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    Sympathy for the Devil

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    Zev the Reveler
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    Sympathy for the Devil

    Post by Zev the Reveler on Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:38 am

    Divers Down [Act 1]

    Beginning Act 2

    ~ ~ ~

    LOCATION - Spherus Magna, Chawla Nui, Central Badlands

    In the blasted desert wasteland, a lone figure treads. That lone figure would happen to be I, Takadox - Former ruler, former conqueror, former Barraki. There are many things I once was and can no longer claim to be, but there are a few things I am at the present time: Famished. Parched. Forced to ignore the stab wounds in my legs. It is indeed a fortunate thing that Chawla Nui's small brand of Nui Jaga are not venomous, merely incredibly irritating and impossible to cook in any way that is palatable to a decent being. Then again, I am hardly decent - And they do go so very well with tart, bitter cactus fruits, washed down with a bit of water that has been stale for months.

    As for how and why I am here, well, it would appear that the blame for Carapar's death has been placed on my head. For once, I am not entirely at fault in the cascade of disasters that lead to this happening, but I hardly can even hope that they would listen to me when I make my case clear to them. So, I now find myself wandering the baking hot sand, looking for any place where I can find refuge from the arid wind and searing heat. It does not seem that I will be quite so lucky - The flat expanse of sand extends for as far as I can see in every direction. My mechanical body has been weatherbeaten and ravaged nearly as much as it can possibly take, and my biological body is direly in need of proper sustenance and rest. Yet as I finally think that perhaps, just maybe, it wouldn't hurt to lie down and rest my weary gears...The world descends into tumbling pandemonium all around me. Sand is tossed through the air and a jarringly solid surface bashes into my face.

    Eyes blinded by flashes of pain, I fall flat onto my back, the daggers I prized from a dead body's fingers back on the shoreline tumbling to the sand. I find a clawed foot pressed down onto my torso with harsh force, and a sharpened javelin leveled with my brow. Stood above me is a dull tan Skakdi, eyes surrounded by thin, whirling lines of pale red light. As the Skakdi moves slightly to get a look at me, allowing me to see that on its other arm is a disc of a shield about the size of a kanoka, I take a closer inspection in return. It's always hard to tell with these savages, but yes, this is indeed a female. That hardly eases my worries, as I am still defenseless, and she has now stepped off of me, only to lift me by one hand and stare me in the eyes. Oh. Oh dear. She is quite a bit taller than I could first tell.

    "I am going to ask you one question," she begins in a harsh, snarling voice, "And I want you to think very, very carefully before you answer." I give an almost imperceptible nod. "Why are you in a territory that has very clearly been marked as forbidden to outsiders?" Well, now I'm in a pickle. It would be very reasonable for a being hunted by exceedingly deadly enemies, forced to skirt the fringes of society, to not know of such circumstances, but then...Well, I'm effectively already captured, so I guess there's no helping it.

    "My name is Takadox," I say in the most even voice I can manage, with her javelin now poised to skewer my windpipe. "I am rarely so honest, I'll admit, but I have betrayed the Barraki. I was once one of them, as a matter of fact. They have hounded me so in seeking my demise that I am unable to keep up with borders and laws. I am terribly sorry for intruding, I assure you I will escort myself off the premises posthaste if you'll - " I close my mouth with an audible clank.

    We're sinking. On land.

    I look down to see that the sand is indeed swirling around in a vortex, out from under our feet, and slowly rising into the air. I glance up at her, to see her eyes have returned to normal and that a most cruel grin has unfurled on her face. "My name is Iazdhi. And I have been waiting for you for ten-thousand years."

    I try to tell her that I appreciate the sentiment, I really do make an honest attempt. Yet before the comment can even begin to articulate, we abruptly plunge downward with such speed my head whips back.

    My last sight before all fades to black is myself and Iazdhi falling into a cavern.

    Then, I know no more.
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    Re: Sympathy for the Devil

    Post by Srgt. Master on Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:49 am

    Nice! Like how this is set up!

    Keeping this marked for alerts Razz
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    Re: Sympathy for the Devil

    Post by Klak on Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:37 pm

    The ending made me go Shocked

    Nice story and set up. You expand really well on the previous concepts. however, I wonder if Takadox would really be scared of her. He isn't exactly a coward, just a person waiting to stab you in the back.


    Why is this a separate topic though? Razz


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    Re: Sympathy for the Devil

    Post by Zev the Reveler on Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:48 pm

    Well, I made it a separate topic because they're more separate stories following a same course.

    As well, he's not so much "scared" of her as "cautious". More than anything, he's being a total wise--- when he narrates things like the "Oh. Oh dear." part. My Takadox is a complete smart aleck, so take that how you will. U~U

    But now, I do believe it's time to move onto Chapter 2! Let's go~!

    ~ ~ ~

    LOCATION - Spherus Magna, Chawla Nui, ???

    When I awake, I am laid flat on a stone slab. Despite how the darkness I seem to be in soothes my eyes, I can still feel the throbbing pain behind their lids. That Skakdi woman must have given me a concussion with that bash from her shield. Thankfully, it seems that I've slept through the worst of it. All I have to contend with now is assessing my present situation. Deciding that seeing where I am would greatly assist this task, I open my eyes and groggily sit upright so as to make an inventory of my surroundings.

    I hardly jest when I say there's no view. Besides the slab of stone beneath me, I seem to be in a completely empty pit, with some sort of black bars forming a grid up above. The only other facet of the 'room' (besides my resting place for however many hours have passed) is some kind of rusted, pitted metal door. As if cued by the focus I've placed on it, the door slides open to reveal a small chamber beyond. Out steps Iazdhi, crossing the room and reaching me in two strides of her long legs. Wordlessly, she grabs me by the shoulder and hauls me off of my seat. I give a hiss of warning, but her response is naught but a mirthless chuckle. I'm dragged into the chamber, door closing behind me.

    As it rattles into an upward motion, I realize that we're in an elevator. Before I can ponder what this says about my hosts, however, the door is opened and I am yanked out into the open cavern beyond. My legs struggle to catch up and support me as I am lead forward. I am only sure of one thing, at this point: my life is completely out of my own hands.

    ~ ~ ~

    ~ Years In The Past, But Not Many ~

    LOCATION - Spherus Magna, Ibo Nui, Moss Fortress

    Around a table of stone, in a small, crumbling fortress, four beings stand. These four once, with two others, ruled an immense domain. Together, their cruelty, tactical brilliance, and collective military might was thought unstoppable. They controlled most of the Matorna Universe, were a mightier force than either the Toa or the Dark Hunters, and believed they would successfully overthrow the Great Spirit, Mata Nui. This could not have been more wrong. In one fell swoop, the forces of Makuta Teridax, allied with the Toa, crushed the armies of these warlords - Known as the Barraki - And were on the verge of ending their threat once and for all.

    This was until an agent of another group entirely - His name being Botar - Used mysterious abilities to teleport the Barraki away to receive their sentencing in the Pit. A prison for those who posed a threat to the Matoran Universe, those who knew of it either slept safely or lived in close acquaintance with dread at the thought of its existence. It was the ultimate means of containing threats, even after it became flooded with mutagenic waters. It was to be that, even with their cells and bars sundered, the Barraki would not be able to regain the thrones they had been cast off of so easily. The waters that flooded the Pit mutated them into aquatic monstrosities, and that is how they would stay for untold years.

    Building undersea armies, they shared their punishment just as they had shared their victories. But one particular Barraki, Mantax, had long suspected a traitor in their midst. As such, he spent much of his time digging in the remains of their prison for a contract that would prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that his supicions were accurate, and that in their midst there was a backstabbing turncoat. Yet about this time, a great power known as the Kanohi Ignika - the Mask of Life - Fell to the dark depths, and the Barraki's ties were put to the test. In the end, the Barraki were trumped, and believed to be finally defeated.

    However, this was not the end of their story. Makuta Teridax, the former hero to defeat them, wrested control of the Matoran Universe from the Great Spirit Mata Nui. In doing so, he became the Matoran Universe, and for a time, had earned his ultimate prize. Yet the Barraki had been chosen to join a war of futility against him, with Takadox and Carapar being sent along with other, equally unsavory individuals to seek the aid of a primordial being known as Tren Krom. In the debacle, Carapar was obliderated by Tren Krom, and Takadox was revealed to have been the traitor Mantax had correctly suspected.

    Now, down two of their number - One destroyed without a trace, one twice a traitor - The remaining warlords must deliberate on their next course of action. "I would merely like to be made privy to your reasoning, Mantax," Pridak seethes. "Specifically, why you did not see it necessary in the least to let the rest of us know that you suspected a traitor. Please, do enlighten me." The pearl-armored leader of the group rests his hand on the pommel of one of his twin blades. It is clear enough to everyone present that his patience is at its end.

    "I've said it before, Pridak," Mantax begins in a calm, even voice - Though it is clear that he's selecting his words most carefully. "If I had made it known that I suspected a traitor, in the event that I was right, the traitor could have easily begun covering his tracks. Which, as we've seen, Takadox precisely did once he knew I was onto him. I will accept that I should have tried to alert you, at least, in secret. Not doing so was folly in my part." He adjusts his footing, crossing his arms. "But I am blameless in the debacle that came of Takadox's final betrayal. I would simply like to know how he could possibly best Carapar with the rest of their little entourage present." He finds himself interrupted by the dull noise of stone on metal. Mantax glances over at the knife that Ehlek has buried in the table.

    Along with Mantax and a bemused Kalmah, Pridak's gaze turns to Ehlek. "Is there something you would like to share with us?" Snarling, Ehlek removes the dagger from its spot buried in the stone surface. He's obviously biting his tongue to not say something he'll regret, so Pridak merely waits him out. At last, he says, "I understand that you are most enraged over Carapar's death. While I cannot conceive why this is so, you are reminded that he was our ally, as well. We all want Takadox's head for this; but kindly keep your anger under control." He nods as Ehlek takes a calming breath, and sheathes his dagger.

    Eventually, Kalmah speaks up. "We've lost track of Takadox around the Delscah Archipelago. He may be captured, if he's strayed into one of the Forbidden Territories. If we make haste, we can still capture him - He was lost in a storm, and all of the Archipelago's islands are little more than blighted tundras." Falling silent, he inspects a plate of his armor; the very same crimson as garnet.

    Nodding, Pridak raises his voice a measure. "Prepare yourselves, Barraki. You and your armies shall not rest until Takadox is made to pay for his crimes! Neither shall I nor my army cease in our pursuit for vengeance! By air or by sea, take to your ships and seek out that backstabber!" Drawing his sword, he cleaves the stone table in twain with one blow.

    Bowing their heads to him in recognition, the rest of the former warlords take their leave. Sheathing his blade, Pridak leaves to prepare for the hunt.

    The time has at last arrived to bid good riddance to traitorous rubbish.

    ~ ~ ~

    ~ Returning to Present Day ~
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    Re: Sympathy for the Devil

    Post by Klak on Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:52 pm

    Glad you established this as an alternate U....because:

    "Yet the Barraki had been chosen to join a war of futility against him, with Takadox and Carapar being sent along with other, equally unsavory individuals to seek the aid of a primordial being known as Tren Krom. In the debacle, Carapar was obliderated by Tren Krom, and Takadox was revealed to have been the traitor Mantax had correctly suspected."

    this is inaccurate. Razz


    Nice buildup though, I'm glad you portrayed the meeting and described the settings well. When does the "Years in the Past" take place though? Did they get to Spherus Magna the same way as in the Original U?


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    Re: Sympathy for the Devil

    Post by Zev the Reveler on Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:55 pm

    Well, I'm at fault there.

    I'm sorry for the inaccuracy. U~U

    And yes, they reached Spherus Magna the same as the original.

    And they've been there for a good deal of time.

    I'll explain more as we go.

    Sorry again. >u<
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    Re: Sympathy for the Devil

    Post by Zev the Reveler on Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:00 am

    Apologies for the double post, but I want to get this posted.

    It is also now decided, for certain, that this is an Alternate Universe story.

    Please excuse any future discrepancies on my part, and enjoy!

    ~ ~ ~

    LOCATION - Spherus Magna, Chawla Nui, ???

    As I am dragged along by Iazdhi, I take in the village I've found myself in. The term 'village' does not adequately describe this place, however. I would compare it to the Great City of Metru Nui, or at least the district of Ta, perhaps Po Metru; were it completely underground and inhabited by a motley arrangement of beings.

    Skakdi, Steltians, and Toa, all working in unison in a manner that greatly disturbs me. They do not say anything casually or to call out a misunderstanding - They only occasionally direct each other to another job that needs to be done, or use some unknowable language of grunts and gestures to convey the larger portion of their messages. The tasks they are set to mainly involve digging up all manner of minerals: protodermis, carving stone, gemstones, gold...I seem to have found myself in a treasure trove of an underground city.

    I take note of the beasts assisting them; completely organic, they are not like any Rahi or creature I've ever seen. Particularly, the miners are assisted by a species of huge creature, with a broad, barrel-shaped torso that narrows down to stout, bowlegged hindquarters; a thick layer of bristling fur, with some of the largest creatures possessing chitinous armor plates over this coat on the back and shoulders; four circular, milky-white eyes; and an ugly, snarling face with huge, downward-pointing fangs, many of which seem to have been engraved upon by their masters to denote the identity of said owners, were I to guess at the meaning of the carved glyphs.

    Yet the portion of the creatures' physiognomies that will be most sure to avoid are their forelimbs. Huge, broad, and spade or shovel-like, with a pair of thick, hooked talons, they use these natural implements along with their fangs to displace huge amounts of earth. I've been given an acute opportunity to view such a creature, as in the process of hauling me through the beaten-down path on the outskirts of the towering bronze and onyx city, Iazdhi has called over her own beast to keep an extra two pairs of eyes on me. The creature gives a friendly sniff at my hand. I resist the urge to force it away, as I do not know for sure that I could die for the gesture, but I am reasonably sure that I'm not keen to find out. So, I simply keep looking for any possible avenue of escape, and don't do anything to tip Iazdhi off.

    My discretion is in vain, however. "I hope you don't think you can escape," Iazdhi practically purrs back at me. She must take great delight in my inability to fight back. If I survive to recover, I'll be sure to show her that I can be just as charmingly sadistic. As I keep these thoughts to myself, she continues speaking after a beat. "I did not lie when I said that we've been waiting for you. Not just I. You'll see once we reach the Wiseman." Perfect. A Wiseman. They can't just call him a title I'll recognize. She knows very well that I'm a stranger to general terminology, so I maintain my silence. Thankfully, she falls silent as well. And to my distinct displeasure, her pet has begun snuffling into my side. What an offensively unclean creature.

    In a matter of minutes after, we've arrived at a different sort of building. It's made of stone, dome-shaped, completely unadorned, and fills me with an unimaginable disgust. If this is the kind of building I know it to be, then this is going to be an indescribably irritating visit. You see, I recognize this to be the sort of hut a Matoran Turaga would use. And if there's one thing I've grown to hate more than self-righteous Toa, it's the Turaga who give them guidance. I keep these thoughts to myself, as I have done so many thoughts recently, and come to a stop at the same time as Iazdhi. Before we've had to wait long, a petulant and discontented voice calls out to us from within: "Well, don't just stand there like a railcar hit your baby Lottak. Bring the Second inside." I'm very interested in what I am the second of, so I allow Iazdhi to drag me inside with no struggle. At a grunt from her, the creature which I am going to assume to be called a Lottak does a few paces around while stomping in the dirt, before plopping down to take a rest just outside the door.

    Within the building, there is only one piece of furnishing - A wide, woven straw mat, atop which the Turaga sits. By his dark gray and black coloration, I can only assume he was once an Ima Matoran. He must have once been a Toa of Magnetism to see much combat, for I notice that below the knee, he's completely missing his right leg. As Iazdhi harshly forces me to sit, the Turaga gazes at me with one eye closed. Behind his mask, I can see that his left eye is too scarred to stay open. We kneel before him for several minutes, without him moving a muscle. I realize that his dull silver mask has taken a faint, pulsing glow. Above the eyes are pronounced ridges, and two semi-spheres are parted to reveal an elliptical, slatted plate over his half-opened, luminescent mouth. At last, he seems to shudder, and look at me fully. I do not believe I have ever seen such an irascible gaze on a Turaga, and it is quite amusing to pay witness to, I must say.

    With his axe-bladed staff rested over his lap, he finally begins to speak. "Your name is Takadox," he says bluntly. I am hardly surprised that someone here knows my name, and nod. "You once betrayed the other five Barraki. You have been blamed for the death of one, while you yourself did not commit the deed. You have spent the past 302 years, seven months, and three days fleeing from the others. Do I have your inglorious saga pegged so far?" I have slowly grown tense throughout this exposition, but nod once again. I'm beginning to get a clue as to how this Turaga possesses such insight. "You've likely caught on by now, but my Kanohi Mask is rare, and powerful. It is the Kanohi Zerin. Mask of Clairvoyance, as it were. Oddly enough, it is a mask that grows more powerful when used by Turaga. There are only a handful of masks with that quality, but I know that's hardly of your concern." I wisely choose not to nod at that. I merely wait patiently for his answer.

    Nodding quietly, the Turaga sets his staff aside and flexes his hands. I can hear the gears and connections within his entire arms whirring and clanking and straining. "I was part of a group of Toa who were Destined to defeat the Sky Serpent Jhamaranga. We completed our destiny, and lived as Turaga for a number of centuries. We peacefully guided the next team of Toa to follow us. That is, until Makuta Teridax took control. Two of the six in my team died, including our leader and mightiest combatant. As well, all of the Toa who we were meant to guide were forced to battle Teridax, and died without ever completing their Destiny." I try not to show how incredibly bored I am throughout this entire spiel. Then, his next words cause me to pay closer attention.

    "I always had visions of the future through my mask," he continues. "Yet it was not until I became a Turaga that I could fully control them. I could call forth visions, but I did not know how far in the future they reached as a Toa. Some occurred minutes in the future, some have yet to pass after so many millenia. But one vision came to me twice; once as a Toa, and once as a Turaga. I saw a vision of four traitors to their respective kind, one day assembling to battle a great evil in a new world. Upon entering Spherus Magna, I came across Iazdhi." He inclines his head to the Skakdi woman, who nods in return. "She was the first in my vision. I learned that her chieftain had excommunicated her from her tribe, due to a vision in which she would become greater than himself. As such, she obliderated her village, and chose to do whatever she could to spite all of the Skakdi race." I'm not sure how to feel about the proud grin on Iazdhi's face just now.

    Now, I realize what Iazdhi meant. The next words spoken by the Turaga only confirm this. "You are the Second, Takadox. If you will help us defeat the menace we face, then I promise to help protect you from the vengeance of the other Barraki." I must say, this is an offer I can agree with. Then, I realize exactly what he's saying. This fool believes that the rest of the Barraki can be stopped by this little village. I look up to him, trying to select my next words carefully. He sighs exasperatedly before I can speak. "Do you really have a choice in this? The other four will catch up to you eventually, and kill you. Even if you don't have faith that we can protect you, what better alternative would you suggest? If you want to be thrown back out into that desert with no way off the island, we can arrange this for you." I feel Iazdhi's hand alight on my shoulder.

    At last, I'm able to get a word in edgewise. "I'm not particularly one to believe in destiny, but you are right in that I don't have any better options. So yes, I will go along with this doomed endeavour for the time being. But if my former comrades in arms so much as appear to be drawing close, I'm cutting my losses and finding my own way to escape." I ignore the pressure Iazdhi has put on my shoulder and glare evenly at the Turaga. I await his next statement.

    It is a statement that never comes. For in an instant, the world goes from a tense negotiation on my alliance to a curtain of dust and rubble. I'm instantly up on my feet and looking for the enemy. Somewhere, I can hear Iazdhi roaring in anger.

    Then, an immense hammer is falling towards me.

    ~ ~ ~

    Notes:

    Lottak ~ Derived from "lopata", an approximation of the Russian word for spade/shovel.

    Ima ~ Derived from "imán", the Spanish word for magnet.

    Zerin ~ Derived from "zrenie", an approximation of the Russian word for sight.
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    Re: Sympathy for the Devil

    Post by Srgt. Master on Wed Jun 20, 2012 1:08 pm

    I like it, again I'm lost on some things, but that's due to my 0 exp with Bionical. XP

    Keep it up, it's very interesting.
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    Re: Sympathy for the Devil

    Post by Klak on Wed Jun 20, 2012 4:49 pm

    You seem to be a fan of shocking endings. Nice advancement though, you definitely keep the mystery and mythological feel that Bionicle is supposed to have. However, I felt as though you lost me with the description of the beasts. Good to keep things detailed, though.


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    Re: Sympathy for the Devil

    Post by Zev the Reveler on Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:10 am

    I was worrying about the description getting out of hand, actually.

    But I'm glad you liked that chapter! Chapter Four isn't near as long, I don't think.

    Here we go~

    ~ ~ ~

    LOCATION - Spherus Magna, Chawla Nui, Underground City

    I expertly roll away from the hammer and gaze at my opponent. He appears to be a Toa of Earth, but with an unhealthy, emaciated frame, cracked armor, and a rusty, pitted mask. In a disconcerting show of straining limbs and uncanny brute strength, however, he lifts the gargantuan weapon once more and swings it for me. I prepare to dodge, but find it to be an unnecessary course of action.

    The hammer abruptly deviates from its course, and embeds itself in the ground a hairsbreadth to my right. I glance over, to see the Turaga from before: pinned beneath a slab of rock, holding his staff out. With a wheeze, he crumples to the ground - Yet he still finds the strength to beckon me over. I may never know why I choose now to start listening to the senile fool. Perhaps it's simply a small way to repay the debt I now owe for him saving my life. But without pause, I run over to his side, and somehow manage to force the stone off of him. His heartlight's glow has an irregular pulsing, but he shows no other signs of injury.

    Wordlessly, he reaches into his robes, and pulls out some mass of wrapped cloth. Handing it over to me, his eyes slowly shut, and were it not for the steadying glow of his heartlight, I'd think that was his last action in this world. Unwrapping the cloth, I find two metallic objects inside. Were I to have handled them in the wrong way, unknowingly, I could have lost one or both of my hands; for within the bundle has been set twin blades, with curved handles and rectangular blades. As I gaze at my reflection in the razor-sharp weapons, a grin slowly unfurls on my face. I don't even look up at the corrupted Toa lumbering behind me, after finally extricating his weapon from the stone.

    I do, however, pay him the courtesy of a retaliation. I swing one blade back and around, and my smile grows wider as I meet the resistance of metal, then organics. His stomach has been torn open, but this only slows him down. At last I turn, preparing to battle this outclassed reject of a fallen hero. That is, until I find that while he is outclassed, he is not outmanned. Three more Toa have joined him, each carrying a spear. They prepare to assault me, when a gurgling roar sounds. The ground caves beneath all four of the Toa, and they tumble into the darkness without so much as a chance to look down.

    Stood cautiously at the edge, I wait to see what will emerge. What I do not expect to pop up is a simply gigantic Lottak, covered in pale gray fur and with spiked plates of slate gray armor on its back. It rumbles at me, and just as I contemplate slashing its eyes in case it hopes to make a meal of me, it gives a short lunge forward. I find its long, powerful, and most certainly saliva-drenched tongue giving me a good licking. I do not let the creature trundle away and dig to elsewhere out of appreciation. I am simply too stunned at the beast's gall to respond.

    Eventually, I simply shake my head and creep around the ruins of the Turaga's hut. Several more corrupted Toa are battling miners just ahead of me, with Iazdhi sending countless of their number falling dead to the ground - Blood spraying in disproportionate amounts for the tiny slashes she leaves with her javelin.

    It's one particular combatant who attracts my attention. He appears to be a Steltian from the lower rungs of their former society, the kind forced to battle in gladiator pits. Far apart from the rest of the city's inhabitants, his jade green fists waylay any corrupted Toa to stray towards him.

    Ignoring the sense of foreboding I get at the sight of him, I swiftly behead a fleeing foe.

    There will be time to chase whimsies when my location isn't under siege.
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    Re: Sympathy for the Devil

    Post by Srgt. Master on Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:34 am

    I like it, very well done for a fighting scene.

    I'm liking this a lot, Keep writing the good stuff!
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    Re: Sympathy for the Devil

    Post by Klak on Fri Jun 22, 2012 4:44 pm

    Nice chapter. You're setting us up for a lot of combat. I like how you captured Takadox's sadistic combat style. Excellent chapter.


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    Re: Sympathy for the Devil

    Post by Zev the Reveler on Fri Jun 22, 2012 4:55 pm

    Thank you both so much.

    I've been itching to post Chap. 5.

    EXPOSITION: [ENGAGE]

    ~ ~ ~

    LOCATION - Spherus Magna, Chawla Nui, Underground City

    After approximately an hour, when all is said and done, the battle is a victory.

    Each of the corrupted Toa have been killed or forced to retreat. Yet while the enemy has been ousted, it is not without a cost. Four miners have died, as well as seven Lottak who came to their masters' aid, and a number of other work beasts perished under similar circumstances. By now, the Turaga - His name revealed to me by Iazdhi to be Harros - Has awakened in his hospital bed, and regales any visitors with a storm of complaints. About his hut being destroyed, about not keeping any prisoners to interrogate...I would imagine such a 'wise' fellow would be most thankful for his life, but I must say, I prefer his callous rudeness to the infuriating gentility of every other Turaga I've seen.

    Now sat beside him in his hospital bed, I inspect the blades he's given me. "I must say," I at last begin, "These are fine weapons. And quite unique - I've never seen a blade that so thirsts for the blood of foes; at least, not in a literal fashion." Crimson eyes meet eyes of pale gray. "Also, I feel there are two things you would like to be informed of: a massive gray Lottak coming to my aid before I entered the main fray, and some sort of jade green lower Steltian." I note the glassing-over of his eyes, and the faintest of a lead-hued glow, surrounding his mask in a dim aura; he's entering another vision. "I thought you'd be interested." As another stool is pulled up to sit beside me out of the blue, I glance over at Iazdhi. She has a rare look of calm reflection on her face, one that does not quell any worries at all in my mind.

    She says in her naturally growling voice, "What you saw was the Ancestral Lottak. It was the original sire of all the Lottak we use here, by mating with his female counterpart, the Great Den Mother." Taking out two flasks, she hands one to me; uncorks her own; and takes a long drink. Eventually, she continues. "It is said that you only see the Ancestral Lottak when you are on the verge of a great journey. When you have successfully completed the journey ahead of you, and return to the caverns, the Great Den Mother will be there to welcome you. I've seen the Ancestral Lottak once before, centuries ago, in one of the neighbouring caverns. The Wiseman there - An Onu Turaga named Prahak - Was the one who told me of my journey, and that I must go to this village to seek the guidance of Wiseman Harros. That was how I met him; they both happened to be of the same ancient group of Toa." I've paid attention throughout this explanation. Periodically, I sip from the flask she's given me. It's decidedly sour and pungent, and does an excellent job of assisting my ability to focus on such boring, prattling tales, which I typically have no patience for. I'll have to inquire as to its contents later, should we find time between the apparent perils ahead.

    Out of my periphery, I notice that Turaga Harros has slid back into consciousness. "Apologies for the prolonged vision, whelp," he says in a drained voice. I choose to ignore the demeaning moniker, as I've heard him call Iazdhi the exact same, and the miners have earned far more laughable nicknames. I merely pay attention as he speaks, sipping from the flask. "I've looked back on the visions I saw, and you seem to have found the Third. He was a lowly Steltian gladiator, but was somehow born with a mark of Destiny upon him. He refused to fight common beasts, taking every punishment given him, but was never killed due to how he expertly and masterfully defeated any other Steltian with any weapon given him. Be it hammers, axes, daggers, or just barehanded, his strength was immense. But he refused to lift a hand to harm any Rahi or any sort of organic beast." I take a particularly long drink from the flask. I might have to quaff two of these to weather this expositional onslaught.

    "It turned out that he was able to commune with the beasts they fought for sport," Harros goes on to say. "One day, he beseeched the beasts to fight back. It started with tiny sand rats swarming the stands, until all of the regular spectators had to be evacuated. Then, nui-jaga began marching their way to surround the stadium complex, screaming bloody murder. A massive swarm of nui-rama swooped around the observation box, until that Steltian made two demands: that he, the beasts that had been captured, and all of the unlawfully held gladiators be allowed to leave by airship, and that his name be struck from all records and made forgotten. That island's leaders were all too happy to comply, and when he left their island, he was never heard from ever again. Henceforth, he became known as the Beastmaster, and had the few spectators and the officials not survived to tell of it, he would have become remembered as no more than a figment of legend used to validate what many saw as a futile struggle to escape the arenas. He was the first, the last, and the only leader of any successful break out from the tyrannical arenas." Lifting his staff, Harros gestures towards a large stack of scrolls across the room. Iazdhi wordlessly gets up and retrieves the papers for him, one of which the Turaga proceeds to unroll.

    Drawn roughly on the faded map is some kind of huge complex, with five circular chambers surrounding a larger chamber at the center. As I look at the layout of the random passages interconnecting said chambers, I realize what this is. Nodding, Harros points to the central chamber. "This is the cavern we are now in," he says. He traces his fingertip up a wide passage up to the 'top' chamber to extend outward. "This is the chamber where you two will be most likely to find the Beastmaster. It is home to Deyula, the Toa of Electricity from my original team to become a Turaga.

    "However, be warned," he says, hopefully beginning to draw to a close. "There is no guarantee how far you will have to travel to find the Beastmaster, as he roams far and quickly. As well, there are innumerable strange and dangerous creatures to inhabit these tunnels. I am not at liberty to explain why they were allowed to inhabit Spherus Magna, not at this present time. What you need to know is that you do not need to hold back. If your lives are in jeopardy, kill the wild beasts you find." He lays back, sighing heavily. "Give Deyula my regards. And do mind yourselves." His eyes close. He's deep asleep, now.

    It doesn't take long before Iazdhi and I have traversed the cavern, arriving at the entrance to the passage we will need to travel. I look down at our accompaniment. "Is he absolutely necessary?" She snorts derisively and doesn't respond. Her Lottak gives a contented grumble. I would be content, as well, if I'd been allowed to eat most of my previous meal without this cretin begging and Iazdhi looming nearby.

    But I do not have time to dwell on such matters. Soon, Iazdhi and I are moving through the massive hall of warped, uneven stone. Her Lottak guides us from close at the front, easily navigating the dim glow of the strange fungi all around. Periodically, he'll stop to dig at the ground, unearth some sort of bug or worm, and gobble it down before moving on.

    All the while, I somehow know this is not going to end well.
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    Re: Sympathy for the Devil

    Post by Klak on Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:06 pm

    Another excellent chapter! I wonder if you'll continue this! It seems like Takadox and Iazdhi are in for quite the adventure.

    Also, Takadox's comments crack me up.


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    Re: Sympathy for the Devil

    Post by Zev the Reveler on Thu Jul 12, 2012 8:21 am

    Thank you for your comment, Klak.

    Now, after so very long, the next chapter has arrived~

    ~ ~ ~

    LOCATION - Spherus Magna, Chawla Nui, Inter-Cavern Passage

    As Iazdhi and I trail close behind her Lottak, not a word is shared between us. I'll be honest when I say that suits me perfectly. I quite frankly do not like her; in fact, I rather hold her in some level of contempt. We both agree that we'll be doing most fine without having to work together while necessarily enjoying the mutual company.

    The Lottak leading us simply makes snuffling noises as it gives a plodding sort of trot ahead. From what I can recall, the Noble Pakari that Iazdhi had been given to let her pet get a good whiff of had previously belonged to the Turaga of the cavern we now seek. She'd left it behind in case anyone found a use for it, and Harros had most certainly thought of a creative application of it possessing Deyula's scent. Now, the Lottak we follow is on the scent trail of that Turaga of Electricity. And I'm actually beginning to grow tired of the silence. What can I say? It has bored me in a most excruciating fashion.

    In time, I try to break the frozen lack of any conversation. I turn to look at Iazdhi and ask her, "So, do you know how many Skakdi it takes to carve a Kanohi mask?" She doesn't even look at me at the set-up. No matter. "One to carve it out of the Kanoka Disk," I continue, "The rest of his tribe to raze to the ground the village they stole the Disk from." I think that's a rather good one, but Iazdhi's expression doesn't even give the most minute shift. "You know, you're no fun." Still the Skakdi woman refuses to look at me. It deeply serves to remind me how much I detest everything to do with her.

    Nevertheless, it disturbs me that when Iazdhi's Lottak gurgles in fear, I'm at his side almost faster than she is to help. I do hope neither of these mongrels are growing on me. Regardless of that matter, when we catch up in little time, we find Iazdhi's pet being snapped at by a group of shin-height crabs; each possessing one tiny claw rapidly snipping at the larger creature's flanks, and another claw huge and poised to go for a vital point whenever such an opportunity presents itself. With a snarl of "Get away from Dhahi!", Iazdhi has drawn her javelin and plunged its copper-hued tip into one of the crabs. It spasms in death, and none of the Skakdi's time is wasted in punting it away before lighting into the other crabs.

    Drawing my own razors, I manage to sneak around to the other side of 'Dhahi' the Lottak, where more crablike creatures are still attacking him. As he cowers low to the ground, fur and blood flying, I sigh and move to help. With one quick, expert slash to each of the assailants, I have dispatched the creatures while exercising very little effort. I see that Iazdhi has already defeated each of the crabs attacking on her side, and is working to comfort Dhahi. Remembering that I was the only one to think of packing medical supplies, I lay a hand on my pouch. I would be fine with letting this beast suffer a while longer, but a number of things stop me: for one, it's possible that being in too much pain could prevent the Lottak from successfully navigating the handful of path deviations ahead. Not to mention that Iazdhi will have my head if she remembers my possession of the first aid kit and decides to get payback for my withholding it.

    But in a way that makes my skin crawl, the greatest compulsion is seeing Iazdhi's face and her actions. Her face twisted in a grimace of distress, she tries to comfort her piteously snuffling and whining pet as best she can. All the while, she continues glancing at the scars on his hide and wincing as if she can feel his pain. At last, my resolve gives. I hurry to remove the first aid supplies and get to work. Iazdhi notices, and wordlessly keeps Dhahi calm as I clean his wounds thoroughly. The crablike creatures left quite a bit of filth in his nicks and scars.

    With due diligence, however, I am able to completely rinse out the dirt and other masses of unknowable grime. Then, once I've tied some stern bandages, I move around to Dhahi's other side and repeat the process there. Upon finishing the task, I put the first aid kit away and step back. Iazdhi moves back slightly, as well, and Dhahi gets to his feet. Testing his backlegs and sides, it would seem that he is quite happy with my patch job, and begins cautiously moving forward.

    For a time, silence reigns once again while Iazdhi and I follow behind. Then, at last, Iazdhi turns to level her gaze at me. "Thank you, Takadox," she says quietly. "I'll not forget the debt I now owe you." I don't know how to respond, so I simply give a short nod.

    Then, silence takes another lasting hold as we keep walking.

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    Re: Sympathy for the Devil

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