Ta-Wahi, located near the southeastern side of Mata Nui, is the part of the island in which the Ta-Matoran work and live and Toa Tahu once resided. The skies always have a dark tint from the volcanic ashes in the air, and glowing lava pools and streams illuminate the earth with amber light. Its landscape is mainly charred jungle, a molten wasteland defined by igneous canyons and the slow trickle of lava from the powerful Mangai Volcano above. Local landmarks include:
-The Charred Forest: A section of Ta-Wahi that was burned to charcoal by the Makuta in one of his early attacks on the Matoran of Mata Nui. It is easy to get lost, so several of the locals have marked paths among the trees, which can be seen only by a practiced observer.
-Mangai Volcano: A volcano near Ta-Koro, which is situated at roughly the center of the island. The lava flows from this volcano spread almost directly north to the sea, leaving ashen wasteland wherever they go.
-Tren Krom Break: A deep ravine, containing a lava river where Ignalu surfing competitions are often held. Turaga Vakama named it after the legendary figure Tren Krom. The ravine separates Ko-Wahi and Ta-Wahi, and is bridged by an ancient cable car. It is to note that the Ta-Koro Guard occupied an outpost here to defend against the Rahi threat during the days of Makuta. The outpost was abandoned when Jaller was forced to fall back behind the city, and it remains abandoned to this day.
-Ta-Wahi Beach: The easternmost edge of the Wahi meets the sea with a relatively peaceful black sand beach. Seabirds fill the skies with their cries, and a jutting cliff to one edge bears an archaic telescope atop it, with which travelers can observe the heavens better than anywhere else on the island.
-The Dark Walk: One of six large tunnels dug by Makuta’s Rahkshi during the final days of his rule. Large enough to encompass a walking legion, it runs directly from the doorstep of the Koro down into Mangaia. Exudes a definite aura of odiousness, and is generally avoided.
Led by Akiri Jaller, Ta-Koro is a unique city, built in the center of the Lake of Fire and in the shadow of the explosive Mangai Volcano. The Koro, built on a protruding rock above the lava lake, is comfortable despite its relative smallness. The villagers of Ta-Koro are reassured by their location and the security it affords them; Ta-Koro is quite possibly the safest village on the island. Ta-Koro is incredibly hard to attach not only due to its high walls and skilled guard, but also because it is impossible to cross the Lake of Fire without the use of a movable stone bridge, the controls to which lie in the Koro’s highly guarded gatehouse.
The village has a central courtyard lined with shops and apartments. The Ta-Koro guard will not stand crime in the streets; those who break the law are confined in Ta-Koro’s dungeons, carved into the volcanic rock below the main city and guarded strictly. The great hall once used by Vakama now serves as Jaller’s abode. It is always occupied by a vibrant bonfire and the Wall of History, where legends have been engraved since before living memory.
With the help of engineers from Onu-Koro, Ta-Koro has learned to harness the power of the volcano. A geothermal energy plant powers the entire village. Pumps located underneath the city are constantly absorbing lava and hot fumes from below, funneling them into a power plant’s generator. Electricity, new streetlights, and intra-Koro transportation – a steady monorail wrapping around the outer ring – are all fuelled by the power plant. The Ta-Matoran have also started and dig into the dangerous Mangai Volcano for precious mineral ores like iron, which they then smelt. With this influx of innovation and industry, Akiri Jaller has expanded the military might of the village and has stockpiled vast quantities of weapons in its armories.
One thing I learned is that the cigarettes you light one after another won’t help you forget her.
In case we’re no longer acquainted, I am the template for the perfect sentient being. At first glance the only blemish on my body is a small, flame-shaped, rippling scar that bleeds when I put extraneous weight on my abdomen or when I have bad enough nightmares and I scream too loud. Everything else is immaculate, eye-pleasing blacks and greys and tattoos swirling together across my upper half and all athletic and drawn attractively tight under equally tight clothing on my bottom half. Everything else is an angelic face and a devilish soul, a tongue that weaves gold and flesh averse to cold, charm like soft suede and bright blue eyes that won’t fade, perfect bones and even tones. If you found me a podium, baby, I could strike up a victory pose and salute for you whenever you threw a house party, and I could be the amalgamation of all the dreams your money can buy.
But sometimes, when I wake up, I hate myself; it’s clear in the inked-on nicotine stains on my fingertips that rub farther down my phalanges every time I brush a key on a piano. It’s in the dark circles slowly sprouting where the zygomatic bone holds up my eye like an anatomical Atlas. It’s in every head bob, foot tap, eye wink and slow clap, that hate. And it just won’t go away.
In the last few months, I’ve become acceptant. Obliging. Carefree. In that happy-go-lucky fugue state there is self-loathing laced in every puff of air I huff. In the cigarettes I light there are memories that burn at lip level and make me go cross-eyed trying to look away. When I play a piano I lift my fingers to look at the keys and I see white smudges on the ebony and telltale scarlet on the ivory. I’m on my third pack of cigarettes today and the buzz won’t come back no matter how much I beg on my hands and my knees. I have this feeling sometimes when I play that it won’t come back until my voice is so scratchy and raw like tissue made of sandpaper that singing will be truly a thing of the past for me. In every movement, the memories of she, and her, and them, and me, they drift and dance and glide like baby birds, and then they disappear when I make a move to grab them.
My name is Dorian Shaddix, and sometimes I really miss my old life.
Lives are transient; for instance, find a right actor and he could live a hundred – a thousand – lives inside just one body. My body is devilishly sexy and the same as ever: have I mentioned the immaculate, eye-pleasing blacks and greys and tattoos swirling together across my upper half and all athletic and drawn attractively tight under equally tight clothing on my bottom half? How about the angelic face and the devilish soul, the tongue that weaves gold and flesh averse to cold, charm like soft suede and bright blue eyes that won’t fade, perfect bones and even tones? Have I—
Yeah. Of course I have. I’ve mentioned it all before.
My old life was balloons, giant spheres of gas that would carry me as high as I thought the stars would let me go, and when they popped they burst everywhere in Technicolor rubber confetti that coated the floor and the people around me in its plumes. Then, slowly, the pump stopped; after a while the balloons stopped coming, and they kept popping, and in the end I was standing alone in an empty room with a bunch of rubber shards in all the colors of the rainbow, and all I could think about was grabbing another high.
Now, meet my new life, the same as the old life, except everything totally sucks now.
Because there are some things loathing just can’t touch, I was still wearing the same clothes, the v-neck that hugged at my upper biceps, the leather, the scarf. I still had a rolled up cig hanging tightly, flicked upwards, as I played at the piano and watched at the patrons. You see, drinkers have patterns. They float around like goldfish bellyup after their demons have sufficiently drowned them in beer and wine and whiskey and mixed drinks and liqueur and vodka, and they stick to the patterns because it’s all they know. What a pathetic way to live. Anyway, with clientele like that I didn’t have to look at the stars, or keep track of the time, when it was time for my shift. I just had to look for their tells, and that would be my signal.
It was like any other signal to start up my shift as the Lavapool Inn’s hottest bartender – a title I unwillingly claimed after drunkenly executing the last one and then falling in love with probably the worst possible parole officer you could get in this Koro –when the group of Le-Matoran down-on-their-luck jugglers circulated to the back table to grab a quick dessert of coconut rum after their dinner of vodka with a side of steak. They got up and hobbled as one, leaving me a clear view of the definitely-a-chick who walked in with a hood drawn up tight around her face. She was new; she had a physique like a statue and a walk like a robot, which intrigued me instantly. She sat down at the bar, patiently waiting for a bartender, so I stood up from the piano I had been playing at, muttering “Thankyoudorshaddix” under my breath in a perfect pantomime of some weird noise that was between an old landlady growling at a deadbeat tenant and the sound that a chainsaw makes when it’s starting up. The evening shift guy tossed me a towel which I caught around one finger and threw over my shoulder. The cigarette disappeared into a trash bin.
Apparently, Bad Company is the only job ever that lets you smoke on company time.
There was a drink on the counter, and I plucked the cherry on top away from the rim of the glass where it hovered on some sort of berry vodka. With a single flick I popped the fruit into my mouth and bit it away from the stem, putting it down with a single swallow and working on the stem with my tongue. Two and a quarter seconds later, it was tied into a perfect heart with a cherry-stem arrow running through it, and I rolled it off my tongue and onto the bar in front of her. The hood looked down in what may have been disgust – as it had been a while since I read the emotions of a piece of fabric, I couldn’t tell what she was thinking.
The fingers of the hooded Toa at the counter curled slightly around her drink.
Tuara wasn't too comfortable with Dorian here with her when she was doing what she was doing; which was getting ###### drunk of course. It wasn't like she had begun filling up her time with healthier habits since watching Dorian almost die in front of her. She was supposed to be doing better. Although she tried to downplay it alot, Dren usually was there to remind her of her poor habits. Dren hadn't spoken to her in weeks. Probably either confused as to why she had fallen for a known killer, or just not wanting to witness his counterpart and friend continue to try and fill empty voids.
Still, speaking to Dorian always made her feel better, and usually made her forget the problems she was facing.
She peered at the heart shaped cherry under her hood.
"Never heard that pick-up line before."
"That's drink one," I noted, pushing the stem up against her mug so that the heart would stare her in the face while she drank. "I'm keeping you at a three drink maximum during my shifts, remember? I'm serious. I'm making you cut back for real this time."
The angle of Tuara's hood increased, coming up higher. She didn't quite look at Dorian, but it was an acknowledgement. Under her Pakari, her eyes were worn and puffy, and clearly tired. Not so much from lack of sleep, although she was getting less of it recently, but because she was emotionally drained. Quitting the bottle was a lot harder than she thought it was going to be. Turns out she couldn't have "just quit if she wanted".
She brought her fist up to her face, fingerless gloved hand rubbing her eyes. Tuara had changed masks after having her Iden damaged, and after Dren stopped talking to her. She had no reason to keep it around. Right now, it sat on her counter above Joske's contraband.
A shaky sigh and a slight nod, Tuara licked her lips before speaking. They tasted like what she as drinking. She didn't want to quit. There were two things she felt good about; being around Dorian, and having alcohol inside her system. And since Dorian both had to exist in the real world, hold down his job, as well as not live life like an empty book, alcohol was the next best thing. It would be selfish to keep Dorian around her all of the time. She dodged Dorian's assertion with a question.
"How's it been here so far today?"
"Played a lot of piano. Slept a little bit, not a lot. I haven't eaten yet, don't have the appetite. I'll probably grab something before I get off."
I reached up gently and brushed back the hood, shielding Tuara's face from the patrons in the restaurant part of the Inn floor with the back of my hand as I softly held her cheek. She looked tired; not in a physical way, not really, but almost like the fumes she was running on were slowly huffing themselves dry inside her tank. I felt a slight tug in my chest towards her and with my other hand I poured her drink number two: sapphire gin and lemonade, on the rocks. Naturally, I made myself one, too.
"Stay in bed tomorrow," I requested - not ordered, I'd been careful to stay away from ordering people to do things now - with a wicked smirk. "I'll bring you breakfast or something cheesily romantic like that. I'm off for the next two days."
"Plus, jeez. You look beat."
Tuara bit her lip, looking down at the wood of the bar. Not totally able to say much with her words. Her toe on the foot of her stool began to make he knee bound up and down a little. She nodded again, taking a drink. "Yeah almost as bad as you. How's your back?" The Toa of fire turned her head to face Dorian.
Tuara was still adjusting to the raw strength her Pakari gave her. So was Dorian, and the home they lived in. Sometimes when she got too excited Tuara would find herself activating it by mistake, occaisonally throwing Dorian into their roof or something ridiculous. They had some repairs to be making.
"Would be better with a massage, if you nahhmean," I suggested coyly with a wink as I whipped up a quick mixed drink and slid it down to a guy about three stools down from Tuara. "But I can still walk when I wake up the morning after. More than I can say for you."
I'd paid for several cracked walls and damaged furniture over the last three months, even taking the liberty of siphoning the old stuff I'd gotten for my prison cell into Tuara's house for a bit of a facelift. She'd made fun of my interior decorating at first, but to be honest, the house really came together after I moved in, and I think she'd slowly begun to realize that. With the steady stream of income from the bar (plus my nigh extraneous tips) and occasional consulting both of us still did for the Guard, we were pretty well off. And that's not even counting all my blood money I have stored away: if I wanted to use that we would be the richest power couple in Ta-Koro.
For now, though, we – Admiral OCD - needed to repair the floor in the master bedroom. Tuara's house was pretty poorly constructed, all things considered.
"But no, really. About that massage," I continued, my face going rigidly deadpan again in an instant.
Tuara smiled pulling her hood off her face. Her cheeks seemed a little hollower than usual and gave her face more of a worn look, with her free hand she lifted Dorian's chin with a finger, "You're a funny one Shaddix," she looked down at her alcohol as though it were empty. Mostly because it was. She didn't remember having drank the second one so fast. She frowned.
"When did I finish this."
"We took shots together. Duh."
Man, she was a knockout. Even when she looked strung out and hung over with bags starting to crop up under her eyes, she radiated this aura of hot about her that could draw eyes from across the bar and restaurant. Plus she was a legend in Ta-Koro; that may have had something to do with it, as well.
"Tuara, listen. I'm serious. Tomorrow we'll stay in together. We'll eat breakfast in bed - not waffles - and we'll take it easy for once. You could use the rest and I have a sick day I've been finna call in for a minute anyway."
Tuara nodded, letting her blank stare at the empty glass in front of her waver. It moved from the glass itself to the heart where it lingered for a moment before turning to Dorian. She looked at his eyes, normally filled with a sense of dark playfulness. It was almost unsettling to see the sincerity in his eyes. There were always more layers to this man than anybody could see. Tuara had realized this during all her visits to him while he was locked up, and started to see them even more now. Which is usually what happens when you spend so much time with somebody.
God, the parallels between the two were uncanny, "Alright."
The relief in my chest was palpable.
"Alright," I repeated, grinning and biting down slightly on my bottom lip before leaning in and kissing Tuara over the bar. Heads turned to examine the happy couple but no one said a word, either too drunk, too apathetic, or too tired to say anything. There was a small draft of heat in the slipstream Tuara was sitting in, and it brushed me with all the subtlety of a heated up frying pan; Ta-Koro had been full of hot nights lately.
"Besides, it's nothing. You stopped me from bleeding out into the streets three months ago and I never really got a chance to pay you back, remember? Consider chocolate chip pancakes us calling it square."
Tuara pulled her hood back on, "Consider what you're doing right now payback," she gave a sad smile, taking hold of Dorian's hand discreetly before gripping it very tightly, "Thanks for being here."
Still semi-planking over the bar, I leaned in and kissed Tuara again, slinking my free hand under the hood and holding the back of her head in place. There was sadness in that exchange, a sadness so tangible between us that even feeling it broke my heart a little more, building on the cracks that had been carefully placed here and there as a foundation over the years.
"It's not a big deal," I brushed her off casually. "You know I love you."
Tuara almost crushed her glass in her hands before pulling her fingers away from it. She instead opted to crack her knuckles, ending the process by rubbing them sorely, "Another drink?"
"This is your last one. Choose wisely."
Tuara waved her hand away dismissively, "Your choice."
Without hesitation, I cracked open a bottle of bourbon and poured two shots, neat. One, I slid over to the lady friend. The other, I spun around my own fingers expertly.
"You should have seen that one coming. Link arms with me?"
"To the greatest couple this side of the volcano," I toasted, winking and blowing a kiss at the newly-coined love of my life before we both knocked our shots back as one.
Tuara felt the bourbon fall down her throat. She looked at the glass for a moment before putting it down on the bar hard. Tuara stared at it longingly, suddenly overwhelmed with feeling like she wanted another. She had to fight hard to even avoid opening her mouth about it. It seemed like minutes before she stopped looking at the shape of the glass; the way it distorted the wood of the bar, how the last drops formed on the bottom.
About to go and claim the last drops she quickly changed her mind, beating down any ideas she might've had about it. It wasn't easy, and only turning to Dorian did it make it easier. She hastily changed the subject to one she hadn't even structered in her head yet to get her mind off it, "I've been thinking of working out again, get back into shape."
"Go for it," I replied immediately. "I mean, not that I don't keep you in great shape or anything, but PE is like one of the four degrees I never bothered to acquire."
Tuara smirked, "You keep me in shape? Please. You may have died before, but you're not that tough," she released Dorian, stepping back, "It's not even that either, it's just I need some things to do again."
"Alright. I'll talk to some people I know, see what we can hook up," I decided, tossing a towel over my shoulder. "Um...I should get back. There are other, less attractive customers I have to grace with my presence and all."
"I can't shine all the light in my corner of the sky on you every time you drop by."
Tuara nodded, giving Dorian another smile, "I'll see you later then," she gave Dorian a quick kiss before getting up to leave, "stop distracting you from your work."
I watched her walk out and realized that as she opened the door, my heart was pounding in my ears at the sight of her. If I listened closely enough, I could hear its drumbeat, listen to it march in tandem with Tuara's feet as she made her way out into the soot-coated streets and back towards our place.
Buhm. Buhm. Buhm.
It was beating way too fast.
I let out a sigh and then toweled off my face, stopping in front of a Fe-Matoran and grabbing him a quick thing of vodka.
"God, it's hot out here, huh?" I asked, pouring him a shot and sliding it to him, not noticing the startled look on his face as he stood up. "Heat waves for days. I'm bakin'."
"Uhhh...what're ya talking about, guy?" he asked skeptically. "It's the coolest it's been out in weeks. You feeling alright? You're sweating."
I toweled off again quickly, grumbled something about how it was just a bug and how compounded with lack of sleep I was kind of under the weather.
But I was fine.
Since he had stepped into office, Jaller had focused on ensuring that his village never again suffered an attack of the magnitude that it had when Makuta fell. To this end, he had worked to increase the military's defensive capabilities, expanding, recruiting, and ordering weapons forged. But despite this emphasis, he had never failed to look after his people. The very first thing he had done, once the dust settled, was order the construction of a hospital. Ta-Koro had been without true medical facilities ever since the Ta-Koro Fortress Guard Hospital had been destroyed over a year ago, and it had caused no end of problems.
The very newest innovation, however, was the geothermal energy plant. He'd had to work long and hard to commission that from the Onu-Koroan Akiri, and it had cost him countless hours of diplomatic relations, but it had been worth it. With the power provided, he had not only brought further comfort to the villagers, but had made for more efficient transportation of materials across the city.
The Ta-Matoran tapped on the arm of his chair in thought, eyeing the reports on the desk in front of him. Relations reports from diplomats in the other villages, probably. Another report on the Guard's military strengths. Probably another carefully filed report requesting waffle irons in the Captain of the Guard's office. Which, speaking of which, was not his old office. No, Jaller had kept his office, despite the habits of his predecessor. Vakama had worked from home, away from his guards and workers, and look where it had gotten him. No, the Akiri was most comfortable where he was. One of the old Deputy offices had been converted into the new Captain of the Guard's office, thus ending the debate that had raged around the water cooler of who would inherit it.
The village was happy, and the village was healthy. And the village was safe. Except, perhaps, for the former criminal-turned-barkeep-and-consultant residing in the Lavapool Inn.
For the moment, all was well.
Three months, and it had been time enough for Grochi to turn his life around.
Three months...and it had been time enough for Grochi's life to come crashing down.
After defending Ta-Koro from the Rahkshi, he'd gone back to his big, old house on the outskirts of town, a place where he could go to live in peace, and relax, maybe go into a sort of retirement. However, intra-Koro relations did not stay as high as they should have, without the threat of Makuta to hold them together.
In hindsight, he should have seen it. Now, though, Grochi was back in Ta-Koro, hanging around in the Lavapool Inn's bar room. It was, well and truly, one of the few places he could go to learn anything without having to proclaim himself in support of one group or another. Turning around, he took a look at the barkeep, somebody he'd been hunting not very long ago, before turning away again. He'd bother him later.
Now, though, he waited for something interesting to happen. For, surely, it would happen.
IC (Pehu and Ruaho): The two Ta-Matoran paced back and forth in front of the Lake of Fire, their weapons clinking against each other every time they passed. This was their shift on the gate that lead onto the bridge into the village. It had been a quiet day so far, but the guardsmatoran knew better than to let their guard down.
OOC: The guards on the Ta-koro gate are now PCs. Anyone wanting to enter the village should stop and say hi. Open for interaction.
IC: (Tarotrix/Great Hall/Ta-Koro)
Tarotrix wasn't the type to protest Ta-Koro's fast remilitarization. He wasn't the one who declared neutrality, sat in a metaphorical field and strummed guitar. No. He was a soldier, a darned good one at that. He took the new, aggressive attitude to heart. The massive amounts of spending, the increase in manpower, and the shiny new weapons that topped it all off. It wasn't the guard he joined, it was the guard he dreamed of being in.
He did, however, have plenty to complain about. In the previous war, the guard had been strained, it had been rationed, and it had been in a state of desperation. But nowadays, the inter-koro cold war was in full swing. Whereas back then, the guard-captain would have turned down his suggestions,due to such a petty issue as money. Nowadays, the guard coffers were wide open to the hands of reformers. It was his time to have his ideas made a reality.
So, putting the guard's bureaucracy in total disregard, Lieutenant Colonel Tarotrix walked straight into Jaller's office. He wore his fanciest clothes, and was accompanied by two fresh recruits, who had taken his job with alarming enthusiasm.
"Hello, Akiri sir!" Tarotrix said, saluting. "Lieutenant Tarotrix here, sir! I wish to put forth some ideas for your pleasure. If you don't mind!"
"Hey chie-Arkiri, I need you to let me leave for Le."
The red figure leaning against the office's door upon first glance, would appear to be just another simple Toa of Fire, albeit a slightly battered looking one. But if one were to look further, they would take note of the black eyepatch covering his eye, and the scratches that criss-crossed his armour. A veteran of years of street fighting and being stabbed, Sergeant Aronis Ril had considerable experience for someone of his rank.
Ignoring the other guards in the room, he side-stepped them and made his way to Jaller's desk, placing his hands down on it.
"I have some unfinished business you see?"
IC:Jaller sighed quietly to himself.
"Sergeant, you do realize there's paperwork to be filed for that? And normal channels would be to file a request for leave with your commanding officer, rather than march into my office and do so?""No matter. You're cleared for a leave of absence for up to two weeks, before I expect you either back, or a darn good reason why you aren't back." The Matoran's eyes switched to Tarotrix.
"What is it, Lieutenant?"
Ril smiled. "Eh, I'm used to asking you for stuff."
Seconds later, he waltzed out of the room, patting Hamtaro and the recruits on the heads as he did so.
He loved being obnoxious.
IC: (Tarotrix/Great Hall/Ta-Koro)
He motioned for one of the recruits to come up. He was clad in black leather armor. The armor covered the usual areas, forearms, lower legs, shoulders, chest and back, head and forearms. A wide belt, filled with pouches, was around his waist. A squad knapsack hung behind him.
"In my years of duty, I have ran into a problem. From the war with Makuta to today, I have noticed a disturbing lack of standardized uniforms among our Koro's enlisted men. Men and women, often clad in homemade, crudely fashioned, or even no outer armor at all. To have them go into battle without a set is rather quite wrong.
Here, I have a set of leather armor. It is dyed in a non-reflective black paint, to help our soldiers bled in with Ta-Wahi's scenery. It is light enough so that our soldiers can march in it, but still strong enough to offer them protection. It also has a utilitarian pouched belt and a knapsack."
He motioned at the other, who gave him a spear, a cinquedea and a shield.
"Here, I have a new model of the guard-standard spear we've been using for decades. It retains the twin prongs, but is longer and removed of its glaring red paint. And this is a model of short sword I feel every recruit should have. It is sharp and simple to use, good against potentially troublesome enemies. Finally, I have this hardened leather shield, black in color and inscribed with our sigil. It'll provide protection against both projectile and melee weapons."
IC: A slight commotion from down one of the branching halls caught Loren's attention as he walked past. Stopping, he could see people inside Jaller's office, both of them going on about something. The pair of Matoran outside the office told that at least one of the was a certain officer.
Before the rahkshi attack he had been easy enough to get along with, if more then a bit biased against Toa. Afterwords however, the Matoran had thrown himself head over heels into the new direction the koro had been going, which needless to say, had put him into a bit of a collision course with Loren who was trying his best to try and prevent the villages from splitting apart. From the look of things, the guy was showing off a set of things, probably attempting to get Jaller to have everybody use them. Among them was a leather shield.
Really? That was the best you could come up with? Wood would do a better job then that, setting aside our natural armor.
There was movement and Ril come out of the room, heading down the hallway towards him.
"Hey Sergeant. Still bothering the Arkiri about stuff?" He asked.
Ril nodded. "Yeah, got two weeks of leave. I have some unfinished business in Le-koro. From before the Rahkshi attacks, ya know?"
IC:"Clearly, then, you haven't payed much attention, Lieutenant."
"The Ta-Koro Guard has an armory, from which any guard is permitted and encouraged to procure equipment from, provided they have the correct authorization. Further, I have never once seen a guard member lacking in armor. They are permitted to choose their own armament and armor for a reason."
The former Captain of the Guard leaned back in his chair, studying the guards before him. "In addition, your proposal has several flaws. First of all, black is only camouflage when in the Charred Forest. Anywhere else, it makes our officers stand out like a sore thumb, and the dark color causes them to attract far too much heat.""Further, leather is a very inefficient armor, especially when we have access to so much metal from te volcano, and other materials around the island. We have wood coming in from Le-Koro, and that alone would make a shield thrice as effective as leather, even if we didn't have metal ones available. As for the weapons, individual guards are allowed to supplement their own armament for a reason. It's so they can cater to their strengths.""I appreciate the suggestions, but they simply are not effective."
IC: (Tarotrix/Great Hall/Ta-Koro)
So, he was a bit behind. Karzahni, his absentminded transfer to the reserve had cut him off from reality. Tarotrix replied, a bit embarressed.
"Well, sorry for bugging you, sir. But could I ask one last thing? Could I please get a transfer to active duty?"
IC"Why were you transferred off of active duty?"
IC: (Tarotrix/Great Hall/Ta-Koro)
"I expected things to wind down after the Makuta bit the dust, sir," Tarotrix said. "I considered retirement for a little while, but instead I voluntarily transfered to the reserve. So that if Ta-Koro needed my help, I'd be there to help her. But now, with this whole city-state business, I think it is my moral responsibility to return. Things, I expect, ain't going to get any easier."
IC: "Yeah, I know. These last few months have kept just about everything personal from being dealt with." He nodded in agreement. "Do you think to weeks is going to be long enough?"
"Talk to the secretary. Tell her I said to transfer you." The Matoran looked back down at his reports, in a very clear dismissal of the guards before him.
"It'll be enough," he said with a shrug. "Say, wanna come?"
IC: (Tarotrix/Great Hall/Ta-Koro)
Tarotrix wasn't exactly trusting of this Toa. But still, he needed something to do.
"What is there to do? What have criminals been doing since this whole modernization business?" he asked Ril.
IC: "Sorry, no. I've gotta stay here. If Ta-koro's guards all run off to do their own thing, the walls would be empty. I wish you luck on your journey though."
Ril nodded. "Well, see ya later."
He turned to leave the headquarters, making his way to the gates.
"Oi Mook 1 and Mook 2," he said cheerfully. "What's up?"
IC (Pehu and Ruaho): "Sergeant Ril" Pehu answered, nodding formally to the other guardsman and lowering his weapon.
"Where are you headed?" Ruaho asked "You're not on our list of people to expect today... though of course a guardsman will always be welcome to pass as he pleases".
"I'm on leave," replied the one-eyed guardsman. "Heading out to Le."
IC (Ruaho): "Well, good for you" Ruaho replied, waving him through. "Enjoy yourself, and make sure you've got some good stories to tell us when you get back!"
Ril nodded. "See ya later."
With that, he strode off to Le-wahi.
OOC: Ril to Le-Wahi.
Another knock was heard at the door to Akiri Jaller's office. When the door opened, a stubby and meek Ta-matoran appeared.
"Uuh, Akiri Jaller, there's a letter here for you" he said nervously.
IC: (Perkahn, Ta-Koro)
You might've called him old-fashioned, but Perkahn sincerely hated all this engineering advancement made in these last months, in particular the monorail. For one very simple and very selfish reason.
The monorail caused racket. Tons and tons of racket. He didn't have a problem with the racket, no. But the Rahi in the Charred Forest that he had once again taken to hunting for a living, those guys had a problem. And they took to fixing it, with the best way they could - migrating as far from Ta-Koro's lights and noises as possible, into the most distant corners of the Forest that they could find, thus prolonging Perkahn's hunts another two, three, twenty-four hours.
On his way back from one such prolonged hunt, Perkahn found himself feeling deeply philosophical. And by philosophical, he meant annoyed. He was annoyed at the way that only three months after Makuta's defeat, this whole island had reduced themselves to a state of eternal complaint. Everyone was far too pessimistic. "Strained relations with other villages" and whatnot. Everyone should've just stuffed it and gone back to feeling happy, and, perhaps more importantly, free.
Like Perkahn. These three months had singlehandedly been the happiest ones in his life. For once in his lifetime, he had something to live for.
Dropping by the local butcher to deliver the meat he had hunted down, through sweat and toil, the Toa of Iron was first considering the possibility to head for the Lavapool Inn - a place he'd not visited in an eternity - for a quick drink, but then scratched that idea out from his head. Sure. He'd visit... later. Now he had a loving wife and, probably, the most brilliant son ever waiting for him at home. So instead, he dropped by the marketplace, where he bought a week's supply of food.
Finding himself in his two-story house in what was now the heart of Ta-Koro, Perkahn couldn't say it was quite unexpected to find his wife simply waiting for him on the front porch. She did that often, nowadays.
"Took your time," Arianna said to him, smiling slightly and planting a kiss on his cheek. "At least you're back. Jolek went out only some time after you left, hasn't come back yet. It's been lonely."
"Well, we'll have to rectify that, won't we? How about we go out to eat someplace?" the Toa of Iron flashed her smile right back at her, sliding his hands round her waist and her into a warm embrace.
"I don't particularly want to eat right now, but I wouldn't mind going out. How about the Lavapool Inn?"
"See, this is why I love you," Perkahn laughed at the way she had essentially read his thoughts and kissed her, before both of them removed themselves from the vicinity and to the aforementioned inn.
Perkahn hadn't been drinking much lately. To be honest, the world was being far too amazing to drink at all. The world was far too beautiful to be in any state other than perfectly sober and acutely aware of how talented a painter Mata Nui was to have made such a wonderful painting, where every brushstroke was just so beautiful.
"Salamander's," Perkahn shouted to the bartender upon entering, before realizing this particular bartender was Dorian. He'd heard he was eventually found innocent/redeemed/whatever political language was used to term the way he wasn't punished for his crimes, but honestly did not expect Dorian to be sticking around this city and was honestly surprised he'd not noticed the guy around during these three months. Well, whatever, this was irrelevant.
While Perkahn seemed to have frozen in midthought, Arianna was looking around for a place to sit, and upon seeing a familiar face - one of Perkahn's friends from exile - she waved. "Grochi!" she called out to him to get his attention, before nudging her husband to get himself back into the real world - what quite synced with the very moment he seemed to have snapped back, thus making it irrelevant - and dragging him over there.
Perkahn clasped his old comrade's hand in a firm handshake, smiling. "Grochi, mate, how have you been?"
"Fairly well annoyed," Grochi muttered. "Half of the guards they've been putting at the gates don't hardly trust me because I live fairly far out from the Koro. It's foolishness, how everything has gone to Karzahni in these last couple months..." He shook his head, smiling again.
"Ah, well, that doesn't matter. It's good to see you again as well, Perkahn, and Arianna, you're looking as lovely as ever," the Toa of Plasma commented, nodding at the both of them. "How have recent developments been treating you?"
IC: (Perkahn and Arianna, Ta-Koro)
"That's not on," the Toa of Iron's face contorted into a mild frown, "I mean, it's practically just because of you that this bloody city held out long enough in the first place. Wasn't the Akiri going to give us some sort of medal for showing up just in time? We're practically war heroes, there's no reason for the guards not to trust you. Sign of the times, I suppose."
"These are tense days," Arianna sighed, toying with an amulet Perkahn had given her just a week ago. "People are saying all Karz is going to break loose sometime soon. We best hope it doesn't, because, to answer your question, Grochi, everything's actually been great." Resting her pretty head on Perkahn's shoulder, she touched his hand with hers, slightly. "This oaf has been difficult, but he's always been that way and it's a lot easier with him than without."
"And then Jolek comes around nowadays, so that's also good," Perkahn nodded, speaking quietly. That was, of course, the understatement of the year. Both of them were almost too happy for these opportunities to spend time with their son, time they'd never spent when he was growing. "Boy's a great fighter. Takes after his dad. Pretty sure that in another decade he'll have far surpassed me."
IC-Grochi:"Yeah, I can imagine it'd be nice to have the immediate family pulled back together," Grochi replied after a moment, still smiling, slightly sadly. After taking a small sip from his Amarone, he set the glass down and turned back to Perkahn and Arianna.
"Hey, how would you three like to visit my house sometime? It's rather lonely over there without my brothers or nephew all around, nowadays."
IC: (Perkahn and Arianna, Lavapool Inn)
"Sounds like a great idea," Arianna nodded enthusiastically, taking a sip from Perkahn's drink. "You can drop around our place more often, too. We could use some company as well, and it sounds like you could, too."
"Do it on Sundays. She makes roast kane-ra on those days. Mmm."
"Perhaps a cooking contest might be in order one of these days."
IC: (Perkahn and Arianna, Lavapool Inn)
"I would seriously pay to see and eat that."
His wife nudged Perkahn, apparently tactly choosing to do so in his belly. She was grinning. "Look there, you moron. See how much that has progressed since you came out of the forest. Eating a lot is not something you manage to do without consequences."
He crossed his arms, giving her an utterly joking glare. "Did you just call me fat?"
"Well, not fat. A more apt term would be, 'huge'."
Perkahn sighed slightly, still utterly and completely not-serious, and flashed her a vicious grin completely unlike him. "Well, just like another two of us here, and no, not talking about you or Grochi."
"Perkahn, shush, we're in public. When we get home, though, we can talk about huge things, a lot." His wife reflected the grin right back. "Right now, though, we're only embarrassing our friend here right now. So yeah, Grochi, we'd love to drop around your place. Anytime."
IC-Grochi:"Could I kindly ask that you two save such comments as you just made for bed, and not for the bar?"
IC: (Perkahn and Arianna, Lavapool Inn)
"Best we change the subject. Grochi, how's your family?"
It was a halfassed subject, but it was the most Perkahn could manage. "Been in touch with your brothers lately? Or your nephew?"
IC: (Perkahn and Arianna, Lavapool Inn)
Perkahn's wife gave him a glance that said, roughly, "No."
By now, of course, that was roughly irrelevant, because Perkahn had realized that was someplace that he shouldn't have gone. Quietly, he said, "I'm sorry. You never actually told me what happened with them, didn't think it was... bad."
It wasn't too difficult for him to understand how retarded that sounded.
IC:"Well, after I murdered two, frightened two others, and alienated my nephew, I haven't spoken to them much."
IC: (Perkahn and Arianna, Lavapool Inn)
Perkahn sat silent, frozen in shock slash thought. It was Arianna who spoke first, kindly, consolingly. "Grochi, that's horrible."
Her husband only spoke half a minute later. "I'm sorry," he said. "If it's going to be any consolation, I'll buy you a milk stout."