BZPRPG - Po-Wahi

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  • Posted 2021-12-01 00:20:13 UTC
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  • IC: Vyartha | The Iron Mahi

    I might have winced at the sound of her voice.

    "Nikarra," I replied, the name scraping out of my throat like steel on steel -- it had, after all, been too long since I had used my voice in my travels. "It has been ... a long time."

    I could not tell you how long I stood in that threshold, unspeaking. At times, it felt like mere seconds -- at other moments, years could have elapsed. I could only stare at her, at Sloth, at Nikarra. It was only when the silence became unbearably, palpably, oppressive to the senses that I hastily gestured to the seat across from her.

    "May I?" I said, my voice cracking between the two words. I prayed that she would not notice -- but knew that she would.

    OOC: @Goose

    -Void

  • Posted 2021-12-01 00:42:31 UTC
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  • IC: Muir (Akiri Renaka's Home, Po-Koro)

    Muir nodded. "I understand. In that case, what have you learned of it?"

     

    IC: Nikarra (Iron Mahi)

    "I- yeah, of course, please." Her voice sounds worn, Nikarra thought. Or maybe it's just from seeing me.

    Nikarra had, after all, left her. It wasn't a choice she had particularly enjoyed making, nor one that was at all affected by Vyartha herself - quite the opposite, in fact. In a way, Vyartha had made Nikarra want to stay with the Daedra, in spite of all the horrors she'd witnessed (there were times she still woke in a cold sweat, having dreamt that she was back on Gluttony's ship, surrounded by his mutilated servants). But through that waking nightmare, Pride… Vyartha... had kept her sane. And even…

    Best not to dwell.

    "#####, Vy. I… How have you been? What've you been up to?" Some weather, huh? Isn't the Mahi beautiful this time of year?

    How was it less awkward to reunite with him than with Vy?

    OOC: @Void Emissary

  • Posted 2021-12-01 01:07:07 UTC
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  • IC Stannis | Po-Koro, Renaka's pad

    The Wanderer bit his lip and considered what to say next, then cleared his threat affirmatively and said, "Just one moment. I have answered your questions in good faith so far but you have raised my concerns by focusing intently on this dark material, so before I go on I want you to tell us just what this is about."

  • Posted 2021-12-01 01:28:40 UTC
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  • IC: Muir (Akiri Renaka's Home, Po-Koro)

    Muir considered his next words carefully. He couldn't give too much away to Stannis, and even Muir himself was uncertain as to where this investigation was going. That said, regardless of his personal opinions of the man, what Stannis had said was true: he had answered Muir's questions willingly, with no context, and no obfuscation or deception. He was owed at least some truth.

    "I have an obligation to my client," Muir admitted, putting the disclaimer at the forefront much as Stannis had earlier, "To preserve their privacy. That said, you've been very co-operative, and so I feel comfortable telling you this much: it was research into the Kalta that brought me here. They came up in connection to my case, and one of the relevant documents bore a footnote regarding Skorm's hospital stay - 'See Po-Koro hospital files, keywords: Stannis, Warua, Antidermis.' You're not often in town, and so rather than digging through hospital files, I came here first hoping you could fill in the blanks, maybe even provide some additional perspective the files might lack."

  • Posted 2021-12-01 07:09:47 UTC
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  • IC Stannis | Po-Koro, Renaka's pad

    Once again, Stannis sat in rumination for a quiet moment. He had no reason to doubt the investigator's integrity and wanted to provide as much assistance as he could to a worthwhile cause led by a reputable Po-Koro citizen, but there were limits to his ability to share what he knew with Muir. Knowledge had interesting properties when applied improperly, as Stannis had discovered since the Makuta's defeat, or, more accurately, placement in storage. Not telling his teammates and friends about Makuta's actual fate damaged their sense of Unity and threatened lives, but just so, oversharing information could be dangerous if it were misapplied by others. Conclusions based on here-say and well-meaning but misplaced intentions could be just as dangerous. 

    Barring what Skorm had done in Ga-Koro while under the influence of antidermis, the Toa Kalta seemed to be honorable, albeit quirky, protectors of matoran who'd taken up shop in Ko-Koro with newly-elected expat Akiri Tarkahn's blessing. While Reordin didn't suffer them much, it didn't take a lot to get under Reo's greaves—all one needed to to was wax philosophical about 'glorious purpose' or wasted his time while in line at the deli—so his dislike of the Kalta was taken with a grain of salt as far as Stannis was concerned, at least until there was evidence of real wrongdoing. Could there be? Stannis wondered, then realized not. He'd have heard of it from less nebulous sources if that were the case. If there was some 'client' who'd hired Muirtagh then the detective was working on behalf of that person's interests, not simple common good. Still, Stannis wished to help despite being aware of his own fallibility. It took a lot of his willpower to keep himself from selflessly continuing the conversation down Muir's likely myriad of thoughts. 

    If there was more to the Kalta inquest to beggar further inquisition, then Muir would need to elaborate. But stone was slow to move and harder still to change direction once rolling, and Stannis had made his mind up.

    "You'll have to forgive me, then, for not going further," Stannis admitted to the detective and his... companion. His perceptive eyes picked up a slight tensing as he sought to absolve himself from the situation, but he calmly continued to explain his reasoning. "You asked me about Kalta Skorm's stay in the hospital and my interaction with him, and I obliged with my side of the story in full, but I do not wish to mislead your investigation or your client with knowledge I cannot certify to be fact. As I said, I am not an expert on antidermis. If your clue directed you to study hospital notes then perhaps records made by the medical professionals would be better for your case. If you wish to consult with me again after gleaning what you can, then I'd be happy to fill whatever blanks you have."

    @Goose

  • Edited on 2021-12-01 07:34:59 by Umbraline Yumiwa
  • Posted 2021-12-01 09:47:46 UTC
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  • IC: Muir (Akiri Renaka's Home, Po-Koro)

    This was an interesting, if not wholly unanticipated, turn; Stannis’ reasons, as he presented them, were entirely valid.

    And yet…

    For the first time since Muir had begun questioning Stannis, he felt the voice of the Rode in his ear. The dishonesty was not hard to pinpoint - Stannis had, largely, stuck directly to verifiable facts in his response.

    I do not wish to mislead your investigation or your client with knowledge I cannot certify to be fact.

    In all likelihood, that much was true; after all, Stannis had answered all Muir’s questions with total honesty. The mistruth, then, was not in the words themselves, but in the intent: It’s his justification.

    There were a few possibilities here, then: the first option was that it was the questioning on Antidermis that had caused Stannis to clam up, because he wanted to keep some element of it secret - at least partly true, given Stannis had asked Muir to clarify his intentions after expressing concern about ‘this dark material’, and had deflected once already before that by stating that he had only researched other cases, not observed them.

    Muir considered the likelihood of this; it didn’t sit entirely right with him, when Stannis’ assurances about his lack of expertise had been honest. It meant that this assurance, too, was true - but not wholly true, at least not in the context of being Stannis’ reason not to answer further questions. Which meant that there was more to Stannis’ reasoning that he didn’t want to admit - distrust, perhaps?

    It would make sense. It was hard to imagine a more common reason for choosing not to share information with someone - furthermore, Muir was a lawyer, which didn’t exactly engender trust in a lot of the public, and he had just admitted that he was investigating Ko-Koro’s Toa Team. In fact…

    In fact, Stannis had provided potentially exculpatory evidence. If Skorm was under the influence of Antidermis, and it did, as Stannis had said, move him to kill, then his responsibility for those actions was called into question. It was the very reason Muir was continuing to question him on the topic of Antidermis, after all, aside from his own interest. Lawyers tended to have an agenda: to prosecute, or to defend, and they were expected to make the best case they could on their client’s behalf - even, at times, at the expense of truth. Truth was, in that context, for the judge and for the jury. Muir’s financially ruinous habit of extricating himself from cases where he was not forwarding the truth was not the norm in, or even the intended function of, his profession - he had never been able to truly stifle the detective in him.

    So, then, the question arose: was Stannis concerned that Muir would use the information he gave against the Kalta, or for them? Muir’s gut feeling was ‘against’, but there was really no way to tell, and he would not allow himself to rule out the possibility that Stannis did not want his information to exonerate the Kalta either - to draw such a conclusion from so little so early risked biasing Muir himself.

    “I understand. My question was as much out of my own curiosity as anything else - Antidermis isn’t a topic I had previously come across, and I’m interested in it both in and of itself, and in how it might relate to the erratic behaviour ascribed to Skorm prior to your encounter with him. If it’s any reassurance, I suspect the Akiri may know something of my reputation - I have an obligation to my client’s privacy, but my commitment is to the truth, and to the people of Mata Nui. Any information you gave, if I can verify it, that proved contrary to my expectations or to the validity of my case, I would embrace, even at a cost to myself. I left the Sentinels for the very reason that I felt we were not serving the truth, or the Matoran. Words, of course, mean little without evidence - which is why I would further research anything you said to me, and why I mention Akiri Renaka’s awareness of my history and reputation.

    “Still, I understand your reticence to share information that you cannot be confident is fact. If you would still prefer not to say any more on the topic of Antidermis, I cannot begrudge you that, but I would be grateful if you would answer just one further question about your account of the incident.”

  • Posted 2021-12-01 10:51:34 UTC
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  • IC: Vrill [Po-Koro, Akiri Abode]

    Truth be told, Vrill hadn't worked closely with Muirtagh for long. But he knew how to read people and remember them.

    It helped that some things were very hard to forget. Like the time Fenn walked out on him.

    Even from the detective's position up against the wall just over the Fa-Toa's shoulder, the pattern of subtle tics during his deliberate pause shouted to Vrill; he could see what Fenn was going to say from a kio away. More specifically, he knew that what the ex-sentinel was going to say wasn't going to be short.

    As Fenn began his elaboration, the Cy-Toa off to his side leisurely stowed his notepad and pulled a cigarette and lighter out from pockets within his crystal armor. The undercover guardsman's smoke was alight well before the lawyer had finished, the ritualistic motions of his habit performed with a swift finesse developed from years of practice.

    By the time Fenn had ceded the floor to the Maru, Vrill's notepad was back in hand, ready to record whatever account might come next if the Granite Guardian complied with the investigator's request.

  • Edited on 2021-12-01 10:59:47 by BULiK
    detail elaboration. pad that word count
  • Posted 2021-12-01 16:08:23 UTC
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  • 6 hours ago, Goose said:

    "If you would still prefer not to say any more on the topic of Antidermis, I cannot begrudge you that, but I would be grateful if you would answer just one further question about your account of the incident.

    IC Stannis | Po-Koro, Renaka's pad

    "Certainly."

  • Posted 2021-12-01 17:58:18 UTC
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  • IC: Muir (Akiri Renaka's Home, Po-Koro)

    "You said that you healed Skorm. Or, rather, that you… 'purged the evil inside him, and absolved him of his sins with a litany', as I recall." The corkboard in Muir's mind had a pin on this quote, and it was from there that he read it. "Care to elaborate? How does one purge the evil inside someone?"

    The terseness of Stannis' response had not gone unnoticed. Muir's tone had shifted - the respectful, even deferential way he had spoken to Stannis before had been replaced with suspicion. Here, then, was the Stannis that he knew - the Stannis who had lied to the world about vanquishing Makuta. The Stannis who now withheld knowledge of an infectious substance that allegedly drove a man to commit murder.

    OOC: @Umbraline Yumiwa

  • Posted 2021-12-01 22:01:13 UTC
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  • Renaka - Po-koro - Her House

    IC: As unexpected as it was this conversation was turning into the highlight of her day. Well honed political instincts told her that every word here was being chosen precisely and with specific intent. It was like watching a regional kohli match instead of the scrimmages that were her usual board meetings. So far she had been content to simply sit back and watch the byplay as the host. It was surprising what one could learn simply by being quiet and letting people talk.

    Of course she was interested in the discussion for more reasons than simple academic entertainment. Ko-koro was starting to gain a rather unfortunate reputation. She had nothing against Ko-Matoran but when one of the island's city-states follows up two dictators with a weaponsmith only a fool wouldn't take notice. So if there was some issue with their premiere Toa team that was something she needed to be aware of.

    In much the same way a lot of Toa Stannis' decisions had been coming into question lately. When your greatest accomplishment comes undone all on its own people tend to take a closer look at things they once would have let slide. This didn't seem to be an inquisition against Stannis. More a passing swipe as the pair of toa went on to other things.Muir had a reputation as keen investigator and truthful to a fault. Any insights he might have on her koro's protector would be worth listening to. She would have to find some time to speak to him later. Now was not the time to interrupt their conversation.

     

    Kale Ironshaper - Ostia - The Fowadi

    IC: It took an effort of will not to visibly wince at his companion's statement. He didn't know all the details but he knew enough for the reaction to be worth it. Instead he continued on without focusing on the slip. Eyes slightly narrowed, although if that was in consternation or thought was up to whoever looked at him.

    "We definitely need more information. I think I heard the others saying something about going to see Stannis as they were leaving? Not sure. They were walking past and I was busy talking to one of the new recruits at the time."

  • Posted 2021-12-01 23:53:51 UTC
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  • IC: Skyra Daring - Tech Emporium - Po-koro -

    I pumped my fist as Dehkaz ordered the wrist grapple. Who knew that being good at throwing dangerous objects could get you free stuff? 

    On 11/27/2021 at 4:15 AM, ARROW404 said:

    After the Toa asked for her piece of tech, Lumune seized the opportunity to ask her question. "Have you seen lions before?" Not many on the island knew what they were, so she figured maybe she knew something she didn't. "Mine is the only one I've ever seen- or even heard of. And he's lonely."

    I looked back at the trapper. "Sure I've seen lions, they're big cats like Muaka right? When you've wandered through Le-Wahi as much as I have you tend to see all sorts of creatures. Can't tell you the last time I came across a lion though, it's been a while." They weren't exactly the most common creature, I didn't want to get her hopes up in finding more of them. "Pretty rare to see them honestly, with how huge Le-Wahi is it can be years before you come across one."

    @Geardirector @Perp @sunflower @ARROW404

  • Posted 2021-12-02 02:19:51 UTC
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  • IC: Ra'lhen - Po-Koro, Akiri Residence 

     

    Questions, answers, and follow-ups danced across the sitting area between the revered Toa of Stone and this lesser-known (to Ra’lhen anyway) newcomer named Muirtagh. He had expected that the leader of the Toa Maru would be put under a lot of scrutiny, with many appearing seemingly out of nowhere to ask equally seeming dire questions. Whether it was because Stannis had genuinely been involved in so much across the island of Mata Nui or if it was that everyone just assumed Stannis had all the answers – Ra'lhen couldn’t tell for sure. When he had exited his exile as a servant of Makuta, he entered a new one as an exile in Ostia. He did not travel, did not engage himself in the local gossip. 

     

    Hardly any of the names dropped during this conversation were familiar to Ra’lhen. But nonetheless, the Toa listened, drinking from his steaming mug every other moment.  

     

    The term that did stand out to Ra’lhen was antidermis. One may have noticed an eye twitch from the Vo-Toa when he heard that term, but he did not speak. Nonetheless, the story that Ra’lhen could piece together so far was riveting. A member of a Toa Team, felled and taken by Antidermis... and healed by Stannis? 

     

    It certainly was an interesting development, and apparently Muir agreed. He proceeded to drill into this detail.  

     

    You said that you healed Skorm. Or, rather, that you… 'purged the evil inside him, and absolved him of his sins with a litany', as I recall,” Muir said, “Care to elaborate? How does one purge the evil inside someone?” 

     

    “With considerable effort... maybe with a little arcane wisdom,” Ra’lhen said out loud. Whether that was intentional or not was a mystery that Ra’lhen deftly kept hidden as he rose the mug to his face.  He took another sip of tea from his mug in a cool, detached manner, assuming no one heard him.  

     

    He didn’t think too much of how Stannis could’ve pulled off such a feat. After all, it was like the Po-Toa said earlier, he’s a wizard 

  • Posted 2021-12-02 02:37:18 UTC
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  • IC: Vrill [Po-Koro, Akiri Abode]

    A little what now?

    The Cy-Toa's pencil stood still for a moment as he glanced to Stannis's mysterious companion. The one who also seemed familiar with antidermis somehow, judging by the Vo-Toa's optical twitch and the thousand-bio stare that Korzaa's special agent had picked up on. While Vrill was taking some notes, his main investigative focus was indeed the body language of the others in the room.

  • Edited on 2021-12-02 02:37:50 by BULiK
  • Posted 2021-12-02 04:10:39 UTC
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  • IC Stannis | Po-Koro, Renaka's pad

    "You said that you healed Skorm. Or, rather, that you… 'purged the evil inside him, and absolved him of his sins with a litany', as I recall. Care to elaborate? How does one purge the evil inside someone?" Muir asked. 

    With considerable effort... maybe with a little arcane wisdom,” Ra’lhen said out loud.

    Stannis appreciated his friend's remark and let his mind hover over the words for a moment before directing his attention back to Muir. He pursed his lips thoughtfully, struggling to ebb his emotions to word. How does one begin to elaborate on magic? he wondered, for that's what the experience was. Sure, there were simple explanations of Kanohi and wound mending abilities, but that only answered a very literal question. The how Stannis healed Skorm was nothing short of religious melding of Skorm's need to be true to goodness and Stannis' implacable drive to bring fractured lives to fullness. It was a spark of divinity that belonged to neither being alone but to the moment they shared in united purpose. Putting that moment, and the power inside it, to an understandable explanation was not easy, and Stannis strove to be as helpful as he could responsibly be. 

    "As I said, it was by prayer," Stannis said. "Do you believe in miracles, Muirtagh? I do. I believe in the power of Mata Nui in all of us and the divinity of His Virtues. I can't not believe in that. And yet that's exactly what healed Skorm and purged the darkness that gnawed at him. All I did was pray for him and command what was once impure to become pure." It was not a perfect summary, yet it was what he could muster from how he understood it. 

    @Goose @BULiK

  • Edited on 2021-12-02 04:10:58 by Umbraline Yumiwa
  • Posted 2021-12-02 04:56:26 UTC
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  • IC: Muir (Akiri Renaka's Home, Po-Koro)

    Muir smiled, coldly. Stannis’ speech, unhinged though it was, did not awaken any opposition from his Rode - the Granite Guardian fully bought into his own mythology. “Ah. I believe I now understand you a little better, Toa Stannis.”

    Vrill could surely tell already that another speech was incoming, in the same way he could tell that this one might just be worth listening to.

    “You’re a prophet. Stannis, the Wanderer. Where you walk, Destiny unfurls the carpet ahead of you, and miracles unfold. The sick are healed, the greatest evils are vanquished - your words are even ascribed the value of prophecy, are they not?”

    Muir paused, but it was all too clear that he had no intention of waiting for an answer. His tone did not beggar interruption.

    “And yet, I wonder… where were you when Skorm, under the effects of Antidermis, committed the murders you yourself say he confessed to? Where were you when other cases of infection - for you admit that other cases exist - likely had similar results? Why was he healed, and not others? Don’t worry about answering, the question answers itself: You were not. There. Not nowhere, of course - you’re the leader of the Toa Maru, you have a great many duties to attend to, and a man can only be in one place at once. Because you are, Toa Stannis, just a man.

    “I see you, Stannis. You hoard information at the cost of lives - the lives taken by Skorm, the lives that will be taken by Makuta in the coming days. I imagine you tell yourself that you do this to protect people, even when those people die because they do not know of or understand how to treat a curable infection. Because they have no time to prepare themselves or their villages for the return of a threat that you did not actually vanquish. Those contradictions are irrelevant, because whatever lies you tell yourself, you gather knowledge you will never share to protect yourself. To protect your status - your divinity. When only you know how to heal the sick, your healing becomes a miracle; when only you know of things that affect us all, your words become prophecy. But Truth is a force of nature, and like all such forces, it is wild and unpredictable - and though you reshape the unyielding Stone in accordance with your will, you cannot bend Truth. You believe you can, though - you believe that you can reshape reality itself with your words alone, and you believe that you can do this because you are Divine. After all, if Skorm could be healed by prayer alone, he could have been healed by anyone - but the prayers of Toa Stannis Maru hold greater weight, don’t they? Because you are Divine. And like a god, you demand blind faith - faith that you have your reasons not to share your knowledge of Antidermis. Faith that you can heal a man by the power of your prayer. Faith that you vanquished the Makuta.

    “But I’m from Po-Koro. I’ve seen what happens when a man demands blind faith and receives it in turn, and I’ve seen how he brought the island we Toa are sworn to protect to the brink of war, while the protector of Po-Koro had more important business to attend to. A dictator is a dictator, whether he commands a Koro or commands the Truth, but his power lasts only as long as people have faith in him. So do not take me for a fool, Toa Stannis; I see you. Men like you have come and gone before, and the only power you have left now that Makuta is returned and your lies have begun to crumble around you is over the degree of ignominy in which you will end - because you do not command the faith you once did, not now that you have been proven fallible. Men are fallible. The Divine are not. And so I will ask you again, Toa Stannis, and I will encourage you to consider the utility of your response: how did you heal the Toa, Skorm? Because if you will not deign to share with me or the people you are sworn to protect how Antidermis is spread, or how it affects those infected, you can at least share the means by which it can be cured, so that others need not be sacrificed at the altar of your holy ego.”

  • Edited on 2021-12-02 04:57:06 by Goose
  • Posted 2021-12-02 05:03:39 UTC
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  • IC: Rynekk | The Fowadi

    "I missed them entirely, I'm afraid," Rynekk said, shrugging. "But I trust your ears, Kale. Let's just hope we can trust our friends to stay on-target long enough to get some information out of the Maru."

    He raised an eyebrow.

    "Unless you think we should do our own investigating?"

    OOC: @Silvan Haven

    IC: Vyartha | The Iron Mahi

    Slowly, haltingly, I squeezed my frame into the seat across from Nikarra. Spirit, who made this set-up so cramped?

    "I ... have been here and there," I said. I glanced between her and the landscape flying by in the window, as it was suddenly quite difficult to look at her in the face. Looking at the curve of her jawline, the slope of her brow, the desert light twinkling in her green eyes-- "The Da-- our seven did not last much longer after your departure, and we each were cast to the six winds. I spent some time in the City of Ice during the occupation, but I did not do much there. When Reordin Maru liberated that city, I could not tell you what side I fought for -- I simply fought to escape from it again. I have ... been escaping, lately. Wahi to Wahi, place to place. I had hoped to find some refuge in Castle Blackrock, the desert home of the necromancers of Ak'rei'an, but it appears that someone has already ... dealt with them. So I am here, heading to Forsi. I could not tell you why."

    I realized how tightly my fingers were digging into the sides of the table. I made a conscious effort to loosen them.

    "And what of you, Nikarra?" I asked, trying to meet her gaze. "Where have you been?"

    OOC: @Goose

    -Void

  • Posted 2021-12-02 05:13:22 UTC
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  • IC Stannis | Po-Koro, Renaka's pad

    Stone moved slowly in all facets, it was hard to budge, harder to stop while in motion, and hard to break down. Like the stone that called his heart, Stannis was slow to anger as he was easy to speak. Did Muirtagh think that vitriol and lambasting would garner him the specific answers he sought? the Wanderer wondered. He spoke with a sense of duty-given authority, and some of what he said was indeed true. More than true, it was how Stannis himself felt about himself. Yes, he was fallible. Yes, he'd withheld things from people before. Yes, he was a man like any other. So what did Muir hope to get from him here?

    "My utility to you seems to be what your perceptions make it to be, Muirtagh Fenn," he said with a sad look on his face. "You see through me but you don't see me, else you would know that I have never called myself divine. People have ascribed that descriptor to me, have given me a prophetic status they saw written in the skies, but I do not like these claims because, why, I know it's not true. 

    "I believe in Mata Nui, I have faith, but there are so many things I don't understand."

  • Posted 2021-12-02 05:37:46 UTC
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  • IC: Muir (Akiri Renaka's Home, Po-Koro)

    “So, to be clear - you do not believe yourself to be divine, but you still play god with the Truth. You do not call yourself divine, but you still would like us to believe that you healed a man through your piousness alone.” Muir’s voice was steady, his eyes fixed on Stannis, taking in his every movement and expression. “You can lie to yourself. You can lie to the Matoran. In fact, you have done both. But I am in the business of Truth, Toa Stannis - and Truth often lies not in what people tell others, nor in what they tell themselves, but in the contradictions between their beliefs and their actions. You act like a god, and demand faith as a god does; you speak of your holy power, but you say that you have never claimed to be divine. Your actions say otherwise, as does your belief in your own holy abilities.

    "So know, Toa Stannis, that I am far less amenable than you are to the lies that help you sleep at night. You tell me you do not like those claims, that you dispute them, and yet you feed them. You are uncomfortable with being ascribed divinity, and the gift of prophecy, but still you hold the truth out of reach - because you believe that you are best-placed to decide who deserves to know what? You create your reputation. You foster it. You even lean into it - your enigmatic answer to my question being a prime example. You speak one way, and act another. Perhaps the issue is not that I do not see you - but that you do not see yourself. For if you spoke true, then your actions and your choices would speak that same truth.”

     

    IC: Nikarra (The Iron Mahi)

    Hearing Vyartha speak stirred a strange feeling in Nikarra’s gut - like the feeling of falling from a great height, the kind that jolts you awake in the night. It was Vy’s voice, in all its glory, but the tone was…

    Vy was confidence. Not underneath, but on the surface, she was a rock, unchanging, unyielding. But that confidence was gone, now, and Nikarra felt its absence like the loss of the ground beneath her feet.

    “I’ve mostly been around these parts. Bumped into an old friend in the desert after we parted ways, did some travelling - was out in Ko-Wahi, as a matter of fact, but not in the Koro itself.” Saw a man die.

    “Since then, I’ve been…” Grieving my best friend. “Living in Po-Koro. But I… I needed a change of scenery, so I decided to head out to the coast. I grew up in Ga, so I’ve always found the ocean… comforting, I guess.”

    Nikarra knew that the gaps in her retelling weren’t well-disguised - under normal circumstances, she might have hidden it a little better, but looking at Vy already felt like an open wound. Lying to her was even harder.

  • Edited on 2021-12-02 05:41:35 by Goose
  • Posted 2021-12-02 06:00:51 UTC
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  • IC Stannis | Po-Koro, Renaka's pad

    "You want the truth?" Stannis said, his voice carrying an edge but still not simmering. He sounded cool and quiet as nighttime in the desert desert. "The truth is what keeps me awake every night and makes me guzzle café de olla by the litre in the morning. I can't rest because I'm haunted by the actions of people I can't prevent and the fates I don't know about. I am dogged every. waking. minute. by my feelings of regret, and by how I try to shed these coils of godliness but then someone comes around and tells me I'm held to a higher standard because of the Second Great Prophesy. I was Chosen, or so the legends say, but I did not choose to be chosen. 

    "You want the truth? The truth is I wish I'd worked harder to know the things I do now, that I'd made conscious decisions to uncover what I know, but I did not. The truth was handed to me and I, in my mortality, fumbled the kolhii ball. I wouldn't have done so had I worked for what I knew, had I had some intention behind it. But no

    "You want the truth? You can't handle it. You're not looking or the truth, you're asking for it on a platter for you to make what you will out of it." And then, finally, he added with a heavy sigh, "I cannot help you find what you are looking for."

  • Edited on 2021-12-02 06:07:16 by Umbraline Yumiwa
  • Posted 2021-12-02 06:09:57 UTC
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  • IC: Muir (Akiri Renaka's Home, Po-Koro)

    “You didn’t choose to be chosen. But every choice since was your choice. You say you 'fumbled the Kolhii ball'? You lied to the people you are sworn to protect, and left this island vulnerable to the return of Makuta. You say I ask for the truth to be handed to me? You’re goddamned right I do, because you already know it. You talk like you want people to earn truth, just because you didn’t - you talk of the guilt you have over deaths that you caused, in your own inaction. Do you expect my sympathy? You won’t find it. The truth isn’t a gift, the truth isn’t a privilege - the truth is a right. I expect the truth because I’m entitled to the truth, as is every other person on this island, because you are not a god. You are a man. You are a protector. You are accountable for your own actions, Toa Stannis. You, and you alone.

    "You are not held to a higher standard - I would stand in judgment over any man that withheld information that put lives in danger. You just want to operate with impunity, and not to be held to any standard at all.”

  • Posted 2021-12-02 07:56:04 UTC
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  • 7 hours ago, Snelly said:

    IC: Skyra Daring - Tech Emporium - Po-koro -

    I pumped my fist as Dehkaz ordered the wrist grapple. Who knew that being good at throwing dangerous objects could get you free stuff? 

    I looked back at the trapper. "Sure I've seen lions, they're big cats like Muaka right? When you've wandered through Le-Wahi as much as I have you tend to see all sorts of creatures. Can't tell you the last time I came across a lion though, it's been a while." They weren't exactly the most common creature, I didn't want to get her hopes up in finding more of them. "Pretty rare to see them honestly, with how huge Le-Wahi is it can be years before you come across one."

    IC: Lumune

    She rubbed the chin of her mask in thought. Le-Wahi. Just about the most different place on the island from Po-Wahi as one could get. Aside from Ko, maybe. "Begging your pardon, Toa, but if you were to take an extra minute to have a look at my lion- Idas- would you maybe remember enough to tell if it's the same kind of Rahi as what you saw?"

  • Posted 2021-12-02 08:45:33 UTC
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  • IC Stannis | Po-Koro, Renaka's pad

    What was the lie I told the Matoran?” he asked of Muir. It was a simple enough question.

    "The lie," he answered. "The lie that every person in this room, every person on this island, felt proven false mere weeks ago. The lie that you and the Maru vanquished the Makuta."

    Once again, the Wanderer sighed long and wearily. Once again, he remembered the past as best he could, scoured his memories for a long moment to recall if he was misremembering things, then and refocused on Muir and his liege. "Is that what is is, the thought that we 'vanquished' the Makuta?" He shook his head. "'You cannot destroy Nothing, but Nothing can destroy you.' That's what the Makuta taunted us with when we fought him in the Mangaia. The Dark One said, 'You cannot destroy me, no more than you can destroy the sea, or the wind, or the void. I am Nothing. And out of Nothing, you came. And it is into Nothing that you will go. The people of the world are Builders, but look into their hearts and you will find that they also have the power to destroy.'"

    Stannis paused for a moment thence and winced as if merely remembering that instance physically pained him. Ra'lhen likely felt something similar as well, hearing his old master's silvery tongue so vividly brought back to life. "That's what he said. Ask any of the other Maru and they will vouch for me, even my fellows who like me the least—we all experienced it in the same fashion. Now... how can one hope to vanquish something so much a part of you? Something that exists in you and in everyone else you know? I would never have claimed to have vanquished... or destroyed... the Makuta. We defeated him. We put him into a place where he couldn't reach us so we could rest. But it wasn't a full vanquishing. Such a thing would have been impossible against something so powerful as Nothingness.

    "We put him away in safekeeping, but we didn't know where, or for how long he'd stay there. We didn't understand the whole of it, not even me, not until it was too late. We followed the Second Great Prophesy to its every letter, but none of us understood it, and the keepers of the Prophesy who did understand," he said, speaking of the Turaga, "were not around to tell us what we needed. So we told everyone what we understood: That 'Makuta was gone.' And he was, for a time, but none can claim that they didn't have evil thoughts even when Makuta was away. What was done is done, but it was not our intention to deceive any one of the Matoran.

    Finally, Stannis had had enough. Before Muir could interject, he held a finger up, calm but authoritative, and settled what he could. "Arguing with you does as much good as me lashing my own back for my mistakes. I am done being questioned by you and answering your questions here. But we, Ra'lhen and Renaka and I, were discussing an expedition into the Dark Walk to do battle with the rahkshi and form strategy against the shadows. You and I may not agree on much, Muirtagh Fenn, but we fight the same Darkness. I give you the option to come with us, and I would be deeply honored if you would fight alongside me against our enemies. And... should we encounter antidermis in the depths, you may even get yet more answers for your inquest on the Kalta."

  • Edited on 2021-12-02 08:48:03 by Umbraline Yumiwa
  • Posted 2021-12-02 09:06:47 UTC
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  • IC: Muir (Akiri Renaka's Home, Po-Koro)

    “No.” Muir had no interest in beating around the bush. “You try to justify lying - because a lie of ommission is still a lie. You say that you explained what you understood - after stating that you placed the Makuta in ‘safekeeping’, and that you understood that at the time, and still told the world both then and in the years that followed that Makuta was 'gone'. You say that any claim of vanquishing Makuta was an impossibility, that you could not be held to the standard of your own words, because dark thoughts still exist in all of us - I encourage you to look at the awakened intelligence in the Rahkshi, to feel the darkness that we have all felt return to the island, and to tell me that the Makuta is merely our darker inclinations. And finally, perhaps worst of all, you seek the moral high ground by encouraging me to join you on a quest - and you have the nerve to suggest that I might there learn more about Antidermis. I am not a fighter, Toa Stannis. I protect the people of this island by advocating for them - by advocating for the truth. The Rahkshi, due to the fact that Makuta has returned, no matter the spin you attempt to put on it, are deadlier than they have been in years. You and I both know that my death in those tunnels would not be an improbable outcome. And you have the gall to suggest that risking yet another life for answers that you already have is a sacrifice worth making?

    “But you are right about one thing. Arguing with me is as good as lashing your own back for the mistakes you have made, because it seems that you are deeply unused to being held accountable for your choices and for your mistakes, but it is not in my power now to bring you to justice, because justice is for the Matoran to pass. This I can say: the guilt you feel, you are correct to feel, and so appeals to my sympathy based on that are pointless. You have failed the people of this island, Toa Stannis, and you would rather do so again than learn from your mistakes, or even admit to them - because you will admit that you are fallible, and in the same breath seek to justify your actions, or to minimise them as the fumbling of a Kolhii ball. You have not earned my sympathy. But you have my pity, because I can see how your actions weigh on you - and I can see that if you do not change, that weight will only grow heavier, until the day that you meet the justice that you have earned, and are judged by the Matoran. I await that day with a heavy heart, because - like the deaths past and future that were the result of your choices - it could have been avoided.”

    Muir turned his attention back to Renaka. “Akiri Renaka, I thank you for allowing us this audience. If there is nothing else you wish of me, I believe it is time to make my leave - there is nothing more to be learned here.”

    OOC: @Silvan Haven

  • Edited on 2021-12-02 09:42:56 by Goose
  • Posted 2021-12-02 17:36:59 UTC
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  • Renaka - Po-koro - Her House

    IC: The  discussion was clearly at an end. Each side has stated their case and made rebuttals.Without a true arbitrator this was as far as things would go between the lawyer and the Maru. So when the former turned to her she nodded and stood up. Speaking as she moved towards the doorway. Her bodyguard one step behind her. His orange eyes sliding from one toa to the other as they moved. It was unlikely that these people would make any rash decisions but he was payed to be paranoid and things often went awry when tempers were high.

    "Of course. Please allow me to show you out."

    It was a flimsy pretext to be able to talk to the investigator alone. In truth she didn't really care if everyone in the group could see right through it. Duplicity was something she could practice at need. yet her Po-matoran nature inclined her toward more blunt and straightforward routes to get what she wanted.

  • Posted 2021-12-02 19:58:16 UTC
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  • IC: Farzan (Tech Emporium)

    "Armor plates, you say" I replied to Dehkaz, and noted down the Wrist-Volo as well. Ferrous strips, able to take very solid hits, hmm... I had my suspicions about just what Dehkaz was going to do with these armor plates, and I very much approved.

    "That'll be no problem. I can get you those in just a few days." I answered, quite matter-of-factly. I'd have to break out a heatstone blowtorch, maybe, but that's about the extent of what I foresaw to be necessary.

    OOC: @sunflower @Snelly @Krayzikk

  • Posted 2021-12-03 00:54:21 UTC
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  • IC: Skyra Daring - Tech Emporium - Po-koro -

    “Sure, I’ll check out your lion.” I said as I looked at Farzan. Let’s see, I was getting a wrist grapple, curtesy of Dehkaz, two diskette pistols that I’d placed on the counter and was buying myself, and then I’d be coming back at some point to test out some sort of prototype weapon and get one for free for my trouble. Yup sounded right. 
     

    “Once I’ve got my new stuff I’m ready to go.” I said as I took out the widgets to pay for the pistols. Oh! I also needed to get something for Dorian, though I was thinking of buying him something from a different store. 

    @Geardirector @Perp @sunflower @ARROW404

  • Posted 2021-12-03 04:01:41 UTC
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  • IC: Vrill [Po-Koro, Akiri Renaka's House, Plaintiff's Bench?]

    A general doesn’t win a battle from their desk, nor by leading the first wave’s charge. The best commanders observed the state of the battlefield from just behind their lines, directing lieutenants to bolster their army’s forces where needed, and exploit the vulnerabilities of the enemy’s as quickly as possible once those weaknesses had revealed themselves.

    Fenn and Stannis were locked in heated combat, just with diatribes and redirections in lieu of thrusts and parries. Vrill, from his position just outside of the arena, had the benefit of a wider perspective and focus. He saw two warriors that fought battles neither had the framework to fully comprehend. The sinful priest dealt in spirits, parables, and legends, while the blind symbol of justice could only grasp facts that he could feel between his fingertips.

    The Sanctum’s spy saw all-too-familiar displays of anger and judgement, as well as his own regrets and dogged justifications for work that would never see the light of day either. Vrill had been in Stannis’s position before – defending how his actions were cloaked in shadows, and how that such deception was necessary for the good of the Matoran. Muir didn’t buy it then and Vrill knew five minutes ago that he wouldn’t buy it now. Not when Stannis’s omission left the island without an enemy to rally behind - a stepping stone that lead to the fractures within Muir’s own community.

    Vrill knew Fenn would fruitlessly chase the pointless minutiae of truth until the Mukau came home if he didn’t shift the conversation. Finally, there was a lull of awkward silence as a stalemate was reached.

    For the first time that any of those in the room besides Muirtagh could recall, the Cy-Toa behind the lawyer opened his mouth to speak. His deep voice flowed with the smoothness of sandpaper, carrying a surprising nonchalance and almost discomforting calmness beneath the hardened tones of a man who’d fought his fair share of battles.

    "There was ‘nothing more to be learned here’ a few minutes ago," Vrill began, opening with a swift critique of how the whole affair had long since been derailed. "But we’re still here, aren’t we?"

    "My apologies, Stannis Maru," the detective continued, stepping forwards from the shadows that clung near the walls of Renaka’s home. His notepad and cigarette had disappeared, replaced by the firm stance of his crossed arms. "When I brought together two people who kept their distance from the Sentinels, when the Sentinels were under Hewkii’s stead, that is," he added with a glance that danced between the two matoran in the room. "I was, perhaps, naive in expecting them to agree on anything."

    "This isn’t an inquisition on why you did whatever you had to do in Mangaia, and while I would be interested in knowing more about a substance that can turn a Toa into a murderer with a single dose, that’s not why we’re here either."

    The investigator's golden optics darted to his partner's as he attempted to mend the wounds he and Stannis exchanged with their words, find a common ground, and eventually reposition on the topics that the duo was actually after.

    "Our business is not that of raw, unrefined Truth – we deal in Justice. In his words -" a hand waved in Stannis's direction before returning to reinforce his prior posture. "- we fight the same Darkness."

    Vrill refocused on the aforementioned Po-Toa.

    "We’re here because of that particular Darkness that you said is within every one of us. I’ve seen what happens when it’s left to fester and grow, and we all want to prevent that from happening, on our own battlefields, and in our own ways."

    "So before we leave, I’m curious to hear from both Toa Stannis and Toa Ra’lhen," Vrill said with a nod to the companion on Stannis's sideline, who had yet to reveal how he was involved in all of this, but whose body language had long since revealed to Vrill's trained optics that this subject was all too personal in some way. Vrill just had to keep them talking, and the conversation would shift back in his favor.

    "What exactly are you planning to do in this expedition of yours?"

    Besides keeping the conversation from totally disintegrating under the pressure of an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object, Vrill's question had another utility; If the Toa Maru had important knowledge that could bolster Po-Koro’s defenses against Makuta's return, perhaps Vrill could relay that information to Korzaa. It was cynical, but perhaps the intel such an experienced team could prevent a slaughter of the Sanctum Guard’s newest recruits when Makuta began to strike again, or if for some reason his Koro’s foolhardy new leadership decided that such an expedition into their own Dark Walk was warranted.

  • Edited on 2021-12-03 04:27:53 by BULiK
    italics
  • Posted 2021-12-03 04:55:23 UTC
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  • IC Stannis | Po-Koro, Renaka's pad

    Stannis, looking for all the world like he's just argued with Reordin about the virtues of a thin crust pizza versus a deep dish pie, seemed to welcome Vrill's timely but intentional interjection. "The plan," he said simply, "was what we were talking about before you and yours showed up."

    He calmly poured more coffee into his cup and lifted the mug to his pursed lips. "Ask her," he said, nodding towards Akiri Renaka. "She's the chair of this committee. Ah—if you're staying, tea? coffee?"

  • Edited on 2021-12-03 04:57:49 by Umbraline Yumiwa
  • Posted 2021-12-03 05:08:31 UTC
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  • IC: Vrill [Po-Koro, Akiri's Abode, Tea Time?]

    There was a flash of astounded fear - similar when someone sitting down had the abrupt feeling that they were inexplicable falling - on Vrill's face for a split second as he was caught off guard by the counter-question.

    However, Vrill was a slave to his addictions and couldn't pass up the offer.

    "Coffee. Black."

  • Edited on 2021-12-03 05:11:46 by BULiK
  • Posted 2021-12-03 05:22:12 UTC
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  • IC: Ra'lhen - Po-Koro, Akiri Residence 

    The Toa of Lightning thought for a moment. What was the plan, once they arrived at the Dark Walk? Obviously, the main goal was to give Po-Koro some degree of safety and security by venturing into the Dark Walk and presumably dealing with any dangers that lurk there. But alas, a goal was not the same as a plan. 

    “I must echo my friend here,” Ra’lhen said, tilting his head slightly in Stannis’ direction. “We were trying to hash out the details” 

  • Posted 2021-12-03 05:31:17 UTC
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  • IC: Muir (Akiri Renaka's Home, Po-Koro)

    "I wasn't under the impression we were staying." Muir's tone was clipped, and serious. Although outwardly, his impassioned display had been reeled in, his eyes when they met Vrill's were still simmering with anger, and-

    And... something else?

    Muir was, in many ways, a shallow pond; intelligent, shrewd, perceptive, certainly - but he was not a man who tended to hide his feelings, and his feelings were rarely complex, because the world as he saw it was rarely as complex as the guilty wished it to be. Moral relativism and other such constructs were the tents beneath which wrongdoers weathered the storm of their own guilt - for in a complex world, an unjustifiable action could be justified, and a lifetime's wrongs dismissed as 'what needed to be done.'

    No, Muir was not a complicated man, and so it might have caught Vrill off-guard to see a… twinkle of some sort, in his partner's uncomplicated blue eyes, a twinkle that vanished as soon as Muir looked back to the rest of the room.

  • Edited on 2021-12-03 05:33:32 by Goose
  • Posted 2021-12-03 05:37:01 UTC
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  • IC Stannis | Po-Koro, Renaka's pad

    The Maru's hand hovered over the coffee pot but he did not serve any or suggest procurement of a mug. The Akiri had not offered them to stay so with the contingent hospitality still not certain the beverage was withheld. There was a sense of deference that Stannis demonstrated towards Renaka that had been noticeably absent entirely for her predecessor. No, he held her with degrees of respect, that much was clear.

  • Posted 2021-12-03 05:48:35 UTC
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  • Renaka - Po-koro - Her House

    IC: "Before I answer that I have a question of my own." Orange eyes narrowed slightly as the akiri of Po-koro turned to regard the crystaline toa. It wasn't every day that someone interrupted her. Even rarer that it happened in her own home. So there may have been a certain level of extra intensity behind her gaze as she pinned it on the much larger man. Now that she looked closer at him something clicked in her mind. There's had been another set of files. One of known and suspected foreign agents. That list was still safely locked up in a secure location.

    "I'm not much in the habit of keeping secrets. They pile up block by block until you've surrounded yourself in a tomb of hidden knowledge. I'm also not in the habit of telling people important information that could end up influencing thousands of people when I don't even know their name. So again. Granite's truth, who are you."

    On the beginning of that last sentence her eyes had switched to Muir. They were a local idiom. Granite was heavy and solid. Once it was set down you knew that it wouldn't change or shift. To tell someone granite's truth was to set it all on the table. You could hear it said anywhere from the bazaar to the courtrooms of the koro. The as of yet unnamed toa could likely spin up a half-believable tale if confronted with such a demand. The lawyer on the other hand was somewhat different if she'd judged him correctly.

    At the core of it knowing people was half her job. Put the right person in the right place and they could accomplish wonders. She'd been watching both guests all through the discussion but most of her attention had been on Muir. The scales of justice in the man's heart were made of protosteel and balanced on the finest of edges. At least that's the impression she got. A call for truth like this was direct but she needed that last bit of certainty. It was easy to push for absolute truth when someone else was paying the price. It was often very different when one was called upon to give information that might put them at a disadvantage.

  • Posted 2021-12-03 06:01:35 UTC
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  • IC: Vrill [Po-Koro, Akiri Renaka's House]

    A quartz mug grew in Vrill's hand as he glanced at his partner, whom the question was clearly directed to.

  • Posted 2021-12-03 06:34:35 UTC
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  • IC: Muir (Akiri Renaka's Home, Po-Koro)

    Muir knew the answer that Vrill wanted him to give.

    He knew, too, that it would not suffice - it might have, before Vrill himself had undone his already questionable cover by speaking up as he had.

    These were uncharted waters - he would trust the Akiri with more information than he would trust Stannis with, but that choice was out of his hands now that this discussion was happening here rather than in the hallway, or even outside, as it appeared Renaka had originally intended.

    You're a real sonuvabitch, Vrill, Muir thought, and sighed.

    "He is my client - and my partner in this investigation." Muir's eyes were on Renaka's, and they were absolute - his words, and his expression, carried such weight that their truth was undeniable. Still, they were not the entirety of the truth - but Muir had seen a glimmer of recognition in the Akiri's eyes when Vrill spoke, and he knew as Renaka did that neither had laid all of their cards upon the table. Muir's stoney stare delivered an unspoken promise: Mine, for yours - but not. Here.

  • Edited on 2021-12-03 06:38:44 by Goose
  • Posted 2021-12-03 06:40:03 UTC
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  • IC: Vrill [Po-Koro, Akiri Renaka's House]

    The Cy-Toa walked over to the coffee pot and bent down to hover his freshly-grown crystal mug just above the surface of the coffee table, looking into Stannis's marble optics expectantly.

  • Edited on 2021-12-03 06:41:18 by BULiK
  • Posted 2021-12-03 19:14:58 UTC
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  • Renaka - Po-koro - Her House

    IC: The unspoken message was met with a nod. Muir would tell the truth, but not carelessly. She could work with that. So she moved back over to the table. This time standing at the head of it with her arms crossed. It was clear that the pair's time here was much more limited than before. The akiri's gaze swept over everyone gather. Measuring them each and weighing their trustworthiness. Finally she spoke.

    "A Toa seal would be an effective method of doing that. As would collapsing the thing using stralix charges and our local Toa. The problem is that such a move would be a temporary solution at best and cause more problems in the long term. Makuta and his rahkshi made that tunnel once. They can easily do so again. This time the entrence could come out somewhere much worse. Inside the koro, maybe even directly in the Sentinel Bastion itself. My plan is to take the darkwalk but leave it an open so that our enemy think he still has a chance to take it back. I will turn that place into a death trap that drains the Maluta's forces to the very dregs."

  • Posted 2021-12-03 19:43:23 UTC
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  • IC Stannis | Po-Koro, Renaka's pad

    Satisfied that Renaka was comfortable for the other's presence, Stannis gently lifted the pot of coffee and poured it into Vrill's expectant cup. "I'm sure you'll find it the best cup of joe you've ever had," he said proudly. 

    "I will turn that place into a death trap that drains the Maluta's forces to the very dregs," the akiri decreed.

    "Trying to match our resources against the Makuta's would also potentially drain our own in the effort," Stannis considered. "If that's what you wish, are you thinking of using automated defences or relying on matoranpower?"

  • Posted 2021-12-03 20:00:56 UTC
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  • Renaka - Po-koro - Her House

    IC: The Maru's comment got a nod of acknowledgement. Even with the koro's recent advancements this was a bold undertaking to say the least. Without the rapid technological gain of the last few months she wouldn't even have considered such a bold move.

    "I want to provide as much mechanized support as possible. It's the only advantage we have things brings a matoran even close to a rahkshi in capabilities. Unfortunately we don't have any weapons that can fight on their own so any such move would require a significant manpower investment by the Sentinels. If possible I'd like to get help from the other koros for the initial push."

  • Posted 2021-12-03 20:14:04 UTC
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  • IC Stannis | Po-Koro, Renaka's pad

    Mechanizations, but also a girding of the matoran and their toa guardians as well, meant also importing more machines of war from Onu-Koro—trebuchets, automatons, boxors, disk cannons, the list went on. Stannis did not like enriching the industrialist magnate inventors of Onu- much, but it was a far better thing than sending soldiers in to stand guard and fight without modern supports. But if Onu-Koro's people were appealed to by ways other than widgets and shared an investment in the effectiveness of the machines sold to Po-Koro, as well as the continued protection of the Dark Walk, it might make things easier to handle. And help, as Renaka observed, would be required. "I can petition Toa Sulov to assist," he said. "His power, and the subterranean brilliance of the Ussalry, would be of paramount use in the endeavors of clearing the Walk and fortifying it."

    And, he pondered wistfully, it would give him a reason to see his dear friend again. It had been a while, to put it mildly.

    "And will you want watchtowers? or fortresses keeping guard in the tunnels?" he asked.

  • Edited on 2021-12-03 20:16:26 by Umbraline Yumiwa