What I Stand For
If you believe you can sway me, if you think you can push me down, if fate itself has written it will lend a hand towards my fall, if you assume your lies will break me, if you assume your truth will shatter me, if what I represent you say is weak, if who I protect you claim will abandon me … and if you succeed in killing me?
You are still wrong.
I will keep standing.
The Dark Hunter stood with his back against the wall of his prison cell, his eyes opened and sharp. He hadn’t moved in an hour and kept his arms crossed. He was silent and reflecting. And even though he was a prisoner, the caged being wasn’t afraid.
Tension hadn’t built up in his muscles since he had chosen to remain still. His body was strangely relaxed. On the outside, beyond his hold, the smell of the ocean which seeped its scent through the walls was strangely comforting despite the circumstances.
The grime that was rubbing against his shoulders however, from the dampness of the stone walls and the algae built up over time was degrading to the assassin. After all, a real prison should be kept uniform.
The small cell contained one bunk and a table made of steel. The walls were hand crafted, built from grey stones of different shapes and varying sizes. It was dark as the cell offered no built in lights, the room being lit only during the day from the afternoon sun. Unlike the walls however, the door was made of durable protosteel, with a see-through ten by twelve glass pane.
While he was impressed with the material of the door, he wasn’t with the means of observation. There were no cameras or other seeable ways for his captors to monitor him. He narrowed his eyes and shifted them, glaring at the table in anger. His abilities did not include vision powers, but anyone under the glare would have assumed he was about to activate them. Silently he calculated how to use it as a weapon or a shield against basic attacks. Even against energy blasts, the table would hold durably.
He stood on the left side of the cell, his bed on the right. To his left, he ignored to the best of his ability, the luxury he had never before been given while under captivity. Not once.
A small, four barred window.
And that, that one lone “window of opportunity”, was what always corrected his former assumptions about his prison, what always reaffirmed him of his true situation.
There was no escaping this cell.
No prison gives such an easy exit to a Dark Hunter. They left a bed for comfortable resting and a table that could be used as a weapon and other conveniences. Karzahni, even his prison walls were breakable and could be dug through over a period of time.
But when he realized how calm they were, about letting him have fresh air? That’s when he knew they weren’t concerned about him escaping. They were so confident that if he attempted an escape, he would fail. And yes, the window mocked him and dared him to try. In reality, it tormented him beyond any other form of torture – and he had endured much of that over the course of his life.
It was tortuous because if he did stay, it was to stay on death row.
How many times he had fought mentally with himself not to smash through those bars and embark on that flight of escape. Because he could break free if he choose too.
Equally, he knew they were just waiting for such a move.
He was trapped right on the edge of freedom. They never gave him an inch more.
That’s when he had come to realize, that his captors were not good or great at their work. No, simply put, they were professionals.
The open ocean stretched far beyond his range of sight from that small opening, the salty and fresh smell of life filling his lungs. It was another reason so much algae was able to thrive so easily and what kept his cell constantly moist.
He tried to ignore the outside calmness and sweetness, though a pleasant feeling, because it filled him equally with dread.
He had never been captured by the Order of Mata Nui before, much less ever faced one of their members. The affiliate’s swiftness and surprisingly brutal attacks had honestly thrown him off guard. Expectations were for the battle to be like dueling against a Toa.
That had been his first mistake, and the Dark Hunter was not arrogant to the fact. When he failed, he made sure he knew it.
Their battle had been in an open area, filled with civilians in a city known for selling its weapons. Meeting his future captor had been a unique experience. His opponent had stood in front of him, staring him down, showing no room for sympathy or cheap tactics. The Dark Hunter had been wearing a handmade, now overused and slightly tattered, robe. It had been given to him – not stolen – by a small Ko-Matoran settlement to the south. With four words, he revealed his intentions, the words still ringing silently in his mind. They were ones of purpose, as though Mata Nui himself had decreed it should be done.
‘You are under arrest.’
It wasn’t spoken as something that was bound to be. It was a fact. A piece of foreseen future placed in the unmovable timeline. And yes, even now he knew how true those words were, as there he was, trapped in his cell waiting to die.
He remembered how he had given a look of unconcern and turned to the right instantly, not amused. He felt the heat of the blast, before actually seeing it, burn a hole through his traveler’s robe.
Anyone who knew him well, which was a very few number of beings, knew he wasn’t a fighter unless he needed to be. And that had been his moment. His life had been threatened, and he would not surrender so willingly.
It had taken an hour for the two to grow weary, he recalled. The battle had thrashed itself across the city, energy blasts destroying buildings in the wake, Matoran and other natives had been harmed. It had been a fair fight, but the Order of Mata Nui member would not falter. In the final moments the Dark Hunter had unleashed an explosion of energy from his body, instead of simply through his palms; ability he had kept hidden. His enemy had fallen to the earth with a thud, half his body disintegrated and smoking.
He hadn’t smirked when he turned away, as some Dark Hunters would, just frowned at the unnecessary damage that was sure to trace back to him. That’s when he had made another mistake, rule number one in fact. He had failed to make sure his enemy was dead. He just never expected one of their members to thrive so hard on completing a mission.
They were like Dark Hunters in a way.
Regeneration was a clever power, and a stasis field trapped him into unconsciousness the next moment. He couldn’t remember anything afterward.
The Dark Hunter had awoken in his cell with his energy drained. He had been able to regain the strength in his legs to stand, though his energy and abilities had yet to return. It wasn’t surprising that the Order of Mata Nui could allow this sort of mental inhibitor to be stuck to him. It might have even something to do with the prison’s structure.
Or maybe it was permanent.
The prison wasn’t as depressing as some of the previous ones he had been in. Even the seemly gloomy fog that tinted his air, seeable by the night’s low glow, was simply a natural satisfying effect from the ocean.
He was utterly calm, even if his powers weren’t working. That was a strange feeling to have.
That didn’t make sense of course. Well, maybe it did since he was awaiting his execution.
An Execution, he thought and chuckled at the dark irony, after all the years spent in the organization, I don’t die on a mission, or get stabbed in the back; something easy without pain or worry. No my destiny is to die, with the slow and fully confronted knowledge that the choices I made were the wrong ones, and what I’ve done will be repaid.
The Dark Hunter slowly slid down to the floor of his cell. He closed his eyes. It was then he felt truly tired, his lean form suddenly shaken and the eyes behind his Kanohi dimming.
Death was on the approach. How much time did he have left?
As his hand brushed to the floor in odd exhaustion, he gently nudged a sharp rock which had chipped away from the wall. Without glancing at the tool, he picked it up and raised it to his eyes. It was lean, smooth. A Po-Matoran would consider it perfect for carving.
In some distant memory, he could recall a sprout of anger that he unleashed upon the wall during one of his many days here. His fist had clipped the stone.
He wasn’t a writer, no poet, and had never been a Chronicler before.
But he would leave something behind. He deserved to be heard, just once.
Hours would slip away, his movement unorganized as he etched into the rock walls his tales and the tales of others.
“We, who had no past, had no place or destiny; that was why we chose to accept the missions no one else could do. We had no homes or even purpose. So we found them ourselves. Our deeds may have been immoral, but I do not regret them. We formed civilizations, brought rulers to their knees and plunked the flower from its roots so that a new one could grow. Don’t blame us because the petals fell upon the ground… What would have happened had the Makuta been allowed to take control, or if the six warlords themselves had reined their tyrannical position over us? Do not judge us, for some of you created us.”
He wrote the tales of his companions, how they could only look over their shoulders or toward the next mission. How they could only take lives swiftly without emotion, because if you thought about it for too long sleep would abandon you for weeks. How they joined the Dark Hunters, because their homes were gone or lost or rejected by or to them. How some just couldn’t trust in the absent Mata Nui, blind Matoran, constricting Toa, the pompous Makuta and all the other species who surrendered to a fate not meant for them.
He wrote about how his friend Ptero, the most skillful flier he had ever known, had lived in the tallest of mountains to watch over his city, before the Rahkshi came to annihilate his people. The Toa had blamed him once they had finally arrived, assuming his madness had been the cause.
He wrote about how the Skakdi that wouldn’t look you in the eye had came to be a violent rampaging monster, set for the Shadowed One to unleash at any time. How his own kind had drugged him to control his temper, until he couldn’t take the mental abuse anymore.
He wrote about the Toa of Fire with no name. How his entire team betrayed city. How they sold them out for the Xia market. How he hunted and slaughtered them for the lives they ruined.
And it felt like only a moment had flashed before him. Then he was done. The room was scribbled with writings some overlapping each other. The Dark Hunter stood in the middle of it, rereading what he had carved and looked on satisfied.
The rapping of his door dragged him out of his trance.
“Excavate, against the wall.” The muddled sound pierces through the protosteel door.
Excavate aligned himself to the wall as the door opened. The powerful silver armored being stood with a mighty Axe strapped across his back side.
“Are you ready?”
He was. And it was interesting because he held no fear. Even at this moment, when it was about to all come to an end.
To immediate surprise, this felt welcoming.
Someone was calling him, someone he could recollect a vague memory of.
With a few steps he stood outside the door, prepared and firm in completing this final task. He had no desire to look back at the drawings and writings.
The two beings walked down the hallway, Axonn motioning to the Ce-Matoran waiting in the corner. She knew already of her duty, to scrub off all unnecessary debris left by the caged. She entered the cell swiftly. And what she saw, she wouldn’t reveal to the souls of the Order of Mata Nui. Even if she removed it without hesitance, she read it.
The writing deserves some sort of decency, she reasoned while her eyes skimmed over the words, yet soaking it in just the same. Still silently trying to shake the unsettling melancholy brought on after erasing it all, she repacked her supplies for her next assignment. Her feelings were disturbed, doubting, and above all, nagging remorse over such a being who also deserved a little more.
(I honestly don’t know what I was trying to write here, but I felt like writing something with angst and I don’t even think I got that right lol. I have to say I’ve been dying to write about my character Excavate for a while now and after Black Diamond and Heartbeats I was finally able to get a little inspiration so thanks you guys. I know there are probably a lot of grammar mistakes but I’ll get to that later.)
A previous story of mine and now prologue to an epic titled Second Chance. I do hope you enjoyed it. Reviews are much appreciated. =D
Edited by The Great Grant in the Sky, Feb 08 2012 - 11:30 PM.