IC (Ko-Wahi fjord; Wanderer's Company)
A Dark Toa. A horrible murder. Essence Stones. Temple Crystals. A mysterious weapon-
It took a few seconds for me to remember where I was in the darkness, the dream so vivid. The shed, the cold, the fall... the previous day's memories came flooding back painful clarity.
My friend Takua was dead.
Uncurling myself from the floor proved difficult, my body feeling frozen in position, stiffer that the boards that made this shed. It took over five minutes for me to just stand, having to warm up each body part individually, flexing fingers, rubbing legs, rotating shoulders... still, my elemental reserves had recharged decently and that helped in the process despite the lack of heat in the air.
As quietly as I could I climbed to my feet, I folded a coat three sizes too small in my hands, gazing about at the sleeping matoran. Sometime during the one named Sulov must have laid this on me. My head tilted slightly as I observed his sleeping form, many thing running through my head... mainly the fact that I had been wrong about him. In fact, to an extent ALL of them. Takua placed the future, and in proxy the fate of every creature on the island, in their hands. I was finally beginning to see the wisdom in that choice. Their very capable hands.
Silently I laid the coat next to his head and stepped outside into the frigid air. Not as dark as I expected from the predawn air; it had to be all the snow, reflecting and refracting what little light there was. It was snowing lightly, thankfully without any wind, and absolutely silent. Like, silent silent. I could hear my heartlight flashing it was it was so quiet, the freshly-laden snow absorbing what little noise there was. I breathed out, watching my breath condense, crystallize, then join the thousands of other flakes as they made their dutiful march to the ground below.
Duty. I figured out my destiny, but what was my duty in all this?
The crunching under my feet was the only sound I could hear as I found myself at the stream, staring my own reflection in the dark water. Yes, I had my own mission, but they had an army of bad guys on their tail. Should I try to protect them before I gather the temple crystals? Should I grab them all quick then come back? A little of both? How could they fight off the Minions of Makuta when experienced Toa themselves have a hard time doing so. I hated thinking such gloomy thoughts before breakfast. Shaking my head I knelt down and stuck my hands in the water.
I gasped with shock as I the heat was stripped from my fingers, and did so a second time when I splashed the water across my face. Mata-Nui, it was cold, and deceptively so. Still, I was determined to complete my daily ritual, so with numb hands and gritted teeth I stripped myself of my armor and drove in headfirst.
When I finally broke I was gasping for air, eyes wide in shock. With my chest above the water I could see my arms shaking, the cold draining away what heat I had accumulated overnight. I did this because this is what my body needed, beaten and bruised as it was, and because I was part of my routine. My ritual. My training. I did this to become stronger. Clenching my fist I finally tapped into my reserves, and when I opened my eyes I would see the water vapor curl and float off my body, the heat within stronger than the cold without. Shoulders, head, chest, abs, little tendrils of steam like ghostly, smokey tongues of flames dancing across my as the water around me began to warm up at the sheer force of my will. Wading over the bank I paused before placing a hand on my face, and with a sharp yank pulled my mask off. The effect was immediate as I felt power flee, the temperature around me dropping. It was tempting not to do so given my condition, but that wasn't how I worked. Pain was weakness leaving the body, and that's how I became the best sportsman, the greatest athlete on the island. Simple put: I didn't cut corners.
I didn't cheat.
Wading back out into the middle of the steam I began, my hands slowly moving and I focused on my breathing, using the water as a natural resistance to my exercises. My morning routine was not about strength, nor speed, nor even power, but in control and precision, making slow yet precise gestures, attacks and blocks with my arms and legs. The water made it difficult, and the cold made it unbearable, and the lack of mask mask made in downright terrible, but I did it anyway. In this state I could think, relax, and mediate without any distractions that a day usually brings. Sadly, today brought no revelations, but it did bring a glimmer of hope; even with all the handicaps I dumped on myself by the end of it I was still warm, able to easily control my fire and keep the cold in check. To train without a mask many though absurd, but to me it was an irresistible challenge.
And I loved a good challenge.
Climbing out of the water I replaced my mask, staring at my mangled armor as I crouched there in the snow, water with dripping or steaming off my hot body. The color had faded, much of it had scratches and gashes, and what was in one piece was horribly mangled. Why did we wear such obtrusive armor? It wasn't like we were organic; we had metal outer covering as it was, and self-repairing at that, something armor didn't do. It was bulky, expensive, and depending on your fighting style, it could even get in the way. Yes, it DID save me from that fall, but I placed myself in that position as it was. Taking my chest piece I stood, staring at it as one stared as a useless tool, and with a heave chucked it across the way and into a snowbank. One by one I did so with all my pieces until only the necessary ones remained. It wouldn't be long until the snow buried what little was showing, probably never again to be seen in the frozen wasteland. I was built for speed, and I would play to that. I would play to my strength. Play to my strength...
That was my solution.
What many would consider a weakness I would turn into a strength. Overly charismatic, and ego only the Makuta could match... I would use them to help me. I knew how to make a scene, how to gather attention, not to mention I thrived in it... and use that to draw attention to me and away from them. Yes, buy time. Buy them time by drawing the Makuta's eye toward me, not them. Difficult, yes, dangerous, absolutely, mad even...
Right up my alley.
I turned towards the ocean, the tiniest pinprick of light beginning to rise with the coming dawn. A symbol perhaps? That these misfits would become the island's next set of heroes? Maybe. Or maybe they along with me were just a bunch of crazy, misguided, delusional hope-chasers that would only get ourselves killed in the end, or worse.
I smiled. Maybe. But it would be be one karzahni of a ride meantime.