IC: Athiel"Good point, but I'd rather not delay our journey for too much longer. If we must, let's head to the closest inn."
IC: BaranxBaranx steadied himself on Little Rhin as Needlnose lumbered closer.
Vrina nodded very slowly as she heard this and follows close behind Athiel
"Though do you have enough widgets to pay for an inn room?"
"I have about ten widgets left, should be enough for the night... at least for a single person. I'll let you have it if you want" He said, addressing Vrina.
Vrina turned to look at Qyntar and shrugged
"I have about 6 left of what Athiel gave me and 15 of my own personal widgets.. So yeah don't think i will need your charity but thanks anyway."
Qyntar nodded in an understanding way while looking down. "Well then, I suppose I'll be getting a room for myself. Athiel?" He said, looking at Athiel.
IC: Athiel"First we must go about finding an inn. I can afford my own room, and I can buy your meal too. I grabbed my widget satchel I had stashed at my home while we where there."OOC: Athiel may or may not be loaded.
Baranx steadied himself on Little Rhin as Needlnose lumbered closer.
IC: Korru (Sentinel HQ)
"Alright, Baranx. First we're going to get you used to the general feel of riding a Kikanalo, so if Little Rhin would just line up over there, Needlenose and I can take the lead"
IC: The iodine in the doctor's face didn't faze him nearly as much as the news he had been brought did. "He did what!?" He was a short man, the doctor, only a Matoran; his plain features now made striking by the slowly festering scratches along his left cheek, and rage burning his eyes as he stared down the messenger. "You're telling me, that the patient to gain consciousness -- not to mention activate! -- without me being told during the entire ten minutes!" The messenger, a burly Toa of Iron, crumpled under his withering glare, and could only nod weakly in response. "Oh, Mata Nui," the doctor muttered as he wiped the chemicals from his face and stormed over to the door, "What was everyone doing for those ten minutes? Was it happy hour at the ####-head's club and bar or something? No, actually, don't explain; just follow me already." The messenger wasn't about to argue with that. Not now.
~ ~ ~
I ran across the desert, hoping that I could outrun it. I don't know how long I had been running for, or where I was going, or where I was coming from, or why I was doing anything. I only knew two things for certain: that sky was still dark, and heavy with stars; and that I couldn't let my pursuer catch me. No reason was given, because it was a given. I remembered taking chances to glance behind me, and try to catch a glimpse of... it. My pursuer. My stalker. My hunter. But whenever I looked back, what I saw made no sense. Nothing in this world made sense, true, but this made absolutely, positively no sense. A crystal pane. Blood-red eyes. A mis-shappen snout. Clawed fingers. Runes carved across its chest. My head whirled back to the front, and I remembered that its outline was blurry, like a bad photograph. Like a sullied film reel. Like a half-finished watercolour. Like a reflection in a sunny window. It had a definitive form, but it didn't seem finished. It was incomplete; it was uncertain. I kept running and kept running and kept hoping and kept hoping that I would find salvation at the horizon. And then dawn broke. And Day arrived. Like an onyx titan, he strode across the desert. His black from shimmered in the new sunlight, and his eyes burned like hearths in the semi-darkness. He held his sword loosely in one hand, and its tip traced a thin line across the sand as he approached. His gait was slow, but purposeful, and I didn't doubt that he would reach my pursuer before it reached me because it was a certainty. It was a given. Does anyone doubt a god to save them? I reached out, screamed for him to help me. Day's face betrayed no emotion, but his features twisted into something akin to determination. His Kanohi flashed once, and he vanished, and I knew that he reappear behind me, poised to defend me. He did appear. In a blink of an eye, the onyx titan, my guardian angel, came into existence in front of me, and brought his sword down in a beautifully savage arc that sliced me neatly in two. At least I didn't have to worry about my pursuer. ...
~ ~ ~
"Out of my way, out of my way!" Everyone - except for the surgeons - quickly moved out the Matoran's path, while his Fe-Toa companion apologized profusely for the disruption and that this was an emergency and how he was certain that this wouldn't happen again. The doctor wasn't paying attention; he could've been belting the village anthem of Ko-Koro for all the care he gave. All that really mattered was the metal door coming up on their right. "Move, now!" he shouted at the pair standing in front of the door - which was really nothing more than a slab of protosteel hewn into the stone walls around it - before he gestured to his companion, who was in the process of apologizing, once again, to the displaced duo. "You. Open this door." "But, sir, that's the parakuka ward--" "You said he activated, didn't you?" the doctor spat, "Well, since you and your fellow numbskulls wasted our ten-minute window of opportunity, I'd say that he should be nice and sleepy now, wouldn't you?" If there was any objection in the Fe-Toa's mind, he did not voice them. Wordlessly, he lifted one hand, an opening melted into form in the door. A bed came into view. Then a Matoran. And then his slug.
~ ~ ~
Deep underground, I was falling through a chasm so deep that it seemed to go straight down into ######. Water shone off of the walls of the cavern, flickering in the light that didn't seem to able to exist. The shadows were so dark, and so imposing, that it seemed to suffocate me. I felt rocks and stones bristle against my sides as I fell down the hole. The hissing of gas pockets didn't make me feel any safer. Then, my perspective switched. I don't suppose any of you have ever had an out-of-body experience, have you? If you haven't: don't. They suck. Because suddenly, you realized that the flickering lights aren't reflecting off of rocks, but armour. That it was spear tips and claws that scraped your sides as you tumbled down. And that the hissing wasn't from gas pockets; but from the mouths of Rahkshi. Because suddenly, I was one of those armoured worms, and I was roaring in bloodlust alongside my brethren. I didn't think as I descend on the Matoran; my mind was not mine alone, but it belonged to us all. And we all demanded that this interloper must be removed, and the Darkness purified. The scent of blood stung my nostrils, made my mouth water in anticipation. My fervour grew, and I ripped harder and harder, waiting for a scream from my prey. "Would someone get this guy off of me!"
~ ~ ~
In any other circumstances, the sight of a barely-conscious Lux Saran trying to slap another Matoran silly, would be amusing, to say the least. In these circumstances, it was simply cathartic. The Toa of Iron swiftly took the Parakuka-host into his arms, cradling him like a babe, as he moved him from the ward, to just outside in the corridor. The doctor, meanwhile, was busy dusting himself off and straightening his coat. With a quick, but gentler, glance at the Lesterin and Toa standing by the doorway, he sighed. "Sorry about that debacle, but you know how it is. Impossible to find good help these days..." The doctor straightened himself up, "I'll presume that you're this fellow's legal custodians?" -Void
IC: Melna (Po-Koro Hospital)
For a moment or two, Melna snapped. She buried her face in Day's chest, her body shaking almost as uncontrollably as Lux's room had earlier. It felt comforting, if not exactly warm. Day was cold, so incredibly cold, but at least Melna got a sense that he shared her pain.
She managed to pull herself together a little around the time when the doctor arrived, and kept a close eye when he went inside to check un Lux.
"Would someone get this guy off of me!"
Lux trying to cause someone harm? Inconceivable!
Melna had gone back to twisting thumbs again, never taking her eyes off of Lux until the doctor referred to her and Day.
"Wha... huh?" she began, immediately giving herself a mental kick in the back. That was no way for a brave adventurer to behave.
"Companions, yes. Legal custodians... I don't think so, I'm pretty sure he's... old enough to manage his own life"
The worst part about situations like these?
You can only watch. I could only listen to the ravenous roars resonating from the other side of the door, their sound a cacophonic mix of pure anguish and raw savagery. Unable to see Lux, it was my imagination that drew his portrait, capturing the Matoran’s golden frame in all its glory, inextricably linked to a creature of shadow whose vile nature ruined the entire image. It ate him from the inside out, fed on his very being and when there was nothing left but an empty shell, it saw fit to twist his hollow remains into a monster. At that point, the beast then began to feast on me, fictional claws tearing at the confines of my mind yet just like the protosteel cage that kept it locked up, I would not break.
Our fates, all too similar, yet all so different. Once, I had shared the very same cage of metal and madness, bent into an animal against my very will, only I deserved it. Lux didn’t. I recovered. Lux wouldn’t. Forever and ever, I was condemned to burden the scars of my past and even though they’d been inflicted seemingly a lifetime ago, they continued to bleed. Maybe there was hope for me, maybe my wounds would seal shut over time but for Lux, there was no such chance. Life would continue to ebb from his body, robbed of its essence, mind poisoned, tainted by the influence of a parasite, and no matter what we’d do to stop the flow, it could only delay the inevitable. In the end, there was no denying the ultimatum.
Lux will die.
A slow, torturous death.
Why him? Why not me instead? I deserved it so much more, more than anyone here. It wasn’t fair. Again, the sudden impulse to lash out in utter fury throbbed madly inside my head, but to do so was as pointless as crying.
Did I ever tell you what’s the worst part about all of this?
I could only watch. Watch as Melna sobbed in my chest, watch as a stranger cradled my friend, watch a doctor deliver words that fell on deaf ears. I felt numb, what with ice in my veins, a body rigid like stone, and a steely mind. For a moment, I didn’t even realize I had my arm wrapped around Melna, a slight comfort to us both. To my relief, Melna answered the doctor, since I had too much on my conscience with very little to say.
However, subdued as I may have been, bitter rage seeped into my cold, dead eyes.
I simply nodded.
IC: BaranxBaranx leaned forward and Rhin moved forward, lining up with Needlenose.
"Or the Lord could be influencing the evil in our hearts, manipulating it into believing that it is destroying the piety of the Matoran when instead it is simply furthering the Lord's cause," I suggested.
The idea, while confusing, was sound in my mind. Weirder things have occurred.
Vrina turned to look at Athiel and Qyntar and with a heavy sigh she continued to walk on finding an inn
Several minutes later
Vrina pushed open the door of the inn and immediatly approached the inn keeper
"I need three rooms or one large room with at least three beds.. You got any?"
OOC: Anyone feel like playing a temporary inn keeper?
IC- Dorgath - Po-Koro Square
Dorgath paused for a moment, again unsettled by the stranger. "I can see clearly that these actions are evil. They must be derived from the Makuta. Mata-Nui would not mislead me so."
IC: Korru (Sentinel HQ)
"Alright, good, you figured out how to say "forward" in Kikanalo-speak"
Needlenose grumbled in response, Korru sighed as he climbed into the gargantuan Kikanalo, who looked pretty much normal-sized for him.
"Yes, yes, I know. Your language is way more complicated than that. But Rhin still got the message, didn't he?"
That line caught my attention.
"You claim to have been in contact with the Lord?"
IC: (Larikon Torchbearer/Blackrock/Po-Wahi)
The lower floor of Blackrock had long been filled in with rock and sand, vast, seemingly endless amounts of it. The lower floors once housed scores of screaming converts, large, pounding forges, and the animals the Brothers kept for meat and leather. It had been a black, foul place, in contrast to to the ordered, monastic quarters above. Or so the records told him, in lurid details. No doubt the weapons and forges rotted away, and nought but fragments of stables told that life once survived.
Larikon needed it for the space, at least part of it. A part of his mind was against it, telling him that the place had ill energies, hatred of Ak'rei'an. Part of him said otherwise. He and his yet dug down the second stairway to the lower levels, the one closest to their living space. It was hard work, as the sand and rock had compacted and compressed over the centuries. Brothers attacked it with shovel, pick and mattock. Three feet down, they found rock, sand and dashes of ashes. Four feet down, black bits of rock came into view. Holding up a hand, Larikon reached down, and picked it up. To him it didn't look like rock. Upon further inspection, he figured out that it was bone.
During Blackrock's sack, it was said that dozens upon dozens of would-be converts were trapped in the lower levels as it burned. Some managed to escape, but were soon killed from the smoke. The previous Grandmaster had told him, and the rest of them that it had all been a myth, a lie concocted by heretics. Larikon realized that it was true. Oh so true.
"Brothers, here lies before you one of many heathen bodies. No doubt their ash has corrupted the grounds below. Join me in prayer as we toil, to purge this place of their sin and evil."
The Skakdi of Ice had been busy the past few weeks, helping to clear the lower floors of Blackrock. He had uncovered ash and rocks, mostly, but more disturbingly, bones, full skeletons, and worst of all, anti-Ak'Rei'An carvings on the walls. He had reported this to the Grandmaster more than once, and no doubt that was why he had personally come to lead prayers to cleanse the ill energies here.
Zekev planted the spade in his hands against the wall and waited to follow Larikon's lead.
IC: Korru (Sentinel HQ)
"Alright," Korru began as he sat upright on Needlenose, their combined size making them tower over Baranx and Little Rhin, "since you'll need to crawl before you can walk, we'll start with the basics. You discovered the forward command, maybe you can guess left and right"
IC: Melna (Po-Koro Hospital)
It seemed clear now that Lux was in good hands. The realization resulting in a hopeful smile, however slight, stretching across Melna's face. It looked like her copper armor shifted from a dull, flat nuance, into the glowing, bright shine that it usually bore.
Lux was going to be okay.
Melna almost felt a jump for joy spring into her legs, carrying her spirits back to their usual spot on the mile high club.
That was when she felt the weight of Day's arm wrapped so protectively around her. Even though she'd stopped crying, Day hadn't moved.
Melna looked up, for the first time really taking in Day's exotic appearence, on one side you had the completely jet black armor, covering every inch of his sharply chiseled features, on the other the intense fire of his eyes and heartlight. An inferno of raging emotions, deeply buried beneath an aura of smooth charisma and charm. His arm bore witness of an inner strength that'd so far gone unnoticed, and also of something... something just waiting to be unleashed from this black box.
Melna almost gasped right then and there. Was this what Colx had been talking about? Did he somehow, instinctively just know that something like this was buried within him, had he met people like Day before?
"No" Melna protested. Day wouldn't do anything to hurt them, would he?
"No" Melna repeated to herself, she wouldn't allow herself to think such things about her friend.
No, what Day was, was an entire mystery of his own, a cosmos unto himself, and Mata Nui be gracious, she would solve it.
She slowly, almost delicately, stepped out of Day's embrace, taking a moment to let her gaze run up and down his features a second time. On top of it all, Melna felt a slight blush come to view on her mask.
"Um, thanks" she mumbled.
Baranx nodded and half-twisted, half-tugged the reigns left. Rhin started to head to the left. Baranx repeated the motion to the right and Rhin turned to the right.
How do I stop?
On impulse, he did the same as he would on a Dikapi: he pulled the reigns. Little Rhin stopped dead in his tracks. He snorted in approval.
OOC: I feel like this is some sort of game tutorial where the dude tells you to move the joystick left or right.
OOC: Let's see just how far we can take that
IC: :r: (Sentinel HQ)
"Good, good. Maybe at some point you can try for the high score. There's a competition going around between us on who can do the best rider stunts"
"Aynyway," he continued, "let's continue"
While the others were digging, Jaaku was standing back and watching, just like Larikon had been for a bit. Something didn't seem right to him...This Wahi was sand and rock, and that was all that he saw in the lower levels. What, then, could he feel? When Larikon held up a bone, the Toa of Magnetism frowned. Reaching down, he gathered up a handful of the sand, before holding his other over it. With a small exerting of his element, some particles in the sand, dark, almost black, began to jet upwards, holding fast to his gauntlet. Iron in the sand...something they could exploit.
But it would take a long time to sift out the iron from all of the useless dirt surrounding it...still, with all the sand that was down there, and with the amount of iron sand he'd gotten from his small handful (about seven percent iron), it could be worth it, if they had another Toa of Iron nearby. And with those bodies they had found, they could have greater resources than just iron sand.
"Bucket up the sand, and be careful with your shovels," he said, breaking up the vocal silence that had reigned after Larikon had finished speaking earlier. "There's iron in it, and I'm betting that there'll be a few chunks of metal and whatnot down here, from the forges and the bodies. It's arid enough that rust shouldn't have set in particularly much, and the sand, as it came in, would've helped to preserve the rest of it." He smiled, faintly, before turning to the Grandmaster.
"Would Ak'rei'an approve of recycling, Grandmaster?"
Ah, Po-Wahi... Much brighter than It's underground neighbor, though far less useful to me in terms of available supplies.
Perhaps I can find some work here. After all, someone must have a bone to pick with someone else.
Heck, this whole island is full of different groups, most of which have around five enemies each.
"Maybe I should put up some posters..."
OOC: Open for interaction, Msg me if you wish to hire Enax to hunt someone down, he is a bounty hunter after all.
IC: (Larikon Torchbearer/Stairwell 2/Blackrock Canyon, Po-Wahi)
"The texts say not a thing on the subject, Sir Jaaku," Larikon said. "...they served us not while living, so I think they will while dead. Scrap metal from the bones, if you wish. We have scalpels and chisels to do such. Dispose of the organic bones in a pit, on the outside. They are of no use to us."
He hurled his shovel into the sand, and cast the dirt aside. As he had been doing for hours on end. "As for the carvings the heretics carved into the walls, I think it would be best to ignore them until we aquire paint. Carvings cannot destroy our faith, no matter how mocking they might be."
The work kept the ill thoughts at bay. Nightmares, of several kinds, had been haunting him for the past week. Memories, twisted and warped, of his conversion, of his forebearers, of Ak'rei'an himself judging him. But Larikon kept a straight face, for his brothers and sisters of the faith. A weak leader could be considered ill-fit, unholy or illegitimate. He considered his former Grandmaster such...and killed him for it.
So he dug, and let the pain and the horror of his nights fuel his work. His hands were blistered, raw and pained, despite the salves he applied. But he cared not. It was theraputic, oh so much. The sands piled to the side of him, tan, brown, black and grey. The smell of sweat, dirt and lantern oil filled the air, all the while, the noise of the shovels went on. Two feet more down, and he was met with the vacant eyes of a skull, and an skeletal hand clutching a small, barely visible crystal.
A purple crystal, in this light.
"Touch not the crystal."
IC: Baranx-Sentinel HQ
"Okay, what's next?" Baranx asked. He was eager to learn more. He was getting the hang of it.
IC: Zekev- Blackrock, Basement
Zekev stopped his digging when he heard the gasps. He turned and was stunned.
There, in its full glory and grace, was a purple lightstone. It illuminated the dark half-filled basement, and Zekev was transfixed by that little stone.
"Is that... a Purple Lightstone? Our Lord Ak'Rei'An's power in it glory?" Zekev whispered.
"Not his power. His very essence." Rakona dropped down to her knees near Larikon. "Larikon. I wish to be the Brotherhood's spy in Po-Koro. I have some of the most experience with dealing with heathens, and my zombie Goran acts like a normal person, and not a drooling slob."
The Onu-Toa got to work, digging out the lower floor with his shovel. He was the most resposible for the Blackrock's order, being the Knight Constable.
Vrina had quickly purchased the room and turned to Athiel and Qyntar
"Ok you two we have a shared room with three beds.. i paid my share of it so you will each be expected to pay it before we get the room key."
Ryjak appeared behind Thentyle, a figure who he had come to recognize in his years in the Brotherhood.
"Can we assist you?" he asked, motioning to his undead assistant.
Thentyle has only been in the Brotherhood for a couple of weeks. He was one of the converts in the Brotherhood's expasion.
Rakona, on the other hand, has been in the Brotherhood for an unspecified amount of time. At the very least, she is a senior member.
"Uh, you're Ryjak, right? What's your element and mask? And your zombie's element is water?"
"Indeed, she is," the Fe-Toa nodded, "as for my mask- it is the Kakama."
OOC: Minor bunnying
IC: Korru (Sentinel HQ)
"Alright, so..." Korru began...
The day went by as Korru and Baranx went through the motions of Kikanalo-riding, getting Baranx used to the basics of it.
As the afternoon sun set in, Korru and Baranx were at the Lesterin's desk. With the Lesterin having donuts. He couldn't speak for Baranx, though.
"Nice job," Korru remarked, "we'll make a Kikanalo-rider out of you yet"
"Thanks," Baranx said, wiping his sweaty brow after a day out in the open desert. He had almost forgotten how enjoyable a ride in the open was. If properly hydrated, of course.
"Could I have some of those?" Baranx asked, pointing at the plate of donuts.
IC: Korru (Sentinel HQ)
"Mhelp yourshelf" Korru mumbled in between mouthfuls and nudged the plate in Baranx's direction.
"Thanks," Baranx said and took a pink-frosted-sprinkled donut. He bit into it amd said, "Dewhucious."
"Sho, what am I shupposhed to dho nhow? Do I come back thomorrow? What fashilichies are there in zhis new HQ?" Baranx asked as he took a second donut, this one a weird yellow custard one.
OOC: News of Matoro's death hasn't reached Po-Koro yet. Hum...
OOC: Probably not
IC: Korru (Sentinel HQ)
"You'll have to ask someone in charge. I'm not some clerical employee"
We walk for some time in silence, both of us wrapped up in our own thoughts. Mine centre mainly around our safety - do we have enough water; are we being watched; is that shape on the horizon a threat - y'know, that sort of thing. I'm willing to assume Ferron's mind is on supposedly 'more important' matters, but to me, Kuhrin's agenda is just as dire as getting sand underneath my armour. That's the difference between me and him, between Toa and Matoran. We still seem to understand each other, though, somehow. That's the magic of existence. No matter their differences, people can always communicate somehow, there's always something that connects them. With me and Ferron, I guess it's that we've both lost a lot of people. We've both lived too long to escape the omnipresence of death.
I can trust him. Me and him really are very similar in the manner I described. Perhaps I've finally found someone to confide in.
"Ferron..." I begin. He looks to me expectantly, but I shake my head. "Never mind."
Zuria nodded. The fear was beginning to leak out of its protective shell and into her eyes.
The thought of going back there, and seeing that place again, disturbed her. The clash of swords, the whirlwind of mindnumbing sound and sand and pain and suffering and death-
No, she told herself. You have to go back. You have to face your fears.
Taking a deep breath, she nodded again, this time more confidently. "We should probably leave as soon as possible, then. Don't want to keep the killers waiting."
IC: Ferron (Po-Wahi Wastes)
Zuriana was right in assuming that Ferron's mind was on other things. Although it might be a bit of a stretch to call them "more important".
"First, I'll nail him to the wall. And then..."
The mere sound of Zuriana's voice was enough to pull Ferron away from the rage he was in the middle of nurturing by thinking up gory fantasies. She had that effect on him, (and a lot of other people too, he assumed) with the always so welcoming smile and motherly care that went into the simple act of dealing with other people.
When she retracted and mumbled something dismissive, Ferron almost felt disappointed. Didn't she trust him?
"If there's anything you need, I'm here" he said softly.
"Yes... yes" Ferron agreed, standing up so quickly that he hit the roof.
"Ouch" he grumbled, rubbing his forehead.
"We'll need supplies for a day's trip into the desert, obviously." He continued
Now that the last of the posters had been put up, perhaps I would get a client. Until then, I would stay in Po-Koro.
"Not too many people seem to be around... I probably won't get a client for a while."
Bored, I sat on a nearby bench and began sharpening my scythe, which had been dulled from severing the Nui-Jaga's stinger.
OOC: Open for interaction. Enax will take a bounty hunting job, for a decent price. Msg me if you wish to hire him.
OOC: Action approved by EW.
IC: (Larikon Torchbearer/Blackrock/Po-Wahi)
With delicate caution, Larikon picked up the crystal. It was no bigger that a sunflower seed, unshelled, mind you. It was cold, as cold as ice. That was the first thing that told him that something was wrong. The Purple Lightstone the Brotherhood had usually was warm to the touch. Its surface had a rough, sandpaper-like feel to it. To see it more clearly, Larikon held the stone up to the lonely ray of sun that came through a crack in the rocks. It wasn't purple. It was red, blood-red.
"Someone, some heathen..." he paused, remembering the texts in detail. Within the Purple Lightstones were contained Ak'rei'an's earthly energies, it was told. They were scattered across the world, with only those with knowledge of Ak'rei'an knowing that they contained power. Only followers of the Archangel knew its power, and could use it properly. Properly. Somehow, a heathen managed to soil the stone, corrupt its energies. It was in the Book of Life that it could be done, but it had never happened here. Never.
"It has been corrupted," he said. "And Ak'rei'an told his children, 'They who know not will try to bend mine energies, try to despoil it. Purge those shards of unholy magicks thusly from this plane, to ensure no evil comes upon thy.'"
The stone had been colder. So cold that Larikon's fingers had began to numb. Despite his feeble attempts, it dropped to the ground. It began to glow. Whether it was from Larikon's words, or the touch of a living hand, it began to glow, radiating a kind of black mist. A skeletal hand, uncovered by a spade, quietly formed, and began to twitch. A greater evil, it seemed, had been made in this very fortress.
OOC: Or was it a heathen?