OOC: Wrote this last night (with some last minute changes just now). In lieu of a more “climatic” confrontation as I had envisioned it months ago, I am instead introducing the newest force for
good evil force. VF, it’s up to you whether you want Kohra to fight or not. It would certainly help though.
Hope you guys enjoy.
IC: Wokodin – Le-Wahi Jungle – Following Ronkshou and Kohra
The jungle was always a mite stickier than I would have liked, though I suppose I should not be too querulous of my surroundings. In absolute fairness, no ash bears or Nui Rama have bothered me. The skies were mostly clear and there was a cool breeze, though I could appreciate neither of those traits because I was currently under a canopy – the weather was relaxing and a sight to see before I descended into the swamps and surreptitiously trailed my prize through the jungle. The sand-colored cloak I had used to conceal myself in the desert was also helping here, keeping the bugs away and whatnot. After much venturing through, the humidity made it uncomfortable to wear, and I set it upon a branch, marking my way for when I would return.
I now stood with stoic contempt in under the dark sage-colored blanket of the jungle canopy. Leaves and twigs crunching under the might of my armored feet. Despite there being so few people around, I found the jungle quite noisy; my space under the canopy was filled with clicking and chirping from bugs and birds, and past those sounds, one could hear the faint rushing of water along a stream somewhere. All of this noise made is a bit more difficult to track my prize and his (likely) accomplice. Ronkshou could be the link that I needed to track down Vidar, Echelon, Utu, and who-knows-who-else. With such captures completed by me alone, I soothed my mind with images of deserved glory and riches.
At no point during this journey did I ever consider defeat. Why would I? I’ve been in this occupancy, this game of thrones, longer than any other supposed “hero”. And yet, how many scrolls bear my credentials? How many busts hold my image? How many tablets and plaques speak of my feats? No one is concerned for the trailblazers of this story- no, this game. Because life is a game, where you win or you lose – to call this a “journey” or an “experience” is to embrace defeat while chastising your peers for the honor that they’ve gained or will gain. It’s childish, really.
My ears picked up two pairs of footsteps ahead, and I slowed my pace. The twigs and dried leaves were admittedly become more of an annoyance now, for I knew to not underestimate the Makuta’s 2nd Lieutenant. If I could hear him, what was to keep him from hearing me? I crouched to hide my tall frame and trained my ear towards the source of the footsteps, not moving for a few precious seconds.
Taking in the volumes and the echoes of their footsteps, I determined that they were still walking away from me (that’s always good) and that they were, in fact, south and east of me, or rather, towards my left. Being ever-mindful of what lay on the ground, I continued my pace in Ronkshou’s direction.
I didn’t want to engage just yet, as I still had little knowledge of what exactly these two were doing. Whatever it was, Ronkshou and the Vortixx were in quite a hurry, even injuring two Matoran (and in turn making me a fleeting hero). What were they looking for? And would this trail eventually lead me to the rest of Makuta’s servants and Lieutenants? Would the Shadow Toa appear? I nearly salivated at the prospect of bringing the Dark One’s head to Po-Koro, and throwing it at Hewkii’s feet in exchange for a throne of my own. No, leading a village was never a prospect for me, but a personal throne, or perhaps my own statue – surely nothing less than that for the Shadow Toa’s head.
I shook my head to get those thoughts out. I had to concentrate on this prize. Ronkshou was next after the Shadow Toa, which means he would be worth only slightly less. Combine that with the knowledge that I will glean from him one way or another… and I would have Echelon, Vidar, Utu, and all of the other villains of Mata Nui under my bondage, to be nobly offered to Po-Koro’s leadership.
The duo was increasing in speed now, and I increased my pace in turn, approaching a short rock ridge and moving up and past it in no time. Several more of the ridges were before me, and I resigned myself to climbing my way up. In doing so, I realized that the stream I had heard faintly before was now rushing past me to my right; nearly-clear, fresh water flowing down and shimmering in what little sunlight can pass through the canopy.
As I jogged behind the Toa and the Vortixx up these ridges, I felt the strangest sense of Deja-Vu. Upon further thought, I remembered that I had been here before!
This was the way to the Nui Rama Hive, or at least it was, before it was destroyed.
A euphoric sense of nostalgia swept over me as I remembered grander times – back when this island felt new and fresh, before the Makuta’s hold was as great as it was now. Of course, it feels as new as it would ever feel for most of the citizens here, but for me? I still remember a long-dead era.
As the land beneath my feet became rougher, I started to envision the last time I was near the Rama Hive. I was searching for the famed Absolute crystal, the one which, when embedded into one’s armor, would allow him to wield six elements: Fire, Water, Earth, Air, Stone, and Ice. While the crystal wasn’t here, it was difficult to forget the countless battles with Nui Rama – I’m sure I killed at least 100 of those insects that day.
Oh, and for those curious, I did find the crystal in a completely different region, though it was lost before I could benefit from my finding.
It was the same old story: weeks of adventure and near-death escapades, which are rewarded with a tease of what you were seeking, followed by it disappearing forever. It happened again when I searched for the mythical “Swarms” with Toa Loriella (who tried to kill me once she discovered that I didn’t really bother myself too much with overthrowing the Makuta); no “swarms” were found. They’re obviously not real. Then, there was that war I fought with the self-titled “Protectors”… a war that lasted so much longer than it should have and that many believe should have killed me. Instead, I, the tactical General that I am, killed the leader of the village and took it over. Of course, that wondrous victory can never be sung about, as it was won in the interest of the Makuta. To make matters worse, not even the Makuta gave me anything in return, citing the village’s violent fall one year later by a supposed “psychic”. He assassinated the leader that the Makuta’s top servants appointed, but realized his grave mistake once we carried out our orders pre-set for such a happening: kill all the people, burn the village to ashes, and salt the land so that people will think it’s just a thumb of Motara Desert. The ironic part is this though: the “freedom-fighter” was but another would-be dictator, not a Mata Nui-worshipping assailant. He offed himself once I and my men killed all the people he hoped to enslave.
Talk about a waste of ambition. He could have just used his skills to take over another village. I hate to admit it, but he was smart enough. The stories of his standoff with the leader are still being passed down from elders to younglings.
Or they would be, had most of the witnesses not been killed off.
Long story short, all of my victories have been fleeting; glory and riches taken from me before I can lay my hands on them. After the destruction of that village, I was forced to start over. Today, all of my accomplishments mean nothing at best and treason at worst. How can it be that the Toa who has seen the most is the Toa that no one remembers? If I am so great, my list of accomplishments so grand, then why must I be ordinary? Where did I go wrong? And most importantly, how can I right it?
Well, capturing the Makuta’s 2nd Lieutenant is a heck of a good start.
IC: Ronkshou – Foot of Destroyed Rama Hive – Le-Wahi
After an hour of jogging, resting, and jogging some more through thick vines and sticky air, Ronkshou and Kohra were rewarded with blue skies. Ronkshou followed Kohra’s lead, circling the clearing. The Infected Toa took this moment to take a couple of more breaths. Le-Wahi was quite vast, and even when they knew where to go, the rivers to cross, trees to dodge, and Rahi to avoid made the trip less then smooth. Ronkshou closed his eyes to meditate and calm his body, as well as prepare it for battle. He wasn’t sure exactly what the Makuta bid them to do now. Ronkshou was confident in his ability to take on a team of brand-new Toa, but considering that the Matoran’s transformations were from this specialized Toa Stones… Ronkshou wanted to avoid any presumptions.
Just then, the ground rumbled beneath Ronkshou and Kohra’s feet. The two look at each other quizzically, and then readied their weapons. Ronkshou quickly took out his apparatus and wrapped it around his mask, jamming the cords into the back of his head. Did the new Toa sense their presence and gain a wishful sense of courage?
To the duo’s surprise, they saw only a stone slab rise from the mud, plants, sticks, and other rubble that once made up the Rama Hive. The rumbling then stopped. The slab, tan in color, was but the size of Ronkshou’s foot, and the Infected Toa was confused, but only momentarily. At that exact moment, five more stone slabs of the same size and shape emerged from the ground, encasing the duo in a circle.
Self-preservation took hold for the Infected Toa. His memory and training recalled various battles with Toa of Stone. While normally very sturdy and patient people, they could be quite… destructive at times. No longer having regard for his partner, Ronkshou activated his shield just in time before the six stone slabs shattered with the ferocity of bombs, sending shards and splinters of dense rock in all directions. While Ronkshou’s quick thinking led to a good decision, ultimately, the Kanohi Hau’s shield cannot extend the complete circumference of Ronkshou’s being – this is why ambush was effective. Ronkshou found himself being thrust into the ground, his back pelleted with rock shards. When the dust settled, Ronkshou slowly rose to his feet, his back and arms bearing a few new cuts on them from the sharper shards of stone. He could only hope Kohra fared better than he did; her form did help her to be much faster.
Before the Toa and Vortixx stood a Toa whose height was one and one-half times that of the average Toa, and whose shoulders had the breath of a Titan. The mountain of the Toa simply watched the two rise to their feet, a hungry looked plastered across his Kanohi Sanok.
“Ronkshou, or as I call it, my ticket to glory and riches,” Wokodin said, his voice had the timbre of an old and venerable hero. It was a perfect mask for his true motivations, “Or have you not paid attention to how much you and your allies are worth?”
Wokodin’s eyes darted to Kohra, and then reverted to the Infected Toa, “Who is she”
“That means nothing to you,” Ronkshou growled. The last time he engaged a Toa of this size, things didn’t end well. As such, Ronkshou’s common stoic and matter-of-fact demeanor was not there, “Just know that there is nothing to protect here any longer, except for possibly yourself. You run along, we let this whole thing go”
Wokodin then let out a chuckle that was not too terribly from Ronkshou’s own Makuta-controlled laugh.
Wokodin – Foot of Destroyed Rama Hive – Le-Wahi
This was most humorous. I knew Ronkshou said that either because there was little else he could say, or he wanted to know my reaction.
Still, who would think I would retreat without even a drop of blood being shed?
“I came all this way from Po-Wahi, why would I turn back now?” I said to the minions, no doubt sending chills up their spines. They had indeed been followed by the opposite side of the island, not at all aware of a third presence. I took one step forward, the tension in the air only compounding with the climate. It was an unfortunate situation really: surely all three of us knew how this would end, unless they two minions retreated, and yet, their bondage under the Makuta forced them to remain here.
Growing impatient, I decided to tell them who I was, then maybe I would learn the name of this Vortixx.
“I am Gen. Wokodin,” I said, my voice never faltering and instead having the forceful weight of a mountain, “the most powerful warrior on Mata Nui”
IC: Kongu – Gukko Force HQ
“Echelon,” Kongu spat and his fists clenched, “A name Le-Koronans know all too well”
The Captain shook his head to get the vengeful thoughts out, and then leaned forward to Skyra.
“You are heart-brave to describe these dark-happenings,” Kongu said sympathetically, “We must continue: I have been receiving reports about the Mark Bearers; their note-file is still active. Last I have ear-heard is that they all went to Xa-Koro, but I haven’t heard anything about them since. Is there some light you can shed on that?”