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Trespassers V2: Tales of the Masks [IC]

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Cicivexa's shroud of darkness broke for just a moment, revealing a face bathed instead in shock, before he could conceal it once again. "Indeed. Your ability to defend yourself is... quite astounding." Certainly, that elemental couldn't have come out of that wholly unscathed, yes? There must've been some form of wear or damage. Perhaps it just healed that quickly...? Could its defenses possibly be interrupted, and/or would instant immolation be necessary to destroy it? "I... am glad you are..."

 

...On our side? Not working against us, for now? Cicivexa didn't know what to think about this... was it an elemental? Its behavior was closer to a mammet, or possibly a golem given speech, if anything. Regardless, it appears to hold some amount of blame for their current situation. Taking part in enslaving and brainwashing a Primal, or a Voidsent, or... whatever equivalent these other worlds possess, possibly even an actual Goddess?! Such is either a grave mistake that can only lead to utter ruin, or a crime against both the world and common sense altogether!

Then again, if it was powered by a mammet heart or some highly advanced golem magicks, perhaps its behavior is merely... programmed by some unknown creator, and they were the ones who enslaved Medusa? It clearly lacks any structure to hold the mechanics necessary for a mammet... but then again, mammets weren't really among his expertise, and he had never heard of any golems capable of any directions or motives beyond defending a location, and Cicivexa would like to think his work experience would render him a bit more than an amateur in that field. Actually, if it is powered by some manner of soulstone, perhaps breaking that would render the outer body vulnerable...

 

Cicivexa stood there for quite some time, lost in thought and unable to finish whatever he was about to say, until he noticed the rest of the group proceeding through the puzzle that the elemental/golem had destroyed. He rushed along to follow them, dropping his line of thought for now.

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Cell waved Gozer an enthusiastic thumbs up and nod, before crossing the room himself and heading straight towards the doorway to the next room, fulling expecting everything to catch fire or explode or somesuch when he did.

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"Onward then?" Edmond asked no one in particular. He again made certain to investigate the doorway that Cell was approaching. At a distance, was there anything visible? Marks, writing, holes in the walls or the ceiling?

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The next room is decorated with numerous blocky, weathered carvings of matoran and other beings working, playing, and fighting underneath the symbol of the Three Virtues.  The floor is bare, save for dust, and two stone pedestals.  On each one, a silver mask rests.  And before the leftmost one, a being obscured by a green cloak stands, arms crossed on contemplation.  The being seems as of yet unaware of your presence...  Or possibly just ignoring you.

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After moments of frenzied deliberation, Cicivexa raised his staff towards the robed individual. "Hail, guardian of the stone. What challenge awaits us next?" Though the possibility of this mystery individual secretly serving Makuta were undeniable, questions remain as the fastest way to get answers.

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Cell steps into the room and points at Cicivexa while quickly nodding several times looking at the figure.

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The gladiator looked dubiously at Cicivexa as he called out to the stranger. There wasn't a lot to indicate they'd be running into anyone that was friendly out here, and she saw no reason to assume this person was such. It seemed equally unlikely for them to be a neutral guardian of the artifact, especially since they seemed to be examining the walls. Walls which seemed to depict some kind of history. . . can Hiroki discern any useful information or patterns from the murals?

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As Cicivexa anticipated the hooded figure's response, his rod remained in their direction, while his mind gently held the metaphorical trigger.

Is the choice of color a coincidence, a clue, or a deliberate misdirection? Are we in greater danger than I thought? It could just be another trick, but...

His mental grip slowly tightening, he waited for the figure to respond, trying to suss out any falsehoods, in both demeanor and (possibly) words. If the hooded figure responded with lies, or with force, he was prepared to let loose a hailstorm in an instant.

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"BAH!  DOOM HAS NO TIME TO WASTE GUARDING STONES," The being declares loudly, whirling on his heels in a swirl of billowing cloak and shining metal armor to reveal a visage of heavy plates and golden ornamentation broken only by piercing, blue, all too human eyes, "DOOM HAS GRANDER DESIGNS,"  He gestures grandly over the pair of masks, "ONE OF THESE IS THE AKAKU, THE MASK OF VISION.  ONE OF THESE IS THE CALIX, THE MASK OF FATE.  ONE OF THESE CARRIES THE TOA STONE DOOM KNOWS YOU SEEK WITHIN.  ONE OF THESE IS TRAPPED, AND WILL COLLAPSE THE ROOM.  DOOM'S PLANS REQUIRE THE CALIX.  YOU DESIRE THE TOA STONE.

 

"DOOM HAS YET TO DETERMINE WHICH OF THESE PLINTHS HOLD THAT WHICH DOOM SEEKS, NOR WHICH IS SAFE TO REMOVE ITEMS FROM.  DOOM IS UNFAMILIAR WITH THESE STYLES OF ARCHITECTURE;  DOOM WILL DISCERN THE TRUTH IN TIME, YET DOOM WONDERS IF IT MIGHT BE FASTER TO SIMPLY ALLOW THE PEONS TO ATTEMPT THIS PUZZLE..."

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Well, if the figure was being honest, this wouldn't be an issue. If the figure wanted the Toa stone of course, it would make sense for him to lie about his motives and rely on the gifts of others to achieve it. But really, if it came down to it, this man, Doom, would have to fight them anyway to get it. So there was nothing to do except contemplate methods of obtaining the stone, and remain prepared in case of attack.

 

"So, Doom, how do we know one of them will collapse the room? Would it be possible to grab both the masks and simply leave quickly?" Edmond inquired. The person here already seemed to have some knowledge of the items, perhaps more could be extracted.

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...I expected a more subtle, deceptive approach from you. Should've figured otherwise.

Cicivexa lowered his rod, but kept it oriented towards this "Doom", his mental grip remaining strong as ever. He joined Hiroki in searching the room for clues.

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"THERE IS A MECHANISM IN THE WALLS.  DOOM'S CURRENT EQUIPMENT CANNOT ACCESS IT WITHOUT CAUSING UNACCEPTABLE DAMAGE TO THE STRUCTURE.  DOOM COULD RETURN WITH MORE SUITABLE TOOLS, BUT BY THEN THE MASK MAY HAVE BEEN TAKEN BY A THIRD PARTY.  THE TRIGGER ITSELF IS HIDDEN UNDER A PLATE OF MATERIAL THAT VEXINGLY RESISTS DOOM'S SCANS," The armored man indicates a certain section of the wall, "THE TRIGGER SHOULD BE HERE, ASSUMING AN INTELLIGENT CONSTRUCTION METHOD, BUT WITHOUT A BETTER IDEA OF HOW IT FUNCTIONS, DIRECT ACTION COULD BE DISASTROUS.  DOOM WOULD SURVIVE A COLLAPSE, OF COURSE, BUT THE MASK MIGHT NOT."

 

Meanwhile, Hiroki (17 v 18 fail) and Cicivexa (35 v natural 1 success!) examine the carvings.  Hiroki can't make heads or tails of any of it beyond that there's definitely carvings of matoran and something bigger but still humanoid being depicted.  Cicivexa can't read the writings either, but it occurs to him to ask Halhi and Nuparu if they can.  Nuparu has no idea how to read it either, but Halhi recognizes some of the symbols.  It looks like a very old version of the matoran language, which it seems being transported here taught all of you how to speak but not how to read.  After putting their heads together, Halhi and Cicivexa think they've figured it out.  They're pretty sure that the left plinth carries the Kanohi Calix, and is trapped.  While the right one carries the Kanohi Akaku, and has the Toa Stone concealed in a compartment within.

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Challenge solved, is it not? We can take the Kanohi Akaku, and the Rock Stone within it, no problem about it. No need for any conflict with this 'Doom'.

And yet...

Can Doom be trusted with this so-called Mask of Fate? Where were they from? Their behavior was unlike anyone encountered so far, their resources demonstrated a degree of planning and forethought, and those eyes... they betray someone who is not from here.

 

Cicivexa strode towards Doom once more, his mental grip upon destruction strengthening in the background, but his rod not waved towards them. "The name is Cicivexa Vivivexa. My apologies for the misunderstanding, my better judgment seems to oft be interrupted by swift conclusions. That being said, may I ask what use you have for the Kanohi Calix?"

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Hiroki turns to the two Matoran, pitching her voice low. "What, um, do the masks do?" They were obviously powerful in some way, given what masks did in this world and their place here, but "vision" and "fate" weren't exactly clear descriptors of what abilities the things might hold. A "Mask of Fate" could do anything from allowing the user to rewrite the future, to simply making them more lucky, to doing absolutely nothing at all in order to teach some kind of lesson about self-reliance. 

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Cell is going to wander over to the wall panel and try to use his masterful dungeon delving experience to deduce what the fuck is going on inside it.

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Edmond stuck around for the question about the Masks' abilities. It would be a shame if the one DOOM wanted would be of great use to them as well.

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"YOU WISH TO BETTER YOURSELF?  VERY WELL.  DOOM SHALL EDUCATE YOU.  THE MASK OF VISION HAS A TELESCOPIC LENS BUILT INTO IT, AS EVEN AN IMBECILE CAN SEE.  BUT IT ALSO GRANTS THE ABILITY TO PERCEIVE ALL FORMS OF LIGHT, AND TO SEE THROUGH ALL BUT THE DENSEST MATERIALS.  AND WITH THE TELESCOPIC LENS, IT CAN DO THIS FROM KILOMETERS AWAY.

 

"THE MASK OF FATE IS FAR MORE SUBTLE, BUT NO LESS POWERFUL.  IT CAN TURN FEATS THAT ARE ALMOST POSSIBLE FOR THE WEARER INTO FEATS THAT ARE.  NO FEATS ARE IMPOSSIBLE FOR DOOM, BUT DOOM'S SERVANTS AND MINIONS ARE NOT ALL SO CAPABLE.  IT MAY ALSO INFLUENCE PROBABILITY, BUT DOOM WOULD NEED TO RUN TESTS TO BE CERTAIN, AS DOOM HAS NEVER SEEN THIS MASK IN ACTION BEFORE, NOR USED IT."

 

--------------------------------------

 

Cell deduces that the ancient builders of this structure put a huge and vital structural support between their trap mechanism and the places where people are meant to go.  There's a lot of weight resting on that particular stone.  Perhaps if there was a way to brace it somehow...?

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This individual seemed more predictable as time passed. Cicivexa could hardly believe that he mistook Doom for a mask guardian of some kind. He just had one more suspicion...

"Well, if it is as powerful as you say it is...", he remarked, before reaching up, grabbing the Kanohi Akaku, pulling the Rock Stone from it, and then switching out his old mask for this new one. He inspected what was underneath the new forms of his companions, the forms of their Matoran companions, and Doom's true visage.

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Hiroki still wasn't quite convinced that this Doom person - the name might've been a tipoff but it's not as if there weren't people with equally menacing names at home - was someone to collaborate with, but it didn't seem that what Cicivexa was doing would actually do much. The only thing he would find out is that he couldn't retrieve the mask at this time. Plus, they had the stone now, so they could leave. That just left one issue. . .  "Is, um, there another exit?" She didn't relish the thought of trying to cross that gap once again. 

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Cell turns around and begins to try and use a series of complex miming and charades to explain the mechanism system to Edmond, he gets about halfway through when he sees Cicivexa just pulling one of the masks off and just throws his hands up and wanders back to stand by the doorway.

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"Don't Panic!", Cicivexa shouted towards the abberation, "This is not the trapped mask! The writings said as much, at least."


"Regardless, I have a plan to safely retrieve the other mask as well, or at least to minimize the risk of its destruction. But before I attempt anything dangerous, I would like to hear everyone else's ideas."

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"Something between mask and us, something big, weight? Support? Okay, so there's a lot of weight on--well nevermind that I guess." Edmond murmured as their little game of charades came to an end.

 

"Cicivexa, I'm not going to comment on the rashness of doing that, but as Cell has been explaining, take a look at that particular stone, there, that one. If we can brace it, and prevent it from shifting when the mask is remobed, it should be safe. Does the mask of vision reveal anything?"

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Cicivexa paused for a moment. "...I was not paying attention to Cell's communication. My apologies," he remarked while bowing, "thank you both for the excellent plan."

 

"That said," as his head turned up from the bow, "I do not believe I was suggesting any 'rash' action. I was going to propose a means to reduce the risk, after soliciting the rest of you for other such means, because I recognized that the plan I was going to suggest, on its own, would still be overly risky." He then paused briefly, and hurriedly returned to bowing. "But... again, thank you. I'll get to studying the support immediately." Cicivexa's own studies weren't focused in architecture or mechanics, but he figured if Cell could notice the loadbearer, then... wait, when did we start calling that thing 'Cell'? Is that its name? It can't speak, did it write its name in the sand while I wasn't looking? Or did Edmond already know its name before we came here? Or is that just what everyone agreed on calling it?

 

...Regardless, Cicivexa, with the Kanohi Akaku, began studying the trap mechanism and its relation to the structural support, to see where it would be best to brace it.

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