BZPRPG - Kentoku Archipelago

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  • Posted 2021-09-21 16:24:47 UTC
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  • IC: Lii [Odaiba, Outskirts]

    Her legs hurt.

    Perhaps it was because the pain of the ten-thousand-steps had long since faded from her memory in the years since, her body having forgotten the actual hardship she endured. Or perhaps it was because she had been singularly motivated then, each step carrying her towards a point, a destination in her mind, an obstacle to be overcome for her journey to begin. Now each step took her further from her home, away from where she should be.

    Or maybe it was just the hastily bandaged gash along her right thigh, obscured by her crimson robes.

    Lii winced. No, no. It did not hurt.

    She was fine.

    But it didn't help her mood.

    When the demons attacked she had been sent ahead to secure the path, away from the fighting, away from the beasts. Her! They sent her away! Clan Long's strongest fighter.

    Or soon to be.

    ...Would have been!

    How could she know for sure if she wasn't given the chance to test herself against an enemy as strong as the demons had been. Something to push her to the limits of her capabilities--as distant as they may be--and give her the chance to go beyond them. She couldn't know!

    But no, instead she had to ensure the safety of the initiates, herding the group of young ones down the same ten thousand steps to the plains of Odaiba below. And all she got for her trouble was the gash on her leg, courtesy of one of the dying spasms of one of the demons, one which she didn't even get to kill. Or even trade blows with.

    Lii let out a breath, and did her best to push the thoughts from her mind, her gaze wandering to the front of their congregation as they made their way forward, stopping on the Master Ment-errDatsue Shunkyou. She heard that he had held the line with the other Grandmasters, his Rage burning so intensely that none could approach without being reduced to ash. He got to prove himself, why didn-

    Ughh.

    Lii bit her tongue, stemming the tide of thoughts.

    "Where are we headed though?" Lii asked aloud, moving to fall into step next to the newest Grandmaster.

  • Posted 2021-09-22 12:40:59 UTC
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  • IC: [Sado, Imperial Gardens (Fanai)]
    Fanai nodded, turning and motioning for the two other woman to follow her.   She lead them through the gardens towards the yards and outwards to what remained of the docks.

    “Dastana Arsix was generous—we’ll be well supplied on the way there, though I doubt we’ll be able to bring back cords of lumber”

    Anchored to the pier was a small, yet sturdy sailing ship, currently managed by a crew of seven.   The menti caught glimpses armbands of both Dastana yellow and the Plangori tricolor.

    “They’ll be hauling anchor in about an hour—if you believe it’s safe you might want to use your mask to scout for trouble in the waters ahead.”

    She turned to Askha.  “I believe there’s a map inside as well, if you would like to discuss our route with the captain.”

    [Sado, Imperial Gardens Medical Tents (Hatchi)]
    Hatchi raised an eyebrow at the menti—surprising that she knew, but really zi shouldn’t expect anything less, these days.  Zir eyes followed the woman’s involuntary twitch towards the pipe Hatchi had heard was there.   Zi could sympathize at least—zi hadn’t been able to find real tea for weeks.

    Zi handed the doctor the list.   It was written in simple imperial, the letters neatly penned in tight rows.   As a caravan leader Hatchi was quite familiar with making lists.

    “I rather short story honestly.   When the monsters first came down from the mountain, my clan headed into the sea.   The Soko could not go, so I lead them to Sado—though in truth I think they lead me.”

    Zi leaned on zir cane.  “Now, perhaps, do me a favor in turn.   How does a menti in the city come to learn of the ways of koshi zrupgar?

    OOC: @Keeper of Kraata

  • Edited on 2021-09-22 12:41:35 by Mel
  • Posted 2021-09-22 17:33:31 UTC
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  • IC: Sydelia - Sado Gardens, Medical Tents

    The Sighteye scanned the list, associating the names with her patients. She had to play this one cool. “Before I was absorbed into Clan Fursic, I was part of a minor, unimportant clan; there was a local Taajar tribe which shared territory with them and were regular trading partners. Grew up around them.” She affected a strong Kozu accent to mask her own: “Even picked up a bit of the language,” she continued in Vulgar Taa. “Unfortunately, I don’t remember which tribe specifically; it long ago.” She hoped that would satisfy them. Truthfully, she knew very little of the koshi zrupgar’s traditions, but she recognized their dress; long ago, in much happier times, her mother and her had visited the encampments of the Kaazi tribe on Hanaloi, where Somei had told her about their ancestors; a secret, just for them to know. There had been many secrets on Hanaloi.

    Sydelia held out the list, pointing to several names. “These patients can be moved back to light duty, they might be a bit addled, so no fieldwork. These two can be moved to regular bed rest; in fact, have the first set find beds for them elsewhere. These last four are stable enough to move to a recovery tent. The rest aren’t.”

     

    IC: Askha & Somei - Sado

    Askha nodded and fell in behind Fanai. She had planned this for so long; it was hard to accept it was finally happening. “Yeah, the map will work. There are a few docks we had on the island; I’ll have to scout them out to see if any are still there and if they’re safe. That leads me into my next question…”

    She glanced back to Somei, who had started behind her. Turning back to Fanai, she caught up with the Plangori. “What kind of force are we looking at? Don’t get me wrong, I’d prefer a small team to scout the island and secure my family’s compound, but… if it’s just us, and we encounter more than, like, two of the Rahkshi out there, we’re going to have to run. And that’s not a good idea on Hanaloi.”

    OOC: @Mel

  • Posted 2021-09-23 03:30:37 UTC
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  • IC: Saritsu | Odaiba Outskirts

    :We could try to swim it,: Saritsu offered, her doubt bubbling above the surface of her thoughts the harder she tried to push it down. Even she would drown before she had made it halfway across the rapids between Odaiba and Sado, and she had lived half her life among the rough whims of nature -- Nini, bless her soul, would die before even then. But they didn't have any other options, and those ... demons, whatever they were, were gaining ground on them every second. It was either swim or--

    :Someone's coming,: she said, spinning, ducking behind bracken. Her Mindarm drew an arrow from her quiver and held it, at the ready, aloft in the air. The sound of footsteps, of many footsteps, travelling along and getting closer. With her Akaku, the foliage became as invisible as air to Saritsu's gaze as she looked for the source--

    :Goddess,: she said, turning back to Nihonei momentarily. :Dasaka. A few, at least. I can't make out any clan colours, but they don't seem to be having too hard a time making it through the wilderness. I'd put my money on taajar.:

    OOC: @Krayzikk @Razgriz @sunflower That's the Chand-Long group that Saritsu is spotting.

    -Void

  • Posted 2021-09-23 03:30:57 UTC
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  • IC: Long Hyan-Fei - Odaiba - Western Wilderness
    She stands atop a tall, flat rock jutting from the river.  Rolling hills reside on her side of it, white tightly clustered trees reside on the far side; she faces the trees now.  The only sounds that reach her are the gentle rush of water and the occasional loud birdsong.  She is alone, just as she likes it, or just as she thinks she likes it.  Today she has decided to try quarterstaff forms on one leg; normal martial artists would consider this highly impractical.

    But she is no normal martial artist, and does not give a whit about impracticality.

    As slowly as she dares, which is not very slowly at all, Long Hyan-Fei lifts one foot off the rock and fights to regain her balance for several seconds.  When she finally steadies, she raises her twice hastily-repaired quarterstaff to chest height and points one end toward the forest on the far side.  She fights to keep all her concentration on the staff's golden end, but as usual, loses the fight almost immediately.

    Her gaze drifts upward to the plume of black smoke still visible over the treetops.  Eight weeks it has been since the Dragons broke Koshiki's skull open, and eight weeks later the wound has shown no signs of healing anytime soon.  Hyan-Fei's shoulders slump as her thoughts drift to the monastery on that mountain, to the Long monks who had to face the Dragons on their own.  For the first time in a long time, she feels worry for those she previously would not have spared a positive thought.  She wonders if she could have helped them at all.

    Those feelings leave her as she furrows her brow in haughty frustration.  They made it perfectly clear that she was of no use to them even during the peaceful times, she reminds herself.  Let them keep working it out with their precious discipline, see how far it gets them.

    Hyan-Fei returns to her previous stance with a fresh determination.  As if putting on a display, even though no one else is around, she executes a windmill strike pattern, driving her staff left, down, right, up with an unrestrained strength.  The upward blow has enough force behind it to fling the staff's broken end up into the air.  Her eyes follow it, and she loses her balance in the process; she falls backwards off the rock and into the river with a cry and a loud splash, with the once again broken staff following her.  It would seem that practice is over for today.

    Gathering the pieces of her staff with a huff, Hyan-Fei contents herself with fishing on the riverbank, feet in the water, hoping that a freshly caught dinner will lift her out of her newly fouled mood.

    OOC:
    open for interaction

  • Posted 2021-09-23 03:40:50 UTC
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  • IC Yuna Koizumi - Oki Refugee camp:

    I handed off a bunch to Raina, and gave her a smirk, "That I did."  As we walked, I spoke my idea aloud. "Look, there's not much here for Ahri, but I hear there's still major power left up at the Palace. If we can make it to Sado, we might be able to find a Willhammer that can help."

    That was a big if, though.

    @TL01 NUVA

  • Posted 2021-09-23 04:36:11 UTC
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  • 41 minutes ago, capMARVELOUS said:

    IC: Long Hyan-Fei - Odaiba - Western Wilderness

    IC: Chand Kura - Odaiba - Western Wilderness

    Naiana and I had stopped at the riverbank in a thick forest to drink and rest. She huffed a little as even she sat down to rest, having spent twice as long as I at the water's edge drinking. I reached forwards, finding myself wincing still at the pain in my side, and stroked her neck. Not only had she saved my life while atop the Dead Mountain, she had been mine since I was a barely born. The only one left alive who had been with me from start to finish. I found myself uttering a short prayer under my breath, thanking Zuto-Nui for Naina. I stopped stroking her, and put my fists together, nodding my head, eyes closed to mark the end of my prayer.

    After some time, she and I stood again, and we crossed the slow river together. It was here that the beautiful range of trees behind us suddenly thinned out to smooth rolling grass, blowing very slightly in the soft breeze. Birds behind us sang in surprise at the sudden sound of us splashing gently about. I had chosen to step in myself, to cool off. I felt struck by the beauty of my Odaiba, and equally as angry that these creatures had taken so much of it away from us. It was now, that my mask sensed movement. I looked in its direction immediately, and there, down the river, was a Dasaka. I uttered another prayer of thanks, under my breath, as I hopped on Naiana again.

    After eight weeks of wandering, I had finally seen somebody.

    We began trotting over, and I reached up with one hand to the sky, waved, and called out to the stranger in a Tajaar greeting, "T'ull a'jaar!"

  • Posted 2021-09-23 07:05:05 UTC
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  • IC: Long Hyan-Fei - Odaiba - Western Wilderness
    Barely ten minutes into fishing and something else happens to steal her attention again, although it is not as if her attention was easily anchored in the first place.  Hyan-Fei looks up from her pole to find a slowly approaching Dasaka astride a Soko horse.  Definitely a Chand- no one else would know how to ride a Soko and issue a Taajar greeting at the same time.  She plants her pole into the soft dirt of the riverbank and rises to face the stranger, unsurprised- nomads have a habit of accidentally running into each other.

    "T'ull a'jaar," she says, returning both the greeting and the wave half-heartedly while scooting her backpack behind her with her foot.  She alternates between facing the newcomer and glancing at her pole; if she catches something, hospitality dictates that she will share it.  Of course, that would require not losing the catch.

    Not that she has a lot of experience in observing how Chand ride, but there seems to be something slightly off about the way the newcomer sits on her Soko.  Hyan-Fei crosses her arms and tilts her head in an expression of curiosity.

    OOC:
    that'd be @Palm

  • Posted 2021-09-23 09:30:38 UTC
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  • IC Long Shunkyou (The Outskirts of Dastana Republic Territory, Odaiba):

    "Safe land." he replied, waving away his previous victim object of concern as she fell in with another of her peers. "I'm told some the Chand have taken up residence in some collective form near here. They say they're gathering the kids there for the time being; something-or-other about Imperials keeping a foothold on Odaiba while those demons ran amok."

    He regarded Lii sidelong as his fists returned to their resting place at the small of his back, just beneath the looseness in his newly-creaking back. He couldn't believe it— all the stretching he did as a proper warrior, only for his joints to lock anyway.

    She was a hotheaded young upstart, as he remembered her, brash and powerful. One of the daring few who chose to pursue the path of the Rage— to say nothing of it being her first discipline of choice. It reflected well on her boldness, her strength of fire within her soul— he would not deny the girl her earned pride in this regard.

    However.

    "If you intend to put on a brave face and ignore your wounds, you'll tear them open further yourself. Favor it. Take my shoulder if you must."

    His mask glowed again, softly. He felt a rivulet of sweat upon his brow— truly? Was this his new limit as Datsue? To only manage scrapes as simple as this once or twice in an hour? He was living with the fact that he could no longer outright mend gashes like hers, only setting them on the right path for recovery (leave that in their hands, honestly); to only be able to use any ability only so often was like being caged.

    He doubted this archipelago had enough metal in it to do that properly.

    "Won't be able to train yourself with a bum thigh."

    They trudged on, tightening their group as they passed through a pocket of trees. It was supposed to be near here, only another couple hours at this pace... Where'd the guide run off to? The back to chat up one of her friends from the temple? If she had, he'd beat the tar out of her— assuming they didn't get pounced upon by rahi, or worse.

    Must I do everything myself?

    His grimace became a scowl, as he began to scan the trees around them. Thus far, the path was clear enough, but forests were where many beasts hid away from the searching eyes of small, bony sorts like him.

    The types of beasts that would mistake him, or indeed these hatchlings, for a snack.

  • Edited on 2021-09-24 02:38:56 by Razgriz
  • Posted 2021-09-23 15:39:06 UTC
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  • IC: [Sado, Imperial Gardens (Fanai)]
    “We have two menti from the Dastana—” she gestured towards a pair of woman on the foredeck.  One was small and muscled like a whipcord, the other broad-shouldered and sturdy.   “A soulsword and a mindarm, as you can see.”  The taller woman appeared to be directing some cargo both with her voice and with her mind; a large chest floated up from the dock to the deck.

    “One of our soulswords too,” Fanai continued as she lead them up the gangplank.  the Plangori menti was leaning against the railing, looking out on the yards with a pained expression on her face.  “All of them have encountered these rahkshi before, so they know the kind of devastation they are capable.   There’s also these.”

    Fanai ducked inside the ship’s cabin, apparently to ask someone about something, if the murmured conversation inside was anything to go by.  She returned in the space of a minute, sans her Naginata and holding two metal staves of the kind the Mashtet had seen the demons use.

    “I don’t doubt the power of your sword, but crystal slashing weapons have had little to no success against these beasts.   I suggest you practice throwing these around with the other mindarm—I’ve practice fighting with them hand to hand but I’d rather not let the creatures get close.”

    “I hope you can do a survey of the island before we land as well—I apologize for putting so much on your mask but the Iden is quite useful in times of war, and the years of peace was have enjoyed have made them ever rarer.”

    The Plangori guard took a breath, and small smile played across her face.   “Forgive me for speaking so much.  I hope this eases your worry as much as it can be eased.”

    IC: [Sado, Imperial Gardens Medical Tents (Hatchi)]
    Hatchi did not push.  Clearly this woman had a somewhat more complicated relationship with the Taajar than she was saying—but her accent was suitable clumsy as one would expect from someone who had only dipped a toe into the language.  Zi took the list back.

    “I will make sure the other volunteers get this information.  Thank you, Lady Menti.”

    Zi turned to leave, although zi was curious still—there might be another excuse to talk to Fursic Sydelia again.

    OOC: @Keeper of Kraata

  • Edited on 2021-09-24 01:05:10 by Mel
  • Posted 2021-09-23 16:46:04 UTC
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  • IC: Chand Kura - Odaiba - Western Wilderness

    "I've never felt so fortunate to see another person," I began, probably a little too quickly. I slid off the Soko, feeling a jab of pain in my side as I landed. I corrected my stance, and with one hand on Naiana's broad neck, I gestured to my chest with my other, bowing slightly. "Chand Kura."

    "I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw you, I thought for sure I was the last one left alive in the entire world," I looked at her more closely now. The fishing Dasaka was strong looking, and even handsome, I found. She wore a deep blue armor and fabric pants, hiked up just slightly at the ankles as not to get wet in the cool river water. She seemed very calm in contrast to my more erratic manner of speaking. Didn't she know it was the end of everything?

    OOC: @capMARVELOUS

  • Edited on 2021-09-23 17:59:27 by Palm
  • Posted 2021-09-23 18:08:01 UTC
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  • IC: Long Hyan-Fei - Odaiba - Western Wilderness
    Hyan-Fei notices the newcomer's wince of pain as she dismounts her Soko.  At the claim of thinking to be the last one left in the world, she connects the dots and guesses that Kura was at ground zero of the Dragons awakening, and that she has been on the run ever since.  Unconsciously, her previous brief apprehension leaves; some of the people caught up in that disaster managed to walk away alive after all.  (Smugly, she thinks, Then how much of an apocalypse could it really have been?)

    She does not return Kura's introduction right away.  Instead, she tosses her head and says, "Clearly, you're not the last one left, and it was very silly of you to think that, Chand Kura."  A bit more politely, she continues, "It was also very silly of you to ride while you're hurt.  You probably only made it worse.  Do you need to rest?"

    OOC:
    @Palm

  • Posted 2021-09-23 18:42:10 UTC
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  • IC: Chand Kura - Odaiba - Western Wilderness

    "Last one is how I was starting to feel. I've been looking all over for weeks and you're the first person I've seen since... those things... appeared,"
    I began. I felt my pride as a Chand horsewoman begin to surface, and I crossed my arms, a bit defiantly. I fought not to visibly wince, and continued, "I know how to ride, and besides, I'm... mostly healed."

    I looked around the clearing, and back at the stranger, before pointing up over the trees and towards the Dead Mountain's peak, "Have you encountered any of those beasts since the Koshiki opened?"

    OOC: @capMARVELOUS

  • Posted 2021-09-23 19:34:14 UTC
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  • IC: Long Hyan-Fei - Odaiba - Western Wilderness
    Hyan-Fei doubts that Kura is really mostly healed, but she settles for quirking an eyebrow instead of vocalizing her thought.  Instead, she turns to look in the direction Kura points and answers her question.  "I haven't; the most I've seen is the occasional billow of smoke.  I thought the Dragons might have all stayed in the mountain's skull.  Have they really come as far out as here?"

    OOC:
    @Palm

  • Posted 2021-09-23 19:52:47 UTC
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  • IC: Chand Kura - Odaiba - Western Wilderness

    "The Dragons? I've seen one over Sado, but it's the hunched over spined things that have been on our heels," I turned and lifted my arm, showing the stranger my side, pointing with my free hand, "One strike with their staff did this. And they're everywhere too," fortunately, I had found that the further away from Koshiki I went, the less of them I saw. Maybe this Dasaka truly had not seen them yet. For a moment, I wished it was true, then I realized it didn't matter now. As far as I was concerned, we were both in danger so long as we were alone. The stranger looked tough, sure, but even my masters had barely been able to fight the things.

    OOC: @capMARVELOUS

  • Posted 2021-09-23 20:17:19 UTC
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  • IC: Long Hyan-Fei - Odaiba - Western Wilderness
    "Hunched over spined things?" Hyan-Fei asks, tilting her head again.  "I haven't the slightest idea what you're talking about.  I haven't seen anything hunched over or spined since coming out here.  And certainly not anything capable of doing that."  She points at the injury Kura shows her before turning to fuss over her backpack and unroll the bedroll she keeps strapped to it.  She then points to the bedroll.  "You do need to rest; that looks like it still hurts.  Sit.  And tell me more about these things that hurt you."

    It is not a request.  Nor is it a thing done purely out of the goodness of her heart.  If some other nasty thing has arrived to trouble the Archipelago, she needs to know about it so that any chance encounter with it does not completely catch her by surprise.

    OOC:
    @Palm

  • Posted 2021-09-23 20:37:56 UTC
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  • IC: Chand Kura - Odaiba - Western Wilderness

    I almost let out a little huff of frustration as I hesitated to listen. I wasn't interested in being fussed over, but the truth of course was that this Dasaka was right. And maybe, if she hadn't seen anything yet, it meant that this place was safer than others for whatever reason, "Yeah. I... OK," I stowed my attitude, and sat down atop my feet on the bedroll. It was softer than the grass, and I found myself suddenly relaxing - it had been a long time since I had experienced something as luxurious as a cushion.

    I told her everything. How I awoke to find the Long temple under attack, how the large things struck down capable warriors so casually, and even those unable to fight for themselves. Their glowing eyes, clawed hands, and faces which opened to hiss or bellow. I explained how they seemed to pursue me, and even though it wasn't clear that they were communicating, how they moved as if they were a coordinated platoon. Then, how I came to be here, hiding where I could, sleeping even less frequently, and eating just as often. And after all of this, I paused, the stranger still in the process of bandaging me up. I looked at her and realized, I never even asked for her name, "Thank you, for this. But what is your name?"

    OOC: @capMARVELOUS

  • Edited on 2021-09-23 20:41:36 by Palm
  • Posted 2021-09-23 22:06:06 UTC
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  • IC: Long Hyan-Fei - Odaiba - Western Wilderness
    Kneeling down on the bedroll next to Kura, Hyan-Fei retrieves several long strips of woven grass from her backpack, stirps she had been planning on using to bind her staff back together again.  They are a sub-par substitute for actual bandages, but they are all she has, and they are better than nothing.  She begins to wrap the strips around Kura's ribs, trying to be as gentle around the wound as possible, but occasionally fumbling.

    As she works, she listens to Kura's story, brow furrowing in equal parts concern and skepticism as she keeps talking.  The way she describes them, these hunched over spined creatures that attacked the monastery sound suspiciously like...  But the Spawns of Zakata are just children's fairy-tales, told by parents to their children in order to scare them into behaving themselves.  There's no way they could actually have awoken alongside the Dragons.

    ... Right?

    Hyan-Fei looks at Kura's now covered wound.  It is far too small and precise to have been delivered by a Dragon.

    Kura asking her name rouses her from her quiet rumination; she gives it.  "Long Hyan-Fei," she says, swinging her legs back into the water and re-baiting her pole.  "I hope you don't plan on going back to the mountain anytime soon, especially if you've gone eight weeks without a proper... well, proper anything."

    OOC:
    @Palm

  • Posted 2021-09-23 23:20:42 UTC
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  • IC: Chand Kura - Odaiba - Western Wilderness

    I looked up from examining the bandage work at Hyan-Fei's response, "You're a Long!" I began somewhat loudly, but quickly shifted my tone again, speaking softly, "It's a good thing you weren't there, I guess."

    I watched her closely, since her mention of Koshiki was particularly short. If I had been thinking of my family and friends left on the mountain-top, I'd be asking me about them right now. Yet, Hyan-Fei had not done so. I decided to pry, just a little, and pressed on carefully,  "Did you, have anybody there? On the mountain?"

    OOC: @capMARVELOUS

  • Edited on 2021-09-23 23:35:17 by Palm
  • Posted 2021-09-24 00:34:01 UTC
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  • IC:

    Dasaka?

    Nihonei's heart began to soar, but crashed immediately. It wasn't the first time they had encountered a 'Dasaka' along the way. There were tells, of course; the monsters didn't produce a presence on the mental plane, so an alert observer could detect that something was amiss. Not that she'd realized that the first time they encountered one. But the burned hand taught best, and she had become much more wary. Seeing them in a group was new, but if there weren't many left maybe they were...

    The Toroshu took a deep breath, steadying her thoughts. There was no need to let her mind run away with her. She could check. Reaching even slightly in their direction on the mental plane was proof; they were truly Dasaka, which gave her cause for hope. She squeezed her sister's soldier, holding back her own hope a little longer. One hand rested on the hilt of her blade, halfway drawn from its sheath, but it was her Discipline for which she reached; even knowing that these were Dasaka they could still be unfriendly. But she could check that without much danger.

    "Who are you?" Her voice asked the Datsue in front, coming from every direction at once even as she veiled her sister and herself behind an illusion. Concealed though they were, it was still best not to take risks. She only hoped that her voice projected the same calm that it always had. "And what is your purpose?"

  • Posted 2021-09-24 01:53:42 UTC
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  • IC: Long Hyan-Fei - Odaiba - Western Wilderness
    Hyan-Fei cringes a little at Kura's sudden shout, but she turns it into a self-satisfied kind of smile.  "Yes, it's very good I wasn't there," she affirms.

    But at the second question, her back stiffens as she remembers exactly why she was not on the mountain.  "I did not.  Nobody I care to remember, anyway," she says curtly.  She gives her fishing pole a yank; the sudden movement scares away a prospective catch, causing her to huff.  Tossing her hook back into the river, she turns to face Kura again and asks, much more nicely, "Did you?"

    OOC:
    @Palm

  • Posted 2021-09-24 02:59:01 UTC
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  • IC: Chand Kura - Odaiba - Western Wilderness

    I watched Hyan-Fei, who was turning back to look at me, with what seemed like an earnest expression, despite the tone of her previous statement. I looked away for a moment, and thought to myself, 'Why not? The world is ending,' I stood up and walked over to Naiana, opening a pouch on her side next to my very slight saddle. I preferred to ride her bare, but it just so happened Naiana had been wearing this during the attack, and the storage on it proved to come in handy. I took out three small fruits I had picked that morning, and fed one to Naiana.

    "I've lived on Koshiki for just half of my life, so yes. Catch," I started, looking to Hyan-Fei, tossing one of the fruit, "This is for you," I began walking back to the bedroll, and seated myself again, "My mother lives her life as a Chand," I finished, promptly biting into my fruit to indicate as such, tasting the sweet juice inside. I would not be elaborating on that particular topic further, "But so far, it's been just you I've found. I'm amazed you haven't seen those things yet, they even fly. Not sure how I found you if they didn't."

    OOC: @capMARVELOUS

  • Posted 2021-09-24 03:00:54 UTC
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  • IC: Lii [Odaiba, Outskirts]

    She winced involuntarily as the unsettling feeling of muscle, skin, and natural armor began to mend itself from it's own accord, driven by the Grandmaster's Kanohi. He was, of course, correct. It wouldn't do if she was unable to train with a compromised limb, let along unable to defend what remained of their temple. She wasn't too proud to admit that, and bowed her head in thanks and respect.

    ...Even if there was a small part of her soul that fought against such a motion. Didn't mean she had to like the new Grandmaster, of course.

    Lii opened her mouth to speak, even as Shunkyou's gaze drifted to the treeline in a recognizable watch for approaching danger. Perhaps something had made his bones ache? She wasn't quite sure how that worked, but had heard other Grandmasters say such things before when she was at the temple.

    Words never left her mouth, as a new voice, unfamiliar and completely filling the space all around sounded out from the very environment, as if every tree was speaking at once.

    "Who are you?"

    It was calm, measured even, but still unfamiliar.

    Lii reacted in an instant, the ache in her legs all but forgotten as the jolt of surprise delved deep into her gut, snapping in an instant into the wellspring of energy that flowed within her Soul... and up through her spine, out through her limbs, down to every fingertip. A fiery crimson inferno shot to life around her form, blazing bright before settling down to a tightened, jagged aura, as Lii took a single step forward and settled into an easy offset stance, the motion putting her a half step between the Grandmaster and what she only assumed to be the actual location of the owner of the voice ahead of them. Her hands were raised but still relaxed, prepared but not necessarily aggressive.

    "We might ask the same!" She called out to the world, finding it odd to address a voice that came from everywhere. "Show yourself, none of these tricks!"

  • Posted 2021-09-24 03:06:55 UTC
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  • IC Long Shunkyou (The Outskirts of Dastana Republic Territory, Odaiba):

    He stopped, raising one of the hands behind his back to signal his clanmates to do likewise. All around him, the trees themselves seemed to speak, the voice of legion in echoed harmony bombarding his senses from every side. A neophyte would think him surrounded. The experienced would recognize that there could be no such bevy of voices all speaking in the same tone, same pitch, same cadence from so many places at once; that he was presented the illusion of being surrounded.

    Long Shunkyou was not young, and more than experienced. This was just as likely a method of not only fishing for intimidation— a pointless gesture whether they recognized it or otherwise— but also by throwing the voice everywhere, it concealed location. No tells as to where the sound had sourced, as it permeated the whole space surrounding them. Immediately, his trainees began to tighten around themselves, raising their fists cautiously even as they searched the foliage, murmurs of questioning spreading.

    "Be still." he spoke, allowing his spirit to rise within him. His voice was like a campfire, colors of smoke and creaking, splitting wood to his tone. He continued to stare straight ahead as he stepped forward one, two, then three paces.

    "Young Lii is right— I might indeed ask you the same, young Imperial Miss." he now spoke directly to her, the voice in the trees. "This is what a... what was it, a Sighteye is like, no? Projecting illusions atop our reality? Or have I misread the container your flames reside within? You do not burn so freely as we, so it is hard to judge from the presence on the plane of the Soul. They become so faint beneath the smothering of your Disciplines."

    Well. If they wished to hide their numbers, so be it. It was no skin off his back.

    "If you intend to force me, then I will relent—" he sighed thickly, allowing his eyes to pan the trees. If he were to assume his guess true, they would not amount to much— doubtlessly the girl accosting them would be behind another such illusion, concealing her form regardless. "I am Shunkyou, acting Head of Clan Long. As our home in the mountain has been overrun, I intend to shepherd these hatchlings you see before you towards our Chand brothers near the lands your people still hold here."

    His back straightened somewhat, and he stoked the embers remaining within him. She seemed confrontational. Definitely, if she was going through all this trouble to pull the wool over his eyes. Match it, then.

    "If you have a problem with that, Miss No-Name, I would believe you'd best come out and say it. We have been hiking this trail for days, and it's left us all quite sullen."

    Unable to pick anything apart, his gaze returned to the path forward.

    "With those demons meandering about, I would advise you save your strength instead of wasting it on us. You never know when you might have need to fool something far more malicious than a few monks on pilgrimage."

  • Edited on 2021-09-24 03:08:01 by Razgriz
  • Posted 2021-09-24 03:30:32 UTC
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  • IC:

    For the briefest of instants Nihonei felt like she was back home, trying to corral the youngest and rowdiest of her clan's initiates. The same gentle reprimand came easily to her lips and died unspoken as reality crashed back in upon her. For his apparent age the Datsue clearly wasn't very wise. Combative and confrontational, more like. Not what she would have expected from all Tajaar but certainly not unexpected from the Dasaka that came from the mountains. There wasn't the time, and this wasn't the place, for a fight but—

    "Does your fledgling want to draw them down upon us?" She half hissed, her words still issuing forth from every conceivable direction. These Dasaka weren't hostile per se, not that they seemed very helpful either but to go with them was a risk. Traveling by themselves Nihonei and her sister had been able to avoid much notice, but if they joined up with these... The Toroshu chewed on her lip slightly, thinking. "Caution is a virtue these days, Old Wyrm. The demons may appear to be many things."

    "For myself I am Toroshu Nihonei, of the Eiyu. Or what remains. Our cooperation could be beneficial. Young... Lii, was it? Appears to be wounded. Some others do, as well. I might be able to help."

    Almost unconsciously she began to analyze the younger Tajaar's aura; her Kanohi noted every detail, ticking away with the vast knowledge in her head to identify and understand. 

  • Posted 2021-09-24 04:01:06 UTC
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  • IC: Long Hyan-Fei - Odaiba - Western Wilderness
    The fruit completely misses Hyan-Fei's hand and instead hits her lightly on the head; flushing a little, she chalks it up to a bad throw, not her own delayed reaction.  This slight embarrassment is not enough to dampen the fruit's crispness and sweetness, however.  Hyan-Fei munches contentedly on it as she listens to Kura.  She likes that the other Dasaka is similarly brief about her family situation- it would be unwise to share overly personal information with someone you just met.

    She shrugs.  "I'm not that amazed.  Personally, I think the harder you try to avoid coming across nasty things, the more likely you are to actually come across them.  How can I try to avoid something I didn't know existed until today?"  She smiles as she continues, "As for how you found me, around here, wanderers have a tendency to bump into each other."

    Hyan-Fei's expression changes as she thinks about what she has heard today.  "Did you have somewhere particular you wanted to go, or were you just running away in general?" she asks Kura.

    OOC:
    @Palm

  • Posted 2021-09-24 04:13:21 UTC
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  • IC: Chand Kura - Odaiba - Wester Wilderness

    Where was I going? I had spent so much time to the north that only now had I begun making my way to Sado. I had, given up on what I was doing, it seemed. The truth is, I'd been looking for somebody, but I hardly thought that was worth bringing up. I kept it vague, "I'm not sure. I started looking for survivors, but I haven't found any-" I stopped, gesturing to Hyan-Fei, "er, until you but-" I shrugged, "well, you seem to be doing pretty good."

    I leaned back on my outstretched hands, letting the sun wash over my face and chest, "As for where I want to go, I don't know either. Maybe Odaiba is the safest place in the Archipelago."

    OOC: @capMARVELOUS

  • Edited on 2021-09-24 04:13:46 by Palm
  • Posted 2021-09-24 07:29:10 UTC
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  • IC: Long Hyan-Fei - Odaiba - Western Wilderness
    At Kura's comment, Hyan-Fei furrows her brow.  "What do you mean, you're not sure?" she asks, a bit more rudely than intended.  "You've had eight weeks to be sure, to make a plan.  What will you do if you find more survivors?  What will you do if you don't?  What will you do if it turns out Odaiba isn't safe anywhere anymore?  With Dragons and spined things running around, you can't afford to linger or say 'I don't know.'  You'll end up with more of those."  She points to Kura's bandaged ribs.  "Those, and worse."

    She sits back, and with most of the bluster gone, finishes, "You're the only you you've got, you know.  Go out of your way for others if you like, but you can't do that if you're not keeping yourself safe."

    OOC:
    @Palm

  • Posted 2021-09-24 19:56:28 UTC
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  • IC: Chand Kura - Odaiba - Western Wilderness

    I considered this, silently, for quite some time in fact. Seeing the Kanohi Dragon over Sado weeks ago, I imagined it too was in danger, if not completely destroyed. Originally, I thought I would make my way there, but things could be worse there then they were here. And I certainly didn't want to cross Odaiba again to check on Kozu. Plus, I hadn't found my mother even after all this time, and all the riding I had done where Chand are often found. I had begun to feel that perhaps, she had fled Odaiba, or worse, she had already been killed. Until I knew that, I wasn't sure I'd be able to rest, truly. Eventually, I changed focus of the topic, towards Hyan-Fei instead, "What about you? Knowing what you know now? What is Long Hyan-Fei going to do?"

    OOC: @capMARVELOUS

  • Edited on 2021-09-24 19:57:33 by Palm
  • Posted 2021-09-24 21:46:38 UTC
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  • IC: Lii [Odaiba, Outskirts]

    Lii's eyes flared, and if it weren't for the inferno already blazing around her they might've burned. Imperials!

    Of course they were.

    Her fists tightened.

    "Perhaps I do!" She snapped back, "It would be preferable to cooperating with your kind, Toroshu."

    The title sounded more like a curse than an honorific, and there was a heavy pause as Lii stood nearly motionless save for the jagged aura around her form. And then it disappeared, the flames dying nearly as quickly as they had come, and she let out a breath of annoyance. The warrior turned promptly on her heel, and stalked off towards the younger of their group without a word to reassure them that they were not going to face the demons again, before the Grandmaster could say more to her.

  • Posted 2021-09-25 02:05:30 UTC
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  • IC: Saritsu | The Outskirts of Odaiba

    Her hand had been slipping towards the hilt of her blade as soon as the flames appeared across that woman's body. And then, further as the taajar man managed to bait her sister -- the smart one of the family -- into a fight that she couldn't possibly win. And although Saritsu resented anyone who tried to needle her sister, she had met enough of the Chand-Long to know that they understand these lands better than anyone; and that if there was a way to get across the water to Sado, they were the best of finding it. 

    Which meant that Saritsu now had to play politics.

    Slowly, quietly as she could, Saritsu crept down the treeline, away from her sister and towards the Long caravan. When she saw Nini's look at her movement, she could only manage to get a single phrase out: Trust me.

    "T'ull a'jaar, Toroshu Shunkyou!" she shouted, stepping out of the underbrush and onto the path that Clan Long seemed to be travelling. Her taajari was rare and rusty, picked up on chance encounters and around roadside campsteads, but she knew the big words and the important greetings. All that she could do was pray that they would be enough here, and that her meagre diplomatic skills could bridge the gap between the two leaders standing before her.

    :I'll speak like this from now on, if it please,: she continued, her mind and Shunkyou's now bridged. :I too am Eiyu, the companion of the Toroshu to whom you speak. I have met members of your clan many times in my prior travels of these lands, as well as your sisters of the Chand. If your great people are sullen from weeks on the road, imagine what soft imperials such as ourselves must be like now, yes?:

    She tried for a flicker of a smile, an attempt to break the ice.

    :My sis-- my Toroshu perhaps speaks hastily, and maybe unkindly; but that is only because we have been tricked before by the demons that now swarm these lands. We are perhaps too on-guard. If I tell my clan leader to drop her illusions, may we start this discussion over again?:

    -Void

  • Posted 2021-09-25 04:15:30 UTC
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  • IC: Long Hyan-Fei - Odaiba - Western Wilderness
    "Well, the first thing Long Hyan-Fei is going to do," she replies, bouncing her lure to try and attract a juicy-looking fish, "is catch lunch."

    "After that?"  She shrugs.  "When I'm ready, I'll go back to the mountain.  But until then, I'll keep doing what I've been doing.  I'll eat.  I'll wander.  I'll train myself."  No reason why she should have to give up her lifestyle, even if the world has gone south.  Did her Taajar ancestors abandon their ways every time disaster struck?  No, they used their ways to survive and become better.  That is what she will do, too.  She nods, reaffirming her choice.

    OOC:
    @Palm

  • Posted 2021-09-25 04:33:09 UTC
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  • IC: Chand Kura - Odaiba - Western Wilderness

    "What?" I began, unable to stop myself from blurting out, "Even after that speech you gave me about taking care of myself?" I turned my head away and covered my mouth, stifling a little laugh. Once I gained control of myself, I leaned back on the bedroll to one shoulder, looking over at the fishing Dasaka, "You're an interesting woman, Long Hyan-Fei."

    I was hardly judging. By all accounts, I was a fool for even still being on this island. Unfortunately, there were a lot of things that made me a fool, "But I won't say it isn't admirable."

    OOC: @capMARVELOUS

  • Edited on 2021-09-25 04:46:47 by Palm
  • Posted 2021-09-25 05:08:49 UTC
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  • IC: Long Hyan-Fei - Odaiba - Western Wilderness
    "Yes, after that speech!" Hyan-Fei huffs.  "Training will help me take care of myself!  And it'll help you with that, too; you should try it, silly."  She tosses her head in exaggerated indignation at Kura's stifled laughs, before relaxing her posture and smiling too.  Chand Kura is a silly Dasaka, she decides, but for the first time in a while, she decides that that's not such a bad thing for someone to be.

    It is also the first time in a while that anyone has called her admirable.  Trying to hide it, she blushes behind her mask.  "Thank you," she says quietly.

    Hyan-Fei lets out a shout of excitement as the fish she tempted earlier takes her bait.  Hooking it with a mighty yank of her pole, she struggles to bring it in, but it puts up enough of a fight to pull her into the river after it.  Several moments pass before she bursts back onto the riverbank with a laugh, holding her prize in her hands.  For a moment, all thoughts of the mountain and the Dragons and the Spawns of Zakata are forgotten.  For a moment, it feels like any regular summer afternoon on the Archipelago.

    OOC:
    @Palm

  • Posted 2021-09-26 10:23:54 UTC
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  • [TW for emotional self-harm]

     

    IC: Raika, Oki Refugee camp.

     

    The tiny Dasaka nearly collapsed under the weight of the partial net of fish, but they hid their feebleness as well as they could as they squared their shoulders and began following Yuna.

     

    Ah, yes, the palace. Raika tried to stay away from there. Too many trained willhammers, even more so than in a single clan's repertoire. Plus, you heard stories about Yumiwa sometimes, and Raika had no desire for someone to discover the identity of the elusive Wraith.

     

    But… guilt and selfish attachment twisted their innards like wound clockwork. Ahri needed help, to get his memories back. But what if he put two and two together? What if he decided the Wraith, being so small and feeble, would be better off executed to protect Mahstet's secrets? 

     

    Also… they'd lose the only friend they had…

     

    While the slightly anguished expression on their face was mostly hidden by their Volitak, their eyes still had a sorrowful tilt to them through the mask's visor. Well, it made sense. Nobody'd stick around them if they had a choice, really. And Raika couldn't blame them. Why would they want to? They couldn't even figure out if they were a girl or… something else…

     

    Crosswired first son, more like they thought to themselves, taking some measure of dark satisfaction in the ache that stabbed through their gut at the bitter words. The pain in their chest. That's all you are. You can change your appearance, boy. But what will they do when they find out what you are? What will the Wraith be then? Nothing more than a pathetic game of make-believe.

     

    Just like everything else in your life. Fraud.

     

    Their response was almost mechanical, but with an unmistakably bitter edge:

    ::You're right. They could help him more than something like me ever could.::

     

    OOC: @The UltimoScorp

  • Edited on 2021-09-26 10:44:07 by TL01 NUVA
  • Posted 2021-09-26 18:50:08 UTC
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  • IC: Chand Kura - Odaiba - Western Wilderness

    I watched Hyan-Fei fly into the water, only to reemerge moments later, laughing. I shook my head a little as she stepped up the river-bank with the catch in her hands, smiling. I turned my attention to the catch then, watching it give up on squirming, Hyan-Fei's hand in its gills. Most of the meat I'd caught in my traps had been small and wily, and I found myself looking forward to eating something a little softer and tastier, even if it wasn't that large. I pushed myself up to my feet and quickly set myself to work, "I'll collect some fire-wood!"

    OOC: @capMARVELOUS

  • Edited on 2021-09-26 22:13:56 by Palm
  • Posted 2021-09-27 05:05:52 UTC
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  • IC: Ahri - Oki Refugee Camp

    Something in Ahri woke up. An impossible gravity weighed upon him - how had he ever stood upright, crushed by his own spirit like this? Ahri gazed out; his mind was laid out like a great pond. Though, now that he saw it, it looked more like a swamp. A few threadbare strings of consciousness connecting different parts of the morass. He got the sensation of motion; he wasn't still, none of this was. It wasn't a fetid swamp, it was a murky vortex. Once he realized that this was a truth, the impossible gravity seemed to kick into overdrive - or his body remembered it. He slipped, grasping at a chain anchored above him. Murky water swirled around him; it was all that Ahri could do to look out, examine his surroundings. What did he know?

    His name was Ahri. The quiet one had told him that, and what little knowledge of the world seemed to confirm that fact. Alright, that's a good step forward, some functioning amnesiacs can't even remember their names; already a step and a half ahead of them. What else?

    A woman; Kaetyo. A Toroshu. She was his enemy. Not even a backstory, and he already had a nemesis? Interesting. What else?

    Ahri caught a glint; it reflected his mask like a mirror. His Hau. He had used it in battle... which meant he was some sort of warrior. Not a footsoldier; just a trophy groom. But he had been expected to fight. He had his shield, then; what was his sword. Something caught his eye; a jade jiandao, handle jutting out from the deluge. He leaped to it, catching it by the hilt. Grasping it, he knew that he had never killed anybody with a sword. Maybe a few fingers, some debilitating wounds, but no kills.

    Odd. It seems like a successful warrior of a certain age, who had fought in a war, should have some kills under his belt. Ahri's grip on the sword loosened; he reached up with his other hand and gripped the blade; normally a dangerous prospect, but his soulsword, the demon's gauntlet, as he liked to sometimes refer to it, protected him.

    Wait, back up to that one. He had a soulsword? The roar of the vortex almost drowned out his thoughts. He stared at the clawed expression of psychokinetic will. How deadly was it?

    This soulsword has ended six lives. Five women, one man.

    Huh, six. That doesn't seem so bad, its a nice round number. Is that a lot of people to have killed? Ahri wasn't sure about his question anymore.

    This soulsword has separated exactly twenty-two limbs from their bodies.

    There was something disquieting about that exact number, and how quickly it had come to him. He wanted to focus on something else. Anything else. He looked around; the incline of the vortex was getting steeper by the second. How did he get out of here? He looked back to the chain. Still there, it leads to someone sitting calmly, as if this whirlpool of memory was nothing. Their head was unfocused, like Ahri got something in his eyes at that exact spot. The Quiet One. They sat there with another, the Girl on the Water.

    The chain! He could climb the chain. He reached out, but his soulsword gauntlet flared, heating the links; he recoiled fast enough before one snapped. The soulsword was dangerous; put that away! He dismissed the gauntlet, and reached out to the chain, making sure to not burn himself on the superheated link. Had to keep those two safe. The Quiet One and the Girl on the Water were how he was getting out of this. The weight was almost unbearable now. He pulled himself up the chain, knowing that it would snap at any second. Just a few more lengths... just a few more links...

    Then, Ahri woke up.

    OOC: @TL01 NUVA @The UltimoScorp 

  • Posted 2021-09-28 02:16:26 UTC
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  • IC Yuna Koizumi - Oki refugee camp:

    That one caught me. Something like her? What the heck did that mean? Was this some Menti thing I was too Saihoko to understand?

    I mean I'd met my fair share of overdramatic Menti, but this felt a little more real.

    "Hey, don't sweat it. We can't learn every discipline, right? Everyone has their strengths."

    I really tried to say those words with conviction, tried to echo the way my sister's had said them those years ago. They felt hollow in my mouth.

    At least Raika had some legitimate disciplines she could fall back on.

  • Posted 2021-09-28 02:41:47 UTC
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  • IC: Askha & Somei - Sado, Docks

    The former sellsword gently took the staff, balancing it on her palm. Her thoughts were confirmed; the point of balance was exactly in the middle. It was lighter than she was expecting, but not as light as a spear of the same length would be. Oddly, the weight was evenly distributed. During her scouting, Askha had sketched several of the rahkshi’s staves, many of which had broad blades or spear points at the end; some like fans, some like tridents, some had even been shaped like flames. This one was eerily thin, its metal curving in ways no crystal could in alien folds.

    Askha considered the weapon as a Ringti might consider a brush; she bounced it into the air and reversed her grip, then let go entirely as she suspended it with her Mindarm, mentally adjusting to its weight. Smirking, she snatched it out of the air and rested it on her shoulder. “Well, I have been looking for a polearm; I suppose a creepy weird Rahkshi staff will have to do.”

    Although, the creatures’ armor being proof against crystal blades was something that Askha had direct observational evidence of herself. Still, Askha had hope that her arsenal wasn’t completely useless. There had to be an opening somewhere.

    “Askha, dear?”

    The Menti broke from her thoughts, looking to Somei coming up the gangplank. Ah, she wasn’t done yet. “Thank you, Fanai. I’m going to go below deck and begin my preparations to scout the island. Somei can brief the captain on landing points.”

    When Askha had disappeared below deck, Somei approached Fanai. “Please forgive her bluntness, this is all so… stressful for her. This is the culmination of years of anger, despair, and numbness. Though she is ready, I am sure of that, just… focused. Now, where is the captain of this vessel? There were two docks on the south side of Hanaloi, but we should avoid those; the family maintained a private dock in a cove on the west coast of the island.”

    IC: Sydelia - Sado Gardens

    “Please, we’ve seen each other covered in viscera; we can discard the pleasantries, and if someone complains, I'll give them a hangover. You may call me Sydelia. I don’t believe I caught your name…?”

    OOC: @Mel

  • Edited on 2021-09-28 02:44:20 by Keeper of Kraata
  • Posted 2021-09-28 04:59:32 UTC
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  • IC: Raika

     

    ::Not me,:: the wiry Menti said as they set down the net of fish, trying to hide the fact that their whole body was shaking with the effort. ::Born talentless. Just a knack for getting in trouble.::

     

    A slightly longer pause. Raika knew they shouldn't say what they were thinking. But something about the dasaka speaking to them had stirred an uncomfortable feeling inside of their stomach, soured as it was by their own poisons. They couldn't piece together what it was, but shame was wrapping around their innards like hot protocrystal. They were tearing themselves down in front of someone who had just met them, and seemed to not actively hate them. 

     

    Well, it wasn't their fault if she was too stupid to see that Raika was trouble. But the barbed comment stuck on their metaphorical tongue. They couldn't even form the thought to send across to Yuna.

     

    Coward. It'll make it worse when she sees you for what you are.

     

    ::Sounds like you have a few talents though. Probably actually know what you're doing.:: Unlike me. ::Sorry, just… most Menti I've seen are too proud to get their hands dirty doing actual work. I guess… I'm just curious.:: Oh, like you're one to talk, sticklegs. ::Sorry if that's too personal. I don't get to talk to people much.:: Usually I just sell them out to the highest bidder.

     

    OOC: @Keeper of Kraata
     @The UltimoScorp