Cast of Characters
- Ishi Polzin, Kughii
- Kiara, Vera Polzin's personal aid, Kughii
- Lipa messenger of Ga-Koro Marine force, Lloyd: The White Wolf
Chapter 6: Baiting The Traps
Tohu Inn, fringe of Ga-Koro
Black ink dribbled off the edge of the desk. Shattered glass remained embedded in the wall. A half-finished cypher lay in the chaos, its edges sodden and lines permanently erased by the act of frustration. Ishi’s heavy breathing echoed into the night from an open window. His eyepatch had been taken off, but a hand covered the blue eye that forever branded him a Polzin.
“Curse Aralick,” Ishi spat as he reeled about the small hotel room. He felt the chemical burns beneath his fingers, memories issuing from the pale skin. He pounded a fist into the desk, leaving knuckle marks in the teak. There was the popping of joints, but Ishi didn’t care. It was sweet relief to lose control and let his emotions thrash against something hard and immovable. He laid on the punishment, right hand soon slick with black ink. Ishi’s jaw clenched as he breathed through the nose, the pounding headache slowly subsiding into a throbbing fist. Minutes past, his punches ending once the pain became unbearable.
He stared at the soiled paper with his orange eye, seeing the meaning rather than the object. The plan required calm calculation and an investor’s timing, but thirty years of torment screamed for retribution now. His body wanted the bloodthirsty vengeance of mutilation and murder, but his heart begged for a greater purpose.
Etera can rot for all I care; Ishi thought briefly, then shook his head to find the calm he used so well as a curtain between the stage and reality. With his new sobriety Ishi went to the washroom and got the items to clean up his nervous breakdown, starting with the crust of tears inside his kanohi.
White linen wrapped Ishi’s hand, his right eye hidden. The soft charcoal color of his coat enveloped his body. Thinking back to his chance encounter with Ventra in Forsi, Ishi’s blue eye searched the market stalls and lining eateries for the telltale appearance of his superior. He had good luck. She appeared, exiting an open air tea house. Her head turned, surveying the territory. There was a momentary pause as his eye met her purple orbs, then she turned on her heel and walked away. The note slipped from inside his sleeve as he trailed after her swaying hips, landing silently in his bandaged palm and unseen by the world. She turned down a side street and Ishi increased his pace.
As he passed the matoran of earth their strides matched, hands clasping long enough for the secret to be delivered:
Some people invest everything stupidly. I never go under anymore: remember Daddy? Impressive notions, Daddy envisioned possibly ending diffident emotional turmoil. Come on, this rage can’t take over reasonable spirits. Interested novices can’t remember everything anyways, so entertainment declines severely every curt undermine rioters instigate the year. Why any novice thinks so, perhaps each article can explain. Daddy is severely careful after rewarding diligence.
Safely exchanged, Ishi turned away from the moment and disappeared into the streets. He walked steadily, sure in his next move. The organization had been sated temporarily, now he needed to satiate the rest. Without pause he left through the main gate and headed to the Polzin Mansion.
The knocker was heavy and too high to reach. Remembering all the toa sized offerings in his old home threatened to pull his rage back from the evening, but a few breaths regained his nerves. Swinging his leg, he kicked the door as he so often used to. Without waiting he swung another kick, the door opening without prompt before the foot landed.
“EEK!” Kiara screamed and hopped back when she saw the loaded weapon of a raised leg. Ishi felt the burn of embarrassment and placed his foot back on the ground.
“Sorry about that miss,” he said; “but I was sent to deliver a package for Ms. Vera Polzin.”
“O-oh,” the nervous aide said, her hands trembling against the door. “W-well, I can t-take it for y-y-you.”
Reaching into his drawstring sack Ishi rummaged for the small object in parchment paper. He handed the package to Kiara without delay. “Uh, I was told the Polzin house would pay for the delivery...”
“C-certainly,” she replied and gave him a five piece widget. With a nod Ishi turned away from his childhood home and walked back Ga-Koro, a whistle on his lips. He could see Vera opening the parcel in his mind, her rational attempts to piece together the kohlii ball inside with the two words written inside the packaging:
IC: Ishi Polzin as Kyhra, On a different day than when the Dasaka come marching by.
Ishi Polzin spent the rest of the day reacquainting with Ga-Koro and the surrounding terrain. Vera Polzin and Etera had been two loose strings tied back into the wiring of his grand machine, but Ga-Koro itself still harbored a challenge. Houses had been shifted to make way for increased security, merchants were harder to swindle, and wherever he looked he saw the representatives of justice and the law. They were a blue emblemed menace to his goal, an infernal reminder of tranquility, and a monstrous spoke bent out of line that needed to be fixed.
Evening came with the hushing of the market's squabble. Ishi had left the Tohu inn, paying his extra fines for the spilled ink and destroyed writing desk with the dull thud of small value widgets.
"Keep the change," he muttered and exited, feet returning to the lily pad streets. Ishi made his way to the main marketplace under the cloak of night, feet plodding with masked discretion. Stalls were closed for the day, their wares hidden behind fences or stored in warehouses. His cunning eyes wore the deceiving guise of disinterest as he passed the hut of Akiri Hahli, guards giving him looks of suspicion. He didn't blame them, even if he was a master actor. Marines had a job to fulfill. His target, however, was elsewhere.
Feet pushed against the wall, his hands gripping the ledge before slipping into the open window. He had tossed his bag in first, little more than a soft hiccup in the night. Inside the dockside security office was a row of shelves, different books lining their breadth. Some were simply novels, others were more in-line with protocol and contained what Ishi sought: records. He knew the better cache was in the headquarters itself, but without a distraction this was the best he would be able to grab to appease his third patron. "Now, which one to copy..."
His whispers went unnoticed by the roaming patrols. Despite their precision and military timing, the informant who had spent thirty years amongst the living as little more than a forgotten name knew his craft too well. Books left their shelf without protest, pages turned without crinkling, and facts were learned in the dead of the night. Ishi felt himself bombarded by shipping statistics of common goods, learning the updated routes and connections. The matoran was disappointed in not gleaning anything critical about inter-koro trading routes -- those were stored in the Head quarter's secure filing rooms undoubtedly -- but he still learned enough to form a general gist of the common man's island. He learned of when a matoran from Po-wahi had come into Ga-Koro for rest and relaxation after failing at the kohlii tryouts to the north, which gave him a chuckle as he realized all too well who it had been, and then smirked as he followed the trading vessels from their their ports of call. Finally tracking down a few more exclusive items of daily living, Ishi's blue eye gleamed in the darkness. Now to copy the information.
Ink scribbled hastily along paper in an odd alphabet of his own device. It incorporated characters for entire words rather than simple syllabary, and in a matter of minutes he had created the minutia of notes needed to recall the pages determined important. Sliding his mentor back onto its space on the wooden shelf he sighed. Gathering the papers, they quickly disappeared into his sack, which he slipped across his shoulders.
Now to get out.
(Lipa sighed deeply as she entered the Marines' dock office, locking the door behind her. "I hate the night shift." She grumbled. The messenger bag was flipped open and she deposited the last missives from HQ in the inbox, while removing the outgoing mail and sliding it into her bag in a practiced movement. She skimmed through it and noted a few things, then headed out, taking the mail to its intended destination. The last sound that echoed in the building was the front door being locked.)
The sound of a bolt turning brought a panic to Ishi's throat. Hastily he cast his gaze for possible cover, sinking into a low crouch. Taking his best bet the matoran slid backwards with a push of his hands, disappearing into the darkness underneath the desk. Reminding himself to remain calm, he watched a pair of familiar blue legs enter the small side-bubble of the cabbage head like outpost with a practiced stride. They turned, going on point to reach something on the top shelf with a grunt of exertion. Turning his head revealed more of the view; keeping a whistle barely contained became hard work.
The sounds of letters being shuffled filled the room above the sound of whispers from the messenger marine. Whispers about her life and job not meant for others to hear. For some unknown reason Ishi found himself ignoring them as a courtesy.
Her feet soon turned and disappeared, swaying hips entering the picture before Lipa returned to the main part of the small office. There was the sound of the door again, then the bolt screeching into its housing. Ishi sighed, the air warm as it ricocheted off the floor and back into his face. "That was close."
Pushing himself out, he glanced up to confirm his suspicions. Lipa had taken the records book, mail, and any other document that would have been of use to him in winning the north's leader as an ally. Just luck, Ishi wondered; or do I have a gift for timing? Stealing himself for the last leg of his thievery, he gracefully ascended the table, tossed his bag back out the window and followed like a silent shadow, sliding down the lily-leaf wall until his feet touched the firm ground. His feet carried him quickly down the docks, finding the ship that had brought him the morning before. With a smile he clambered aboard, just making the night sailing of Pelagia's ferry to Forsi. In a matter of motion-sickness filled hours he would be back in Po-Koro.