro?"
"Bingo." I affirm upon approach, returning Arjun's salute. "I haven't been up here very long but I haven't spotted anything either. The usual."
Mundane as patrolling sounded, taking to the air never got old nor did I really tire of it. Flying always brought me a refreshing new wave of excitement to otherwise regular days, and with it, probably the biggest paycheck I'll ever get. For once in my life, money's not an issue. I live in a nice house, made a few new friends, my job rocks (somewhat) and my pet's man-eater bug. What else can I ask for?
"Nope, I got nothing from the Koro. Regular ol' day."
Yet why should it be? Why indeed...hmmm...what to do. Oh, I know.
"You don't have to tag along but I was thinking of visiting Pala-Koro, say hi to a few old friends if they're still around and check up on things."
IC: Tuara Drigton - Le-WahiTuara furrowed her brow into a little scowl, "You used the last on me?" She pushed off the tree as Lear let out a low breath with Utu's added weight, he's knees falling far. Even for a tip-top-shape Toa such as Lear, Utu was too big for him alone to carry. Tuara had a mask of strength and found him still rather heavy. She looked to Skyra, "Skyra, I seriously doubt Destiny could carry us if Utu's involved. The Kahu would be too slow, and as soon as you break the trees, the Rama will rip you apart."The Toa of fire chewed on her lip for a moment, looking off aimlessly, "Utu's our biggest burden right now, we need to get him out of the way. If we can figure out how to take care of him we'll have less to worry about."Angry.Often people try to lend complexity to the descriptions of emotions. I'll admit I understand why. Feelings are complicated. Complicated, icky, gooey things. But still complicated. And whether you're a genius or just a sort of "i'm-here-kinda-taking-up-space" sorta person, you all feel them. But that doesn't mean that we have to push for poetic prowess in our reflections, or look for a way to make things less digestible for the people around us just because we want to appear more sophisticated: Especially when your response can be as simple as beating rocks together (there aren't even classes on that stuff I've looked it up). I have one word to describe how I feel.And I'm awake. My eyes opened, nowhere near hidden without my mask. Tuara looked at me with big red eyes, ready to move towards me on some chumps back when I let out a roar of anger. It was one that echoed through the jungle like smashing glass in a concert hall.
IC: Skyra Daring - Le-Wahi -
I cursed under my breath, freakin Utu, why were we saving him anyway? Risking our lives for his fat ######. "Yeah, He's definitely a burden..." I sighed. "...alright, I'll help Cael if you two carry the big guy..."
Then Utu roared, much like a wild animal Consequently, the roar would attract none other than wild animals! I instinctively closed up my fists, ready to deck Utu's face in. Somehow I resisted the urge to do so, and looked up towards the sky instead. I couldn't tell if the Rama were getting closer or not because of Utu's roaring, but I was fairly certain they would be if we didn't get moving.
"We need to go...now!" I rushed over to Cael, ready to carry her if it came to that. I found myself reflecting how much easier that would be if I was still a guy.
IC: Arjun, On-Top-Of-An-Insect-Above-Le-Wahi
Arjun sat atop Hashara, hovering. Pala-Koro?
"You know... I think I'll come, assuming that was an invitation. This is the second time you've brought it up to me and I've never been there myself. After all, if there's a self sustained settlement in this jungle I guess I should know about it." He patted Hashara. "I can't be in my Le-Koro bubble anymore now that I'm supposed to be protecting... stuff. Of course that's ignoring the fact that I have yet to do any protection but I'm sure it will happen sooner or later."