Okotan Adventures: The Dark

You glance up from this ominous letter.

The grandiose steps of the Forge lay before you, the orange glow of the setting sun burning the horizon. A number of other individuals stand around you; perhaps they are here by the same summons.

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@Winger
@N01InParticular
@Rukah
@GoodGuy2006

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Katau nervously glanced around at the strangers, hoping someone else would break the silence.

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Jaawu looks around at others, evidently curious if his suspicions about them being the others summoned is true or not. He clears his throat, “Hello, my fine fellows! I assume you’re here because of the letter?”

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Ilya hated this. Hated having to stand around with nothing to do. Was he supposed to converse with these others? They were probably here to be put on edge so the Mask Maker- the “Champion at Arms” Makuta could make some grand entrance. He was probably a narcissist like the rest of whoever was in power. Ilya hoped he wouldn’t actually be accompanying them on their mission. That would be torture.

Ilya startles, his eyes widening in a strange mix of shock and disdain, as though the thought of someone addressing him were a foreign one.

He slowly looks around, behind the group, at the deserted walkway leading up to the Forge.

“No, I’m the janitor.”

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There was a sudden glow from up above the party as the forge doors swung open, and a moment later a very troubled Okotan hurried down the steps, clutching what appeared to be a couple stone tablets. He says nothing to the party, nervously glancing at each of them with an injured expression as he rushes past, the stone tablets clicking together as he ran. A moment later he disappeared into the gloom of the street.

The door above was open, its threatening presence beckoning the party to approach. (@N01InParticular @GoodGuy2006 @Winger @Rukah)

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“Well that’s a big door,” Jaawu states quite plainly. “What do all of you say we go in? I personally think it would be a good idea, but I suppose you can run in the other direction if you must.”

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“Uh, yeah.” Katau said quietly.

“You others?”

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Ilya started up the stairs. He half hoped he could just be called insufficient by the Champion, and then he could move on without guilt over missed chances.

Or … you can become something no one ever believed you could. Save the island. Become famous, live up to what-

Ambition was for the naive. And far be from Ilya to be thought of as a romantic. Delusions of grandeur got you killed.

About halfway up the, Ilya took his eyes off of the stairs in front of him and looked upwards to the top. It’s almost like they wanted the stairs alone to be an ordeal. Too small to use your hands, too big to be comfortable.

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Jaawu saw one of the adventures going up the stairs without a word to anyone else, so he looked at the others, then decided to go up.

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Katau decided he should probably go up the steps as well, and started behind Jaawu.

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Palios sprinted up to the group. “Sorry I’m late, accidentally nabbed my sister’s bag while i was leaving. Had to go back and get my own.” He gestured to a small sack draped over his shoulder. “So where’s the others?”

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Ilya heaved himself up the last step, glancing over his shoulder at the ascending group. He took two slightly unsteady steps forward, pausing to lean against the nearest column or doorpost to catch his breath.

Now he had a choice. Go in ahead and get this over with, or wait for someone else to take the brunt of any possible ire? He scowled down at the Okotans below, and then turned and stepped into the doorway of the forge, not totally outside the building, but definitely not entering.

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Jaawu heard a voice from below, and looked down the stairs accordingly. Before him was a purple and green Okotan, seemingly of the Jungle tribe. “Late, are you? Well, we’re just heading up these stairs if you’d like to join us. I assume we’ll be getting our instructions up there, but you can never be certain with these things.”

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The rest of the party would need to ascend before they could see what Ilya now saw.

The inside of the forge was dark, much like the sky around it, but strangely illuminated by molten rock flowing in grooves carved into the floor and walls, all leading to the distant center, where a massive pit of blinding, swirling heat was situated. Directly in front of this, there was the silhouette of an Okotan, arms folded behind his back, facing away from the group, an ominous silhouette. There was little guessing who it was.

The slightest of head movements told Ilya the figure was aware of his presence.

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What. Are you doing. You can’t wait for them. You can’t go in.

You can go back. Maybe …

Ilya’s eyes looked down, to see what his legs were doing. Odd. They took four steps into the forge, barely enough to bring him closer to the figure. He glanced over his shoulder. For the first time in at least a year, he wished someone else were here with him. For the first time in at least twenty minutes, he wished Anya were here with him.

Here in front of you. Coward.

He tensed and un-tensed his jaw. He couldn’t exactly wait for the other group to hide in. He drew out the letter, forcing his hands not to shake, and slowly began to approach.

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Coward.

Coward.

Coward.

Ilya found himself rocketing across the floor at breakneck speed, his heels sparking against the stone as he was irresistibly drawn towards the figure, abruptly stopping what seemed like inches from him. The glow did not increase the figure’s visibility, nor help clarify the vague form lurking behind the silhouette.

But that attempt at discerning the void would be unnecessary in a moment.

“I can practically hear the joints in your knees rotting themselves away with all the trembling you’re doing.” The deep voice resonated, the figure slowly turning about and cutting through the figure before him with violet eyes, glowing dangerously out of deep and narrow sockets. “Did your parents not instruct you? When you approach a Mask Maker… You kneel.

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“I didn’t know-” Ilya stuttered out by reflex, before cutting himself off.

Shut up. He doesn’t care. Shut up. Idiot.

Ilya was feeling something. He hadn’t felt it for quite a while. An insidious mixture of anger and fear. Before, that anger had been self-directed, but now, it wasn’t.

Don’t be an idiot. Don’t make the Mask Maker hate you before you’ve said a word.

His jaw seemed to have tensed to the point of being locked in place. Good. It was better that way.

Slowly, forcing himself to look focus on the ground, forcing himself not to shoot the glare of defiance he so desired to into the Makuta’s disgusting face, he lowered himself down onto one knee. His neck ached from the resistance, his knees seemed to scream at him.

Coward coward coward.

He couldn’t stop it. Even as his knee touched the ground, his head inexorably hinged upwards, to stare into the face of Makuta. His own green eyes glaring into the purple pits of the Mask Maker’s.

YOU IDIOT.

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At long last, Jaawu finally rose to the top of the surprisingly large amount of stairs. As he crossed the helm of said stairs, he saw the Okotan that didn’t seem very keen on other people kneeling at the foot of who he could only assume to be the one who had called them. A simple thought crossed his mind:
Wow, this guy’s one of the most important people I’ve ever met! Isn’t that neat!
From there, he walked up to the two of them at an average speed. Though, the closer he got, the more tension he could feel in the air. Best not to worry about that…

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Katau had gotten to the top just behind Jaawu, who walked inside the building.
He decided that he should do that also, and found he had a pretty good idea of who Ilya was kneeling at.

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