IC (Echelon) "Something is always hiding in the shadows," came a voice in response. Echelon stepped forward out of the darkness, flickering blue light from JL's sword casting eerie highlights on his form. "Sometimes it is better not to look." He advanced slowly on the pair of Toa, footsteps echoing through the cavern.
"Something is always hiding in the shadows." Something about that voice seemed to spark a memory within me - like hearing it made me, more than anything, feel like I needed to run. I looked for the source, intent on knowing why the speaker seemed to fill me with dread - and when the deathly mask and sickening green armor appeared from the darkness, I knew why. This guy. ######. As bad as my life has seemingly been - as bad as life on this island seems to be - I'd been unlucky - or lucky, depending on which type of person you were - to have watched a person die in front of me. Of all the people it could possibly have been, it was Echelon. Necromancer, Toa of Magnetism, and one of the apparent leaders of Makuta's army, who'd since been scattered. "Sometimes it is better not to look." Yeah, at your ugly face. But I didn't dare say it out loud. As much as I would have wanted to say that he'd walked right into that one, he'd probably begin choking me, and then I'd be the one who walked right into it. "Echelon." I greeted him the other Toa, "Nice to see you spying on us." I wondered what I should do. Fight him? Ignitus and I were both here. I knew how powerful he was; I'd seen him in action, suffered because of it. Though I had managed to survive through all our previous encounters, I'd most definitely not push my luck. And thoughts of Echelon did bring my mind to others - and I knew there was somebody else who would want to meet the Necromancer again. Indecisive, I simply did the one thing I'd already had, and continuously letting electricity flow within my weapon.
OOC: Right. Lesson learned. Any other post I'll make, better proof read :3
IC(Ignitus):Drawing Vulcan and lighting it on fire, I can't help but think, Seriously? Anywhere I can't find someone who wants to kill me?"So, exactly who in Karzahni is this guy?":A:
Echelon ignored the Toa of Fire. His crimson eyes glinted in the darkness as he appraised JL.
"Toa of Lightning," he replied. His voice was low and measured, but malice bubbled beneath it in dark undercurrents. "We haven't met since...Pala-Koro, wasn't it? I see you managed to clean your unfortunate friend's blood from that sword..."
It was unlikely that JL had forgotten what had transpired the last time their paths had crossed. If the Toa was half the nauseating do-gooder Echelon suspected he was, those memories would not be pleasant ones.
IC(Ignitus):Assuming JL somehow knows this guy, I decide to step back and watch until I'm needed.
OOC: Should not be writing this at this time
IC:I bit my lip as a set of memories I'd tried to ignore resurfaced with Echelon's words. The scenes flashed in the back of my mind, and once again I was back in Pala-Koro. This time, though, Reyna followed me.
I was headed to Pala-Koro - back when it was, y'know, still bustling - to meet up with somebody I knew. I arrived when it was under siege by Makuta's followers.
And you fought him?
Many of us did. That's his power at it's strength; he's held off so many attackers at once, making them turn on each other. I fought him alongside another Toa, and the first thing I had to do was shock the both of us to get rid of being magnetized. I was a Toa of Lightning; he wasn't.
It seemed ethereal, as I thought back upon these memories with another mind watching them with me, as if it were some string of images being played through on an iStone. I 'watched' as, with a swift flick of his arm, Echelon pulled my body up and jabbed my arm forwards into the body of another Toa. And, unavoidably, I felt guilty. But the biggest resounding sting that his word's gave to me just now, was the mention of the word "Friend".
I didn't know the other Toa. Not his name, and nor did I even get a real chance to see him fight. The biggest bond between me and that Toa was my sword in his body.
I feel so insignificant.
Staring at Echelon in the eye, I snapped my thoughts back to the present. "It should have been your blood on my blade." I sounded calm, but emotionless. It was all I could do to sound 'confident', for any evident sense of fear and I knew Echelon would prey on it. "Tell us - why are you here?"
As my memories chained themselves together, more and more guilt piled up upon me, reminding me of a burden that had always existed but had always been ignored. I'd almost forgotten - shamefully - of exactly how many people Echelon had used my blade and hand to cut. A quick, magnetised flourish that I had no control over, and yet another person - and this time, somebody I knew - had their blood stain my blade. Now that it had been brought up, I remembered clearly as the blood stained the ground, the hand that had fell off landing upon the grass with a small thump.
Silently, I made a promise to myself. When I ever saw those people I'd wronged once again, I'd apologize.
OOC: Edited to....err, include mention of yet another guy who Echelon made JL cut. :3
"You might say it is the same reason you are here," Echelon replied levelly, his gaze boring into JL's. "And yet you might not..."
A smile completely devoid of goodwill spread across his features.
"I seek knowledge," he said. Anyone who knew Echelon knew that such a phrase was not as innocent as it might sound; in the hands of the Dark Toa, knowledge could be very dangerous. "So why don't you tell me what you learned from the Abettor, and we can part ways peacefully?"
I can't help but step in.
"That is none of your concern." After thinking for a second, I continue.
"Actually, it doesn't concern you at all. What we learned is rather... specific to us."
The Necromancer's head snapped around to Ignitus for the first time, facing him with a red glare.
"I will be the judge of that," he stated coldly. "I don't recall asking your opinion."
"And we don't recall asking for you," I interjected sharply, "Nobody did."
Echelon didn't move, but JL and Ignitus suddenly felt a strange sensation come over them - as though every metallic component in their bodies was vibrating ever so slightly.
"I don't think I've been making myself clear," said the Dark Toa slowly and deliberately. "I've been very generous thus far. It would be in your best interests to answer my question."
He closed his fist. The two Toa felt a hint of pressure on their throats.
He really had been generous.
Sucogu's eyes snapped open as he became alert. It was not uncommon for curious visitors to explore the caves, seeking information from the Abettor. However, the words these voices were speaking were different. They were something else.
He stood to his feet, rushing down the catacombs the direction of the voices. Running as quickly as he could, he made several wrong turns. Costly mistakes.
If he could just make it in time before a fight broke out...
The uncommon but uncomfortably familiar feeling of having my body be affected by magnetism - especially the soft but noticeable pressure upon my throat - sent an alert through my mind as the electricity in more sword flared, glowing brighter as I focused, trying to create my own electromagnetic field, with the intention of, at the very least, disrupt Echelon's control.
"And what is it that you actually want, provided you aren't simply trying to confirm what you already heard?" I guessed, hoping to simply continue the conversation.
Echelon's icy smile returned, and the magnetic sensation ceased.
"But that is what I want," he said. "It is all I want from you, at any rate. Why make this difficult for yourself?"
The Dark Toa's voice was deceptively reasonable.
"I don't mean you any harm, you know."
"But your end goals will harm nonetheless. Except in your eyes we are just mere insects, insignificant compared to the harming of the whole island, correct?" I lowered my sword and the level of electricity within it in response to Echelon's powers backing off, though my stance showed I was still ready to jump and fight back at any time.
"I don't know what you want to know."
Sucogu finally located the voices, his hand drifting up to unsheath an elegant, silver broadsword.
And then he froze.
Even heavily armed and a master of his element, he knew he was no match for the man who stood before him.
"Echelon..." his hand fell from the sheath. "Tell him...what he wants to know..."
Feeling the strange sensations, especially the pressure around my throat, I automatically sense danger, just before feeling... something else taking over.
I laugh. "And I don't think you realize that you're messing with someone in charge of an entire empire, hundreds of thousands of troops at my command. If either of us goes missing, they will find you. And when they do, you're screwed. So I suggest you let us be on our way, because execution methods in Torren are very, very painful, especially for screwing with the Emperor and a general."
Glancing over his shoulder at Sucogu, Echelon's face showed dark approval.
"This one knows me," he said. "You would do well to heed his words."
Then Ignitus gave a laugh, and spoke in a term of imperious defiance.
"And I don't think you realize that you're messing with someone in charge of an entire empire, hundreds of thousands of troops at my command. If either of us goes missing, they will find you. And when they do, you're screwed. So I suggest you let us be on our way, because execution methods in Torren are very, very painful, especially for screwing with the Emperor and a general."
Echelon was silent for a moments.
And then he truly laughed. Black lips stretched back over teeth that were just a little too sharp for comfort, eyebrows forming a malign 'V' above blazing eyes. The Necromancer's laughter was baritone cackle of scorn and malice. It wasn't often that Echelon laughed - and it wasn't comforting when he did.
"Even if I had heard of your 'Torren'," he said, lips still drawn back in a grin of black mirth, "I doubt I'd be any more impressed, you arrogant, posturing, insect."
He raised his right arm, which had previously been in shadow, revealing six shards of silver metal that were magnetically attached to his forearm - the remainder of the large quantity Karemo had created. Elegantly, as though lifted on invisible strings by a master puppeteer, they rose from his arm and hovered, glinting, above his outstretched palm, razor-sharp.
"You think you know of pain?" he said, the tips of the shards swivelling until the all pointed directly at Ignitus' throat. "You know nothing of pain. But I would be more than happy to educate you!"
As he spat his last words, the metal shards suddenly changed their directions and darted out in various angles, swift as a swarm of metal wasps, their deadly paths converging on one spot: the location of the Toa of Fire.
As my mind is still registering the shards of metal, I deflect them all with a simple use of my Hau, laughing once more.
"Your mastery of these tricks are impressive, I will admit," I say, clapping slowly. "But if you think that you know pain, you are sorely mistaken." My smile vanishing, I take a step towards Echelon and draw Vulcan, leveling its point at his throat. "I have watched entire nations burn, witnessed the only things in this world that matter to me destroyed without mercy. Mere physical pain? I delight in it. It takes my mind off of the truly terrible things in life."
What in Karzahni am I doing?
A second weapon intercepted Ausar's blade, knocking it away from Echelon. The Toa's eyes traced it back to Sucogu, who had his weapon drawn not agressively, but hoping to end the conflict.
"Stop, everyone stop!"
He stepped between the two, blade brandished but not directed at either.
"Listen, fool, no one gives a who you are, you do not want to fight him."
"If he'll let us go, no, I don't want to fight some random stranger. On the other hand, should he continue to me off, I'll enjoy the pleasure of taking that mask as a trophy."
"Fought him multiple times," I said in a semi-sarcastic cheerfulness in reply to Sucogu, "Still alive!"
Then I turned towards Ignitus and Echelon. I really wanted to fight - a part of me wanted to burn up and smash Echelon's face into pieces against the wall of the caves, grinding it inwards, cracking the mask, the jaw, the nose, the eyes, the skull, and everything else before letting him be crushed then the cave comes down.
But I wasn't trained in the arts of face-bashing, and I knew I'd probably elicit a negative reaction from Echelon. In the end, I just didn't want to fail in front of others.
I looked towards Echelon in the eye, still a bit cautious from the way he'd burst out in laughter like a madman. "Lets....make a deal. Of the four of us here, you're the only one who stands alone, Echelon. And all three of us have ways of stopping your magnetism. I'm a Toa of Lightning, and I've seen what Merror does when he fights you, heating up his swords so your powers can't affect it. All you can do is throw stuff at us, and in such a tight space, we can distort your magnetism to the point where your control extends only to yourself."
Part of what I said was real. Part of it, though, was a bluff. I had no idea if we could actually distort his magnetism to prevent him from utilizing those blades again.
"So.....we'll talk to you. If you promise you give something we want back."
And no, staying alive does not count, I thought silently.
My gaze rests on each of the Toa in turn. Appraising each of them. Evaluating. Calculating.
The latest arrival, clearly the most intelligent of the three. He knows me by reputation, well enough to fear me. Very wise. It is rare that one finds a 'virtuous' being with enough sense to avoid provoking me, and evidently he is of that same self-righteous Merror-esque ilk, since he is trying so hard to save these whelps from the fate they are so enthusiastically tempting upon themselves.
The firespitter - and well that phrase fits him - with his delusions of grandeur, spewing words as hollow as his cranium, of empires and armies and power that I sincerely doubt exist. He thinks his deflection of my shards a triumph; all the fool has done is to give me the strategic knowledge of his mask power. He will not be a challenge.
And this 'JL', whom I have encountered twice before. He rattles off his piece, explaining all his misconceived advantages. Numbers? Did numbers stop me when we killed Tamaru and sacked Pala-Koro? Superheating, to lessen a magnetic hold? Oh, certainly effective on weaponry, but when your own armour turns against you, even with a Ta-Toa's heat resistance that won't be of help for long. Electromagnetism? He doesn't realise that I can take control of any field he creates in a matter of moments. Enclosed space? This large cavern, sizeable enough to house the Vault's door, is quite enough room for me maneouvre. He conceives only of the overture of my powers; the symphony awaits.
I could destroy all of them if I so chose. Perhaps let the newcomer live; a voice to spread more fear of my name. JL offers a deal. An exchange. He thinks himself in a position to negotiate.
After a moment of silence, Echelon spoke.
"Name your terms, JL."
Thrice. There was this one time in the forest of Le.And this 'JL', whom I have encountered twice before.
Speaking of which, this is the first time JL has ever met Echelon outside the Le-Wahi topic!
I thought carefully about my words. Provided, for some reason, Echelon didn't set off being a traitorous to the deal, then I had to make sure there were absolutely no loopholes that he could use to bypass anything we did.
"We tell you what we know, you will ask the Abettor for something we want, and it's locale. Then, you will help us find it, and then we shall bring it to a location of our choosing. Once that is complete, you will leave us, to a point where your power is too weak to reach us. If you attack us, or we attack you, the deal is over. You won't get your underlings to kill us, and we won't tell others of.....you."
Are you sure this is a good idea? Making a deal with Echelon is never good for your health.
Yeah, yeah, I got that part. I'm working on it.
You should just punch him now.
And kill him?
No.......but I would punch him now.
....Not good for your health.
OOC: Was that directly following the Tamaru assassination? If so, then I (and Echelon) would count them as the same instance.
"And what is it that you want?"
"Tell us if you'll follow the deal first."
And I'm sure you already heard it.....
(Three-quarters of the way to Mangaia via Le-wahi darkwalk)
Syvra had continued walking for quite sometime.. So far he had no encountered any more rahskhi though he now felt exhausted so with a slight hesitation he took a seat against the side of the tunnel and pulled a bula berry from his pack. Just as he sat down Venixa, whom took upon the corpse of the long-dead skakdi, sat down next to him
"So Syvra getting tired?" Venixa asked in a sarcastic tone
"Well not all of us have the ability to use a dead corpse which does not feel.."
"True but still my ability to keep this body relies on your fragile little mind.."
"Exactly which is why i must replenish my body."
And with that he took a bite of the bula berry and savored the little jolt of energy he received. Though even with this energy he leaned against the wall idly closing his eyes as he slumped against the ground
"Ah.. it is nice just to take a moment to relax."
Even though the corpse Venixa inhabited had bits of flesh hanging off the metallic bone she tempted to lean against Syvra's side, which any normal person would be turned off by having a corpse leaning against them but syvra is not normal. Instead he opens his eyes a crack to look at Venixa and he offers her a slim, sly smirk
"Getting comfy eh?"
Venixa sighs gently "Yes..but it is also nice to be close to you.. Recently i have began to think that if it was not for you i would likely not exists.. With the constant threat to your life it makes me realize how fragile my own existence is and as such i just appreciate these little moments of 'life' though it is funny since i inhabit the bodies of the dead to 'live'."
Syvra merely offered her a sympathetic smile before closing his eyes again and taking another bite of the bula berry
"Well enjoy this little moment of respite for soon we will have to be on the move again."
OOC: Just a little filler post with some deeper insight into Venixa's relationship with Syvra
"Tell me, JL," Echelon replied, "would you agree to do something for me without knowing what it was?"
"Except the roles have been reversed. You are the one agreeing to my terms, not the other way around."
I'm surrounded by imbeciles.
"Yes, that's correct," the Dark Toa replied, in the condescending tone one might use when talking to a child. "In fact, it's exactly my point. Why should I accept your terms if I don't know exactly what I'm agreeing to?"
I didn't let Echelon's schooling words affect me. "And why should I trust that the moment you learn what it is we need you'll start a fight?"
"Because that is exactly what I will do if you don't tell me."
I weighed my options.
"Fine. We're looking for a set of maps and star charts. We don't know where they are, we just know their usage."
Echelon nodded in satisfaction.
"Now, I will seek audience with the Abettor as agreed," he said. "But before I do, you must tell me two things: first, what I am to ask of it on your behalf, and second, what it told you before - so that I can properly construct my own questions."
"Firstly, you'll ask about the location of this map and star chart. It is a set that brings us to where 'the Red Star points'. And second - I asked the Abettor of the worth....and ownership, of whatever is hidden within the Vault's doors. It ended in a useless riddle of an answer."
OOC: Vaults remind me of Fallout 4 being confirmed.
"A riddle is only useless to one who cannot solve it," Echelon replied. "Tell me what it said."
Unvoiced were his musings on the mention of the Red Star. His suspicions, it seemed, had been confirmed.
OOC: Sorry for the late reply Still got a few more busy days......
Having been recent, the words that the Abettor had spoken to me still echoed clearly within my mind. Though I truly doubt I'll ever be able to forget my encounter with the mechanical colossus any time soon, if at all.
Immediately, I promised myself that from now on, whatever I told to Echelon, it'd be the barest minimum of what I could tell him.
"The Abettor responded to my question of worth simply by saying: 'Whether or not the pursuit of this power is worthy, we cannot say. It is your decision.' "
I looked over towards Ignitus and the other Toa, eerily conscious of how they'd been silent this whole time I had conversed with the Dark Toa in front of us. I wonder what they thought; did they approve of what I was doing, or did they believe that I was doing something wrong? In a normal situation like this, I knew what I'd be doing - biting my lip, giving a small laugh as though I knew I would mess up somehow, just to brush off the real failure when it happens.
But this was no normal situation, and I couldn't do any kind of saving grace like that.
"And it also stated that 'Those who used it did not possess it'. Keep that in mind before you unleash whatever is within....."
IC: Veral (Ceni) (Le-Wahi Darkwalk)
"I say we jump him"
"Now now, Ceni. This is not the time for rash action"
"Dude, he's getting comfy with a corpse. This is every bit the time to act rashly. Let's knock him out while whispering the Great Spirit's name into his ear, letting him know that he's now going to receive punishment for his wicked ways."
"I really must applaud your imagination, but I'd rather just talk to him"
"Sure, let's go the wimp's route. I'm all for that, if only I didn't have to rely on you to get around"
"You forget yourself, milady. My, just look at the excuisite craftsmanship of his blade, the brilliantly practical applications on his arms, and the revived body. Maybe he's just lonely, or is merely contemplating some of the complexities of life that his Kanohi grants him a fascinating insight into."
"And you forget that I hate it when you start using big words. People who use big words are so meretricous"
"Alright, that's enough out of you"
Veral tuned out the rest of Ceni's babbling as he approached his fellow Bo-Toa.
"Greetings, brother, how goes the day?"
Syvra jumped to his feet when he suddenly heard the Bo-toa and went for his blade keeping his hand firmly on the hilt poised to draw
"State your business and your name.. Now.." His voice held no sense of toying or even hesitation.. He seemed deadly serious
Venixa on the other hand stood up slowly and given the skakdi corpse she rose carefully getting into a defensive position
"Yeah.. what he said." Which she said in a definite feminine voice
IC: Veral (Ceni) (Le-Wahi Darkwalk)
"I'm not gonna say it"
"But you're thinking it, aren't you?"
"I think everything, that's the downside of being a thinking mask"
Veral raised his hands, palms outward and open, a universal sign of nonviolent intentions. Even now, his military instinct screamed at him to attack, but he ignored it, this was not the Gukko Force, things were different here.
He almost flinched when the Skakdi corpse spoke in a completely different voice, very unlikely to be the original identity's voice, almost like a second mind inhabited it. Veral's gaze flicked between the corpse and Syvra's Tryna a few times.
"Are you thinking what I'm thinking"?
"Probably not, but I agree, there's a good chance it is"
"We'll deal with that when it comes" Veral replied
"My name is Veral. And my business here is spiritual in nature, if you must know."