The toa of plasma was yet bewildered by many the weapons the vortixx drew from the bag. "I'm not sure I even know what some of those are..." He did how ever notice something familiar. "Is that an elemental resonator?" The strange, two pronged tool lied in the vortixx's hand. "I've seen one of those before, it can be used to fine-tune one's elemental powers"
OOC: Otherwise, I have no bloody idea what to say. Ardoku really isn't the gun type of guy.
"Excuse me," called the Ussalmatoran to a Ga-Matoran he had never around before.
OOC: That'd be Surina
Surina turned in surprise at the Onu-Matoran.
"Standard procedure, you have nothing to worry about," the Onu-Matoran stated professionally, "Please tell me which Wahi you came from and the reason for your visit."
Surina raised an eyebrow. The Akaku on her face mimicked the expression.
"Since when was there a procedure like this?" she asked. "You can see from my coloring that I'm a Ga-Matoran - so, obviously - I come from Ga-Koro. And the reason for my visit is trade."
The Matoran of Plasma walked down the street, and eventually came across and odd sight: A Ga-Matoran talking to an Ussalman. Maybe they were friends. Maybe the Ussalman thought the matoran was doing something wrong. Did it really matter? No, not really. But still, it was odd to Okajo, so he decided to approach the two. Maybe ask a question.
OOC: That would be Surina and Aar.
IC: [ Rhea ] - Onu-Koro / Akiru Forge
The Ta-Toa engineer exhibited no apparent reaction to her subtle psychological feint, and Rhea was rather pleasantly surprised by the fact. He was, it appeared, perfectly in control of himself and his emotions; a very levelheaded, very logical individual. The type that one must deal with directly and without pretense.
Another note for the mental file, another mark in the careful analysis she was building up of the Toa Akiru as a collective unit. Like dwells with like; if one of the three could placidly overlook her manipulations, it was a safe gamble they all could. At least to some extent.
Still and all, they were only metalsmiths, however controlled and steely of interior they might be. She had other matters elsewhere to attend to; no point in dragging out this one with needless social complications.
“Yes and no. I have a few notes here that might help convey what exactly it is I’m inquiring about. First, the steam power source itself. I have an idea for a radical improvement on the current design... a very simple idea, at its heart, and little more than a mere concept at the moment; but, if workable, it holds some most intriguing possibilities.”
Stepping over to a nearby worktable, she drew a few rumpled sheets of paper from her cloak pocket and spread them out in plain view. What she had referred to as ‘notes’ were actually an orderly arrangement of neatly sketched diagrams, labeled in a clear, precise hand. There were few measurements or mathematical formulas, whether of angles, distances, or otherwise, but the simple line artwork itself was superb, with a subtle sense of realism that even trained artists rarely achieved.
“As you know, the steam turbine engine concept relies on heat energy to operate. The hotter the fire in the boiler, the more such energy is present, which in turn translates almost directly into the raw kinetic force that we seek. Fire is the key to functionality, and fire is also the machine’s chief flaw.”
She glanced briefly at Miraul, then continued, “Fire, though powerful, is inefficient. It takes time to gather strength, it must be tended constantly, it requires disproportionately large amounts of fuel, and, after all that, it cannot even be used to its full potential because of the smoke, fumes, and soot it produces. A large watercraft’s steam turbine, stoked to its hottest, would eventually ignite the waste material buildup found in the ventilation smokepipes, and, thus, destroy the entire vessel. Not to mention, it would simultaneously roast and poison its unfortunate attendants. It is a great pity, for the steam engine itself is both powerful, reliable, and simple. It is merely the problem of this uncontrolled and demanding fire, and all the extra space, metal, and effort it requires, that makes it rather inconvenient.”
She paused momentarily, tapping a slender, white-armored finger against the charts for emphasis. “We require heat, yet without flame. And from whence do we get that?”
She smiled, her green eyes glowing with simple pride and the satisfaction of discovery. “Heatstones, naturally. They are expensive, yes, but imagine if, in place of the smoky, bulky, fire-run boiler, we could have a simple, compact, completely enclosed furnace, with its walls set at such an angle as to reflect and condense the heat towards the water-filled tank directly above it. Thirty or more such large, powerful heatstones, suspended securely in metal racks in the interior of such a furnace, would drive its temperature far higher than mere flame can ever hope to reach. Why, a single heatstone chars flesh at a touch; imagine dozens of them combined! Imagine that raw level of clean, pure heat, condensed and focused into a single three-foot cube... No smoke, no flames, no fumes, little maintenance whatsoever. Naturally, it would require an unusually well-built boiler system to contain that much energy without exploding or melting down, but solid protosteel would, in theory, be well capable of it.”
Her smile had faded as she spoke, but her eyes still gleamed. “You get the idea? This is a custom request, remember. The furnace I describe will be extremely expensive, not only as regards the heatstones themselves, but for the materials and expertise needed to construct it. It will require a stout gearbox and transmission shafts that may be quickly disconnected from the central power gears, for it will not be easily cooled in order to reduce engine speed. For someone with a non-heat-related elemental affiliation, it will be difficult to maintain, repair, and, depending on the circumstances, operate. These are not minor drawbacks. I do not expect my version of the steam boiler to ever surpass its counterpart in general popularity... not that the steam boiler is widely used enough yet to even have general popularity. But for what I need, for my purposes, a heatstone boiler system would be ideal.”
She let the statement hang briefly in the dimly-lit, steel-scented atmosphere of the smithy, then added softly, “Have you ever seen one of Ga-Koro’s ‘submersibles’? The few that exist are highly prized by their owners, and it is true they are fine examples of engineering, but they are so woefully slow and underpowered as to be almost worthless. Why? Because only muscle can do the job of propulsion. Why? Because wind is at the surface, far out of reach, and a steam engine... a steam engine, like its living pilot, is an air-breather, and what it does not breath, it poisons. A steam engine in a submersible would be the absolute height of folly. Typically.”
She was smiling again, the shifting blood-red glow from a nearby open forge dancing playfully over the sleek, attractive ridges of her Kanohi.
Ah yes. Typically. Use the wits that fortune gave you, Akiru. Heatstones. Submersibles. Do you get what I'm hinting at?
So, uh, I hope I explained that all clearly enough. Please feel free to PM me if I didn’t.
The black-armored Vortixx chuckled at Ardoku.
"Yeah, that's an elemental resonator. I didn't think you'd be much of a weapons guy. Most Toa aren't. Anyways, it doesn't exactly fine tune your elemental powers as much as provide a channel for them. Well, at least mine doesn't. Like most normal Toa tools, it provides any easy outlet for your elemental energy. This particular item has a bit of a twist on the ol' classic - this amplifies, in addition to channels. That said, it's relatively fragile for a weapon... and it may explode and kill you if you use it too much. But you didn't hear that. Whaddya say?" Before waiting for the bewildered Toa's response, he added, "I'd probably need to spend a little while touching it up. Staying in an interdimensional void can sometimes cause the electronegativity to weaken between the atomic structures, so I'd have to fix it up." As if agreeing with him, the pronged instrument shuddered and one of the prongs fell to the floor with a metallic clang.
This one had an attitude.
Aar didn't like attitudes.
But he was on duty, so he wouldn't let it phase him. "The procedure has been as such for the past hundred years. And I can well see that you are a Ga-Matoran, but that is only an 80% indicator of your point of entry at best, and so standard procedure is to ask to make sure. I would advise you comply with procedure without comment for the duration of your stay in this Koro." He looked her over, "You're free to go."
OOC: I admit it isn't exactly standard procedure, because making it consistent would be too complicated. Buuuuuut I try to keep things realistic where I can.
The Skakdi shambled through the town, heading for a wall near the center of the town. He limped along on his leg, proud though he was injured. In the crux of his arm was a container filled with sheets of parchment. In his one hand he carried nails and a hammer.
SKAKDI OF MATA NUI
DO YOU FEEL OPPRESSED OR CONTROLLED?
ARE YOU SICK OF THE HIGH TENSIONS OF THE KOROS ON THE BRINK OF WAR?
DO YOU WANT TO GET AWAY FROM THE KOROS?
MY NAME IS VHOHAN, AND I HAVE A SOLUTION.
BE A PART OF A GLORIOUS NEW KORO FOR SKAKDI.
FOR THE PROTECTION OF OUR PEOPLE, AND THIS ISLAND.
COME TO 567 WEST USSAL STREET IN ONU-KORO FOR MORE.
The message had been written in Skakdi. Vhohan did not wish for anyone other than his people to read the message- after all, this new Koro was to be for Skakdi alone. If a Toa were to read it, it would defeat the point.
"Thanks", Surina said and was about to walk away when she suddenly realized something. "Um, wait! Aren't you in the Ussalry?"
IC: [ Rhea ] - Onu-Koro / Akiru Forge
Rhea and the Toa Akiru continued discussing the plans for several hours. Several ideas were put forth, but still no one present was really quite sure that the ambitious project was even possible, let alone plausible.
Just a brief, pointless post to let everyone know that, yes, Rhea's still around. There's a lot of behind-the-scenes discussion currently going on via PM, including native tech staff approval PMing and such matters.
Also, I'll be essentially inactive from tomorrow until the end of the week, due to Thanksgiving festivities.
"Yes, I am," the Matoran responded patiently. It was a rather obvious question, though he supposed it made some sense that somebody from another village wouldn't know that.
"Ah, well, do you know someone named Rhea?" she asked. "I was instructed to find someone from the Ussalry who might help me find the person."
"Never heard of them."
"Ah, well, thanks for your time", Surina said with mock politeness, leaving the Onu-Matoran on his patrol.
How will I find this Rhea? Surina thought in frustration.
Ardoku looked at the broken resonator, his eyebrows raised. "Well... I suppose" He thought for a moment, then looked back into the bag "You got any daggers in there?"
The Vortixx-inventor recoiled, as if stung by Ardoku's request. "Daggers?" he coughed. "What are these daggers you speak of?" You mean, like, normal weapons? Not some fancy gadget designed to disassemble your foes in the most hip and modern way possible? You mean you think I'm some sort of barbarian who forges crude tools?" He spluttered out, gasping for breath after his indignant tirade. He glanced at the shocked Ardoku, then to the storage case, then back to Ardoku again.
"Yeah, there's probably a dagger or two in there".
IC: [ Rhea ] - Onu-Koro / Akiru Forge
Three solid hours in a dimly-lit, none-too-large, heat-hazy Onu-Koronian smithy, sitting at council with three steely-eyed, straight-talkin’ metalsmiths would reduce most individuals to sweaty, irritable, outright insanity.
Rhea didn’t seem fazed in the least, but then, she was a Su-Toa. Heat was her business.
Their discussion had covered much ground in one hundred and eighty minutes. The Akiru’s Ta-Toa engineer, Takamaz, had taken one careful look at Rhea’s notes and calmly revealed that he, too, had been working on a nearly identical engine. A case of convergent mechanical design evolution... although in actuality, as he had politely noted, his design was slightly superior. Rhea didn’t argue. She had pride, but having pride in something didn’t necessarily require you to make it yourself. Often, having someone else make it for you, better than you could, at your request, and the knowledge that you had made it happen whether or not you did the work itself, was just as gratifying.
From there, the talk had moved to the watercraft the engine was to operate. Rhea’s tentative idea of a submersible was cross-examined with great interest, but eventually all present had to reluctantly agree that although the concept itself was sound, the engineering expertise needed to make it happen was still just a bit too far out to grasp. The sea was a deadly place, powerful, and a vessel built to challenge the depths... At the moment, even the Akiru doubted their abilities to craft an effective champion. And again, Rhea didn’t argue. As was her invariable custom, she had considered potential difficulties beforehand and had come suitably equipped.
And as cutting-edge as the submersible had been, the plans she was outlining now were only slightly less ambitious. They were just this side of doable, yes, but the sheer levels of effort involved, both mental and physical, to carry the project to completion, would be staggering, breath-taking, herculean.
Rhea’s eyes were gleaming, flaming in their sockets like emerald heatstones, their glow mirrored in the level, calculating glances of the Toa Akiru. Like all master craftsmen, the Akiru took pride in their skills and relished chances to use them to the utmost, relished a challenge. Despite their quiet exteriors, Rhea could sense the passion at their cores, and she was pleased. Money could do nearly anything, but it took inner drive and determination to do it well... she had chosen wisely indeed when she had come here.
The concept plans, carefully sketched in the same fashion as had been those for the steam engine, lay spread upon the table before them. The diagrammed vessel was not particularly large, nowhere near the size of heavy ocean-going sailing ships such as Captain Lohkar’s infamous Infernavika, but neither was it particularly small, and it outsized by a considerable margin the single-sail fishing boats so common in Ga-Wahi. It was built rugged yet sleek, with the rakish, high-bowed appearance found in vessels of war. Unencumbered by towering masts, its profile was low, unassuming, and compact; the bulk of the cabin and machinery was situated on and just slightly forward of the ship’s center, giving the craft a solid, powerful look.
“The external hull plating, internal support structures, and other high-stress areas,” explained Rhea, running a forefinger along the diagram in question, “are to be constructed entirely of high-grade metal, preferably protosteel. This is not open for discussion; metal they must be. I do suspect, however, that we shall have to construct the less exposed areas of the hull and deck using steel-reinforced timbers, to save on both weight and cost. Le-Koronian ironwood, though notoriously hard to work with, will suit our purposes well, I believe.”
“This vessel is to be built for raw speed and power, ease of handling, and sheer reliability. It must be able to outrun, outmaneuver, and outlast any other vessel on the coasts. The relatively shallow draft will give it reasonable inland capabilities, yet it must still be capable of weathering all but the most violent storms. These qualities are first and foremost of importance, followed only by cargo capacity, crew’s quarters, and last of all, comfort. Armament will also be important, but may be designed and added at a later date.”
“We will use your design, Takamaz, for the engines. We will need a twin-boiler system, one boiler assigned specifically to each drive shaft.”
She traced her finger along the sketch of the heavy, tri-bladed propellers, set not at the very rear of the stern, but several feet forward in deep hull grooves, one on either side of the large rudder. Propellers were not new technology by any means, but perhaps never before had they been used in such a manner, on such a vehicle.
“The machinery will take highest precedence with regard to internal layout and design. Cargo bays, bunks, storage lockers... these can be arranged to fit. We are not building a comfort cruiser, we are building a hard-running powerhouse. Again, I say, speed, maneuverability, durability... these must be the focus."
She smiled, a trifle wolfishly. “You understand, of course? I know you do, but formalities require that I ask."
OOC:Glad I don't use much font coding-look's like it pretty buggy right now. But I do need just a little: Lorax, Geardirector, expect interaction from me soon.
IC:"I understand," Takamaz replied, "You need a durable, fast, and agile ship, designed for the best in mechanical quality. Secondary priorities are cargo and crew. Though I'm somewhat curious what you intend to do with your vessel. Beyond that, we need some basic details-how to contact you, where you plan to stay, etc, and then you can go. But active involvement in the construction might help you acquire results more perfectly to your liking, since you can help us work out minor details as we build."
Miraul turned to his team,"Hikari, Divan, Takamaz, get started on the heatstone reactors. Those can be constructed without assistance. I'm going to see if we can't contract out some labor to some other shops in area-they might be able to help us speed up this project, especially in terms of mass producing ironwood and protosteel. Bijackal, you're with me on that-I suspect we may be talking with some of your kind. Vilak, go to Ga-Koro and secure us a dry-dock-for once, your talents might be helpful in business-but don't take that as encouragement. Axana, mind the forge-more precisely the customers-while we work. Try to be nice."
A rougish smile erupted on the Vilak's face, and one of his swords was drawn-he never ran without it. Old battle habits die hard. "On it." An orange-white blur disappeared out the door-though perhaps it had paused to check out Rhea.
Miraul turned to Bijackal. "Come on. Let's go talk to a few fellow engineers."
OOC: Feel free to take care of the other people wanting to talk to you after you answer Takamaz's question.
Eh, yeah, the coding. Don't remind me; I might break down and weep if you do.
I'm going to try writing this post in simpler format, without color, and see if it holds. Font and color tags seem to be causing the issue, and the scrambled paragraphs come as a side effect. I think.
EDIT: Well, it didn't hold. Karzahni!
IC: [ Rhea ] - Onu-Koro / Akiru Forge
Rhea swung her legs out from under the table and rose easily to her feet, smiling slightly. "I am, my dear fellow, a bounty hunter. And so the sea, as the land, is but an extension of my territory, is it not? In my line of work, it is vital that the stalk be successful, the strike be effective, and the escape be swift. I have done well with my feet on solid earth, but my instincts tell me that the Endless Ocean is the new frontier. There have been ships through the aeons, yes, and trade and battle and piracy, but... I feel that they were but a paltry taste of what's to come. As I said, my instincts tell me, and I have learned to trust my instincts."
She paused a moment, her green eyes thoughtful, distant. "Where trade and commerce go, crime follows. And where crime is, there are those who prey upon it. Black warriors under white banners. My kind are not often righteous of heart, but nonetheless, we are a positive force. A new age dawns, Takamaz, and I wish to be prepared. This ship will be a predator, a mere extension of myself..."
"As regarding my future activities, I fear I cannot give you a simple answer. Often, I am out of touch with civilization for many weeks; yet just as often, I may dwell in a single village for days on end. There will be no reliable means of contacting me, but I shall try to be on hand as much as possible. Alternatively, depending on circumstances, I may send one of my trusted associates as a messenger."
She moved towards the exit, then hesitated and threw Miraul a flashing smile. "You need not worry overmuch about it, I think. When one as greedy as I am sinks a small fortune into something, they tend to keep an eye on it. I must be off now; thank you kindly for your advice and assistance."
And she was gone, the door clicking softly shut behind her.
The sound of metal penetrating wood resounded through the area, though few were around to notice. A moment later, it came again, preceded by the brief flash of artificial light on metal, a momentary glint in the relative gloom.
To any other race it would have been gloom, at least. To a Ta-Matoran it would have have been dim, to a Le-Matoran claustrophobic and appressive, but to the Onu-Matoran currently occupying the Ussalry's training grounds, it was none of those things. It was just home. Perhaps not the same as it once had been, but it was home. With remarkable quietness, he crossed the few yards between him and the wooden target, tugging his knives free with a single motion, sliding them back into place on his belt. Two had struck near the middle, with only one actually reaching the bullseye. Not good enough, but there wasn't much more to be done about it today. Wordlessly, he turned around, walking back to where he had been standing. Though it continued to be irrelevant to him, the gloom was not helped by one, very simple fact;
By the standards of most of the village, morning had not yet come. Above ground, the sun had only dawned an hour or two ago, and the Matoran had been at the training field since dawn. The older workers of the headquarters, the ones who had worked there for years, weren't surprised. He'd always been an early riser, and it had only gotten more pronounced over the last few months. The newer employees, the ones who joined up after Makuta's fall, on the other hand, were still not accustomed to seeing anyone up and working so early. Casually, the Onu-Matoran picked up his canteen from where it rested on the ground and took a long drink before returning it to its previous position.
His workout routine varied little from day to day. When he arrived at the grounds, he ran several lap to warm up, followed by a series of push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups, each never a single set less than one and a half times the Ussalry requirement. This was followed by crossbow practice, and if his performance was anything under the set standards for himself, he repeated his warmups before trying again. That was followed by the step he had just finished; practice at throwing his knives accurately and quickly. Next was saperka drilling, followed by another series of warm ups, and that was the end of his morning exercise. To be precise, that was the end of his standard exercise; some mornings went longer.
Unlike many, this regimen hadn't changed with Makuta's fall. Some Ussalmatoran, previously some of the hardest workers he had known, had slowed their routines, due to the demands of newfound positions, or simply because the same level of preparedness wasn't necessary anymore. They kept themselves fit, but the already sparse nature of the early morning training grounds had become positively barren.
Only Tarnok was left.
He knew that in a few hours it would fill up. Trainees would file in to be put through their paces, squadrons would move in for their standard exercises, and ambitious members would show up just to put in the extra time. But for now, in the early morning hours, it was empty. He never really saw it any other way anymore. He was no longer attached to a formal squadron, merely a division, which meant he had no scheduled training anymore. He had no courses to run, no events to attend. He hadn't for a long time.
Most of the time, it didn't bother him. The silence was good for concentration, the lack of presence allowed unobstructed use of the entire facility. But this morning, it was just another reminder that he was the last one. Seventh no longer met for their drills. He no longer saw his teammates at the grounds, no longer sparred with his allies regularly. Were it not for his early hours, he would merely have blended into the crowds, just another soldier in a sea of them, passing under the notice of all others. After Makuta's fall, he had simply slipped into obscurity, a steady slope that had continued in the months following.
Surveying the grounds, he contemplated for just a moment ducking put early. He had no real obligation to be present. If he left now, he'd have time to take a trip to the hospital, check in on Uyism before he went on patrol.
Silently, he shook the thoughts out of his head. No, he wouldn't duck out. Shirk one responsibility, and you never knew where it'd stop. He crouched to grab his saperka, hand closing around the handle.
He wouldn't skip out. But that didn't mean that in the back of his head he didn't wish that someone would show up, just to break the monotony.
OOC: Tarnok open for interaction.
IC:A strange mental block was occuring in Hua's mind, as him not disturbing the order of this village required him to go back home. He was sick of his home, it reminded him of his failures.
"MAKE ME!" he shouted instead, angrily, whilst brusquely lashing out against the officer.
OOC: He should be no match for you, especially in this state, so feel free to... punish... in whatever way is neccesary.
Disorder applied to both this Matoran's current state and his fighting ability. It was absolutely disgusting, but the fact remained that his inability to properly fight in these circumstances was a great boon to Sajis. Had he been more sober, the difficulty of stopping him would have been higher than it currently was.
With the ease of a trained professional, the Fe-Matoran cuffed the wildly swinging arm as it lashed out, before pulling her opponent's other arm towards her.
IC: Aar - Ussalry training grounds
An unnerving cracking noise sounded twice as the Onu-Matoran popped his neck. His movements were still a little sluggish from sleep, but that would go away soon enough once he began his new routine.
Unsurprisingly, Tarnok was already there, bright and early. Aar had to admire his diligence, and it was in part the reason why he'd shown up so early himself. Few Matoran Aar knew adhered to Onu-Koro's principles of Stamina and Duty as the veteran did, and he had decided to make that his target. Not that he expected to ever out-do Tarnok. But having a goal helped him keep going.
Now that that bit of exposition was over, Aar picked up a stack of practice disks and carried them to the throwing range, tossing Tarnok a "'Morning" as he drew near.
IC (Matan, Natan, and an unidentified customer): "This is... an ambitious project, to say the least" Natan admitted after looking through the plans again.
"Tell me something I don't already know" snapped the toa. "Can you build this machine?"
"It is certainly possible" Matan confirmed. "The design is well-done, elegant even, but I expect you already knew that too. The problem is that it would have so many moving parts, and each needs to be so precise for it to work at all. It'd be such a finicky built."
"Nevertheless, we'll build it" Natan assured him. "It will take time though - "
"I'm in no hurry" the customer cut in.
"Then you should be fine" Natan finished. "What I still don't see, though, is what such a machine would be good for."
"You leave that to me" came the customer's voice. Ever since entering he shop, he had not removed the hooded cloak that concealed his features. The only things the Skakdi knew about him was his voice and what he wanted built. "I'll send you a letter informing you when I will need it at a later date, expect it to be at least a month." He stood up, preparing to leave.
"We will discuss payment then, then" Matan said, also standing up and holding out his hand for the stranger to shake. The deal would be sealed in just a moment. The stranger, however, did not take his hand.
"It was good doing business with you" he said, then turned on his heel and walked out the door with a swish of his long black cloak. A moment later, he vanished into the darkness and the empty cloak fell to the ground.
A single Matoran stood leaning against the compact-earth wall of one of the low buildings that were scattered throughout the dimly lit Koro of the same element. All in all, the being seemed somewhat out of place in the village, for what little of the Ussalry-issue plate armor she wore didn't completely hide her natural green armor that stood out in the otherwise monotonous hues that dominated the city. Not to mention the fact that despite being one of the smallest sizes available, the armor still seemed to dwarf the Matoran.
Nonetheless, this is where she belonged, and Leli didn't let anyone tell her otherwise.
She was holding her hand out, the back of it facing her as if she were studying the armor's worn surface, and seemed not to notice the comparatively large Onu-Matoran that was coming near.
Leli let out a sigh, before seemingly start to speak to herself. "You never talk, you never say hi, you never send flowers..."
At that, the green-armored Matoran glanced up at Tarnok with her golden eyes, a mock pout on her Kanohi.
Tarnok, moving through his standard routines, had failed to notice the newest arrival against the brown and grays of her background. This wasn't unusual, not really. Even from the moment she'd arrived she'd adapted the tactics she'd used in Le-Koro to her new environment.
But that didn't make it any less surprising when she did it.
The Onu-Matoran slipped quickly from a state of practiced readiness to combat ready in an instant, saperka swinging up to mid-chest level, the better to counter an attack from any angle... Only for his muscles to relax once again moments later as the voice and appearance of his commanding officer registered. But even that didn't last long, as he swiftly transitioned to a salute.
Leli had a point. The two hadn't spoken much in the past few months, let alone spent time together. Since she recovered from the attacks sustained during the Rahkshi's attacks, the Le-Koran Matoran had been pushed into her new role quite quickly, and she'd taken to it quite well. But at the same time, she'd found a permanent residence, become his superior officer, and to say that that complicated their previous friendship was an understatement. Especially since he had personally asked her to come to Onu-Koro.
What was the proper reaction to that? Were they friends, coworkers? He was her subordinate, but was that the only status still applicable? He gave himself a mental shake, blinking. He was thinking too much. Duty came first, and that meant she was his superior officer.
"Morning, ma'am. I must confess I've been rather busy."
Leli pushed herself off of the rather dreary-colored wall, sparing once last dissatisfied look at her armored hand, before joining Tarnok in his walk.
"You and be both," She said, not quite under her breath. For a moment, a hint of uncharacteristic weariness was detectable in her voice, but it disappeared quickly enough as Leli adopted her normal cheerful demeanor once again.
"Going to see Uyism?" She asked, looking for a quick distraction from her previous comment.
Tarnok's posture, already perfect military readiness, seemed to stiffen further, if that was even possible. After a moment, he gave a slight nod, slinging his saperka over his back.
"I was considering it." He admitted, glancing back at the training grounds. "I was weighing continued training with the time needed to make the trip."
The Le-Koroan glanced up at the considerably taller Onu-Matoran, shaking her head ever so slightly. She had to walk slightly faster in order to keep up with Tarnok's longer strides.
"Tarnok, you take a break for once, and that's an order," Leli replied, only partly joking.
"As you wish." The Onu-Matoran said, falling into step beside her. He deftly stowed his remaining equipment without breaking stride, taking care to ensure that he didn't walk too quickly for Leli to keep up.
He sits, writing. It is not an uncommon thing for him to do. A quarter-filled glass sits at his right hand, golden liquid gleaming within.
The scratching nib of the pen is all that can be heard.
A door opens. She enters. He can tell it's her by her footsteps. By her breath. He turns. She is beautiful as she speaks.
Her voice is sweeter than honey, but the news she brings tastes of blood.
He sits still for a long moment, threading this soft thought into the tapestry of his memories. "Who will take charge," he muses aloud. "Not just anyone can take on the Akiri's robes."
She steps closer, places a cool hand on his shoulder. "The vizier, perhaps?"
She doesn't know. This knowledge makes him smile. She mistakes the curve of his mouth to mean something else, and leans in to press her own lips gently against his.
"Or you?" she whispers. "Shall you ascend instead?"
"No," he answers. His right hand lingers on her blushing cheek. "My place is here. With you."
It is true, but also a lie. He hides his knowledge within falsehoods, to keep it safe. This, too, is not an uncommon thing for him to do.
IC: [ Rhea ] - Onu-Koro
The door clicked shut, sealing off the black furnace-like interior of the Akiru Forge, and Rhea's quick emerald eyes cut the outer dimness in search of a public timepiece as she swung left and vanished in the industrial labyrinth of fire-laced alleyways that was Onu-Koro.
Thirty-one minutes to four o'clock. She was running right on schedule.
Deftly flicking her cloak's hood up to shade her face, the female Toa of Plasma began navigating a winding, indirect path towards the Wise Man's Archive, filtering easily through the subterranean shadows with honed skill.
Nero followed at a considerable distance, matching his employer's nonchalant stealth with his own instinctive hunter's gait, his acid-green gaze quick and cold and emotionless.
Alright, Toatapio Nuva. Rhea's in position where a certain infamous Ga-Matoran might spot her, so it's your move if you wish it so.
Dr. O and Mj. Spoilers, stay tuned.
OOC: Ok, going for it.
Figuring that she should head for the Wise Man's Archive in order to be on time, Surina started in that direction. While walking, she spotted a shadowy figure moving to the same direction nearby. Reasoning that anyone moving in the shadows like that was worth her time, Surina ran.
"Excuse me", she said.
OOC: Pardon my tardiness
After a long while of searching and browsing through technological innovations and inventive mishaps, Ardoku settled on buying two daggers, an elemental resonator and a hook gun. "Now why do I need a hook gun again?"
IC: [ Rhea ] - Onu-Koro
Rhea half-turned, one eyebrow raised in polite inquiry, as a nondescript blue-armored Ga-Matoran emerged from the darkness and fell into step beside her. The Toa of Plasma adjusted her gait to accommodate, her eyes narrowing slightly beneath her hood as she sifted through the implications with rapid mental calculations.
Matoran of Water... in the village of Earth. Interesting. Yes, interesting indeed. This hints of intrigue, or I have learned nothing in my time.
"Good afternoon, my dear. What can I assist you with?"
"What've you been up to, Tarnok?" Leli asked after a few moments of silence between them. And it was Onu-Koro, so a silence really was a silence, an almost physical object that presses down upon the being below. Silence made her uncomfortable. Even after all these months underground, there were some things that the Le-Koroan never thought she'd get used to.
My dear, Surina repeated Rhea's words in her head. Right. She's a familiar type...
"I was wondering if perhaps you're heading for the Wise Man's Archive", Surina enquired. "Do you know anyone by the name of Rhea?"
"Not very much." Tarnok admitted after a moment's thought. His pace was perfectly timed, steps never varying. He glanced over slightly to look at Leli, shrugging slightly. "Not much changed, really. I train, I read, I work, I sleep. That's about it."
"Some people had serious adjustments after Makuta fell. Rearrangements, relocations, changes of duties. I just needed to check in and find out who my new CO was, and continue with my routine."
Right. He's a familiar type...
She, TN. She.
IC: [ Rhea ] - Onu-Koro
The Toa of Plasma casually ignored the first part of the question, instead focusing on the latter. Giving Surina a second keen glance, she dryly responded, "Rhea? Why, yes, I am acquainted with her... I know her nearly as well as I know myself, I daresay. She's a hard one to locate at times, however, as you no doubt realized. You have business with her?"