Ic: The time had come.
Brykon's eyes fluttered open and he stood, ready and recharged. Predictably, Turaga Nuju would meet with his acolytes, seers and guard leaders to discuss events and prophesy. Nuju was a thinker as much as he was a doer and Brykon knew there would be no rest for the venerable leader. The toa dusted the frost off his coat and started his walk. He was slow and deliberate, taking each step as if it was for penance. He looked about the city as he crossed the numerous ice bridges that spanned the crevasses into the glaciers that slowly rumbled around Ko-Koro. Those glaciers and Brykon shared many characteristics, he thought: They were both unstoppable forces of nature that always carved where they wanted to go; they were unforgiving hosts and loyal leaders. And they both seemed to have ice cold hearts.
At least, on the outside.
Brykon was different in that regard. He cared about things, about people, in ways often lost in translation. He liked Dorian like a son and wanted to make a man out of him; the fleeting glance afforded him when he gave the assignments the day before was enough to tell the colonel that Dorian understood it. He was one of the few people who seemed to get who Brykon was. Hopefully he would see the light and get himself out of this mess and be a better man than the mentor... Liacada was someone he connected with, too. Brash and confident but desperate to get out of her hole, she was a lot like what Brykon was when he was called Senegal. He wanted to leave his pit of fighting and go to a new world and have a different meaning. He hoped that by bringing the Toa of Fire to his world she would learn to live better. But then there was people he never would meet or seem to care about: Everyone else on Mata Nui.
People like Visenya she he spoke with mere hours before. He warned her to stay away from the disaster he would conjure. Why? Maybe because he wanted to be clean. He did the wetwork, the dirty work, but there didn't have to be splash damage to those who did not deserve it. Despite everything Brykon cared about the people who lived their lives normally on Mata Nui's villages.
Yeah, right, just as he was about to kill an old man of wisdom and sage. No splash damage? An entire village was going to feel this.
He knew, of course. It was a damnable crime he was committing and it seemed to betray everything he wanted to fight for. But why else would he have felt so disturbed by the assignment than if he felt strongly for it? There were no illusions of the depth of error in the present path he was taking, but Brykon couldn't waver. He had a plan. Saying he killed Nuju to save Mata Nui would never fly in court, but at least he would live to be in court if he followed through. Declining the task would mean his death, and with it the opportunity to fight back at the master plan he was the hand for.
The Sanctum. It's entrance arch towered over him even as he approached it. Twin Sanctum Guardsmen stood on either side of the entrance, ice axes in hand, and gave the approaching toa four wary eyes. "Stop!" the commanded when Brykon was coming near. They didn't know what hit them when Brykon flung a pair of iron spikes at their chests. They collapsed to the white ground, blood straining the gate they were sworn to protect. Brykon was unstoppable.
He entered the Sanctum with artificial reverence. The colonnade on either side of the great hall had seers of all levels standing and listening quietly as they both read the prophesies and heard Nuju's words translated through Matoro by the image of Kopaka's mask on the far side of the hall from Brykon. Instantly, all eyes turned to the mysterious toa who stood at the door to their sacred meeting place. The seers and Nuju gave him suspicious eyes and the Sactum Guards in the throngs stepped out of the colonnade.
Nuju clicked and whistled, and Matoro spoke for him. "You have blood on your hands, Toa." The words had no fear but seemed full of despise. Nuju's emotion was satisfactorily channeled by the translator.
Brykon nodded slowly. "Aye."
Clicks and clacks. Matoro: "You cannot take what we need so much!" Nuju clicked out harshly at Matoro, but the translator defiantly ignored his elder's words. "No, Turaga. I must speak for myself now." He turned back to Brykon and said, "Please, leave without fulfilling your mission! We all beg of you. We have waited for our father to return for so long. We have sacrificed too much to this war. Take your villainy elsewhere!"
"Oh, Matoro..." Brykon said in a whispery tone as he cautiously took a step closer. The three toa who escorted Nuju in before were coming into view, materializing from the crowds in the sides. Brykon glanced at each one of them, taking their specifics in. They were all Toa of Ice, one with a Kakama and an axe, one with a Hau and a sword and one with a Huna and a mace. "What did these walls say of my coming?" he asked.
Matoro looked back at the prophet, Kylma, who shook hid head. "Nothing," Matoro said, suddenly uncertain.
"I come not as a foretold harbinger, Matoro, but as a thief in the night, a dog on the run. You couldn't expect me. My mission is not something I wanted to do, but my eye spied what you have and there is nothing that can stop me from finishing the task assigned. I'm sorry," he lamented, "but your words may move me but will not faze me."
"Then you must fail!" Matoro shouted with urgency as he stepped backwards to protect his Turaga.
Instantly the three Toa were mobilized and the guardsmen stepped forward and encircled Brykon loosely, weapons bared. They sealed the door and created a barrier between him and Nuju. But Brykon wasn't wavering. This was expected. Two weapon formed in his hands, a hatchet on the left and a club on the right.
Kakama attacked first, emerging from the fray and throwing his might into the axe as he aimed to cleave Brykon apart right there. His movement was fast as a blink and Brykon's enhanced reflexes allowed him to just barely catch the downswung axe with his club. A quick slice with his hatchet cut deeply into the open toa's chest, slicing through his armor with efficiency granted his strength. Huna crept up behind him; his footsteps gave him away. Brykon heard the whistle of his mace and he shoved himself against Kakama, pushing the defending toa back and escaping the mace's lethal strike and Brykon pressed the blade of the hatchet into Kakama's chest, sliding it even further into the flesh.
Kakama yelled as he was forced back; he was thin and limber, perfect for quick attacks but failing at matching Brykon's toned might. He was shoved against one of the Wall of Prophesy's columns and the two toa, one hero and one villain, gave one another deathly looks. Huna tried his attack again with a stealthy strike. Brykon had to give him some credit -- he was being persistent. He threw Kakama aside to give him room to evade the strike again and pressed himself against the carved column. Just as the mace whizzed by he jumped around clockwise, heel raised.
His foot connected with Huna's shoulder as he ended his swing. A crack as his arm fell out of joint was audible in the otherwise silent chamber and echoed on the ice, covering the shuffle of feet on the white dusty floor with its sound. Huna was thrown back from the force of the impact and fell to the floor unceremoniously. The guards prepared to enter the fight, but Brykon followed through with his body movement and swung his club down. Huna's namesake did him no good; his breath gave his head's location away. The club connected with the toa's head and a long arc of bloody spray and skull shards cascaded out as if from a jettison. The Guards stepped back from the visible carnage for a moment before pouring in with rage.
Brykon swung his weapons with deft grace, striking the Matoran down one after another and matching their blows at first but they had the advantage of being far more numerous than his hands and feet combined. Despite their stature they were strong, too, and they even managed to snatch Brykon's club away, though at a cost of a guard.
Brykon grew another weapon to take its place, however, and threw himself at the guardians, freely expending his energies he built up for a moment such as this. A spike here, a crampon kick there, a heavy slash yonder. Each hit felt like a stab in his heart, though, a harder pound of his muscle each time his weapons struck a Matoran.
These were the people we wanted to defend! He wanted to save them from a destruction being waged from members of their own kind! Was this how you wanted to help them? a voice asked Brykon.
No, he answered.
And yet he was killing them with brutality. Savage his nature was, this was what came naturally to him, he could not bear to do this to those he loved enough to want to sacrifice everything for them. Was this how you really envisioned the fight to be?
No, he answered.
The colonel crouched and spun on his heels like an ice dancer and stretched the weapons out, smacking two Matoran down at their heads. Their blood spilled unceremoniously on the Sanctum's holy floor. He threw himself into the air and brought his weight down, crushing another guard by falling on him like a rock. He bashed another guard away; he slid on the icy floor like a deer skidding on a frozen pond.
No, he declared. I can't do this. No more damage to the innocent. No more than needed.
Nuju was stashed against Kopaka's visage with Matoro. Hau stood before a semicircle of guards that protected the Turaga just as much as Matoro. The guards around Brykon took the chance to assault him again but he activated his Calix and jumped up and away, landing outside of their efforts. Some collided with each other as Brykon got back up and charged at Hau.
The final Toa was far more capable than the others. He could watch as Brykon did his fighting and learned his style just from observing it for the moment before. He was ready. Brykon's weapons spun down to kill the toa with successive strikes and get him out of the way. If he could parry one tool the next would deal the blow.
Both weapons failed to hit the intended target. A forcefield of protective energy rejected the weapons entry and dissipated as Hau darted his sword forward.
Brykon parried it and lunged with his hatchet to slay him. Again, denied like a coconut on a tortoise's shell. A kick. Denied like a knock at Mata Nui's door. But with every use of the Kanohi of Shielding the force field grew smaller, weaker, clearer. Brykon saw his chance.
He didn't let up. He spun his weapons as if they were sawblades and raised down upon Hau like a stormcloud. The predictable defense tactic was erected and Hau stood his ground, preparing for an opening. The weapons hit the shield one after the other, a hiss of energy sounding the repulsion, until it grew so transparent that it collapsed. Hau's willpower and mask were exhausted. And then Brykon was thrown back by a new shield, this one made of ice.
The fist of ice struck at Brykon so hard he lost his weapons and was repelled forcefully. He landed on his back, the gears on his back grinding as they dug into the floor like anchors and stopped his slide. The guards readily jumped for him but were thrown back by an eruption of iron from Brykon's body that threw them away just the same. He painfully got back to his feet and eyed Hau, this time with a new sense of respect for the last warrior. "Nuju!" Brykon called out to the Turaga, "Dismiss Matoro. You know you can't survive this. I will kill all your defenders if I have to, but my mission calls for your demise, not... the Translator's."
Nuju looked at Brykon with sad eyes as he understood the truth. There was no stopping someone as strong or as determined as Brykon, he knew, but the future could still be guarded. He nodded and clicked at Matoro.
"Click clank click tweet twoot clack!!"
Matoro gave the Fe-Toa a look that could kill before embracing Nuju cautiously and stepping away, looking at Brykon carefully as he stepped as far from Brykon as he could and leaving the Sanctum chamber.
"Now then," Brykon said. he didn't mean to end the thought, though inwardly he surmised this was the least he could do. He had ensured the line of succession remained unbroken. The wailing of Matoran guards behind and beside him filled the chamber now like the cries of tormented souls and the wounded men squirmed with the pain they suffered. It tore at Brykon's soul just as it did their flesh, but he could never say that to them.
He looked from Nuju to Hau and gave the Ko-Toa a nod of genuine respect before mentally tearing his armor away, rending his body with it in a magnificent display of elemental prowess. For Brykon, elemental skill went hand in hand with physical discipline, and while taking great concentration it seemed too easy for him to do. Blood scattered wherever the armor went and even Brykon had to grimace a little at the sight of such carnage. "Now release the guards," he ordered, sounding reasonable. "I do not want to harm them any further, and now that you see what I can do, you see they are not worth murdering."
"I already decided so," Turaga Nuju said in his harsh voice, his speech sounding rough and unnatural. The guards seemed to ascertain the meaning by themselves without further instruction and slowly filed out of the Sanctum obediently, each one giving Nuju a tearful but rigid bow of honour.
Brykon stood impassively, still watching Nuju like a hawk. When the guards all left, he spoke. "I want you to know that I have no grudge against you or your people. I do this because I'm a soldier and I have to, not because I want to, and one day, eventually..." he sighed deeply, "I will make it right."
"I know," Nuju said. "I don't feel that you are an evil man, Toa. But you are dark."
"Thank you," Brykon said under his breath. "It does me good to know that I have not fallen... too... far... for redemption." He sagged with sorrow, knowing the truth hurt.
Nuju only looked back with silent sage.
Brykon looked back up and a single-bit axe materialized in his grip. "And now that I have heard your true voice, I think I am ready to kill you, Turaga."
Turaga Nuju's Parakuka, however, was suddenly activated. Nuju, mere seconds earlier standing tall and noble, suddenly hunched forward like a beast and his body morphed into something animalistic. His arms hung lower and thicker, his head sunk into his shoulders and his legs seemed to burst into columns. "You -will- try!"