The most placid of the regions of Mata Nui, Ga-Wahi is a large and mostly submerged area located on the eastern side of the island of the island. It is dominated by the great Naho Bay, which takes up the vast majority of the region and is surrounded by towering white cliffs. Ga-Wahi's landscape is very diverse, featuring sandy beaches and sharp cliffs, green strips of thick forest near the sea and wide grassy plains further inland. Ga-Koro is located in this Wahi, floating in the southern part of the bay at the delta of the Hura-Mafa River. Local landmarks include:
-Naho Bay: Bordered by pale cliffs, this wide cove is home to Ga-Koro, Ga-Kini, and Ga-Suva, as well as several underwater caves. A large waterfall pours into Naho Bay, and the rock face of the falls is sculpted into the likeness of a Kanohi Kaukau. There is a peaceful cave behind the roaring waters.
-Hura-Mafa River: This river runs northward from the slopes of Mount Ihu into Naho Bay, emptying there bay by means of the Naho Falls. It is one of the largest rivers on the island, and serves as a speedy ferry for trade from Ko-Koro to Ga-Koro.
-Old Fusa Path: This pathway was created by the Matoran to serve as an inland access point to the beaches of Naho Bay, and ultimately to the village of Ga-Koro. Harakeke and Bamboo plants proliferate along the path.
-The Dark Walk: One of six large tunnels dug by Makuta’s Rahkshi during the final days of his rule. Large enough to encompass a walking legion, it runs directly from the doorstep of the Koro down into Mangaia. Exudes a definite aura of odiousness, and is generally avoided.
Led by Akiri Hahli, Ga-Koro is built on huge lily pads, held in place by thick stems that grow underwater (which have been reinforced by inorganic pylons), with segmented leafy walkways and bridges connecting the platforms. It’s built around a central plaza that is faced by the Akiri’s hut; the plaza also doubles as the main marketplace of the Koro. Huts are made of more lily pads and look like cabbage heads, though they are very sturdy.
Ever since the village’s betrayal by the Toa “Arete” long ago, Ga-Koro’s culture has been judicious in how they view strangers. Ga-Koro has also built up its defenses by constructing new floating “sea forts” for its Marines, the Koro’s guard service. The village gates are manned with twice the personnel as in the days of Makuta, and the chain of command has been cut down substantially to prevent anyone unsavory from gaining control where it should not be held.
But Ga-Koro’s creativity went beyond the martial. The Ga-Matoran, with the help of Onu-Koro’s engineers, maintain several underwater greenhouses that grow food, plants both medicinal and industrial, and other cash crops. Strategically protected by Marine sea forts, these greenhouses are equipped with state of the art oxygen filtration systems and solar panels, not unlike those used by the miners in the Great Mine. Armed Toa and a lock system that is designed to fool all but the Onu-Matoran engineers who designed it defend the gardens from saboteurs. Ga-Koro’s greenhouses supply most of the island’s food and medicine.
I woke up. I observed my surroundings. Where was I? The odd city seemed to be spinning around me. I attempted to get up. I stumbled.
Everything spinning. What was happening.
I looked on the ground. I grabbed for my weapons. I fell.
I had been poisoned.
The thing about being a prosecutor on the island, was that there were pretty much no cases whatsoever. Farssak didn't exactly mind though - being a lawyer may have been his day job, what he didn't exactly mind if he did absolutely nothing. Even though it meant he could not break away at people and laugh as they decided that they were guilty after all, he had romance novels to fill his time. His newest had become a best-seller in less than a week.
But there was something missing.
The Skakdi pondered over this for a second, before his mouth curled into a wicked smile. For the others in the bar he was currently frequenting, there was something incredibly frightening about his expression, as if he was planning something that would change the world (or at least, the literature world) forever.
"Zombies," he said slowly, tasting the words on his lips. "Zombie fiction sounds perfect."
OOC: Welcome back, Toa Sarsi.
IC: Theriss Durim
With a sip of the drink she held lightly in her hand, Theriss could almost have let loose a smile. Almost. It had been a rather successful day in the ways of Heroism. The team had proven on multiple occasions that they weren't quite as incompetent as they had originally appeared to be when first they arrived. They were a broken lot, each one seemed to be riddled with problems that they really didn't wish to speak about. But despite it all, they had shown the hinting slivers of heroism, something she needed in large supply if this venture was going to be a success. She was almost certain that they very well could reach the goal of making her a large sum of money if they kept up at this rate.
Perhaps that was why she had decided to reward their efforts with a small scale celebration, allowing them a time of peaceful cheer and relaxation. And what better way was there to celebrate than with a reasonably nice meal and drin?. She herself was bearing the cost for the team's celebratory meal, as their income was not yet flowing in from Geklan's merchandise. It wasn't the most sophisticated of restaurants, but she felt that they might enjoy the relaxing break nonetheless. And they had very well better enjoy it, it was costing her a large portion of the money she had gotten from selling her favorite chair.
That chair, its ornate details still held firm in her memories. The seating was perfect, everything about it had been specially made just to fit her preferences. It had cost her far more than she would like to admit, and the return had not been so favorable. In fact, she was quite certain that Geklan had managed to horrendously rip her off. Unfortunately, she knew that he had the connections needed to sell it, while she herself did not. She would be certain to even the score later, but for now there were more important matters.
The team sat scattered about a few tables that had been pushed together to make room for their large numbers.
As the groups' food orders arrived, she looked downwards at the meal that sat before her. There had been one time that this food would have seemed cheap, barely worth eating and hardly something she would admit to enjoying. Before that it would have been a blessing from Mata Nui himself, a good meal. Now it was a rare treat, just outside of her normal price range. That didn't change the fact that she quite enjoyed the taste, and it had been quite a while since she had managed to eat such. If any of the other Toa Sarsi found it strange that she was eating Kane-Ra Steak cooked rare instead of any of the even more expensive and refined items on the inventory, they would be wise to remain silent.
It was finally enough for her to give a light smile, taking a larger sip from her glass. It looked like wine, but calling it wine would not really describe the drink she held. It was mostly a much stronger drink, mixed with just enough wine to give it a wine-like appearance but not heavily change the taste. It certainly looked like a much more refined drink than it actually was, just how she wanted it.
Things were finally starting to look up, all she needed now was news that the merchandise was selling extremely well, and the day would have been virtually perfect.
OOC: An opportunity to play a drunk person again? Ok.IC: CrasaroIt's been a while since Crasaro had had any sort of alcoholic beverage. So, the natural thing to do was have a few of them. The Toa of Crystal was almost passed out from the drinks he had taken (Far too many strong ones) when the food had arrived. In fact, he hardly noticed the food arrived until he heard a glass fall."Urghn?" He lifted his head up for a moment, and saw a simple shaved mystery meat sandwich in front of him.Mmm, mystery meat. Crasaro's favorite.The drunk Toa grabbed the sandwich, and took a large bite out of it, before promptly falling face-first onto the plate which the sandwich was on. "Urgagh. too many drinks..." he mumbled.At least he wasn't stumbling around like a fool.
IC: "The Wanderer"
He preferred to keep his hands inside his dark cloak, but he took an exception as he pushed open the door to the restaurant. He took a step back, startled by the raucous crowd of Toa who were eating and drinking together. A team. From deep within his hood, his eyes pulsed with a silent longing to be in a Toa team again. He had been flying from one end of the island to the other for quite some time now, so it would be nice to take a break. Sit down in one of the corner chairs, perhaps take a nice nap. He went to the far side of the restaurant and pulled up a chair. He hoped the manager would simply let him rest there for a little while without disturbing him. And as he sat there, he couldn't fall asleep. He couldn't take his eyes off of the Toa. A team.
OOC: I'm not here to crash your Toa Party. Not yet. However, I would like to be in an area where I can interact with others.
OOC: And we're back!
IC: Geklan - Ga-Koro - Restaurant
Geklan walked in through the door of the restaurant, looked around, and spotted Theriss and the other Toa Sarsi. His face lit up, and he promptly sat down beside them. "Theriss! I heard you were having a little get-together and thought it was the perfect opportunity to fill you in on sales. I'm afraid we'll have to wait a bit, though. I forgot my notes and sent someone back to get them."
Geklan ordered his meal, one of the more expensive ones on the menu, and a glass of the finest wine available. It was a bit unusual for him, as he usually bought cheaper items to save money. He was also obviously fighting to keep a grin off of his face.
After a few minutes, a Ga-Matoran stuck her head through the door. Judging by her solid build, she was a worker at the docks. "Is there a Mr. Geklan in here?"
Geklan waved. "Oh, you've arrived! Yes, I'm right over here." He was now smiling quite broadly, having given up on trying to hide it.
The Ga-Matoran walked up to Geklan and handed him a folder, which he quickly glanced over. Once he was satisfied that everything was as it should be, she turned around. "Alright, bring it in!"
The patrons of the restaurant watched as a small group of Matoran walked through the door, carrying an extremely ornate chair. Geklan was practically bouncing up and down as he handed the Ga-Matoran a purse that made a distinctive clinking noise. "Ah, thank you. Drop by in a few hours to pick it up again, please."
He sat down in Theriss' former chair, letting out a satisfied sigh as he did so. A waiter emerged from the kitchen. "Excuse me, sir. I'm afr-" She stopped mid-sentence as she caught the bag Geklan had tossed to her. It was rather heavy, and the waiter's eyes grew large.
"What was that, waiter? I'm afraid I didn't catch it."
"Uh, nothing, sir. Thank you, sir, we're glad to have you here, sir." She headed back to the kitchen.
Geklan turned to face the Toa Sarsi; specifically, he turned to face Theriss. "I thought you'd be interested to know, Theriss, that I made a most unusual acquisition earlier today. Such an exquisitely crafted chair! I think I'll have to keep it." He paused for a moment, as if he was remembering something. "You know, Theriss, this reminds me of the day you chased me out of your house with my own sword. Strange, isn't it?"
OOC: I'm sure some of the team would be up for interaction, Wazdakka.
The chair. It was her chair. Geklan had the nerve to bring that chair all the way to a restaurant just to spite her. As if the cost of losing it hadn't been enough, now he was trying to torment her with it every single moment that he could. Not only that, but he had done so during a celebration, a time when the team was supposed to be relaxing and having a good time. But Geklan had decided not to let her enjoy even a single day off without a horrendous reminder of all that she had lost. In the frame of business, he was a worthy opponent, but as a person he was as vile a soul-less beast as had ever arisen from Karzahni.
But even then, she had held enough respect for the Lesterin to believe him above such displays of arrogance and cruelty. Clearly she had been wrong, there was nothing to the wretched conman that was worth even the slightest hints of respect. She found her anger steadily rising, a cold wrathfulness that threatened to reach out and strike the -TDCensored- in his smug face. A comparison between the Lesterin and even the Makuta would have been too kind. She was probably the closest thing Geklan had to a friend, but his actions certainly spoke otherwise.
As a waiter walked past the cold-hearted crook, one of the glasses on his tray somehow fell over onto Geklan, the glass shattering as water soaked his head and back. Somehow, the water-filled glass had managed to tilt itself over and land a short distance from where it had fallen. A coincidence to be certain.
Theriss rose from her chair with a vicious coldness to her face, any sign of the earlier smile had faded away from view. She pushed aside her chair with a sharp noise as it scraped against the floor, and began walking. She was no longer hungry, even her drink held no interest. No, she already knew exactly what it was that she was going to do. She walked directly in the direction of Geklan, and passed his as she went out through the door.
Outside of the building, she could feel her anger reaching a boiling point. As calmly as she could, she walked around the back of the building, out of view of the street and any prying eyes or ears. When she was certain that she was free from anyone watching, she let loose all of the anger that having her entire life rubbed in her face by Geklan and the chair had inspired.
A low scream, hitting the back of the building with a furious punch. She wanted nothing more than to go inside and wring the Lesterin's neck, before smashing the chair over his head until there was nothing left but splinters. He had been nothing but a conniving monster since she had known him, but he had seemed to feed upon her despair as everything fell out from beneath her. Now that she had nothing, he was no longer a rival to be bested, he was a purely malevolent force in her life. And the worst horror of all was that everything, this entire plan, relied on his ability to sell merchandise.
Maybe she was crying, she couldn't really tell. All she could feel was the anger as she tried to force it away. She would have to put on an uncaring face, act as though nothing was wrong. Nothing was ever wrong, she was Theriss Durim. Everything was perfect, always perfect. Nothing ever phased her, even losing everything. She would just keep moving onward as if the whole world belonged to her and the minor issues were barely worth her attention.
Swallowing her anger as best she could, she turned to walk back around to the front of the building and re-enter. If anyone asked, she had merely thought she had seen a past acquaintance walking by the doorway. She would sit back at the table and finish her meal as though nothing was wrong. Mata Nui willing, she would even do her best to fake a smile.
IC: "The Forerunner"
The world swirled around me. What should I do, I know nothing of this place. Where should I go. Where should I go....
I then saw something that caught my eye. I stumbled towards it. Everything spun and spun, and I eventually hit the side of a building. I smelled coffee.
I needed assistance. Immediately.
Thank Mata Nui it was just my perception was effected by this, this poison, whatever it was.
OOC: Open for interaction.
IC: CrasaroA loud scream emanated from the back of the building. It was muffled, sure, but it was still audible. Crasaro lifted his head, looked around, mumbled something about being dizzy, and put his face back into his sandwich. And started eating it like that.Food was not going to waste, even if he probably wasn't going to keep it down.
IC: (Mons Shajs/Shajs' Hut/Ga-Koro)
Today, Mons Shajs had gone through two shots of Okoth's nasty-as-freak medicinal liquor, a pouch of her medicinal tobacco, a dozen cups of herbal tea, and three jars of balm. Nothing was happening, except his body was slowly being attacked by some kind of disease. Something far, far worse then the common flu. Despite it being hot and humid, as Ga-Koro always was, he was freezing cold. His head, however, felt like it had hovered over an oven. He felt weak, his muscles were hit with cramps. And worse of all, glands had swollen, leaving purple blob things all over him.
But he won't go to a healer. No, those people were crazy. He wasn't going to let those quacks, with their little knives, amputation-happy hands, and pliers come anywhere near him. He was tough man, he'd survived far, far worse. Just a few more days, and this...cold would go away. He'd be back in HQ, back patrolling, and back doing his job. Raising up a glass of bitter tea, he took a sip of the disgusting stuff, before he noticed his hand had went from normal grey, to pink. No, that was freaky. With a shriek, he dropped the Tea, and went to cower in a bundle of blankets, as the chills came onto him again.
He had long lost the time. Ever since returning to Ga-Koro slightly ill, he'd been huddled in his ever-muddled home, sicker then a sea dog. Sometimes he wondered if he was reported AWOL, or such things. His sick leave, he thought, had long been over. He hadn't gone out, instead having medicines delivered to his door. So heck, Iraira and brass might think him as dead or something. But, Shajs was too sick to give a care. But he would get over it, would.
Voulge sat in a chair not far from Therris's own seat though among the group he seemed possibly the most relaxed despite having drank at least 12 glasses of white wine mixed with Bula berry juice. While still holding onto his glass his eyes wandered to all those that sat at this table with him. Not long ago he never could have imagined himself being part of a toa team yet now here he was part of the 'Toa Sarsi'. He had never been one for open displays of Heroism instead preferring to keep to the shadows.. at least he imagines he was like that since he still had yet to regain any form of his memory.
This wine is good
This toa of iron with the glowing purple eyes had finished his own meal a long time ago, a simple tropical fruit salad. Voulge valued simplicity, he was not one for showiness or fanciness for it drew too much attention.
With a sip of his wine he turned to look at Therris and any sign of his usual randomness was all but gone.. Though to his surprise Therris had just left while he was taking a sip from his wine.. Instead he turned to the rest of the group and offered a sincere little smile
"Well.. This was nice of Therris to treat us to this wouldn't you all say?"
OOC: Had to edit since i did not realize Therris had left the table
Geklan's smile disappeared as the glass broke over his head. Feeling several sharp pieces falling down his back, he winced. He ignored the waiter's many apologies, waving him off.
He watched in silence as Theriss stormed by him, presumably to vent. He raised his eyebrows, staring thoughtfully at her back and then at empty space as she disappeared from sight.
Perhaps he had gone too far. After all, Theriss had been going through hard times. Maybe he should make it up to her somehow, maybe he should-
Wait. Wait just a moment. What was he thinking? Making it up to her? Why should he have to make it up to her anyway? Was it his fault that she couldn't take a joke? Mata Nui, he was about to give her money. How low had he sunk?
Even as excuses bubbled forth, Geklan found them feeling hollow. Disgust welled up from deep inside him, but he couldn't figure out why he felt it- was it because of his weakness, or his action? His former good mood ruined, Geklan found himself at a loss for words. He should probably say something, something like, She didn't take that well, huh? or Wow, I didn't see that coming.
A low scream, clearly audible to Gekan's keen ears, came from the general direction Theriss had thundered off in. His will to stay or even utter an excuse abandoned him, and Geklan stood up. SIlently, and with a stormy expression of his own on his face, he tossed the folder into Theriss' seat, then fished out a tablet and pencil and furiously scribbled a note to the Ga-Matoran who had brought the chair in. As an afterthought, he placed enough widgets to cover the cost of his meal at his place, and, without a single word to the others, he left.
As Theriss rounded the corner to enter the building from the front, she might have caught a glimpse of Geklan's back as he walked hurriedly to his home. If she decided to look at the notes in the folder, she would see that sales were going well, with small action figures of the team being particularly popular.
The waiter emerged from the kitchen, bearing a towel and Geklan's meal. Surprised to see that the Lesterin had departed, he picked up the widgets and went to grab a broom. After all, someone had to pick up the broken glass.
OOC: Ora_unit, I'll take up on that interaction offer.
Kaunis gasped as he saw a Toa collapse nearby. He was clearly in poot condition.
Kaunis ran over to him. "Are you alright? What is wrong?"
OOC: That would be Forerunner.
Also, @Red Star Voyagers, let's wait for Aki's post first before continuing our adventure.
IC: CrasaroThe sound of pounding feet met Crasaro's ears as Gelkan decided to storm off. This would have normally resulted in a "Why are you going?" from Crasaro, but he was too busy eating his sandwich in his drunk stupor. All that came out was a muffled grunt, since his mouth was full of sandwich. So was his face.Mmm, sandwich.Crasaro stopped eating for a second, pulled his face out of the sandwich, and took a sip of water from the not-shattered glass of water next to his alcohol. No more alcohol. If I have any more, I might puke up that sandwich. That is not a pleasant thought. Crasaro thought to himself. After draining the glass of water, he promptly went back to having his face be one with the sandwich.
IC: "The Forerunner"
I spat out a word, "Poisoned."
I then made a small attempt to get up, only to be shortly ended by me tripping and falling face first onto the ground.
Kaunis gasped again (imagine Kiina's gasp in TLR).
"Don't move!" she ordered. "I'll... I'll get you some help!"
It did not take long for Kaunis to run and fetch some Ga-Matoran medics from the local hospital hut. They gathered around Forerunner and out him on bars. Soon enough he was being carried to the medic's to be treated.
Kaunis gulped. She felt sorry for the guy and decided to go to the medic hut herself, to wait for him.
IC: "The Wanderer"
He watched as the Ga-Matoran medics swiftly carried off the fallen Toa. He hadn't gone to a restaurant in ages, but he felt that this was not quite the average day... Toa parties, poisoned people falling down on the floor... Weird. He also watched the Lesterin and female Toa leave, before the same Toa returned almost immediately, though with an expression slightly different than when she had left. He couldn't put a finger on it, so he didn't bother continuing that train of thought.
He now watched a male Toa with his face literally in his sandwich. That was just disgusting. He extended a armored hand from within his cloak and gently exerted his power over Magnetism to push the Toa's head out of his sandwich to rest against the back of his chair.
OOC: That's Crasaro, the Toa of Sandwiches.
IC: "The Forerunner"
Inside the hut, the grueling task of getting the poison out of my system occurred. I believe that the main assumption was that I had ingested something that was toxic, for they had me repeatedly vomit and drink lots of water. I believe the proses may have went on for about an hour, but even so, it seemed like days.
Eventually everything went black.
OOC: Sorry for the delayed post, I had to do a google search on how to treat ingested poisons.
OOC: Not sure what outcome you are looking for, but I'll just assume you want to get better.
(Ga-Koro, Medical Hut):
The medics were all over Forerunner, doing their best to purify his systems and care for him. He was in the emergency department, meaning that almost all of the hospital's resources were focused on him.
Meanwhile, Kaunis waited on, constantly asking the receptionist whether the "poisoned guy" was all right.
"For the thirteenth time", the receptionist began. "I have not received any news of him yet. Once I do, I will tell you. Now sit down, lady, please."
IC: The ever-present tang of salt in the morning air was a small joy for the man in the overcoat; a small reprieve from the knowledge that he was once again a lesser man in the chain of command. Military life wasn't a life which is well-suited to breeding arrogance or ego, just the opposite. It creates an environment designed to instil obedience in lesser men and women, and make them subservient to their commanders. Had you asked him before he had become part of that military psychology, the man called Teacher would have firmly supported such a system, citing its capacity to build a better breed of people on this miserable island. Presently, though, the soldier named Private Tyrus Archer may have been more hesitant to arrive at such an answer; if only because, these days, he was one of the men forced to claim inferiority and subservience, rather than influence and power. It had been a long time since he'd been in servitude to another, and it still left a rotten taste in his mouth. But Tyrus was not a man to gripe about his circumstances; that course was a course of weakness, and even if he was to considered a lesser men amongst the Marines, that did not mean that he had to be one. No, the Lesterin planned to use this time to work as hard as ever; every drill thrown at him was a chance to hone his skills, every moment of downtime was a moment spent in the Marines' training facilities. He was a man of opportunities, never letting a second pass by without twisting it his advantage. Within the first week of his arrival, Tyrus had liberated facts and figures of all kinds from his more unwary peers. Letter upon letter had been planned, written, encoded and sent off to his employer. As of yet, it seemed, none of the Marines had noticed anything incriminating these texts amidst their hum-drum pleasantries. Such blind fools, Tyrus would sometimes think, suppressing a chuckle. No wonder the Daedra had such an easy time of conquering this village. He had another such letter in the works. A few days ago there had been a change in the patrolling rotation; it had been a small affair. After breaking her collarbone while trying to shut down yet another bar brawl, one of the regular patrollers had been temporarily replaced with a slightly battered-looking Corporal. An almost trivial matter, but one that Tyrus was certain that his employer would like to hear about. He set himself up in his usual writing spot; sitting at an outdoor table, on the veranda of one of Ga-Koro's fine restaurant establishments. It was a hot, yellow morning; the kind that makes one's throat itch and their tongue swell and every rub of clothing make them want to scream in frustration, flaunt social protocol and strip down naked. Most of the clientele had retreated to the relative chill of the interior; but not Tyrus. He stubbornly remained, though he had conceded to dumping his overcoat on the chair opposite, as well as leaving his waistcoat back at the barracks. Only his boots and armour remained. A waiter approached, clearly uncomfortable in the heat but putting on a brave smile nonetheless, bearing a glass of water and a small sandwich. This one was a Matoran, and far calmer than the last waiter who had bore witness to the Lesterin's eating habits had been. The tray was laid onto the table with little more than a whisper of sound. "Free of charge, sir," the Matoran said quickly. "Compliments of the chef." "Nonsense," Tyrus replied, tossing a few widgets over, along with a wry smile. "It's the armour, isn't it? Is that the reason for this unsolicited generosity?" The Matoran was silent, but his increasingly awkward bearing was an answer in and of itself; the blue bands outlining the Marine's armour, and sigil engraved on his left shoulder had been drawing attention for a while now. With peace having just been restored between the Koros, they were living in the short period between the Guards being merited as heroes, and being forgotten as relics of a war-torn past. "Tell your chef that I give my thanks," he added, waving the waiter away and turning back to his letter. "But that my duty to my village is a reward in itself." Hopefully, the Matoran hadn't seen the Lesterin grin as he said that; it might've given the wrong impression. Now then, back to the business at hand. My dear Etera, God's under a rat's direction; since the cat's howled everyday...
~ ~ ~
The letter slid effortlessly into the post slot, and Tyrus was on his way in no time. The streets of Ga-Koro were busy as ever, with sailors and fishermen and merchants bustling every which way, and despite his best of intentions, the Lesterin still ended up getting pushed to one side of the walkway by the throng. He allowed himself a small grumble of indignation, but moved on quickly. Once again, he had things to do, and no more time to waste. It hadn't been hard to find the right house; in fact, Tyrus had made it a point to locate the residences of his peers and betters. But travelling in the early afternoon is no simple feat, and the sun had already passed its zenith by the time he reached his destination. A simple wooden door greeted him, smoothed down the passage of hands through the years. A few scratches indicated an active lifestyle. There was a moment's hesitation, and then Tyrus knocked thrice on the door. "Corporal Shajs, sir! Are you inside, sir?" OOC: Hope you don't mind Teacher butting in here, House. I can edit, if you want. -Void
White sand dented easily beneath the steps of the small party as they traversed the ocean's edge. The group walked in a neat column two wide and five long. On shifting beach ground, such a formation wasn't easy to maintain; nevertheless, the party's decorum never faltered as it strode forward. The hems of the group's mottled deep red and purple capes, draped fully around their bodies despite the blazing sun overhead, joined with their feet to continually create the soft rustle of moving sand.
To the right of the column, a trio of smaller beings’ wet footfalls was distinct from this rustle. Tsura, followed almost reluctantly by her two Dashi shadows, walked parallel to the others, but in the tidal zone. Water, its charge edged with white foam, lapped over the feet of the Datsue and her escorts before retreating along the slick sand to reform in another small wave. Tsura seemed to revel in the rhythm, as a slight smile was fixed on her face. The two Dashi carried the hem of her cape at their waists so that it would not become wet. This made Nihi grin a little; Tsura could care less about formalities, she was above them, but she was perfectly willing to use her formally assigned shadows to her advantage.
Nihi was in the third row of the column, on the seaward side, and her friend Saru was next to her. At the front of the column their commander, Nurora, defined the pace of their advance. Nurora had also determined this course of action; she wanted to find the nearest settlement, and had assumed that, like on the Archipelago, civilization was likely close to the sea. The fish were plentiful here, like back home, so Nihi thought it was a reasonable assumption. The choice to travel north rather than south along the coast was arbitrary.
The lone Skakdi the Dasaka had encountered where they'd landed, Grokk, hadn't been much help in finding the nearest civilization. After a brief and generally uninformative interrogation, Tsura had concluded that Grokk had reached the extent of his usefulness and had let him leave, which he'd done with many verbal snipes as he'd carried the remains of his chair and his stupid little toy back into the jungle. He had been horribly rude, not only to Nihi - she could take that - but to older and wiser beings than himself, too. He was without honor, it was deplorable... Thinking about the impertinent Skakdi made Nihi's insides burn with outrage. She was grateful that, as Grokk had revealed, the main inhabitants of the island weren't Skakdi.
Nihi had only encountered a handful of Skakdi, and she'd already had more exposure to their kind than she wanted in a lifetime. Grokk hadn't just been impolite; sarcastic, deceptive, and with an air of nonchalant cruelty that had made her skin crawl, he had reinforced Nihi's unfavorable impressions about his race. He had confirmed for Nihi that the evil she had experienced in the others ran bone-deep. Not that such knowledge forgave their crimes. The others, when they had arrived on the Archipelago, had been by all accounts as facetious as Grokk, all smiles and false kindness. But it hadn't taken long for their masks to fall, for the cruelty underneath to show its face.
They were terrible creatures - not people, she decided angrily, but creatures - and they had wrought terrible damages... Not only upon the Order and Honor of her people, but upon Nihi herself.
Waves licked with soft tongues against the hexagonal, crystal-wrought pillars of the pier. It was not uncommon for fishes to swim headlong into the translucent pillars that, below the surface of the green water, became nearly invisible; many Saihoko fisherwomen actually used this phenomenon to their advantage, spearing their dazed prey before the fish regained their bearings. But that only happened during the bustle of the day. It was nighttime now, and the marina was closed as usual to discourage the performance of illicit activities under cover of darkness.
Under an array of large lightstone lanterns, Nihi and her sister Nachi stood sentinel on either side of the latticed gate to the pier. They held their long staffs with a looseness bred by practiced familiarity; even Menti warriors assigned to jobs as unexciting as night shift dock guards had to be expert warriors. Power and Order went hand in hand, after all. Nihi didn't mind that her position wasn't as active or glamorous as soldiering under a Toroshu, or even dueling in the coliseum; she enjoyed her post. She liked living at night, when things were quiet. She liked sleeping during the day. And it was a great honor to serve the Rora, no matter how distantly.
She and Nachi, as was their wont, faced landward towards the great towers of Sado. On a clearer night, their glass-like polygonal surfaces would reflect all the stars of the heavens; sometimes, in the right season, she and Nachi were even given a clear reflected view of the Red Star in one of the pinnacles of the palace. They could always have looked over their shoulders to see it behind them, but there was something more special about seeing its mirror image. Tonight, though, was overcast, so the towers were blank with darkness. Some still had lights on, but it was very late. Nihi wondered who else would be awake. She bounced a little up and down on the wooden boards of the pier absently.
:Antsy, sister?: Nachi asked playfully, her feel familiar as the back of Nihi's hand. They usually talked like this; it was faster than using their mouths, and easier to listen for rogue noises. :We still have several hours,: she went on, looking away from her sister with a slight grin. :Don't tell me you're already at the bouncing stage.:
:I wasn't thinking,: Nihi replied. :It's something I do when I'm not thinking.:
:You're always not thinking, then,: Nachi projected back. :Because I swear you start bouncing earlier every night.:
:Maybe I do... just to get on your nerves.:
:Funny. Tell me what you're thinking about:
:Didn't we just establish that I wasn't thinking?:
:We both know you're thinking. Spare yourself the nagging, and just tell me what it is.:
:Well,: Nihi answered finally, eyebrows raised as she continued to regard the towers, :I always wonder who's up there at this hour.:
:More poor fools like us, assigned night shifts?: Nachi prodded.
:Maybe they're looking at us, just like we look at them.:
:Captivated by our beauty, no doubt-:
A noise drew both of their attention. Far behind them, there was a muffled thud, like a box landing on the planks of the dock, and a profanity. A shushing noise, louder than it was probably intended, followed the profanity. Nihi and her sister looked at one another, and that was all the communication they needed. Nachi unlocked the door of the gate behind them, and Nihi pushed the doors slowly open, trying not to draw attention. It would be easier to catch whoever was there if they were caught unawares. Nihi and Nachi crept as quietly as they could, using stacks of crates and food for cover. The pair of voices became clearer as they approached the end of the dock.
"Watch it!" whispered the first one. "That was my foot."
"You seem to think I care about your foot," sneered back the second quietly.
"Better watch my foot, Thok, or it could end up somewhere unpleasant for you," snarled the first. "Be careful with the crates, we don't want to waste any of them. Be gentle, get that through your conniving head."
Nihi and Nachi were within a few yards of the pair of smugglers. Nihi peeked up over a bamboo barrel. It was dark, but not too dark for the silhouettes of the two beings to be lost against the sky. One was on the edge of the dock, next to a stack of crates; the other was standing on the back of a surfaced submarine. The top hatch was open, and light spewed up from it. As the smuggler on the submarine lowered his crate to somebody inside, his face turned towards the source of illumination, and Nihi could see clearly that this was no Dasaka. It was one of the gang. She'd only heard stories, but she knew they were extremely dangerous… and sentenced to death.
:Should we get help?: Nihi asked her sister through the mental plane.
:They could be gone by then,: Nachi replied. :I get the feeling that isn't their sub.:
"Don't we have enough of these things, Avak?" asked a third voice, canny-sounding from inside the submarine, drawing the sisters' attention.
"You don't know how to be quiet, do you, Vezok?" Avak, the first voice, hissed in retort. He was the one standing on the back of the submarine, whose face Nihi had seen.
"Well?" asked the second voice, Thok, in low tones. Nihi thought it sounded like this voice was smiling, but coldly. "You heard the brute. It's a valid question: don't we have enough of these things, already?"
"No, Thok," Avak whispered, exasperated. "And since I'm the only one who'll know how to operate this thing, what I say goes. Give me the next crate."
:I don't like the look of those crates,: Nihi told her sister, fingering the haft of her staff nervously.
:Do you think their contents are dangerous?: Nachi asked.
:Knowing the reputation of this lot? Yes.:
:What should we do? They outnumber us.:
:Not by much.:
Before Thok could pass Avak the next crate, and before Nihi and Nachi could decide whether or not to act, there was a pronounced thump, the slap of a new pair of flat feet falling seemingly from nowhere onto the back of the submarine next to Avak. Avak, in his shock, almost slipped; under different circumstances, Nihi might have laughed at his flailing limbs and wide eyes. Instead, she felt a stone of dread drop in her stomach; a fourth one had just arrived. By the light of the porthole, she could see that there was something odd about his figure. It was almost like the newcomer was constantly, subtly melting, and then righting himself, and then melting a little again. It was nauseating to watch for too long, so she resolved not to.
Nihi didn’t understand how this freak had come from thin air; neither, it seemed, did Avak. Righting himself amidst chuckles from Vezok, who had since poked his head up out of the porthole, Avak glared at the newcomer. “So you teleport too now, Zaktan?”
“No, you cool dude,” Thok grinned, delighting in his euphemized insult. Avak scowled. “He must have reformed up in the air, too far away for us to hear him buzz-”
Nihi didn’t understood what this meant until the newcomer, Zaktan, began to speak; then, it was as though the stone in her stomach was instantly turned to ice. His voice was like a swarm of bees, and it was full of malice. He was slightly shorter than Avak, but Avak quailed a little before him. “You were going to leave without me,” Zaktan stated quietly.
“No offense, Zaktan, but you’re not ideal company in a little thi-” Thok interjected, seeming to think that his distance from Zaktan afforded him a little safety to prod. He was wrong; before Nihi’s eyes, Zaktan dissolved into a black-green cloud - no wonder he’d been almost invisible against the night sky - and closed the gap between himself and Thok in a fraction of a second. Still a buzzing swarm, Zaktan whirled about Thok’s head, causing Thok to lose his balance and tumble backwards over the pier. He landed in the water with a colossal splash, and Zaktan flitted back to his place beside Avak, a three-bladed sword now clutched in his hand. Where had that come from?
:Four is now three,: Nachi told her sister urgently. :We need to act, NOW.:
Thok’s splash had shattered the gang’s hushed tones. Avak stared down Zaktan with as much bravado as he could muster. “I’m the only one who’s gonna know how to operate our escape vehicle,” he reasoned, evidently quite pleased with his logic. “You can’t hurt me.”
Zaktan seemed to agree, despite his wishes to the contrary. He snarled and, for good measure, kicked Vezok’s exposed head back into the sub, where he landed with an audible “ouch.” Zaktan dropped his weapon beside him as he assumed Thok’s old position and started handing Avak more of the crates. Below him, Thok thrashed in the water, struggling to keep his head over the surface. Skakdi were terrible swimmers.
“Our companion in the ocean will have undoubtedly drawn attention with his racket,” Zaktan said as he grabbed another crate from the pyramid. “Speed, rather than silence, is our new priority. The Dasaka will arrive soon-”
“The Dasaka are already here,” Nachi called aloud as she stood up, her staff held in a battle position.
Nihi hastily joined her sister. She supported Nachi’s move; a surprise attack was no longer their best option, as this enemy outmatched them at the moment, and support was surely on the way. All they had to do was keep the gang busy for long enough. Together, the sisters faced the three, ready for their attack. The Skakdi hesitated a moment in their surprise, and Nihi reached into the familiar place in her mind; she was ready to use that crate still in Zaktan’s hands to punch him over the edge of the dock, so he could join Thok in the sea. Her fingers twitched on her staff, and she started to bounce in her knees.
Just as the gang was about to strike, a furious leonine roar from behind Nihi and Nachi stopped them. Nihi turned to look for the source of the roaring while Nachi kept her eyes trained on the Skakdi before them; even when caught by surprise, the sisters’ strategic cooperation was instinctual. Luckily, the Skakdi before Nachi weren’t taking advantage of the division of their Dasaka foes’ attentions; they, like Nihi, faced the noise.
Nihi watched as two more Skakdi, silhouetted by the bright lightstones behind them, tore down the pier as fast as they could. Nihi hadn’t heard the gate busted open, and then she remembered to her frustration that she and Nachi had never relocked it. The footfalls of the incoming Skakdi were heavy on the wooden boards; they jumped over and around the obstacles that Nihi and Nachi had used for cover as if they weren’t there. She saw one of them execute a running hurdle-jump so perfect that it could have belonged in the coliseum games. Nihi prepared her staff for the incoming Skakdi; the icy stone in her stomach had long ago melted to the anticipatory pounding of her heart. She and her sister were about to be surrounded by their foes.
But when the charging Skakdi reached the two Dasaka, they did not stop. One of them pounded straight through the sisters, knocking them aside and battering through the bamboo barrel like it was a paper wall. The second one had ran up a tall stack of boxes as if it was a ramp and leapt clean over the Dasaka’s heads, roaring the same battle cry as had drawn their attention before. Nihi watched the Skakdi charge like bulls at their companions.
The one that had broken through the barrel dove for Zaktan as though intent to tackle him from the waist. Clearly, the tackler hadn’t differentiated Zaktan from the others in the darkness and at the speed he was going; too late to change his momentum, he passed straight through Zaktan, who had once more become a dark cloud, and fell flailing head-first into the water below. The crate Zaktan had dropped when he dissolved broke against one of the pier pillars, releasing a virulent-looking, fluorescent green mist from its splinters.
The second Skakdi, the jumper, landed just in front of Avak, and swung a heavy weapon at his face. Avak ducked and picked up his own weapon. The two began to trade swipes, and their weapons clanged against one another. Hearing the noises of commotion, Vezok emerged from the porthole, narrowly avoiding being kicked into the sub for a second time. He swung his own weapon in the direction of the newcomer, and an arc of what looked like daggers sped point-first through the air at the dueling duo. Avak and his assailant split apart just in time to dodge the projectiles, then both turned on Vezok, growling.
:Infighting,: Nihi pointed out. Nachi nodded.
Zaktan reformed amidst the dissipating cloud of luminescent green gas, but he didn’t watch the other Skakdi’s squabble. His eyes, red and glowing, were fixed on Nihi and her sister. He took a few steps towards them - Nihi absurdly noted that he walked a little like a duck - and he reached out his hand behind himself. The three-bladed sword he’d set down earlier turned into a cloud, just like he’d done several times, and sped like a mass of flies into his hand, where it reformed quickly. The golden blades caught the light of the distant lightstones; they gleamed, and Nihi knew that they would cut as surely as any other knife.
“Fools,” Zaktan hissed at the other Skakdi, without turning his eerie gaze from the Dasaka. “These are our true enemies.”
“I don’t know about that,” the new Skakdi growled, snorting at Avak. “You were all perfectly happy to leave Reidak and me on this karzforsaken rock.”
“You woulda done the same to us, Hakann,” Vezok pointed out.
“An irrelevant fact,” the one called Hakann said, rolling his eyes.
“And I’m perfectly willing to leave Reidak and Thok down there,” Avak interjected, listening to their continued attempts to swim. Thok, it seemed, was trying vainly to clamber up one of the smooth-sided pillars, while Reidak tried to force him back under the water.
“Let ‘em drown,” Vezok laughed.
“I guess we can agree on something,” Hakann smiled sardonically, until his black humor was withered by a look from Zaktan. As one, the four Skakdi turned to look at the two Dasaka, whose staffs were still held ready in combat.
“We won’t let you leave,” Nachi said. Nihi envied her sister’s nerves of steel, her stoicism; Nihi kept bouncing lightly on her toes. She wasn’t afraid, just antsy.
“When your friend is shivering like that?” Avak giggled back. “I don’t think I can take your threat too seriously if one of you is so jumpy.”
Nihi proved Avak wrong by sending a box of Ikian artisanal pebbles squarely into his face with her mind. His head snapped back; she hoped she’d killed him. No such luck; Avak’s grin had become a grimace. As he cracked his neck to either side, wincing, the other Skakdi laughed their ugly laughs and readied their own weapons for the fight to come.
“Come at us,” Nihi challenged, no longer bouncing.
The Skakdi would have charged if a sudden noise had not broken the tense standoff for a second time. There was a great rush of water as a tall pillar of earth and ice seemed to explode out of the seabed, punching the water out of its way. On top of its flat pinnacle were two soaked and irate-looking Skakdi.
“Sometimes, teamwork can be effective,” Thok called down, his inane smile plastered back on his face below burning eyes. The one who had jumped off the pier through Zaktan, who Nihi assumed was Reidak, shook himself off like a dog and then leapt nimbly down onto the top of one of the pier supports. Thok clambered down the rough elemental pillar less ceremoniously, but arrived next to his kin nevertheless. He and Reidak looked ready to divorce Zaktan’s head from his body, but something kept them back. They only stared at him; Zaktan returned their looks impassively, though his face twitched a little more violently than usual.
Nihi took advantage of the Skakdi standoff to grab one of their mysterious crates and fling it into Hakann. It burst against him in a poof of the same green gas as had enveloped Zaktan, but Hakann breathed it in deeply, showily, and only laughed. He gave the other five significant looks. Chuckling too, they started their advance on the sisters.
Nachi swung her staff at the closest one, Vezok, catching him unawares with her speed and cracking into his jaw. In angry response, he sent a flurry of the same dagger-things arching towards Nachi. Nachi batted some of them aside; the rest, she sidestepped. Nihi dropped a nearby coil of rope on Avak with her mind, letting go of it just in time to block a downward chop from Reidak’s weapon. She caught the haft of his weapon on the haft of hers; inches from her face, the buzzsaw at the end of Reidak’s tool spun uselessly through the air. Nachi leapt over a kneecapping blow from Thok, spinning in midair so that her foot scythed into his shoulder, knocking him towards Zaktan, who shoved him straight again.
Despite the sisters’ defensive success, though, the gang still refused to kick into high gear. Nihi could tell; as the Skakdi gradually walked her and Nachi backwards on the pier, Nihi noticed that, aside from Vezok - who rubbed his jaw - they were all grinning. Even Zaktan wore a humorless leer. They were toying with the Dasaka. What were they playing at?
:What is he doing?: Nachi asked her sister as she parried a lazy swipe from Zaktan.
Further down the dock, Nihi saw who she was talking about. Hakann hadn’t advanced with the rest of the gang. He had an open crate under one arm and was occupied with the other submarines on the dock. Sequentially, Hakann jumped on top of each one’s surfaced back, unscrewed the top porthole, and dropped a few of what Nihi saw to be acid-green spheres from his crate inside. Then, quickly as he could, Hakann resealed the portholes and moved on to the next sub.
Whatever the spheres did, Nahi guessed that it had to impair the submarines. Hakann was, somehow, sabotaging the subs that might follow his gang’s vehicle during its eventual escape. The other five Skakdi, the ones driving her and her sister back, were merely his diversion. Nihi was briefly astounded by the degree of cooperation among the lot of them; just minutes earlier, they had been at each others’ throats. Common interest, she supposed, had a unifying effect on thieves like these.
Nachi seemed to have caught on as quickly as her sister. After the briefest of shared glances, both surged forward, breaking through the line of Skakdi. A well-placed blow from Nachi’s staff collided solidly with Thok’s gut, and Nihi used her staff like a pole to vault over Reidak’s shoulder, narrowly outswinging the arc of his buzzsaw over his shoulder. Hakann saw the Dasaka coming and reached for his weapon, but not in time; Nachi raised her hand as she sprinted, and it went skittering along the surface of the dock, nearly falling off the edge. Meanwhile, Nihi lunged forward, clocked him with her staff.
By now, the other Skakdi were following, and Nachi had to wheel around to make sure that her sister was not vulnerable. Vezok, perhaps seeking revenge for his jaw, looked at Nachi, and his eyes flashed. Suddenly, Nachi was thrown back a few feet, as if punched by a huge, invisible fist. She was winded, but kept her staff raised and ready. The other Skakdi, though, did not seem as concerned with dealing out retaliatory blows. They, like Nihi, could hear the indistinct murmur of approaching voices. Menti backup would arrive soon, and the gang had clearly decided it was time to leave.
Zaktan, who had dissolved into his buzzing cloud again, was the first one to speed to the gang’s chosen submarine. He reformed on the back of the submarine and ushered Avak and Reidak inside, following them down as a cloud again. Vezok was the next-closest, with Hakann on his heels. Just before he leapt onto the back of the sub, though, Vezok grabbed one of the remaining crates of spheres and, chortling, tossed it over his shoulder at Hakann.
For the second time, Nihi watched a box of the gas-filled spheres explode over Hakann; as before it didn’t seem to injure him, but it distracted him long enough for Vezok to jump down into the sub alone. Nihi telekinetically threw a nearby fishing spear at Vezok’s retreating head, but he had descended too quickly, and the spear’s tip only broke against the porthole door, its shaft preventing the porthole from closing. Inadvertently, Nihi had saved Thok, last to the edge of the dock, from abandonment; Vezok had not been able to lock the porthole behind himself because of the spear shaft, and so Thok was able to open the door. He threatened to kick Vezok down the hatch another time, and descended uninhibited into the submarine, tossing the spear shaft into the water before closing the door in earnest.
Hakann was the only one of the gang left on the dock. As he turned around to face Nachi and Nihi, they all heard the approaching voices grow much clearer, accompanied by the pounding of several pairs of feet. Reinforcements had arrived; Nihi felt the heat of several Soulswords compose their weapons behind her. The glows of the dripping energy blades illuminated the dark end of the dock, and Hakann was bathed in soft light. At the sight of him, several of the other Menti shouted angrily, or gasped. They, like Nihi, could immediately recognize him as one of the gang, as he was clearly not a Dasaka. Several shouts rose above the murmur of the crowd.
“It’s... him! What’s-his-name!”
“Aren’t they killing him in the morning? Him and the others?”
“How did he escape?”
“Isn’t he just the handsomest thing?” Hakann cooed back, mocking their tones of surprise. He backed up slowly, until he was at the edge of the dock.
Nihi and Nachi, the front of the crowd of assorted night guards, took a step towards him, closing the birth that Hakann had been given. He didn’t seem to like that; he flicked his foot underneath his weapon so that it rose into his waiting claws. Nihi stared down its barrel as he aimed the end of it at her, and in the light of the Soulswords, she saw his wide mouth twitch into a crazed smile. Hakann’s eyes flicked down, took a cursory look at the submarine; even though the hatch was closed, the vehicle hadn’t moved down or away. Evidently, Avak was still trying to figure out how to control it.
“Listen, ladies,” Hakann sneered, addressing the crowd of Dasaka. “I’d love to stick around, but the schedule isn’t great. As one of you pointed out, I’m slated to die tomorrow, and I’d rather prefer to keep living.”
The barrel of his weapon remained trained on Nihi’s face. She jumped laterally as something at the back of it flashed orange, and a fireball singed her side as it passed. One of the Soulswords nicked at the fireball as it passed, and the energies of her blade managed to divide the burning projectile in two. Its halves nevertheless struck the dock, and lit it rapidly. During the day, the wood of the pier was wetter; it’d had hours in peace to be dried by salty sea breezes, and was as ready as kindling to Hakann’s flame. Before the Dasaka could control it, the fire caught some canvas-covered piles of mercantile goods and became an inferno.
Nihi and Nachi, who had been closest to Hakann, were quickly separated from the retreating crowd by a wall of flame, and they were on the same side of that barrier as the Skakdi. He cast another look at the still-motionless sub; barely audible under the crackle of the fire, the shouts of the rest of the gang’s frustration with Avak could be vaguely heard inside. Hakann turned to the Dasaka sisters and shrugged, feigning apology. “They always do this,” he confided sarcastically. “Try to shove me out. It’s just a minor inconvenience, I’ll be out of your way in a-”
Nachi ended his words with a jab of her staff. “We aren’t going to let you go, Skakdi,” she growled. Nihi nodded grimly, holding her own staff to his throat, ready to dislodge his windpipe if necessary. The fire was creeping closer and, at last, the submarine had started to move; Nihi could feel its humming engines through the boards of the dock. Hakann seemed to have felt the same thing, because his head turned to watch it inch away. The sub was picking up speed, and would soon be out of his reach.
“I beg to differ,” Hakann crooned slyly. He darted back from Nihi’s staff, leaving it hanging in nothingness, and ducked under it. As Nachi lunged at him, the Skakdi executed the maneuver Vezok had pulled on him earlier, and tossed a crate of the spheres over his shoulder at the one who pursued him.
In her memory, Nihi saw the crate fly gently, captured in elongated time, towards her sister. It spun in the air as though one of its corners had been softly tapped. Then the crate splintered against Nachi.
Nihi could only assume that her sister hadn’t moved out of the way, or even bothered to swat the crate aside with her mind, because she’d seen twice how little effect the green gas had had on Hakann. Maybe she’d assumed that Hakann had meant for the gas to be a distraction, and hadn’t seen the crate as a danger. Nihi couldn’t know, but she always ran the old question through her head.
When the crate hit Nachi, its impact sent her stumbling back. She landed on her rear a few feet from the wall of fire. Weirdly, unnaturally, the cloud of fluorescent gas had followed her down, clinging to Nachi’s person like fog to hills. Nihi, sparing this oddity only a glance, tried to stop Hakann, but he’d already jumped for the back of the submarine. He’d hardly made the leap - one of his hands had snagged a bar on the porthole, and even now his legs still dangled in the water - and that’d been a full second ago. By now, the submarine was completely out of jumping range, so Nihi could not repeat Hakann’s stunt.
The gang had won; she knew it, and she hated it. Hakann must have sabotaged the other submarines with that gas, whatever it did, so following their vessel would be impossible for a while, certainly long enough for the six Skakdi to disappear. From behind the wall of fire - a wall being quickly diminished as Mindarms used empty crates to fetch and dump sea water over the blackened wood - the other Dasaka could see that Hakann was gone and the submarine departed. Nihi, cursing the Skakdi, turned back to her sister, expecting her to have gotten up by now.
Nachi wasn’t up. She was foaming at the mouth. Her limbs jerked spastically. Her wide eyes were rolled back in her head.
Nihi felt like the level ground she stood on had started to tip forward, so far on the diagonal that it would spill her into a void. She was acutely aware of her own heartbeat, the shrill ring in her ears, and the sound of her own breathing. How different it was from her sister’s erratic rasps.
“N-no,” Nachi croaked, her voice drawing Nihi’s attentions from bodily rhythms. Nihi could do nothing but stand over Nachi, acutely aware of her own shameful paralysis. Why could she not move? “No, go away,” her sister, her tortured sister, moaned, her head thrashing back and forth against the dock. “G-go away. I’ll… I’ll do it. I-” Nachi tried to finish, but failed. As she had failed to avoid the crate. A second later, her voice was hers again. “Please, please. Go away, go away. I can’t. No, not me. Stay away from that. Her. N-n-no. Not her. Me. ” Something terrible was happening, and Nihi was still motionless, staring down at her sister. Why was she a statue in the face of this?
At once, Nachi’s back became a sickening bridge against the dock, and her fingers splayed, twitched, as though grabbing desperately for something. Her mouth was opened wide in a scream that was without voice. Nachi continued to mouth words, and Nihi felt the dryness of her own voice; the stone in her stomach had risen into her throat, and she could speak no more than Nachi. Something was doused in Nihi, something sacred she couldn’t feel until it was gone, and she could finally move. Immediately, Nihi knelt beside her sister, tried to calm her, tried to ease her tensed muscles and joints, but to no avail. More silent screams. Nihi wanted to swallow the stone, she couldn’t watch this, she didn’t know how to help, but she needed to help.
:Nachi,: she ventured desperately. :Nachi, you must hear me. Nachi.:
There was no reply in her head. Nachi’s jerking, though, grew less, almost ceased. Nihi raised her sister’s head, saw that Nachi’s eyes had closed and the foam dripping from her mouth had ceased. Nihi reached to wipe the spittle off her sister’s chin, but when she touched Nachi, Nachi’s eyes were open again, facing the right way, now. They stared dolefully past Nihi. Nihi turned her sister’s limp head towards herself, but Nachi still looked past her, as though she wasn’t there. The firelight danced in her eyes beside a new companion: ambivalent madness.
Nihi could no longer hold down her dry sobs. She cradled Nachi like a babe, inhaling harsh breath that did not save her from feeling as though she was drowning. Nachi rested her head impassively against her sister’s breast, eyes fixated on emptiness. They were as blank as the surfaces of the towers high overhead on this overcast night. Nihi’s hands caressed her sister’s head, and they were shaking together. Nachi was limp, Nihi was helpless.
Nihi was holding a familiar body, but it carried the mind of a stranger.
Shouting at sea drew Nihi’s wet eyes. Hakann was standing on the top of the sub now, his fire gun pointed at the hatch. He was shouting something about breaking the seal, killing them all, if the others didn’t let him in. Nihi barely took it in as she watched, far away, the top of the submarine open with resentful slowness and Hakann descend. She couldn’t concern herself with the affairs of the Piraka.
She could only hate them.
:Everything alright?: Saru asked Nihi.
:I’m fine,: Nihi told her friend. Saru could always tell.
:You’re not,: Saru replied. She tossed Nihi a covert look. :You’ve got that look on your face again.:
:You know which look I mean. You don’t need to tell me what brought that up.:
:He was just like them,: Nihi finally replied. Saru nodded knowingly. :It made me so angry.:
:I was angry too, Nihi,: Saru told her. :For your sake.:
:Do you want to return to your thoughts?:
:I just need to think about marching.:
OOC: Now it's time for 'Fun With Delirium, with Mons Shajs!'.
IC: (Mons Shajs/Shajs' Hut/Ga-Koro)
In the minutes before Private Tyrus came to Shajs' door, the Skakdi had slipped into a bizarre state of mind. Clouded by pain and fever, the Skakdi's mind slipped into delirium. Instead of being in a stinking, stifled hut, Shajs' mind made him think he was in a cottage, in a meadow, somewhere. When his fellow Marine entered the home, beckoned by 'Come in!', he saw a very strange site. On that would likely cause Shajs to be the butt of every Marine joke in the next decade.
Shajs sat in a seat, next to a plain wooden table. Two other chairs were there, pulled out, empty. Three teacups were out, saucers in all, Shajs was in the middle of filling them. With an empty kettle. Putting it onto the table, he sat down. Tyrus then saw Shajs had on an old bedsheet, worn like an apron. Looking at the Marine, he said, in his usual voice:
"Would'a you wanna some tea, dear boy? Sit wi' Mrs. Rurvic an' Mrs. Darvia, p'lease."
He then saw that Shajs was covered in boils...
OOC: Everyone is getting sick in ga-koro now.
IC: "The Forerunner"
I regained consciousness. I observed my surroundings. I was in the same medical hut as I was in before. Nothing was spinning, so I believed that it was safe to assume that I was better. I looked for my shield and scythe. I got up, and walked over to them. I strapped them onto my back, and exited as quickly and a unnoticeable as possible.
I did not belong here, and I would have to give my gratitude later.
(Ga-Koro, Medical Hut):
Kaunis was startled to see Forerunner leave the hut without being noticed by any of the medics. It looked like he wanted to avoid attention.
Kaunis followed him outside.
"Wait!" she shouted when they were far enough from the medic's hut. "Where are you going?"
IC: "The forerunner"
At hearing the matorans words, I paused and turned around. For once I felt quite compelled to answer a question that I considered a buisness matter.
"I will probably make a round trip to all of the koros. Why do you ask this?"
Kaunis ran all the way to Forerunner.
"Well, I couldn't help noticing that you just sort of snuck out of the hospital... are you sure you're okay?"
IC: "The forerunner"
"I am fine, for now. Lets hope that doesn't happen again."
"Who did it to you?" Kaunis inquired. "Who poisoned you?"
IC: "The Forerunner"
"If I knew who was attacking me, I wouldn't be taking a trip around the island. I would be gone, and Dark C would most likely have a new case."
"You have amnesia?"
IC: "The Forerunner"
"No, what would make you think that?"
"I just don't understand how the poison could enter you without you noticing. Was it in something you ate?"
IC: "The Forerunner."
"Most likely. May we continue this conversation, elsewhere?" I glanced around.
"Uh, okay", Kaunis said. "Wherever you wanna continue is fine. I'll follow."
IC: "The Forerunner"
I looked around. There was a nearby restaurant that looked OK. "Come on," I stated, as I ducked into the restaurant.
The first thing I saw when I entered the restaurant was a confused toa holding a sandwich. Promptly, I found a small booth in a corner, and sat down.
Kaunis was not far behind, jumping on a seat next to Forerunner's.
"Now, tell me, do you have any idea of who might want to poison you?"
IC: "The forerunner"
"Well, people that would kill me. Hmm..", I thought for a minute, "That is a pretty long list. But, the only people that I can think would want to kill me at the moment would be Old Company."