One ring to rule them all
One ring to find them
One ring to bring them all
And in the darkness bind them
-Fellowship of the Ring, Chapter 2, The Shadow of the Past
A streak of darkness. A flash of light. Again and again, repeated in a hypnotic dance of metal and fire, of light and darkness.
A massive being stood in the middle of that darkness, his mask only barely illuminated in the orange flames. Sweat trickled down his armour, itself created from the heat of the surrounding forges and ovens, a suffocating wave, threatening to collapse any who dared challenge it.
A Matoran approached, clearly uncomfortable being in the presence of the imposing figure, “Master Arthaka, is there anything else you need?”
The massive being shook it’s head, “No thank you. All I need is space and silence.”
The Matoran nodded, and hurried out of the room. Arthaka smiled, no one liked it in his private forges, him included. But this was a matter unsuited to the public forges.
He glanced back down at the mask he was fashioning, a gleaming piece of pure protosteel. The power it emanated was awesome, beyond almost anything he had seen before. All it needed were the finishing touches.
Bringing his hammer up above his head, Arthaka slammed it down, a shower of sparks going every which way, casting the space in a golden glow.
Standing in front of the roaring fire, many centuries after that day in the forges, Turaga Vakama stood completely still. His eyes were wide, and his mouth slightly ajar. Just a moment ago, he could have sworn someone had dumped a bucket of ice water on him, except that his robes were utterly dry. That could mean only one thing.
Slamming the door to his home shut, he threw a massive blanket over the fire, extinguishing it. Standing in the darkness, he shut his eyes, ready for the familiar, yet still quite disturbing wave of future sight.
Slowly, he felt the cool current of psionics roll into his mind. It seemed ordinary, but there was something amiss. There was something else in there, it felt almost like an entity, as if someone was reading his mind. Except they weren’t just reading.
They were writing.
Slowly, Arthaka noted, the mask was slowly beginning to take shape. Already, the eye piece’s were recognizable, and the spikes across the top and sides of the Kanohi were in full-form. He breathed a sigh of relief. Soon this would all be over.
Vakama felt his body sprawl around the hut like a rag-doll, totally out of his control. It was if he was being manipulated with strings, as if he was a puppet. It was terrifying.
The Turaga collapsed to the ground, hacking from his possession. He tried to move, only to wish he hadn’t. It was as if a surge of electricity was shot up his spinal column. Vakama’s vision blurred, and he felt the coppery taste of bile rise up in his stomach.
With his physical eyes, he saw only black, with only pinpoints of light dotting his view. In his mind’s eye, that was a different story.
In his mind, he was in Kini-Nui, at the foot of the Great Temple. Along side him, was basically every other inhabitant of Mata Nui, all bowing in reverence, and possibly a little fear. Following their line of view, Vakama caught sight of a solid beam of light, almost blinding to look at. It rose from the rock base of the Kini, as if it was an actual being.
The thought went against every rational thought in his body, but the Turaga could swear that the beam of light was alive somehow. And looking straight at him.
Back in the physical world, Vakama’s body jerked up to it’s feet, and it’s mouth opened in a lopsided manner. From it’s maw, came an unearthly whisper, that, if any could hear it, would chill the very bones of the bravest warriors.
One mask to rule them all...
Again, Arthaka’s hammer swung at the mask, and again, he wondered if he was doing the right thing. Sure this mask could act as an incredible fail-safe, but it could just as well provoke the very thing it was designed to stop.
He shook his head. He was creator. It was his destiny to create. Arthaka could not, no matter how many doubts he had, defy his destiny.
And thus, he brought his forging toll back down.
The scene shifted, and suddenly, Vakama was standing in a swamp. Mist clung to the air, and the water’s stretched far into the distance. As far as he was concerned, it was just like every other swamp he’d ever visited. Except for one thing: It was silent. No birds, no bugs, no nothing.
In the beginning, anyway.
Suddenly, he saw it again. That same beam of light. This time, it was alone, racing through the underbrush, as if on an urgent quest. But for what, Vakama cold only guess.
When it rains, it pours, apparently, because at that moment, the sounds of battle rattled into hear shot. He heard the clash of steel, the bursts of energy weapons, and the screams of pain. Vakama tried to shut his mind to it, try to keep the memories of his days experiencing those noises, but the vision wouldn’t him. The light seemed to hear it too, for it stopped, and stared at where the racket was coming from.
Slowly, it turned it’s ‘head’, once again looking at Vakama with those same, haunting eyes.
Vakama’s body jerked forwards, slamming into the far wall of the hut, as if trying to escape from it’s constraints. It’s mouth opened, repeating it’s ghastly cry, with only a slight deviation.
One mask to find them...
The scene changed again, and now Vakama was in some sort of cavern. However, this one was different from the many others he’d visited in his years. An aura of rot and vileness seemed to permeate the walls, and the shadows looked as though they were growing stronger and darker here. This place prodded at his memories, but he couldn’t quite place it.
In the center of the chamber, a massive pool of energized protodermis. It was then, when it dawned on him. This was the den of evil on this island, the one place where the darkness would live and thrive. This was Makuta’s lair, the Mangaia.
Suddenly, as if thinking the name was his signal, the beam of light emerged from the dark, a shining beacon in this otherwise cold and unwelcoming place. For once, the Turaga was actually glad to see it.
Across from it, approached an equally massive thing. It was a beam, but one of shadow. Where was the light beam seemed to emit a wave of hope and innocence, this beam sucked those things in, leaving only fear and bitterness in it’s wake.
The two beams circled each other, like gunslingers on the plains of Po-Koro. Vakama watched them nervously, in anticipation of the coming conflict. In fact, he was so engrossed in fear and excitement, that he didn’t hear the crowd until they were nearly upon him.
It was the same group as before, Matoran, Toa and Turaga, from every corner of the island. Each one seemed as frightened and confused as Vakama, watching every move of the two beams with awe.
The Turaga wanted to scream at them to leave, to escape now while they had the chance, but his mouth wouldn’t cooperate, and he was helpless to save them. All he could do, was wait, and watch, like the rest of them.
Vakama’s body reared up like a creature of the night, it’s voice crackling like lightning, and it’s eyes staring up with a dull blackness. It’s muscles spasming uncontrollably, it choked out it’s next message.
One mask to bring them all...
Then, without warning, the two beams clashed.
It was an awesome and terrifying display. Light and dark flashed across the room, and the two beams, once so steady and monotonous, now raging like cyclones, each trying to overpower the other. Vakama wanted to scream, to run, to escape somehow, but in his heart he knew he ad to see this vision through to the end.
The torrents of energy kept fighting, spinning against each other faster and faster, like hurricanes merging. Pretty soon the two became indistinct from each other, as if the two had formed a single entity.
The Turaga watched helplessly as the new beam, a tornado of light and shadow continued to grow, bigger and bigger, until it threatened to destroy the chamber, and by extension, everything in it.
The last thing Vakama remembered was the cyclone bearing down on the group, as if saying, “Join me, or die.”
Arthaka brought his hammer down one last time, before smiling, and judging his masterpiece to be complete. He picked it up, not caring if it was burning to the touch. The being gazed at it’s golden surface, unblemished, unmarked, just a flawless piece of golden protodermis.
As if on cue, the Matoran attendant approached again, and wordlessly, Arthaka handed the mask to him. The attendant nodded, heading back to the exit. However, right before leaving, he turned and asked, “What is it to be called?”
The old creator chuckled, and leaned on his hammer for support after the grueling task.
“The Avokhii, young one,” he responded wearily, “The mask of light.”
Vakama vomited, almost welcoming the sense of reality it gave him. The first thing he did once he had awoken was fumble for a light. He had enough of darkness for one lifetime.
He crawled over to a corner, shaking his head in disbelief. What was that? That was no ordinary vision, he knew that. But then, what was it?
The Turaga sighed, adjusting his mask. He would have to talk to Nuju, he would have some answers. Or maybe Onewa.
Vakama got to his feet, trying smile, but with a grave sense of ill ease bearing down on him. He could not, and would never, forget the last words he heard in that vision. One sentence, just a little sentence, but enough to haunt him for the rest of his days.
And in the darkness, bind them.
Edited by Emissary to the Void, Feb 22 2012 - 07:58 PM.