BZPRPG - Seprilli

lester;nii
A vista of Kini-Nui from the Mata Nui Online Game
  • Posted 2021-08-28 19:47:16 UTC
    BZPRPG - Seprilli
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  • Zakaz Map
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    The Island:


    Seprilli (Seh-pree-lee) is a curious little island to the southwest of Zakaz, left separate during Irnakk’s fabled haphazard construction of Zakaz. A mountain island, its geography and sea-encircled position make it less arid than its larger neighbour, being colder and more open to the winds and rains of the southern sea. Its terrain is rocky: mossy crags border most of the shoreline, cut deep by swift rivers. A taiga covers much of the mountain’s highlands, most notable for the towering Khacha trees, whose red wood and flame-resistant sap give rise to the finest of Lesterin ships. The mountain’s upper slopes are cold and craggy, and the summit is capped with a year-round blanket of snow, said to be the last vestige of the shimmering winters of Lamo-Lyco-Oshan.

    As a booming port in its own right, Seprilli is technically under the rule of the Skakdi, though they prefer to leave it alone out of a sense of haughty and ancestral pride. The Lesterin have de facto dominion of the island to themselves, along with a race of powerless bruisers known as the Kaiakans who will often be hired as mercenary help for jobs the Lesterin are not physically capable of. While there is a Skakdi population on Seprilli, they are shunned for their birthplace, looked at almost as a subspecies of the mainland Skakdi. Such Skakdi are forced to take the surname Seprillian, to mark them for who they are, and have historically been regarded as misfits who are better suited to lives on the seas and rubbing shoulders with the Lesterin. This outlook has changed somewhat in the last century, thanks to the meteoric rise of Warlord Malnak Seprillian, who seized a large chunk of territory on the mainland by utilizing the nautical knowledge he gained growing up on Seprilli and using the river delta as a launching point for his conquest. Many veteran warriors, however, still view the Seprillian Skakdi as lesser, and it will likely take many more conquests like those of Malnak in order to bring the minority the recognition they crave.

    Roughly half the island’s population lives in the town of Seprilli Port (called Jukvere, meaning “New Kvere”, by some locals, though it hardly compares to the capital of legend), a vibrant port town built onto the bowl-shaped slopes of a natural harbour. The rest inhabit a scattered collection of settlements devoted to fishing, logging, mining, and other productivity. Near the mountain’s peak, the Kaiakans inhabit the Eyries: a small number of traditional villages dug into the rock. The island’s terrain is unsuitable for most crops, so the shoreline is dotted with fishing boats and seaweed farms. A steady stream of trade ships sails in and out of the Port in all but the harshest weathers (or the rare occasion that a Skakdi war fleet pays visit).

    Lesterin guru: @Ghosthands

     

    Other locations:

    • The Eyries: the home of the Kaiakan clans, a handful of villages on the upper slopes of Seprilli's central mountain, the peak of which is known as the "High Eyrie".

     

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  • Posted 2021-08-28 19:47:58 UTC
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  • Cuch-Cokvaim-Skak:Dii - Your Guide to the Beast-Men-Gods of Zakaz

     

    Table of Contents:

         I. History

        II. Traditions and Culture

        III. Locations

        IV. Technology

        V. Forts

        VI. Language Guide

     

    Lamo-Lyco-Zakaz: The Once-Silver Zakaz, Now Meaning - End of All Worlds

     

    In the Time BEFORE Time ------------- 

        Paradise!

     

    All was Many, which All was its own Paradise.

    GREAT SPIRIT Mata Nui forged His world in His image, forging many Paradise, each in His Image, which each bore his Perfect Face. 

     

    Which each bore his LOVE.

    LOVE was what GREAT SPIRIT Mata Nui gave the LESTERIN, chief among GIFTS.

     

    To his children, he gave GIFTS to CHANGE THE WORLD

    (fire ta)

    (ice ko)

    (water ga)

    (air le)

    (earth onu)

    (stone po)

    (darkness of kuta)

     

    GREAT SPIRIT Mata Nui held back (darkness of kuta) from his children. 

    But they sought it anyway? Why? 

     

    The Lesterin were good CHILDREN, and did not seek the (darkness of kuta) but abused their GIFTS.

     

    LESTERI|NII, FAN LESTERI:NII

     

    We abused our GREAT SPIRIT Mata Nui’s gifts. We were so so so, so wrong. So sorry we were wrong. We abused our GIFTS, chief among them the gift of SKATHI our Servants, and in return they brought THEIR GIFT THE SWORD to us.

     

    IN THE TIME BEFORE TIME----------

    The Skakdi were lifted up from dirt.

     

    But not by GREAT SPIRIT.

     

    Not by Mata Nui.

    (Who gave Skakdi GIFTS?)

     

    They molded dirt as they were molded, seized (darkness of kuta) for themselves, and from Mata Nui’s face they built ZAKAZ. Then they ate Mata Nui’s face from ZAKAZ, leaving just ZAKAZ behind.

     

    Once paradise, no more; once Image, no more; once peaceful, nevermore. ZAKAZ IS ZAKAZ.

     

    ZAKAZ MEANS ZAKAZ - THE END OF ALL WORLDS.

     

    FAN|SKATHI. SKATHI LORLI SKAK:DII.

     

    And they will be(,) forever. As we learned.

     

    As will you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
     

    To know Zakaz, you must know the Skakdi. They created each other.

     

    In the Time Before Time, there was no Zakaz; instead there lay an archipelago of near-a-dozen islands, populated by the Toa-cousins known as Lesterin. The Lesterin were a nimble and clever people, skilled merchants and crafters, but not physically strong enough to build glorious Zakaz with the strength of their own backs. Their naval prowess was unmatched, and their travels had brought them into contact with new species on wild new lands, but they had no heart and will, and would drag no treasures, gods or glory back to the grand ziggurats of Zakaz. For thousands of years, the civilization they had raised was the centerpiece of a great mercantile power, capitalists, or here meaning, those who connived against others for the benefit of their handful little islands. From their chief little island, Lamo-Lyco-Oshan, Silver-Jewel-on-Ocean, further horizons dazzled their eyes, ever-seeking competition with the cunning Vortixx Mata Nui had birthed to the North.

     

    As their ambitions grow

    Their clan-weaknesses become apparent

    Both built atop 

    the backs of Skathi.

     

    They came from an island to the southwest of Lamo-Lyco-Oshan, denizens of a nameless port which Great Spirit Mata Nui paid no particular attention. The Skathi were strong, but they were foundations themselves, and were not thought of as beings with particular aspirations or capabilities. A weak race, merely strong; powerless and easily vassalized, underneath Lesterin they labor; Silver-Jewel-on-Ocean blossoms under Mata Nui’s watchful eye. Lesterin and Vortixx alike hold Skathi in contempt.

     

    They were bred like beasts, treated as little more 

    than slaves.

    Of course, the Lesterin would not view themselves 

    as slavers.

    When accused

    They said

    They were but children.

    Mata Nui’s children.

    The Skathi, fury-fueled, cried

    “No.”

    “We are not ones

    To be dominated by Children.”

     

    Mata Nui’s children did not enslave, though the truth writ on

    souls underneath their skins wrote different stories.

     

    The Skathi shed their skins forever to become the Skakdi, Beast-Men-Gods, and shed the Lesterin’s skins forever to show the slaves 

    beneath.

     

    The Skakdi conquest of their former rulers was their first, and like many first times, it was quick and brutal. With their newfound power they stole island by island, sacked city by city, leaving charred ruin and smoke and salt in their wake. Within a year had Silver-Jewel fallen to golden nightmare, when Great Irnakk:Dii seized the shores of Lamo-Lyco-Oshan and, bellowing, dragged the shores in his wake, drowning the great capital

             In

                        His

                                     Glory’s

             






     

                                              tide. 

     

    The Skakdi lacked the fleetness of Lesterin upon endless ocean, and improvised; for the first time in their history, they were allowed to build for themselves, dragging all the Lesterin Isles together into jagged-jigsaw Zakaz. The last piece was Great Lamo-Lyco-Oshan, Silver-Jewel-on-Ocean and apple of Great Spirit’s eye. 

     

    When all the pieces were together, Great Irnakk:Dii stood at the precipice of old and grand Kvere and bellowed thus:

     

    “VELON RAL IRNAKK”

     

    I am Irnakk.

     

    “IRNAKK LANTE”

     

    Irnakk hungers.

     

    “FAN:DII BALOM SKAK:DII”

     

    No Gods, but for the Skakdi.

     

    And golden-nightmare bent low to devour silver-jewel whole, swallowing city and town and merchant alike. The cities, he drank like wine. The towns soaked the wine like bread and kept his mind sharp.

     

    The merchants did not go to waste either.

    Their flesh soothed his stomach.

    Their blood slaked his thirst.

     

    And their bones he spat into the ocean, for the Skakdi had begun life as builders, and knew that every great work needed a foundation.

     

    They named their home with the broad brush of irony - Lamo-Lyco-Zakaz, or, Silver-Jewel-at-End-of-All-Worlds, for it was the end of their lives as Skathi, and a silent promise to all the people of the world.

     

    Nothing would ever be built on Skakdi land again - and all the land the Skakdi saw would be theirs by right.

     

    Section I: History

     

    Once a submissive, near-slave race of the dominant Lesterin culture, the Skathi people rose up in the Time Before Time to seize the lands of the merchant-princes and build a homeland of their own. Though the cause of their ancient uprising is probably as simple as a matter of the fierce pride endemic to their species, the actual methods of the Skakdi’s sudden rise to power are shrouded in mystery - and perhaps even more sinister than their later actions, for it is well agreed upon by scholars of other races that the Skathi were a powerless race under the Lesterin, without elemental capability or the vision powers that they later became known for. Some theorize that Seprilli perhaps had free-flowing Antidermis similar to that of the Rift, though such deposits have never been found and the theory is disregarded by most who point out that according to the Skakdi creation myths, the Antidermis within the Rift was not discovered until long after the Skakdi’s rise to dominance. Another implausible, and even darker, tale comes courtesy of the blood-mystics of Zakaz, who teach their neonate occultists that the great Warlord Irnakk:Dii, first of the Ancestors and boldest of his eon, put six, then three, then two, then three of his one-hundred-and-eight wives to the sword, and from their blood and bone powder he drew a demon’s face and formed a compact with it for the Skakdi’s powers. 

     

    Whatever the case may be, the Skakdi enjoyed centuries of uninterrupted prosperity after the fall of the Lesterin merchants. In time, Warlord Irnakk:Dii died and was consumed in memory of his greatest triumph, the ravenous sack of Lamo-Lyco-Oshan; his blood and bone powder fueled his line, and from the sixty-six young wives the old Golden Nightmare kept at the end of his life, forty of them gave him sons in the nine months after his death, and of those forty, thirteen became Ancestors in their own right after their deaths. The Lesterin had been put in their place, but not extinguished, and provided valuable trade goods to the Skakdi for the sole purpose of surviving as second class citizens. Even the Vortixx to the north were being handled with a surprisingly deft hand. It was a golden age.

     

    But betrayal is in the hearts of men and women of all races, and nowhere is betrayal found in more abundance than Zakaz. 

     

    It began centuries ago, with a Vortixx delegation into Irnakk’s Tooth during a weapons deal with a local warlord. Under the cover of the starless, moonless Zakaz night, seven mercenaries stole away from their barracks and crept down the mountain. Seven ebon shadows dipped into the holy, vital waters of Kvere;Ivi, hoping to discover the great treasure zealously guarded by the Lesterin and Skakdi of old. 

     

    None of the seven returned, but clearly they had tampered with something - for the next morning, all known Vortixx had become one with the higher mysteries, and the Skakdi as a race had been effectively hamstrung. One of their two vision powers had been taken away from them completely, leaving many warriors feeling as good as blind without their full arsenal. In addition, the full force of the elements they once wielded had been dampened and restricted, leaving the emasculated Skakdi to team up and display what once would have been magnificent elemental displays they were capable of on their own. 

     

    No Skakdi had dared venture into the water, knowing well the traditions and fearing retribution from the disturbing force named Geym-Kino-Kir-Laru (or, “Our-Unknown-Abyss-Beneath-the-Waves”) so no one knew quite what the Vortixx had found or what had been done when they reached it - save all but the oldest mystics, whose knowing glances and colorless pallors in the weeks after the failed Vortixx expedition did all of their speaking for them. As news spread that the once-unstoppable berserkers of the Skakdi culture had been unmanned, any hopes of territorial expansion beyond Zakaz in the birth of a grand Skakdi confederacy quickly crumbled, in lieu of finding a way to return their powers to them and grant their species the full broth of power their Ancestors had been offered and had gladly supped from.

     

    For centuries, all attempts at restoring the Skakdi to their former glory failed...until six cast-offs, pestilence in all its living forms, from all corners of the island, none of whom contained any particular merit to their society, managed to restore their powers.

     

    Section II: Traditions and Culture

     

    Those who have encountered Skakdi from other lands have a skewed perception of what it is to be Skakdi, seeing them as chaotic beings with no guiding principles or moral compass. In reality, the species is bound by a certain alien sense of honor, at least insofar as respecting themselves and other Skakdi as gods awaiting ascension. Indeed, all beings are allowed under the Skakdi umbrella, so long as respect is paid to the Ancestors and the Skakdi species, which is recognized as the apex species under the Skakdi’s brutal philosophy. 

     

    The Ancestors are a vital part of Skakdi culture, and serve as the closest thing the famously agnostic race has to a pantheon. Though there are close to two dozen Skakdi who function as universal Ancestors, many bloodlines on Zakaz boast multiple Ancestors of their own further along their family lines, who they worship less fervently but more frequently than the race’s major ancestors like Irnakk:Dii and Nektann:Dii. The suffix :Dii is the highest honorific in the Skakdi race, and is not meted out without great societal consensus when it comes to that Skakdi’s achievements. More often the honorific ;Dii, meaning “king of all on world” as opposed to the “king of glorious legend” of :Dii, will be awarded to an Ancestor worshipped by one family tree. The difference in punctuation is small, but Skakdi have been known to kill when their Ancestors are somehow demeaned, or mantled above the accomplishments of other Ancestors; worse still are those outlanders who confuse :Dii and :Nii, meaning “mongrel.” The worst insults in all the Skakdi tongue are “Heu:Nii,” meaning “a mongrel without his own fate,” eclipsed only by “Mata:Nii,” meaning “a mongrel who kneels for another.”

     

    When a great Skakdi dies and is being considered for Ancestral worship, there is a ceremony known as the Valin;Xalt, where his blood and bone is mixed up into a paste which the deceased warrior’s wives must imbibe in and use as a soap. After cleansing themselves with the paste for thirty days, at least six wives should be proven to be with child, or each wife must have killed five Skakdi apiece and returned their skulls to the shrine where the initial Valin;Xalt took place. This proves that the Ancestor lives on in Kino-Ur, the great featureless abyss that the Skakdi believe all beings return to after they die. 

     

    It is the Skakdi’s belief that a true Ancestor retains his identity in Kino-Ur, and that one day the Ancestors will help marshal the shades of all Skakdi and ride out from Kino-Ur back into the world, where the armies of the dead will seize the mantle of the living, and all the world will be theirs.

     

    There is no strict governmental structure on Zakaz. The entire island’s population is mostly rabble, conscripted into the army of any one of the island’s various self-proclaimed warlords. The title of warlord has somewhat lost its meaning in recent centuries. In the days of old, warlords were few but powerful, raised up by deed and ritual. Any formal warlord was forced by the mystic men of Zakaz to undergo the ritual of Silva;ria;Dii, or the Grand Performance for the Gods. This ritual is two-sided; first, beneath the watchful eye of all his people, the Skakdi must spend ten minutes underneath the waters of Kvere;Ivi with only a single Air Bladder to pop in times of panic. Though use of the Air Bladder is allowed, tradition states that since great Nektann:Dii submerged himself for the full ten minutes while breathing in the waters of the dead, a warlord made of true steel will tough it out without requiring the air. Then the Skakdi must venture to the southeast of Zakaz, to the Rift, before the eyes of six of his most devout followers. There he will be fed an overdose of a miraculous cactus that grows in the Spineless Bay, which offers wondrous healing powers in small doses but overwhelms the senses and induces sheer panic if too much is consumed. The exact dosage varies, but generally it will be enough to leave the Skakdi blinded and unable to use his powers. He will then be led to the edge of the Rift and jump down with all his strength. The test is simple - hit the ground without being impaled or dissolved in Antidermis, and if you are impaled or dissolved in Antidermis, just will yourself to survive. 

     

    The ceremony of Silva;ria;Dii is intended to prove that there is no foe in our reality or any other that cannot be faced down by a Skakdi without fear in his heart. Unfortunately, as several cunning Skakdi have picked up on over the centuries, the ritual is very prone to sabotage; more than one prospective warlord has been pushed into the Rift while still struggling to retain his senses of sight and sound, and met a gruesome death on the end of a stalagmite. In addition, the rite of Silva;ria;Dii has been invoked less than a dozen times since the Vortixx’s invasion of Kvere;Ivi, usually by traditionalist warlords looking to gain favor with the older generations. These days, any Skakdi with even a small mercenary company who occupies one of the many ruined forts that litter Zakaz’s landscape can call himself a warlord, and such demesnes rise and fall without fanfare every year. 

     

    The only real organized sport on Zakaz is Sarke, taken from an archaic Skakdi verb for “to make a fool of oneself.” It is, simply put, combat sports. Fight clubs are a mainstay in almost every building on Zakaz that has four walls and a roof, and sometimes even those are optional if a large circle can be drawn in the dirt and a crowd is there. There are only two rules in Sarke: never cry, and keep your opponent alive. This way, one’s honor and the camaraderie between Skakdi are safely preserved, and the disorganized, no-holds-barred structure has taught many a Skakdi inventive new techniques during Sarke that have kept them alive on the field of battle - sometimes even against another Skakdi they know from the ring. To interrupt a duel in Sarke for any reason is rightly considered a slight by both combatants; the tale of Herbak, the bumbling referee who stopped a Sarke championship before a Skakdi was ready to submit, is well-known among the "athletic" circles of the island. One of the slighted combatants, future Ancestor and "the Lion of Sarke" Crokk, decided to exercise his prodigious talent for violence on each of Herbak's limbs before he was floated out to sea, still breathing and protesting. Some say he managed to float all the way to safety at Seprilli. Some joke that he stopped early.

     

    Finally, no discussion of Skakdi culture would be complete without discussion of the occultists.

     

    There have always been those on Zakaz with sharper minds than reflexes, and in a society where the clever and intellectually capable are mocked and belittled, alternative methods of proving one’s worth to the Skak:Dii ideal are required just to stay alive. For such men and women, the past provides more answers than the barbarous present, and many have gone to great lengths to comb through old Skakdi legends for knowledge or locate the teachings of long-dead Lesterin mystics. The Nakihl (Nahk-eel), or “hated dead-men” in Skakdi, are the only long-standing organization on the island, a loose amalgamation of philosophers, mystics, and demon worshippers who attempt congress with what they believe to be two other worlds, layered above and below our own, that house all spirits both altruistic and sinister. It is the prevailing belief of the Nakihl that their power was forged in a compact between the old Skathi generals, led by Irnakk:Dii, and one of these unknowable forces, and that somehow the concordat was broken by whatever the scheming Vortixx did beneath the crystalline surface of Kvere;Ivi centuries ago. While the mainstream Skakdi belief is that their original powers will return after they have conquered enough land for the Ancestors to marshal their hosts, the Nakihl tend to believe that only by returning the balance to whatever bargain was struck by the Skathi of old can the full might of the Skakdi be returned. 

     

    This approach to Skakdi might has not won them many fans among the people of Zakaz. In fact, the Nakihl fortress to the north of Spineless Bay has been sacked five times by angry warlords seeking to purge the taint of the Nakihl’s bloody magic from Zakaz; but after every purge, survivors crawled out from the woodwork like rats, and in no time the Nakihl have been restored to the same state they were in before the raids. The last assault on the Nakihl was over four centuries ago, when the band of mystic men were led by a Lesterin, of all things: a Lesterin named Ahk’rei:Nii, who played with corpses of the dead like puppets and led many of his followers willingly into Kino-Ur. An army united under four separate warlords, led by Warlord Ga’Rokk:Dii the Gunslinger, marched through the Burning Steppes and battled hungry Tahtorak in order to reach the Nakihl conclave and slay Ahk’rei:Nii. 

     

    It is said that the four warlords who stormed the conclave found the Lesterin in his ceremonial chambers, practicing a ritual to kill half the Skakdi where they stood and reanimate them to fight the other half; it is also said that when Ga’Rokk:Dii drew his famous silver Launcher and removed Ahk’rei:Nii’s head from his shoulders, the occultist actually continued with his ritual as though he had been stung by an insect, head futilely trying to reform itself from the slush that the Skakdi warlord had made of it. Ahk’rei:Nii’s body was taken and burnt once, outside the fortress, before the ashes were scattered into the Burning Steppes to be immolated again, just to be sure. Nonetheless, rumors of Ahk’rei:Nii’s survival still haunt children’s nightmares to this day, leading them to wonder if the evil Lesterin will appear in their dreams and try to lure them to Kino-Ur with promises of great adventure.

     

    Section III: Locations

     

    Irnakk’s Tooth - Though no larger than a Koro, Irnakk’s Tooth is probably the closest thing to a true city and capital the Skakdi possess on the Zakaz mainland. The settlement of Irnakk’s Tooth is built into the side of a mountain of the same name, that the sages claim to be one of the great Ancestor Irnakk:Dii’s teeth left behind after the Skakdi people feasted upon Lamo-Lyco-Oshan. The current village upon the Tooth is said to be erected from the gnawed-upon, discarded bones of the former Lesterin trade capital Kvere (Queh-reh) - and while no doubt meant as a grandiose boast, it appears that here, at least, Skakdi mythology has a hint of practical truth hidden beneath the bombast, as there are certain buildings spread throughout the settlement that display Lesterin or even Vortixx architectural philosophy. 

     

    Though no warlords occupy Irnakk’s Tooth full-time as ruler, and none have been brave enough to try for over two centuries, several of the island’s most dangerous and prestigious warlords do have manses that are occupied during parts of the year. Similarly, although outlanders are not as common a sight here as on Seprilli, it’s not unheard of to find mercenaries on the Tooth seeking employment with a mercenary company or warlord.

     

    Kvere;Ivi (Queh-reh-vee) - Fittingly, even the most beneficial landmark on Zakaz doubles as a scar on the landscape. The lake that keeps most of the inhabitants of Zakaz alive, if perhaps not always well-hydrated, was originally situated underneath the capital city of Kvere, used as an underground retreat and natural hot spring that would keep the city warm for the Lesterin merchant-princes during winter months. Now the lake is known only as Kvere;Ivi, or Kvere Grave in Skakdi tongue, for the city that sunk beneath its depths when the Skakdi rose up in the time before time. Caverns which once rested underground are now blown open and ripped asunder from the lakebed, buried within diving distance of the surface of the lake and jutting above its crystalline surface in some places. 

     

    Though the penalty for outlanders defiling the lake is technically death, this law is not strictly upheld - mostly because few who are foolish enough to plumb the depths of Kvere;Ivi searching for treasures ever return, and even fewer surface again intact. Notably, those foolhardy explorers or treasure hunters who try to mount expeditions are never able to recruit locals.

     

    The Skakdi fear going into the water.

     

    The Spineless Bay - The Spineless Bay was named by Warlord Nektann:Dii nine hundred years ago, during his short-lived conquest of all lands north of Irnakk’s Tooth. Before Nektann’s arrival, the unnamed river delta that comprised western Zakaz was for the most part a rare oasis on the island, occupied by Lesterin traders and a few Skakdi who had found themselves incapable of fighting battles through infirmity, lameness or meek hearts. Nektann, contemptuously referring to the inhabitants of the western brook as Criebe:Dii, or ‘Gods-Of-the-Weak-Seeded,” had the valley razed as he swept across it, famously declaring that there would never be a place on Zakaz for living Skakdi to sit on their hands and contemplate the flora. Nektann was killed before he could realize his full ambitions, but before he died he had turned the northern half of the delta to cinders and his army had permanently christened it the ‘Spineless Bay.’ 

     

    Within a couple decades, the still-flaming carcass of the northern Bay had found itself occupied by new warlords - a gigantic species of Rahi known as the Tahtorak, which took comfort in its new environment and sought to migrate south. Only the gigantic flames that still burn on the steppes in the northern valley have halted the Tahtoraks’ advances over the century, leading to two differing legends - the prevailing fable being that the Tahtorak grew from the shed blood of Nektann’s men in the conquest of the bay, and the spirits of the Criebe:Dii kept the fires alight to prevent the rest of their weakling’s paradise from falling to the reborn army. The prevailing theory among the mystics of Zakaz is that the Tahtorak are children of a darker, unknown emissary, and that Warlord Nektann:Dii himself was reborn as the flames, keeping the Tahtorak contained before they run amok on his homeland.

     

    In the south of the valley, the lands Nektann never burnt, the name ‘Spineless Bay’ takes on an ironic second edge, for it is here that Zakaz’s largest collection of Spine Slugs lives among the wild. These parasites, which Skakdi use to try and replace a fragment of the rage that was lost to them in days long past, have always found the climate of the river delta palatable, and can be found in plenty the closer the delta gets to Kvere;Ivi.

     

    Lesteri;Dak (Less-teh-ree-dah-k)  Roughly translating to the mocking nickname ‘Lesterin’s Crown,’ or often just colloquially referred to as ‘the Crown,’ Lesteri;Dak is the ring of mountains, cliffs, and other jagged surfaces that encircle the island of Zakaz. Ranging from coastal cliffs and mild crags to the west and south to the seldom-scaled, mysterious mountains of the east, the Crown is said to be where the bits and ends of old Lesterin islands, fraying and torn from where they were torn apart by the Skakdi and stuffed back into the shape of Zakaz. Though inhospitable and bleak, the Crown does make for a good defensive position during a siege, leading some particularly daring warlords to erect fortresses there. Indeed, even some stray pockets of Lesterin settlement can be found towards the east, where old goat paths and mountain trails will be used by risky caravans and fugitives as a quick path to the sea. 

     

    The Rift - On the southeast of Zakaz lies a deep gash that cuts through all of reality.

     

    In the Time Before Time, a mysterious Lesterin city named Lamo-Lyco-Cosa, the “Silver-Jewel-from-Stars,” was built on the patch of land that the Rift now lacerates. Lamo-Lyco-Cosa was an arcane, avoided city, populated by sages, occultists, and priests, dedicated to the mysteries of the Great Spirit Mata Nui and his mystics, and great care was taken in ensuring that no weapon forged within reality was allowed underneath its gates. Thus it was ensured that even despite the disagreements that often consume scholars, there were protections in place to keep violence from ever breaking out in the sacred city. So it was that the mysteries of Lamo-Lyco-Cosa remained a peaceful, if uncomfortable, fact of life for the surrounding Lesterin settlements. 

     

    When the Skathi rose up in revolt over Lesterin rule of the islands, Lamo-Lyco-Cosa ignored all pleas for aid and fielded no defense of its own. Their mystics assured each other that the Skathi, as beings of this reality, were unable to break the physical or arcane barriers that protected the city, and that they could continue their work unimpeded. The Skakdi conquest lasted under a year, but the army underneath the walls of Silver-Jewel-from-Stars held out through the whole duration of the war, as the wise men within seemed uncowed by hunger, bombardment, or news of the fall of merchant prince after merchant prince.

     

    Until one day, the city did fall. 

     

    Of course, whether or not Lamo-Lyco-Cosa ever existed is a matter of debate. The small handful of scholars remaining on Zakaz, as well as leaders of the Lesterin conclaves on Seprilli, are quick to point out that there has never been a conclusive shred of evidence that any city ever stood on the area where the Rift now lies, and indeed the wily, pragmatic Lesterin people seem very quick to deny that their culture ever dabbled in such dangerous fare as the higher mysteries. But the stories of the city’s fall are as important as the tales of Ancestors, parents frighten children with the thought of the evil Man-Shades of the Magic City who possess their Spine Slugs and suck the living matter from inside their skulls, and there is a merchant on every corner of Irnakk’s Tooth claiming to sell lost talismans from the Silver-Jewel-from-Stars. The story’s detractors also seem incapable of offering a suggestion of what may have been built over the Rift if not a city.

     

    Certainly, it has not always been there.

     

    The Rift itself appears to be nothing but a large, particularly narrow canyon through southeastern Zakaz, with stalagmites and crags dotting the ashen ground. Here and there one may find the ruins of old fortresses or ziggurats buried underneath the sands of time, or with new rock outcroppings sticking through ramparts or portculli, as if the Rift is slowly assimilating the structures into its mass. These are not, as many a zealous tour guide would insist, remnants of Lamo-Lyco-Cosa, for the truth would scare any who were mad enough to tour the Rift right from the canyon. 

     

    Truthfully, much in the way much of the rabble flocks to Lesteri;Dak, many Skakdi have seen the Rift as a potential trap for an opposing army or as a good start to fashion themselves as a warlord to be feared. Such Skakdi are fools; without exception, every attempt to occupy or settle the Rift has ended in calamity, and the most recent settlement there ended four centuries ago with the death of Warlord Nuxukann the Grinner and his chiefs within his own fortress. Those who arrived to sack the fort found the chiefs dead with their eyes gouged out, vision powers having run amok to the point where blindness was preferable to more torment. The Grinner himself was still clinging to life, though his mind had been addled and his element of Ice had been used against him and trapped him in an oubliette of his own making.  The warlord died babbling, but whatever pleas or warnings he may have been trying to get out were incomprehensible - all of his famous teeth had fallen out from their roots, thick black blood and ash clotting the gums. 

     

    There is no vegetation as far as the eye can see in any direction, even by Zakaz standards. Animals flee it or die, having gone rabid and been put down at the hands of their masters.

     

    And there is Antidermis everywhere in the Rift.

     

    It seems to bubble up everywhere, from natural springs in the ground that seem to spout like blackish-green mockeries of geysers to within the very rocks. More than one Skakdi has angrily broken off a chunk of rock the size of a spear to use on a rival, only to shriek in horror as viscous Antidermis runs down from the inside of a hidden geode and ravages them like gangrene. Executions for the most heinous of crimes are committed here, as only prisoners who commit crimes which mock both Skakdi both living and Ancestral are taken to the Rift and dropped into Antidermis to slowly dissolve, torn apart body and soul by corruption over several agonizing minutes.

     

    Seprilli (Seh-pree-lee) - Seprilli is a curious little island to the southwest of Zakaz, left separate during Irnakk’s fabled haphazard construction of Zakaz in order to symbolically leave behind his race’s past as the Skathi. Instead, Seprilli found a second life as a port city and makeshift home for the Lesterin, who found themselves in the unenviable position of having swapped homelands with the race they once utilized as submissive bruisers. It is an irony many Lesterin have rubbed in their faces by the Skakdi.

     

    Irony exists everywhere on Zakaz. 

     

    As a booming port in its own right, Seprilli is technically under the rule of the Skakdi, though they prefer to leave it alone out of a sense of haughty and ancestral pride. The Lesterin have de facto dominion of the island to themselves, along with a race of powerless bruisers known as the Kaiakans who will often be hired as mercenary help for jobs the Lesterin are not physically capable of. While there is a Skakdi population on Seprilli, they are shunned for their birthplace, looked at almost as a subspecies of the mainland Skakdi. Such Skakdi are forced to take the surname Seprillian, to mark them for who they are, and have historically been regarded as misfits who are better suited to lives on the seas and rubbing shoulders with the Lesterin. This outlook has changed somewhat in the last century, thanks to the meteoric rise of Warlord Malnak Seprillian, who seized a large chunk of territory on the mainland by utilizing the nautical knowledge he gained growing up on Seprilli and using the river delta as a launching point for his conquest. Many veteran warriors, however, still view the Seprillian Skakdi as lesser, and it will likely take many more conquests like those of Malnak in order to bring the minority the recognition they crave.

     

    Section IV: Technology

     

    The technology of Zakaz will be familiar to anyone who has seen a Skakdi on Mata Nui. Rudimentary firearms abound, mostly powered off by a substance that the Skakdi refer to as Najin (or “deathly light” in their tongue) dust - which any citizen of Mata Nui would recognize as Stralix Powder. There are no Madu fruit on Zakaz, depriving Mata Nuians of their favorite homegrown explosive, but there is oil aplenty to be mined in the south of Zakaz and from Seprilli, which helps give the Lesterin a degree of importance in trading affairs. 

     

    Thanks to the machinations of a particularly fidgety inventor named Avak, a sonic-powered motorbike has started to pick up traction (no pun intended) on Zakaz over the past century and a half as a mode of transportation over the living mounts of centuries past. Though outlandishly expensive and mostly a prized possession for status-obsessed warlords, enough time has passed that inventors without Avak’s avant-garde flair have started to reverse-engineer the machines, and several prototypes of dubious functionality can be easily acquired on the Zakaz black market - for anyone willing to shell out. 

     

    Skakdi on Zakaz may have two pieces of Foreign Technology, see Character Creation.

     

    Section V: Forts

     

    Small, defensible fortifications dot Zakaz’s landscape relics from mercenary bands past and present. Though not pretty or even always structurally sound, such a fortified camp is one of the first steps on an aspiring warlord’s path to real power. Some of these are old structures moved into after their previous tenants were evicted by violence or otherwise vacated, while others are recent construction purpose-built by the groups holding them. Often they’re built around a particularly lucrative cache of gear…

     

    For one week after the beginning of the arc applications will be open for such a fort. Design it, including its owner, location on the map, what it looks like, what it contains, and how many brave mercenaries call it ‘home’. The staff will compile a randomly generated list of loot placed at each one specifically to encourage other players to wrest control from its original owner and take their prize. This is Zakaz, things happen. Similarly these forts are not protected by the usual guidelines regarding player-established locations. If someone decides the best way to get in is to reduce the place to rubble, they can. Nor are its NPCs safe from attacking PCs.

     

    That said, the same rules that apply to any fight apply here. You are not infinitely superior to NPCs, and they are under the owner of the fort’s control as much (and with the same privileges) as Guard NPCs are under their Akiri.  

     

    Any forts created after this application deadline will have to be created IC and over time, while these approved forts will exist at the start of the game.

     

    Section VI: Skakdi Language Glossary

     

    Criebe:Dii: “gods of the weak-seeded” - historic name for the inhabitants of the Spineless Bay.

    :Dii (ah-dee): “king of glorious legend” or “god” - most important honorific in the Skakdi language, used for revered Ancestors of the species such as Irnakk:Dii.

    ;Dii (dee): “king of all on world” - second most important honorific in the Skakdi language; used for revered Ancestors of a single family line, but can also be used to denote warlords or warriors of high honor without fear of dismemberment

    Geym-Kino-Kir-Laru: “Our-Unknown-Abyss-Beneath-the-Waves” - entity of Skakdi superstition thought to exist in the depths of Kvere;Ivi.

    Heu:Nii: “mongrel without his own fate” - a Skakdi insult.

    Lesteri;Dak (Less-teh-ree-dah-k): “Lesterin’s Crown” (roughly) - the  ring of mountains, cliffs, etc that encircle Zakaz.

    Kino-Ur: the great featureless abyss that the Skakdi believe all beings return to after they die. 

    Kvere;Ivi (Queh-reh-vee): “Kvere grave” - Zakaz’s central lake.

    Lesteri:Nii: "mongrel who once wore the skins of Lesterin" - the derogatory insult for most Lesterin in contemporary Skakdi culture; also doubles as a backhanded compliment towards the Lesterin ancestors they sacked, though doubtless the Skakdi miss the irony

    Mata:Nii: “mongrel who kneels for another” - a favorite Skakdi insult, derived from a demon god and blood magician worshipped by the Lesterin

    :Nii (ah-nee): “mongrel” - a derogatory suffix.

    Nakihl (nah-keel): “hated dead-men” - native mystics.

    Najin (nah-jeen): “deathly light” - explosive powder, known to Mata-Nuians as Stralix Powder.

    Sarke: “to make a fool of oneself” - Zakaz’s combat sport.

    Silva;ria;Dii: “Grand Performance for the Gods” - the ritual through which a Skakdi may be recognised formally as a warlord.

    Valin;Xalt: ceremony to recognise a dead Skakdi for Ancestral worship.

    Zakaz: “the end of all worlds” - island home of the Skakdi.

  • Edited on 2021-08-28 19:50:52 by Haman Karn: A Magical Girl
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  • Posted 2021-08-28 19:51:59 UTC
    BZPRPG - Seprilli
    View post on BZP
  • The Lesterin


    The Lesterin are the main inhabitants of Seprilli, and are not an uncommon sight on Zakaz (though to the Skakdi they are rarely a welcome one). They are of similar height and build to Toa, but longer-limbed and more gangly in proportions, possessing distinctive crests that jut from the back and/or top of their heads. Their shoulders sport similarly jutting armour, typically carved and decorated to reflect their elemental affiliation.

    Lesterin are able to wear and use Kanohi (though they do not need to), and possess innate elemental energy. Unlike the powers wielded by Toa and Skakdi, the Lesterin’s energy manifests passively, granting them characteristics according to their element (generally recognisable by their colouration):

    • Fire (red/orange and black): resistant to extremes of heat or cold, heightened speed
       
    • Water (blue and yellow-orange): able to hold their breath for exceptionally long periods of time, heightened agility
       
    • Air (green and red): able to hold their breath for exceptionally long periods of time, heightened speed
       
    • Stone (brown and white): skin resistant to being cut or pierced, heightened strength
       
    • Earth (black and dark red): resistant to pressure or crushing, heightened night vision
       
    • Ice (white and lime): resistant to extremes of heat or cold, heightened dexterity
       
    • Lightning (blue/white and gunmetal): resistant to electric shocks, heightened reflexes
       
    • Magnetism (gunmetal/black and orange): surrounded by a magnetic field which resists magnetic pulls, strong internal compass
       
    • Plantlife (blue/green and yellow): immune to poisons, able to gain energy from sunlight
       
    • Iron (metallic and brown): skin resistant to being cut or pierced, heightened endurance
       
    • Sonics (silver/grey and light blue): enhanced sensitivity and range of hearing, able to project voice at unusually high volumes
       
    • Plasma (white/orange and light grey): almost complete resistance to heat, heightened agility
       
    • Gravity (purple and copper): resistant to pressure or crushing, able to lift heavy objects as though they were much lighter
       
    • Crystal (light blue/white and green) enhanced range and acuity of vision, glow slightly in dark places similarly to Lightstones
       

    Lesterin’s bodies are also more efficient at processing toxins than most species, giving them a resistance to poisoning (and, as can be seen at any watering-hole on Seprilli, a high tolerance for alcohol).

    The Lesterin may lack the physicality of the Skakdi, but they are a skillful and cunning people. Natural sailors and shrewd traders, their mastery of seacraft and talent for bargaining grant the people of Seprilli a degree of freedom and prosperity even under the Skakdi’s theoretical dominion. 

    Lesterin society has no caste system, but its mercantile nature gives rise to stratification nonetheless. Most work as labourers and craftspeople, either selling their wares or working for a wage; a large contingent are individual traders, buying and selling goods within Seprilli or trading with the mainland; and a fortunate few become wealthy merchant princes, operating their own companies (typically fleets of trading ships, selling to the Skakdi) and reaping the profits.

    Seprilli Port is governed by a theoretically meritocratic body known as the Assembly, made up of roughly two dozen councillors and chaired by a Speaker. A seat is reserved for the master of each of the Guilds, each of which represents the interests of one of the major professions: Traders, Fishers, Shipwrights, et cetera. Other important persons, such as the Sages of the temples of Mata Nui and Artakha, or the delegate of the Kaiakans, are also guaranteed seats. The remainder are to be granted yearly to “the most recognisedly upstanding members of society” — in practice, these are almost always controlled by the most wealthy and influential of the merchant princes. The Assembly provides a laissez-faire degree of law and order, mainly protecting against piracy and representing Seprilli to whichever warlord has most recently decided it falls within his domain.

    On Zakaz proper, many Lesterin are kept as slaves of the less scrupulous warlords. Free Lesterin can most often be found in wandering caravans, roaming from settlement to settlement and trading goods with the locals. It is common to see an encampment of Lesterin traders not far from the larger towns and fortresses — no self-respecting warlord would let them inside his gates, of course, but most will begrudgingly accept the opportunity of their wares.

    Of course, not all Lesterin are peaceful and productive members of society. Their natural talents can just as easily be turned towards various forms of thievery — most quintessentially, piracy. The seas surrounding Zakaz are rife with marauding ships, preying on any traders that have the misfortune of encountering them. On the mainland, Lesterin bandits are a menace to the less well-armed Skakdi travellers; and anywhere there are valuables to be stolen, Lesterin dexterity makes for excellent pickpockets and cat burglars, many of whom are thought to be members of a shadowy ‘Guild of Thieves’. The pirate port of Zarrava on Zakaz’s northern coast is a haven and neutral ground for buccaneers and land-based scoundrels alike and, ironically enough, is one of the few places on Zakaz where Lesterin and Skakdi can be found living alongside one another in something resembling friendship.

     


    The Kaiakans



    In another world, they might have been called ‘Steltians’. The Kaiakans are a race of imposing but powerless beings known for their large stature and talent for hand-to-hand combat. The Eyries near the peak of Seprilli are the only known Kaiakan settlements, and are home to a number of traditional clans that subsist mainly by hunting the beasts of the snows and the Khacha forest, eking out a humble existence amid the bitter cold. 

    Kaiakans cannot use Kanohi and have no elemental abilities, but what they lack in powers they make up for in physicality, possessing greater strength and durability than even the average Skakdi. Despite their small numbers, they are known across Zakaz for maintaining a culture of ritual combat that makes them formidable fighters. Many Kaiakans leave the Eyries to work as guards, mercenaries, and other occupations where their physicality is an asset, particularly among the Lesterin who lack their raw strength. Some do this to provide for their families in the Eyries, while others do so purely for personal gain. Either way, their skills make them highly valuable to those able to secure their services.

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  • Posted 2021-09-11 07:21:33 UTC
    BZPRPG - Seprilli
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  • OOC: Recommended listening

    Spoiler

     

    IC: Dehlia - Outskirts of Jukvere, Seprilli Island

    The South Cove was reasonably peaceful today, Dehlia mused to herself, 40 feet under the sea in an airtight biomechanical suit.

    The Hydrantia looked up as a school of fish lazily drifted past her, and took a moment to admire the way the sun pierced the peaceful sea. These days, it was not often that the sea was not disturbed by fleets of tradeships. Even the South Cove, away from the trade routes, was not spared such disturbances when the occasional damaged ship moored here. It wasn't so much the ships that made it difficult to weave underwater, since most did not yet use the automated rotors used on the largest war-junks: it was the crew who would frequently dump trash, waste, an frequently each other, into the water, ruining the floater plants that Dehlia harvested and forcing her to wait at least a month for a new batch. Worse still if she was weaving at the time, as it would disturb currents, light levels and all sorts of parameters that made it hard to weave, especially in the case of living materials. Not to mention, Dehlia simply hated interacting with the blackguards that such ships churned out, and their frequent jeers and insults.

    As if being indebted to a slovenly merchant-prince was so much more respectable.

    Dehlia pushed aside her frustration as she shifted her attention back to the work at hand. There were no shapes on the horizon, and that was good enough for today. This commission was already behind-schedule. She hummed a tune as she carefully weaved the Gul-Reed and lightvines, stopping occasionally to mend miniscule damage with a careful application of preserved spineweed. She took care to layer the pigments of the spineweed as the algae bit into the reed, the traditional way as she was taught, highlighting the symbols and decorations that she had already drawn on land into the material. The client was very particular in their instructions. Not a mere basket, but a venerable receptacle of items. Even if it was clearly just 'home decor'. Or so the client's instructions implied. Dehlia had long learnt not to be annoyed at such commissions, especially clients like the owner of Seprilli's biggest tabloid. Money was money, and exacting commissions were, if nothing else, good practice. The living pigment-adhesive, entwinement of the materials, mixed with the hardening process of the extra pressure at this depth, would be impressive enough, Dehlia hoped.

    The sun was beginning to set when she removed the crystal-embedded fabrics from their container. Quickly, she unfurled them and carefully pressed them along the outer layer. The fabric would fritter away in the water while the crystals slowly crushed into the main body. A quick onceover with her Kanohi confirmed that it was up to standard. Dehlia checked the sun-angle and moved from her position. Near the side of the Cove lay a small indentation into the face of the seabed. She carefully covered the item with the correct shielding, then secured it into the alcove. A day or so would be needed to "set" the material. She made a small floating mark that led to the surface. This close in to the shore, not even Skak warship would disturb the lily-pad marker.

    Dehlia slowly made her way to the surface, making sure not to rush. Despite the small pressure differences at this depth and her Ga-Lesterin physiology, slight pressure sickness was never fun. After about of minute or so of slow ascent, Dehlie reached the surface. As the water fell off her suit, she felt the stresses of the world again. Finding work, preparing classes, butting heads with the Guild, haranguing from her family's reps... 

    Dehlia let out a long, tired sigh as she removed the Diving Skin. Funny how it's never the depth or swimming that tires me out... It was always a strange sensation, with her dry, simple clothes emerging from an absolutely soaked leaf-suit. At least the Cove was empty of people this day, she mused same as in the afternoon when she had entered the water. No busybody onlookers as she slowly peeled herself out of the Diving Suit, taking care not to damage it.

    OOC: First post pog (thanks Max). Also open for interaction I guess.

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  • Posted 2022-01-07 08:53:35 UTC
    BZPRPG - Seprilli
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  • OOC: Took long enough to get a post in the new continent. Recommended vibe check:

    IC:

    In the frigid gales above Seprilli, blood ran hot, melting a trail of greatness through the soft cap of High Eyrie.

    They said he had no chance. She slandered that he would never climb to the top of the clan. Varqui would prove them all wrong, and out of spite, the Vo-Skakdi vowed to begin his ascension by taking her advice literally: the Skak:Dii would climb to the very tops of the ends of the world, and from the peaks of his gods and ancestors, he would grow fat from strength.

    Steel met stone. Gears whirred. The bravest rose, despite his Lester;nii burden.

    Varqui had trained for this day. Lifted boulders. Fitted tools. Climbed walls. Ran his own marathons. When he knew in his heartlight that he was ready, the Vo-Skakdi swam the channel to Seprilli, the leviathan unto himself warding all sea beasts away during his passage.

    An icepick dig into High Eyrie’s summit. Followed by another. Followed by a wide-shouldered blue skakdi covered in white runes. Over Varqui’s right shoulder dangled the legs of a blue and orange amazonian figure. Our hero took one knee and then rose to his full height with a gruff, satisfied heave, not that the woman slung over him was in any way a difficult weight to bear.

    He rose his arms to the stars above, not needing the radiant glow of the rising sun at his back, and began to proclaim his glory so loud and so high that there was no doubt his ancestors could hear him in Kino-Ur.

    “VELON RAL VARQUI!”

    I am Varqui!

    “VARQUI DESHI!”

    Varqui rises!

    “JEL:SKAK MATAIE VAA:DII”

    All Skakdi will kneel to the Mountain God!

    The Skakdi of lightning’s right hand reached into his thigh holster, pulling out his twin-barreled Thunder. He pointed it to the sky and squeezed the trigger with his weary hands. Two bright flares, one blue, one white, shot high into the early morning sky. The shooting stars arced above the mountain and could be seen for dozens of Kio, if one was watching.

    Varqui holstered his weapon, and his right arm returned to rest upon the back of his chronicler.

    "Our agreement is reached. You bore witness to my first ascension on my road to Silva;ria;Dii," the warlord-in-training began. "And in exchange, I... forgive you for nearly draining my Irnakk;Pii tank."

    Irnakk’s ####, or in the Skak:Dii tongue, Irnakk;Pii, was a concoction only slightly less deadly than Najin dust. Legends spoke that the Great Ancestor himself soiled the lands of the Lester:Nii while humiliating one of their false kings. The royal may have thought for a split second that Irnakk:Dii would spare his life, but the Great Ancestor merely chose to slay the corrupt mongrel with a burial befitting the seafaring demon. The gilded Lester:Nii drowned in a river of gold, and from his unmarked grave spouted an inflammable tide that poisoned his people’s wells and wilted their crops, singlehandedly bringing cities to their knees without a shot fired. It is said that the only Lester:Nii that survived were those with stronger livers, which is why they are so resistant to alcohol to this day.

    Irnakk;Pii was a gold-tinted phlogiston, inside which coursed the fire of three Ta-Gafna, striking the throat harder than a Lava Ape hollowing its tree. Even the mere odor was said to ward off insects. Rumors abounded of the Nakihl worshipping its destructive and hallucinogenic power.

    That was the substance that fueled Varqui’s flamethrower gauntlet, the nozzle of which had incidentally become a straw for his Ga-Lesterin follower. The same Ga-Lesterin that was taking far too long to respond to the awe of Varqui’s feat.

    Wait…

    Varqui looked over his shoulder in an attempt to see the Ga-Lesterin’s face.

    “Merrill! Are you awake?”

    OOC: @Goose

  • Edited on 2022-01-07 09:41:53 by BULiK
    I'll fix the embed later. The editor hates linux!
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  • Posted 2022-01-07 09:22:46 UTC
    BZPRPG - Seprilli
    View post on BZP
  • IC: Merrill (Peak of High Eyrie)

    "nnfornitly," the Ga-Lesterin slurred. Had the shouting not woken her up - and it most definitely had - the double-barrelled flare gun MIGHT JUST HAVE DONE THE TRICK.

    Were Merrill a pensive, philosophical sort, she might have wondered whether the stars flashing in her eyes were the result of the muzzle flash, the flares themselves, or her excruciating hangover.

    Merrill was not a pensive, philosophical sort.

    "hairthdog," she eloquently elaborated as she reached into her armour, gracefully tumbling from - ####, what's his name? Did he say it? He shouted it just now, probably, during his whole 'King of the World' speech. So, uh…

    Yeah, no, didn't pick up a word of it.

    As she crashed elegantly to the ground next to Shouty Shouty Shoulderman, Merrill produced a hip flask - one of many - and, seemingly oblivious to the pain that her landing should have caused, took a deep swig of the golden nectar within.

    "iss verrimpressive. can we leave now."

    OOC: @BULiK

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  • Posted 2022-01-07 09:36:53 UTC
    BZPRPG - Seprilli
    View post on BZP
  • IC: Varqui [High Eyrie, Summit]

    Varqui dusted a layer of snow off of his armor as he turned to Merrill. He was not exactly surprised, nor particularly disappointed by the Ga-Lesterin's incomprehensible response. He had to grow his flock somehow, and even a drunkard was better than no one. In fact, the bartender where they met last night seemed entirely supportive of the idea, so in a way, Varqui was building good faith of his just rule with the local Lester;Nii mongrel community. Maybe that would pay off later.

    It had a better chance of paying off than Merrill's bar tab, but that wasn't saying much.

    "Yes." Varqui graciously agreed as he inspected Zakaz from a distance with his spyglass. Irnakk's tooth and Tahto;vaa were waiting for him. "Yes..."

    He tilted the spyglass down to view the steep, dangerous slopes below that lead to the territorial lands of the Kaiakans.

    "We can go down now," the leader said, quickly sliding the spyglass into its compact form before stowing it away. He took a deep, satisfied breath of the oxygen-deprived mountain air before looking back at his loitering compatriot.

    "You can carry yourself this time - your legs are looking much less broken now. Neat trick."

  • Edited on 2022-01-07 09:40:01 by BULiK
    removed the quote of your post because it's not like I'm responding to anyone else lmao
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  • Posted 2022-01-07 12:38:27 UTC
    BZPRPG - Seprilli
    View post on BZP
  • IC: Merrill (Peak of High Eyrie)

    Merrill blinked, and suddenly pawed at her face. "huh."

    She must've put her mask on. She couldn't really remember much - least of all breaking her legs, but it hardly sounded unlikely.

    "issthuh mask." It hardly seemed dangerous to reveal that to a Skakdi. Wasn't like he'd get anything from it.

    Merrill got to her feet, swaying slightly, but seemed to regain her balance in time to start walking groggily behind Shouty Shouty Shoulderman, fingers pressed against her temples in hopes of pushing back her headache. "i broke m'legs?"

  • Edited on 2022-01-07 16:04:51 by Goose
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  • Posted 2022-01-07 19:34:00 UTC
    BZPRPG - Seprilli
    View post on BZP
  • IC: Varqui [High Eyrie, Summit]

    "Remember? Halfway up, you said you could jump across the Bahrikra pass, that you didn't need to double back to the nearest crossing or rely on my might."

    Varqui, ever the tactician, had plotted a new route down the mountain from their high view. Travelling along the ridge would take them through the Eyries and it was a steep slope, however there were less sheer drops than the way they (They as in Varqui:Vaa:Dii himself, given Merrill's multiple sources of incapacitation) had climbed up. Less sheer drops... except for the beginning.

    "Luckily for you, I do not leave my warriors behind, and believe you must break your limits to find them, so you have grown stronger through this," the Vo-Skakdi added as he peered over the peak to inspect a many-bio drop into a mound of unmolested snow. "Follow," he commanded.

    The neophyte warlord leapt from High Eyrie's peak, hitting the ground with a jingle of his gear as he tactically rolled to distribute his weight more evenly across the many inches of snow covering the summit. He stood up and shook the snow from his spine with a growl, the Skak:Dii unbothered by the landing. The force of nature that he was, Varqui could have easily created a cascading avalanche that would surely smother the Lester:Nii below, but by his grace, the mountain king let Irnakk:Dii's wishes be; the Lesteri:Nii would continue to wallow in their defeat for millennia to come, extinction being too good for their kind.

    Varqui didn't mind the mongrels that much himself - after all, they made excellent drinking buddies and were useful for doing the manual labor and sick jobs far below the responsibility of a God. Nonetheless, the tougher he was on the Lester:Nii, the greater his status when he returned triumphant to Lamo-Lyco-Zakaz to finish his ascension and eventually become a true warlord, so it was a necessary political stance, by the mountain king's calculations.

  • Edited on 2022-01-07 19:36:15 by BULiK
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  • Posted 2022-01-09 21:31:24 UTC
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  • IC: Merrill (Peak of High Eyrie)

    Merrill peeked over the edge. It was a nasty drop, to be sure, but she'd managed worse - she'd never been to the top of High Eyrie before, but she'd had adventures enough by herself, and had pulled off many a daring leap in her time. Useful as her mask was, in truth it was insurance, her back-up for those rare instances when her bravery outweighed her skill.

    She took a deep breath of the cold mountain air, felt her mind beginning to uncloud. This was the moment she lived for, the adrenaline surge that came with every leap of faith. She took one last swig from her flask for good luck, and tucked it safely away. And then…

    And then, she jumped.

    The visceral, sickening sound of snapping bones and tearing musculature was nearly drowned out by Merrill's stream of screamed profanities. Nearly.

    "SON OF A MOTHERBITCH, WHAT THE ####?!" Merrill stained the snow with streaks of red as she dragged her broken body toward Shouty. "You could have mentioned the snow wasn't as deep as it looked, you bleedin' arsehole!"

  • Edited on 2022-01-09 21:33:09 by Goose
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  • Posted 2022-01-10 05:59:15 UTC
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  • IC: Varqui [High Eyrie, Summit]

    "It was as deep as it looked," the warlord reasoned with his chronicler. "... before I landed in it, of course."

    He continued to trudge through the snow with ease, occasionally spurting flame to melt a smoother path through thick ice, although this soon made his trail slippery. The Vo-Skakdi didn't show it, but he was using his x-ray vision to see what was beneath the sheet of snow and choose a path that avoided crevasses or spiky rocks underfoot.

    "There don't look to be any drops that steep on the way down to the Eyries," he continued. "You'll have plenty of time to walk it off."

    After a few moments, the perceptive commander noticed that the stream of curses from Merrill had grown fainter - she was clearly having trouble keeping up. He turned around and fired his grappling hook in an arc just over Merrill's head, the many-spiked projectile landing a few bio beyond the Lesterin. He pressed a button on his gauntlet and it began to slowly retract as he turned around to continue his descending march, clearly expecting her to grab hold to not slow him down any further.

  • Edited on 2022-01-10 06:01:51 by BULiK
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  • Posted 2022-01-16 23:33:50 UTC
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  • IC: Merrill (Peak of High Eyrie)

    Merrill took hold of the hook and muttered something that sounded like ‘ritual humiliation’. Her legs had already begun to crack and bend unnaturally behind her, the painful healing process begun - and with her hands on the hook, she was excruciatingly sober.

    “So what’s your deal, anyways? Is this some runt-of-the-litter shite, or are there people out there actually feeding your delusions?"

  • Edited on 2022-01-17 12:48:44 by Goose
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  • Posted 2022-01-17 05:25:59 UTC
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  • IC: Varqui [High Eyrie, Summit]

    The warlord-in-training didn't slow his pace any further at the question, although he was silent longer than usual.

    "You don't remember? The ancient legend of the mountain king?" he boasted. "I explained it to you las-"

    The Vo-Skakdi trailed off. To be honest, Varqui's memories from the bar last night were similarly hazy to Merrill's.

    "It's a legend in tomes that were burned across the mainland, predicting the rise of a warlord that would bring glory to Skakdi once more and subjugate all worlds. This champion was destined to become great warlord and unite the clans to shatter the curses of the Vortixx, and bring alignment to society."

    "This Skakdi would be doubted by many, but after becoming the first to climb all three peaks of the end of all worlds, the mountain king would look upon his kingdom with the eyes of a true Dii and with that wisdom, become a just and balanced ruler of all. After many other trials and tribulations of course - reaching for the stars is merely the first step in my ascension."

    Throughout his speech, the bold skakdi had marched ever forwards, often gesturing dramatically to the glorious skies above. It was only at the end that he turned to look over his shoulder at his companion.

    "What's my deal, O' Merrill? Destiny."

    After a sinister grin, the skakdi looked to the unblazen trail ahead and continued his descent.

    "If I could give you any more proof of my divinity, it would no longer be a matter of faith. Believe my destiny or not, it matters not. Irregardless of your opinion, we will accomplish great things..."

  • Edited on 2022-01-17 05:28:57 by BULiK
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  • Posted 2022-01-17 12:53:54 UTC
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  • IC: Merrill (Peak of High Eyrie)

    “Cool, cool, very fun, very, uh, ominous. It’s just that, well - what strikes me is that you’re very insistent you have nothing to prove, and like, good on you, obviously, confidence is key, but… you kinda act like you have a lot to prove and it’s giving off some weird energy.” Merrill paused her stream of consciousness for a moment, discovering a capability for thought and observation that she usually drowned in booze. "Wait - that's not a real prophecy."

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  • Posted 2022-01-17 17:33:07 UTC
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  • IC: Varqui [High Eyrie, Summit]

    "All this talk - what are you, some kind of psycho-ia?-ologist?" Varqui countered, scouring his vocabulary in real time.

  • Edited on 2022-01-17 17:38:23 by BULiK
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  • Posted 2022-01-17 18:03:05 UTC
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  • IC: Merrill (Peak of High Eyrie)

    "Seriously, it doesn't even rhyme. What kind of prophecy doesn't rhyme? And like - prophecies are meant to prophes… prophesy? Prophetise?" Merrill paused for a moment. Her companion's vocabulary issues were apparently contagious. "They're meant to predict something, right? But that's just like - 'you climb three mountains, you'll become a leader, for entirely unrelated reasons, after an indeterminate amount of time has passed.' That's like, a guess at most. Who told you that was a prophecy?"

  • Edited on 2022-01-17 23:55:55 by Goose
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  • Posted 2022-01-18 05:55:52 UTC
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  • IC: Varqui [High Eyrie, Summit]

    "Well, there probably was a version that rhymes but nobody memorized it before it was burnt to ash. It's an ancient text - they don't just print prophecies at the newspaper stand in bulk."

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  • Posted 2022-01-19 15:07:02 UTC
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  • IC: Merrill (Peak of High Eyrie)

    "Sorry teach, dog ate my prophecy. That's you. That's what you sound like. You are literally just making this shіt up."

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  • Posted 2022-01-19 15:38:11 UTC
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  • IC: Varqui [The Eyries]

    The mountain king liked Merrill much less when she was beginning to sober.

    "If I do not succeed, then you can consider the prophecy false. Luckily for us all, that will not happen."

    He stopped in his tracks for a moment, gazing down at a small village below on the path ahead. One of the many Kaiakan settlements in the Eyries. The Vo-Skakdi crouched down and pointed at the assorted huts.

    "Have you been to the Eyries before? Do you recognize this clan's banners?"

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  • Posted 2022-01-19 15:41:30 UTC
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  • IC: Merrill (Peak of High Eyrie)

    "Wait… you're meant to tell clans by those?"

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  • Posted 2022-01-19 16:33:30 UTC
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  • IC: Varqui [The Eyries]

    "What other purpose would those banners serve?" Varqui retorted, pointing at the clearly visible and completely-within-the-realm-of-description flags and draped ensigns emblazoned with a probably-recognizable insignia roughly resembling a coat of arms. "I'm pretty sure it's something to do with who runs this particular encampment. Maybe."

    The Vo-Skakdi sighed in a rare moment of admitting something outside of his vast worldly knowledge.

    "I've got hardly a clue about Kaiakan culture. Guess I assumed since you Lester;Nii live close by, that you would be familiar with your neighbors. My mistake, clearly."

    Varqui paused. Perhaps he was asking the wrong questions. It was easy to forget that he had one of Seprilli's most vast reserves of living knowledge by his side... albeit said vast reserve of knowledge was entirely restricted to the research area of wines, spirits, and all other means of intoxication.

    He looked to Merrill with a sinister glint in his optics.

    "Do the Kaiakans store their ale here?"

  • Edited on 2022-01-19 16:36:07 by BULiK
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  • Posted 2022-01-19 16:56:57 UTC
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  • IC: Merrill (Peak of High Eyrie)

    "Hmm…" Merrill paused, and stumbled to her feet, squinting at the banners. "Nah, not this one. They've got spirits, though. Kaiakans make great poitín."

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  • Posted 2022-04-30 21:04:13 UTC
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  • IC: NPC's [Tohmarr, Hadeel] - The Eyries - Jabbar Peak
    The stench of hot blood is strong in the air.

    Tohmarr and Hadeel, two outriders of the Okhotnik clan, pursue their prey eagerly.  Their prey- an enormous cat beast with a long tail and a thick black pelt- flees from them desperately.  Blood pours from the wounds made by arrows and spears bristling from its hide; where blood falls, the snow goes up in steam.  Tohmarr- a spearman, strong in the arms, missing an eye- bellows in excitement.  Hadeel- an archer, lithe, missing three toes on his foot- licks his lips at the intoxicating metallic smell.  Their mounts- bipedal, hairy lizards with fanged maws- near the point of frenzy.  All relish this Hunt, for it is a good one.

    Hadeel lets fly three arrows, one of which pierces the prey's eye.  It yowls in pain and turns to snap at its attacker; while it does, Tohmarr urges his mount to the prey's unprotected side, then dismounts it to roll into the snow.  The mount, eager to taste the blood it has smelled, lunges forward and clamps its jaws onto the prey's neck.  The two beasts claw and snap at each other, but the mount has been trained for this, and it inflicts more wounds on the prey than it receives.  It eventually forces the prey onto its back, exposing its soft underbelly; arrows and spear shafts snap off and lay abandoned.

    With his last spear in hand, Tohmarr reaches the prey and drives his weapon into its great heart.  A fountain of blood pours forth, splashing onto this arms and chest, and a great cry is torn from the beast- a cry that is silenced by Hadeel firing more arrows into its throat.  The prey twitches madly, then is still.

    The Hunt is over.  And it was a good one.

    The outriders, now both dismounted, reach for their carving knives and make to strip the prey for meat and pelt and bone to make weapons... and trophies, of course.  Such a good Hunt demands a trophy of equal value that they may show to the clan and receive veneration for.  They set to their work with a howl, a salute to death, who claimed the greatest trophy from the prey before they began their work.

    A sound from over the horizon cuts through their howl, a sound that sobers them up almost instantly and drives whatever pride they had in their conquest away- three loud blasts from a hunting horn.

    The three blasts mean that the Ohkotnik's chingghis eh-chingghis- the chief of chiefs, the greatest of the living clan fathers- has died.

    According to clan legend, Belet the Blessed, father of the Okhotnik, was the greatest Hunter to ever travel the peaks.  In his hubris, he sought to Hunt the Bull of Tur, a beast with a hide so thick and a disposition so fierce that no Hunter who pursued it had successfully put their spear in it.  Belet's Hunt led him across the peaks for many years, and he slew many beasts and carved trophies from them, but he did not reach the Bull until he was old and gray.  In Gulgalla, which would come to be called Jabbar Peak, he found that the Bull was also old and gray, and tired of its existence as merely a prize to be Hunted.  It asked Belet to put it out of its misery, and Belet accepted.  Their battle shook the ice from the Highest Eyrie and carved a canyon that reached the lands below the mountain.  In their battle, the Bull gored Belet through the stomach with one of its horns.  With a burst of strength, Belet tore the other horn from the Bull's head and drove it into the beast's neck, finally killing it.  Belet took the horn as his final trophy, and with the last of his power he hollowed it out and blew three great notes upon it, summoning his sons.  By the time they arrived, death had claimed Belet as its greatest trophy.

    Since then, it has been clan tradition to blow Belet's horn thrice to mark the chingghis eh-chingghis' death and to summon all back to the village to partake in the ceremony of honor and succession.  Hunts, prayer ceremonies, scouting- all is suspended when the chingghis eh-chingghis dies; his final honors take the utmost priority.

    Tohmarr and Hadeel bury their kill deep in the snow to preserve it, sit astride their mounts once again, and wheel themselves around to face the clan village.

    It is time to go home.

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  • Posted 2022-04-30 21:56:37 UTC
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  • IC: Varqui [The Eyries]

    The king-to-be was going to say something truly profound, but a strange event pulled his focus. A horn blew out thrice, the deep sound almost appearing to rustle the snow off nearby trees. He pulled out his spyglass and focused on the village below once more. Was something happening there?

    "What was that horn? Is this a call to prayer? Or perhaps dinner? Stay vigilant, Lester;nii - we may yet have the perfect opportunity to pilfer some of that poitín."

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  • Posted 2022-04-30 23:01:19 UTC
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  • IC: Merrill (The Eyries)

    "Did you float down the Criebe:Luur in a bubble?" Merrill's indignance was matched only by her sheer bafflement. Her strange companion's idiocy shouldn't have been this hard a pill to swallow, but a swig from her hip flask helped it go down a little easier all the same. "No one blasts a bloody horn for dinner, nevermind three times. It's a code, an announcement of something actually important. Returning scouts, enemy at the gates, that kind of thing. Just how thick are you?"

    Another swig, for good measure. She had a feeling she'd need it.

  • Edited on 2022-04-30 23:01:50 by Goose
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  • Posted 2022-04-30 23:11:35 UTC
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  • IC: Varqui [The Eyries]

    "What I am, is hungry," the Vo-Skakdi growled.

  • Edited on 2022-04-30 23:12:20 by BULiK
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  • Posted 2022-05-01 02:00:10 UTC
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  • IC: NPC's [Tohmarr, Hadeel] - The Eyries - Jabbar Peak
    The main village lies down the slopes, in the valley that marks the border between Jabbar Peak and the territory of another clan.  It will be a challenging ride, but with speed and care, the outriders should make it back before the sun rises again.

    Tohmarr and Hadeel near the spot where they have made camp; today's Hunt necessitated that they spend much time away from it.  As they draw closer, the mounts pause to sniff the air, then snap at it and yip uneasily.  The scent that worries them reaches the riders as well- a faint scent, but distinct, belonging to neither beast nor fellow Kaiakan.  They share a concerned look between them.

    Strangers.

    This is not good.  Pausing their ride to administer the proper punishment will delay the ceremony, which must be done while the death is still fresh.  Yet leaving the strangers to wander means that they might uncover things they were never meant to find, things that belong to the Okhotnik alone.  And unlike beasts who may stumble across secrets and leave without understanding, strangers have minds that can think and tongues that can speak, which may tempt others to trespass after them.  The clan is not welcoming to those who come to lay claim to the peak without Hunting for it.

    Hadeel makes the first move, edging his mount toward where the strangers sit.  It would be wise to at least see who dares to intrude, he reasons.  Perhaps they may be so weak that a proper punishment will not be needed, only a well-placed arrow or spear.  This is optimistic thinking, however- whoever made it here is likely strong in will and body, and something more will have to be done.  He motions for Tohmarr to stay put, which he does reluctantly.

    The archer sees the strangers, on the verge of descending to the outrider campsite, marked with clan banners.  He draws his bow and fires four arrows, two for each of them.

    OOC:
    that'd be @BULiK and @Goose

  • Edited on 2022-05-01 02:00:46 by capMARVELOUS
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  • Posted 2022-05-01 03:35:49 UTC
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  • IC: Merrill (The Eyries)

    Merrill hadn't been back up on her (sore, but functional) feet for all that long when the first arrow hit her hard, embedding itself in her left shoulder. This was something of a blessing – between her newly healed legs and the booze, she was knocked far enough off balance that the second soared past her while she was careening towards the ground. Survival instincts more than a little dulled by the drink, she did the first thing she could think of-

    She grabbed at her Skakdi companion, in an effort to halt her fall.

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  • Posted 2022-05-01 05:01:30 UTC
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  •  OOC: lets do this old school. crank up those video game soundtracks and epic battle music mixtapes, mes amis

    IC: Varqui [The Eyries, Jabbar Peak]

    It was rather fascinating, watching the mongrels move about from afar. Varqui panned his narrow cone of vision across the breadth of the settlement, scanning the environment while ignoring the minor distortions at the edges of lenses. Occasionally activating his X-Ray vision to get a peek inside th-

    Varqui didn't have time to ask if Merrill had heard that strange noise that almost sounded like "herself getting hit by an arrow" before he, too, felt a sharp pain. He also didn't have time to think about where said sharp pain was coming from because before he could even think of the proper combo chain of expletives to hurl at this situation, Merrill had already thrown the Vo-Skakdi off balance. Despite his herculean physique and the perfect balance of a free soloist, Varqui was at the distinct disadvantage of having been on one knee to stabilize the long zoom of his binoculars. Not to mention that for some strange reason his legs were not immediately obeying the commands of his superior intellect. But Varqui didn't have time to process all of that, he just knew that he was tumbling in a spin trying to stand and right himself with a Lester;Nii babe on his arm (but not in the good way!).

    The warlord caught a glimpse of some figure behind them as he made another rotation, before hearing the whistle of an arrow's fletching zip by where his face had been a moment before. Continuing on his orbit, Varqui saw the projectile embed itself into the trunk of a tree that had been in front of him with a cartoonishly resonating wobble.

    With a thunderous ROAAAAAAAAAAAR Varqui rallied his immense musculature to do the most strategically viable gambit - GET THIS WOMAN OFF OF HIM. As his rotation continued, the Vo-Skakdi had held out the arm Merrill clung to, grabbing the somewhat smaller frame of the Lesterin in his own hand in return. He put all his olympian strength into the heroic discus throw and let go, the centripetal force flinging Merrill in the direction of the assailant(s?). After the woman was airborne, Varqui continued his swing, his fist hitting the snow in a heroic pose before he used his arm to push himself to his feet and regain his balance.

    It was at this time he had a momentary reprieve to think. Tactically assess the situation as he watched Merrill spinning ludicrously mid air as the world seemed to come to a halt. The world was no longer spinning (well, aside from Merrill), and now Varqui could unleash his mind on the battlefield.

    SOMETHING'S IN MY A- Varqui began to think, though he channeled the rest of the thought into a much more productive battle cry that shook snow from the nearby trees and got his hydraulics pumping:

    "RRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAOOOOOOOOOOOOGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!"

    The Vo-Skakdi began to charge, his spiked books pummeling the snow and gripping the stone beneath. Varqui's left hand grabbed one of his climbing picks while the other unholstered his shotgun, Thunder. He tried to catch up to Merrill and close the distance with the unknown bandit, saving his two shells of buckshot for when they would matter the most.

  • Edited on 2022-05-01 05:08:43 by BULiK
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  • Posted 2022-05-02 18:30:23 UTC
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  • IC: NPC's [Tohmarr, Hadeel] - The Eyries - Jabbar Peak
    Hadeel's hunch turns out to be correct- no competent Skakdi warrior would go down with a single arrow.  (He draws some amusement, however, from the place where the arrow has struck.)

    The Lesterin being thrown is, admittedly, surprising.  Hadeel barely has time to register what is happening before he is hit and knocked off his mount; he hits the snow, the wind knocked out of him temporarily.  The mount yelps at the sensation of being separated from its rider, and circles around warily to observe where the Lesterin has landed, ready to strike if she should make another hostile move.  Hadeel himself rises soon after and prepares another arrow, aiming for the Lesterin's leg.

    Tohmarr, however, holds no reservations.  At the sight of his companion being unseated so suddenly, he lets out a mighty bellow to answer the Skakdi's and makes his charge.  He surely seems a frightening sight- bare-chested and oblivious to the bitter cold, still covered in fresh blood, astride a ferocious lizard- but he expects the warrior constitution of his spiky neighbor to remain firm.  It will make the first blow a savory prize.  Once near, amid his mount's snapping and snarling, the spearman makes several hard thrusts at the Skakdi's stomach and chest, both with his intact spear and with the splintered pole of a previous one.

    OOC:
    @BULiK @Goose

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  • Posted 2022-05-02 19:28:53 UTC
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  • IC: Merrill (The Eyries)

    The seconds, and her surroundings, passed in a blur as Merrill found herself quite suddenly slamming into a mounted (and then just as suddenly unmounted) Kaiakan. She groaned as she pulled herself out of the snow, finding her way back onto her wavering feet and taking in the situation. Her companion, and his delusions of grandeur, had his own problems to deal with, but somehow she figured he’d manage.

    Meanwhile, her Kaikan was also back on his feet, and aiming an arrow at her leg. First things first, Merrill pulled the arrow out of her shoulder with a grimace, and threw it at his feet, before downing the last of her hip flask. She considered dropping it into the snow for dramatic effect, but given she’d found a viable long-term supply of Irnakk;Pii, she needed the literage.

    Finally, she settled into a fighting stance – feet shoulder width apart, fists up, as ready to block as to punch. She knew where the next arrow would land, but she knew just as well that she could take it, so long as she braced herself; and she knew that as soon as the Kaikan or his mount moved, she could strike. It looked just the same as it had a moment before, but Merrill could feel the cold metal of her gauntlet thrumming against her wrist, thrumming with the kinetic force of a cliff-face fall, an arrow, and being thrown as a projectile. Thrumming with force enough to kill.

    And she wouldn’t miss.

    Come on, you hillbilly dickbag! She bellowed with all her might. Come on and HIT ME!

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  • Posted 2022-05-02 21:29:10 UTC
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  • IC: Varqui [The Eyries, Jabbar Peak]

    As Tohmarr expected, the unphased Vo-Skakdi did not back down. When the mounted warrior drew close, Varqui stood his ground, raised his right arm as if holding out a fist, and subsequently unleashed a plume of flame from his gauntlet. He waved the stream around at Tohmarr and his mount in wide circular arcs with his arm in an attempt to spook the beast. The flames also obscured Varqui from his opponent, but the Skakdi was able to use his X-Ray vision to see the incoming spear jabs before they crossed the cyclone of smoke and flame, deflecting the jabs away from himself using the hooked shape of his climbing pick in his other hand. With any luck, perhaps the wooden shafts of the spears would catch alight, if not the rider or his Rahi.

    While Varqui's right hand was tilted to the ground to clear his hand from the nozzle of his wrist flamethrower, it still tightly gripped the handle of his shotgun. He carefully crept forwards as he continued to burst flames and parry stabs, wanting to close the distance even further and keep the pressure on until he could find a devastating opening.

    Unlike his partner, Varqui didn't spare a single thought to consider communicating with the Kaiakan hunters. There would be no questioning, bargaining, or taunting - now was the time for action.

  • Edited on 2022-05-02 21:31:56 by BULiK
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  • Posted 2022-05-02 23:28:11 UTC
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  • IC: NPC's [Tohmarr, Hadeel] - The Eyries - Jabbar Peak
    "Mind your tongue, prey," Hadeel snarls.  His voice is harshly accented, his dialect archaic, yet he speaks with enough clarity to cut through the din around him.  "The Hunt does not venerate the profane."

    It would seem as though the Lesterin expects the same treatment as her Skakdi partner- an up-close-and-personal type of confrontation.  She will be sorely disappointed; inebriated prey does not deserve such a privilege.  Hadeel releases the arrow at her leg, then leaps back and releases more at her shoulder- the same shoulder she foolishly tore the arrow from a moment ago- aiming to pierce it further and wear it down quickly.  His volley loosed, he whistles, and his mount comes running.  In an easy motion he reseats himself and begins to circle, another arrow at the ready, enough distance between them for him to be reasonably safe from whatever drunken stumbling she intends to do.

    True to the Skakdi's intent, the burst of flame does frighten the mount, if only for a moment, but it is a moment that Tohmarr could spend fighting.  At his mount's falter, he rolls off to the ground, managing to avoid the worst of the burst of flames.  The headless end of the splintered spear catches alight; Tohmarr aims it low, knowing full well that burned legs and feet are agony to stand on.  The steel head of the intact spear remains aimed at stomach and chest, occasionally slipping through the parrying to meet flesh.

    Tohmarr is a fervent warrior, but he is not stupid; he has not survived his Hunt this long on bloodlust alone.  One of the weapons the Skakdi holds is unfamiliar, and unfamiliarity means danger.  Capturing it or disabling it will be a priority.  He swiftly closes the gap and increases the pressure himself, jabbing and sweeping, weaving in and out of the bursts of flame (though some do singe his skin), keeping all hands occupied and the Skakdi's attention on him alone...

    At a crucial moment, he gives a shrill whistle, and his abandoned mount leaps at the Skakdi from behind, aiming to snap and tear at the arm that ends in the unfamiliar weapon.

    OOC:
    @BULiK @Goose

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  • Posted 2022-05-03 13:30:04 UTC
    BZPRPG - Seprilli
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  • OOC:

    13 hours ago, capMARVELOUS said:

    IC: NPC's [Tohmarr, Hadeel] - The Eyries - Jabbar Peak

    The steel head of the intact spear remains aimed at stomach and chest, occasionally slipping through the parrying to meet flesh.

    Lets try to avoid autohitting. Just gonna ignore that.

    IC: Varqui [The Eyries, Jabbar Peak]

    Having successfully forced his attacker to dismount, Varqui pressed forwards. The Kaiakan's spears were excellent at controlling the range of a duel, but as Varqui stepped closer and closer after every dodge or parry, the spears became more unwieldy. At best, the shafts were bruising or scratching the Skakdi during some of the larger sweets, but there were no hits direct enough to pierce Varqui's armor.

    Soon, after hooking the intact spear to the side once more with his tool, Varqui leveled his shotgun at Tohmarr's chest. There was a whistle, a thunderous boom, and then much growling.

    The lizard's pounce had pushed Varqui's aim downward towards Tohmarr's legs, but he couldn't see how effective the buckshot's spread was as he began to tumble end over end under the force of the leaping lizard who had his right gauntlet firmly in its grasp. Varqui sneered in a growl as the fangs sunk into him, and furiously pressed a button that swung the spring-loaded arm blades outwards and into the mouth of the beast.

    Simultaneously, Varqui reached behind himself with his free arm and fired his grapple into the same tree Hadeel's arrow had sunk into not long before. After hearing it impact, he activated the winch, dragging him away from Tohmarr and taking the lizard with him for as long as it decided to continue biting down.

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  • Posted 2022-06-03 23:39:41 UTC
    BZPRPG - Seprilli
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  • IC: Merrill (The Eyries)

    Drunken stumbling was, of course, an ineffective way to win a fight. Merrill had cut her teeth brawling in bars, against men – Skakdi included – who were a ****** of a lot bigger and a ****** of a lot stronger than her. Sure, being drunk often made her clumsy; she'd had her fair share of stumbles.

    But it didn't make her slow.

    "The Hunt, huh? Do we look like Rahi to you, ******-for-brains?"

    The Kaiakan's low aim made it clear enough that he was shooting at her legs; the time it took to ready his bow gave her ample opportunity to sidestep once he finally shot, with the added benefit of making her a moving target. When the next arrow whistled past her shoulder, and he continued aiming at that same spot, she laughed.

    "Mate, you really ought to shake it up a little. And also, quite frankly, if you wanted to avoid profanity, maybe you shouldn't have shot at people minding their own ****** business, which is a little bit more of a fox pass in my book."

    The Kaikan was circling and shooting, strategising, but doing so on a few faulty assumptions. The first was that he was dealing with a shambling drunk, and not the bar fight champion of Seprilli; the second was that her next attack would be aimed at him.

     

    That Merrill charged at the Kaikan was to be expected – she knew it as well as he did, which meant that she knew to aim herself just a little bit ahead of his mount. But what wouldn't be expected was that she was fast, faster than any drunk with injured legs had a right to be, and the way she thrust her left shoulder out in front of her made the reason plain; already, the wound from that first arrow was healing.

    Drink didn't slow her, it just blinded her to risks; pain didn't slow her, because the drink numbed her and her mask took care of the rest. Merrill wasn't a drunk.

    She was a berserker.

    She let out a battle-cry that would put any Skakdi to shame as she ran her collision course with the Kaikan's mount, too fast for a change in direction to make any difference – after all, the greatest weakness of any rider is that crucial moment between their order, and its execution. Merrill had already picked up too much momentum by then, and no arrow would stop her.

    At her side, her fist was ready. And when her gauntlet hit that Rahi, the rider would get a lot more distance from her than he expected.

    OOC: Sorry for the delay, @capMARVELOUS and @BULiK, but hey – better late than never

  • Edited on 2022-06-03 23:40:53 by Goose
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