Rewards: 7,500z | 1,000 XP | 3,000 SP | 5 TP | You may have 1 incoming attack be treated as Negated (regardless of its aimers) during a turn where you attempt to 'Run Away.'
Descriptions: If there is one thing that the people of Yardrat can claim to excel at it's the mastery of one's own spirit and the harmony it can hold with one's body; while most are unwilling to share their secrets, instead suggesting you visit Elder Pybara for such instruction, many are more than happy to offer you assistance with an unlikely talent... evasion. With an extensive series of courses, non-lethal barrages and the ever twisting forests and canyons on the planet's surface they will happily teach and train you to shake off the most dogged of pursuers. While hardly the most noble of skills they are speaking a lot of sense...
Continuity Genie says: This thread takes place after Balance
Pybara's form was much larger than the Yardrats that Pikkon had met thus far. It was quite the sight. He was of a different type than Yaki, the elder of the village he'd stayed at the previous night. Where Yaki had pink skin, pointy ears and antennae on his face, Pybara was pale blue and smaller pointy appendages on top of his head, and smaller antennae on his face. Well, smaller proportionally. Pybara's antennae at this size would be likely the length of Yaki's arms. If you were to shrink the man down to Yaki's size, however, they'd be smaller.
Pikkon was quite surprised. Pybara seemed more than willing to train him, or perhaps he didn't quite care who he trained so long as the person was willing to learn. 'I've trained worse' was hardly a compliment. However it was better than nothing. The silent treatment that Pikkon was getting while standing at the door was frustrating and confusing to say the least. He was on a strange new world, one much different than the war torn planets he'd been to in the past. There wasn't exactly a reason for him to be uncomfortable, only that he didn't know exactly what to do in the situation. Perhaps that moment in and of itself was a test. There was no telling at present.
"Pikkon was it? I will train you. First, I ask one thing of you. At the top of the mountain behind my hut, there's another man I need you to seek. He is a Yardrat much like myself, only smaller. Find him, seek his wisdom, and return here. Only then can our training begin." Pybara spoke in a raspy tone, like someone trying to sound bigger than what they were. Pikkon's eyebrow raised, but he thought it better not to question the man. His Elder status meant that his request had some significance. There were a thousand different ways you could try and read another person's character through everyday actions, and a man of such high esteem as Elder Pybara likely took every chance he could to do just that.
"Alright, if that's your wish, then I'll see to it." Pikkon said with a bow. He was much more comfortable with this arrangement than simply receiving the training because he showed up. "Is there anything that I should know about the journey? Or perhaps anything to note about who I'm looking for?" The Tokotian pried.
"His name is San. As I said he looks similar to myself. The mountain pass can be precarious, be careful not to get yourself killed on your journey. There's an old tale about beasts who wander the mountains, ones who cross them aren't seen again. If you're not superstitious, you've nothing to worry about." Pybara laughed, "But child, if you do see these beasts. I wouldn't stick around to find out just what makes them so horrible."
Now Pikkon was intrigued. What sort of beasts could be roaming the mountains? Even then, what possible reason would the Yardrats have of fearing them? Perhaps some strange disappearances, or just ancient folklore. Either way, now the otherworldly fighter was excited. Whoever this San is, he must be something else if he lived up in the mountains with such a tale surrounding the area. Perhaps he simply didn't believe. Or he didn't want anyone to bother him. "Very well then, I'll see to it with caution then." Pikkon promised, bowing again before taking his leave.
San had to be a strange character, regardless of if the stories really turned out to be nothing. Either he believed and was unafraid. Or he didn't believe and was simply using the superstition of the area to keep away visitors. Elder Pybara was probably less likely to send Pikkon to meet someone who didn't want to be bothered, if his interactions with the locals had told him anything thus far. However, the man's strange behavior also lent some credence to the theory that San didn't want visitors. After all, the man made Pikkon sit in silence at the door to his hut when Pikkon could clearly sense him inside for several minutes. Only to let him in and pretend nothing happened.
Elder Pybara was a strange one, and Pikkon, in a way, hoped that San would be strange too. He was used to this sort of thing, gauging a person, determining whether they were useful, a threat, an ally. The milquetoast of the general population here on Yardrat was fine. Pikkon respected them heavily. However, in the real world, in the wider universe as a whole, that sort of thing was rare. Most worlds were either conquerors or conquered, that's just how it was. There were few exceptions, and they usually didn't stay exceptions for long. In the history of everything, Pikkon was sure that every world, at one point or another, was significantly impacted by the invasion of an enemy from another world.
Or maybe, that was just the west quadrant. Maybe here, Yardrat was the standard, and that's why nobody had come to investigate the West Kai's suspicions. Pikkon wasn't sure which was harder to believe, honestly. A big part of him wanted to believe that the standard here was peace and helping your neighbor and humanitarian efforts. However, he'd seen enough war and bloodshed to know that people like him, and the Yardrats here, they were outnumbered. No mistaking that.
For every world full of level-headed and kind-hearted civilizations, there was a dozen with nothing in mind but to take all that they can. Some certainly stronger than others, and thankfully these worlds were more likely to find each other than a world like Yardrat, but that really is what bothered Pikkon. Nothing was safe, and perhaps he just feared he was on the cusp of seeing the end of this peaceful world. Seeing the devastation on a planet and knowing you can't fix it is one thing, but to be here when the mayhem begins, if he wasn't able to stop it... he'd be devastated.
Pikkon had a fair journey ahead of him. Up these mountains he was to find the man that Elder Pybara called 'San'. Whatever trials lay ahead were anyone's guess. It would no doubt be cold. There was also the looming threat of some mysterious beasts that allegedly roamed the area. Though, Pikkon figured there was a fifty-fifty change of them being some sort of test. Either in the form of them being a lie to test if he was a coward, or he'd have to conquer them as part of his journey to prove he was worthy. He'd not come this far just to turn back at the first sight of a challenge, in fact the idea of being challenged by some ravenous beast was a bit exciting.
Yardrat was nice, peaceful. A good place to retire if Pikkon ever decided to do so. However, his mission here on the planet wasn't to relax. He'd been doing plenty of that in Otherworld. If he'd been brought back, he'd every intention of making it mean something. Whether for this world or another, or even the galaxy as a whole. Vague as his mission, and admittedly all of his missions since arriving, may be, he was determined to make the most of his time here. He hoped to make a good name for Tokotians across the universe if possible. Not for their technology, but for their actions and willingness to help others.
So far his chances to do good have been zero. He'd arrived and been met with gracious hospitality, and pointed in the direction of a master who promised to teach him, if only he could complete another task first. He'd done plenty talking, now it was time to start doing. He'd be no hero to anyone if he couldn't pass this simple test, whichever part of this journey that may even come to be the test. He didn't seek glory, necessarily, only to do the right thing. He was strong, and he saw it as his responsibility to help with any great threat as best as he could. However his fight against Kozuma was very personal. That war he'd been born into... it was his birthright to end it.
The war hero continued on, pressing his feet to the ground with swift determination. His eyes were set on the mountain, and then the top. His usual climate might have been more arid, but he'd not balk at the cold. If anything it would only serve as a motivator to get this done quickly. The quicker he found San and passed his trial the quicker he could return to the comfort of the more temperate climate. To this point, the only thing that had been challenged is his comfort. With the Yardrats almost hostile levels of hospitality. It seemed like he was free to stay and leech off of them all he wanted, but he wasn't the type.
Yaki must have seen that in him. That must be why he urged him towards Elder Pybara. Their time together might have been fun, and Pikkon had no issue making friends. Good natured peoples of all worlds seemed to flock together like that. However, Pikkon's goals and aspirations reached further than that small village. Just as his goals back on Tokoto reached further than just liberating his planet. He wanted all worlds to be free from Kozuma's wrath. If his time with the resistance served as anything, it was a monument to how Pikkon pursued his goals aggressively.
As the Tokotian pushed through the thicket of trees that marred the land at the base of the mountain, he could feel the air become frigid as the terrain slowly inclined. Before long his breath was visible, and he was thankful he was wearing long sleeves. Pikkon pulled his scarf up to cover his mouth and ears as best he could, wrapping it tightly. The slight crunch of snow beneath his boots overtook the occasional snapping of twigs and quickly became the only noise in his ears as the chirping of birds died off.
The wind began to pick up, whipping at his back and sending chills rushing up his spine. He wound himself tighter, tucking his hands into his pockets as he pressed forward. He'd have packed gloves if he'd known he'd be going to such a locale. Just another obstacle to overcome, surely nothing he couldn't handle.
Soon all that was before him narrowed. A flurry of white haze surrounded him, limiting his vision to just a few feet in front of him. It was disorienting to say the least, any more impairment to his vision and he might be unable to tell if he was going forward or backwards. However, one thing did warm his spirit. He could sense a power ahead of him, surely it was San. It was still a ways away, but it was a beacon that served to remind him he was heading the right direction.
He focused on the power, allowing himself to lock on it's position. He made a beeline toward it, and hopefully out of this cold. As his trek continued however, he began to see just how out of his element he was. In his gritty determination to get there quickly, Pikkon had walked himself to a cliff. He nearly didn't notice either, focusing so intently on the power ahead. Two more steps and he would have plummeted to the rocky spears below no doubt.
"Blast, perhaps the reason people go missing is drops like this." Pikkon groaned, staring into the white void trying to get a grip just for how deep the plunge might have been. "Hard to tell. Though it does seem a bit strange their whole story. 'Nobody who's ever seen them has come back alive.' Not like you can ask a dead or missing man where he's gone or what the cause was. West Kai I hope you know what you're doing. It's starting to feel like this whole planet is just strange. Perhaps that's why he'd gotten such a weird feeling from it." Pikkon added, practically cursing under his breath.
Maybe his fears were well founded, or perhaps it was just him being irritated at the cold and what would have been a very embarrassing return trip to Otherworld. He couldn't imagine having to explain to the Kai that he'd fallen to his death. No doubt that'd get a laugh out of the old coot. Still, he'd wished he could see for a damn so he could just fly the rest of the way. Right now the ground was the only thing keeping him from oblivion it seemed.
The glacial flurries and howling winds showed no signs of stopping as Pikkon pressed forward. Tokotian winters at their worst were nowhere near this bad. He made the decision to walk along the edge of the cliff he'd nearly wandered over and hope to find a way across. In his bones he could feel that flying over was a bad idea. If ever there was a trap, it was flying blind in a snow storm across an unfamiliar gorge. Even if he was familiar with the territory he'd be apprehensive. He liked to know where he was heading, diving head first into the opposite rock wall didn't seem like a fun idea either.
Pressing forward, the warrior mulled over his options. He knew there was no guarantee that he'd find a safe way across. In fact if he was a betting man, he'd wager quite the opposite. However he was in no rush to place that bet. Instead, he'd rather rule out the possibility of safe passage first. It was the safe bet, after all. The snow was unrelenting, seeking to bury Pikkon on his feet if he stood still too long. He pushed forward aggressively, not allowing mother nature the opportunity. His senses could tell the power wasn't getting much closer, well at least he wasn't getting farther away either.
Finally, in a divine stroke of luck, the Tokotian warrior stumbled upon a piece of thick twine before him. He couldn't see where it lead, but he had his suspicions. It stuck up from the ground at an angle, and as he traced the cord it led into a post. Wonderful! At the top of the post the twin continued, heading off in the direction of the cliff. Surely this was a bridge, it had to be. Pikkon gripped the twine in his right hand, feeling the frostbitten rope in his palm. His heart raced as adrenaline pumped through his veins. With any luck, this bridge would carry him damn near exactly where he needed to go.
So he marched on, carefully calculating each step along the way. This suspended bridge might be his shining light of hope, but he knew all too well that he shouldn't trust anything to hold steady in these winds, especially not some old primitive construction like this. Each step the structure swayed this way and that. At the very least, if it were to give out, he could use the twine as a guide to get across. However, stumbling his way back afterwards would be another story. He hoped it didn't have to come to that.
The recently revived hero walked across what must have been a hundred yards or more of this precarious bridge before he reached the other side. Each step the wood and twine moaned as though it was going to be the last one it could take, but it held. On the other side now, Pikkon locked his focus back on the power signature ahead of him. He was close, he could feel it. The signature didn't feel like Pybara's, no. It felt more like Yaki's. Perhaps that was a sign of the man's personality.
The wind howled viciously outside, almost strong enough to drown out the crackling of the fire. San sat with his legs crossed before the fire, tending the timber as he waiting for his dinner to finish cooking. Over the embers hung a sizeable pot, it roiled and toiled and boiled over the flames. The Yardrat stared in delight. His favorite time of day was approaching, as was a new friend. He sensed him as soon as he entered Elder Pybara's home, and since then, San had no doubt the man would make his way to him.
However, he did face one primary obstacle. The Yeti. Of course it was a myth, right? San had lived here for decades and never seen the creature. However, he'd heard some strange noises he couldn't one hundred percent confirm weren't the Yeti. And he'd seen tracks that resembled what the Yeti creature of lore might make. And there was plenty of disappearances in the area, but these all seemed coincidental. Superstition didn't really have a place in San's mind, he'd sooner throw it out and replace with more useful information. Recipes, funny anecdotes. Anything but crazy conspiracy theories. They only sought to scare peace-loving people and entertain those who believed in them.
There was something so satisfying it seemed in being the only two people in a room who heard a story and believed it to be true. Some smug sense of 'those idiots don't even know, but we know...'. It was childish. If these people spent half as long learning real facts, not just subscribing to the ones who supported their outlandish theories, they'd be much better off. They'd have more friends, and know a lot more stuff.
Pikkon burst through the door, collapsing in a heap on the floor. On his arm he was carrying... no... it couldn't be.
"I don't know what this creature is... but he's dying, quickly, do you have anything to close the wound." Pikkon demanded, trying to stumble to his feet. He was covered in blood, was it his? Was it this creatures? It was too hard to tell. San scrambled to a closet and quickly returned with a first aid kit. He tore off a large section of gauss and pressed it on the wound.
"Hold this here, I need to prepare water to clean the wound." San instructed Pikkon before scampering over to the fire. He grabbed an empty pan, swung open the door for a moment, scooped some of the snow up in the pan, and slammed the door back closed. Swiftly he darted back over to the fire, he planted the pan in the coals, needing the snow to melt quickly.
"What happened?" San asked, trying to wrap his head around the entire situation. "Who... what?" He choked, unable to decide which line of questioning to pursue first. Pikkon looked at him through a side glance. Where did he start?
"Well, let's see. It all started about an hour ago..." Pikkon began. "I was trekking up the mountain, in search of a man named San. Elder Pybara said I needed to learn what he had to teach me before I could train with him. So I was dead set on climbing the mountain, and I had just crossed the bridge when I sensed something was off. Through the wind, I could only faintly hear it. A cry for help. Down below, in a limitless white void. I could hear the cries, and I could sense a faint power, and it was fading. Surely, I thought to myself, this is one of these people who've gone missing because of mysterious creatures. I need to save them from the elements, or perhaps a creature that is after them."
"Wait wait wait, you're telling me you saved him from the ravine out front? And he was crying out for help? How long has he been unconscious?" San pried.
"He was with me until just before we made it to your home. I actually couldn't get a good look at him out in the storm, so I didn't know he wasn't a Yardrat in a furry coat until right as we crashed to the floor here." Pikkon admitted. "Frankly, I'm unsure where we go from here." Pikkon said, crossing his arms. "He told me he'd just fell down the cliffside in the storm trying to get back to his cave. Me, personally, I'm gonna go look for this cave when the storm clears, see if I can't find some answers to these disappearances that Elder Pybara mentioned. He doesn't seem like the type, not from the short time I got to speak to him."
"Oh," San swallowed, "so you've heard the stories too. Man-eating Yeti, beware! Those who see him are never heard from again!" San rolled his eyes. He couldn't believe his eyes.
"A bit over the top if you ask me." Pikkon shook his head. "Things like these normally have much simpler and/or reasonable explanations. Well, normally. Sometimes you get..." Pikkon motioned to the Yeti. San was now at his side, cleaning the wound and stitching him up. It looked as though he was partially impaled by a rock down there. The rock being in the wound likely kept the damage from being fully felt. It wasn't until he was moved that he'd started to bleed and, eventually, lost consciousness just before they arrived.
"Well, I can't say I know much about Yeti anatomy, as until four minutes ago, I was one-hundred-and-twenty percent certain they were a myth." San shrugged, flabbergasted by it all. They had a saying back during the war, the only myth was peace. Pikkon didn't think about it too much since, but he looked back on those times and remembered when he truly thought anything was possible, even peace. However the way that they had to take to attain peace, there was much struggle and bloodshed along the way. Unfortunately, reason isn't a language everyone speaks. Some people only understand violence.