"Don't bother." The statement was a simple message, delivered in a smooth and easy voice, but at the same time, it was as sharp as a knife delivered the instant Syvvra's grip touched upon his blade. The Fe-Toa who spoke regarded him inscrutably, not sparing Agrona's activities a single glance. His green eyes were like wells of gravity, fixed upon the other being and inexorably drawing his gaze towards them.
"I would cut you down before you even unsheathed it, Toa."
Doing his best not to betray his rising impatience, Greisk unhooked his weapon belt and dropped it.
After all, either way, he was going to be completely screwed over, but maybe if he did not antagonise them too much he could live a little longer and, maybe, just maybe,find a way to escape.
IC: Agrona - Kini-Nui - Mangaia
"Good," Agrona's tone returns to one of warmth, "Unfortunately, your presence here raises a few issues. Most of which are not very simply solved," She gives him an encouraging look, moving towards the Toa. In her spare hand, ever since Toros first pulled away from her, she had let a very small and very short needle fall into her hand. It wasn't enough to kill or permanently injure somebody. It was a concoction of anesthetic design. Agrona didn't lie about not wanting to kill him. But the problem was, he was where he wasn't supposed to be, and letting him go unchecked for the duration of the meeting could prove problematic. They had agreed on her plan before Echelon had even broken up the fight, "If you cooperate, you will walk away with your life today Toros." Agrona made another advance towards him, "I don't promise many things to people. But I can promise you that," Agrona is close him, close enough to pull him into an embrace, "Do you understand?"
"If you cooperate, you will walk away with your life today Toros."
Greisk did not doubt her. Question was, in what state would he walk away in?
"Do you understand?""
"Yes, I do understand," He didn't feel like risking the fragile balance of calm, but he took a tentative step backwards.
IC: Agrona - Kini-Nui - Mangaia
Agrona stepped forward as Toros did, and took hold of his hand with her own. She pulled her towards him and used her remaining hand to swiftly prick the Toa in the abdomen with her small needle.
The Fa-Toa stiffened when he felt the needle ever-so-slightly prick his abdomen.
At first nothing happened. The sounds of dripping water still sounded from somewhere.
Then his vision started to swim. Agrona's calm, almost blissful face started to lose focus.
Stupi-S-sure hope th-thaeyyy donnnnnn-
Greisk stumbled and fell forward into Agrona's thin frame.
Greisk summoned enough energy to apologise in his mind. To Cyrena, who may never wake up. To Riaril, whom he couldn't deliver those supplies to after all.
And to Syvra. He certainly wasn't going to enjoy his meeting with these six.
And then he blacked out to the sounds of halluconary music in his mind.
IC: Agrona - Kini-Nui - Mangaia
Agrona gracefully stepped back to accommodate for the added weight of Toros. She hummed soothingly as she turned the Toa of Magnetism and lowered him onto his back. Not sparing her attention from the unconscious Toros, she spoke to Eisen, "Don't mind him. He is angry about something he does not understand," Agrona, seated herself atop Toros, using her hands to inspect the Toa's face, "He is angry that I promised the man his life." Agrona reached into her pack and pulled out a short torch, lighting it expertly with two chunks of flint, "However," She planted the torch next to her subject, and looked up, the flickering light hit her cheekbones intensely, giving her face a skull-like appearance, "He us far more useful to us alive than dead."
Agrona's attention was drawn back to Toros, "Dead men are not very useful to me," she paused, as if recalling something, "...usually." She clarified.
The Lestrin took a metal rod with a hammer-like end on one side from her pack. Agrona placed the heavy end into the fire, leaving the handle exposed, "We are on the clock this evening Syvra, so unless you have any questions for myself," Agrona glanced up, brandishing a thread and needle, "Feel free to discuss our business with my colleagues." She leaned over Toros' face, and began working.
Syvra turned towards the fe-toa who had spoken to him yet kept his hand around the area of Akrie's thorn
"I am not stupid enough to draw my weapon."
His voice held no anger nor any other emotion. Instead it was a neutral tone with a faint hint of ice added to it. His eyes looked back to Agrona and considered her
"I am not upset that you kept the toa alive... More so intrigued as to why. I could think of several reasons to keep a toa alive yet I am not one for assuming i can know the intentions of others. Afterall I can't read minds."
IC: Agrona - Kini-Nui - Mangaia
"Unlike most, I'm not afraid of pushing the limits of knowledge or power," Agrona pulls back to get a more overview look of Toros' face, revealing that his mouth had been stitched shut in both corners, "Intentionally or not,Toros here has been a hindrance to both you and us," Agrona gestures lazily to the others in her party, "Toros is a victim of circumstance. And yes, we could easily have killed him and left his body to the worms," The Lesterin pulls out a secondary needle, reaching for a vial in her bag, "But that would be boring, not to mention a waste." She fills the needle and injects it into Toros' cheeks, pointing at the injection points to interrupt her own explanation for another explanation, "I'm dumbing down all the nerves in his face in order to minimize pain," Agrona puts away the medical needle and vial, "If he feels too much, he will wake up."
She waits, still seated on Toros, but takes the moment to sharpen her bone knife, "You see Syvra, we're all opportunists here," Agrona looks up from her blade sharpening, "Even you. In a different way perhaps, but my point still stands. This victim of circumstance can help us expand our knowledge and power."
Agrona leans forward, taking the knife to Toros' lips, cutting just under the most exposed part. She then takes her free hand and places her fingers in the wounds, feeling for them. She decides the cuts were not deep enough and goes in again, "The nerve endings in the lips are very sensitive," Agrona explains, deciding that the drugs have certainly kicked in by now and are in full effect, "Hence the much stronger pain-killer." The witch-doctor then covers Toros' mouth and closes her eyes, letting her mask of healing take hold. She pictures the mouth, all the nerve endings it contains. Normally, one would picture these things returning to their natural state before healing them. But Agrona visualized them the way she intended them to be. She could see very clearly, Toros' nerve endings in the top lip meeting with the nerve endings in the bottom lip, crossing over what was once a gap, sealing it with skin from the Toa's mouth.
She pictured them broken, and forged again to remove Toros' mouth.
Agrona felt her energy flow through her, dancing into the fingertips, where the pulsating power began to push into Toros' face.
In a moment, she had healed the damage caused exactly as she wanted it: Wrong.
"In this case, Toros is our means to garnering power Syvra," Agrona reached for the small steel pick and pulled it from the torch she had lit, the hammer-like end now red hot. She placed the burning steel over Toros' mouth, cauterizing it shut entirely from the outside, the sound of hot flesh filled the air. Agrona spoke over the hissing, "This is an opportunity."
I smiled as Agrona went about her work, slowly sealing off Toros's primary means of communication with the world. As well, I smiled at her explanation to Syvra, as to why she let Toros live. There were quite a few reasons to let him live given the opportunity, and each had their merits. Once she was done speaking, I turned to Syvra - ignoring, for now, how arrogant he seemed - and spoke up myself.
"You see, Toa, this Toros can enlighten us in a medical sense, he can do work for us, he can gain information for us...and he can give us information. Much as you can, as that is what you're here for, yes?" I smiled - non-threateningly, something rather abnormal for me - as I looked down to the Toa of Plantlife. "You have debts you need to repay, grudges that are left unfulfilled, correct?" My smile drops as I lean down, slightly, looking eye-to-eye with this Toa.
"And that's where we come in. For now, our goals align, Syvra; but in order to properly act, we need the information that you have. Now, I must remind you that time is of the essence here; we really don't have time to stand and chat about our plans for this pest of yours, now that they are in action; we have time for business. So, Toa, are you willing for a trade? Your information for our work?" I stood up again, unbending from the uncomfortable position I had been in.
"It's your choice, though I'm certain you know as well as I what the best choice is."
Syvra watched intently as Agrona worked about sealing the Griesk's mouth shut however when Karnakie spoke up he turned around intrigued. However when the odd looking being spoke regarding debts he could not help but smirk at this.
"No. I don't have debts that I need to repay nor grudges that have been left unfulfilled... Well that last part is a lie but call me old fashion but I prefer to handle my grudges myself. Less room for error." His eyes narrowed slightly as he spoke "No. I came to echelon offering information on a group that apparently many thought were dead and gone but that as well is a lie. I am offering information in return for servitude. Before the fall of makuta I had been a loyal follower, however I attacked and overwhelmed by a cult and in a way brainwashed, as stereotypical as that sounds. Luckily for me the torture did not take fully and I was able to retain my will even if my ideals are a bit twisted. Now I wish to serve under Echelon in hopes of being of use to something," he flicked his eyes towards Echelon for a mere second before continuing "greater than myself."
I smiled as Voxumo continued to speak. "Very nice; a man who likes to fix things on his own," I said, in response to his comment about an unfulfilled grudge. Though he seemed to have missed the point I was making with debts and repayment (figurative meanings seem to escape beings like him far too often), that was no problem at all. He was offering his information in return for being allowed to serve.
Though I couldn't help but find it odd that he recognized that his ideals had been twisted and yet did nothing to fix himself. Surely, if he was strong enough to prevent himself from becoming properly brainwashed, he should be strong enough to return to how he used to be. It seemed like this one was willing to remain in a forced apostasy, with full knowledge of it.
"It's up to Echelon if you're brought along with us," I gestured to the Toa of Magnetism behind me. "But the point of you needing to divulge your information still stands."
I am not a complex man. Though some may interpret my silence as a mask used to hide a brain of incomprehensible machinations, I will be the first to assure you that it is not the truth. I am direct in my thoughts and actions, and do not attempt to bewilder my enemies with schemes and traps. I shoot, which results in death, which results in my payment. It is a logical progression, one that I do not take lightly. Echelon may be known for his genius, but simplicity is beautiful in its own way.
This is why I watch Agrona perform a twisted surgery and do not comprehend. I do not deal in injuries; life and death are easier to understand. Mutilation, for its own sake or for the sake of some higher goal, is foreign to me.
Please understand: my line of work may expose me to pain and blood, but I do not revel in them. They are unavoidable consequences of the work I do; I did not choose this life for them alone. That would be illogical and strange, and I, as you have hopefully gathered well enough on your own, am not a complex man.
"Oh, we'll find a use for you."
As he addressed Syvra, Echelon's eyes remained on Agrona's work, watching the Lesterin's tinkering with what appeared to be mild interest. What he thought about the gruesome operation was anyone's guess.
"So speak. I am sure you can tell us a great deal about the Brotherhood."
Only then did his gaze slide away to meet Syvra's.
"And I'm listening intently."
OOC: Ishi from Onu-Wahi
IC: Ishi Polzin
Mangaia was filled with the blood red glow of slowly dying light stones. No one who traveled through the shadowy corridors deep beneath the surface of Mata-Nui had thought to replenish the ruddy illumination and so in the months since the Makuta’s defeat the once blood-red chamber walls had turned to a dark grey as the light waned. Soon it would be black as night. Even in death the Makuta’s shadows persisted. A door, brooding and mysterious, with no keyhole, hinge, or seam, lurked at the end of spacious chamber and two rows of pillars made from black fire-glass led from the chambers entrance to the impregnable door. Ishi glanced at his map with the aided illumination from his iStone screen, confirming the obvious: this was it.
Krios had stayed behind. The tall vortixx hustler found descending into Mangaia a gamble too risky despite Ishi’s conjuring. Ishi didn’t mind: Krios wasn’t part of the plan anyways. He moved forward. The informant listened with each step, picking up nothing but the sound of equipment jangling from his rucksack and the soft dripping of water from a corridor to the right, echoing far louder in the dark cavern than expected. Eerie was the word Ishi found closest to mind. A hand strayed to the kukri on his thigh but nothing crawled out of the shadows looking for a meal and the po-matoran found himself at the door unharmed. Across the black surface was scrawled a sequence of words, a riddle he murmured to himself like an incantation.
Across an endless ocean
Beyond where minds can see
My Key lies in the open
Where you will never be
Beneath the brightest thunder
Stand towers of the day
The light may break asunder
If night skies choose obey
The red sign on black eyes
Will lead you to your prize
The vault’s riddle offered more questions than answers. Despite his years of delving into the secrets of the world Ishi found himself looking blankly at the unknown and disliking every moment of it. He had fooled Hewkii, Ambages, even to a degree Caerus Valli. It was vexing to be fooled by a door.
Above the somber lighting was a blue hole in the ceiling. Ishi couldn’t help but admire the geodes from the ground, straining his neck to look upward with mismatched eyes. After taking a minute to evaluate the distance and considering it within the range of his volo lutu he pulled the tool off the side of his rucksack, aimed, and clenched the trigger.
“Here we go,” he said as the grappling hook head sailed upwards and into the crystal maw. He heard the catch, gave a tug to make sure it was a sure hold, and ascended. The ride up was dizzying, the ground giving way beneath him as the shadows receding and were replaced by a blinding light. As his eyes adjusted to the cavern he heard the clanking of machine parts whirring to life. Once sight returned Ishi couldn’t help but smile at the being he saw. It was tremendous. How had something so spectacular been hidden underground for so long?
“Well hello there you beautiful recluse. Half the island’s been dying to meet you, the other half have been killing them. I’m Ishi Polzin, the Hapaka, you probably haven’t heard about me down here but that’s fine since I’ve been working on keeping a low profile.” Ishi said as he slipped his rucksack off and rummaged around inside for a moment until his deft hands produced a paper-wrapped sandwich and a canteen. “Care for some lunch?”
Though his eyes had adjusted somewhat, the motionless wall of glowing blue sigils that was the Abettor still made Ishi's eyes water to look at. The senseless arrangements of familiar letters there were still blinding, and still almost illegible among the ricocheting luminescence in the tunnel. It was easier for Ishi to focus his gaze on his sandwich. The Abettor's empty eyes seemed to watch him as he started to eat; the Kanohi Kakama that the behemoth had cycled into place upon Ishi's arrival - bizarre and small-looking as it was situated within the Abettor's ton-drum chest - was fixed in his direction. Could the Abettor actually see, as Ishi saw his sandwich, or did it rely on other methods of sense? Ishi realized this was something nobody had ever figured out. As the deep, metallic voice of the Abettor boomed forth, though, Ishi's curiosity was forgotten.
"We do not eat," the Abettor stated. "Why are you here."
IC: Ishi Polzin
"Then how do you live?" Ishi countered between bites of sandwich. "All things need to eat. Karz, even Makuta had to eat something, though he probably just ate the fat of his overgrown ego until the Maru gave him what was due." The little po-matoran wiped his hand on the paper and blinked, thinking about how in such a blinding environment the Abettor could have clear vision. Or did it? Maybe the it was blind. He knew toa of sound used their element as a different form of sight, often more reliable, so why not a machine? Or was the blinding light actually the Abettor's way of seeing and anything outside the light was beyond its perception? Too many questions and he'd yet to even answer the one posed by his host.
"Sorry, you asked me why I'm here," Ishi replied as he reached for the canteen. "In part because I enjoy seeking out the rare and majestic, the occult and the profane, and then piecing all the stupid nonsense said about those things into discrete bundles of truth and fiction. The truth I keep, the fiction I give out for a price. At the moment though I'm here because I figured you might be lonely and I was dying for an awkward lunch buddy who might have some knowledge about that cryptic riddle on that maaassssiiive door below us." He looked at the Abettor, doing his best not to squint in the light. "You see, you're a unique being on this island. How many of those can I come by on a day to day basis, hmm?" He took a bite of his sandwich. "None, unfortunately. On the surface anyone with any intelligence is plotting how to kill everyone else with a smidgen of sense. It's all rather grim. You, on the other hand, stay in your little cavern in the ceiling of Mangaia. I could ask the same question I guess: why are you here?
"Though you made it sound like more of a statement," Ishi muttered than continued at normal volume, "I'm sure sitting around in a cavern of crystal for days on end isn't exactly a fun occupation. At least the caverns of light in Onu-Wahi have miners for company. You don't get lonely here, do you?"
Syvra turned to regard those who apparently were all now eagerly looking at him. With a slightly non-descript shrug he leaned against the cavern wall and spoke up
"First off despite what many believe, The Brotherhood of Ak'rei'an is not dead and is actually thriving. While thanks to some conveniently leaked information they were ran out of Onu-wahi like the roaches they are, they have taken up residence somewhere else, likely the po-wahi deserts since that is where the trail goes cold."
He let that hang in the air for a few moments before continuing
"Though I am sure you are not interested in that part. No I would imagine you are more interested in the fact that the brotherhood is apparently able to raise the dead. While opting out of getting one myself I was able to learn a small amount about them. Apparently to create one of their... well zombies for lack of a better term, one must sacrifice a power to take control of a zombie. Now while I do not know the exact specifics of how the sacrifice of the power raises the dead I am inclined to believe that a third factor, These purple, lightstone like objects that the brotherhood worships and regards as the physical embodiment of Ak'rei'an's power play a crucial role. I believe these purple lightstones act as a sort of conduit during the revival process since they are often in the room or held by the acting official during the zombie-making process. It is very possible that the purple lightstones draw out the power of the being and transforms it into another form of energy, one capable of partially reviving the dead." As he continued to speak it was obvious by his tone of voice that there was confidence in these words "These zombies are superior to the reanimated corpses that the tryna are able to create for several reasons. The first being that the zombies are not subject to the focus of a mask-wearer. As such even if the original power sacrificer is killed the zombies are still able to live. Second, the zombies who were originally toa retain some of their elemental powers, mostly at a far hindered rate, but it is still present. While those two facts were the most important differences there are others. These zombies do not decay, though they often retain the injuries that caused their death. As such a head is a requirement for a potential zombie. They do not require food, sleep or similar needs as the living. They are not mindless servants either, instead they are comparable to children. While intelligent they are not to the point of most, but still able to act on their own. While a zombie can have multiple masters they are often only loyal to their original master. And the one final bit is that they are immune to pain, while they can be harmed they don't feel the pain, making them excellent fodder"
He begins to rub at the bottom of his mask as he ponders if their is anything he has forgotten
What about the fact that all the zombies wear masks of undeath?
Ah yes I forgot about that bit. Thank you Venixa
You are welcome.
"I almost forgot. All of the zombies created thus far wear masks of undeath. However I do not believe this actually has anything to do with the revival process since the zombies are given the masks after being revived."
And now with his little speech done he cast his gaze over each individual of the group curious as to their reactions, though most would likely not show any reaction
The Abettor was quiet for an uncomfortable period. Ishi couldn't help but hold his breath - and his chewing - in the face of the tyrannical silence imposed by the behemoth; the guardian didn't so much as twitch a finger or hiss a valve. By now, Ishi could look up and see the Abettor almost totally clearly; its dark armor, its huge shoulders, its broad cylindrical torso, its powerful leg pistons, its strange crystal fist and, of course, the scrawls of madness written in glowing blue all over its body like ceremonial tattoos, wrought before the Po-Matoran a figure steeped in legend and emanating dangerous strength. He'd started to doubt if his tirade had even been received by the Abettor when the behemoth began to reply. As if listing the types of stone in the room, the Abettor replied to all the questions Ishi had posed.
"We do not live, nor do we die. We are here to protect that which we have been charged to protect. We never get lonely." The Abettor's voice, deep and hollow-sounding within its drum-like chest, was also hollow of tone, so Ishi was unable to read much of anything in it. Not giving Ishi much time to process, the Abettor plowed on ahead. "You are here because of the engraving on the door below us. We do not know what it means."
IC: Ishi Polzin
"You do not live, nor do you die. You do not eat, yet you speak and think as rationally as I do. Why can't a machine be alive?" Ishi finished the last floppy crust of his sandwich, bobbing his head while reciting what had become a sort of riddle. Standing up the Hapaka let his gaze crawl along the Abettor's body . The blue sigils scrawled across the machine's body caught his attention first, pale blue and glowing with a soft phosphorescence. Why did they remind him of mark bearers? Maybe life for the Abettor came from a different source than his own. There were so many secrets, so much to learn. Pistons hissed as the Abettor whirred and clanked in lifeless animation and suddenly Ishi had two stunning thoughts. He decided it was better to ask the first before going for the second. "You always speak in plural, did anyone tell you that? How many of you are there?"
"A machine cannot be alive because it is not alive," the Abettor clacked. Very suddenly, the great guardian repositioned on its haunches, causing Ishi to jump a little bit. The adjustment of the Abettor had been minor, but total; who would have believed such a large thing could move so fast? Ishi also noticed that the mask in its chest cavity was being exchanged in the blinking of an eye for a Kanohi Arthron; as the Abettor kept speaking, the mask shuddered to a halt in its place. "We are aware of how we speak," the behemoth continued. "But nobody has ever seen the need to inform us of something about which we are already aware. There are, as far as we know, six of us."
IC: Ishi Polzin
The rapid shifting of posture had startled Ishi far more than expected. For something so large to move with grace and speed belying its several ton weight was unnatural; the whole process felt wrong. However, what really attracted Ishi's focus was the sudden switching of kanohi; the rotating inside the machine's torso from kakama to arthron happened with a cranking of some internal component, as if the Abettor were some elegant clockwork automaton. Ishi yelped as he stubbed his toe on a crystal and windmilled his arms for balance. A comedic moment later the po-matoran was back in play, taking a step forward with a bounce to his stride. He knew the behemoth before him could spew his guts across the wall in an instant. As usual reward outweighed risk and the informant was successful, at least in the moment, at closing the gap. He stood with his hands behind his back and looked up at the runic surface of his host.
"As far as you know?" He asked curiously. The conversation meandered from its original purpose and Ishi found himself attempting to understand just exactly who these beings were. Suddenly the entire riddle of the door seemed like a backwater game for children: learning about The Abettor was far more interesting.
"Yes," the Abettor replied.
OOC: I saw a one-liner by the BZPRPG's GM. I snorted my tea laughing so hard and hit my head on the desk as I was falling out of my chair. Bravo. Nuju 1: Kughii 0
IC: Ishi Polzin
Ishi's palm applied directly to the forehead of his kaukau. The sound echoed sharply off the crystal walls. Obviously the Abettor had been programmed for answering questions and making statements. The finer points of language had been omitted. Perhaps the mastermind behind the creature's creation had wanted to play chess with something a little more calculating than a single mind could be. It sounded like something Nuparu, the tinkering akiri, would build out of scrap on a weekend. However, the glowing blue signs drew his attention back – those the Akiri wouldn't have considered adding.
"Hmmm... So if you don't know then that means there could be more... Wouldn't it be nice to-" He paused. Ishi almost suggested a family reunion, but the thought of multiple steel monsters standing around looking ominous at a cookout made him reconsider. "What are those tattoos for, if you don't mind me asking? See, up on the surface some people had similar looking marks, but they only had one..."
His gaze went past the Abettor's shin to the cavern beyond. He saw sparkling crystal and a dwindling tunnel and wondered where it went.
"We do not know which tattoos to which you refer," the Abettor clacked. Once more, its posture shifted definitely; this time, the behemoth grew taller, and had a definite aura of menace, even though its tone was unchanged. "Your questions have been without purpose, and it is not our duty to answer them. We are not here for petty inquiries, and we will not answer any more of them."
OOC: Oh boy.
IC: Ishi Polzin
The very light in the cavern seemed to dim as Ishi was overshadowed by the Abettor. He knew his welcome was wearing thin, the malevolent posture of the machine enough to show him charm had little effect. It was difficult to be persuasive to something lacking emotion.
"Without purpose?" Ishi parroted, walking backwards toward his rucksack. "I'm sorry but I find your statement invalid. Everything I said had purpose, if only to learn about who you are and where you come from... Why if you found someone you wanted to become friends with wouldn't you want to learn about them? Oops, sorry that was a question and you seem to have had your fill of those. Disregard that." He slipped the rucksack loops over his shoulders and pulled on the straps. With each moment it looked more likely his exit would be a fast descent rather than a fond goodbye. "Now if for some reason I've offended you - I wouldn't like all the questions one after another either - I apologize. Of course you don't have a duty to answer me. You're a free, well, machine. To you what I've said may have seemed a petty inquiry but to me it meant the world, I assure you. I'm just a po-matoran with a bad case of wanderlust trying to figure out Life's riddles. Just, um..."
He smiled, at once disappointed by having the discussion cut short so soon and at the same time gleeful in what had occurred. "I hope you don't mind me coming back sometime for lunch."
"We do not mind what you do," the Abettor answered. "We do not give mind to minding. We give mind to duty."
IC: Ishi Polzin
He knew it was time to leave, but insatiable curiosity called with every moment in the Abettor's presence in the brilliant tunnel of refracting crystal light. He was an information maven and leaving such a trove without a pocket full of knowledge felt like a sin. Instead of diving down the hole into the gloom and scurrying to safety he took a stand at the mouth of the tunnel and said;
"When I was young I used to have a stripe of letters running down my armor. I thought it looked cool, back before I got the mismatched eyes." He looked down at his brown hands with their grey and white finger tips and remembered the explosive incident. It had never been the same with Vera, all he could feel in his heart for the woman he once called sister was bitterness. However, despite his feelings they were siblings by law and nothing could change that. Alarick had died and left them stuck together. Looking back at the Abettor Ishi continued. "I called them my wards, like the prophecy of the First Toa would protect me from harm. When I look at you and see those glowing blue glyphs I can't help but wonder what they're for. Are they your wards? Or your eyes? Are they gibberish or just another clue to your past like mine were?"
He looked at the Abettor and felt something he hadn't felt in years: compassion. The machine may not have realized its own loneliness, but Ishi did. Down in the darkness there were nothing but nightmares for company, and when Ishi had been in the darkness his thoughts turned to family. "Where are the other five? If you tell me I can carry a message for you. I'm sure there's something you'd want to say to another of your kind."
As quickly as last time, the Kanohi in the Abettor's chest changed, returning to the Kakama. Before Ishi could even process what was happening, the behemoth had stepped forward with its newly-granted speed and seized the Po-Matoran between the fingers of its only hand. The Abettor's thumb and forefinger were an iron collar around Ishi's neck; hanging from the Abettor's grip, Ishi felt himself start to choke. The empty sockets of the Abettor's Kanohi, juxtaposed against the glowing letters, were spots of blackness; if they stared, it was without mercy or even living empathy.
"You misunderstand," the Abettor rumbled, the resonance of its drum-deep voice making Ishi's bones vibrate. Without further ado, the Abettor dropped the Po-Matoran through the hole in the floor of its tunnel.
The ground was very far down.
"Interesting," said Echelon, unreadable as ever. "Most interesting. I think I have a use for you already."
IC: Ishi Polzin
Ishi was blind as the brilliance of the crystal cavern transformed sharply by the powerful eviction into the half-light of Mangaia's shadowed halls. He plunged through the air unsure of when he'd hit the ground, but determined to live. Fear found no hold on his steely resolve. Despite his blindness he reached for the second Volo-Lutu launcher on the side of his rucksack, pulled it from the chord restraints with po-matoran strength, and without thought pointed toward the ceiling and fired, teeth grinding together in determination. The coiled line burst forward and he heard metal hitting stone over the sound of his body falling through the air, and then his descent angle turned sharply, the chord continuing to wind out of the launcher in a rare moment of malfunction. He gripped the handle desperately as he swung outward and down. Once the line had reeled out completely there was a sickening moment when his body jolted, rising up into the air again as momentum took hold, and then the line snapped and he hit the ground, bouncing and rolling like a rag doll tossed in a fit of childish rage.
Excruciating pain burst from his shoulder as the rucksack smashed into the floor, the kinetic energy carrying into his body and bending the metal brigandine sewed inside his coat. The volo-lutu's redirection made him slide with a horrible loudness across the ground, fabric and tools spewing out from the rucksack as he bounced along until a pillar of black fire-glass stopped his movement with a sickening crack to the head. The echoes, an aftermath as horrible as the headache from the crash, carried far into the tunnel systems of the Dark Walk: the shout of a po-matoran as he was thrown, the crash of body against stone, the grinding of flesh and mechanics as it careened and was destroyed.
"," Ishi murmured through a split lip, a trickle of blood running across his eye. He was sprawled against the dark pillar with nothing to defend himself save the karambit still tucked safely away in the discrete harness. The kukri had sprung from its sheath in the chaos, lost to the shadows that slowly claimed Ishi's consciousness, the rucksack shredded and worthless after serving its purpose to cushion his fall. He tried to raise a hand but found himself incapable.
Before his eyes closed the wail of a bestial monster echoed from a tunnel far away. Something was coming. He was defenseless and doomed.
OOC: Anyone care to help a dying matoran with something on the way? He just so happens to have some very interesting information. Yes, I did just say dying.
Echelon's head snapped to the side as a loud slam echoed from the other side of the chamber. Turning wordlessly to Kohra and Eisen, he beckoned with two fingers, signalling them to follow his lead.
The Dark Toa stalked along the cavern's floor towards the source of the noise. The familiar twinkle of the Abettor's tunnel hove into view above him. On the floor below, a broken Volo Lutu cable trailed like a thin silver snake. Ghostly green eyes swept the room.
The crumpled form of a Matoran lay against one of the obsidian pillars. Echelon approached slowly.
This truly was Ishi's lucky day.
The sound of whirring gears came from behind Echelon as another figure moved in the darkness, slowly approaching them. His clockwork body continued to tic as he approached the dark Toa and the Matoran, pupils enlarged so that he could see the two in the dark, his scythe gleaming like tusks in the night.
IC: Ishi Polzin
To Echelon and his companions the matoran must have seemed a dead carcass, road kill. He didn't move. It wasn't until Echelon got close enough to touch the po-matoran he saw the faintest flickering of an orange heartlight. Finally, with a cough and splatter of blood against the ground from the matoran's mouth his eyes flickered open with mismatched light. Ishi's face, twisted by pain, formed a split and bloodied grin. Even though the colors were not as rumors said, even though his head pounded with pain, the face wistfully blurring in and out of Ishi's vision could be none other than the feared necromancer. He was either very lucky or horribly cursed.
"I'll be ." His voice cracked, barely a whisper. "Who'd have thought I'd go from the Abettor to Echelon?"
The Dark Toa whirled around, hand splayed at arm's length and writhing with shadows in the blink of an eye, sending a magnetic push towards the newcomer with enough force to hurl him across the cavern. Echelon did not like to be disturbed.
However, the elder one was not so easly gotten rid of. Quickly grounding himself with his elemental powers, waiting until the push had passed before resuming his advance.
Under most circumstances, I save my bullets until I am sure my target is, indeed, my target. I consider myself to be a professional, and professionals deal as little as possible in collateral damage. Why? I do not like to leave a trace, and I do not like to waste precious metal on death that I am not paid for.
The action Echelon has taken proves that this newcomer is a target. He is my employer, so that removes the question of recompense. Both variables dealt with, I am free to move. My hands sling my rifle around my shoulder with the ease of many years of practice. I clean this delicate machine every morning when I rise, and prepare it for use at any possible moment. Therefore, I do not waste time wondering if my weapon shall do its duty. I simply raise the sight to my eye, watch as the intruder's face fills the crosshairs, press the rear of the gun into my arm, and fire.
As I am equipped with a silencer, there is a small report as opposed to a loud bang. The rifle kicks into my arm with moderate force, propelling a bullet from the barrel at incredible speed straight towards the left temple of the intruder.
There was an audible click as parts of the armor shifted, and the elder toa began to dash forward with greater speed than before, gears whirring as he ducked and began to sprint towards the aggressor, extending his hand to manipulate the the earth beneath the aggressor, so that the earth would open up to swallow the one who had shot at the clockwork Toa.
I turned to Syvra, my voice ringing out with a tone that had been unfamiliar to it for years. "Stand still," I said, my voice issuing a command in the same way I had issued commands to my armies so many years before I had come to this island. Turning to Agrona, I spoke in a far less commanding fashion. "When you're done with your new toy, watch our informant." Then commanding again, to Rorg, who was likely just removing himself from this odd Toa's grasp of earth: "As soon as you have an opening, fire at whichever vulnerable spot you can on this Toa." I turned to face the Toa of Earth who was running at us, leveling my lochaber - butt spike first - at him as though it was a lance. In the darkness farther behind me, back in the large tunnel I had taken to get to here, I heard my Kane-ra give a snort, as though it could smell the battle soon to take place.
In my homeland, I had been a decorated war hero, a highly respected commander, and a deadly specialist in close-combat. I had the deaths of hundreds of men attributed to me, due to my planning - and I had killed, in personal combat, nearly fifty of my fellow Kaiakan and just as many Toa, if not more. It had been a good few years since then. However, on this island, I would still be considered untested. Green; I intended to change that soon. Soon we would have a victory, and this Toa of Earth would be either dead or wounded, fleeing from the battle like a Muaka after getting stuck by an archer's arrows.
With the butt spike of my axe aimed at the Toa of Earth, the blade of the lochaber concealed from his view, I began to advance. Blood would soon be spilled, and this Toa might soon get the chance to feed the earth that he thought to command.
I am not often surprised. There is logic to life if one looks closely: a predictable series of consequences that allows the keen observer to deduce the most likely outcome and prepare accordingly. I have spent my life to better know these patterns, and to use them to my advantage. This is why I am deadly. This is why many are right to fear me.
Thus, when my shot misses, I am surprised.
The intruder must have seen my movement: he ducks, and the bullet passes him by. He wastes no time in charging toward me, and, simultaneously, I feel the earth beneath me begin to give way. This Toa evidently hopes to see me sucked into the bowels of the island, or separate my head from my torso if the ground does not swallow me fast enough.
The patterns are clear to me, however, so I do not move. The earth is hungrily pulling me down, but that is a minor concern, as this Toa is about to die. Pardon my overconfidence, but the scope is already to my eye, and the barrel is already pointed at the man's chest. By charging at me, he is only making himself a bigger target. So I eschew my hoped-for headshot in order to aim for the Toa's barrel chest and pull the trigger a second time.
At this distance, I can hardly miss.